PARASCIENTIFIC ESCAPE CRUISE IN THE DISTANT SEAS
Console: Nintendo 3DS
Start Date: April 5, 2016
End Date: April 14, 2016
So in February I left home to go on a two-month tour as roadie/merch-guy for my friend mc chris. In preparation, I downloaded like $60 worth of new games onto my 3DS, figuring I’d have a lot of time to play games. As it turns out, I didn’t play any of those games until my red-eye flight home at the end of the tour, when I decided to try out Parascientific Escape Cruise in the Distant Seas in between bouts of fitful – almost violent – sleep. PRO-TIP: If you’re looking for a video game exciting enough to keep you from falling asleep on an airplane, do not choose Parascientific Escape Cruise in the Distant Seas.
I bought this game because it seemed similar to my beloved Zero Escape series: it alternates between visual novel segments and room escape sequences, it’s Japanese as all fuck, and like the first Zero Escape game, it involves solving a mystery on a cruise ship.
No one could accuse the Zero Escape series of not being Japanese enough, but holy christ this one puts it to shame. The main characters are a bunch of teenage girls in school uniforms, with names like Misaki, Hitomi and Chisono, and they are motherfucking indistinguishable from one another. One of them is a ghost, I think. One has a bomb strapped to her neck. One is the daughter of an evil CEO. Maybe those are all the same girl? I DON’T KNOW!! All I know is that nothing they talk about makes any goddamn sense.
Oh one of them also has psychic powers, or maybe more than one of them do? This skill set is the basis for a bunch of the game’s most tedious puzzles, where you use a convoluted combination of clairvoyance and telekinesis to pick locked doors. That sounds complicated, but it really just amounts to rotating levers to clear a path across the screen. It happens about a thousand times, and it’s never any fun.
Aside from that, the gameplay here is almost identical to Zero Escape, albeit a much easier and stupider version. You bullshit your way through story segments and escape from rooms. The latter involves a lot of backtracking through previous rooms to do more pixel-hunting, which really made me long for the tighter, isolated escape sequences in Zero Escape. Still, the rooms themselves are nice-looking and fun. I don’t know why cruise ships are such perfect settings for mystery stories, but they totally are.
A couple of days after returning home from tour, after about 3 and a half hours total playtime, I beat the game.
Look, the game isn’t perfect by any means, but I didn’t hate it or anything. In fact, I’d go so far to say that if a sequel were released at the same $5 price point, I’d most likely pick it up. If you’re a fan of series like Zero Escape or Professor Layton, this serves as a decent little itch-scratcher between major releases. Just don’t expect a major work-out for either your brain or your heart.
The Silent Age