ANONYMOUS;CODE Review – Worth Saving and Loading
ANONYMOUS;CODE is a Science Adventure visual novel crafted by the creative minds of Chiyomaru Shikura and MAGES. It joins the ranks of other titles in the series, the most notable of which is Steins;Gate. While the game excels in terms of presentation, it falls somewhat short of fully realizing its genre’s potential. This is somewhat disappointing, especially given the long anticipation leading up to its release. Nevertheless, the game offers a wealth of engaging content.
Set in the year 2037, the narrative unfolds primarily in Tokyo. Although familiarity with other Science Adventure titles is not a prerequisite for enjoying the story, those who have played the earlier games may find the experience more enriching. The futuristic setting provides ample opportunities to delve into intriguing concepts such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, which are seamlessly integrated into daily life. The protagonist, Pollon Takaoka, is a teenage hacker who distinguishes himself from his peers through his compassionate and altruistic demeanor.
A pivotal moment occurs when Pollon encounters a young girl named Momo Aizaki, leading him to discover a unique ability that could be instrumental in saving the world. He gains the power to “Save” and “Load” within the world itself, granting him capabilities that transcend the ordinary. For gamers, the concept of saving and loading progress is a familiar one, making its incorporation into a visual novel quite intriguing. This mechanic also allows players to explore the various endings that the game has to offer, adding another layer of depth to the experience.
ANONYMOUS;CODE delves deeply into its science-fiction elements, drawing inspiration from contemporary scientific advancements to craft a narrative that, while speculative, feels grounded in near-future possibilities. The game invests considerable effort in character development. Although the story may be somewhat brief, the characters are engaging. Pollon, as the protagonist, is particularly relatable, while Momo is portrayed as a charismatic young woman grappling with her own complexities.
The game’s presentation is exceptional. The art is visually striking, and the integration of gameplay elements within the narrative is seamlessly executed, at times evoking the feel of an interactive comic book. The character illustrations are among the finest in the Science Adventure series, enhanced by the use of cel-shading techniques that lend them a vibrant, animated quality. While some cutscenes are indeed animated, the quality of the animation is somewhat inconsistent.
For those seeking extensive gameplay, it’s important to note that ANONYMOUS;CODE is fundamentally a visual novel. Interactive segments are confined to specific portions of the game, and the replay value is primarily driven by the availability of branching story paths and alternate endings. While this may be disappointing to some, the game compensates with its brisk pacing, ensuring that the experience never becomes monotonous. Unlike some visual novels that take an inordinate amount of time to establish context and characters, ANONYMOUS;CODE maintains a compelling tempo from the outset, keeping players engaged throughout.
ANONYMOUS;CODE delivers a high-quality experience, bolstered by its excellent English voice acting. For those who prefer the original Japanese voiceovers, the game provides an option to switch. While the PC port runs smoothly and I encountered no significant issues, it’s worth noting that the game’s performance on the Steam Deck is less than optimal. Although it is playable, the experience may not be as seamless as one would hope. I am optimistic that future updates will address these issues specific to the Steam Deck version.
In summary, I would recommend ANONYMOUS;CODE to anyone familiar with the Science Adventure series. While it may not reach the zenith of the franchise, and despite the side characters lacking the same level of engagement, the well-crafted main characters are sufficiently compelling to hold the player’s attention. The game offers a rich narrative and visual experience, making it a worthwhile addition to the library of any fan of visual novels or the Science Adventure series.
ANONYMOUS;CODE Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
- Developer: MAGES
- Platform: PC (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher