Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries Of Honjo is a must-play for Danganronpa, Zero Escape, and Japanese horror fans
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries Of Honjo captivates you from the very moment you open the game; it’s seamless, layered, and gets under your skin. This horror-mystery title published by Square Enix so very nearly fell under my radar, but oh boy, I am so glad that it didn’t.
This charming visual-novel focuses on the paranormal and occult, inviting you to learn about the seven mysteries of Honjo. Some of these are rather grisly fates you’d never want to meet, and the others seem like wild tales more than they are mysteries. Either way, these are actual urban legends and myths you’ll be exploring.
The first you’ll encounter is that of The Whispering Canal, which tells the story of fishermen who disappeared after an illusive voice lead them to their deaths. Grim, right? Not all the mysteries are as devious as this one, and the intentions of some remain unknown. While my preview only saw me engaging with the first chapter of the game, I’m sure we’ll be finding out much more about these mysteries and how they all connect to the Rite of Resurrection.
The curiously titled Rite of Resurrection is at the very heart and centre of Paranormasight; a mysterious ritual that, if performed successfully, can bring someone you love back from the dead. Making it clear from the outset that the Rite of Resurrection is terribly important to this story, Paranormasight regularly asks exactly how far you would go to bring someone back from the dead. A big question, and one likely to have major consequences.
And you’ll be exploring those consequences across a beautiful, varied backdrop. With the support of Sumida City Tourist Division – the city in which Paranormasight is set – there are over 300 backdrops for you to investigate and explore, all taken directly from the real-life city. The Showa-era setting is only enhanced by our narrator, the Storyteller, who immediately hooks us up to this old-school colour TV, so we can experience the tale he is telling. It’s a dedicated aesthetic choice, and it really works.
The Storyteller will appear from time to time, but he isn’t invasive, nor does he break your immersion. You, the player, are in this meta-horror-mystery world, and the Storyteller is merely there to help push your experience along. After all, Paranormasight is quite challenging, but you’ll never die… permanently, that is. Our Storyteller will drop you right back where you left off, sometimes with a useful tip or two, so you don’t meet the same fate or find yourself stuck. It’s a smart and unintrusive way of keeping you engaged without holding your hand too tightly.
Pair this appealing, immersive interface with the fact that the character designer is the legendary Gen Kobayashi of The World Ends With You, and you’ve got engaging, well-rounded characters to be endeared by (or terrified of). Ultimately, Paranormasight was a recipe for success with its foundations for thoughtful gameplay and immersive story-telling, and I was only even more impressed when I got to spend some time with the game.
My time with Paranormasight was spent playing from the comfort of my bed, right after a stint with Professor Layton and the Curious Village with my Nintendo DS, and with the lights low for additional atmosphere and optimal cosiness. I was so enthralled with the mysteries and treacherous characters that as my body often begged for me to get an early night, I couldn’t help but keep my eyes glued on my screen. With auto-read, I could sit and watch the story unfold in-between my exploration, and this shaped up to be a chilling, but relaxing, experience.
I sincerely look forward to unravelling more of the mystery that’s at play in Paranormasight, and learning more about the seven mysteries of Honjo.
Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo will release on March 8 on PC via Steam, and Nintendo Switch.