We would like to thank the developers for providing us with a free copy for review
It is the year 2029, and people in the world have been awakened to new powers that they can control with their minds. The Huntley Scientific Research Institute has opened up to try and learn about these powers while teaching the students so they can harness their strange abilities. These abilities are called Synesthasia and each student at this academy has a different ability.
You are playing as Ziek, who has a unique ability of Synesthesia, where he can detect significant objects by splashes of color that will only appear in his vision. He just wants to live out a comfortable life with his friends, however, he is soon caught up in something that will change his ideal life at this school.
Pros and Cons
*An amazing story that will twist your way of thinking
*Great characters that have different personalities
*Beautiful art style
*A few plot points were not explored fully
*Certain characters were not fully explored
*Speech synthesis AI voice acting
The story for SYNESTHESIA is something of an oddity, it’s very Steins; Gate, and I loved it. There are times when I felt that the story made sense but also when I was just confused about how to put the pieces together on certain plot points. One character is telling me how this thing worked in the world or with the human brain and it made sense to me but I still had questions following it through my head.
I honestly loved this aspect of it and I wanted to experience more of the story, it was very unique in how it presented its theme and the character's abilities as well. The characters are a bit generic at times but they still shined at being well-thought-out characters, and that’s a good thing in my books. My favorite character had to be Jase, he stood out throughout the story and I enjoyed seeing him around throughout the story.
The story itself has also this science-like feel sometimes when it talks about certain things, like the threads being a part of the visual novel's world. Thinking about all of this stuff was confusing, yet I knew in a way what the characters were talking about. It also made my brain hurt sometimes but I think that’s what makes it special. Like it told you about all these other threads and how there could be other parallel worlds out there, it all just blends in to make a unique story.
There are a multitude of endings for you to get throughout the visual novel and each has a different outcome. Your choices do matter in the story, so make sure you get the correct choices if you want a certain ending. There are a total of nine endings in the visual novel and there are three bad endings for you to get, plus three epligioes if you so wish to view those. I really liked how the branching paths were done for each of the routes and they all felt unique
There is a lot to this visual novel that I could explain but it would be a little confusing if I did explain some of the stuff. It does not even spoil the story fully in a way, you just have to read the visual novel for yourself so you can understand what is going on, also you can even find some keywords to look through, which was a nice touch.
Although there are in fact two issues I did have with SYNESTHESIA, and the two issues are in fact, tied together. Certain plot points in the story were not fully explored and two key characters were also not developed fully to make sense of those plot points. The first character I want to talk about is Trace, who hates people who have Synesthesia abilities and the college they are in. Why does he hate them though and how did he get a bunch of people to agree to his cause, well, the visual novel never explored that, and because of that it just leaves an empty feeling.
There is also another character called Dr. Crane, who comes out of nowhere, works at the college can shut off Synesthesia abilities, and has certain technology to help aid them. It’s like he just pulls these things out of his pocket and expects me to just roll with it. It’s a little awkward and I just can’t find myself to really make any sense of the character. What are these machines or abilities that can do these sorts of things, well, it’s not fully explained either. I could give Dr. Crane a small exception to this rule, as I believe the writers were trying to give us this mystery-like feeling for the college and everything we see in it. Also, the fact that he was a surprise help to the group, was kind of interesting in a way.
Other than those issues, I did enjoy the story for SYNESTHESIA, I loved the ideas that were presented.
Graphics and Performance
The art style for SYNESTHESIA is really beautiful, everything is crafted in vibrant colors and feels very alive. It shows different areas of the city the characters are in and I like how it includes both bright and dark scenes. I tested on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM, I experienced no issues.
There is one thing that I do take issue with in this visual, and that is with the voice acting. The visual novel uses speech synthesis AI, if you turn on the voices, they will sound a little robotic at times and this is due to the game using artificial intelligence. I should point out that there were voice actors in the visual novel but they did not do all the lines and thus speech synthesis was used. Take this con as you will, I just did not like how they sounded robotic-based. The only character who can’t speak is Ziek and there is an option to turn the voice acting off if you find this too off-putting.
Also, one final note just to be clear, everything else in this visual novel is, in fact, handmade, so the art, character models, story, etc. are human-made, just to make sure for those who are wondering.
Overall, I think SYNESTHESIA is a pretty good visual novel for those who love sci-fi and mysteries. With its multitude of endings of different routes to go along with it, I can safely recommend this to those who love deep stories that make you do a lot of thinking, especially if you love Steins;Gate and are looking for something very similar to it.