Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release: Oct 7, 2022 (for Switch)
Price: $25 USD
Chaos;Head Noah is an enhanced version of the sci-fi visual novel Chaos;Head which was originally released in 2008, but never got a Western localization until now. This is actually the first game in the Science Adventure series, predating Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes and also serves as the prequel to Chaos;Child which was already localized several years ago.
Plot: You are Takumi Nishijou, a reclusive, anti-social, insecure otaku who lives alone in a shipping container on top of a building. Everyday you live out an existence playing online games, hentai games and talking to your anime figurine Seira and generally dislike talking to ‘real’ people. One day you find yourself in the middle of a series of gruesome murders, dubbed the ‘NewGen’ killings, and you become the prime suspect of one of the murders. Then girls with gigantic swords start showing up in your life, mysterious voices talk to you, throwing your life into chaos.. Whose eyes are those?
Gameplay: The main gameplay element is reading text like in other visual novels, except that Takumi suffers from ‘delusions’ which means he is able to alter reality depending on whether you want him to suffer from a ‘positive’ delusion or a ‘negative’ delusion. These delusions generally do not impact the story, but its interesting to see alternate scenes play out.
-Takumi Nishijou, a reclusive, anti-social otaku who can barely even form coherent sentences to other people. He usually stutters a lot when he talks to ‘real’ people.
-Shogun, a mysterious figure who seems to be out to get you
-Rimi Sakihata, a cheerful girl who appeared to you one day during a murder scene, and later tries to befriend you
-Yua Kusunoki, a girl who stalks you and seems to want something from you
-Ayase Kishimoto, a singer from a popular indie band, who also seems to have her own sword
-Sena Aoi, a hot headed girl who carries around a big sword all the time and isn’t afraid to use it
-Kozue Orihara, a mute who speaks instead telepathically, who also has her own sword
-Nanami Nishijou, your cheerful ‘bratty’ little sister
Graphics: Chaos;Head Noah uses beautiful anime graphics and sometimes the characters blink on the screen making it appear more like an anime, I think this is definitely a great looking anime type visual novel
Music: The music is just fine, it’s not super memorable but it fits the mood of the scene and the story and that’s all right by me.
Conclusion: 9/10. This is one of the most interesting visual novels I’ve ever played, it’s up there with YU-NO, Muv Luv Alternative, Steins;Gate, etc it’s a S tier sci-fi visual novel. What makes it so interesting is a few things, the fact that the protagonist is one of the most helpless pathetic protagonists I’ve ever played. He’s hopelessly insecure about himself, depressed, depraved and of course delusional. It’s very rare that that you play a game with such a flawed main character. The other girls are all flawed in their own way too, the delusion mechanic is interesting and unique, and the story is genuinely gripping. Be aware that there is a lot of graphic violence in this novel and there will be scenes that will make most people uncomfortable. This game can get downright disturbing, but if you bear through it you will be in for a real treat because the story definitely has some interesting twists and turns. The main issue I have with the localization though, is that it doesn’t distinguish between when the characters are talking and when they are thinking. This is a real problem, because the story often times shifts between perspectives of different characters, and some characters are telepathic as well, so if you don’t know what is being thought and what is being said well… that can get confusing. Other than that, the actual translation jobs are superb.