The visual novel genre is interesting in its ability to go completely off the rails at times. Sure, there’s a huge number of cutesy harem comedies or romance stories, but then you get hit with something out of nowhere like Sound of Drop’s terror aquarium.
ATOM GRRL!, which we’ll refer to without the punctuation henceforth, is another one of those novels that does something different: this is Tarantino by way of Sekai Project.
ATOM Grrl presents an unusual scenario by visual novel standards: our heroine, Jessica Huster, is a gang leader. Yes, really, that girl in the art is a gang leader. She’s returned from Japan to find that her turf is under fire by her cousin; this is a gangster story, so naturally this means some people are getting shot. It’s typically played for laughs, but the whole premise is still highly unusual for this kind of game. Atom Grrl isn’t Tarantino levels of gritty, so don’t get the wrong idea, but it’s no cutesy catgirl dessert shop story either.
This is a kinetic novel and you know what that means: all you’re doing is reading, baby, so sit back and get to tapping that confirm button…or just set up Auto mode and let the game play itself. As usual for kinetic novels, it’s also a fairly short read, lasting around an hour or so. ATOM Grrl’s writing is decent enough given the subject matter, though the odd racial slur here and there is liable to take some players off guard. As for the art, it’s relatively nice but there isn’t a huge amount of it given the short length of the game. The music is pretty typical for a game about gangbangers.
As usual for a kinetic novel review, there isn’t a whole lot to say here; read up on the premise and take the plunge if you’re interested. Apparently there’s an uncensored version of the game with slightly more questionable content available outside the safety of Steam’s filters, but that’s going a bit far for me, so we’re going to pass on that. Without that content, ATOM Grrl! has to get by on its unique concept, and if that draws you in then check this kinetic novel out.