Sekai Project and aiueoKompany have teamed up to bring us Fatal Twelve, a tragic and heart pounding new mystery visual novel that presents a strong focus on human bonds and the value of a life. Fatal Twelve was presented on Kickstarter in March of 2017, the project received over fifty thousand dollars from over a thousand backers by the end of the campaign making it a huge success. The Kickstarter funded the development of the game and covered the costs of hiring top notch voice actors and actresses to provide a voice for each of the characters. After much anticipation the visual novelwas published by Sekai Project on March 30th, 2018 as a PC exclusive title via Steam. The visual novel includes 31 Steam Achievements and a set of 8 collectible Steam trading cards featuring some of the game’s character art.
Fatal Twelve tells the story of twelve victims of fate who died at the same time on the same day. Each of them have become participants in a twisted game known as Divine Selection in which only one person can win and the prize is the undoing of their death, naturally each participant wants their own death to be undone and further they can only get closer to the prize by eliminating the other participants. Eliminations are executed by obtaining all three cards belonging to a single participant that contain the participants name, cause of death, and their dying regret then choosing to eliminate the participant in the Court of Fate. If a participant is eliminated the extension on their life is undone and their original death occurs causing the participant to disappear. This thrilling visual novel is full of friendships, alliances, tragedies, and betrayals as the twelve victims of fate battle it out against one another to become the one who will have their death undone.
A mysterious young girl named Parca is in charge of the Court of Fate and the process of Elimination in the Divine Selection. Other than Parca’s claims of being a goddess she refuses to reveal any other information about herself however, the fact that she enjoys watching the participants eliminate each other shows that she has a very devious and sadistic personality. A young high school girl named Rinka becomes one of the twelve participants of Divine Selection after she dies protecting her friend Naomi during an explosion on the train they boarded, she soon discovers that her friend Miharu somehow died and became a participant as did the very person involved in her own death. When Rinka awakens in her own home after dying she is no longer able to recall exactly what took place or even the fact that she died and has merely had her death undone temporarily for Divine Selection, she becomes troubled when she discovers in the Court of Fate that both herself and Miharu have become a part of some twisted game and even more so by the fact that she isn’t even able to recall what her own dying regret was. You will spend much of the visual novel playing from Rinka’s perspective as she tries to find the resolve to fight for her own life and uncover the secrets behind Divine Selection.
The visual novel’s theme of twelve chosen participants being picked by an ethereal being to battle for their life in a game where only one can survive resembles the theme of the anime Mirai Nikki. The fact that the characters participating in Divine Selection are all technically dead along with the fact that they are trying to cope with the memories of there past reminds me a bit of the visual novel Train of Afterlife and the anime Angel Beats!, there are so many aspects of the visual novel that bring to mind other visual novels that I have enjoyed as well as some of my favorite anime series. Though the visual novel brings a great deal of nostalgia it also has plenty of unique aspects, the fact that the characters have such realistic regrets makes it so much easier to connect with them on a personal level and leave you in tears when one of them is eliminated. While in most visual novels a character’s regrets tend to be related to wishing they had more friends or wishing they could spend more time with the one they loved this visual novel included a variety of regrets related to each of the characters tragic pasts. The unique cast of characters inspired by a variety of cultures ranging from those of small third world villages to the richest cities in the world is truly unique and not something you would commonly find in a visual novel. It was great to see how my choices in the visual novel not only affected the main character’s relationships but also the relationships between other participants. The changes of perspective throughout the game were incredibly refreshing, being able to experience the plot through the eyes of several of the characters gave the plot and characters even greater depth.
Despite some weaknesses the character designs stand strong as one of the visual novel’s many strong points, the character art is very detailed and each of the characters has their own unique look based on which part of the world they originated and their backgrounds. While I appreciated the variety in characters I couldn’t help but notice that a few characters appeared out of place due to some differences in art style, if the art style had been a bit more consistent they would have fit into the visual novel better. As far as the visual novel’s backgrounds go the variety and quality of scenery is some of the best that I have ever seen in a visual novel. Every scene from the simple cafe, subway station, and bedroom settings to the famous parks and landmarks of Japan were absolutely breath taking. While not the best the animations are better than those of a typical visual novel, a majority of the transitions in movements and expressions were decent and the variety of character stances and number of facial expression changes during each of the conversations added more intensity and emotion. The visual novel has a very good number of CGs many of which sadly did not appear in the gallery after achieving the CGs associated ending then the main ending. Overall the graphics and animation in the visual novel are one of its many enjoyable aspects.
The voice acting is some of the best I have ever heard in a visual novel, some popular voice acting talents such as Matsui Eriko have been included among the cast. The addition of voice acting was intended to add more emotion to the game and it did an amazing job, giving the characters a voice made it even easier to get a feel for each of their unique personalities and become attached to each of them. The visual novel also includes a variety of wonderful music tracks ranging in emotion from whimsical and relaxing to sorrowful and serious, the soundtrack adds yet another level of depth and emotion to an already tragic and emotional story. The voice acting and soundtrack both play a crucial role in giving the visual novel far greater emotional depth.
Fatal Twelve is an enjoyable choice for anyone who enjoys a great mystery visual novel that is full of beauty and tragedy, it is a great option for anyone looking for a visual novel that allows you to impact the relationships of the characters and ultimately determine which of the visual novel’s endings you achieve based on choices you make. This is one of the greatest mystery visual novels I have had the chance to play and review since ENIGMA: and similarly I do not recommend this visual novel for the faint of heart or anyone who is incredibly sensitive about losing their favorite character since it is full of death and tragedy. If you enjoyed the visual novel Sound of Drop you are sure to enjoy Fatal Twelve, the latest visual novel from the same developer.
PROS (+): Unique Cast of Characters, Tragic and Emotional Story, Great Soundtrack, Detailed Graphics, Impactful Voice Acting
CONS (-): Art Styles For Some Characters Didn’t Fit in as well as Others.
SCORE – 9.0/10
This review is based on a purchased digital copy of Fatal Twelve on Steam.