It’s easy to find visual novels that focus on action, romance, comedy, or fanservice, but titles like Mamiya are few and far between. The main cast of the story is a group of men, but this is not a yaoi (boys love) title. Instead, the game opens with a funeral, and things just become bleaker from there. The “FallDown” portion of the game introduces each of the four main characters before the “DownFall” portion focuses on just how tragic their lives are.
Mamiya is a very long visual novel, but it’s hard to say anything about the story without delving into spoilers. It is primarily linear, apart from players being able to choose which character route to follow, but it is a game that has to be played more than once to understand what is going. The game has six different endings in total, and even after reaching all of them, we still had plenty of questions. Thematically the game is very dark and deals with alarming topics such as suicide, depression, loneliness, abuse, and more. There’s no shortage of disturbing elements either, making it very hard to read the story at times. The plot becomes even denser when certain surreal elements are introduced, but discovering how the different stories are interconnected in ways that are not immediately obvious is immensely gratifying. The apocalyptic tone of the game and the existential dread that permeates it will not appeal to everyone, though. Fortunately, the entire FallDown section of the game is included in the free demo, which is more than enough for players to decide whether they can stomach the rest.
Mamiya does not feature any voice acting, which is a pity, but there is nothing to fault about the incredible soundtrack. Not only does it feature a ton of tracks, but there are also some great vocal tunes thrown into the mix as well. As much as we love the piano, it is great to hear a visual novel soundtrack that isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit and feature more instruments. Hopefully, the soundtrack will be added as DLC at some point as the game has a CG gallery but no jukebox option.
Visually, Mamiya is a good-looking game that features very detailed character sprites. It has a decent-sized cast of characters, and all of them have their own unique sprites and expressions. Even better, the game has more than 80 CGS featuring the characters, and the quality standard for all of them is very high. The backgrounds in the game are a little less impressive as they consist primarily of grainy photographs. However, this style fits in perfectly with the bleak tone of the game. Occasionally animated effects, such as rain, also enhances the atmosphere of the game.
On the other hand, the sound effects are not as good and probably originated from a stock sound collection somewhere. The game allows players to adjust the BGM and SE volume or mute either. Players can choose between English and Japanese for the text in the game and set the text and auto text speed. Anyone who has ever played a visual novel before will feel right at home with the interface as it doesn’t attempt anything radically new or different.
In total, it took us close to 20 hours to unlock all of the endings in the game, but this was still not the end. In addition to unlocking an ending list, players also gain access to a “What If” scenario gacha featuring short story vignettes. Strangely enough, players only get five attempts per day at unlocking these alternate scenarios, and it is possible to “unlock” repeats. There are 16 of these scenarios, so it can take a few days to get all of them unless players fiddle around with their system clocks to circumvent the daily limits.
Mamiya is undoubtedly not the type of game that can be described as “enjoyable,” but it is very memorable. None of the characters are really likable, but they are relatable, and seeing them struggle with their personal demons will hit close to home for many players. As we mentioned earlier, Mamiya is not a yaoi title, and there’s no sexual content, but players can easily interpret some of the story elements in that way if they want. This means that some of the scenes can be a little uncomfortable, to say the least. The stories also don’t flow in a traditional manner, which adds to the surreal, dreamlike atmosphere of the game.
Players looking for a little more depth to their stories than what is typically found in slice of life visual novels should check out Mamiya. The game doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to disturbing content but remains engrossing throughout. It is not for players who demand clear-cut answers or are unwilling to play through all the routes to see the big picture, but fans will undoubtedly get their money’s worth from this game.
- OS: Windows 10/8/7
- Processor: Intel Pentium 2.4GHz or higher
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Direct3D compatible video card with 256MB memory or more
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 2 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectSound compatible sound card