Symphonic Rain Review

One genre of game I’ve never got around to trying is the visual novel. Mainly because I don’t quite “get it”, if I wanted to read a novel, it makes more sense to me to read a book.

Having said that, I used to be a big fan of the fighting fantasy “choose your own adventure” books back in the day, and I guess these are just a modern version of those.

Degica Games recently published Symphonic Rain on Steam. A light visual novel with a musical rhythm game attached.

You are a young musician, Chris, studying at a musical school, in a strange magical city, Piova, where it constantly rains and fairies live.

The basic premise of the game is graduation is only a few months away and you have to learn and perform an original song with a vocal partner (you play a magical instrument called the Fortelle), in order to pass your final exam.
The story is a slow, wistful one, consisting mainly of you receiving letters from your long-distance girlfriend, and talking to a small musical fairy who lives in your room.
You also wander around the campus going to music lessons and meeting people through the day, trying to find a partner for the song. However, you (Chris) are not really interested in either, so the story is very meandering.
Meeting a friend

Meeting a friend

When you need to practice or perform the songs, then you use the keyboard to play notes that appear on the music sheet, as pictured below.

The musical game part

The musical game part

I found it surprisingly difficult to get the hang of playing on the keyboard, the music games I’ve played before have been on console so using the controller. Despite being a fast typist, I found it tricky to type in sequence and rythmn with the music – I also found the difficulty in the first song suddenly ramped up halfway through, just as  I thought I was getting the hang of it!

I have to be honest and say I didn’t finish the game, or even get too far into it, as the pace was a bit too slow for me, although the characters were well written and the voice acting is very good.

Essentially it’s just not my cup of tea, but I can see it’s a quality game with some nicely drawn artwork and builds the rainy world of Piova very effectively. If visual novels are your thing, or you fancy trying a different genre from your usual, then you should give it a go. Just be warned, the pace is slow and “leisurely”.

One problem I did find on my first play, was after playing for about 30 minutes during my lunchbreak I need to save the game, but at that point the “SAVE” option on the menu was greyed out. I tried several times but couldn’t get the game to save.

I had to start over from the beginning on my next play. A lot of the text and scenes can be skipped so it didn’t take too long to get back to where I was, but there seems to be some inconsistency on which sections can be skipped and which can’t. Also the “SAVE” option seems to come and go inconsistently too. Not sure if this is a bug, or intentional. Seemed odd, not to be able to save this game at any point though.
The game is available on Steam here:

Disclaimer : I requested a Steam key code from Degica Games for this review, but all the views etc above are my own.

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