Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia
Gameplay 5
Graphics 6
Sound 6

Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia is a visual novel with an interesting premise, but some parts feel padded out unnecessarily. It is also the first part of what was supposed to be a three-part series, but there is no sign of the other two parts yet. This makes it hard to recommend the game as there is no guarantee the story will ever be completed. It’s a pity as Forgotten Trace does have some nice elements and the art style is good, despite the low resolution.

Gameplay: The story is interesting, but ends on a cliffhanger and can be a slog to read at times.

Graphics: The resolution is fixed at 1024×768, but the art style is decent.

Sound: Japanese voice acting and decent background music

Summary 5.7 Above Average
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia

Developer: Almaz | Publisher: Fruitbat Factory | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Visual Novel / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Nanami Kazuya has had the lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer player. He worked towards this goal with dogged determination and just as it was almost within his reach it was cruelly snatched away from him by a stroke of bad luck. Faced with the prospect that he would probably never be able to play again, Kazuya sank into a suicidal depression. Forgotten Trace opens with Kazuya finding himself in a mysterious snow-covered forest where he meets a beautiful woman who seemingly knows him. After waking up from this encounter Kazuya chalks it up to just being a dream, but then events begin to happen that make him doubt his theory.

Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia is a visual novel by Almaz that has been published by Fruitbat Factory for western audiences. Although Kazuya is the protagonist of this first chapter, there is also a large cast of supporting characters who all get their own opportunity to shine. In fact, two of them have backstories that are arguably far more tragic than that of Kazuya, which makes it a bit hard to empathize with him. For example, his crush Ibuki is missing out on a lot of schoolwork due to a heart condition that sees her having to constantly go to the hospital. There she meets a girl named Madoka who lost her mother and became confined to a wheelchair due to a very tragic incident. Kazuya also has a womanizing friend named Rei who can’t resist adding more “sweets” to his collection despite dating the richest and most popular girl in school. Finally, there’s Miu who lives next door to Kazuya and clearly has a big crush on him.

One of the things that set Forgotten Trace apart from most other visual novels is that players get to experience the story from the viewpoints of almost all the characters involved, even the villains. To help players keep track of this the game even features a flowchart showing what new segments are available and how much of each character’s story has been seen. As new entries are unlocked players can select the order in which to play them, but apart from a handful of choices Forgotten Trace is basically a kinetic novel. Players will however have to go back and replay sections to make different choices to unlock 100% of the story, which in turn opens up a whole new side story, called Miu’s Sunday. It’s a pity that this side story can be so easily missed, though, as it features a completely different art style and a more lighthearted scenario compared to the main game.

In terms of story Forgotten Trace is a bit of a mixed bag. For the most part, it plays out like a slice of life novel albeit with some darker moments mixed in. The Steam store describes it as an all-ages visual novel, which is a bit strange as it features blood, swearing, some mild nudity, and references to things like suicide. The biggest issue with the story is that it feels like just to introduction to a much larger story. This is understandable as apparently there were two more chapters planned for the series, but rather worryingly the other two have yet to make an appearance. This fact alone makes it very hard for us to recommend Forgotten Trace as there is no guarantee that the story will ever receive a conclusion.

Visually, Forgotten Trace doesn’t look too bad and features a lot of different CGs. The character sprites also look fairly decent and the backgrounds, while limited, are detailed. Along with the usual CG and background viewer, players can also unlock additional illustrations from the game while playing. Unfortunately, the resolution is set at 1024×768, which means even in full-screen mode you get large black borders on either side. Even worse, playing this way seems to result in weird issues, such as flickering. This means the game has to be played in windowed mode, which is hardly ideal for players with high-resolution monitors.

Most of the spoken dialog in Forgotten Trace is voiced by Japanese voice actors, while the internal thoughts are silent. The music is decent, but for many songs, the tunes do not loop, which means everything just becomes quiet. The controls are standard visual novel fare, so players can either click through the dialog or set the text to auto.

Overall, Forgotten Trace features a lot of interesting elements, such as the mysterious suicides of people who, thanks to their medical conditions, should not have been able to take their lives at all. The slice of life drama also takes an unexpected turn into almost Highlander territory later in the game. Unfortunately, this is all overshadowed by the cliffhanger ending and uncertainty about further installments of the game. Sadly, some of the dialogs in this game are also a slog to get through and we found are attention drifting during scenes that dragged on needlessly. Being able to view certain scenes from multiple viewpoints is nice, but not when 90% of it is just a repeat of the same text.

Forgotten Trace: Thanatos in Nostalgia is not a bad visual novel, but due to the issues mentioned in this review it is one that is hard to recommend. There are so many other good visual novels currently available that there is no need to read one that might never get a proper conclusion. This will obviously change if the other three installments are released, but when that if or when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

System Requirements

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

Related posts



Mamiya is a visual novel that tackles themes that are pretty dark and disturbing. It can be confusing at first due to how it mixes the ordinary with the surreal, but once players are hooked, it is hard to stop reading. The beautiful CGs and incredible soundtrack also make it easy to get drawn into the twisted depths of the story. Mamiya is not for everyone, but thanks to the lengthy free demo, it is easy to find out whether or not you can stomach its bleak and oppressive story. Gameplay: Although it is primarily a kinetic novel, there's plenty of routes and different stories. Graphics: The backgrounds are simple, but the sprites and CGs are outstanding. Sound: No voice acting, and the sound effects are nothing special, but the soundtrack is incredible.

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

While it might not have a multi-player mode and doesn't stray as far from the familiar Bioshock experience as you might think, Infinite is an outstanding game with a lot to offer. With intense combat, an eye opening storyline and unwillingness to back away from sensitive topics, Infinite is a game that should not be missed. Gameplay: Familiar yet fresh, Infinite is a worthy successor to the Bioshock franchise. Graphics: Looks great even on moderate hardware. Sound: Excellent voice acting and a great musical score.

Dead Man’s Draw

Dead Man's Draw

Dead Man's Draw might be a casual title but don't expect it to be mindless. After unlocking some traits and making your way through the tournaments you have to think strategically in order to win. The game lacks a multi-player mode, but there is plenty of content to keep you busy. Gameplay: A card game that mixes luck and strategy in equal measures. Graphics: Nice visuals and a polished interface. Sound: Fitting music and some crisp sound effects.

9-nine-:Episode 1

9-nine-:Episode 1

A serial killer with super powers are on the loose and it is up to two teens to try and track down who it is before the body count escalates. 9-nine-:Episode 1 is a good start for the series, but despite having two endings, it is a fairly linear experience. The story is good, though, and we cannot fault the gorgeous art style and awesome soundtrack. The story is also relatively self contained, but intriguing enough that we can't wait to see what happens in subsequent episodes. Gameplay: Fairly linear, but the story is decent enough to keep you hooked. Graphics: The character designs are beautiful and the game also features some nice backgrounds. Sound: The soundtrack is great and all of the characters are fully voiced in Japanese.

Knee Deep

Knee Deep

One suicide, three investigators and a whole town of shady characters to question. That about sums up Knee Deep, but the focus on conversations, intriguing story and unique visual presentation definitely make it worth a second look. It is more of a visual novel than a typical point & click adventure, but will definitely hook anyone who loves a good story and memorable characters. Gameplay: The focus of the game is on the story and not puzzle solving, so expect plenty of conversations. Graphics: Character models look a little stiff, but overall the visual style works well. Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack is very good.



Refunct is a short and sweet indie game that provides players with a first person platforming experience that is surprisingly relaxing. Jumping around and filling gray squares with green grass just by touching them is quite soothing and you'll soon find yourself pulling off moves like wall jumping with ease. The whole thing can be completed in under thirty minutes and there is no risk of every dying, which means it might be a little boring for action fans. However, considering the low price and entertaining gameplay, there are far worse ways to spend those thirty minutes. Gameplay: Fun and relaxing, but over a little too soon. Graphics: Quite minimal, but everything looks great and fits the mood of the game. Sound: Also quite minimal, but once again very fitting.

Leave a comment

one + 20 =