This review contains spoilers, click expand to view.
I liked the idea of the story, but I can't recommend this visual novel game hybrid.
You never identify with the main protagonist, because he is unbelievable dense – even with most obvious no-brainers, Matoko begins an monologue about how he does not understand anything of this. Also he is asking others that give them tons of hints and he still understands zero. And as a player you can just facepalm and try to endure it, since the game gives you no chance to intervene and actually investigate and solve. The pace of the whole investigation is completely predefined, in fact everything is predefined, except the stupid walking around and annoying minigames. As a player you have no real power. You do not really controll the main protagonist, you just push some buttons when the game allows you. You have to bear with it. Okay you can skip dialogue but think about Case 1. I assume 99% of the players got the hint the moment they looked at it. LEON. Another second later everyone realised Sayaka wrote it with her healthy hand while leaning at the wall dying with her own blood. But Makoto doesn't get it. He just does not get it. Even he talks to himself like an idiot again 11037 and even after talking to other persons and speaking the numbers loud out he still does not get it. It takes till the trial is already over, when this airhead suddenly shouts like an idiot "I GOT IT!" like he always does when everyone else is already facepalming for a whole bloody week.
Every single character is retarded, not only the main protagonist, albeit he is a very special one. With maybe only one exception, which would be Kyoko Kirigiri.
Why can't I play as her? She at least has some brain and she is at least interesting, unlike Makoto! Let me solve the puzzles the pace I want! Do they think the audience is THAT dumb? I mean I can understand they wanted to make EVERYONE understand it and tried to make NPCs look smart, but you can achieve this without making the main protagonist the second most slow-witted on earth – Yasuhiro is even more dumb…
Also the mini-games they are just unnecessary and feel out of place. You have this argument since an hour, but now you have to do some music games and shooting words, when you already know the argument. Just let me say it!
That leads to the next point the mood. The game wants to be that mysterious crime visual novel, but same time presents itself like a corny murderous carnival show full of one-dimensional characters, nullities as motives of murder (with Sakura as an exception), and some misplaced "friendship" kind of dating sim where you buy friendship with presents…
The suspension of disbelief doesn't work in this game. For example Sakura just died and the trial is over. It was suicide as we have come to know, then the annoying bear destroys a laptop and suddenly everyone, especially that wimp Makoto begin to cry about their laptop-friend. A computer program. A REAL PERSON just died – Sakura – but a computer program written by Chihiro is suddenly the reason all start to break in tears? What the heck?
Am I the only one who think that would be the greatest way to piss on Sakura's and Chihiro's grave the same time. Chihiro is dead. That laptop is not Chihiro, it is not human, it is a program. But Sakura is a human, that just died, and was your friend. HOw about crying for Sakura instead of laptop? But NO! This is japanese logic. Makoto is crying an hour more.
What sucks as well is that you can't mute the music, since the tracks are limited and get boring very quickly. You can't hide the BGM radio icon, nor mute the "emotional voicelines" that replace the silence when there is no voice-over. It's just annoying after some time. So you have to mute through windows sound mixer.
The gameplay elements are totally disconnected from the story and make no sense.
The story is 100% linear with no real choice for the player.
If you like games with choices where the story is embedded cleverly into the gameplay or vice versa, then this game will be a disappointment.
I gave one point because of Kyoko Kirigiri, the only really interesting and half-way reasonable person in this whole game and because the idea is actually really nice, but the execution is just a double-facepalm. Okay another point for the idea but thats it.
The thing is you can enjoy this game if you generally have no problem with anime like characters that overacting and behave cheesy all the time. If you have no problem with getting handholded, since this game handholds you 100% without leaving you room for own choices. And if you can see beside the misplaced minigames, THEN you can enjoy this game. Otherwise better avoid.
The critic sounds more harsh than it is meant to be, and sometimes the potential shines really through, but I can't overlook the tons of in my opinion wrong gamedesign decisions and the blatant ludonarrative dissonance that oozes out of every corner from this game.… Expand