Pandora no Yume

And now I’ll review Pandora no Yume, a 2001 Pajamas Soft game, and its fandisc, Pandora no Bikkuribako.

vndb: 1 2

EGS: 1 2

Main character Yuito, along with the other three members of the art club, will be passing the summer vacation in a camp, done in the school. Together with them is Suu, a nurse  robot they found and reactivated  in an abandoned basement scheduled for demolition in the school premises, and who has somewhat limited vocabulary and speech function in general. During the camp’s seven days they goof around, draw and have mostly slice-of-life scenes (and Yuito has strange dreams that seem to be precognitions), all the while Suu keeps acquiring a more fluid talk. And then, the last night, when they’re all about to leave, one of the girls gets a weird phone call, an earthquake happens, and a clock is seeing going backwards (I wonder what this image could mean).

Suu being moe

Then we are back to the first day of the camp, with Yuito and co. starting it again with no memories (though Suu didn’t go back to her broken talk).

So what we have here is a time loop game. And maybe this short summary makes one think of Cross†Channel; indeed the game is reminiscent of it. Or rather it would be the reverse, since Pandora no Yume is earlier.

Pandora no Yume has its own identity though, and it resides in the tragic backgrounds of its characters. It feels to me it’s somewhat like how Cross†Channel would have been had it been made by Key.

There are some choices, but mostly inconsequential. After putting Suu in the spotlight, the story progresses centering each loop in one of the heroines (genki loli Ran, cool sempai Miki, and clumsy osananajimi Yojimi -along with her sister Haruka-), where each one’s personal trauma is exposed and resolved. And then Suu comes back to the foreground, and if the previous loops weren’t, the last one is plenty deserving of the utsuge tag.

Yojimi said something stupid again

This game really makes you feel for its characters, and again, especially the last chapter isn’t behind Key at all in terms of tearjerk-ism. Strengthened by the classical music tracks it has as BGM. The only way to not feel anything is by not having a soul. Maybe it’s because I played it recently and so the memory is still vivid, but it’s probably one of the most tearing-up things I’ve read.

In other lines, you may also have noticed the floating textbox from the earlier picture; that’s indeed the way text is presented, when not in a CG. Somewhat similar to Littlewitch games, only not nearly as pretty, or exploited; besides that, it uses the conventional background+sprite system.

After Pandora no Yume comes the fandisc, Pandora no Bikkuribako. Its main attraction are the two scenarios: one that works as a sort of True End for the main game (not entirely needed in my opinion, though), and a gag harem ending. There’s also a fair amount of fanmade stories (which I didn’t read, and most probably won’t, ever), and two mini games: a mahjong one, which unlocks brief H scenes, and a crappy action one. If you liked the main game, you’ll probably want to play the fandisc, but in my opinion the game is not much better off having it.

So, in very few words: a very nice utsuge. If you don’t mind the age (and the clumsy interface), it’s heavily recommended. My score: 9.

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