Once in a while, a visual novel that not only has plenty of text to read for hours but also has distinct gameplay elements can be a very refreshing experience for me. After having recently played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, and even having written a review on it, I was especially thrilled to check out Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ that is even inspired by the Zero Escape and Ace Attorney series — which I consider myself a fan of. On a side note, one thing that’s important to mention is that Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ is currently available on Steam as an early access title, and will have more voice acting and additional content with its full release.
Set in the year 2069, the story revolves around Yudai Sayashi, or “Yu” for short, who’s a quite diligent child. The world he’s in suffered from an intense war, and now mankind struggles to survive under the tight grip of a mysterious organization, Sanctus Ordo Illuminatus. Some have started to rebel against them, thus creating a revolutionary force called God’s People Army.
Rather than joining this group, Yu becomes the founder of a treasure hunting group, Durchhalten (this is a German word that means “to persevere” in English). One day, while the group is looking for treasure, Yu’s sister, Miho, runs in a deadly trap, and unfortunately, ends up dying. Because of this, the group disbanded, and after two years, Yu believes he’s discovered a way to be able to revive his dead sister, by finding and using the Noah’s Ark – a system that can recreate anything from the past.
As implied above, Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ does contain point-and-click gameplay elements which really does remind me of the Zero Escape and Ace Attorney series. You can find typical escape rooms with puzzles, while character profiles and evidence are needed to be able to convince or force someone into your desired scenario. Plus, each chapter is divided into days where you have a certain task to do. I noticed that the puzzles are quite challenging at times, especially when items you can interact with are hidden in the very corner of the screen and might take a while to even know that they are there. It is also possible to combine items you gathered and use them when it fits into the situation. Additionally, the game itself is fairly linear and only allows you to go to another area once you completed your task, so you won’t be wandering aimlessly around in case you get stuck.
There are important choices available in Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ that do have an impact on the outcome of the story. Take it from me that it’s important to not trust strangers too much or else… they might end up stabbing you in your back. That said, I often felt like I choose the wrong choice, even when it was required to, and had to recheck for other scenarios because it felt so unsatisfying. However, that’s not a bad thing as it’s exactly the thing that made me eager to play further with the motivation of being able to get some closure by a hopeful turn in the story.
Something really outstanding in Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ is the level of detail with the game’s animation work. There are birds flying around in the background, lights flashing, lip synchronization, as well as eye blinking, and much more. I found the presentation of this game really pleasant, and although it sounds quite overwhelming at first, the animations are made very subtle and so adorable that I couldn’t help but smirk at some reactions of the characters I interacted with.
Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ has voice-overs, but unlike usual visual novels we know, this one contains English voices. I found the voices were all really lovely to listen to, especially the children’s audio, which all sounded super cute. A thing that slightly confused me was that it is only partial voiced, so even when there was no sound, the lips of characters were moving at times. It should also be mentioned that although the grammar in the text was on point, the voice-over sometimes didn’t really match with the text.
All in all, I am really grateful for a more serious and dark visual novel. Without a doubt, Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ will make every Zero Escape and Ace Attorney fan feel nostalgic. Something really impressive is that this game works with so many beautiful animations which will easily catch one’s eye, while the story will keep the reader on edge. I had a lot of fun solving the puzzles throughout this game, and although it is easy to get stuck when you’re not careful, it felt very rewarding once I managed to finally get past a complicated puzzle. That being said, Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ is probably a truly interesting game to look forward to if you appreciate a dark story with sci-fi elements, as I do.
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