LifeisXbox’s Return to Shironagasu Island review | Looking at the arrivals board at John F. Kennedy, reality seems to slip for a moment as Sen Ikeda sees a mysterious message for just the briefest of moments. Before he can well comprehend what he just saw, he finds his companion, Neneko Izumozaki, who just arrived from Narita, Tokyo. A brief reunion later, Sen get’s a phone call that sets in motion a chain of events that will lead them towards titular Shironagasu Island, and the mystery it harbors.
Today we’ll be taking a look at Return to Shironagasu Island, a visual novel by Hyogo Onimushi, published by TABINOMICHI.
We played Return to Shironagasu Island for 18 hours on PC.
What we liked!
- Story: Ahh yes, let’s start off with the selling point of every good visual novel, the story. Return to Shironagasu Island’s story is one with multiple layers. At first, you get requested to investigate the titular island, once there however, a true “whodunit” story gets dropped in the lap of our protagonist detective, Sen Ikeda. While the mystery of Shironagasu has to take a backseat while you solve a murdercase, the island’s grandiose mystery starts to unravel slowly but surely. At various moments during the latter half of the story, it felt like our detective found himself at an SCP facility. A comparison I did not expect I would be making at the start of this review. The story chugs along at a nice pace, leaving very little downtime between story events. Here and there you do get some nice, non investigation, character building moments.
- Music: When playing games, people’s ears are often easier to upset than their eyes. Luckily, the music in Return to Shironagasu Island was a great fit with each situation. There are no times when it’s either disproportionately present or absent. For a game entirely without voice acted lines, you’ll know when the situation is tense, and when you can breathe easy for a moment. The tracks kept on feeling fresh until the credits rolled, which
- Quicktime Detective Work: The situation is getting tense. Sen and Neneko are in imminent danger. Think on your feet, and act quickly. Because for a couple of events in the story, you’ll actually have to race against the clock. I was really surprised when all of the sudden a big timer started ticking down at the top of my screen, and I was suddenly speed reading and making choices against the clock. While not common these moments were welcome shots of adrenaline to jolt me awake.
- Question time: Often during dialogue, you’ll have to ask people about certain topics. Exhausting all dialogue options is standard fare in games, but you usually only have to ask each option once to get your information from an NPC. Often, when asking questions about a certain topic, it will stay really general, instead of focussing on the new subject. This feels counter intuitive in my opinion.
- Slow start: I hate to rag on a game with a good story, about said story, but it sadly didn’t manage to draw me in until my second sit down with the game. Sure, the beginning needs to set up a lot of stuff, but it really wasn’t until chapter 3 that I felt especially compelled to press on.
What we disliked
- I had no real dislikes while playing this game.
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