A few genres that have been mainly absent on Nintendo consoles these past generations have seen a resurgence in these past two years. Mainly due to the portability and the easiness of porting games to Nintendo Switch. One of the genres that has been heavily neglected in the past were the visual novels. But now we have seen countless good and bad ones come out on the eShop. Root Letter: Last Answer is the latest in a long line of games that has dropped and this one is definitely worth checking out.
Now, it is worth mentioning that “Root Letter: Last Answer ” is the improved – or increased – version of “Root Letter”, a game that came out a while ago for the PlayStation 4, and the PlayStation Vita. It is assumed that a true sequel will eventually come out … but it still does not have an exact announcement date. In any case, what has changed in “Root Letter: Last Answer” for the Nintendo Switch? Apart from some additional post-outcome content, the most significant thing in “Root Letter: Last Answer” is that it comes with the option of using photos and videos of real actors and actresses , instead of the aesthetic anime style that everyone would expect. That is, one can choose between playing “Root Letter: Last Answer” with 2D graphics, or with photos and videos of real people. It is an option that I had never seen before in a game, and in this specific case, it brings its pros , but also its cons.
But I’m getting ahead. In “Root Letter: Last Answer”, you play as a boy – one can choose to give him a name he wants – who travels to the town of Matuse after rediscovering the letters that were written with a pen pal named Aya Fumino fifteen years ago. He just remembered that she simply disappeared one day, she stopped writing, but the truth is more complicated: suddenly, he finds an unopened letter, in which she mysteriously warned him that he had killed someone. It is a revelation shocking enough to make our protagonist abandon his goals, get into a plane, and go to Japan.
Once in Matsue , the game is divided into several chapters , each focused on the interrogation of one of Aya’s friends while studying at school. In addition, between chapters, you can reread the letters you wrote to Aya at that time, and choosing from several response options, as to “remember” what he answered fifteen years ago. It is these decisions that affect the ending you will get in the game. And if that weren’t enough, apart from the interrogations, every time you arrive at a new place, you can use a your time to investigate your surroundings, in the style of a point-and-click type game. We definitely cannot say that “Root Letter: Last Answer” lacks ambition.
Let’s start then, with the greatest novelty that this version brings. The graphic style that you choose will definitely depend on the preferences of each gamer , but in my opinion, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Manga – style art — that is, the original graphics — is undeniably attractive, and gives each character a lot of detail, and makes each new environment feel alive . On the other hand, however, the real photos – even of real places in the town of Matsue – make one truly immersive experience in the game, and feel as if you were visiting Japan. However, it is worth mentioning that, at certain times, the use of real actors somewhat contradicts the most caricatural characterizations of some characters, making one feel that the general tone of “Root Letter: Last Answer” is a bit inconsistent. It is a consequence, I suppose, that the original art had a rather less realistic style.
However, regardless of the aesthetics one chooses to play, it is worth mentioning that the general tone of the game is quite irregular . “Root Letter: Last Answer” begins as a mystery title, in which one has to solve a potential murder – or at least one disappearance – but the pace of the game is, in general, quite relaxed , which does not contribute to the mystery that feels particularly urgent. In addition, the title makes use of a great variety of characters, some with truly realistic characteristics , but others much more implausible, which makes certain chapters feel extremely out of place. “Root Letter: Last Answer” is a mixture of the cartoon and sober; of the exaggerated and the most realistic. It seems that the developers were not very clear about what identity to give the game, and therefore, they ended up putting a bit of everything in to the title.
At the end of the day, it all doesn’t matter to much . Because I must admit that I had a great time playing “Root Letter: Last Answer”. The story is intriguing enough to keep you interested until the end, and the options that one can choose while reading the cards are ambiguous enough , so you don’t know immediately what kind of end you will get. The point-and-click style sections are not particularly complex – and in fact, there are several options to investigate that end up being totally irrelevant to the story and research – but at least they manage to give the game some variety. The best thing about “Root Letter: Last Answer”, in any case, is the atmosphere – We personally still liked the original graphics the most. But when using real photos, the game really makes one feel that you are visiting Matsue, and knowing their most remote corners . The fact that it refers to places, events and real people certainly helps.
“Root Letter: Last Answer” is a unique experience , there is no doubt about that. It drives at a leisurely pace, without major troubles, and has characters of all kinds, some realistic, some that seem to have been taken from an anime for teenagers. However, as much as it has a few flaws , I can still recommend “Root Letter: Last Answer” without major doubts. It has two graphic styles that work quite well, manages a very attractive atmosphere – especially for those of us who haven’t visited Japan – and develops a story that is intriguing enough, which, above, can conclude in various ways. If you are a fan of visual novels, or simply want to play something that comes out of your comfort zone, try “Root Letter: Last Answer.” It may take some time to get used to, but it can bring a very unique and intersting experience.
Root Letter: Last Answer is an great visual novel that experiences with interesting ways to play a real life-like game.