By Dalton McClain / April 17th, 2017
|Release Date||February 28, 2017|
Let me just start by saying that ChronoClock was my first real venture into playing visual novels. I had read a couple before this, but they had either been really small, or purely comedic. This was my first attempt at a more serious and drawn out story. So with that being said, how does this game hold up?
The prologue actually starts you out at the beginning, but then it makes you go back to the very start of everything. The gist of the story is that you have a magic pocket watch that has been passed down through your family, which explains how your family has so much wealth. You can rewind time, but only for five minutes every hour. During the prologue, you try to help a first year named Miu confess her feelings to your friend. It doesn’t go well at first and she falls off the roof (not for the last time either). But you soon take her out on trial dates so that she can build up some confidence. After she confesses her feelings, then the real story starts. It’s a real slice of life style of a visual novel, with a lot of comedic elements thrown in there for good measure. There’s also a hidden message in the plot that really hits home for me personally. The storytelling is solid, and nothing ever really feels off.
Everything in this game is stunningly vibrant and beautiful. You’ll come across different locations during the game, and none of them feel similar or like they could fit in anything else. They’re all unique, and that really helps the game stand out as something special. There’s so much detail in every image that it makes it feel real. Another thing I really liked was that some of the backgrounds weren’t static. Take the beach, for example. There’s a small animation of the waves crashing on the shore of the beach. It was very minimal, but it added to the aesthetic really well. This is the scene where most of the important character moments happen, after all. The characters in the game are also really well drawn and animated. They are really detailed and how they look really matches their personalities almost to a tee.
The music in ChronoClock is always on point and matches the exact tone that the scenario is trying to portray. There aren’t too many tracks to talk about, but the ones that are there are stunning and really nice to listen to. The voices also fit the characters, to the point that I can’t ever see them having any other voice. Everything just meshes together, and that paves the way for a great story.
The characters were my favorite part of this entire game. All of them, even the character tropes that I don’t normally care for, are really likable. My favorite girl was by far Makoto. She seems like she has a really soft exterior, but on the inside, she’s tough and really headstrong. All of the girls have some quirk about them that just makes them charming to listen to. There’s Miu who is really shy and klutzy (hence the roof incident), D.D. who’s a really ignorant foreigner, Misaki who is a bit of a tsundere, Michiru which is your very poetic sister, and Cro which is the spirit of your watch that presumably no one but you can see or hear. Even the characters that aren’t female are amazing. While your friend might be a little blunter than you are, you’re both complete smart-alecks who never fail to get a laugh out of me. They’re not always like that though, they both seem to legitimately care about other people. They just like poking fun and tormenting their friends whenever they can. The main protagonist is really relatable, and that works splendidly in the story’s favor.
Everything works really well in this game, minus a few chinks here and there. One of those being the character D.D. and her dialogue. In the Japanese version of the game, she messes up and sometimes uses English words instead of Japanese. That works fine, and when they translated it they changed the random English words to random Japanese words. While that sounds like a good idea on paper, it makes for some very weird Engrish that makes it very hard to tell what she’s trying to say. Sometimes it was easy because of context, but a lot of the time I actually had to look up what the word meant. It was a really tiring process that got old very quickly, and made her route one of the least enjoyable routes in the game. Aside from that and a few minimal translation errors, the game runs very well and you can edit just about everything to fit your liking. The routes were easy to figure out, and there wasn’t a lot of guess work involved in trying to figure out how to get a specific route.
As with any 18+ visual novel, there are some H scenes. These are optional and come at the end of each route. This doesn’t mean they’re bad though, just not necessary for you to view. The scenes are very well written and match each character perfectly. They expand on what the characters have gone through, and what they have become because of it. The character resolutions are nice and fill you with pride knowing that you caused them to be like they are now.
All in all I really enjoyed ChronoClock, it had just enough charm and mystery to keep me interested until the very end. You get a lot of scenes once you’ve beaten the game on their respective route. If you can overlook a few minor details then I’d definitely recommend picking this up. It was a fantastic story that kept me invested for well over the 40 hours that it took for me to complete the main routes. There are 6 routes in total, with two of them being hidden. The hidden routes aren’t that hard to figure out, but they would’ve taken a lot longer to complete. The game is $40 for the full adult version on Nutaku and $30 for the all-ages version on Steam. This seems well worth it to me, though again this is my first venture into games like this. Definitely pick up this title if you want a really gripping story with amazing characters and stunning visuals.
Review copy provided by nutaku.net