Originally released in 2017, Raging Loop was finally translated in English, reaching the western audiences by the end of 2019. This is one of KEMCO’s first Visual Novel’s on Steam, and also one of the best games from the Japanese developer/publisher.
Raging Loop made my Christmas a lot better, as it came as a surprise and one of the best Visual Novels I have ever played. The concept behind it is simple, but its well developed theme made the concept feel new, refreshing, and addictive. “Who did it?” It’s a popular formula that set players to search, find and execute the Murderer, and many variations of these games paved the way for other popular ones out there. However, Raging Loop does it so well that I found myself thinking about it all the time, even when not playing.
Players take a looping turn within the life of Haruaki Fusaishi, a young man who ran away from the big city to escape his problems and all that tormented his heart. Upon first starting his bike engine, he couldn’t even imagine what awaited him. Driving through hills and forest, he stumbled across a small and hidden village called Yasumizu, one that seemed full of mystery and deadly secrets.
Raging Loop's concept really caught my interest as it plays out almost like a game of chess. It’s not played through your directed actions, but within a plot, which is captivating, and majestically articulated to keep you rethinking your initial thoughts at every moment. It is well directed with a Triple-A writing production value, and it has the capability to appeal to non-VN fans, which is extremely rare.
Yasumizu looks just like your traditional, rustic and old village, except… An old and restrictive tradition plagues the minds of its inhabitants. When the strong and impenetrable Mist arrives, it means the Wolves are coming. They will take one life during the night, while the villagers must hang one during the day. How will they know who to hang? Now that’s how things get interesting. The village works in very mysterious ways, and our protagonist finds himself mixed up in all of this, doing everything to survive. Simply escaping, or breaking the rules brings out the Corruption, that will tear apart anyone defying the Gods.
The plot is so well constructed that it simply becomes worthy of an Anime, or a book for that matter. Every time players die, a new loop will be set, unlocking keys that can be used to open new paths and obtain new answers that unveil this mystery, piece by piece. The narrative is exceptionally well written, with details and an immersive set of events capable of making players think and chew on the various possibilities.
The Characters are fascinating, each with their secrets, fears and hopes, all dwelled by a life marked by blood and horror. But not everything is gloomy, as Fusaishi may even find love. But would his beloved be a Wolf? With such plot twists and revelations, Raging Loop is highly recommended for anyone who wants and desires to experience a true horror-fantasy story that that has not been clearly promoted and appreciated enough up to this point in time.
Raging Loop acts on two different fronts, the gore, which contains shockingly bloody scenes, and also the psychological warfare that our protagonist struggles through to in order to survive. Although there are choices, it’s mostly a kinetic novel, with choices serving as placebos to push the storytelling onward. Raging Loop delivers the classic multiple-endings experience, but through a very unique, exquisite and interesting way, where one dies, but loops again, maintaining Fusaishi’s memories and a new analytical watchful eye across the events.
Visually the game has a nice presentation, the fonts used for the text are a little big in size, but I suppose those playing in the comfort of their couch probably won’t notice. Character renders are very simple, but well drawn. They do not immediately remind us of Anime, simply because they have a very distinct artistic direction. Not many animations are included, and it’s clear they only provide a basic variety. Backgrounds are pleasant, and portray the necessary imagery occurring in the events. Special scenes have dedicated artwork that looks, as expected, amazing with tremendous artistic quality.
With a game that can take dozens of hours, in my case almost 70, it’s pretty clear that art will become repetitive, and the same can be said about the soundtrack. However, the music was carefully composed to make sure it wouldn’t cause irritation on a long run, or become unpleasant. It still delivers every single appropriate sound, from thrilling, down to the chills across your spine, to the perfect atmosphere surrounding the characters. It’s well composed and suitable for each mood.
Addictive, superb, and written with excellence, the translation is nothing to be disappointed with either. With the amount of Japanese folklore involved, it's translated truthfully and impeccable, as the story unfolds. A Visual Novel no one should avoid, and a prime example of horror done well, with everything a narrative needs to attract readers. Simply amazing!