Canvas Menagerie Logo featuring the title characters Niko and Ren

Canvas Menagerie – Demo

Canvas Menagerie is a wholesome and sweet visual novel from Crystal Game Works that is currently in development for PC. While I am not personally familiar with their prior games, they are a group that develops, as stated on their website, “fantasy romance games for queer people” and I am absolutely on board with that. The key art for this game caught my eye while browsing Steam, and so after watching the trailer and reading the synopsis, I decided to hop into the demo and check it out.

Game screenshot of Niko talking with Ren, who is outside his trailer having a smoke

The demo covers some key moments from Act 1 of the story and took me around 50 minutes to complete. It surprised me how much I was so effortlessly drawn into these loveable characters navigating life, work, and romance in their twenties that the time flew by and I’d completed the demo before I knew it! Our main character Niko is a young trans man who’s been acting his whole life and he is simply adorable. I just want to cheer my guy on with everything he does. Our other main protagonist is Ren, a highly motivated Hollywood actor who may have more to him than we initially perceive.

Niko (with long blue hair, glasses, and a casual outfit) drinking a soda and Ren (taller with mid length silver hair) eating a sweet treat with his arm round Niko's shoulders

The art also helps carry the sweetness of the plot across with lovely character designs for our cast that help immediately give you an insight into the characters. Be warned though readers that a Japanese visual novel this is not. It is very much an original American production with both the style and atmosphere to suit, a very different flavour that is a treat to see.

Official sticker art of Niko holding up a peace sign with Ren wrapping his arm round Niko's shoulders

As this is a demo and not a full release I cannot give it any kind of score. Although, I will say that I’m eagerly anticipating the full release of this game and will now be going into the back catalogue of this developer’s games, many of which are free on Steam, to sate my hunger in the meantime.

This demo is available both on Steam and now.

Developer: Crystal Game Works
Creator: Arimia






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