Lights! Camera! Read a ton of dialogue! This might seem a bit basic but in actuality, this explain a lot about the newest title, Root Film, published by PQube Games. Developed by Kadokawa Games, Root Film is a visual novel adventure filled with suspense and murder. With a lot of voice acting and anime drawn characters, Root Film may seem like a Golden Globe game, but it has some Rotten Tomatoes thrown in it.
Root Film takes place in real-life Shimane prefecture in Japan. You play as Rintaro (Max) Yagumo, a poor film director who owns an independent studio named Studio Yagumo. Known for winning at a 6 Minute Film Festival and at the Asian Film Convention, this up and coming director is called by TV Producer Hiroyuki Isogami. Isogami ask him to watch a lost film and to decipher what happens to one of the characters. From there, Yagumo goes out to solve various mysteries and murders, accompanied by his assistant and editor, Aine Magari, along with his friends. With a shadowy figure only known as Yugensai Kumashiro playing a part in the game, Yagumo must unveil a dark secret that may change who he is.
Along with that story line, you also play another character named Riho. A popular upcoming actress, she also solves crimes along with her manager, Shoko Manabe; one of these crime mysteries involves her friend Mie Aoto and another the famous author, Kana Hatsuse. With only two cases, they each play a part in the main storyline of Yagumo. With 7 cases, you’ll understand why and how all these events happen. You won’t expect the twist and turns on how each of these play out. Each case is broken into 7 segments: prologue, 3 chapters, solution, and epilogue.
Small Index Of Gameplay
Root Film gameplay is really small for an adventure game. You do a excruciating amount of reading. Through the reading, you’ll collect clues through Synesthesia. Synesthesia is where you’ll keep notes of important information that you’ll use at the end of each story. If used correctly, you’ll have the suspect admitting the truth. If you mess up to many times, you can end up with a Game Over.
As for the investigation part, characters and item are highlighted in big yellow boxes. This allows for new paths and information to open up. When moving around on the map, you’ll select that area and hold the A button. When you see multiple places in home or Yagumo Studio, you’ll do the same thing to go to that place.
That’s it. Nothing beyond those two game play mechanics are in the game. Riho has the same elements as Yagumo. The only difference is in Chapter 5. You’ll play as Magari and will just memorize the important information. Same as Synesthesia, but with the name change. Pretty bare bones and nothing exciting; which if it offered more, it really could made the investigations more compelling with your involvement.
An Acoustic Affair
The music in Root Film has a great soundtrack. With its jazzy piano riffs and a questionable resemblance to a certain pink cat with one of its tracks, Root Film does a terrific job making the investigations and reading very pleasant. It’s midi soundtrack would make a terrific live album and listening to it through headphones on the Nintendo Switch makes it the ideal way to enjoy it
With 24 tracks in all, you can listen to them in the Museum option and control the volume of that track you want to hear. From slow piano arrangements to hand snapping and toe tapping that will get you up and dancing, Root Film will keep you listening throughout the journey.
The Localization Is A Big Mystery
Root Film does have a big problem though. The localization of the game dialogue contains misspelled words in some instances, along with grammatical errors. Since the game is fully voiced in Japanese, you only can read the text that comes up. It doesn’t happen often, but in each case, it’ll pop up and it’s very noticeable. Other than that, it is done well and is easy to understand and focus on. The characters don’t move while you’re going through the text so you don’t miss much; but if there is a sequel, the localization has to be better and checked before its initial release.
As The Credits Roll
In the end, Root Film is a tremendous game to own. The story, characters, and music does the game justice and the plot is engaging as the cases go on. Beside the lack of game play and some hindrance in the localization, Root Film is a great visual novel adventure that wraps up nicely.
Rating: 8 Out Of 10