YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World is a visual novel that mixes a little dating sim with a lot of sci-fi in one package. With a few exceptions, it’s a wonderful and weird story, and it’s the best way to experience one of the pioneers of visual novels.
YU-NO is a re-release of a game originally on PC over 20 years ago. Despite having an old soul, it has a timelessness that holds its own against any modern release. The characters in the game are mostly well-defined, and I enjoyed getting to know or hate some of them. YU-NO’s main character is Takuya Arima. He is a young university student going through a rough time. He’s living in the shadow of his dad’s unconventional academic theories and his untimely death. Their complicated past doesn’t help.
Their future becomes a lot more complicated when Takuya receives a strange package from his dad who might not be dead. It contains a reflector device that lets him bounce around different timelines through the game and collecting jewels to power up the device and items to overcome different obstacles ultimately uncovering the mystery of his father and the world.
Using one of the blue jewels lets you put an instant point of return anywhere in the game. The multiple paths will stretch and fork depending on where you go and what you do. By placing a jewel, you can open the map and go back to where you want to zig after you previously zagged. You’ll have to search the whole game for some items, and they’ll need to be moved between different timelines. It’s well organized and satisfying, and don’t be afraid to fail to succeed over this enormous game.
The map shows paths and where your jewels are located, but it’s a huge help for progression. You can see where the paths expand, so you know where to go to collect a new jewel or when you hit one of the many endings. You need to keep one jewel to open the map, so use them sparingly at first.
Each path will have new and some similar events, but it may be from a different perspective or time. Each line also represents your romance with a different leading lady. You won’t have to pick from a bunch of boring responses to impress her. You’ll just need to stick to the right path and let nature take its course. Each of them feels unique and alive, but I think Mitsuki is my favourite.
When you are speaking to other characters or exploring an area, there are icons on the screen to speak or examine people, including their bodies and clothes, items, and the general environment. As part of the dating sim part, you can click on the boobs and butts, but none of that is mandatory. It’s mostly harmless fun, and I’m glad it wasn’t more censored or removed to appease modern sensitivities.
If there are a lot of points of interest on the screen, moving your cursor between those points can be squishy, and it can get tedious trying to move between two of these to have it snap back to where you were. It’s noticeable but not terrible.
The story is the most important thing, and I wasn’t sure about the slow burn during the first ten hours as it sets up the foundation for everything to come. Eventually, I was completely riveted to my TV trying to tear off another layer of the story and unravel another mystery. Some plot decisions didn’t make sense to me and some character reactions didn’t feel right, but it’s mostly small nitpicks in the delightfully unexpected twists and turns. I wanted weird and wonderful, and YU-NO delivers.
If you’re watching the anime and wondering about the game, I’m halfway through the series, and it ranges from a little to completely different from the game. I think both have their place, so I intend to keep watching. It’s like a parallel world.
For presentation, you can pick from the redone music or the original, and the melodies sound good. Sound effects are OK while the voice acting is excellent. It’s almost entirely voiced over the many, many lines of dialogue. The art is great, and you can examine all the art you unlock from the main menu. Character designs are very good as well.
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World is a precursor to so many other visual novels, and it should be played by anyone who wants an amazing adventure with an exciting story. There are only a few real negatives. That story has a couple of points that didn’t make sense and a really awkward interaction with a specific character.
However, it’s a game I’m so glad I played (for 60+ hours), an adventure I’m glad to have taken, and an experience that will stick with me for a while. If you want to play an amazing visual novel that will keep you guessing until the end (really!), this is one that won’t disappoint.
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World PS4 Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7/107/10
Like some items in YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, the game is a relic of another world, and I’m so glad it’s been remade. There is a meaty story here that will not disappoint you, but it will surprise you until the very end.
That’s not to say it doesn’t falter a bit. There are a few moments where the story and sexiness make a misstep, but it’s a small diversion in a much larger journey in more than one world. It’s very good, and it’s a must-play for anyone looking to go on an unforgettable adventure.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.