Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect
Developer: Crime Opera Studios/Ratalaika Games
Publisher: Crime Opera Studios/EastAsiaSoft
Genre(s): Visual Novel, Crime
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 28/04/21
A code was provided for review purposes
Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect is a visual novel centred around a crime family and the Gallo children. I didn’t know too much about the game before jumping in and I think this is the best way to approach it; much like reading a book, you’ll be faced with twists and turns in the story which are split up into chapters. There are some very dark themes explored so if you’re looking for a light story to switch off with this one probably isn’t for you.
There are 24 chapters in total and depending on the speed you read is really dependent on how quickly you’ll get through the story. Playing through the eyes of the Gallo children, you are faced with a different perspective in each and every chapter. At some points there are branching story paths, however, these are very few and far between with some of them leading to a dead-end; thus forcing you to backtrack and select a different outcome. At the very start, you’ll be given the choice of whether you want to read the novel straight through without the branching story paths or to have those included, this is a great way to introduce new players to this genre and if you’re a fan of reading books on a Kindle then you’ll feel right at home.
Sin and Punishment
With this being a visual novel, there are no traditional gameplay elements. I’m a keen reader myself, but this is the first of its type I’ve played on Switch. Each chapter features various backdrops, giving you visual scene changes as well as lots of different character art. The control method is simple. You press the A button to read the next line of text, or you can set it to ‘Auto’ mode which will eliminate the need to press anything. However, I did find this was a lot slower than what was comfortable for me; with no option to alter the text speed I reverted to the manual process.
I don’t want to give away parts of the plot, but I will stress the themes explored within Crime Opera: The Butterly Effect are very adult in nature and are not for the faint-hearted. There were a few moments where I was taken aback by where the story was going. That being said, seeing through the eyes of the children within the Gallo family provided a lot of depth and structure to how the story was told. They range from ages 6-15 so it never feels like the story is getting tired or slow.
Reading Is A Novel Idea
Graphically the game performs well in both handheld and docked modes. I found it rather enjoyable playing handheld as it’s ideal for picking up and playing in short bursts. If you do have the time to sit and read for longer periods though, like myself, you may just find the time flies by. The music throughout is pushed along with the story; changing in pace and tone with each twist and turn. This worked really well as a storytelling mechanic.
As far as reading a book goes, you can’t really fault Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect. However, it’s by no means perfect in execution. The character artwork and scenery changes are not particularly smooth in their transition. When one character speaks and it switches to another, the black text box at the bottom of the screen vanishes for a moment before highlighting the other character. There were times when for that split second, I could see an error text code in red font. It’s not major game-breaking stuff, but for a visual novel, it does take you away from the story for a moment and is obviously not something you’re supposed to see from the reader’s point of view.
To Cut A Long Story Short…
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading through this visual novel. The story is gripping enough to keep you engaged from start to finish. With a colourful cast of characters and some very dark themes explored. It’s not going to be the type of game that everyone will enjoy; it’s a fairly niche genre and some may just not enjoy reading huge walls of text. But if you’ve got the time I would highly recommend Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect. I recently discovered that the developers are working on a sequel as well which I’m thoroughly looking forward to! It’s a direct follow up with a similar cast of characters, set some years later. But that’s all I’ll say, for now, happy reading!
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.