As of late, there are a few niche publishers that are localizing a variety of visual novels to eager English speaking audiences. One of these publishers is Sekai Project, and their latest contribution to the VN pile is Planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~, which the company localized and released on Steam in honor of the game’s tenth anniversary. Should you give this ‘kinetic novel’ a read?
In Planetarian, you are placed in a dystopian future, wherein humans have more or less destroyed themselves and the environment around them. What were formerly great and thriving cities are now left deserted and in disrepair, inhabited only by the roaming war machines that believe they are still protecting those behind the walls.
Amongst one of these cities of ruin, a Junker lurks about, looking for useful remnants of a lost civilization he barely remembers. While looking for some refuge from the poisonous yet never ending Rain, he comes upon a strange building, with an even stranger resident within. A robot that looks like a human girl, a part of the past that should have deteriorated away years ago, welcoming him to the planetarium. Oblivious to the ruins and destruction around her, she offers the Junker a view of the stars, something humans have been unable to see for the many years since the hazardous Rain began to fall endlessly upon the land.
Planertarian is a pretty short visual novel, with an average playthrough lasting only a couple of hours. Also, being a ‘kinetic novel’, the player actually does not make any choices throughout the game; Planetarian aims to tell a single tale, and there are no multiple endings to get or secrets to find.
That might put off a lot of gamers, but it really works to the game’s benefit. There may be no interaction on the player’s part, but that also allows the developers to tell the story they want to tell, without having to shoehorn various choices and consequences into the plot.
Of course, that sort of leads to another problem… these types of visual novels lead to very short reviews! There really isn’t much left to discuss about Planetarian; the story makes a good impact on the player, and its short length means that it will not overstay its welcome. If you have a free afternoon and are looking for something relaxing but fulfilling, Planetarian will be waiting for you.