Not Very Good
Avaliado no Canadá em 7 de setembro de 2019
Punchline is a hard game to rate. It's barely a game at all. It's closer to a visual novel with a small number of semi-interactive 3D scenes (I won't call them puzzles, see below). Punchline ties in to an anime that I (full disclosure) haven't seen. The online reviews for the game vary a lot, which made it difficult to research. I took a chance and bought it, in no small part because of the involvement of some of the staff that worked on Virtue's Last Reward. And if I could get a do-over, I wouldn't buy this game. Also, a quick note for parents who might be reading this, the "M" rating on the box is there for good reason. Between the sexual themes, violence and some emotional intensity, you don't want your kids near this one.
Punchline is about a boy who lives in an apartment building with four female tenants. This boy gets very excited by the sight of women's underwear, to the point where he briefly turns into a superhero/passes out from over stimulation. This protagonist (who you play as) isn't painted as a pervert, or a bad person, but the premise is definitely questionable. After an incident, the boy's soul leaves his body, someone else's soul steals his body, and the boy, in ghost form, needs to find a way to get his body back. To do so, he's guided by the soul of a spirit cat. The banter between the protagonist and the cat is generally pretty good, and the highlight of the game for me.
How do you get your soul back? Well, as a ghost, you get to, in very small ways, influence the items in your apartment-mates' rooms. Making items fall, interacting with electronics, stuff like that. Generally, the mission structure in the first half of the game is: move stuff to scare the girl in the room (this improves your ghost powers), get a mission from ghost cat, and then go around the rooms moving items to try and complete the mission (like, say, sending a message to a roommate or getting an item from one room to the other). The game calls these "puzzles", but I'm not sure that's a fair way to describe these segments. They're more akin to randomly moving items and hoping that, through the butterfly effect, it'll lead to the outcome ghost cat seeks. There's very little logic, though thankfully there aren't too many items, so your paths to failure are limited.
As you go around the roommates' rooms in ghost form, the roommates are usually going about their daily lives. Often in positions where a pervy ghost ends up gawking at their underwear. If you look too long at their underwear, then the end of the world instantly occurs and humanity is wiped out. By a giant asteroid. Yes really. Thankfully, this is easy to avoid too. The game "rewards" players with trophies and a cringe-inducing photo gallery of panty shots for bringing about the end of the world in this way at every opportunity, though, which is some really weird mixed messaging.
Eventually, you learn more about the other characters, secrets are revealed/shared, things get ridiculous, then more ridiculous, then "full anime cliche crazy". The game itself is presented like an anime show, complete with an intro and outro for every "episode". If you're going to play this one, holding the "x" button skips cut scenes. You'll be wanting to do that a lot. About halfway through, Punchline actually stops trying to be a game. It's jarring, and actually felt like the developers just... stopped trying. No more missions or "puzzles". The second half of the game is a long story segment and cut scenes where, once in a while, you get to make a decision.
So there it is. The story is weird and forgettable, the puzzles more closely resemble trial-and-error guessing games, and it's on the pervy side. On the plus side, audio/graphics are competent, the game never crashed on me, and the dialogue with ghost cat gets some laughs, but it's not nearly enough to justify a purchase.
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