Root Double – Before Crime * After Days – Xtend Edition is a new visual novel for the Nintendo Switch from Sekai Games. Not to be confused with another visual novel by the name of Root Letter, Root Double is a dark story set in the year 2030 in which a meltdown has occurred at a nuclear facility. The story that follows is an interesting one in which the people trapped inside the plant have to deal with this horrifying situation.
Before you dive into this game you should know that it’s a pretty long visual novel so if you’re someone that likes shorter stories then this may not be for you. Upon starting the game, you can opt to take one of two different story routes. One is called After and the other is called Before. I would say the After route is more interesting, has more action, and will better prepare you for the Before route which spends more time explaining things. For that reason, I think After might be the better first choice but it’s really up to you. After you finish these, you’ll unlock a C, D, and E route that that will further tie things up in the story.
There are numerous characters in the story and the After route starts you off with some rescue workers who head to the plant to deal with the crisis. Watase is one of the crew members and early on an encounter leaves him with memory loss. What follows in the story includes trying to save the people inside the plant while also trying to find out who a possible killer is. The Before route focuses on the characters who are trapped in the plant but explains a lot of what happened in the days leading up to their containment which makes sense given this route name is Before. The story throughout is interesting at times but I think the game is a bit too long for its own good as you can also go long periods of reading a bunch of uninteresting stuff. That said, I still kept playing through to the end of each route just because I was finding the themes and events to be too interesting to ignore.
Root Double does have something that is pretty unique to it and that is the SSS mechanic which stands for Senses Sympathy System. This system takes the place of choices that you would find in a lot of other visual novel games. Instead of the typical choice system, the SSS lets you alter how the character you’re playing as feels about the other characters around them. How it works is that at different points in the game you’ll notice an indicator in the top of the screen. If you open this up, you’ll be presented with sliders that you can move around. These sliders are tied to the other characters around you and altering them can lead to both minor and big changes in the story and the fates of different characters. While the system is cool, I don’t think it does a lot to set itself apart from typical choices in a visual novel outside of how it is presented to you.
If at any time you don’t like the way something is going due to something you did you can go back to a previous spot thanks to the numerous saves the game keeps in memory. The visuals in the game look fine but there isn’t a ton of environmental variety. The music was enjoyable and the Japanese voice-overs seemed to be done well.
Root Double: Before Crime * After Days Xtend Edition is a visual novel that tells a captivating sci-fi story with lots of mystery and intrigue. Despite some pacing issues and uninteresting sections, I still found myself playing all of the routes through to see what was going on and how the story would end. I like the idea of the SSS system but I think more can be done to make it stand apart more from the typical visual novel choice system.
* Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition$45.99
- Interesting sci-fi story with lots of intrigue and mystery
- Character art looks good and is complimented by some good audio work
- The SSS mechanic makes it bit different from the typical visual novel
- Story pacing is off at times leading to you going through a lot of uninteresting content
- SSS system doesn't do a lot to be different from a typical choice system