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Review: Cafe 0: The Drowned Mermaid for Windows, Mac, Linux

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Title: Cafe 0 The Drowned Mermaid
Price: $10 for standard, $15 for voiced
System(s): *PC, Mac
Release Date <: October 04, 2011
Publisher (Developer): RoseVeRte
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for adult themes.
Pros: Six different endings that lead you closer to the true ending, very simple game play, you can skip over dialogue you read already in new playthroughs, unlock character art and items that will help you find out the truth. A voiced version with full Japanese voice acting is also available.
Cons: the game is very short and can be beaten in a few hours, you must play the game at least 4 times to get the real ending, not much to do in the game except for answer a few questions.
Overall Score: Two Thumbs up, 93 out of 100 A- * * * * out of 5

After waking up in the strange Café 0 you realize that you have no memory of how you got here or even who you are. A blue haired waiter has you drink a glass of water and suddenly you are back home and told that you are in fact dead.

Turns out you died in a yachting accident but cannot recall how it happened. The waiter from Café 0 tells you that no matter what you will die in on week but the magic of the café has given you that time to figure out what happened to you and to make peace with it. Can you make peace with your life and forgive your killer or will you hold a grudge the rest of eternity?

cafe0_waiter

Mermaid Who Can’t Swim

Café 0 is a virtual novel, a game where you basically read a story and interact with it to get different endings and outcomes. You can think of it as kind of a “choose your own adventure” story. You play as a teenage girl who has no memory therefore she must interact with three people to figure out who she is and what really happened to her when she died. The three people are her best friend, her ex boyfriend, and the school doctor who is also her counselor (and possible more). The girl does not trust anyone since she knows that one of the three – or all three – people might have to do with her death.

You can decide who to talk to each day between the three people but you can only talk to one person per day. As you read the story you get to choose between two different dialogue choices one that will lead to the “good” ending with that character and one that will lead to the “evil” ending. Each time the day ends you look in the mirror to see new parts of you appearing. The clothes the girl wears will look different depending on the path you are going down (good or evil.) You won’t know what you really look like till the “true” ending though.

There are six endings all together: One “bad” ending where you don’t find out anything about yourself or your death, two endings for the characters, one “good,” one “evil” and then the “true” ending. You can’t get the true ending until you get the “good” and “evil” ending for each character because each ending will give you an item that you can show to Ami your best friend to learn more about plus each item will lead you closer to the “true” ending. I should point out that Ami is just there for information so there is no “good” or “evil” ending for her but, once you get all the items, she is essential to getting the “true” ending. The “bad” ending gives you no item or useful information and therefore isn’t necessary to get unless you are a completionist.

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As I said this game is mostly read with the exception of a few choices you make and, once you get to the last few days, you don’t make any more choices. Instead, you just read the story to see what you have uncovered.

7 Days to Catch a Killer

Because you have to replay the story a few times to get all the endings, you will be coming across a lot of dialogue you already read. Fortunately there is a skip option that allows you to zoom through all that stuff you read already. The skipping will it stop when you get to new text so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. Also if you have a mouse with a “scroll wheel” on top, you can scroll up to see all the dialogue and read anything you might have skipped over by accident.

This is a very short game and you can get all six endings in just a few hours. Also, once you figure out the pattern of game play, it becomes very easy to get all the endings and doesn’t leave much challenge. However, the game is very good at keeping you intrigued and wanting to know what really happened so the lack of challenge may not bother you.

The game is good at remembering you after you completed an ending so you can start a new game with the knowledge you had from the previous ending (i.e. the items you found and info about characters).

cafe0_doctor

One aggravating thing was the main character seemed to be constantly annoyed with the waiter who is supposed to be helping her along. I didn’t really notice him do anything specifically to bother her yet she is constantly mad at him and telling him to go away. The part that bothered me the most about that is he is your “guide” and without him you would have no idea what you are suppose to be doing in those seven days. Perhaps she is just bitter about being dead and taking it out on him.

Read It, Survive It

I found this to be a unique gameplay experience. I am new to the virtual novel experience and despite the few things you actually do in the game I found it to be quite fun and definitely intriguing.

The game keeps you guessing and wanting to know what the heck really happened and you will never really know until it is all explained to you in the “true” ending.

Site [Roseverte]

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