Title: Fragment’s Note (English Ver.)
Developer: Ullucus Heaven, Inc.
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download: 505 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download (Not available in Canada)
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No
Visual Novels should be a genre that PS Vita owners are very familiar with, especially if you’ve played Japanese RPGs on the console. Visual Novels are games shown in a particular style much like anime and have scenes go out in certain ways with artwork of characters on screen as the dialogue goes through. If you need some perspective, Danganronpa and Xblaze Code: Embryo are visual novels. Also, the scenes in games like Hyperdimension Neptunia and Persona 4 Golden play out in a visual novel format.
Knowing this, there are a few VN games on the Vita. Most notably are the Vita-exclusive Danganronpa games along with Xblaze Code: Embryo, which we mentioned above. I am not sure I have reviewed any visual novels for the Vita, other than those. Regardless, as long as you’ve played some JRPGs in the style, you know what to expect out of a VN.
As we look towards PlayStation Mobile’s inevitable closer in 4 months, I am planning on giving a ton of extra coverage to that platform. To help those developers as much as possible I will be posting a lot of PS Mobile reviews from here until July. Taking a look through last week’s releases, something caught my eye. I spotted a visual novel on there that looked like it had potential. Only costing $3.99, here is my official review of Fragment’s Note!
In a visual novel, story is the key to keeping your attention as it’s the whole thing. In Fragment’s Note, you follow the story of a young man named Yukiha, whom is a high school student who just got rejected by a girl he had a lot of feelings for. After being rejected by her for already having a boyfriend, he is struggling with days going by. However, as soon as things seem like they are at their lowest, a young girl appears out of thin air and jumps into his arms, calling him Daddy.
The story then follows the story of Yukiha and Miu, his future daughter who traveled to the past in order to change the future that she lives in from happening. As the days then go by, Yukiha and the female friends around him strive to make the future better, all while Yukiha must make a decision of who to let into his heart.
The plot of Fragment’s Note isn’t anything deep or groundbreaking for the genre. However, the character development is done in such a way that it’s not only easy to relate to the characters, but they have their own charm that really come together towards the game’s end. It’s not incredibly deep, but it is a good and very heart-tugging story.
Gameplay for this game is quite simple. As you play through the game, you will be going from story scene to story scene. While there are a couple other things to do as you play through the game, you will mostly just be encountering story with a few different choices here and there.
Advancing these story scenes is simple watching and reading through them. You can cycle through dialogue as the scenes play out as well as messing with the settings. You can stop the scene. You can set it to automatically cycle the text. You can remove the text box to look at the artwork in the background. You can go back and look at dialogue you may have missed. Or you can skip scenes if you’re replaying the game.
One thing you’ll need to watch out for are choices. Every so often, you will be given a few options of what you can say or do at those particular times. These are important because they’re tied to the game’s endings. Fragment’s Note has an ending specific to each heroine you can end up with, so you’ll want to think about what each choice may do depending on which ending you wish to get.
The other options you have in the game are more configuration-related. You can stop the game at almost any time and save your game or load your game, in case you get a dialogue sequence incorrect. One thing to note is that the game does not automatically save your progress. In order to have a save point, you have to manually go into the menu and change this.
Other options include sound volume for the music and sound effect. You can also increase or decrease the speed at which the “Auto” mode cycles through dialogue. This is useful for replaying the game just to watch the game go by instead of hitting buttons every time you would like to see the next bit of dialogue.
All in all, the game isn’t an incredibly long one. If you go through the game in a single sitting for one ending, you’ll likely be finishing it up in just a few hours. Going for all of the different endings and unlockable artwork will multiply that. But, if you’re not a hardcore VN fan and just want to experience the story once, expect the game to only last you a few hours. Still not bad for the game only costing four bucks, but not long like Xblaze or Danganronpa.
Button input is where Fragment’s Note gets interesting. First of all, the game has both button controls as well as touch controls. Despite being a simple type of game, the touch controls can be quite extensive. There are a lot of different gestures to learn for different tasks and they can get very confusing. For this reason, I preferred the button controls for most of the game.
The button controls are fairly simple. When you’re in the Main Menu or Configuration Menu, you will be using the D-Pad to cycle options (and the L/R triggers to cycle tab menus in the configuration menu). Then we get into the buttons during scenes. When you’re playing the game, you will be cycling text from scene to scene with the Circle button, using a more Japanese design with progression than using the X button. This is also true for the menus and choosing options with Circle instead of X.
You can tap the L button to activate Auto Mode and tap the Triangle button to pull up the configuration menu. In here, Circle is used to select options and X can be used to go back to the game. The touch screen can also be used for that.
One thing to note is that the touch controls aren’t as accurate as their button counterparts. This is especially apparent when you’re going through the menus. There is a certain amount of input lag as opposed to when you use the buttons. This isn’t very often, as it’s mostly when saving your game, but it’s a pretty annoying aspect.
As far as the presentation is concerned, there are some ups and downs about it. First of all, the visuals are done very nicely. All of the artwork is done with a lot of detail and there are some beautiful CG scenes for each heroine that can be seen in the game’s in-game Gallery.
There are two aspects of the presentation that may put you off a bit as you play the game, though. First of all, is cropping. The game is presented in an aspect ratio that is not entirely as wide as the PS Vita’s screen. So, you will see two small black borders on each side. It doesn’t take a lot away from the experience, but those wanting a full-screen mode will not be able to find one.
The other thing to note about the presentation is the translation. There are a couple hiccups in the translation, where incorrect names are being used. Like, them saying Haya in a scene when it should say Mischa and Miu. It’s pretty easy to understand, but the bigger thing is positioning of characters. There are more than a few scenes where words will be broken between lines. Like, a statement goes “Yuhika, you’re such a sweet person” where the “perso” from person are on one line and the “n” in person is on the next line by itself. There are also some areas where some a word will be displayed too low and cannot be read.
Other than these hiccups, everything else is nice. There aren’t any voices in the game, but it does have some very upbeat and fitting music to listen to as you experience the story.
Fragment’s Note is a visual novel hidden in the huge library of PlayStation Mobile. On the downside, there is some input lag with the touch controls, the screen is slightly cropped, and there are a few translation hiccups in the story. Outside of this is a very emotional visual novel that is one gem VN fans will definitely want to grab before the PSM Closure in July.