Developer: Future Tech Lab Co | Publisher: PQube | Release date: February 1, 2019 | Genre: Visual Novel | Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Spoiler Free and to the Point
Visual novels are not usually on my radar but now that the Metal Gear franchise is dead, it is time for me to branch out and see new people. So I picked up a few visual novels and first up is Song of Memories.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game Song of Memories is a “twisted love story” by Future Tech Lab and PQube. Song of Memories is a romantic, visual novel where you meet your soulmate and attempt to save the people you care about in the middle of a viral apocalypse. There are over 40 hours of audio, the characters are fully animated and react to each other’s dialogue. The game also features a story tracker that lets you examine the choices you have made so you can explore different outcomes as there are multiple endings.
Based on the description I went into this game thinking this would be dark, apocalyptic, horror tale with some romance sprinkled in. Not at all. The main character along with his family and friends deal with some heavy stuff but at the core of it are just average students. Not being familiar with visual novels going in, I thought I would be scrolling through tons of text and stills but in fact, it plays out like a decent anime. Along the way, you are presented with choices that impact the narrative. The impact can be so great that one of my playthroughs was almost completely free of any sort of viral apocalypse. With that in mind, you may be disappointed if you were looking for something darker. The game was way more upbeat than I expected going in. I did like how the game encourages you to forge deeper relationships with the other characters but at key points, you have to choose which ones to spend your time with. This made my next playthrough feel fresh even though a large portion of the plot remained unchanged.
Now if looking for romance during a viral apocalypse wasn’t quirky enough, there are also rhythm game segments that seem completely at home in the quirky game world and out of place all at once. There is a lot of music to discover once you reach these points in the game and all of it is pretty catchy.
What I loved the most here is the presentation. One thing that put me off about this genre (from seeing trailers and watching others play) is just seeing still images on the screen with text scrolling. Like I said I don’t typically play these games so forgive me if that is no longer a thing. The look of Song of Memories is similar on the surface but every character is fully voiced and animated which is part of why I said this plays out like a decent anime. The voice acting is really good with each actor doing justice to their character. The characters themselves are a tad cliche but nothing too harsh or annoying. There is a also a fair amount of extra content that is recommended for after finishing the story that allows you to delve even deeper into the lives of the characters. It’s refreshing that these episodes are already in-game and not paid add-ons.
The overall experience I had (I did two different playthroughs) was enjoyable. Setting the dialogue to “Auto” is essential as there is a lot of it and you will wear your thumb out pressing next after each line. There is a lot to take in and I am sure veterans of the genre are up to the task. This first real experience with visual novels has me looking forward to trying out more and hoping that they are at least as entertaining as Song of Memories.
Final Score 7.75/10