I think I saw this game being revealed some time ago, that and the game had great aesthetics so I decided to play this. So you're a student that just returned from outer space because the Earth was made uninhabitable by supernatural creatures. As you spend time in the rural town of Ashihara with your childhood friend (of course), you discover the Kegai demons are on the rise again and it's up to you to stop them.
Many actually decided to play this game because it's produced by Yuuri Shibamura best known for his other game, "Gunparade March (not the Anime adaptation)" which also had characters interacting with each other and actions could have chain effects as in this game.
The gameplay works like this. You have to discover who is the next Kegai victim in the town within 5 days or the game will reset its time loop to the start of August when you first arrived. During that time you can interact with various character to level-up your stats friendship, affinity and even hate which becomes part of your attacks against the Kegai (don't ask me why that is). If you do fail then you have to do start the interaction all over again which means going through a lot of dialogue but you get a head start with the stats so you don't have to completely build up the stats again.
So really. It's more like a roguelike game where you're playing in survival mode. If you don't beat the bosses consecutively then you start all over again. Quite harsh really and fast forward doesn't really fast forward that fast. At least there's a skip button that works on some cutscenes at least.
The confusing part was how to kick off the boss fights because you don't just head to the dungeon entrance it start the fight. At that point you can choose to make use of your friendship, affinity or hate relation stats with your chosen companions which decide what kind of buff they end up giving you with your attacks. Depending on what emotion you choose, it could end up buffing the boss. Unfortunately party members are AI controlled which is the same way Persona 3 initially started out I think.
Aesthetically you can think of Persona 4 where but this game probably looks a lot nicer aesthetically with its rural town of Ashihara and all its own structures. Music sounds great. Just the character model animations feel like they're running at a lower framerate than the rest of the game itself because camera movement is fine. You really notice the stutter and probably never get used to it.
Unfortunately as pretty as the game looks, there's very little you can interact with other than wait for some character cutscene to trigger.
Like Persona games and any other game that lets you build relations with characters there are various events that trigger cutscenes related to them which are fun to watch. Characters are your usual archetypes but... they have some strange background stories.
A game where you're stuck in a time loop or resets when you fail isn't anything new. SE's mobile game series Chaos Rings has you choosing which characters to couple to inherit stronger genes for the next playthrough. Then there's Deathloop which has you doing a trial and error approach while learning more of the story.
As long as you can put up with the stuttering animation and survive through the boss fights then this game can be enjoyable.
- Rural Japan looks gorgeous.
- Great soundtrack.
- Fairly unique adventure RPG mix.
- Forces you through dialogue and stat building again when fail.
- Battle system isn't exactly intuitive.
- A lot of one-liner dialogue just to build relation stats.
- Poor stuttering character animation.
There's already a number of guides out there so I'll just write down the things they didn't tell you that helped me with the game.
As mentioned above, the game has a loop that forces you to start all over again but, as long as you defeat each boss within 5 days it doesn't happen. So the main thing is to prepare for the fights by bumping up your stats really.
To invite party members you simply need to invite them out for walks. You can bump up your social status by using the map in the classroom 1-B or appeal using the book store. When you want to disband just return home.
Some characters such as the adults Terasu (well, she's your gran) or Kuni won't fight with you unfortunately. They'll always run away.
Boss Fights & True Ending - Save The Characters
If you defeat the characters while they're possessed then they will be gone for the rest of the game so if you want to save them, you to increase their friendship to a high level. Both you and the character's friendship should be at 300 "best friend" status. You'll have the option of saving them by "Observe with Demon Sight" or "Deliver final blow" once you defeat the boss if you've got it high enough. You will need to befriend them before they are possessed which is before the first hint or they will just hate your interactions.
Saving them all will reward you with the true ending which rewards you with different bonuses compared to just viewing the normal ending.
There are 5 characters will be be possessed in total but always in random order with the exception of Konoha who will always be last so I suggest creating saves a number of days apart. When you sleep, the dialogue that appears in your nightmares will hint who it's going to be on the 4th night so you have 3 days left to dungeon crawl if you want to explore.
Also, for each consecutive boss you fight, you will need 1 extra Magatama (which you get from the swirly balls) than the last boss fight to unlock the barrier e.g. boss 1 needs 1 Magatama, boss 2 needs 2 Magatama, boss 3 needs 3 Magatama etc.
Here is one of the orders I had and a list of the key words you'll come across. Simply find the possessed character and talk to them until the portal appears.
As it sang, everything rotted away... The graves begin to stir.
Find her at the shrine. As soon as you enter the dungeon, work backwards at the entrance. You might think you'll be exiting the dungeon but you won't be. After that you just need to follow the path until you reach a barrier stopping you from continuing. Go up the path into the next area, Night Festival and prepare to fight Izanami.
After the Kegai severed the thick straw rope...
Head to the beach to find him then to the shrine as usual. Once in the dungeon make your way to the beach again. Quickest route is to head down the stairs to Main Street. Exit left to the Railroad Crossing and then left again onto the Road to School. Then instead of the path to the left, you just head straight up the road where the barrier is. Prepare to fight Wadatsumi.
I must stop my parents...
So guess where we can find our school teacher? Once in the dungeon you'll have to make your way back to the shadow school of course. Down the stairs to Main Street, exit left to Railroad Crossing, left again onto Road to School and then the path on the left. You'll fight Kagutsuchi in the usual classroom.
Swaying from side to side...
Find our resident Otaku at the school gates. Enter the dungeon and make your way back to the school front yard - down the stairs to Main Street, exit left ot Railroad Crossing, left again onto Road to School. It's the gym building on the left of the school you're after this time. Don't forget to collect Magatamas along the way.
It ripped paper charms to shreds...
Find her on Main Street. Barrier isn't hard to find since it's just to the right that leads to the tree. Prepare to fight Kukunochi.
Dream 1: That night, one goddess...
Dream 2: The Kegai always strove to smile.
Go to classroom 1A where you usually have your lessons after the second hint. When you're ready for the last boss, head into the dungeon, collect 6 Magatamas before going to the Oyama House (right exit at Main Street) to face Iwanaga Hime.
There will be multiple possible endings at this point depending on what you choose. If everyone survived then you can go for the true ending by choosing the third choice "Resist Fate". This will also unlock Konoha's epilogue on the title screen menu.
If you choose to save the world and you haven't romanced Konoha then you'll get a character ending (more below). Otherwise, you'll get a bad ending instead.
Individual Character Endings
This is actually an odd one.
As long as you haven't romanced Konoha, you'll see a particular character's ending after defeating the last boss and choosing "Wish for the world to survive". Or if you haven't befriended Konoha to "bestie" status, you won't even have to pick that. Afterwards, whichever character showed you affection first will end up becoming the one you end up with.
In other words, it doesn't matter if you max both friendship and affinity to "Inseparable" with another character afterwards, that very first affinity event character is who you will be stuck with it seems unfortunately. It won't change even if you try to max out their hate afterwards.
For example, I was going after Ichika's ending but wanted to have robo Machina in my party too so I chatted to her first to the point where I could use the "Will you fight with me?" interaction for her to join my party (didn't know walk invitation worked too at this point). Eventually she took the initiative to chat with Nini. After this I did the same with Ichika to have her in my party too but maxed out her relationship stats so that it was higher than Machina. Then I went through all the event interactions with Ichika (none for Machina) and in the end, I still ended up with robo Machina's ending.
So in other words, you can get it wrong early and you'll have to back track reeeally far or, start the next loop and make sure you chat up a different character first.
For my next playthrough, I just played to the final boss and left all relation stats on low, only inviting characters out for a walk whenever I'm off to fight a boss (it raises relationship stats very little). Afterwards I unlocked the last boss barrier and saved before working on the relation stats for whatever character I'm after.
Now, once you've maxed out the single character to "Inseparable" status you can go beat the last boss again to view their ending. You don't even need to view all events for that character.
Not everyone has an epilogue.
I was hoping Ichika had an epilogue when I saw the way her ending was going but sadly not. Konoha's epilogue just feels like she's over-obssessed with Nini. Kuni's one is quite a surprise despite the hints in the game that she and Max had something going on. Max's own epilogue is just a fun illustration of him and his "daughter", lol.
Anyway, hope this works for you!