Game Reviews Narcissu Visual Novel

Narcissu Review: All Aboard the Feel Trip

| By: Maifate

General Information:

  • System                    PC, Mobile App, PSP (ported version)
  • Release Date        August 5, 2005
  • Developer             Sekai Project & Stage-nana
  • Publisher               (Japan) Stage-nana & Kadokawa Shoten & Sekai Project
    (English) Studio Daoluong & Haeleth & Insani & Agilis & Sekai Project

Several sentence and key words to make you quickly understand what’s this visual novel about. This is a story about having disease and suffering with dying heroine and dying protagonist. No hope, sad, and depressing story.

Story

Narcissu Story

Narcissu Story

The anonymous protagonist is diagnosed with a terminal illness shortly after his twentieth birthday and is admitted to a hospital in Mito, Ibaraki. There he meets Setsumi, a woman who is two years older than he is, who is also terminally ill. Finding that they both refuse to die either in the hospital or at home, they run away together with a silver coupe belonging to the protagonist’s father. They roaming across Japan’s many highways, prefectures, cities, beaches, initially without any specific place to go, but later collectively decide on taking the narcissus fields in Awaji Island based on whim.

My opinion about Narcissu is, it really has a dramatic story regardless of the minimum graphic.

Score: 5

Gameplay

Narcissu Select Translation

This is a visual novel with a linear plot. Means it will only have a single ending. Approximate play hours are about 2 – 10 hours depending on how fast you read or take your time.

In this visual novel, the box with the text occupies part of the screen, usually at the bottom. It has minimal gameplay, so you just read and click/scroll to advance the story, no fast forward button.

When you start the English version, you’ll be presented with several options to choose. First, from 3 different translations: Agilis, gp32, and Haeleth. The difference between each of them would be their choice of words, as you can tell the difference. If you’re wondering which has the best translation, it depends on your taste actually. After you choose translation you will be given the voiced or unvoiced option. I would suggest you pick the voiced option if you want to get into deeper feeling.

If you play it on PC, just scroll up to look at the story log.

Score: 1

Characters
Narcissu Characters

The Protagonist (on the right side)

A 20 years old young man. A typical average university student that doesn’t have many goals in his life. The protagonist’s face and name are never revealed in this game. And his character development is constant (doesn’t change) from the very beginning to the end.

Sakura Setsumi (on the left side)

Voiced by: Rino Ayakawa

A 22 years old young woman. Has a long hair and body physique like a child, making her looks younger than the male protagonist. At first, she starts as though being indifferent and expresionless, it even showed obviously from her tone. Because she thinks she already accepts her fate. Throughout the game, she shows a bit of emotion. And in the end, she’s finally be able to show a bit smile to the male protagonist.

Score: 5

Graphic & Sound

It uses minimalist photographic backgrounds in a very narrow window as you can see the screenshots here. Also, a little backgrounds editing of the same scene.

Narcissu Visual NovelNarcissu ScreenshotNarcissu Screenshot

The story is accompanied by beautiful soundtracks and yet at the same time sorrowful. The sound effects are placed at the right moments.

Setsumi’s voice actress, Rino Ayakawa, is simply breathtaking in voicing Setsumi’s role here. Fits her character well, and making me indulge to the story. Enough said.

Score: 3

Additional Replay

Narcissu Visual Novel

The Extras and Epilogue & full credits will pop up on the title screen after you finished the game. You can listen the soundtrack played in the game from the extra section. But so far that’s the only thing you’ll get after you finished the game.

Score: 1

Replay value

Narcissu Screenshot

Low. A single playthrough is enough to understand the whole story.

Score: 1

Summary

Narcissu Visual Novel

Pros

+ Dramatic & Inspirative Storyline

+ Great Soundtrack

+ People who Enjoy Sad Story will like this Visual Novel

+ No Sexual Content

+ Short Story to get by

Cons

– No Romance Plot

– No Branching Plot

– Minimal Gameplay

– No Fast Forward Option

– Minimalist Graphics with Very Narrow Window

Final Score: 3.2/5

Story: 5

Gameplay: 1

Characters: 5

Graphic & Sound: 3

Additional Appeal: 1

Replay Value: 1

From vndb website, this visual novel at the moment gets 2881 votes total, with average 7.61 out of 10. If that score not convincing you enough, other than English this visual novel also gets Chinese, French, Vietnamese, Russian, Hungarian, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, Italian, and Polish publishers.

Conclusion

While Narcissu may not present the player with any choices at all (simply read through a single unbranching story), with minimalist backgrounds, it has a touching drama that can quickly grab your heart. Personally, this was the saddest visual novel I ever read and definitely deserves a live action drama version. Old but gold.

Narcissu is already available for Android, iOS, PC, and PSP. Read more post related to Narcissu series here.

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