The rise of portable gaming platforms has resulted in a recent boom for visual novels. Some of these titles have gone on to redefine what the genre could be, with others building on the establish formula. Instead of pushing the boundary, Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo tries to do more with less. It’s an interesting approach, one that certainly stands out. With a creepy story enhanced by a particularly off world, is Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo worth the investment, or safe to ignore?
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo starts with some brief prologue. You’re introduced to the world where certain plot points are alluded to. This scene is interesting, because it raises a lot of questions that you’ll gradually discovery during your play through. It’s a similar approach to what we saw with the Dark Pictures Anthology. It also helps a lot that certain tricks are used to throw players off. We won’t ruin the surprise and just say it would be nice if more developers utilized similar mechanics.
Such a Creepy Introduction
Once the adventure begins it’s hard to tell where exactly Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is going to go. With the initial scenes between Shogo Okiie, and Yoko Fukunaga, players are slowly introduced to The Seven Mysteries of Honjo. With Okiie being an out of towner, he is initially unfamiliar with them and their history.
Essentially, during the Edo period a number of mysterious things happened in Honjo. Over 10 of these stories were told, with the most notable seven becoming the Seven Mysteries of Honjo. Each of these stories are presented to players in full, with the mystery deepening as your investigation continues.
Files are Helpful to Follow Along
Beyond these stories is a deeper secret behind the Rite of Resurrection. As the name suggests, it’s a secret art that is said to reviving someone from the dead. You find out Fukunaga is big into the occult and uncovering the Rite so she can bring her dog back to life. However, slowly after introducing the deeper narrative things go south.
It’s an interesting hook that leaves players wanting to finish the worthwhile journey. Unfortunately, in doing so, Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo slowly shifts from a horror story to more of an investigation story with horror elements. It’s a smooth transition that will feel more rewarding as your investment increases.
For the most part, Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a straightforward point-and-click adventure. You’re presented with scenes, given a vague idea of what needs to be done, with a wide area to do it. One thing that gets old extremely fast is positioning. Sometimes you’ll need to explore multiple options that are only present when your curser is at specific locations.
For example, a person’s body might give insight about them, with their head adding dialogue options. This can make it somewhat difficult to progress, as does the vague commands that require a bit of trial and error. In a lot of cases you’ll need to speak to a character multiple times, or after specific actions. The condition isn’t always clear, though trying enough things will eventually progress the narrative forward.
Most puzzles are solved via this, or just exhausting options until something works. It isn’t the worst approach, though it can prompt players to find a guide. It also doesn’t help that the controls are not the best with a controller, so you might want to consider using touch screen, or a mouse.
A lot of the visuals and dialogue are kind of cheesy as well. Seeing the first death, and the curse that accompanied it, didn’t feel scary. It was more silly with an over-the-top flare. There is some charm to this approach, just not the type I’d associate with fear.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo Review Verdict
The best way to understand Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is to think of it as a good story with okay gameplay. It’s not the first title like that this year, except this experience can be a bit rougher in terms of progression. However, if investigation, or this genre is something you enjoy, there is a good amount to experience with Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo. Especially since it doesn’t overstay its welcome, or have too many esoteric elements to overcome.
[Editor’s Note: Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]