• Aksys Games is becoming more notorious with all the otome visual novels games it’s been releasing lately, especially after there reveals at Anime Expo 2017. So I thought I’d go and take a look at a game from late 2015, when they first started their big push into the genre. What follows is a decent otome visual novel that’s a bit held back by having too many routes which lead to a less interesting cast. There’s still some enjoyment to be had though, so it manages to hold despite this.

    The story actually starts by pulling a bait and switch of sorts, with a 12-year old boy named Sorata at the Japanese Diet building on his school field trip, talking with his friends, when he’s caught in a mysterious light that sends him to seemingly another time period in the past, the 1920’s. But the perspective changes to a young woman named Koharu in a town who is trying to meet up with a group of other young people to accomplish a task given to them by a mysterious entity for the sake of the world. Amusingly enough, this Organization/Entity is called The World. It’s during the rendezvous with the other group that she meets Sorata, who got transported onto the flying airship known as the Norn9. with 12 people on board, and a following an attack by an unknown assailant, the group decides to split into smaller groups to better keep an eye on each other to possibly expose the traitor that’s also among their number. One of my favourite all time games Resorts Casino Games which always provides plenty of excitement and keeps me on the edge of my seat when playing.  This is the part of the game where your first choice will determine which heroine you get to play as, and the second choice determines which male character routes you’ll be playing.

    After that, each following choice will help determine whether that character will get you a bad, normal, tragic love, or true ending you get. Some routes only have a bad ending and a true ending, some have just a normal ending with a true ending, and the third route of each heroine won’t unlock until you complete at least one true ending on the other routes. At three character routes for each of the three heroines, there’s a whopping 9 routes in total, with an epilogue for Sorata opening after those are all completed. The core plot is about getting to The World to determine the fate of the planet, as most of these youths have powers granted to them which are to be used for the sake of the planet. Of course the ones who have powers often have had some level of trauma or hardship because of these powers, so backstory for these characters is revealed over their route, with the chosen heroine getting close to them. This basically forms the character development of each heroine and their chosen partners. The only bad thing about this is since there is so many characters in this game, only about half of them are interesting. Perhaps if the number was cut down, the remaining characters would have more development than what the game gives them, and would be more interesting. There’s also an anime adaptation, but I haven’t seen it, so I can’t speak on if it does a better job in that department.

    As it stands though, Norn9 is an interesting game with a decent core story, good character art, music, and at least half the characters are interesting. It just takes playing through a lot of routes to get to the good stuff. Especially the conclusion of Sorata’s situation, as he kinda is left by the wayside after the very short common route ends, and the other heroines begin. But at least there is some character variety and replay value, so you should be able to find a route that you’ll like should you decide to pick this up. But compared to previous and later entries, Idea Factory and Aksys Games have put out better otome alternatives. It should be cheaper now though, so it’s price at the moment might be an easier sell for those on a budget.

    Norn9: Var Commons - Review
    An above average otome game that would have been better served with less routes to possibly make the remaining characters more interesting.
    Our Score6.5
    Positives
    • The music in the game is really well done.
    Negatives
    • Too many character routes for each heroine makes the overall quality of writing drop.
    • Two out of three heroines aren't particularly interesting.
    6.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
    -1.3

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