Selenon Rising
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Selenon Rising is a great visual novel with an interesting story and great setting. The psychic abilities of the main character also makes for an interesting gameplay mechanic as it adds a bit more depth to interrogating suspects. It is an episodic release, so time will tell if it can remain as engaging throughout, but so far so good.

Gameplay: Searching crime scenes and interrogating suspects make it a bit more interactive than your typical visual novel.

Graphics: Decent visuals, but the cut-scenes could have been better.

Sound: No voice acting, but superb music

Summary 7.7 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
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Selenon Rising

Developer: Fastermind Games | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Indie / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When the Earth is attacked by a powerful alien race, known as the Selenon, humanity is practically wiped out. Now the Selenon rule from the dark side of the Moon while what is left of humanity is clustered together in The City. Humankind has been spared from extinction, but on one condition, all technological progress must be halted or annihilation of the species will follow. Of course, not everyone is pleased with this arrangement and freedom fighters, like the New Moon Resistance, dream of overthrowing the Selenon oppressors.

Surprisingly, Selenon Rising doesn’t’ cast you in the role of a dashing freedom fighter, but rather a rookie agent of Special Counter-Technology Reconnaissance and Assault or S.P.E.C.T.R.A. This means that your character works for the Bureau of Human Protection, who is in charge of keeping humanity in line lest they face retribution from the Selenon. Violet, along with her partner, Blue, is tasked with tracking down a murderer, but the case soon becomes muddy and the stakes higher than either anticipated.

Selenon Rising is advertised as a sci-fi noir visual novel and it definitely nails it when it comes to the gripping storyline. The setting as well as backstory is superb and after a somewhat slow start the game quickly kicks things into high gear. All the SPECTRA members have their own unique abilities and Violet is no exception. While her partner is a clairvoyant, Violet can read people’s emotions and certain thoughts, which makes her adept at cross-examining suspects.

This ability is represented in the game by bar charts displaying what emotion a subject is feeling in conjunction with their answers when questioned. Players must keep an eye on these and then raise questions if they spot inconsistencies, such as a subject being angry when an innocent person would have been surprised for example. You can also use items as proof when you catch a subject lying, which is something that fans of the Phoenix Wright series will be very familiar with. You only get a few chances to mess up during these segments or else you will have to retry them from scratch, so pay close attention to what is going on. In addition to talking to people and making choices that can influence the alignment of your character, there are also scenes that must be combed for clues.

In keeping with the noir style of the game the hand drawn backgrounds are all displayed in black and white. Although there aren’t that many locations and the artwork is not as detailed as other visual novels the visuals still fit the tone of the game nicely. The character designs are also good, but it is evident from the cut-scenes that the game didn’t have a huge budget for artwork. Some of the scenes, especially towards the end would have looked great as animations or even detailed CGs, but end up looking worse than the usual artwork. The music on the other hand is very good, which softens the blow of there being no voice acting for any of the characters.

The grizzled cop teaming up with a rookie to investigate a huge case is a well-worn trope, but Selenon Rising manages to spin it in an interesting and engaging manner. Players can unlock optional dossiers with articles on the characters, world and technology, which we recommend reading to gain better insights. The game features plenty of fascinating characters and the writing is quite good. We only noticed a couple of typos (“perimieter” instead of “perimeter” being the most glaring as well as a small issue with some of the text not all fitting into the text boxes. None of these detract too much from the experience though, and overall we thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Currently only episode one of Selenon Rising is available, with further episodes planned as DLC. The game will eventually encompass four episodes and hopefully all of them can maintain the quality of the first one while keeping the story interesting.

*Review based on Episode 1 – more information will be added as further episodes become available.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP1
  • Processor: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
  • Memory: 128 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Chipset
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.6
  • Processor: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
  • Memory: 128 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Chipset
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • OS: Linux x86/x86_64
  • Processor: Pentium 4 1.7 GHz
  • Memory: 128 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Chipset
  • Storage: 300 MB available space

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