[Review] Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: Art Co., Ltd
  • Publisher: PQube
  • Release Date: 04/06/2019
  • Price: $29.99 / £19.99
  • Review code provided by PQube

Intro

Often times a developer will experiment with blending multiple styles of gameplay to craft a unique adventure. When I booted up Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that it was an anime style match 3 puzzle game. Imagine my surprise when I was faced with a deeply narrative visual novel as the main backbone to Kotodama. Read further to check the results.

The White Wolf

In Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa you enter a school midway through the year of the same name, Fujisawa Academy. Only, you aren’t alone. You’ve previously made a pact with a kitten like demon who grants you the power of kotodama. The kotodama power allows you to influence people to reveal truths they would rather remain secret. On your first day, you are paired with an energetic student, Nanami Kagura. It is her job to give you a tour of the large campus. While carrying out that task, she also totes you along for her investigation into the seven mysteries of the school since she is a member of the Occult Research Team.

Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa requires a few play-throughs to accomplish all the game has to offer. Although, once you start a new run at the game from day one, you remember all of your past actions. The story was really well done. I was pleasantly surprised and wanted to keep going through to find out more of the secrets from the characters you meet. Some of the narrative is predictable but it was still entertaining. During my first attempt I was a little disappointed that the match 3 puzzle element was a small part of the game. By my third play-through I just wanted to clear the puzzle battles as quickly as possible to get back to the story.

The Library of Wisdom

As stated above, the main focus for Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa is the story. I haven’t played a lot of visual novels and was hooked with this one. Throughout the game you make subtle choices which have great consequences. If you aren’t careful you can slowly pave the way to an undesired path. After a few attempts, you’ll be able to see past choices so you can try different approaches. One of your main goals is to learn specific words or phrases which level up your Kotodama power. This requires you to talk to specific characters in locations throughout the academy. There is also a social media tool called Quacker where you can read your peers “quacks” to give hints.

Secondary gameplay is the match 3 puzzle aspect. Once you target a character to use your Kotodama power you enter a battle of the mind. The puzzle aspect wasn’t as deep as I would have liked. It mostly serves to break up the story and add a heavy dose of fan service. The panel is covered in multiple orbs and you select one to move to the top of the screen. The first few battles are fun but quickly grow stale as there is a lack of variety. You have a limited moves and need to fill a gauge. As the gauge is filled, you strip a layer of clothes from your opponent. To gain extra moves you can activate another power to try and tickle different parts of their body. If you fail, your opponent puts up their defenses which provide a variety of obstacles. Likewise, powerups can be earned to aide you.

The Wandering Gentleman

The graphics are what you would expect from a visual novel. There are a variety of stagnant backgrounds and the 2d characters overlay them. The character models will slide in and out to reflect basic movements which does a nice job at making the game feel authentic. The kotodama battles offer little variety to the character art other than their under garments. The attacks make the characters wiggle and squirm but it’s mostly the same movement throughout. As far as the music is concerned, it wasn’t bad. Nor was it memorable. It served its purpose to carry the game along but nothing really stood out to me. There are also various sound effects sprinkled throughout the game which help sell the story.

The Clock Tower Angel

Technically speaking, the game runs very well. The load times between the story portion to the puzzles seemed a tad long and there were a few grammatical errors. Aside from those minor things, Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa looked and played great. Both in docked mode and handheld. Though the touchscreen worked just as good, I preferred to play in handheld mode with the joycon.

Final Wrap

Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa got a little repetitive with the puzzle battles. Also, restarting the game from chapter one when you made a mistake in chapter four was a bit tedious. Aside from that, the story was engaging and entertaining. Interacting with the characters and trying to slueth out the best scenario made this a visual novel worth visiting. Though the fan service is a small part of the overall package, it may not be for every gamer.

Pros

  • Interesting Story
  • Fun Characters
  • Mixed Gameplay

Cons

  • Tad Repetitive
  • Simplified Puzzle Mechanics

Verdict
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa’s story is fully dressed but the match 3 puzzle element is stripped down.
4/5

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