Hello, it’s been 2 years since the game was released so maybe no one will check this thread any more, but I saw you are working on a sequel for Shinrai so I wanted to give you guys a review just in case.
I bought the game recently with a Halloween sale and finished the game in one session (11 hours in total).
Overall, I am happy with the purchase as I enjoyed the game.
I’m a big fan of murder mystery so maybe because of that, I didn’t find the game too difficult, but the mystery wasn’t a let down either. I thought the mystery was of average difficulty and that was probably a good balance.
After finishing the game, I got a perfect score (S+). I did make a few mistakes at 3 or 4 points in the game, but I loaded the game again to make sure I made no mistakes
. Only did so because my first mistake resulted in something bad so I had to go back and change it.
For this review I’ll obviously be biased and talk about stuff that I personally liked. I’ll also be completely honest and give you my clear thoughts on various things. Hopefully, the feedback (even the negative one) will help.
The review will be full of end-game spoilers so don’t read if you haven’t played it.
First of all: the art and soundtrack are fine in my opinion. They are used fittingly across the game.
Like I said, I’m a big fan of murder mystery and familiar with various troupes so I thought the identity of the killer was a bit cliché and obvious by the end. But the game did have me guessing throughout.
During the first part of the game I suspected Momoko and Rie. Momoko because the innocent shy girl is usually the killer and because of her costume (I was thinking she could use it to frame Runa or something; either way, I had a feeling their costumes would be significant). Rie because she was the host and she was missing for a whole part of Chapter 1. But these weren’t high suspicions.
During the middle of the game I suspected Runa and Hiro. I was also considering the possibility that someone had wanted to kill Runa but killed the wrong person instead.
By the end, I was almost sure it was Momoko. Taiko accusing Runa earlier (and saying how she would do it) made me think it wasn’t her. Kamen being the actual killer would have been a big twist (like, it’s too obvious so it can’t be her. Right? Realistically speaking, she could have still done it and planted the evidence to make it look like it was Momoko; but that was very far-fetched). I actually also considered Taiko since he supposedly had an alibi for the entire night. During the final investigation I was about 70-90% sure it was Momoko (due to her body missing and then appearing again).
Anyway, the killer faking their death and the innocent shy girl being the killer are a bit cliché, but I didn’t mind that much, because ultimately, the game did keep me guessing.
I do wish more characters would have remained as suspects till the end, but I get that that can be difficult to do. And it’s probably better to have less characters as viable suspects than having them act stupid just for the sake it (or, for example, having weird coincidences happen just to make an innocent character seem guilty; that would have been really trope-y and annoying so it’s probably better you avoided that).
Now, the characters:
My favourite is Raiko. Glad she’s the MC.
What I don’t like about her is that her being an introvert is implied to be only because of trauma. I get that that would change behaviour, but I’m not sure it would change personality. I get that trauma would make an introverted person to shut down even more, but from how I read it, I got the feeling she completely changed after her sister died. Maybe I read too much into it though.
The other obviously introverted character is Momoko, who is bullied and goes crazy and paranoid and can’t trust her friend any more.
It’s not a big deal, but idk, it made it seem like being an introvert is something wrong that needs to be fixed. But, again, not a big deal. Runa seemed rather introverted too and she seems fine.
With Nobara, I liked most her interactions with Raiko and their friendship. But at points she kind of annoyed me. I get that her constantly bringing up the paranormal as an explanation is probably a nod to Umineko and that they are supposed to be kids, but after a while, her bringing up ghosts all the time made her look a little stupid.
About Kamen: I finished the True ending and didn’t really like how her character ended up. I don’t mind her being into girls, but I really didn’t like her having a crush on Raiko. Not because of the romance, but because I see it as a devolution of her character.
In the beginning she was a complete ass-hole, but she had a reasoning behind that. Plus, she was open with her feelings and she could speak her mind. That can be a plus which can be further explored (especially in contrast with Raiko). She felt real.
At the end, however… she just lost her best friend and her crush who tried to frame her and destroy her life… but that's ok because she is now infatuated with Raiko who reminds her of her dead crush because they are/were both introverts. Yes, I got that it’s implied that there is some history between Raiko and Kamen, but still.
Also I don’t think Kamen would easily let herself be infatuated by another girl so easily without checking if that other girl is also into girls (after getting burned the first time).
And I also want to nitpick on the kiss at the end. I get that it’s supposed to be cute because it’s girl love, but what if Kotoba had done the same? Sorry if I sound too harsh. I’m not a girl, but I am gay and I would prefer a more realistic depiction of such characters. Maybe it’s because I’m older and not into cutsey romance things that I couldn’t appreciate it. I just rolled my eyes at that part to be honest.
If you plan on having Kamen in the sequel, personally I would like it more if she and Raiko developed their friendship (and maybe Kamen can find love with someone else). Their opposite personalities could make a good team.
Overall though, I did like the characters. Even Hiro the ass-hole made things interesting.
Because I want to end the review in a positive note, I want to say a few things about the writing which I really liked. Like I said, I thought the mystery was of fair difficulty.
The writing (especially Raiko’s monologues) naturally guide you towards the correct answer every time, but it doesn’t treat you like an idiot either. For example, when you come to suspect Hiro: Raiko’s monologue mentions that “especially if I take into account that the killer wants to get rid of evidence” or something like that.
And I don’t know if this was on purpose, but in the final argument, when you have to pick between the witch’s hat or cape as evidence to present, I didn’t realise how either would be relevant, but I chose the cape because Raiko made a monologue line during the investigation that Hiro’s cape had no bearing to the case (unlike Kamen’s cape). So that correct answer felt a bit like a reward for checking things thoroughly and paying attention to stuff.
I should note that at the beginning of chapter 5, I had all the evidence, but still didn’t understand everything like Raiko did.
In the final chapter, I really liked that Taiko lists every possibility (for example, Runa could have not gone to the bathroom, but gone to kill Hiro instead), because I’m assuming most readers also took into account those possibilities into account.
Ok, I think I wrote enough. Thanks for the game, and hopefully this feedback will be of some help in your future projects.