9-nine-:Episode 4
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

9-Nine-: Episode 4 returns players once more to the college town of Shiromitsugawa where Kakeru Niimi and his gang of artifact users battle a threat from a different dimension. This episode upholds the same high standards as the rest of the series and the story really is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s not the best place to get started with the series, but fans of the previous episodes won’t want to miss out on this one.

Gameplay: Very engrossing and packed with humor, action, and drama.

Graphics: The character sprites and CGs are still some of the best in the genre.

Sound: Great voice acting and a solid soundtrack

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9-nine-:Episode 4

Developer: PALETTE | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Casual / Visual Novel | Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam

9-Nine-: Episode 4 is the latest and seemingly final entry in the popular visual novel series by PALETTE. The series kicked off with the protagonist, Kakeru Niimi, getting drawn into a search for a killer with the ability to turn people into statues. He was joined in this quest by a variety of heroines, each of whom got an episode dedicated to their storyline. However, whereas the previous episodes could also be played as standalone titles, for Episode 4 it is best to go in with prior knowledge of the entire series. Some mild spoilers are unavoidable in this review, so please stop reading if you have yet to play episodes one to three.

9-Nine-: Episode 3 had quite a few startling revelations towards the end, including some fourth wall breaking ones and Episode 4 continues straight where it left off. As with the previous episodes a new heroine takes the spotlight and this time it is the enigmatic Noa Yuuki. In previous episodes, she came across as a mysterious and aloof character, but in this episode, players get to experience a completely different side to her. However, as this episode also wraps up the storyline there are plenty of other things happening.

One of the biggest revelations in Episode 3 was Kakeru’s special ability and this is something that takes the forefront in this episode. In fact, the game now features a special flowchart that shows all the different “branches” of the story and how his actions created new ones. This ability also adds a new twist to the story that sees Kakeru send his memories across branches to influence events and change outcomes. It is rare for visual novels to get better with each installment, but 9-Nine-: Episode 4 really knocks it out of the ballpark. The game still has great dialog and a couple of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, but when things get dark, they get very dark. Especially towards the end, some elements are right up there with classics like Steins; Gate when it comes to emotional impact. Playing through the story is definitely an emotional rollercoaster and while some of the plot twists can be spotted a mile away, there were a few that caught us off-guard too. The story also wraps up rather nicely and we doubt that any fans of the series will be walking away from this one disappointed.

Visually, the art style remains the same as the previous episodes, so they are still beautiful. It’s a pity that most of the locations are the same as before, but this makes sense in the context of the story.

The sprites are mostly the same too, but there are some new ones for Yuuki. Of course, this episode also features some gorgeous new CGs. There’s even a couple of adorable new super-deformed CGs with chibi versions of the characters. Players who opt to install the optional adult patch will also unlock a few (partially censored) animated sex scenes. There are also a few animated effects for some of the fight scenes to make them look more dynamic. The CGs and movies can be viewed from their respective galleries after unlocking them in the game. The only criticism about the visuals is that the resolution is restricted to 720p, which means they are not as sharp as they could have been when played on a large monitor.

As is the norm for the series, the music in 9-Nine-:Episode 4 will be very familiar to everyone who played through the previous episodes. However, the voice acting is as good as always and once again all the characters, including the protagonist is fully voiced. The volume of everything from the sound effects and background music to individual voices can also be adjusted. With the adult patch installed players can also set the volume of the h-scene sound effects and toggle whether or not they want to hear Kakeru’s voice during these scenes. The user interface is very easy to use and accessing everything is easy using either a mouse or keyboard.

Overall, 9-Nine-:Episode 4 is a very bittersweet entry in the series as it wraps up the main storyline. Over the course of the four games, it has been impossible not to get attached to some of the characters, so hopefully, this is not the last time that they grace our screens. While there are no real choices to make in the game, it is still a very compelling experience and up there with some of the best that the genre has to offer. Newcomers should pick up the first episode and play through everything for the full experience, but for fans of the series getting this episode is a no-brainer.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, NVIDIA 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950, NVIDIA Geforce 7050
  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670 or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or newer
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better (ATI Radeon X1600 NOT SUPPORTED)
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT 650M, AMD Radeon HD 6750M or better
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or newer, other unsupported distros may work
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Core HD Graphics 3000/4000, NVIDIA 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better (Open Source Drivers NOT SUPPORTED)
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: lib32-alsa-plugins or libasound2-plugins:i386 and libasound2-plugins-extra:i386 may be required.
  • Additional Notes: NOT SUPPORTED: ATI Radeon X1600, Intel GMA950, NVIDIA Geforce 7050
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.04
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670 or better
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

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