[PlayStation 4] Punch Line Review

by the_nmac

In an accident that leads to your demise at the beginning of the game, you are left in ghost form while someone else inhabits your body. Use your ghostly skills to communicate with the girls in the Korai house, as you try to figure out whom’s spirit is in your body. Learn more in our Punch Line review!

Punch Line – Europe Launch Trailer

Punch Line is the newest visual novel adventure from the creators of Zero Escape and the Science Adventure series! Play as Yūta Iridatsu, a high school student who faints at the sight of panties. After being stuck in ghost form, it’s up to you to help Yūta get back into his body and solve the mystery of *why* he causes an asteroid to destroy the earth every time he gets too excited by his underwear-sighting!

Punch Line is an interesting game from one of the people who created the Zero Escape franchise (I frickin love the Zero Escape games!). Punch Line is a new take on the visual novel genre, upgrading from a novel setup to something that feels more like a TV series. The game is told in episodes, each with an opening and closing theme. It almost feels like binge-watching a show on Netflix with some interactivity mixed in!

Punch Line review - 1

The story revolves around Yūta who in the opening scenes is on a bus that has been hijacked by an apocalypse-worshipping terrorist group. A superhero named Strange Juice arrives on the bus to save everyone, but Yūta sees some panties, which oddly powers him up, giving him superpowers, and he takes the last remaining terrorist out the front window of the bus, far down to the ground. And then, Yūta wakes up… as a ghost! He now has a ghostly cat mentor in the Korai House where he lives as his spirit is still tied to his body. Now the game becomes a quest to get your body back as you learn the strange goings-on of your roommates in the house!

The story, since it’s from one of the creators of the Zero Escape series, is bizarre, which is just what I expected – and precisely what I needed. At first, it seems more like a sitcom about four different girls living together in the same house, but it exceeded all my expectations in terms of how it builds the relationships between the characters, creating their backstories and world-building, and the strange and dark twists the story takes over the course of 21 episodes. I really don’t want to go into more detail as I don’t want to spoil it and let you play it. One small criticism is not being able to skip the opening and ending credit sequences. I don’t need to see them every time.

Punch Line review - 2

While a good portion of the game does rely on cutscenes for telling its story, there are still some gameplay elements to take on. As Yūta you can move to the different bedrooms in the Korai House and see what is going on and listen to conversations. Initially, you are after the Nandara Gandara, an Indian text, that will help you get your body back. Your spirit needs to get more powerful, and you can upgrade them by scaring the girls. This is done by triggering actions around the room – some will scare characters while some certainly won’t. Once you get enough shards, your level goes up, and your ability to interact with the world increases as well.

Sometimes you need to lead the girls somewhere or discover something special. To do this, you need to complete a trick chain throughout the house. You can go to the different rooms, and you will trigger actions that can lead the girls to your target location. Most of the time it’s easy to figure out, but every once in a while it can take a few tries, and if you fail, the world ends – worry not as if this happens you will rewind time and start the trick chain over again.

While doing these missions you need to avoid panties. Yes, I did say panties. Yūta’s character has a weird issue with panties that if he looks at them for too long, he explodes and dies, once again causing the world to end. It’s an interestingly bizarre quirk, but one that may be a turn-off for some of you playing the game. While I didn’t mind it, it definitely kept me from playing the game around my kids during the daytime.

Punch Line review - 3

Final Thoughts

I had a fun time with Punch Line. I got a really cool story with twists and turns that keep my head spinning, with some interesting gameplay diversion as well, that helped to move the story forward. The episodic structure was really cool, giving it a different feel than most visual novels. This felt more like a binge watch than playing a game. Check this game out!

This Punch Line review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by PQUBE LTD.

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