Foreword: WOW. just WOW.
Holy smokes this game was awesome. Yes, this isn’t the typical “charage” you might be looking for, but this game is literally where I hit the jackpot as I search for a game “with a meaning”.
Dark themes encompass this title, but there is definitely some high-quality humor within the entire title; it’s even better than many of the commercial games out there (like the ones I’ve been playing recently), so this entitles this game to have a far higher score than other games.
Fair warning, however, that this game’s theme IS horror and suspense. Completely unfit for the weak of heart, I would rate this game 17+ despite not containing any form of sexual content because of its traumatic elements and psychological factors. In addition to this, that age range is probably necessary to even understand the storyline anyways…
According to Wikipedia, “Noesis” means “perception of the mind” in Greek. How fitting for this game!
First Title– NOeSIS～嘘を吐いた記憶の物語～ (Usowo tsuita kioku no monogatari) [Lit. Trans: The story of lie-filled memories)
Second Title– NOeSIS02 ~羽化~ (Uka, translated into “Emergence”)
(Planned Release: Fall 2013) Third Title– NOeSIS03 -歌う影の戯曲- (Utau kage no gikyoku) [Lit. Trans: Requiem of the Singing Shadow]
Release Date: October 30, 2011
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v11029 / http://vndb.org/v11858
Getchu Link: N/A
Game Type: Suspense Mystery Novel with dark themes of psychology and philosophy
NOeSIS Summary: Shigure is a student at an academy where a person commits suicide once a week. This rumor spreads so much that everyone just… accepts it for how it is.
However, he meets someone who doesn’t think it’s just a suicide; she has enough evidence to believe that this is murder, and is determined to find out the end of it.
With this student council president who can read people’s hearts just by looking at their eyes…
With a childhood friend whose family problems may be more serious than a normal person’s…
With an extremely intelligent younger sister who seems to be hiding something…
Shigure will delve into this mystery to its roots, and stop this chain of suicide in any way possible.
He doesn’t even know himself…
NOeSIS02 Summary: Shigure suddenly wakes up to find his annoying classmate Nayuta poking him in the back and trying to get closer to him as always. This damn girl has been annoying me fo… … …
Who is this…? Why do I have memories of her?
Damnit! Who’s been playing with my memory?!
Shigure shouts this as he runs to the student council office to find the person who can explain this madness.
But he will soon realize that he’s not the mad one, it’s someone else… and she might be closer to him than he thinks…
But is she, really, crazy?
Story Length: Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very easy
Comments: There’s really one “choice” to be made within each route, and it’s at the very end of the route, at the maximum climax scenes. However, the con of this is that you can’t save at the scene split, which pretty much forces you to save frequently. However, you must act “passively” in each split (except for the very last route, aka, “true route”)
As for NOeSIS02, there’s only 4 routes total (so two splits consisting of two choices each), but Maya’s route is locked from the beginning; you have to clear all three routes first.
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 9/10
Rating Comments: A very high rating game despite the fact that it doesn’t have voices and contains very few CGs, it’s mostly the good balance of humor and suspense that makes this a good game even compared to many of the most recently produced commercial games. Story is actually relatively crappy, but is supported by humor and detailed description which allows the reader to visualize each and every scene without problems, and even with half-assed sprites, the character design gets a high score for its great character interaction which all makes sense in the end.
In addition to the above, the story rating received a major boost to much of the “moral lesson” contained within the story. With both psychological and philosophical traits that challenge the reader to question his own ideals, morals, and meanings, I can attest that I learned many things from this title, which also includes how to make a bomb to blow up your enemies.
I’ll try not to add in spoilers, but if I do, I apologize in advance. For games like this, it’s really easy to enjoy the game, but really hard to write up a review x_x;
Shigure is our main protagonist. Yes, if you didn’t notice, that’s the protagonist in the pink hair, forced to crossdress by our lovely Maya-senpai right nearby.
Originally a hardcore otaku, Shigure is not interested in 3D girls, which causes the distress of Koyomi, who seems to be in love with him. Despite being a stupid, unreliable, and perhaps weak protagonist, all the girls around him soon fall for him some way or another, and they love him for one thing. Curious to know what it is? Read the novel. I guarantee you that the one trait that Shigure possesses is something that girls love.
Shigure has many personalities, which is a very good trait for a protagonist; silly, reliable, trustworthy, perverted, but very understanding. Out of even the heroines, I found that Shigure had the most “colorful” personality.
In the second series, this character seems to shine even above the heroines…
Next we have our black-haired beauty, Chiya. For the reference, the girl above is actually “Maya”, but note that the two are identical in appearance.
The first time Shigure meets this character, her first words are that of criticism, because Shigure apparently got in her way of killing herself. Although this person seems weird, she seems to know many things regarding the recent suicide chain, and challenges Shigure–Is this really just a suicide…?
Chiya seems to have something commonly called a multiple personality disorder (MPD), which shifts from a cold, solitude personality to a cheerful and bright personality. Despite this, it doesn’t seem as if they’re the same person; it’s as if there are two “people” in Chiya’s body, since they hold different memories of their own.
This leads Chiya to call her “bright and cheerful” side “Maya”, and hold a notepad in her breastpocket so the two “twins” can write in it and “share” memories.
Chiya finally seems to have the power to read people’s pasts or even thoughts just by staring into their eyes. She does this to various characters multiple times, but there is one time when even this powers fail her; when she tries to look into Shigure’s past, 5 years ago…
Third is Shigure’s childhood friend, Koyomi.
Always bright and cheerful, the game is quick to inform the readers that Koyomi’s strength is extreme–she will throw items that easily weigh over 300 kilograms (over 650 pounds), and because she has a hard time controlling her strength, accidentally throws Shigure out of his window of his two-story house right onto the street in his pajamas.
Due to various events involving Koyomi’s strength, Shigure soon finds that he becomes accustomed to dealing with her powers. This is shown in various scenes where Koyomi will attack him with electric poles or volleyball net holders, but Shigure somehow manages to survive.
Besides the dangerous atmosphere of the entire story, it may be possible that Koyomi is even more dangerous.
Koyomi’s route is available after Chiya’s route, where Shigure starts to gain small amounts of his memory from his childhood. However, he soon realizes that who he trusts with his heart and values dearly may even be a cold-hearted killer…
Imouto loli きっだあぁぁぁぁ！！*nosebleed*
Jokes aside, this is Yuki, the younger sister of our protagonist. Unlike her brother, she is extremely intelligent despite a young age, and is even recruited by Chiya herself to become the next student council president.
Despite this, she refuses and would rather leisurely enjoy her daily cup of cocoa while listening Shigure and Koyomi battle upstairs in their room.
Being the last heroine of the first title, you can reach her route simply by clearing Chiya and Koyomi’s route.
Yuki’s body is very frail, and the game doesn’t seem to want to explain why, at least until the final route where the player is sent to the school at night for “Monster Hunting”.
Finally, Nayuta. This character is introduced in NOeSIS02, and has no appearance in NOeSIS01.
A strange character from her introduction, she seems to be not much more than a nuisance to Shigure, who treats this girl like trash on the floor. Despite this, Nayuta doesn’t seem to get angry, and continues her approaches.
Nayuta’s capabilities and her threat is revealed very early in NOeSIS02, where Shigure finds out that Nayuta knows too much about his past for his liking. She even says something about Koyomi that makes his heart freeze and sweat pour down his back.
Perhaps because of how much she knows, Nayuta and Koyomi do not like each other. When even Yuki is added into the “fight”, the readers will soon realize that the two will do anything to kill this “annoying” girl, and take extreme measures to do so.
Despite this, as well as her introduction, Nayuta doesn’t play too big of a role; except that she’s one of the first ones to “realize the truth”.
Another obligatory Shigure x Maya picture
Sexual Content: None
Comments: A very good game which I recommend HIGHLY if you’re currently looking for horror/suspense mystery novel. Many of the scenes involve bone-chilling sprites or very descriptive words that makes it as if you’re imagining the scenes right in your head. This really compensated for the lack of voices or sound effects, and the very diverse BGM allowed even more colors (not literally, though) to the overall storyline.
There is no gore or extreme content within this game. There are several CG with blood, but even this makes the reader suspicious of something behind his back as he slowly continues with the story. In addition, I rate the second game much higher (I know, right? It’s a sequel, but it’s better than the main game) due to the story actually having a solid conclusion that includes the character’s pasts and explains much of the “cliffhangers” from the first NOeSIS series.
Okay, this is scary >.>;
In addition, to this, there are many psychological theories and philosophy introduced in this game. They are not difficult to understand, so even a normal reader should be able to realize what the characters are trying to say.
But this still doesn’t justify that they suddenly introduce a VERY important character in the ending of NOeSIS02, say that she’s going to be the main heroine for NOeSIS03, then say that the game would be released in the Fall 2013…
IT’S STILL NOT RELEASED GODAMMIT, IT’S ALREADY FREAKING NOVEMBER!! ARGRHGHHG!! RELEASE IT ALREADY FUUUUU—-
(Apparently, the group is busy producing their novels, which seem to be the main “production” for them QQ)
Affection for the Characters: Moderately High
CG Quality: Low, I think the screenshots I post (which are really the majority of the CGs available), are appropriate to describe the quality
Music Quality: Very High. Strangely enough, the music is very well designed, and has tracks that involve tragedy, comedy, desperation, nostalgia, and you name it. Arguably, their main Opening tracks, titled “Scenery of Spring” is the best due to its dark melody combined with elements of “hope”.
Game Download Links: Contains both NOeSIS and NOeSIS02. I provide these links because these games were available for free. If you want, they also have the NOeSIS02 on the smartphone/iPhone platforms for free too.
Part 1: http://www.mediafire.com/?5of18vb517v8fm4
Part 2: http://www.mediafire.com/?xdldcof2yiccnwm
Part 3: http://www.mediafire.com/?csnhc9c0ws583w8
Yuki seems to become one of the “main heroines” in NOeSIS02.
Addictiveness: Slightly Low. Despite the story being very interesting and colorful, the lack of voices and the fact that this “suspense” is a one-time thing makes this story not worth coming back to.
Conclusion: A very well designed game by cutlass. Despite being a “horror” novel, it really does have some interesting traits, such as a mysterious (and perverted) protagonist, as well as mind-boggling battle of wits. The morals presented challenge the morals we hold today, and the game may even change some paradigms about our daily stereotypes.
I probably missed a lot in this review, but I don’t think it’ll be too bad. After all, the download link is there for you…