is a mix of visual novel, action mini-games, murder solving deduction game with a sprinkle of dating simulation thrown in as a bonus (especially in ). It looks and plays like the child of the Phoenix Wright
and Zero Escape Games
franchises. It has all the humour, crazy turnarounds, over-the-top ludicrousness and objection gesture of the former and all the claustrophobia, tension and mystery of the latter (note that both the Zero Escape Games
and the Danganronpa
franchises are developed by Spike Chunsoft).
The premise is this: you are Makoto Naegi, an ordinary student randomly selected to enroll in the most prestigious and extraordinary high school, Hope's Peak Academy, where, besides you, are found only ultimate people who are the very best at what they do. As your school year starts, however, you faint and wake up in an unbelievably creepy game whose cruel rules will have you solve murders to save your own life.
Gameplay-wise, the game alternates between story phases where you discover more about your situation and can learn to know the other characters better, investigation phases where you collect clues and trials choke-full of mini-games that will tax your deductive mind as well as your reflexes.Pros
+ Intentionally ludicrous writing nonetheless filled with good twists
+ Good murder mysteries with reasonable explanations and a nice amount of fake leads
+ Over-the-top manga art style that helps alleviate the gruesomeness of the proceedings
+ Characters clearly look like huge stereotypes, but getting to know them will reveal some depth to each one of them
+ UI is stylish (a bit reminiscent of Persona)
+ Impressive amount of contentCons
- No way to miss a clue or pick the wrong culprit, which ruins the tension a bit
- Looks like a regular visual novel (with different paths to explore), but is actually kinetic (only one story possible, save for the thing mentioned above), hence zero replay value
- Getting all achievements requires A LOT of grinding
- The mascot's English voice will grate on the nerves of many (if that's your case, try Japanese voice acting instead)VerdictDanganronpa
is very weird. Whether you'll think it's weird in a good or bad way will depend on your taste in many of its components: over-the-top anime characters, murder mysteries, battle royale situations, quirky evil mascots, expected plot twists, unexpected plot twists...
While I cannot say that any part of this game felt exceptionally good, it was clearly better for me than the sum of its parts. I enjoyed my time in that weird and cruel world, with those tropey characters, crazy situations and good mysteries.
If you've tried and enjoyed Phoenix Wright
, Zero Escape
games or if you're way into murder mysteries or anime, you should probably try this game. Otherwise, you might want to check some gameplay videos (at the obvious risk of spoilers) or wait for a sale before diving in.
As for me, I will gladly go back to this eerie creepy funky world in Danganronpa 2
(and soon Danganronpa V3