PQube, Future Tech, and Pure Wish have just released their new visual novel game Song of Memories on the PlayStation 4 and PC. There certainly have been a lot of visual novels released on the PlayStation 4 to date but Song of Memories tries to stand out from the crowd by letting players shape the story with the wide array of choices it presents throughout its running time.
Song of Memories is a romantic visual novel and the story sees you playing as a young man named Minato Kamishiro. Minato lost his parents in a plane crash and now lives at home with his sister Fuuka in the city of Utanami. There is an apocalypse like situation going on as well with something called the X-Virus affecting pretty much anyone outside of Japan and turning them into monsters. As you play the game you get news reports and such about this virus and what exactly is going on. The game takes place in one month which is October and features a pretty large cast of characters. Both Minato and his sister each have a group of friends that you’ll come to know as you play. Since it’s a romantic visual novel there are a total of six different girls that you can try to romance. You’ll do this as you attend the academy, talk to them, spend time with them, and so on.
Depending on what you say and who you spend time with you can get entirely different scenes and endings leading to a ton of replayability for this game. I’d say there is at least 35+ hours of content here and that might be low balling it. If you like bang for your buck in a visual novel Song of Memories delivers. Now not every choice you make in the game has a clear affect as some really don’t make a difference but there are many other choices that do have consequences and outcomes. If you don’t like a choice you made you can go back and change it in a flow chart that could’ve been presented better. This is no Detroit: Become Human with a pretty easy to understand flow chart but rather one that is quite complicated and a little difficult to wrap your head around. That said, with enough time you’ll learn it like I did but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be implemented better.
Another aspect of the game is the combat system. This is tied to the story by Minato finding a gadget that contains a girl band called Dream 4 You. These girls mission is to protect you at all costs using their singing ability. Yeah this game’s story is pretty weird and all over the place but I enjoyed it. Now when you get into fights the Dream 4 You team comes out to do battle in what is basically a music rhythm game. When you see buttons pop up on the screen you just have to press them to deal damage. I’ve played plenty of music rhythm games so these were really easy to me but did grow a little repetitive over time. The game does give you the option to just skip past them though if you’d rather just get back to the story as fast as possible. What’s even better is that you still get XP if you skip them. Earning XP lets you level up the Dream 4 You team and get access to more songs which by the way are great just like the entire soundtrack in this game.
As far as the voice acting goes there are no English voices here so instead you have Japanese voice acting with English subtitles. The only problem here is that there are a ton of spelling errors I encountered while playing likely due to poor localization. Most of the time I was able to tell what the word was meant to be but that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort that went into this. There should’ve been an option for bigger text as well I think as there were times even on my big screen where I struggled a little being able to read it.
The art illustrations in Song of Memories look good though for the most part. All of the characters are drawn well and feature some good movement. Environments look good too but to me it seemed like there weren’t quite enough different ones for being set in a big city. If these type of sexy visual novel games are your type of thing you’ll be happy with what is on display here. Also there has been some controversy lately about Sony censoring these type of games on PlayStation but you can rest easy knowing that Song of Memories is pretty much the same here as it was in Japan. Outside of changing the name “school” to the “academy” there really didn’t seem to be much else censored.
Even after you finish the story and see all the different outcomes there are even more extra features in this package. You can watch web trailers, view all the main events and CG over again, watch some mini-episodes, watch character introduction videos, read through a comprehensive glossary, and fool around in a diorama mode that lets you put together different scenes. I said it earlier but again, Song of Memories is a meaty package. There are 37 PSN trophies to unlock as well but you’ll have to clear every chart, illustration, and see every ending to get this Platinum.
I recommend Song of Memories to anyone who is a fan of visual novels, anime, or those who just enjoy any game with plenty of girls to look at. The story is a bit convoluted with the dating, deadly virus and singing protector squad but I enjoyed it and kept playing to see the different endings. You’ll get a lot of time out of it that’s for sure. Some issues with the translation and repetitive combat sequences do drag it down a bit but if you can look past those like I did you’ll likely enjoy it.
*Song of Memories is out now on PlayStation 4 and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by PQube for this review.