An experience of supernatural proportions!
- System: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mobile
- Publisher: square Enix
- Developer: square Enix
- Release Date: March 8, 2023
The visual novel horror has certainly spawned some of our fondest gaming memories in the anime of Honey. Games like The Letter, Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, and The Great Higurashi franchise are some great examples of how a visual novel can really evoke fear, dread, and chills in a player. Well folks, we’ve got probably one of the best horror VNs we’ve played here at Honey’s Anime and it comes from Square Enix!
PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is the latest title from the well-known developer/publisher and we were blessed enough to play this title ahead of its release. Is PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo the next True Horror VN to join Legends or should it remain an unsolved mystery? We explore that in our review Paranormsite: The Seven Mysteries of Honzo for Nintendo Switch!
Paranormsite: The Seven Mysteries of Honjō (Paranormsite) takes place in Honjō, a small town known for its long history of paranormal mysteries, but specifically, The Seven Mysteries of Honjō. These various stories seem straight out of fiction but in reality, they are rooted in sad tales of death, curses, and terror. Several individuals are given the title of Night Cursers and each is given a power from the Mysteries which they must use to kill each other for a gift, the rite of resurrection and the ability to resurrect the dead. Capacity …
We’d love to go further than that, but let’s be real, you don’t want spoilers in Paranormsite, a VN that indiscriminately can not only heighten narrative tension but equally make horror more scary. What we can say is that we are loving every second of each and every character/plot on Paranormacite. From the titular main character Shogo Oki—we say that because he’s not really the main person—to the other oddballs you’ll meet, each has a uniqueness that many VNs and horror games lack.
Take for example a curse bearer named Haryu Shigeima, her son was killed – we won’t say why – and it seems obvious why she wants to kill him in order to bring him back to life. However, as you play through her story in Paranormsite, you’ll see that she can’t be too fussed about killing other curse holders. Every character has a big role to play in Paranormsite: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo and it’s exciting to watch each story weave together.
In the beginning you will soon realize that you are acting as a supervisor to these different people. After meeting a kind of strange supervillain, you’ll soon learn that your main goal in Paranormsite is to guide these various souls to their proper destinies and this is done in a very simple yet intuitive VN formula. Like most VNs you’ll read a lot—sadly no voice-over here—but there’s more to PARANORMASIGHT than just clicking on an option and seeing where it leads. You may need to find and use an item, then discard it afterwards, unless you want to meet some dire fate. You may need to make in-game menu changes to avoid cursed attacks and there are times when relying on someone for the entire story can spell doom later.
PARANORMASIGHT is full of various small actions that the player must perform in order to solve various puzzles and find alternate routes per story. Even moving the camera—yes, you can move the camera to examine an area—can result in death if done while talking to someone. PARANORMASIGHT is basically a simple VN, but it has a lot of additional gameplay mechanics that make you feel like you’re not just reading text but actually solving a mystery.
Like many horror games like Corpse Party, PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo has tons of dead ends. These dead ends can result from failing to follow the on-screen action or not figuring out what you’re supposed to do during the dialogue. Thankfully, PARANORMASIGHT’s dead ends are sometimes necessary.
There’s a lengthy flow chart system that gives players the ability to move around other stories, see different paths/conclusions, and sometimes require completing one section before unlocking another. Honestly, not a single dead end in PARANORMASIGHT felt silly or worth watching and some are downright scary. We must have thrown our Nintendo Switch on the bed more than once… luckily it has a heavy case…
The art for Paranormsite reminded us of a Junji Ito story, with themes from Corpse Party and Higurashi thrown in for good measure. What does this mean though? This means that PARANORMASIGHT looks fantastic and equally has some amazing audio which basically motivates players to use a good pair of headphones while playing. The eerie atmosphere of the various nighttime settings and the creepy ghost/curse scream Junji Ito but the setting/theme haunts the oddities of Corpse Party and Higurashi. Even on Nintendo Switch, Paranormacite looks incredible for a VN, and the pseudo-80s/90s feel – as evidenced by the TV-like menus – just helps make sense of the game.
The screenshots we show in this review only capture a tiny fraction of the visual greatness you can expect when you play, but trust us… there are even bigger – and truly scarier – effects yet to be discovered. waiting for… whether on purpose or by accident.