Jisei: The First Case HD review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: sakevisual
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Jisei: The First Case HD is technically a visual novel, but that descriptor doesn?t really give you an accurate picture of the game.

For one thing, it feels far too short to be a visual novel. You can easily read all the text, discover all the endings, and platinum the game in well under an hour. Compared to some visual novels that take hours to complete even if you skip through all the text, that makes Jisei more a novella than a full novel.

Secondly, the content here is a world away from your typical visual novel. There?s no romance involved, nor is the fate of the world at stake. Instead, it?s just a simple mystery novel that takes place in a single location — a coffee shop — and that features a very small cast of characters. There are hints here and there of something a little more supernatural, but for the most part, there?s nothing here you wouldn?t find in an Agatha Christie novel.

Seeing as I spent a good chunk of my high school years reading Agatha Christie, that definitely endears Jisei: The First Case to me. There?s something delightfully straightforward about the premise: the unnamed main character discovers a body in a coffee shop bathroom, one of the four other people in the shop suspects him, and an off-duty cop who happens to be there suggests he solve the mystery if he wants to clear his name.

From there, it all unfolds exactly as you?d expect. Our hero questions the other characters, he searches a few rooms for clues, and eventually he figures out the murderer. There are a couple of endings to be found, and the game does a good job of making most of them plausible.

And from a mystery novel — or a mystery novella, as the case may be — that?s all you can ask for. Jisei: The First Case doesn?t do a whole lot, even by the standards of visual novels, but what?s here is done very well. Even if you aren?t a fan of visual novels, it?s different enough that it might just be worth your time.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Jisei: The First Case HD PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-