Seek a Way Out!
I have been a big fan of visual novels for a while now. The Phoenix Wright games really added a lot to my interest in the genre and just recently, I finished up the Danganronpa series that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through. Back in 2009, I played 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors on my DS. I enjoyed my time with the game, but never got the true ending. Eventually, other games came up and I had to move on. Over the course of many years, the Zero Escape trilogy came and gone and I missed out on it due to my never finishing the first game in the series. Luckily, I can finally do that with the release of The Nonary Games, and it’s well worth it.
The Nonary Games is a combination of 999 and the 2012 sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward. Both games are considered visual novels where the player will read mostly what is occurring while the game play features a point and click style of escape the room. During these sections, players will investigate the environment, gather important items, and use them to solve puzzles that can range from physical puzzles to more logic based ones that will test a player’s memory and their mathematics prowess. There is no hand-holding in these games and figuring out the puzzles was both satisfying and fun.
Platforms: PS4, PC, Vita
Price I’d pay: $49.99
The story presented in both games is almost like a cross between Saw and a mystery novel. People find themselves kidnapped with a bracelet on their wrist. They are forced to play this “Nonary Game” by their kidnapper, Zero. If they can escape their puzzle-ridden rooms and not end up killing each other, they can go free, but of course, it’s never that simple. In 999, characters are assigned a number by their bracelet that allows them to only go through certain doors in groups. Failing to go by the rules will result in a bomb going off that was implanted in their stomachs. In Virtue’s Last Reward, characters are forced to choose to either ally or betray the other participants in the game. Depending on what the other person does, they will either gain points or lose them. If they reach 0 points, they die. If they reach 9 points they can escape. To say the least, these story beats are tense, dramatic, and well thought out.
Both games feature multiple endings. While most lead to what would be considered a “bad” ending, there is always one that is the “true” ending that takes some fineness to acquire. Both games are designed to be played multiple times both for the different endings as well as more back story. Each decision and path the player takes will offer up more conversations and events with different people in the Nonary Game.
The biggest addition to this bundle is the fact that 999 is fully voice acted. All dialog for the most part has voice acting associated with it. Both English and Japanese voices can be selected. While it is a nice feature, I found that a few of the chosen actors portraying certain people felt off in 999. Some deliveries felt forced at times, but that just comes with the territory.
While both games are decently redesigned for the PS4 controller, I could definitely tell these were originally touch screen designed. The menus can get slightly clunky at times, but it is serviceable and was never too much of a distraction.
In the end, The Nonary Games is a fantastic bundle with games that are both fun to play and very entertaining in the story department. Any fan of puzzles games and visual novels should pick this bundle up without a doubt. Even people looking for a great story should give this a look. It has the makings of a good “starter” visual novel. I can’t suggest it enough. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play Zero Time Dilemma.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.