Ever since the accident that killed his parents, nothing has been the same for Sakisaka Fuminori. The experimental neurosurgery that saved his life also altered his perception of the world, making it appear to be a hideous rotting hell peopled by vile monsters. Repulsed by the very people he once called his friends, Fuminori turns to the one person who looks normal – a beautiful young girl named Saya. But who – or what – exactly is Saya anyway?
The latest Nitroplus game to be translated into English by the excellent JAST USA, Saya no Uta was a much anticipated addition to my collection. The only question was, would it really be able to deliver on the hype, or would all the build up just lead to a disappointing anticlimax?
In fact, Saya no Uta is a rather good game, if not one for the faint-hearted. It takes its role as a horror seriously, with tentacle monsters and gruesome murders being core to the plot. If you’ve the stomach for it, though, the story is certainly a compelling and intriguing one; it may delve into some quite dark and twisted areas, but always to advance the plot rather than for the sake of tacking on a bit of gratuitous shock value.
Enjoyable as it is while it lasts, however, ultimately Saya no Uta is an experience that is over too soon. The game is a compact one, with only a handful of characters, two decision points and three different endings. It doesn’t take all that long to see everything the game has to offer, with replay value basically amounting to “I’ll probably fancy revisiting the story in a few years’ time”.
Even given that large portions of the game aren’t supposed to be easy on the eyes, visually, Saya no Uta does not feel as strong as other Nitroplus titles. Apart from Saya herself, the character designs are largely unremarkable, whilst backgrounds and CG images are obviously skewed towards being dark and creepy rather than visually outstanding. Background music is atmospheric and understated, setting the tone for the horrors that lurk within.
What Saya no Uta lacks in length, it more than makes up for in intensity. It may not be a story for the squeamish, but if you fancy a short, intense burst of horror, then this is the game for you.