Visual novels! I’ve read thousands and I’ll read thousands more. I’ll admit that at some point they blend together here and there – one shy kiss here, another clandestine meeting after school there, you know what I mean. It’s nice to see one that shakes up the formula a bit, rattling the cage just where the genre needs to. And boy, does something like Sound of Drop – fall into poison manage that.
Unlike many of the visual novels we talk about here, Sound of Drop is not a cutesy romance story, a fantasy tale with wizards and witches or anything like that. No, this is a horror game, and a fairly gruesome one at times; the closest we’ve reviewed on this site that I can remember would be The Way We All Go, and even that wasn’t especially horrifying for most of the game. You control Mayumi, who joins her friend Himeno on a visit to the famous Manten Aquarium.
Aquariums are usually a great place for a day trip, but given Mayumi’s sister disappeared the last time she was there, she’s understandably nervous about returning. It turns out that this is entirely reasonable, as the place is packed with all manner of unpleasantness. Mayumi ends up running into all of said unpleasantness firsthand when she catches a glimpse of her lost sister and explores the aquarium trying to find her.
Again, it must be said: this is not a happy story about crossdressing highschoolers, magical girls or anything like that. The Manten Aquarium is not somewhere you want to be after dark, particularly during the full moon, which is conveniently the night our unlucky heroine arrives. This is a full visual novel instead of a kinetic novel, so you’re often offered choices on how Mayumi should proceed, and many of these will eventually lead to her untimely death or that of others.
While there are four “real” endings, you won’t be seeing these early on, instead watching as Mayumi and co. have a bad time thanks to your fumbling about. You’re able to save and reload easily enough so it shouldn’t be difficult to eventually see all the game has to offer. You’ll also want to replay this one, as a second playthrough includes additional scenes.
The writing is largely good, though as a horror story it focuses more on buildup than most VNs and can feel slow at first. Likewise, the art is engaging and vibrant where it needs to be while building the tension in other areas. Most of the more gruesome moments are described in text rather than via art, for what that’s worth. Another prime source of tension is the music, particularly when making a tense timed decision, but there’s no voice acting whatsoever here.
Sound of Drop – fall into poison presents a nice change of genre from the typical visual novel. It’s also well done in its own right, so it’s an easy recommendation for fans of this sort of game. There’s a solid amount of content, particularly with the additional scenes during a second playthrough, and at around $13 it’s a bit cheaper than the usual “premium” visual novel.