22nd Nov2018

‘Punchline’ Review (PS4)

by Xenia Grounds


Before we get to the meat of the review, I feel like I have to add that I have nothing against visual novels. I’ve watched visual novel animes. I have liked a few of them quite a lot but before Punchline, I had never played a proper visual novel game. Something tells me that this wasn’t the best one to start with.

The story of Punchline is that the main character, Yuta, who has an out of body experience and has to work out how to get his body back from the spirit that is possessing it. You may be asking yourselves ‘What’s so bad about that?’…well, in the process of increasing his spirit abilities to do just that, he has to use his new ghost powers to prank and scare a bunch of young women while avoiding looking at their underwear more than once or else the world will end.

It’s a ridiculous story and if you’re not into massive amounts of fan service then this game is not for you. As an example, the pause menu is a still shot of girls panties and the girls tend to spread their legs in this game. Yes, the point is that you’re not meant to look but a premise like that can be alienating regardless of intent. More things do happen in the story but it’s hard to talk about them without going into spoiler territory but it’s all very over the top like the rest of the game.

That said, if you’re able to turn your brain off and just go with the ridiculous nature of the story then there is a fun game here. The gameplay is mostly about playing pranks on the girls in this residential block so feel free to scare them by knocking stuff on shelves among other things. It can be pretty hilarious depending on how far you want to take it. You basically do the same thing for the majority of the game. The only change of sorts is the Trick Chain which is the series of events that help complete the objective. It’s not a hard game to beat but these games aren’t meant to be about difficulty.

If you like the ridiculousness that comes with animes then you’ll find plenty of those tropes in the game. I can’t say I laughed that much because unless it’s something like Saints Row, I’m not very good at turning my brain off to enjoy something. The humour is a little off but I assume that may be a case of bad translation work. Speaking of which, there is no dub in this game. There are subtitles for the Japanese audio track though.

My parting thoughts are if you’re not a visual novel gamer then this is not going to change your mind. Personally speaking, it didn’t convince me to play more visual novels games and I don’t see many females enjoying Punchline either. If you don’t take it seriously at all and roll with the insanity that the story provides then there’s an entertaining game. If not, then stay clear because Punchline will probably offend your tastes.

Punchline is available on PS4 and PS Vita now.


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