Visual Novel Review: Ever17 -the out of infinity-
This story is not an end yet.
Because only you are in the infinity loop.
As I made my way through the labyrinth that is Ever17, I was constantly haunted by these words. They are the words you see at every route’s end, whether the end be good, bad, or neutral. And to tell you the truth, they really don’t make much sense when you first see them. After all, no matter which route you pick as your first, you will never be expecting to learn that you, as the reader of this novel, have become as trapped in this world as the six main characters.
Indeed, the story begins just like any other mystery–you are placed at the entrance of the underwater amusement park LeMU on the remote continent of Lemuria, and you switch off between protagonists Takeshi and Kid as you try to remember exactly why you came to this park in the first place. Upon entering the facility, an attractive and well-dressed park guide named Sora takes your hand and shows you around the park. You learn that the underwater pressure requires you to wear special earbuds in order to prevent decompression sickness. And you meet a girl named Coco, who tells you a funny joke. Everything seems normal so far.
But then when the alarm sounds, you know that something’s wrong. All of a sudden, you black out. When you wake up, you’re in the infirmary, and there’s a cute girl wearing a park staff uniform. She was apparently taking care of you. She introduces herself as You (yes, that’s her name, short for Yubiseiharukana), and tells you something disconcerting: that a whole third of the amusement park is now flooded.
To be entirely precise, only the top of the park has flooded, but this still proves grim for you. You are on Dritte stock, the third floor down from the flooded area. Above you is Zweite stock. In other words, there is no way out. You decide to search for other possible trapped parkgoers, and learn that only six people are still in the complex.
As you find them, you become acquainted with Sara and Tsugumi, and find Sora trapped inside as well. Kid and Takeshi meet each other, and the motley crew has formed. From then on, Sora tells you that you all have five days until LeMU is completely flooded and there will no longer be any hope of rescue. What follows is basically a psychological thrill ride, featuring desperate attempts of rescue, daring feats of valor, and suspense that could rival the best of Hitchcock’s nail-biters.
Or so I’d like to say. Actually, you just eat chicken sandwiches and play kick-the-can to pass the time until someone rescues you. Oh yeah, there’s a pipe that breaks somewhere and you have to go fix it, but that’s about it. Maybe a blackout or two.
It becomes increasingly clear, however, that the point of the novel is not about how you pass the time or even what happens during the time you’re trapped down there. Because even while you’re doing all these mundane activities, there’s the small niggling feeling that something just isn’t right.
And as you progress through the game, you realize that your suspicions are not unfounded. You come into contact with disappearances, a wonky bio-scanner that detects anomalous signs of life, and some of the most intense philosophical discussions you will ever see in any game ever, bar none. Plato would have a field day with it. As you get to the end of each girl’s route, you are repeatedly bashed over the head with information that makes absolutely no sense and have absolutely no way of piecing any of it together, and then get the ominous message at the top when it’s all over. So yeah, it’s an excellent mystery.
And as in all good mysteries, there has to be a good solution, one that tosses everything you’ve learned together and packages it all up in a neat bow, and then sets the whole thing on fire, only to reveal a hidden bomb in the package. It was a good thing that this wasn’t my first experience with an infinite time-loop game, otherwise my mind would have been in pieces halfway through the final route. However, I can say that without a doubt, this is one of the best and most definitive time-loop games out on the market and has one of the most satisfying solutions I’ve ever seen. Actually, I think it rivals Higurashi, and for me to be saying that, you know it must be something. So I implore you to try it out, and don’t let ANYONE spoil the game for you EVER because it has some of the best twists ever conceived. You may be in the infinity loop for a while. But once you get out, you’re already wanting to go back. 10/10