ANONYMOUS;CODE from Spike Chunsoft and Mages is the latest entry in the long-running Science Adventure series. Was the wait worth it? Find out in our ANONYMOUS;CODE review!
ANONYMOUS;CODE from Spike Chunsoft and Mages is the latest entry in the long-running Science Adventure series. Was the wait worth it? ANONYMOUS;CODE was first announced back in 2015, and it was even planned for a PlayStation Vita release. As we all know, the option of releasing games on PlayStation Vita is no more. It’s now 2023, and we’re finally getting ANONYMOUS;CODE on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, with the Nintendo Switch version being the one I’m getting a chance to take for a spin for our ANONYMOUS;CODE review. Having had a chance to check out remake STEINS;GATE Elite on Nintendo’s console, I was certainly more than ready to check out this new visual novel release in the series.
The game throws you straight into the action as Pollon and Momo are being chased through the city’s streets while riding a very fast bike that has – so far – helped them avoid being detained. As one of the pursuers is ready to capture them, Pollon says that in 51 seconds, he’ll receive a call to let them go because those at the top don’t want the status quo to change just yet. He will, of course, keep chasing them and will end up being hit by a car.
And then, exactly 51 seconds later, the call comes in through the radio, and he’s ordered to fall back and let Pollon and Momo go! The pair take this opportunity to leap one floor down to continue with their escape. It’s then that the army man gives chase… and barely avoids being hit by a car! Once the old car’s door opens, Pollon says to Ox that he’s late… which surprises the driver! How did Pollon know how things would unfold? Because of the Save and Load App on his phone. Allow me to back up a bit.
For ANONYMOUS;CODE, you’ll be taking on the role of Pollon Takaoka, a young hacker who works alongside Cross Yumikawa on hacking-related tasks as Nakano Symphonies, a team of anons with bright futures, who can’t sit idly by when someone is in need. The team’s members are Pollon and Yumikawa… and that’s it! You’ll get to meet another character named Wind early in the game who likes to visit the pair at their base of operations, but he’s not part of the group.
As an example of the type of gigs they take on, allow me to discuss the one you’ll be working on early in the game. The client is Grid, one of the PIQT app stores. You are to infiltrate the Incarnation AR Café, access their server, and delete the data of Grid’s customers – which is roughly 40,000 entries. The staff at the Incarnation AR Café are all middle-aged men who use AR technology to look like fantasy-themed female characters, which goes hand-in-hand with the simulated tavern that is shown as the establishment’s look. This data was stolen by someone who had access to Incarnation’s servers, and you need to fix things before that individual starts to screw people over.
Anyway, Pollon got upset at Wind, saying that he couldn’t handle talking to a girl, even though Wind could only do so because he had downloaded a VFF – Virtual Friends Forever – AI character. Pollon ends up blurting out he’s sorta dating someone who goes by the name of Momo. To prove that he’s not lying, he tells them they’re supposed to meet at 4 p.m., which is a weird way to try and prove a bluff was real since he doesn’t know any girls, and they certainly aren’t any he’s heard of with a name such as Momo. He figures he could hack the FateDate app he downloaded so that he can get a nearby match, walk around with her for a few minutes, and have his friends see he totally has a girl in his life. Cross calls him out on this, but that’s when things start to get really weird…
A girl named Momo shows up! She’s wearing what seems to be a catsuit of sorts. Momo grabs Pollon’s hand, and then the two start walking away from the group. It’s then that things start to click. That sequence that you experienced during the game’s intro? That was the outcome of the whole operation put into place to track down Momo. Momo is not her real name, but she figured she should pretend she was the girl that Pollon was waiting for since she needed to blend into the crowd to not draw any suspicions.
The soldiers find Pollon and Momo, and one of them punches Pollon so hard he ends up doubled down on the floor in pain. A group takes Momo into a chopper, but Pollon manages to escape. Luckily, Oz drives right in the nick of time to help him escape. Oz is joined by Nonno, a very smart young girl who is full of surprises. They follow them to the airport, where they notice that those taking Momo away are… from the Vatican? It’s then that Pollon makes use of the Save and Load app.
This is the main gameplay gimmick for ANONYMOUS;CODE. Just like you do for most of the games you play, saving your progress and loading a previous save in case you make a mistake, you’ll be doing the same during your time with ANONYMOUS;CODE. By pressing the Hacking Trigger, you can suggest to Pollon when to load a special save so that, hopefully, the events at hand can experience some changes. Press the ZR button on the Nintendo Switch Joy-con or the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to activate the Hacking Trigger. Since Pollon is a hacker, and he has no idea how the Save and Load app ended up on his device, he believes that you, the player, are probably some super-hacker who is trying to help. Because. Because reasons.
Whenever you run into a new term, it will be highlighted and added to the Tips List. By either pressing up on the D-Pad right away or by going to the Tips List, you’ll be able to learn some valuable additional information about each term. These include, for example, things such as AR (short for Augmented Reality, a technology used to overlay digital data on top of reality) or Grapper (a.k.a. Grapper Motorbike, a type of two-wheeled motorcycle equipped with self-driving technology).
It’s been a long wait, but it’s certainly been worth it. ANONYMOUS;CODE is an excellent visual novel with an engaging story and a very interesting gameplay mechanic that will keep you coming back for more until you see the credits roll. The game’s voice acting is of great quality, which is always a plus in visual novels. ANONYMOUS;CODE is out on Nintendo Switch with a $59.99 price tag. You can also go for the ANONYMOUS;CODE Digital Deluxe Edition for $79.99 which includes the base game, A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO EARTH SIMULATOR, which is the Interactive Digital Art Book, as well as the SOUND DATA LOG, which is the full Digital Soundtrack with access to all 52 songs. These will show up as separate icons on your Nintendo Switch console.
This ANONYMOUS;CODE review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Spike Chunsoft.