Horror stories have probably existed as long as stories themselves. Think of any story telling medium and I guarantee there is horror in it. I’m the kind of person who enjoys a good horror story but I don’t actively seek them out. Something else I enjoy is marine life, especially marine mammals. Here’s a visual novel that is a horror story taking place in an aquarium. Sekai Project released this the day before Halloween so let’s make a horror themed review!
*A review code was supplied by Sekai Project
The story follows two girls; Mayumi Nakanobe and Himeno Tamagawa who live near an aquarium with tons of weird rumors including; the water turning red, hearing moaning from tanks, human remains floating and tanks and more. Himeno decides to investigate this because she knows someone needs to lead us to the horror setting I guess! Anyway when they arrive (due to Himeno promising to buy Mayumi cookies&cream ice cream) a man named Kenji Hiyoshi starts talking with Mayumi. Himeno mistakes it for flirting and pulls Mayumi away. While going through the aquarium Mayumi suddenly sees her sister, who went missing in this aquarium 5 years ago, and runs after her. Himeno tells Mayumi she’s crazy and no one’s there but this is just the start of the madness that happens and I feel it would be best to stop here.
The VN totes 4 “true” endings and 27 bad ends. For this review I was able to get 1 true and 13 bad and I had a similar problem as “The Way We ALL GO” where they went for quantity over quality. The true end I got was really good but most the bad ends were basically “you screwed up, oh look you died” last about 1-2 minutes after the choice. One side side I’m glad these were quick so when I picked wrong I could reload my save and get right back to the true route but on the other I wonder what the point of all these bad ends are when they are all basically the same thing (at least the ones I got) just with you dying in different ways. I also wish there was maybe a hint system or something once you unlocked a true route that would help you get the others. Bad ends are easy to find but I’m not so sure about true. Another issue I have is if a character has a sprite they appear with their full name in the OP. You might be wondering what the issue is but there’s one character that the story leads you into believing is another one but both appear, sprite and name, in the OP which basically spoils the reveal. One final is I found the main antagonist, Rieko Saginuma to be kind of boring. Again, this might be the end I got but she felt like “I’m evil because the story needs an evil person”. One final thing is Mayumi and Himeno are introduced at the exact same time and for the first few lines I found it a little difficult telling who was who and who was the narrator. This wasn’t an issue for very long though.
The sprites and CG are all very high quality. Something I really liked was if a choice will lead to a bad end they will all be highlighted red while if none will they’ll be green. This might not seem a big deal but it helps you know when to save if you’re just aiming to get any true end since the green won’t affect you. Going off this though, names aren’t highlighted. Since there’s no voice acting this makes me have to actually read the name to know who’s speaking instead of just glancing at the text colour. One final issue is the opening movie would freeze if the mouse cursor went invisible meaning I would have to constantly move the mouse around. I read a couple other reviews and didn’t see this mentioned (although one of them mentioned a game crash that I never experienced) so maybe a reinstall would have fixed it but as it’s just showing different CG and sprites and the music was playing fine it wasn’t that big of a deal.
The music was amazing. There weren’t very many songs (no way to listen to them either) but none felt overplayed and they all felt like they fit the scene perfectly. Not much to really say here except wish there was a way to listen to music (unless that requires getting all the ends of something than I wish there was an easier way to listen to the music)