Foreword: Without a doubt I’ve been slowing down. While there’s definitely my fault in this delay of finishing and writing reviews, I also want to place at least a portion of the blame on generic titles which I was simply not interested in or annoyed me to the point I put it off. Instead, I found myself going to doujin titles, games (admittedly, I played roughly 10-15 doujin titles between the last review and this one), and MMOs instead of galge, which is like one certain friend who went down this path (although for other platforms) much earlier than I.
For that reason, the bottom portion of this review (or where I place my “dropped games” explaining my reasoning) may be quite long. I still haven’t really figured out what I wanted to do with all these dropped titles because they’re now becoming rather increasing in number compared to actual review posts (wow much quality)
Let’s get to the review of the most recent game I played which left quite a bit of impression on me, I would first off say that as with a previous game I played, Senmomo, this game was actually rather fun. As that mystery game where you are required to use clues and various other hints to solve a crime or make various conclusions. It was almost like a puzzle game, which I really appreciated.
Obviously, however, this title wasn’t exactly the best ones out there, so I’ll be talking about the things that I found to be not-so-praiseworthy, which mind you, will take up quite a while. Let’s get started!
Please do note that this review may contain mild spoilers for this game!
Title: シンソウノイズ (Shinsou Noise) [True Emotion Noise]
Release Date: December 22, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19684
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=916833
Game Type: Mystery/Suspense Novel with themes of Social and Human Psychology
Summary: Since he was born, Kazuma had a strange ability to hear the “inner thoughts” of people around him. These inner thoughts would never lie and always tell the truth, and would sometimes overwhelm the poor boy.
After being abandoned by his parents and raised by his grandmother who also had this ability, Kazuma learned to live his daily life by shutting himself apart from all his peers and refusing to associate with anyone. Despite how he was able to see the “truth”, it’s this very truth which pushed the poor boy into depression and despair as he saw the evils and trickery that humans were capable of.
It was around this time he meets Yukimoto Sakura, a mysterious girl who would often go to the rooftop of the school and simply stare at the sky. When looking at her inner thoughts coincidentally, Kazuma saw violent and gorey images of her death which at first made him almost want to regurgitate his lunch. However, this event also lead him to wanting to know more about this girl, as he stops her from committing suicide one day.
It won’t be long however, that on another certain day, Kazuma would hear a loud thud, and witness the death of the same person who was his first love, and the inner thoughts of someone who whispers:
“I Killed Her”
Story Length: Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Difficult
Comments: The story itself feels very smooth and well paced. The interactive portions or the “Reasoning Part” where you use your clues to solve the mystery at hand is highly interactive and well designed. It’s just that later portions (or more specifically Chapter 6) where you are actually faced with Japanese word-puzzles and this may be difficult even for native Japanese. The Last Chapter which involve the True Route also requires the same amount of precision, as you are given essentially one try to figure out the “Real Truth” behind Sakura’s Death (psst! Save/Load you nerd. It’s there for a reason)
Generally, the game itself outside of this is not hard; you just need to be really fucking observant of the stuff that happens and NOT miss a single thing. A character says they did something? You need to note it down or remember they said it because that’s going to be important. It’s these small things that you sometimes miss and go “OHHHH” later on. Conveniently, the game DOES provide reminiscence scenes which has the most important information, which you can reference easily.
Want a Challenge?
- Hardmode: Don’t use these reminiscence scenes as if you’re solving a mystery you can’t “refer back to”
- Challenge Mode: Don’t get a single answer wrong in a single chapter
- God Mode: Clear the entire game without getting an answer wrong
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Protagonist Rating: 8/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Most of the points that I give come from the very well designed “Suspense” portion of this game which was also interactive for players.
Characters themselves were very well designed with multiple subcharacters who play important roles as being the victim, perpetrator, or just a bystander. The sheer number of them was enough to boost this score from being below average, which was because outside of the main storyline, heroine “routes” were literally just one more H-scene and then an epilogue. On the other hand, I really appreciated how each heroine was RELEVANT to the main storyline (Solving of Sakura’s death) some way or another
Note: That’s NOT Sakura
Story should really be higher than this due to intricate writing which allowed these “suspense” portion to really have validity. The major problem as I’ll discuss in the comments section below was really the unwanted introduction of the fantasy elements which complicated things much more, but to be fair it wouldn’t have been appropriate to bring in full-blown forensics to a game like this. Various other things made this game fun such as the difference in environment, other character’s backgrounds, and often the rather spooky and creepy scenes which enhanced the “suspense” aspect of this game. Though on the other hand, the complete lack of heroine routes as well as the game having a rather strange ending was the biggest things that cut down this score.
Protagonist takes the cake as one of the best portions of the game, as that colorful individual who is so antisocial to the point he slips up with his words at the most important points which becomes a running gag in the game. It was quite an ironic design to have him be depressed and in despair despite the fact he could essentially “read other people’s minds”, and in my opinion he was almost like that child who was scolded by his parents for the first time.
The poor guy looks pretty damn badass but when he screws up he looks like an idiot
Character Summary: There’s honestly not much to talk about the heroines but I’ll go through them nonetheless.
The girl who may cause a bad impression at first, Natsuki is that energetic, friendly type of girl who is pretty much friends with everyone. She is associated with the swimming team and enjoys anything athletic
Gin-niku baka?. The story really starts out with her losing her gym uniform, which she originally suspects Kazuma but later find out it was someone else, and with Kazuma saving her from perverts on the train, she genuinely start falling for the protagonist and feels very guilty throughout the game for various things she did and said to him.
As a character, I thought Natsuki received almost the short-end of the stick because her affection for Kazuma starts out essentially before all the other heroines and is maintained throughout the game even if Kazuma rejects her. By the end I felt sorry for Natsuki in this sense.
Tachibana Mao, the CV for Natsuki, also has a lot of various things to say in her Cast Comments. Check it out when you get the chance!
Lolis are justice. Saya might look childish on the outside with her stuffed bear, but she has a serious case of chuunibyou where she claims she can see and talk to spirits. This as well as various occult topics make this character shine and become one of the more important characters throughout the entire game, and she herself becomes the link between Kazuma and the group of people who hold similar superpowers as him.
It was weird how Saya was almost a bit TOO prevalent compared with other heroines, but as I mentioned above, Saya was relevant in her own ways that other heroines were simply not
Such as being loli, or being a loli
Akino Hana fans rejoice
I really like it when Kawashima Rino voices main heroines and not a subcharacter for once. Yuriko was just that, as the wealthy ojousama earning the respect of everyone in the school, this character was actually rather similar to Moka in a couple of ways (which you should find out on your own). She is involved with the Theater Club and as expected, her acting skills are top class.
Yuriko was sadly the least involved character out of all of the heroines, and outside of her “role” within the main scenario, she was better suited for being a subcharacter.
Arguably the central heroine for the game, Moka is different from everyone else in the sense her inner voice is clear unlike other people’s which is monotone and expressionless. This has to do with how she has a very pure mindset and nothing to hide, and fitting for the central heroine, Kazuma believes that this purity contrasts with his dark past and personality.
Moka’s admiration for Kazuma starts early, but this doesn’t mutate into affection until much later. This is when Kazuma himself starts to feel jealous for Moka’s purity and how he wants to become like her, as the two become involved in an awkward relationship.
Overall, Moka was that character I really appreciated for being that “offset” to all this negativity happening in the entire story. Her innocence was rather cute, though I would’ve wanted to see her interacting more with Kazuma than what the game showed. There’s also how there was very little background about this heroine compared to other characters, which was not that great either.
The girl who started it all, Yukimoto Sakura at first seems rather bland, and that’s actually quite true. Due to the fact she dies early on and only other displays of her are reminiscence scenes, she herself gets little to no interaction with Kazuma and even he himself falls in love with her because of various twisted mindsets.
As a character, she’s someone you can really sympathize with despite the lack of a good background due to a variety of reasons, and her character as a whole suffers a sad resolution no matter what kind of route you go through. I actually do kinda wish a “spin-off” where things happen differently for Sakura purely for that reason, because it would have been just really sweet to see her experiencing “True Happiness”.
As it stands, her death alone blocks this possibility
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: So the goods first.
I really like any form of mystery games. It allows that room for the game to test the reader’s skill and knowledge similar to what Tokeijikake series did. That’s the biggest compliment I can give for this game, in addition to how it did a great job in regards to making all the clues for the truth (for which, there are more than one!) was subtle but highly distinguishable (via CGs, phrases, etc.) It makes you feel especially good if you figure out the truth in a single try, which I did on some occasions
On the other hand, I should also mention that this game involves a LOT of fantasy. From the mere fact that Kazuma can hear inner thoughts to the strange introduction of various “superpowers” later on in the game, this game likely introduced all these elements so you can have more “parameters” for the logic used while solving riddles (and not having to deal with other forensic bullshit). However, many parts of the game, because of this fantasy element, seemed rather convenient or deus ex machina-ish, such as the mystery of Chapter 2.
Or how that cute loli character looks so mature when she lets her hair down. Damn
Character were generally rather bland. I’m sure this had to do with keeping the entire title feel mysterious and not trying to create contradictions later on, but this also made it very hard to sympathize with characters or be able to understand their emotions. This made it so that much of the game felt annoying with characters acting in a non-ideal way at times. It also created a one-way shortcut to really boring character routes exactly like Senmomo, which I referenced a while ago for being another game that was “really fun”.
Can we PLEASE have a fun game with good heroine routes? Please?
However, the quantity of characters provided for this title was amazing and well worthy of respect/recognition. From characters who betray your expectations to obvious douchebags
(like me) and support characters that you just wish had more spotlight, the writers had great planning and display for these subcharacters who did exactly what they were supposed to do: supplement the story and make it more immersive without overwhelming the main characters.
At this point I was wondering if Yoichi and Shunta would be considered “main characters”
One of the things I did want to mention was the usage of rather intricate word puzzles. While they did make sense in the end (e.g. puzzles like 言+千+口 = 話), a non-Japanese or someone like me who was self-taught Japanese will obviously not know some of the answers to these riddles (such as the Doremi Song) which made the entire chapter rather frustrating (apparently you learn this song in preschool/elementary school; obviously not the case for me). Walkthroughs might be warranted; you have been warned. Don’t worry though, other parts of the crime-solving isn’t hard.
With the risk of spoiling the entire game however, I did want to make a comment about the overall gist (or the theme) of the story, which was that it was relatively heavy on the “unfairness/corruption of society”, or how you could be born with the same traits but simply due to difference in environment, the futures of the two can be significantly different. It also seemed to place great emphasis on human psychology. I know all of this sounds really vague and confusing
(because let’s be honest, most of my reviews are pretty derpy :D) but I guarantee that once you play the game you’ll see what the game is conveying.
Such as how this absolutely adorable CG is actually the “end” of Moka’s bad route.
However, even with this consistent and thought-provoking theme, the game felt very incomplete because of the Endings which lacked what I think is a proper follow-up. Aside from the very short routes of each heroine, there are also FOUR other endings, 3 having to do with Moka and 1 with Sakura, only the “Grave Visit” route seemed complete. The other routes started to involve unnecessary things and felt awfully forced in its conclusion to the point it left a bad taste in my mouth.
(Sorry guys; this is literally the most I can say without completely spoiling the story for you)
I should clean up that bad aftertaste with crepe.
Overall though, I see this title being received a bit TOO critical because of the things I’ve mentioned. Maybe it’s because my standards are lowered, but I feel as if these criticisms are exaggerated even though they’re completely valid; I instead believe the impact (which I think is super important in any VN title), the ability synchronize emotions to the player, and the general atmosphere of the game should be praised aside from its flaws.
The last thing I wanted to discuss is that the game has Cast Comments! I fucking love it when games do this because you hear various things about the game from the CVs themselves, the CV’s personality/experience, and even some things that you would’ve never figured out. For example, according to Kusuhara Yui (Sakura’s CV), this was actually a spin-off from a title 20 years ago titled the same “Shinsou Noise”, in addition to how there’s various spin-off titles (such as one for Hikari),
or how she wants a Shinsou Noise 3 in the near future
Cast Comments really raise the value of each title by at least 150% for me.
Affection for the Characters: Moderately High
CG Score: 6/10.
Music Score: 9/10. Absolutely excellent track selection with the opening being sung by the two goddesses of eroge OPs; Shimotsuki Haruka and Ceui. It was double the pleasure to my ears.
The fact that it almost made it seem like it was Moka/Sakura singing together was just a bonus omg these singers need to voice characters too I’d empty my wallet so hard
Addictiveness: Low. As a suspense game, you’re pretty much going to know the details of the entire game without much difficulty. The only thing you can have by replaying the game is some things that you might have missed, but that’s pretty much it.
- Highly interactive game which requires the player to actually be smart, observative, and logical. This would really set apart the galge players who are stupid, only in it for the H-scenes, or just cringeworthy otakus in general.
- To support the suspense element, the story is written intricately, with VERY subtle differences at times to use as a clue for the true culprit for each scene.
- The impact from this game is through the roof and something that really separates it from other boring galge.
- Music is fucking awesome and if you’ve been in this genre for a while, you need to take a listen to the Opening Movie for the Shimotsuki Haruka x Ceui combo. That stuff gave me a boner all by itself.
- Protagonist is well designed and enough to be considered intelligent.
- Story is generally considered to be “bad” especially because the lack of heroine routes contrasting too much with the main scenario. This storyline is worsened due to usage of fantasy elements.
- Characters are very vague for the purposes of that suspense element, and made it rather hard to sympathize with at times. Some subcharacters may make you angry or annoyed.
- As a game which displays various Japanese-specific puzzles (not surprisingly), this will be extremely difficult for non-natives to solve.
Overall, Shinsou Noise was a great game at least compared to the shit I’ve read within the last month (which includes other doujin titles/games by the way), and should be something that people consider reading. According to the staff their goal is to make an anime out of this with enough recognition, so I’ll put in my vote that I at least want some more recognition than what it has already. I’ll probably look up more games from Liar-Soft or Silky Plus after enjoying this game.
I’m so fucking done with you Azurite (Busted out laughing for a full minute)
Sora no Tsukurikata: Generally a well designed title, I actually enjoyed it enough to the point I finished about 3/4ths of the entire title. The characters are cute, the protagonist feels alive, and overall the setting was something I want to compliment this game on. However, the main critical problem (which was super significant and my main reason to get annoyed and drop the game) was the entire game’s tendency to use its own logic which is poorly explained to the readers. Whether it’s the reasoning behind Haru’s magical abilities or Noel’s identity, the fantasy aspect of this game was extremely poorly designed and ultimately had no symbolism. This “own logic” also became excessive as you entered heroine routes which really disgusted me and caused me to drop the entire game even though I was nearly finished with it.
I ultimately have mixed feelings about this game; the beginning parts was so immersive and entertaining, but the later portions when the story was about the heroines, the writers resorted to cheap scenarios and copy-pastes from other games *hint hint* with absolutely no form of transition in between those events and just left a bundle of mess.
Nekonin Ex-heart: Not really a dropped game, but is a game too short to be given a full fledged review. Overall, this is more of a nukige considering it involves only the two heroines and a niche fetish (?) (ninja + nekomimi…?). I was actually quite intrigued by why the hell Whirlpool would release a game like this, but considering there were games like G.I.B. in the past, and along with how this is a title that’s going to be released for the Western population (riding on the popularity of Nekopara I see
fucking originality though), this “shortness” may just be testing the waters for Whirlpool.
Nonetheless, I would only suggest playing this game if you actually like the CVs or are into nekomimi. Otherwise, consider skipping this title and trying another one because it’s seriously really short (took me less than 5 hours)
Himekoi * Sucreine: Sometimes I really wonder if the writers of these games realize they are working on a title that is only for people above the age of 18 because some of these titles including this one seems like it’s more fit for a fucking elementary student the age of 10. The complete lack of originality and conflict within this title was even more painful as I completed Chiyuri and Mayuki’s route and dropped the game. I can definitely see Ruri’s route being a bit more special than the others (considering it seems the game makes you clear the other character’s routes before hers.
Absolute lack of romance transition in addition to how H-scenes literally appear within minutes into playing the game, Tsukishima Yuuko’s loli-style artwork was ruined by a rather inappropriate choice of CVs (Tachibana Mao and Hayase Yayoi) so while I did hesitate on dropping this game (because no shit; I don’t like dropping so many games), I went ahead and gave this one the boot.