If you had just one day to live, what would you do? This is one of the biggest questions Sumire asks. As you can probably guess, the game centers around Sumire, a disillusioned young girl whose life has been rather dark since the death of her grandmother. After meeting a rather pushy flower who has only one day to live, she agrees to give them a perfect day in exchange for seeing her grandmother one last time.
After making a list of things to do, they set out on a journey to complete it before the sun sets and the flower must return to the world of spirits.
Sumire is a game about decision making, and those decisions matter. Every choice affects how the day turns out and impacts your karma. Do you want to be kindhearted or jaded? Passive or forceful? Brave or cowardly? It’s all up to you, but be warned; it may make your perfect day into a nightmarish one.
As you go about completing your to-do list you’ll also happen upon a cast of characters who will ask for help. Most of the side-quests involve delivering things to characters, but there are a few other little mini games, such as playing card or dice games with other characters and fishing.
The game has excellent replayability. On the home screen, you’ll find a list of challenges, some of which can be completed on the first play through, others may take many. The story also turns out differently each play through based on your decisions, so it’s worth playing multiple times to see new paths and outcomes.
Speaking of story…this is where Sumire really shines. The story is incredibly heartfelt and touches on many issues everyone has faced. We’ve all experienced how death can affect a family. We’ve all had things we left unsaid or undone that we regret. We’ve all had to make hard decisions about whether to forgive or hold a grudge.
I think it was a great decision to show these issues through the eyes of a young protagonist like Sumire. She’s obviously very impacted by her grandmother’s death, and is at the center of the rocky relationship between her mother and father. Seeing things from her point of view reminds us that these issues don’t care about age; they happen to everyone indiscriminately, and they affect everyone differently. I think that’s why decision-making based gameplay fits so perfectly with this story.
Another area where the game really shines are its visuals. They’re gorgeous. The watercolor style is beautifully done and adds to the magical and spiritual aspects found throughout the experience. They also make for some particularly pretty scenes, such as the Wisteria Tree, the sunset, and the view at the hot springs. The sound design of the game is also incredible, mixing music and natural noise well, and the soundtrack fits every moment perfectly. It’s very relaxing to listen to.
Sumire has it all: an incredible story, solid gameplay, and gorgeous graphics and sound within a package that can be played multiple times and viewed multiple ways. It’s nice to see a game based on making decisions where your decisions really seem to matter as they really immerse you in the story, which is already so relatable and heartfelt. Sometimes, we all need a reminder to live life to the fullest and tell people how we feel; Sumire is just that reminder.