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(Review contributed by Misya Danielle)

Norn9: Var Commons is yet another unique otome localized a few years after its release in Japan, as with many otome titles this one is developed by Otomate and was published by Aksys Games who have recently ported many of their games to the Vita. Norn9 was originally released to Japan in 2013 and has now been localized exclusively for the PlayStation Vita.

The journey begins after a young and intelligent school student named Sorata hears a mysterious song that only he can hear and becomes separated from his class, he soon blacks out with the result being that he awakens in another time hundreds of years before his own. After meeting a strange young girl and following her to a ship he soon finds that it may be his only way home, but it's no ordinary ship and the passengers consisting of three women and nine men are also far from ordinary. After the characters are introduced you can choose any 1 of 3 female characters which will each be teamed with three of the men and all of them have special powers. The game doesn’t simple set you on the same path no matter which of the females you choose, it allows you to see the story differently based on each of their individual perspectives. Although the game is an otome it is far more story driven than many other otomes and gives more than one option for the character you play as.

While the game is great the plot feels like it would have been more fitting as an RPG so it feels like a bit of a waste that it's in a more linear style genre, but at least this title is more open than many other visual novel titles are. As with most otomes the art is very detailed and full of life but sadly seems to lack some of the depth seen in other otome titles, this can be both good and bad because it takes away from the atmosphere a little but separates it out from other otomes. Luckily the lack of depth in the art is made up by the deep and moving soundtrack as well a rich and unique story line.

This is one of very few otome titles that have very few errors in the dialogue, other otome titles made me raise an eyebrow at the many grammatical and spelling errors. Sadly just as with many other otome titles the the love interests lack in individuality from other otome characters, it would be great to see a little more of a mix in the characters personalities in future otome titles but this one is more on the right track than past titles of the same genre.

Norn9: Var Commons is a great visual novel title with strong focus on the amazing story line and a great beginning to introduce the plot of the game. While the art feels a little lacking in depth the music picks up the slack a little and the lack of errors in the dialogue is impressive. As with many otome titles the character are lacking a little in individuality excluding the fact that they have special abilities but I can still say that I  recommend this game to current otome fans and as a first otome to those who want to give the otome genre a try.

 

SCORE – 75%

This review is based on a digital copy of Norn9: Var Commons on the PlayStation Vita provided by Aksys Games. 

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