Saya no Uta has been on my radar for a while now, often recommended to me by people who feel the need to defend the visual novel medium from my more common criticisms. Complaining about V Ns having too few or too arbitrary choices? Here's a game with only two! Don't like the one sentence on screen at a time format? This one has text filling the screen...(sorta)! Want something different from a sloppy, soppy porno? Try an Eldritch horror story porno! I finally gave in and tried it last week. I can be a bit more generous than usual and say Saya No Uta is head and shoulders above many of the V Ns Iíve tried, but considering the competition, that is probably faint praise. The story is certainly a great deal more economic and a damn sight more interesting than the usual mopey slice of life, school setting scenario. We are immediately thrown into a bizarro hell world of pulsating flesh walls and monsters, and in the middle of it all is a girl who, besides being the only one not covered in teeth and horror tumours, is so obviously too-good-to-be-true the story doesnít even bother to deny it. Good start. Sadly, the trappings of the medium are still an issue. Whilst the text gest to occupy more of the screen, I am still having to click like a lunatic to get the words to all appear on the screen. Just put the whole damn paragraph up and spare my finger. Then there is the fact that this is a porno as well as a Cronenburg movie. At first it seems like an opportunity to match up some really disparate visuals (sexy vs disgust), only rather than do that, the game has a bunch of kidnap/rape scenes that I guess you are meant to be jacking off to. Iím sure this appeals to someone, but I found it unappealing and counter-productive (surely the worst thing porn can be). As usual with these things, the sex scenes feel redundant and clearly arenít the focus, but they do hinder the enjoyment of the main plot. I think there is the option to turn these scenes off but having not done that, I canít report on what effect this will have on the story. My final thoughts are that Saya No Uta has some good ideas, but they are dampened by ill-fitting, perfunctory VN conventions. Tropes arenít bad, but they should at least be in their right place. Itís a mixed experience.
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