REVIEW: Diamond Mirage from Aedian & Glair

Crystal elves: Beautiful, ethereal creatures born of pure celestial energy. Their eyes and hair are crystalline, reflecting light just like the mountains of diamonds and opals that surround their magical homeland. For most, he was a fable. But for others, the most valuable possession. Captured by human bandits as a gift for their influential Master, Ellyn has to learn how to survive in a situation he never pictured himself in – as a slave. Trained how to behave and pleasure his new owner by none other than a dusk elf; a mysterious representative of his race.

Even though Veros, Ellyn’s mentor, seems to be exactly what he thought a dusk elf would be – calculating, unsympathetic, savage – Ellyn can’t help but feel like something doesn’t add up. What is it that escapes his attention? Could it become a key to his freedom? Or is it nothing but his imagination?

Warnings: noncon, dubcon, slavery

Category: M/M, M/F

Diamond Mirage is a visual novel game that was funded on Kickstarter. It’s a slavefic story about a crystal elf who falls in love with his trainer and mentor. While there is some minor (and skippable) M/F content, it is primarily an M/M story, and it’s full of gorgeous illustrations and steamy content. It’s a kinky fairy tale of a game, filled with aesthetically pleasing visuals and fantastical scenery and fetish smut, not to very mention compelling emotional content.

This is a very linear VN. It doesn’t have multiple branching paths for the majority of the game, though there are a few possible “bad endings” towards the end of it, which all are pretty easily avoided. Mostly it’s one story, a dramatic tale of angst and heartbreak, and it has the kind of emotional complexity that you would expect from an adult drama. Structurally, it can meander a little bit, and although I understand that not all VNs have branching paths, I do wish that there had been a little more in the way of player input to the story, perhaps for unlocking certain story information or by developing a relationship. Even without this though, as a linear story it is very well written and I truly enjoyed playing through it, though if I had a complaint it would be in being a little on the simple and predictable side. The illustrations are beautiful and haunting, and really go a long way to helping to immerse the player in the world.

This entire story is about gradually developing emotional relationships. It’s a very slow burn, a dubcon to con kind of tale where the main pairing is concerned, but there are also a lot of other relationships, both positive and negative, featured in this story that pull on your emotions. Ellyn’s relationship to the slaver Lysander is brutally chilling, and his relationship with his fellow slave Kilie is a lovely friendship that blossoms more and more over the course of the story. Everyone’s backstories are unlocked at varying points in the story, creating a compelling character study for each character involved. I really loved how truly terrifying Lysander comes across, the story went to great lengths to make him an imposing figure, and of course Veros is wonderfully angsty and not all he seems to be at first, and although he is certainly a archetype that you’ve seen before, he’ll be one you have fun seeing again. Each relationship is lovingly written and I had a great time immersing myself in it.

I liked the worldbuilding here, and would love to read or play more stories in this universe. There are some political arenas established, multiple countries and peoples living in them mentioned, and the ways in which these interact with the characters is very well put together. The world felt fairly real, especially given that the characters spend their time within a magic bubble sequestered away from the rest of the world and don’t get a chance to explore it much. I would love to know more about this setting, about crystal elves and fairies and everything else, and hope that Aedian & Glair will set more stories in this world in the future. As it was this gave enough of a taste of a wider world to get me curious and invested while still focusing on the the very insular little scope of its story.

The basic version of the game has all the naughty visuals censored, but you can download a patch from the publisher to unlock the uncensored version. This has some extremely hot fetish scenes as well as some very emotionally driven smut. The slowly building relationships between the characters contribute to some really compelling sexual content, and the dubcon slow burn is a treat to watch unfold. The opening scene as well as the gangbang scene in the middle are some of my favourites, and the story luxuriates in a very aesthetically pleasing fantasy of domination and submission kink. I adored all of the smut in this, as well as the ways that the characters feel the sex on an emotional level. Running the gambit from brutal humiliation and trauma to deeply developing feelings of love and friendship, the content in this hits every emotional note that I want a story like this to hit, and it does it with such sexy flair that it makes for a really hot play through.

This is definitely worth playing if you’re into angsty and sweet romances, drama and steamy D/s sex. As a slavefic, it makes the choice to focus not on the master character but on the trainer, and builds a beautiful romance from there. While it may be a bit short and simple, the ending is satisfying and the journey is emotionally compelling, not to mention very, very hot.

Have you played Diamond Mirage? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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