Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 7

Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time is a kinetic novel that features three girls who end up living under the same roof while trying to regain their place in society. It is set in a future where aptitude tests determine your career for life, and those who fail end up as worthless outcasts called chuusotsu. The game features bright, colorful visuals, but the story can veer into unexpectedly dark directions. It is undoubtedly an intriguing tale, and hopefully, future installments will reveal more of the world and characters introduced here.

Gameplay: This is a kinetic novel, so no interaction exists beyond reading the story.

Graphics: The backgrounds are detailed, and the character sprites look very nice.

Sound: Both the voice acting and background music are decent

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Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time

Developer: Studio Beast | Publisher: Fruitbat Factory | Release Date: 2018 | Genre: Visual Novel / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam / MangaGamer

First impressions of Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time makes it seem like just another light and fluffy visual novel with cute heroines. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye. It’s the story of Marisugawa Arue, a fifteen-year-old girl who missed out on a lot of schoolwork due to a long-lasting illness. Usually, this would not have been a huge setback, but the world of Chuusotsu is not exactly ordinary.

The setting is a world where citizens are ranked according to special seals issued by the United People’s Federation of Earth. These seals look like tattoos on the back of wearers’ hands but are actually made up of body-melding nanomachines. The discovery of the substance used to create the nanomachines is what caused all countries on Earth to unite, but it was also the beginning of the end for personal choice when it came to jobs. Instead of being in control of their careers, people take aptitude tests, determining the job they will do for the rest of their lives. After this is decided, the seal they receive will enhance whatever abilities are needed to do the job, such as strength or intelligence. However, there are some unfortunate people who, for various reasons, are unsuitable for any job and end up with no seal. This marks them as failures in the eyes of society and leaves the chuusotsu with vastly reduced abilities.

Her illness resulted in Arue becoming a chuusotsu, which is something that weighs heavily on her conscience. However, she is determined to study hard enough to take the re-evaluation exam and redeem herself by becoming a government worker. Arue takes a shot at applying for a government relief program and, much to her surprise, ends up being chosen. The program stipulates that she will take up residence with two other girls in an apartment where they will have to synchronize their minds and give an acceptable answer to a philosophy question. Failure to do so within one week will mean eviction from the apartment, which is something Arue wants to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, philosophy is not exactly the strong suit of a girl who is really into manga and very easily distracted.

Although Arue is the protagonist and most of the story deals with her inner turmoil and past, she also has two unique flatmates.

Both are chuusotsu, but their reasons for ending up without seals are not revealed, as with Arue. One is Hachisuka Koiro, who wears a novelty jacket and is much stronger than one would expect from a girl of her stature. The other is Fujisaki Arara, a chuunibyou with a stuffed animal tied to her arm and a penchant for going on about the “World Dominator” and “Poison Pulse.” The three girls primarily interact with each other, but their next-door neighbor, a small girl wearing an eye patch and doggy hoodie, also makes the occasional appearance. Finally, there is the lesbian couple Froit and Yung, who also pop up now and then.

Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time is a kinetic novel, which means there are no choices to be made, so readers can simply sit back and enjoy the story. It starts as a slice-of-life visual novel, but the futuristic elements, such as the nanomachines, holograms, and other science fiction gadgets, make things a little more interesting. The whole philosophy angle also gives the game a unique flavor. It doesn’t take too long for the story to start delving into some very dark emotional themes, such as isolation, depression, and mental health either. Then, just when you least expect it, some unexpected twists take things in a wholly unexpected direction. We can obviously not comment on any of these without delving into spoilers, but suffice it to say it caught us off-guard, and towards the end, the story is not nearly as family-friendly as it started.

Visually, Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time is a good-looking game with beautiful character sprites and very detailed backgrounds. It also has a decent number of CGs, and the characters have different expressions to convey their emotions. Although it doesn’t feature any sex or nudity, there are some fan service parts, such as the girls taking a trip to the beach where they wear swimming costumes. Only the three girls and the four other named characters have sprites. The resolution is set to 1280×720, but the game can be played in full screen or windowed mode.

The music of Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time is decent, but none of the tracks stand out as particularly memorable. Nonetheless, the tunes all fit the story, and we never got tired of hearing them. The game’s voice acting is in Japanese, and all the named characters have their own voices. The background music and sound effects volume can be adjusted independently, and players can also select the volume of individual voices in the game. The subtitles can be set to English or Japanese, and players can adjust the text and auto mode speeds. The interface for the game is standard visual novel fare and players can save or load at any time. There is also a “TIPS” menu that shows the meaning of some of the terminology used in the game.

While Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time has a somewhat slow start, it’s an interesting setting, and the unexpected story twists managed to suck us in. The story sort of wraps up in the end, but it is also clearly the first part of a much larger tale that will hopefully be continued in future installments. Many of its questions are left unanswered, and as interesting as Arue is, we would love to know more about the other two girls as well. The game has a free demo on Steam, so we urge players interested in this title to check it out and form their own opinion. We certainly enjoyed our time with Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time, although it did catch us off-guard by not being as laid back as it first appears. The game also features some sexual references and swearing that can come out of nowhere. Interestingly, it includes a very short bonus story with no character sprites that can be read in a few minutes. Overall, this is a neat kinetic novel for fans of the genre searching for something a little different than the usual slice-of-life visual novel.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 10
  • Processor: Intel Pentium III 800MHz or higher
  • Graphics: 1280×720 Display or higher
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound compatible sound card
  • OS: Windows 7, 8, or 10
  • Processor: Pentium III 2GHz or higher
  • Graphics: 1280×720 Display or higher
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound compatible sound card

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