Inside Pulse 12

Review: Resette’s Prescription ~Book of memory, Swaying scale~ (PC)

Resette's PrescriptionResette’s Prescription ~Book of memory, Swaying scale
Publisher: Sekai Project
Developer: Liz-Arts
Genre: 2D Point-and-Click Adventure
Release Date: 05/30/2016

Resette’s Prescription has an interesting premise: you play as Resette, a girl who can enter people’s hearts. You and your cat, Gaede, are attempting to make it through a forest when you come across a sleeping boy, Achille, who Resette is able to determine has a “sleeping sickness.” You enter his heart in order to find out the root of the problem, and uncover more than you bargained for. So in a sense, Resette is a kind of psychologist: her job is to figure out what Achille is struggling with. The game’s Steam page promises the feeling of being in a picture book, characters who show a wide range of emotion, challenging puzzles, and “beautifully composed opening and ending sequences,” all for $12.99. If you get the Deluxe Edition for $24.99, you also gain access to the full soundtrack and the Atelier Book, or the source material book.

Resette's PrescriptionResette’s Prescription certainly is beautiful. The scenery is incredibly pleasing to the eye, and I and think Resette and Gaede–the two characters you see the most of–are incredibly cute. The opening is fully animated, and the end credits feature neat illustrations. Both the visuals and the sound create an environment that is fairly easy to become immersed in. You can tell the creators spent a lot of time developing the visuals and the beautiful soundtrack, and it pays off. Interestingly enough, despite the cute appearance of the game, it actually deals with a couple dark situations and for some people possibly difficult philosophical questions.

What breaks immersion for me is the dialogue. A lot of it is overly simplistic or even childish, maybe a little too blunt and sudden. In addition, the bickering between Resette and Gaede is a little too much for my tastes, and it breaks from their experience (and mine) of Achille’s memories. Some of it is also probably translation issues, where what might sound fine in Japanese comes across as a little wooden in English. I would also argue that while the characters have a wide range of emotions in the game (they are dealing with some pretty mixed emotion stuff), they don’t necessarily show it. Mostly the characters emote happiness and sadness, sometimes anger. I think the dialogue gets you through the game, but it doesn’t necessarily lead you through it, if that makes sense.

Resette's PrescriptionAnother issue that takes me out of the game is the bugs. I ran into two and had to restart my session a few times to fix it, but others have said on the steam page that they ran into other issues that I did not run into. Considering the bigger bug I ran into was posted on their discussion board at the end of May and I was running into the issue here in the beginning of July, I’m not sure how focused they are on fixing these bugs, so if you run into them, you’ll just have to figure out a workaround, often meaning you press the skip button and possibly miss some dialogue. Not the best solution. Speaking of restarting sessions, though, regardless of where you save in a chapter, when you restart, you have to play the chapter over. That is annoying, to say the least.

There are puzzles, though as someone who loves puzzle games, I wish there were more. Surprisingly for a game around this price point, a few of the puzzles were a little more challenging, mostly in that they forced you to engage with the puzzles. Most of them, however, were pretty simple and could be figured out within a minute or so. There were also a few times you have to combine items, which I liked because they weren’t ridiculous “bear on stick” situations where the combination isn’t something you would have thought about. I imagine that those who are used to puzzle games would find this less challenging than those who engage with those types of games less often.

Resette's PrescriptionThat said, the game is fairly short. You can probably complete it in 2.5-3 hours, and all but one of the achievements in the game come just from completing the story. The other achievement comes from winning a battle–the only one in the game, and it comes at the end–without taking damage. Given that you have those heart containers up in the corner for the entire game, it kind of feels like there should be more than one fight, or take the fights out completely and remove the heart containers. There’s also no real reason to play this game again once you’ve beaten it, unless you got hurt during the fight and want to get that achievement. You’ve heard the story, and that’s kind of it. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing (after all, with how big my backlog is, I could use a few games I don’t need to replay), but it is something people tend to consider when they buy games.

I do wish the game was a bit longer. It would have been nice to see more character building on Resette and Gaede’s part. You play as them and know less about them than you do Achille or really anyone Achille interacts with in his memories than you do about them, which is kind of a shame, as it seemed the game was hinting at Gaede not being quite what he seems (in other words, more than a talking cat). The game might have also benefit from us getting to know Achille a little bit more before throwing us into his deepest, darkest memories. I found it a little difficult to sympathize with him on an emotional level. Logically, of course, I recognized he was in a tough spot, but if I’d been more attached to him I might have felt something too.

Resette's PrescriptionI would like to see another game where we play as Resette, maybe watching her character grow as she helps other people with their problems, especially if they made the games a little longer and polished them up a bit, improving the dialogue and fixing the bugs. Given how short the game is, I was surprised at how much story it told, and generally how well it was told given the time frame. I think Liz-Arts and Sekai Project have struck onto some potential here, and just need to beef things up a bit. If they do make another game with Resette in it and listen to people’s feedback on this game, I think they’ll knock it out of the park.

Short Attention Span Summary
Resette’s Prescription has a lot of potential, but fails to live up to some of its promise. The game is beautiful both visually and aurally and has some decent puzzles, but suffers from a short playtime, rough dialogue, and bugs. Despite the issues, I enjoyed my time with the game, and hope that Liz-Arts and Sekai Project make another one like it, perhaps with a bit more polish and length. There’s definitely potential here for a set of really cute, unique games.

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