Sound of Drop -fall into poison- Visual Novel Review

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Sound of Drop -fall into poison- (commonly known as Shizuku no Oto in Japan) is a suspense/horror visual novel developed by aiueo Kompany. It was released on May 05, 2014 in Japanese and the English release was on October 30, 2015.

 

First Impressions

01

Before getting started with the game, I knew that it had some elements of suspense/horror. Normally that isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m ultimately drawn to games like that in general for some reason. The visuals looked interesting and I figured I’d be able to endure the suspense. Let’s hope I don’t regret it.

Also for the record, I assumed this game would be short, given the 2-10 approx. hours… however there appears to be 31 possible endings to acquire, 4 True Endings and 27 Bad Endings… Th-that’s a looooooooooot of bad endings. ( ̄□ ̄;)!!
Oh Lord, so help me….
Dammit, this better be worth it! (;¬_¬)

 

Story/Plot

02

This summer, will you visit the aquarium too?” –Yeah I think I’ll pass…

“Nestled in the heart of Tokyo, the quaint little aquarium, Manten Aquarium.
Numerous urban legends have arisen from here.
On the night of the full moon the waters turn to blood and man faced fish lurk within.

Junior high school students Mayu and Himeno came to Manten Aquarium to investigate these urban legends.
In the beginning it was fun, but then.
They see a glimpse of Mayu’s missing littler sister, Mari.
The wheels of fate begin turning as they chase after Mari’s shadow.

–Before she realizes it, Mayu finds herself alone and lost in the crimson aquarium.” (Source: Steam)

The story focuses on an aquarium — Manten Aquarium. Manten Aquarium has rumors circulating around it involving the paranormal and other strange phenomena, such as water turning to blood, the ghost of the dead director swimming in the tanks, people disappearing, and not to mention the ones that scared the living shi-applesauce out of me; the human-faced fish. (It ain’t a fish at all!!!!!!) ಥ∧ಥ

Now I will admit, I’m not big into horror and I don’t typically go for it, but if it is limited to suspense, then it’s something I can enjoy. Sound of Drop had quite an interesting concept, so it drew me in with the visuals it had. We have our main character, Mayumi, and her best friend, Himeno, visiting the aquarium out of the friend’s curiosity of the rumors revolving around it. Unknown to Himeno, Mayumi has a connection to Manten Aquarium that goes back five years prior to the start of the story. While in the middle of enjoying the exhibits, Mayumi and Himeno each find themselves wandering into the alternate dimension of Manten Aquarium, Red Manten Aquarium. In this dimension, unexplained phenomena take place, from water turning red as blood, fish swimming in the air, to people being driven to the brink of insanity. Our protagonist Mayumi ventures through this labyrinth in order to save those she loves and find a way out, all while uncovering the truth behind this strange dimension that began five years ago.

The story and different scenarios really have you at the edge of your seat as you play through. Honestly though, having 27 bad endings out of 31 endings in total, you practically feel like you are treading on thin ice. Scratch that you are treading on thin ice. I had to give up and use a walkthrough to get through it because I kept getting bad ends, and even then I still got a bad ending while using one. Despite it being rather difficult to get one of the four good endings, I actually liked that aspect of the game. The many fails one goes through can really make one feel a sense of accomplishment after finally achieving a good end.

I wouldn’t exactly say that the plot/concept for this is 100% original, as I kind of got Corpse Party feels. That being said, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the Corpse Party game, so… I can’t compare them very well. They definitely circulate around a similar concept involving vengeful spirits bound to a place with an alternate dimension coming into play as well. Ultimately, I cannot really consider it being a knock-off, so those of you who have played Corpse Party can judge that for yourselves. Despite the similarities, I still think that Sound of Drop did a very good job at conveying an eerie and mysterious story mixed with emotion.

Initially some scenes to me feel like they fell a bit flat and there were some periods I thought the plot was being a little rushed and at times forced. There are even some scenarios that I just wish time was taken to elaborate a little more on. However, after playing through all over again from the beginning and with each ending achieved, the story finally fell into place and I was able to put everything together. At the end of the day, however, it still felt like some endings didn’t connect very well in regards to certain characters’ thoughts and actions. Some contradictions, in other words. ┐( ̄ー ̄)┌
Score: 7/10

 

Characters

Nothing much can be said about Sound of Drop’s characters. With most you either like them or you hate them. Some of them are really fleshed out, but some just don’t get enough screen time or their story isn’t focused on enough. One example would be that son of a bit-biscuit eater, Kenji (I love and hate this guy, mostly hate… ヽ(#゚Д゚)ノ┌┛(ノ´Д`)ノ). We find out his backstory, but it isn’t focused on enough and we basically just get the gist of it. In a nut shell, if you will. That being said, his character was quite interesting. I’d be spoiling too much to go into detail, but let’s just say that my trust in him wavered often. He causes you to think one thing about him and then believe another, back and forth. In the end however, regarding his character, his final scenario just seemed anti-climatic in the last two true ends, and in the first two true ends, he is completely forgotten about.

In regards to the other characters, Himeno just doesn’t get have enough screen time as someone like Sayo and so, she sometimes feels a bit flat as a character. Sayo is relatively interesting, but can be such a generic tsundere. Mayumi is about average and Miku just feels like she was thrown in to flesh Sayo out even more. Mari was likable, but I figure some people will either love her or hate her because of her typical light-hearted and energetic younger sister role, which some may find endearing or annoying.

Final thoughts, the characters are about average. Some had potential, but weren’t fleshed out enough or just left little impact and this resulted in some falling really flat.

Mayumi Nakanobe:
The main protagonist and junior high student. She has a mysterious connection to Manten Aquarium, going back 5 years prior to the story.

Himeno Tamagawa:
Mayumi’s only friend. She is very curious about the legend surrounding the aquarium and drags Mayumi there one day to see for herself about the credibility of the rumors.

Kenji Hiyoshi:
A man that works part-time in the Manten East Building.

Rieko Saginuma:
The “vice director” of the Manten Aquarium. She gives off a sinister demeanor.

Sayo Sakuragi:
A mysterious girl that Mayumi encounters while in the Red Manten Aquarium.

Miku Minato:
A girl who attends the same school as Sayo.

Mari Nakanobe:
Mayumi’s younger sister who disappeared five years ago at Manten Aquarium.
Score: 5/10

 

Art & Animation

03

The visuals throughout the game are absolutely gorgeous, as well as some being outright disturbing… (Guys… save me from that human-faced fish!! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·. ) They all really help to convey the visual novel’s disturbing, eerie, and underlying beauty. There are a few CGs though that do look a little off with some characters, or just don’t look right at all, but it is easily overlooked. The ones in question being the CG for the Decapitation bad ends (to me the way Mayu is drawn in this one looks reminiscent of RWBY style, or just CG in anime in general) and one of Sayo during the the limited ocean of the life and -fall into poison- routes.

Regarding the animation with the opening sequence, it is rather well done, but nothing in particular stands out about it. It is pretty much just like typical visual novel opening sequences, it utilizes CG art and still models of the character, among additional effects. Still presented in a way that is effective and befitting of the visual novel.
Score: 7/10

 

Sound

04

One thing is for certain, and that is that the music was a huge contributor to the suspense and emotion in Sound of Drop. Some of the more sinister pieces like Full, Discomfort, and Insanity really gave the most disturbing and suspenseful scenes more impact. I knew when those pieces played, as well as other pieces, that something was about to, or could depending on your actions, happen. This kept me on the edge of my seat and in the beginning I at times found myself playing with my hand partially over my eyes ever since I saw that human-faced fish. Uwah… ┬┴┬┴┤Д⊙`)

The visual novel and soundtrack isn’t just suspenseful and unnerving, but also has beautiful and heart warming pieces as well. All in all, the soundtrack does a great job at giving all scenes more impact and all tracks were used wisely at the perfect time. I do wish the soundtrack had more diversity to it, however, as some pieces felt overused. The soundtrack is 27 tracks long, 22 being BGM tracks. So it is a decent size, but still small as well. Understandable, however, since the visual novel is about 2-10 hours long, so it is a short one.

The opening theme, Sound of Drop, really does a good job at capturing the emotion, sorrow, and despair we see throughout the story. The ending theme, C*U, that was used for the 3rd true ending, the limited ocean of the life, felt a little out of place. Granted the ending was a good and happy one, the upbeat song just felt so sudden. That being said, I have conflicting feelings regarding it. It is a good song, and while I feel that it doesn’t completely belong, I also feel that it was a good choice, as it gives more of a sense of a happy ending then the other routes that use the opening theme as the ending theme.
Score: 8/10

 

Enjoyment

The overall story and all its components are well done. The story itself is very interesting, however, I do feel that it has more potential. That being said, it was a good read and while it lacked in some areas, the visual novel excelled in others. It has a bit of balance between what it lacks and what it doesn’t. While this isn’t necessarily a good thing, I still believe that some can overlook its shortcomings if they’re interested in something to pass the time.

If you are a lover of horror or suspense, this a visual novel to consider picking up. However, do not expect major jump scares, as if I had to rate the horror on a scale of 1 to 10 then I, one who scares easily, would rank it as about a 2. It isn’t that scary, so don’t expect it to be the driving force if you are a horror junkie, as the visual novel is more of a suspenseful thriller. Even if you are like me and you scare easily and would never pick up anything with even the slightest bit of horror, I would actually say, do consider picking this up. It is an enjoyable read and let’s face it, if a wimp like myself can read this and ENJOY it, anyone can. ╭( ・ㅂ・)و
Score: 8/10

 

Concluding Thoughts

05

I may have been giving this visual novel some flack, but honestly I really loved it and would play it again! I felt a little disappointed with how some things ended and the final true ending, after playing the first three, left me unsatisfied. However, I also love how it ended. The final true end is more bittersweet, depressing, but also a great conclusion, nevertheless. The third true ending to me felt like it was just… too happy. The way it ended just seemed too good given all they went through, whereas the final true end was perfect to me. This was a story with despair, death, and full of struggles, so a bittersweet one to me just felt more right.

I did thoroughly enjoy this game, it was a great buy. I encourage anyone that enjoys stories filled suspense and emotion to try it out, you won’t regret it! (。^_・)ノ

 

 

Visual Novel Rating: 7

Pretty good. Good enough to the point I may play it again out of boredom. The majority of it was well executed, but on the contrary it lacks at least one major quality. Lowest grade where I’d actually recommend it.


If you want to read the visual novel, then you can purchase it in English on steam here: Link

I also suggest using this walkthrough if you ever feel stuck. The true ends listed are also in the order that I would suggest playing in: Link

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