I absolutely love kicking back with a visual novel after a long day, and if that visual novel has adventure game elements too then I’m in heaven. After playing through all the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney games as a teen, I was well and truly hooked on this very niche corner of video gaming. Danganronpa came along next and stole my heart with its wanton murder of anime teens, and then I never looked back. Why am I talking about these fantastic older visual novels though I pretend to hear you ask – because Paranormasight is well and truly on their level, that’s why.
In the city of Honjo, there are seven famous mysteries dating all the way back to the Edo period. Ranging from hearing music in the distance to a lantern that never stops burning, these paranormal events have been baffling people for decades. Well it turns out these mysteries have a more sinister origin, and are connected with artifacts called curse stones.
Each one of these stones grants the person of its choosing a murderous power, and if they use it to kill enough people they can resurrect someone of their choosing. As you can imagine there are plenty of people who that power appeals to, from a mother who tragically lost her son to a schoolgirl who’s friend took her own life. The power of the Rite of Resurrection entices people from all walks of life, and as you can imagine this leads to some grizzly deaths.
Each curse stone has a different power which activates in a specific situation. The first stone you encounter can only be activated if a person is leaving you, another only works if the person you want to kill has something that can produce a flame on their person. There are some really unique ideas for these magical murder weapons, which means you’ll need to use your words to ensure you can survive against other curse bearers or even kill them yourself.
For the most part the gameplay in Paranormasight consists of exploring different areas of the city and talking to different characters so the story unfolds. There are so many mysteries to uncover in this game, be it the motivations of various characters or a way to try and stop this night of bloodshed from getting out of hand. It’s hard to detail quite how sensational the story is without spoiling some of the details, but there are twists and turns a plenty and I simply could not put this game down once I started.
As well as talking to characters and exploring, there are also some situations where you need to think outside the box. You follow the story of Paranormasight from the perspectives of a few different people, and the way these stories connect and intertwine is incredibly cool. Using your knowledge as the player (and only person who can connect the dots) is key if you want to progress through the game, and when you manage to do this you feel like a genius.
Of all the games I’ve played so far this year, Paranormasight has the most fantastic moments. Moments where big plot reveals made my jaw drop, moments that actively shook me and got stuck in my brain for the rest of the day, and moments where I just couldn’t believe how damn clever this game is. I don’t want to spoil even a single one of these moments, but if you decide to play this game you’ll know when one of them hits you.
It’s also important to mention how great the visuals and soundtrack of the game are. The characters look fantastic, with a hand drawn aesthetic that just pops. The music really adds to the atmosphere too, building the tension when things get spooky and providing a distraction when your brain is working through the mysteries.
If I have one complaint with Paranormasight it’s that there were a few times I just got well and truly stuck with how to progress. It makes sense that a game about solving paranormal mysteries could occasionally stump you (and for the most part it helps lead you in the right direction) but one section in particular had me confused for a couple of days and I just wanted to keep playing this great game.
Paranormasight is a fantastic visual novel, full of mysteries to solve and spooky goings on to discover. The characters and overarching story are sensational, and there are moments in the game that I can’t imagine ever forgetting. There are some parts that I think are a little too confusing that might slow your progress, but they absolutely shouldn’t stop you from diving into this tale of bloodshed and tragedy.
A fantastic spooky tale told from many perspectives
Some of the best moments of any game I've ever played
Looks and sounds fantastic
Is sometimes too confusing