Shin Hayarigami is a Japanese horror visual novel that was released for PS Vita in 2014. In 2015, a Korean PS vita version was released, and in subsequent years Korean mobile company i-play has released the visual novel episodically. At the end of 2017, i-play released an episode in English, ‘Blind Man’. Unfortunately, the English translations of the game were a bit dubious so it did not get much traction. However, a few months ago, the game was re-released with translations from youtuber GG Gab. I recently did two lets play videos of the game on my youtube channel, and now that I’ve finished it wanted to write a full review.
In the game you play as a female investigator, sent to a country town where a strange series of murders have taken place. Coming along for the ride is Sekimoto Sojiro a disgraced professor who has been incarcerated after he murdered his student. He claims to have secret information about the murderer. The relationship between the two of them is forever changed as they overcome twists and turns to crack this morbid case.
The game definitely does not shy away from marking itself as a horror game. The writing of scenes is sharp and tense, you almost can’t tap through fast enough to find out what happens next. Adding to this is the music and sound effects, which create a chills-down-the-spine atmosphere. What really stood out was the detailed CGs, none of them overly gory, but with just enough blood and creepiness to keep it replaying in your mind.
Perhaps my only reservation with the game was some of the characters. Besides the professor and our MC, I did find the other officers to be frustrating. One male character flirted with anyone and everyone, to the point that it didn’t make sense and another female character was just there to insult others. I also didn’t really like the ‘liar’s art’ gameplay, I wasn’t quite sure how it calculates your final score and for some reason its harder to get a bad ending than to continue on the game. I had to play the liar’s art a few times to finish up the endings list. It ended up getting a tad tedious.
Overall my play through for this game took between 3-4 hours. With the $5.50 (AUD) price tag it was definitely worth it, with the fantastic story and great graphics. However, speaking of the price tag, if i-play plans to release other episodes I would prefer to pay one lump sum for all of them rather than $5.50 each, it could get a little too pricey otherwise. Also, while i-play as a company focused on mobile games, I would love to see this become available on Steam or better yet a console like PS Vita or Switch. It’s a little hard to play a game for such a long time looking at a small screen. There’s five more episodes in the Shin Hayarigami game and I sincerely hope that i-play and GG Gab continue to localise this series.