In Space, No One Can Hear You Sing
HIGH Pleasantly simple low-poly graphics and an interesting narrative.
LOW The gameplay bits beyond the visual novel aspects aren’t that interesting.
WTF At times it feels like watching an anime.
The OPUS series was launched in 2015 for Android and iOS with its first title, The Day We Found Earth. It found success and its sequel, Rocket of Whispers, came in 2017. They’re both described by the developer as exploration adventure games, which basically means the player is allowed to freely explore a galaxy while solving quests and advancing the plot. Those same themes are carried forward here in the latest OPUS installment, Echo of Starsong.
In Starsong, the story is told in flashback as our main hero, Jun Lee (now an old man) thinks back to a promise made to a mysterious woman — a witch who could use the power of singing to unlock ancient portals. While the idea of the whole game being a flashback has definitely been done before, there are some interesting narrative turns here and there.
The core gameplay is what I would describe as “enriched visual novel” — while most of the playter’s time is spent speaking with people, there are 2D sequences where it’s possible to take control of Jun to solve quests like finding items or people. He’ll also need to reach certain places or obtain key items to advance the plot.
While the developers have included the exploration of space (as in the other OPUS titles), we have to always be mindful of the resources used. For instance, fuel is needed to move between different points in the galaxy, so planning ahead is required in order to avoid ending up stranded. To find resources like more fuel or precious items, several zones in the galaxy can be searched.
Of course, a visual novel lives and dies by its story and character design, and in Starsong I can definitely praise the former. The script is solid and offers plenty of small details on the world of OPUS, thus not requiring the player to be 100% familiar with the plots of the previous games. While those already familiar with the OPUS series will pick things up quickly, newcomers also will be eased into its world a matter of minutes.
Graphically, Echo of Starsong uses a low-poly look which feels appropriate for a visual novel, and in addition, close-ups of each character in anime style. Speaking of character design, I’m not sure I would call the cast particularly memorable, instead offering tropes found in various space anime like the “grizzled teacher with a heart of gold” or “the quirky side character”.
Overall, Echo of Starsong is another strong showing for the OPUS series — pleasant graphics, along with minor gameplay elements that successfully break up the visual novel sections, and an interesting story. This one will definitely please fans of the series and can be easily recommended to fans of the visual novel genre as well.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by SIGONO. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is not rated by the ESRB, but it contains blood and moderate violence. Definitely recommended for at least a teen audience.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not feature spoken dialogue, and text cannot be altered or resized. (See example above.) In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game can be controlled with keyboard or gamepad, using the shoulder buttons to control the characters or move around menus, with A to select choices and X to interact with items. Controls are NOT remappable and no control diagram is available.