Bouncing through a titillating visual novel on your boobtube
Title: Song of Memories
Genre: Visual Novel
Modes: Single Player
Developer: Pure Wish
Song of Memories is a visual novel with small elements of rhythm games built in to the battle system. It is a story about a handful of Academy (school) friends and how they deal with life and a potential virus outbreak. You play as Minato (who lives with his sister) and acts as the father figure since their parents died when they were young. With multiple endings and branching storylines it falls right in to line with the visual novel concept.
The Tip and the Top
The storytelling is pretty in depth as it should be for a visual novel. You get to know all of the characters and what drives them. Yuno is the highly touted gymnast who is kept in line by her “Exclusive Manager” Satsuki. Being the attractive, perky, and very friendly person that she is, she has all the boys at the Academy following her around. The “Fan Club” is led by Makoto who is widely known for his attraction to all things female. Satsuki (in borderline Dominatrix fashion), does everything she can to keep the males away from getting a firm grasp on her. Kanon, a lifetime friend of Minato and Fuuko, has been hospitalized from a very young age with an unidentified sickness. She eventually gets released and goes to live with them. While unpacking her belongings, Minato discovers an odd shaped electronic device that has an AI girlband (Dream 4 You) residing inside it. As he’s wobbling though the daily perils of being a teenager, you keep seeing bits and pieces in the news about the “X-virus” in a different country. Nobody thinks much of it until about halfway through the game, one of the members of your social circle is exposed to be infected. The choices you make throughout the branching conversations sway whom you go in to the final half of the game with.
The art in Song of Mammor...sorry, I mean Memories is great. The characters look like they’re straight out of an Anime. Facial expressions are all over the place and I would imagine if the voice acting was in English, it would be top notch as well.
The choices in the game lead you down some interesting paths and to various settings around town. In the locations outside of the Academy are where you learn the most about your friends and fellow classmates.
The combat plays almost exactly like Parappa the Rappa or Guitar Hero (minus the plastic peripheral). Hitting the notes in the D4U songs did damage to the enemies while the singer jiggled on screen. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough combat, as it was one of the strengths of the game.
The Flip and the Flop
The heading "The Flip and the Flop” almost makes it too easy to point out my biggest gripe of the game. As much as I enjoyed the art of the game, the animation was my biggest problem with the game. The only thing in the entire game that is animated is the rather overdeveloped upper region of the female characters. Every time the characters would talk, they also bounce, sway, and jiggle. Normally this would be easy to ignore, but they always happen to be right above the text boxes. Since all of the dialog is in Japanese, you have almost no choice but to see it even while not trying too. The perverse tones are scattered all across the game, including various upskirt shots. One such shot is of Fuuko standing over her brother Minato to wake him up. I found it to be very uncomfortable to play at times.
The fact that the game is entirely in Japanese was a bit of a let down as well, as I would have liked to hear what the characters were saying with the voice inflections. Although with having to read the entire game and not just be able to look at what was happening on the screen may be a good thing as was mentioned above.
The backgrounds for everything were the same. There were maybe 20 different backgrounds for the entire game. All of them were static environments as well, which game you a sense of knowing exactly where you were the whole time, but got to be very repetitive at the same time.
There is also nowhere that tells you how to access the menu to save your game. I learned the hard way that there is no auto-save. So upon my restart when I had to attempt to press every button until one of which made the menu pop up where all of the options are (square for those wondering). It made it rather frustrating.
Final Grade: C+
While the story in Song of Memories kept me very invested after the rather slow beginning had passed, the overly animated female anatomy really deterred me from wanting to see multiple endings. Having not played many visual novels in my gaming history, I did find enjoyment of the choose your own adventure style of it. If you’re not too disturbed or put off by hyper-sexual images and animation and want an intriguing story about a virus outbreak, I could see you enjoying Song of Memories.
Review code provided by PQube