Swim in despair – Sound of Drop -fall into poison- Review

download

“This girl is pure existence, close to the limit of nothingness. I wonder if you understand. She wants you all to be happy. ”

Synopsis

Urban legends are popular and often talked about in schools. When morbid rumors about people disappearing start spreading, our protagonist, Nakanobe Mayumi and her best friend Tamagawa Himeno sets off to investigate the source: the beautiful Manten Aquarium, an establishment located in the heart of Tokyo and considered a popular spot for families and young adults.

The trip starts as a normal date between friends until Mayumi catches a glimpse of her younger sister, Mari, who disappeared five years ago.

And then the tranquil Manten changes without their knowing. The other visitors have vanished and the whole atmosphere changes to something surreal…

Welcome to the Red Manten Aquarium where death lingers in every door, and your worse fear comes bubbling up to the surface. Literally speaking.

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-03-28

So, like… what kind of ‘weird noise’? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-04-39

When the game has zero chill and won’t call you by your first name

I’ll be lying if I tell you that I wasn’t baited by the prospect of seeing yuri (I should thank my Steam curator when this game suddenly appeared in my recommended games). But I do love reading horror and gore visual novels so I gave it a try let’s ignore the fact that I got baited indeed thinking that it might give me that same chill that I got after reading Saya no Uta. I’m a masochist for jump scares, even when I admit that I’m scared to play a horror game all by myself.

(Don’t get me started with Fatal Frame please)

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-01-57

Mayumi: I am so fucked

Review

Sound of Drop -fall into poison- is a remaster of the original Shizuku no Oto, and it includes a bunch of new scenes, cleaner, improved CGs etc. This is the first time I’ve heard about this game so, sadly, I wasn’t aware of the first iteration. I would totally check that out as well.

The story revolves around Nakanobe Mayumi, and her experience and apparent connection with the Manten Aquarium. Five years ago, she and her family had already visited the Aquarium. What looked to be a fun trip ended in a tragic accident when her younger sister, Mari, disappeared after an argument. After that, our protagonist felt no more qualms or whatsoever to go back. But for the sake of plot, enter the best friend, Tamagawa Himeno who is completely intrigued with the spreading rumor of people vanishing and wants to drag the reluctant Mayumi to investigate (after maybe bribing her with ice cream).

The whole paranormal fiasco begins in Manten Aquarium. I’ll start by saying that this game has a whopping 27 bad endings so technically every decision you make is a matter of life and death. As of any visual novels, the goal is simply to read through a bunch of text so you can reach the true ending. The game lists 4 true endings but personally, I feel like there is only that I consider “true” among them but the game might be subtly telling us, the players to decide which is the best ending based from experience.

The narrative is a-okay. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that excellent either. Starting with a good premise (albeit cliche) about urban legends in an enclosed setting, the game follows a slow, moderate pace and enters that desired tension once the paranoia gets into our protagonist. The game also slaps a bunch of superficial characters that are conveniently wiped out of existence after a few dialogue. The recipe of the lot is basically saving Mayumi (from impending doom) and the game will progress until the next bad point. As a player, you are given two choices: should I trust this person? (don’t forget to save) or should I rather trust my instincts instead?  (please tell me you didn’t forget to save?) However, as much as the story goes, it felt like the game was forcing itself to be scary by jumping from a scary point to another without breathing for a build up.

shizuku_2016-11-11_09-59-33

I shouldn’t have googled what was happening in this scene…

Catching the bad endings, though, is a feat in itself and a plus point for replayability. The endings, which border from being weirdly disturbing, nightmare fuel to meh are good reads and give quite a horrifying experience (especially if you have a, ahem, twisted mind). While some lack the visual to make it more impactful, they are described and told by a good narrative that totally captures the ghastly image of death. Poisoned? Check. Drowned? Check.Dismembered? Check. Death by parasites? …uh…

Yes, I got bothered by most of the endings and I’m blaming my really creative mind and fuck what is sleep

The game has really cute bad ending cards, and they’re worth the time.

By the way, I recommend doing a second run to unlock the New Game+ mode as it will start differently from the first playthrough. You can think of it as the answer route as it will introduce other characters and explain some backstories. It took me at least two hours to finish one route (and a lot of skipping to get the other endings) and another two hours for the final route.

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-00-03shizuku_2016-11-11_10-01-17

Two sides of a coin in horror games

Characters

Nakanobe Mayumi

  • I am fucked
  • …oh wait, I am alive-
  • Shit, I am fucked again

Mayumi is the heroine of the story. She is easily swept by the outgoing personality of her best friend, Himeno. She starts with no special quality or whatsoever, but as the story progresses, she becomes a strong, determined individual who is willing to go to any length to save her friends from the curse.

Tamagawa Himeno

  • Best necktie
  • Won’t calm her tits
  • Nightmare fuel

Himeno is the popular girl in class: friendly, smart and cheerful. She is the first friend of Mayumi. Himeno likes the occult and it is because of her that Mayumi visits Manten Aquarium again despite her terrible past with it.

Sakuragi Sayo

  • IDGAF
  • Bathes in the blood of her enemies
  • Kuu-Tsun-dere

As mysterious as her getup, Sayo visits the Manten Aquarium to learn about the incident that happened five years ago which involved her father’s demise and the closure of the popular and favorite Deep Sea fish booth.

Nakanobe Mari

  • Cutie pie
  • Pure as aluminum
  • Ready the tissues

Mari is Mayumi’s sister who disappeared five years ago. She meets with her big sister again after learning that the Aquarium isn’t as innocent as it poses to be.


There are other characters worth noting but I feel like not introducing or describing them in a yousoro! fashion to preserve the suspense. Err, it’s kinda hard to describe them to be honest since they lack any type of appeal and weren’t fleshed out well for me to meme out

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-00-34

Zombies? Ghosts? No,  k i l l e r  f i s h e s !

Music/Visuals

Will I ever say anything good about Sound of Drop? Of course! I love both the art and the music. The scary part of the game isn’t just the expected jump scare tactic but the combination of a disturbing audio and a pleasing visual that brings out the psychological horror factor of the game. The CGs are crisp and done with fine detail. The character art is gorgeous and consistent. I should also add that the user interface of the game is amazing. I especially love the menu screen (see below) and that area that they use to describe your current location inside the Aquarium. It reminds me of a theme park brochure and it amps the experience to great levels.

shizuku_2016-11-11_10-05-22

The UI is so clever and I love it. 

Sadly, there are no voices in-game so it’s up to your imagination how each of the characters will sound like. A downer, really. They’re mostly 14 year olds so yeah…prepare your high-pitch voice bank!

Yousoro!?

shizuku_2016-11-13_11-16-19

Disclaimer note. Guess what scared the shit out of me after playing this game?!

Personally, I really think the whole thing can be so much more as it had so much potential but it was, sadly a disappointing flop: shallow characters, flaws that didn’t make sense, important things aren’t given enough focus, and most of the scenes start turning trivial and just blaze through so fast just for the sake of progressing. But the excellent visual and audio treat is something to look out for, and they’ll be what will carry you to read until the end, hopefully.

I do like the concept of an “evil aquarium wanting to kill you” and for what it’s worth, I am still scarred for life and won’t be visiting an aquarium anytime soon. Give this game a try!

Steam Store
Official Site


Rating

Story – 6/10
Characters – 6/10
Music/Visuals – 9/10
Subtext – xxx/10
Yousoro! Level – 6/10

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Swim in despair – Sound of Drop -fall into poison- Review

  1. Whoa, sounds like a spooky game despite its flaws in execution. 27 bad endings?! That’s impressive!

    I am terrible with anything remotely scary so I’ll have to ready myself before I give this a shot. Props to you for taking the plunge. Your mental scars were not in vain ;__;

    It’s too bad most of the features aren’t quite up to stuff, but at least the music and visuals are excellent (xxx/10 for subtext huh? I like it).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I wasn’t aware this existed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I just got bothered by the plot since the game felt like it could be so much more (or maybe they lacked the time to execute since the visual novel is relatively short) but everything else is 👌👌👌

      Ah, I totally forgot to add an excerpt about the subtext. I say go for it because the basic premise is basically the main protagonist saving her best friend from the Aquarium.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww a plot / story that doesn’t live up to expectations is always frustrating. Maybe they were in a rush like you said. The game still sounds lit, though👌

        I like the sound of that simplified premise. Kind of feels like karmic justice, too, since she was the one bribed you to go there in the first place. As long as they get together in the end then everything is fine. If not, there’s always fanfics and fanart ;__;

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s