Games described as visual novels are rarely straight-up visual novels anymore. Instead, they mix in other elements of gameplay, like puzzles. House of Chavez is, at its heart, a visual novel – but it does incorporate elements from puzzle and point-and-click adventure games. Its narrative is intertwined with mini-games, romance, and a compelling mystery. The game, from indie developer Winter Wolves, has launched on Kickstarter with a goal of €7,000. Stretch goals include an alternate horror ending, a nude version of all scenes, and a new romance path.
Players take on the role of Adriana, a 21-year-old Texan who is struggling to deal with the recent loss of her mother. Along with her brother Bruno, Adriana heads to Europe to explore a house they’ve inherited that once belonged to their grandmother. The house is located in a quaint Spanish tourist town near the border of France. Logic says to sell the house, but Adriana and Bruno have a lingering curiousity about why their mother kept them away. What was her motive?
Adriana meets her grandmother’s former caregiver, Silke, who is now working as a waitress at a pub. Silke was with Adriana’s grandmother during her final moments, and has intimate knowledge of the house. The house itself is dusty and musty, shrouded in mystery. Adriana will gradually uncover its secrets, and maybe even learn what’s happening there in the present. She may even find love.
Aside from Adriana, Bruno, and Silke, there are a handful of other characters. There’s Luciana the library employee, Dolores the traveller, Sebastian the maybe-criminal, and Doctor Ramirez who runs the local hospital.
And now to what everyone is wanting to know more about: the optional adult content! The base game is censored so it doesn’t end up in an adult-only category on Steam (valid), but the developer has already created nude versions of Adriana and Silke. All default love scenes will have a nude version. Some images are exclusively adult, as they wouldn’t make sense with clothed characters.
Developed and published by Winter Wolves, House of Chavez will be released for PC/Linux via Steam by mid-2024. It can be backed on Kickstarter for another 29 days.