Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

released on Mar 24, 2017

Zero welcomes you to take part in both the Nonary Game and the Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition as the award-winning escape-the-room visual novels Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (999) and its sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR), are together for the first time.

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A collection of two masterpieces filled with plot twists, great puzzles and a memorable cast of characters. I've already reviewed both games individually, so I'll just say that The Nonary Games contains two of the most amazingly written stories I've ever seen, and it was really hard to put the game down as you're constantly wanting to see what's going to happen next. Also props for improving 999 by adding a decent flowchart.

This review contains spoilers

999 - 4/5 VLR - 3/5
999 is an inredibly well-written story about madness, obsession, revenge and salvation. It keeps you hooked for its entire duration and leaves you with just enough to both understand the story and think about what actually happened for a long time after finishing the game.
VLR on the other and is an example of two things. 1 - how biggeer is not always better and 2 - how not to make a sequel.
The size of the flow chart is definitiely very impressive. But why the hell do I have to spam left click through events I already witnessed every fking time? I feel like I ended up seeing Sigma think about why he was chosen to parcipiate at least ten times throughout the whole game. This is a port, why did they not bother to improve it in this matter? Of course, 999 had some baktracking as well, but it was very, VERY limited. in VLR it feels like an actual chore, even though you can somtimes spot some neat examples of foreshadowing.
And still, the huge amount of endings and multiple worlds / timelines is the best (or rather most admirable) thing about the game. Unfortunately, pretty much everything that comes with it just sucks. The Dannganronpa-style bullshit (gobal pandmics, end of humanity, colonizing space) was something I expected when approaching 999. But it wasn't there - the game was too good for that. I think it's utimately what caused me to be so disappointed with the story in VLR. 999 had some weird twists as well, but in the end the story came down to someting much more down to earth. Each subsquent plot twist in VLR just made me laugh out loud harder and harder because of how random they were. This also made me wonder if I would actually enjoy danganronpa if I played it now, and not when I was.... 14? Something like that.
Another thing are the characters. In 999 every person felt like they actually had a reason to be chosen for the game. They all felt like they are in the right place in te right time. Like they were simply important. In VLR it felt like they just went with a cast that seemed intersting at first glance, but didn't have much to offer in the end.
Let's take Alice for example. Akane explains that she was chosen because without her they wouldn't be able to disable the bombs. I mean it's true, but... seriously? That's it?
It feels like they just thought "omg, it would be so cool if we had Alice as a character. You know, from that 999 ending? It would be so siiiick." And so they came up with some random backstory about being a secret agent so that she would atually have a reason to paripiate. Or with Quark for example:
"Oh shit.... imagine if a KID was in the game. That would be so rad."
"But why would he be there?"
"Idk, let's just say he had to be there because the old guy we already have takes care of him."
"Wait. It just struck me. What if the old guy was really... old Junpei?
"That's... fucking brilliant! I love you man."
"I love you."
they make out*
It's also kinda weird how this game lowkey makes Ace a hero. Obviously he's still a psycho, but his discovery allows June to have a shot at saving the world. Too bad she also becomes a villain in the process. I mean she basically kills Alice and Clover for the sake of experiment. They have no world to go back to. Well, she claims there is a way to get them back, but that line is such a cheap attempt to make June appear a hero in the players eyes that I just don't buy it.
Also how the hell doesn't Clover recognise June if she last saw her just a year ago? Obviously she's an old lady now, but some similarity should be visible. And why does Sigma not have a VA? Obviously it's beause of the story, but it just feels so... fake. And why aren't other characters' backstories dubbed? And what happened to the weird theories and scientific experiments during escape rooms? Why are they in some bullshit golden files? And why did the puzzles get so much dumber and more random? And why... so many more things?
I changed my mind. 999 is a 4.5/5. It's pretty much a perfect VN, with a perfectly closed story, incredible characters, and an atmospere like in no other game.
VLR tried to be more than that and it failed miserably in pretty much every single aspect. I lower my rating of it to 2.5/5. There is so much more to complain about in this game, but my H button keeps blocking, which is slowly driving me insane, so I have to stop here. If you made it to this point - congratulations and sorry for my bad grammar :)

Great mystery visual novels. Hooked me to the end