STAFF REVIEW of Mediterranea Inferno (Xbox One)


Wednesday, June 26, 2024.
by Adam Dileva

Mediterranea Inferno Box art While I don’t normally gravitate towards visual novel games, I do quite enjoy a quirky and abstract game if it's somehow unique and sets itself apart from others. Mediterranea Inferno fits this description perfectly. A visual novel at its core, it tells a story about anxiety, friendship, grief, jealousy, desire and deep feelings. Mediterranea Inferno doesn’t shy away from being what it wants, telling a story with many mature and triggering themes, and while a queer visual novel may not be for everyone, it’s done in such a way that is tasteful without being overtly sexual and has a very unique visual aesthetic I quite enjoyed.

As this is a visual novel, the core ‘gameplay’ is simply going through the dialogue, so I will be vague as possible for main plot points outside of the beginning chapter or so, as it really should be experienced without any prior knowledge. The story follows three best friends that seemed inseparable before the pandemic in 2020, but as we all know, Covid changed the world in many ways, including these three friendships when they were separated from one another for about two years with the lockdowns.

Two years in lockdown is a long time, and people change. I can relate to this personally, so I totally understand how people can change due to this. One of the friends, Claudio, has the idea to ‘get the band back together’ so to speak by having a vacation for the three friends at his late grandfather’s villa in Italy. Friends Mida and Andrea agree as this will be a short three day getaway to not only relax, but to reconnect as friends that have not seen each other in two years.

Thing is, people change, sometimes not for the better. What should be a fun and relaxing vacation doesn’t quite turn out that way, but the reason would differ greatly depending on whose perspective. The story takes some serious dark turns, and those struggling with their identity can be heartbreaking. The drugs obviously don’t help the trio of friends when they each have their own priorities of what they want from this vacation. One wants to get back to his roots and family heritage, another wants to simply party and get with someone for some sort of connection, and the other became quite popular on social media during the lockdown.


All have their issues and are in for a wild three days that won’t play out anything like you expect. Each character has a story to tell, as well as living a nightmare at certain points, and while I found it difficult in the beginning to differentiate each from one another due to the similar looks aside from a haircut, I was able to relate in ways to each in their own way once I understood how they were feeling and the reasons for so.

While the story was a bit confusing at first, it eventually comes together, even more so when you play subsequent playthroughs and see all the choices you didn’t make the first and second times. The writing is well done for the most part, even if I do find the characters a little whiney, though they are 20-something year olds, so it might be my older generational view. All of the narrative is accompanied by some bright, colorful and even abstract imagery, and while there’s some erotic and queer undertones, there’s nothing overtly explicit.

Three days isn’t a long time to do a lot of activities for a vacation, so you’re going to have to choose which to do at times, making someone happy and probably disappointing the other friends. Picking the daily activity for the trio sets the story off in different ways, also giving you a special insight into certain characters. Maybe someone not getting to do the activity they want brings out some jealousy, fears, or maybe even obsession. There’s no way to make everyone happy, so it’s usually deciding on which character you want to learn more about, seeing how their choices change the outcome of the story. Like ordering one pizza for a large group of friends, there’s no one type that everyone is going to agree upon, leaving someone disappointed; that’s what it’s like with every choice here.


It may not seem like a big deal to choose between going to the beach or a nightclub, but remember, these people are reacclimating to social gatherings and being around people, even themselves as friends which used to be effortless. Where Mediterranea Inferno really starts to stand out is when you get to experience “Mirages”. These are, to the best of my understanding, a sort of trip in your consciousness after being offered to eat a fruit to experience them from some sort of celestial being. Get enough of these and you’re told you can get into Heaven. I know, this portion took me by surprise too.

These mirages are surreal, giving a glimpse of a fantasy, or a frightening nightmare. These are where things get really trippy, able to navigate panes and click on objects as you find you way to the ‘exit’. These are meant to offer a lot of symbolism, so it can be a little hard to follow at times beyond what you see at face value on the screen. There’s a currency of sorts to collect, able to be used in different ways in these mirages, meant as collectables.

Because of ‘choosing’ one person's daily activity, there’s inherently some replay value if you want to see all of the outcomes. This can be tiresome at first but you’ll eventually be able to play scenes at 5X speed and even later skip scenes all together after certain objectives are met. I went through three times as I wanted to understand each character’s motivation and reasoning, some of which I never would have expected, yet could relate to.


Indie developer Lorenzo Redaelli has done a fantastic job at creating a visual aesthetic that is simple yet has a very clear and distinct style. While I found the three friends to be a bit too similar in their design, causing a little confusion at first, the illustrations for the backgrounds can be like a bright and color abstract painting at times. Every panel is unique and doesn’t use your typical visual novel style. Coupled with its mature and dark themes Mediterranea Inferno was certainly memorable and really leaned heavily into the 'visual' novel. The music was equally as good, setting a certain tone for each unique backdrop and situation, almost as trippy as its visuals.

Mediterranea Inferno isn’t meant to be a happy story with a fairytale ending. It’s a raw tale that’s honest, filled with a bunch of emotion and uneasiness. Some might be turned away by the LGBTQ+ theme, but it was certainly one of the more memorable and unique visual novels I’ve ever experienced and I’m glad to have gone on vacation with the trio of friends, even if the ending(s) weren’t what I initially expected.

**Mediterranea Inferno was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 7.2 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10

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