Kotodama : The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa
Developed By : PQube
Published By : PQube
Category : Visual Novel
Release Date : June 4, 2019
Fairly recently, I played what was my first visual novel ever when I covered Worldend Syndrome. It was an intriguing experience, one that I’ve never had before, and that game didn’t totally turn me away from the genre. So here we are again, not too long later and I’m taking my second dip into this genre pool with Kotodama : The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa.
Our story begins with you, a transfer student, arriving at your new school, Fujisawa Academy, with your demon-friend Mon-chan perched invisibly on your shoulder. Apparently at your previous school, things got a little…weird, and you were forced to shuffle up your situation…so here you are! As soon as you step foot into the building you promise (and Mon-chan) to keep yourself on a normal path, not draw any attention to yourself and just go to school. Except that obviously doesn’t happen.
Right off the bat you run into Nanami Kagura who shares a class with you, which inspires your teacher to pair the two of you up so you can learn what there is at your new school. The tour just barely gets started when Nanami’s phone goes off and she bolts off to a meeting that she had apparently forgotten about, dragging you along with her. This is where you find yourself becoming an unexpected member of The schools Occult Research Club which is run by Nanami and “Pres” Wakaba Asagiri.
Wakabi introduces you to the list of legends that surround the school, and the entire reason for the existence of the club : the titular 7 mysteries are all things that have been talked about and rumored to be seen over the years at the school, so Nanami and Wakaba swear to solve them. These mysteries include things like a white wolf that supposedly wanders the woods, and if you can creep up to pet it you’ll get good luck, but get caught and it bites you leaving behind a stain of misfortune. There’s the Library of Wisdom which bestows infinite wisdom upon you, but only if you can find it’s entrance.
Pretty soon, the school tour is forgotten and you find yourself at Nanami’s side investigating all of these mysteries. The game itself plays out over seven different chapters, each one being focused on one of these mysteries. How are you going to solve them, you ask? By using your power of Kotodama, the power of words. Most of these mysteries won’t let you just stare them in the face to figure out if they exist or not, so you’ll need to go on bits of information that you pick up while talking to various people around the school. However, not everyone is going to be forthcoming with their information.
Luckily, you are very keen at picking out when someone is being intentionally deceptive, which is where you power comes into play. When you activate it, you are able to chip away at a person, exposing them and their lies to eventually get the ultimate truth out of them. Mon-chan walks you through how to use this, and tells you that your power works better if you envision it, and that the best way to do so is to picture things like peeling away the layers of an onion. But….let’s face it your a teenage boy at a new school with cute girls so…you end up picturing peeling away their layers. Of clothing.
How this is done is where Kotodama’s visual novel aspect also splices in a bit of puzzling, in the form of match-three. When your power is triggered, a square board will be splayed out with your targeted person hanging out on the right side of the screen. Filling the board are all sorts of colored orbs, and you can only move them by tapping a single one which will send it to the top of it’s respective row. Making matches and comboing them into further matches will fill up the “Happy” meter that is above your target’s head, and this meter is broken down into four segments. With each segment being completed, a layer of clothing (and the lie) is removed, and once the meter is entirely filled the truth will be revealed. You are provided a certain number of moves you are allowed to make, which is replenished with each quarter of the meter you fill, and the only way you lose is if you completely run out of moves.
The game also takes a bit of a step away from just telling a story, and ends up allowing you to be the driving force in how certain segments of the story play out. Eventually you gain the ability to freely travel the school, talking to students and (hopefully) witnessing things to solve your mysteries. The choice of not only where you go but when you go there will have a major influence on the things you see and hear, and could make the difference between uncovering the truth, or missing it completely.
Kotodama keeps you on the edge of your seat through every chapter and encounter. The story is flooded with twists and turns that will have you second guessing your second guesses. That combined with the fact that you can completely miss out on things by being in the wrong places, means you’ll be playing this game numerous times to uncover everything if you so please. (Trust me you’ll want to).
The puzzle aspect is a nice change of the pace too, it gives you a moment to participate and do something other than just furthering text to read. One thing to make clear is that there is no nudity in this area of the game, or any area for that matter. While stripping away the layers the furthest things go is down to underwear, but there are accompanying moans and sounds alike so…take that as you will.
I personally had a great time playing (and re-playing) this game. The story was great, it really pulled me in from the beginning. I was weary about the puzzle aspect at first, but I was actually pleased that while things got suggestive, they didn’t go full-nude to try and capitalize on that as a buying reason. To be totally honest, it was hard to hate on this aspect because it actually made sense in relation to the intent (stripping away the layers of the lie) as well as for the character (teenage boy in a school…)
In short, Kotodama is a great game. The story is riveting, and it’s a story you can control the key points of. Whether or not the “bonus” of the puzzle game is a decision maker for you, it’s not overly done and obnoxious so if anything don’t let this dissuade you from the game. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, well-written, and will provide you tons of content if you’re committed to seeing as much as possible.