I’ve been playing a lot of otome games lately, mostly visual novels, and after a hilariously disastrous first run at Hakuouki (I managed to get Saitou killed twice. In a row.), I knew I wanted to play more historically themed VNs. I’ve had some great recommendations that are on my to-play list, and a handful of others I’ve stumbled into, including Your Dry Delight.
Your Dry Delight is a short run, having only two routes, which makes it a nice, quick play between the branching path beasts I’ve been consumed by lately. But quick doesn’t necessarily mean shallow. Argent Games has put a significant amount of work into this short game, and it really shows. The interfaces are clean and full of charming little details (I personally love the liquor bottle at the end of each line of dialogue), the music well chosen (see my previous review of Vampyr for what poor music choices can do to immersion), and the dialogue snappy and clean without being overly anachronistic.
The first thing that caught my attention was the setting; it seems like the vast majority of Prohibition era fiction ends up set in Chicago. That’s not without good reason, but the entire country was affected by it and different parts of the country were affected differently. Cleveland, where Your Dry Delight is set, found itself populated more by Jewish mafia than Chicago’s Italian mob. The geographic difference may not be big, but the cultural difference is huge, and the fact that Argent Games chose to capitalize on a different and lesser known branch of Prohibition history (at least when it comes to pop culture) was a nice choice on their part. This shows up most notably in the assorted Yiddish slang peppered throughout the game. Both love interests are big fans of food, and you’ll prove yourself a real mensch by indulging them.
Despite the short length of the game (I finished my run in about an hour), Your Dry Delight is an engaging play. The characters are archetypal, yes, but that serves a purpose in a game this short; with only 12-13,000 words to catch a player’s attention as compared to the average VNs 200,000 or so, there simply isn’t time to go deep into a character’s backstory and find out the little details that make them tick. So in Your Dry Delight we have the sly mafia member always in control of the action around him, the cheerful detective who’s more serious than he lets on, and the put-upon, slightly tired main character who probably needs a nap more than anything else. They’re archetypes, sure, but in context they work to hook players right off the bat. It only took a few scenes for me to be invested in getting Richter laid, which is good, because there aren’t a huge number of scenes to work with and certainly not the massive branching paths other games might take.
There were a few hiccups here and there (a handful of slang isn’t linked to the glossary, for example), but nothing significant enough to make me enjoy the game any less. As for things I would have like to have seen, a grid-based gallery rather than a linear one would have been nice, but that’s an incredibly minor nitpick of a free game (yeah, free) that’s otherwise solid and frankly would have been worth paying for. Would I like to see a (paid) expansion to the game with additional routes? Absolutely. The doorman was cute, shadowed face and all.
In short: if you like Prohibition era fiction and beautiful men flirting awkwardly with each other, definitely give Your Dry Delight a whirl.