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Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate Review

Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate Review

The world of visual novels is hardly lacking in content, so how do you set yourself apart? Well, for developer MyDearest, you do that by making VR games! Their latest, DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate, has recently released its third episode, and it’s also coming to Nintendo Switch as a non-VR version in November. As it’s in VR you get to actually explore environments and pick items up, which really amps up how immersive it is.

You play Hal, a freshly minted investigator in the domed city of Astrum Close which is shielded from the outside world because of some kind of apocalypse. It’s a city that has a close to zero percent crime rate, so I’m not quite sure why it needs a whole bureau of investigators, but hey we’d have no story otherwise. Because shortly after obtaining your badge, there’s a murder! Worse, it’s the founder of the city who has been murdered, and for some reason the clock tower has rung for the first time in over a decade! With mysteries afoot, you need to grab your robot pal Lilly and get to investigating.

Since a visual novel is heavy on the story, I didn’t feel comfortable reviewing this based on only one episode, which released last year. So, I patiently waited for the next two to come out so that I could properly experience it all. Then I had an issue caused by my Meta account which was a whole thing… It was a while between playing the first episode and the following two!

The citizens of Astrum Close are linked to each other through the Augmented Dreaming Network, which was how crime was kept so low. Hal is what’s referred to as a Variant, a type of human with abilities beyond the normal. Hal’s ability allows him to touch objects and see things that happened in the past involving said object, and in rare instances he can change what occurred. But what will he need to change to stop calamity befalling Astrum Close?

As the story goes, Hal sees flashes of something bad happening to the city, but the exact details are missing. All he knows is that it’s related to the clock tower which nobody has been able to get inside for over 10 years, when it stopped working.

Time manipulation in Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate isn’t just for objects, but there are a few instances where the story can branch. By utilising a mysterious pocket watch, Hal can return to a point in the past that you choose, allowing you to replay events. I know it’s a normal mechanic for visual novels, but I love how they included it as a gameplay device.

I mentioned the Augmented Dreaming Network (known as AD) earlier, it’s something that connects every resident of the city through their dreams. At almost any point you can access AD, which is visually represented as an ocean of marine life swimming around you. However, if someone were to have a mental health crisis (you know, due to an unprecedented murder), you can interact with them and play a mini-game to return them to a relaxed state. It also changes the music to be more laid back, which I think is a really nice touch.

Unfortunately, Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate is trying to tell a story about an investigation, rather than letting you investigate throughout the story. You’re asked to piece things together, but only to solve a puzzle so that the story can proceed, rather than leading you to draw conclusions to solve a crime. In fairness, the story is so twisty-turny that any deductions you make are probably wrong until you hit the third episode anyway, especially with you changing the timeline here and there.

You get some opportunities to show the results of your investigation to the AI which runs Astrum Close, which is technically your boss. However, if you put together the clues in the wrong order, you’ll have to start from the beginning of that segment, rather than shifting a couple of things around. This can be annoying if you misread the order of events on the board in front of you, and yes I’m obviously saying that because it happened to me… The AI will calculate how probable your account of events is, so be accurate!

Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate is a fun time with a compelling plot, though it left me wanting more of a focus on investigation. Especially since this world has holograms, checking out a corpse via rotating, floating image was great! I just kinda wanted more clues and less standing around waiting for conversations to end? Definitely one for visual novel fans over crime scene fanatics.

7.50/10 7½

DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate (Reviewed on Meta Quest)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Enter a world where crime doesn’t happen, and investigate murder, theft, and apocalypse. Also lots of talking.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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