Visual novels can often feel hastily put together, and even cheap at times. So, when a good one comes along, it’s really easy to spot it and also see why it’s good. Chaos;Child is a fantastic visual novel, with high production values, and tells a harrowing tale that’s intriguing and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s a sequel to Chaos;Head, but for those willing to jump into Chaos;Child, you do not need to have played the previous game.
After a devastating earthquake hits Shibuya, Chaos;Child entails events that occur six years after the incident. There’s some uncertainty about the cause of the earthquake, and in it’s aftermath, teens have been to known to suffer from Chaos Child Syndrome, a form of PTSD. You follow Takuru Miyashiro, head of the high school newspaper club, as you investigate murders in the city. The setup is mysterious, and it always gives the sense that there’s a lot hidden beneath the surface. There are certain points throughout the story where you’ll be making key decisions that can significantly change the course of the narrative.
As the story unfolds, you discover more about the murders, and even Takuru and those around him. Storytelling is done really well, and Chaos;Child has a long tale to tell. The game can go easily over 50 hours if you want to see all endings, and even a single playthrough can take around 30 hours. There very little filler in between, and even the slower story moments are thoughtful and engaging. There are a ton of dialogues, and all of it feels meaningful. The game takes the time to develop characters and make their motivations clear to the player, and it’s really enjoyable to explore and unravel the deep layers in the story.
The backgrounds are also lusciously drawn out, and there’s fair variety to them. Same goes for character animations and expressions. Details seem to be painstakingly and lovingly drawn out, and the game feels so much better because of it. Chaos;Child also does an exceptional job of constantly subverting expectations, and never letting the player sink in and get comfortable. Things are often not how they seem to be, and the game revels in taking a dark turn when you least expect it to.
Excellent visual design, compelling narrative, and fascinating characters, all bring together Chaos;Child to being a fantastic visual novel that any fan of visual novels must experience. There are very few of these game sin the genre that are done so well, and offer such value in terms of quality content through and through.