Visual novels are a niche style of game that I have pretty much no experience with, but as they say: it’s better late than never! So join me, won’t you, on this fantastical journey with Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time.
I’ve read manga, I’ve watched anime, so I probably should have tried a visual novel a while ago. I did get an interesting one to start with, though! I mean… I didn’t expect something semi-Black Mirror wrapped up in such a cute little package. The story, from what I’ve gathered, takes place in a world where people are designated for certain jobs depending on their schooling. If a student in secondary school, or middle school as its also known, does not pass their end of school exam, it seems they’re kind of screwed. That exam decides your future, it sounds, and if you don’t pass, no more schooling for you.
Out of curiosity, I wondered exactly how the Japanese school system actually works. Turns out, this is sort of a thing, that students can stop after secondary school or choose to continue to high school. So there is a little truth to this, it’s just not as dire and Brave New World-like as it is in the game. In addition, just what is a Chuusotsu? It’s basically a student that doesn’t go beyond middle school.
In addition to the whole exam thing, it seems that Chuusotsu! has taken a little from Futurama regarding careers. From what I read, it seems like if you want to change the career the exam assigns you, you will have to go through a process to change careers. This reminded me of the career chip Lela tries to give Fry after he wakes from cryostasis. Is any of this important to the plot? As this is a visual novel, probably.
In Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time, the main character you follow is a Chuusotsu and she is now living in a house with others like her. These girls have to find a way to live together as they learn their new place in life. According to the Steam page, existential questions are to be expected for a game like this. Join the girls as they get to know one another and work to find their lot in the world. I expect, if I continue on in the story, there will be a lot of overcoming obstacles and discovering that they are more than they think they are.
All in all, it’s an interesting story, a coming of age tale combined with some Big Brother and possibly supernatural elements. It’s not a terrible story, though not entirely something that catches my interest. There are plenty of slice of life animes and mangas that aren’t entirely my cup of tea. Does that make this a bad visual novel? No because clearly there’s an audience for this crowd-funded title that has a mostly positive score on Steam, though there aren’t a ton of reviews.
If you’re interested in a slice of life visual novel with strange dystopian elements of a group of girls finding their place in the world, then Chuutsosu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time is for you. I for one probably won’t be returning to it, though stranger things have happened before! For people interested in visual novels, I feel like this would be a decent one to give a try, you can always watch for a Steam sale and give it a go.
Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
A nice slice of life visual novel with some slightly dark undertones. If you're interested in following this group of Chuutsosu as they figure out their lot in life, it's worth a look.