Title: Hello, Good-bye
Developer: Lump of Sugar
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
I’m a sucker for supernatural visual novels. I just enjoy the way that characters slowly reveal who they are overtime or a strange power is discovered and a group works towards understanding it all. So with visual novel developer Lump of Sugar’s visual novel Hello, Good-bye received a western release date, I knew that I had to give it a try. Now, I should probably add here that the game did release in 2010 in Japan, but I don’t think that hurt this crazy adventure at all.
Hello, Good-bye begins with the protagonist waking up on a train headed to Tenshudo Academy. However, the game opens up with a mystery as the protagonist takes a moment to convince himself that he is now “Toubu Kaito”, a fake name given to him by his commanding officer. Kaito’s instructions are to infiltrate the academy and relay information to base every night. At this point, the region is at the brink of war and Tenshudo just so happens to be located in the district of Morino, a neutral zone that is at risk of becoming a battleground between the two opposing forces of Japan.
As the main protagonist, Kaito doesn’t seem to have the skills to take on the mission that he’s handed. He often struggles with staying undercover and forgets his duties. Although later parts of the visual novel show that he can be dependable in times of crisis, it takes a while to get there and I was nearly ready to write him off entirely. As the story continues, Kaito meets three girls who can be romanced. However, this supernatural story has a few tricks hidden up its sleeve because what you think is the main route, isn’t.
Throughout the visual novel, I found myself asking more and more questions that always only partially answered. However, I think this was by design. Every route reveals more about Kaito’s past as well as the girl’s he surrounds himself with. Now, I did say this was a supernatural visual novel and this becomes evident in the game’s opening act when the world resets and Kaito is back on the train. With that said, the full reason for this is hidden behind the game’s three routes which unlock what I believe to be the main route featuring a girl that doesn’t make an appearance in the story, outside of a scene in the game’s prologue.
For this reason, I didn’t really feel as close to this fourth character as I did the other three girls who interact with each other regularly throughout the story. What’s even more disappointing is how I can’t deny that her route is probably the best one of the game, and that’s saying a lot because I really liked May. Learning everything about Kaito over this course of this game as well as his strange abilities was a lot of fun. The story contains scenes of drama, comedy, and romance that all flow naturally with the pacing and tone, which makes this a very easy and immersive visual novel as a whole.
As for player interaction, the game has several choices that the player makes throughout the game that will change the route and girl that they end up. Thankfully the game saves your choices so the next time through you can easily see which ones you’ve already completed. Hello, Good-bye‘s biggest strength is that the writing across each route is great and I wouldn’t be able to say which was the worst route of the game. However, I didn’t like how the fourth route played into the story but lacked the relationship shared by the other characters.
For a visual novel release in 2010, Hello, Good-bye has some truly wonderful character illustrations and CGs. I’m a huge fan of the more classic anime character illustrations where the characters have large eyes and unique character traits that make them each member and unique. Furthermore, Hello, Good-bye is an eroge and there is no shortage of h-scenes in the game. With that said, I felt like they all generally fit in well with the flow of the story and happened rather naturally with the progression of the character’s relationship.
Hello, Good-bye’s pacing makes it a must-read for visual novel fans. The prologue sets the stage for a mysterious adventure that kept me invested in the story until all of my questions were answered. Thankfully, the conclusion of the story offers more insight into the protagonist’s backstory then I asked for, but this made me understand him a little more after he struggles with keeping his identity a secret.
In the end, I’m glad to have had the chance to experience Hello, Good-bye and could easily recommend it to fans of supernatural mysteries with a great supporting cast as well as a group of charming heroines. Where Hello, Good-bye falls short is found within a few plot holes, that I easily looked past because I was too busy looking forward to what would happen next.
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