I’ll set this right straight from the outset on here. Song of Memories really isn’t a game, its a Visual Novel with precious little interaction in the traditional way. That being said, don’t let that fool you into thinking its all bad.
A romantic visual novel with a dark and sinister underbelly, Song Of Memories is an adventure that made waves in Japan for its unique and innovative take on the genre. Discover the thrills of finding your soulmate in a memorable musical love story, and prepare to fight for your love in the most testing of times, as an apocalyptic virus begins sweeping across the world and threatens to infect those closest to you.
I have a few issues with this game, but these are personal issues. Firstly, its the characters within the game. As they are all supposed to be teenagers under what I’m guessing is the age of 18 (and I’ll be blunt) the female breasts are huge and even though the basic story is played out as a 2D character is standing in front of a background, the only movement from that character is their mouth moving and their breasts constantly bouncing. I’m a 40 year old father of a 16 year old daughter and I certainly wouldn’t want her portrayed in that way. All of the various characters you meet within the game are drawn in the same vein, but this presented an issue to me as a couple of members that appeared were supposed to be older including a business owner. I was confused to how a teenager could run a business, let alone another one who the group of teenagers first thought worked for the government.
That being said, these characters are designed beautifully in an anime style and although I’m far from a fan of anime, I can really appreciate the art form especially within the confines of this Visual Novel. They are however a cliche of anime art stereotypes. For fans of Anime, when you first meet any character you can tell right from the start just how their story will unfold.
You live in the city of Utanami and the story is told from your point of view whilst you try to romance 6 girls and find your one true love. The city is described as quiet but slowly making a name for itself but you are never shown examples of the city being alive, instead the backdrops are generic and boring and there’s only about 10 of them to the entire game. Due to this, it never feels like your actually in a city, more on a theatre stage performing in front of a lifeless backdrop.
Voices have been given by Japanese Voice Artists with English subtitles, but I seriously hope that the subs are fixed before general release [Note: I did contact PQube Games about the issue who got on to the developers straight away to hopefully fix]. There is a whole host of spelling mistakes, spacing issues and missing letters from the text. As the game is entirely voiced in Japanese, it is extremely off putting at the moment trying to read poor English and the problem is, it isn’t just one instance of it, its throughout the entirety of the game.
The plot is very basic, but enjoyable nonetheless if you can move past the subtitle issues. As I said above the idea is to find your one true love which kinda makes the game feel like an elaborate dating Sim. Something I’m sure will appeal to the teenage boys out there, as will the sexual undertones.
Song of Memories takes place at the dawn of an apocalypse. A deadly virus is spreading the world transforming citizens into horrifying and deadly monsters. To help combat this you stumble across a mysterious device housing ‘Dream 4 You’ – a small band of girls who’s singing has mystical abilities and have dedicated their lives to protecting you.
The thing is, its a lot of things to take in within the game and there were only 2 points of the game for me where I actually battled against these monsters with the help of Dream 4 You. A sequence where some music played and you just pressed a button to the beat. I didn’t even feel part of the battle which seriously took away from any experience I had of the game.
Other than the 2 battles within the entire game, the only other control I ever had were decisions of who I should walk to and from school with or whether to go home after school or visit the Gym to perv on another character within the game. The only other male member of the cast other than myself was a stereotypical pervert who will never stand a chance of getting a woman in his life yet constantly sleezes around the girls. The entire swimming scene made me cringe.
I don’t know; perhaps its just me that cant get into the idea of Japanese Anime as such, but I can see how this game would be a hit, not to mention it has had to be censored for Western viewing. The only thing that had changed in censoring it however was what we refer to the school as so that we may think that the characters are older than what they really are.
The main question is; should you go out and buy this game. Well, if you’re a fan of Anime then I’m sure it will appeal to you. If you are looking for a game which you can get heavily involved in and is full of action and interactivity then avoid it. It is seriously a beautiful game, there is no denying it, but there is very little else to do other than admire it as the screeching Japanese vocals pierce your ear drums and you read through lines and lines of dialogue which include your own personal thoughts to set the story.
For review purposes I will give it a 4/10 if only for the beauty of it. It is seriously lacking in a lot of things and a lot of people will become bored of it within the first few hours.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game by PQube Games. This has in no way influenced our review**