The fact that Password is a thing that exists in the first place is kind of insane--likely well over 700 thousand words written, and over 100 CGs and sprites drawn by a single person--the scale of this thing compared to how many people worked on it is pretty ridiculous. For how obscure it is, it still strikes me as one of those huge indie passion projects which only come around every once and a while. Password is also a game I can understand the appeal for. But even as someone who fits into the miniscule target demographic of "gay furries who like Zero Escape", I still can't help but feel like it's just not for me.
Currently, Password is still technically under development, but back in February it got its last major story update, and everything from here on out will be polish. So in effect, some of my points may become invalid with time, but I still think I would still have pretty fundamental problems with a version of this with all of my easily fixable nitpicks gone.
My two biggest issues with this VN are its characters and its structure. I just don't really like these characters. Which is a point I admit is entirely subjective: of the people who have read this so far I seem to be in the minority here, but I found most of the main 7 kind of boring or cloying or both. Everyone outside of the main 7 was written well and was interesting to me, so what gives? I think it just comes down to personal preference. A recurring thought as I read this is that "these people don't know each other well enough to be mean to one another". Which admittedly, isn't something everyone wants in a story! But that still doesn't change my personal preferences and my frustration at the feeling like every single person in this friend group save Tyson is just trying to mediate everything and make sure everyone gets along.
The other is with the structure. Functionally, the romance is (mostly) divorced from the rest of the game, so you can see almost all paths of the game romancing only one character. There are minute details here and there that are different, but the general trajectory remains similar. What this ends up doing is making the two parts, the romance, and the rest (what I'll refer to as "the mystery" from here on out, even though it also includes some other stuff), act independently from one another, so bits in one cannot largely influence the other. I think this can probably be done well in some execution, but it is a damn hard needle to thread and I don't think Password got it. So often will a scene be a Romance scene or a Mystery scene with very little interaction between the two--there are exceptions, but I would say that the vast majority are one or the other, especially past the 10-day mark or so on any route. Even more is this evident in the lead up to the true ending: which constituted probably, like, 7 or 8 hours of replaying the VN on other romance paths to trip some flags, and seeing how little changed on the mystery side of things. But from my opinions on the characters, you probably know that I'm mostly playing this for the mystery anyways! So yeah, really didn't like that bit, but I still felt fairly satisfied with how things wrapped up in the true ending so maybe it was worth it?
I feel like I've been overly negative here, there are plenty of good bits in here. But they're parts of the mystery, and therefore basically impossible to talk about without spoiling stuff, so, uhh, take into account that even with these two pretty major issues I'm still giving this game a 6/10? The mystery is mostly pretty good, the small bits of horror are even better, and if you like the Zero Escape games, well, you can tell Uchikoshi was probably an influence. And Dean is cool. I like Dean.
You'll probably like it more if you like all of the characters, though.

Reviewed on Mar 16, 2023