I’ve recently been given the chance to check out aiueoKompany and Sekai Project’s new (well, to Western audiences) horror visual novel, Sound of Drop: Fall into Poison, which released on Steam on October 30, 2015. The game promises a gripping horror story and tons of endings, but can it deliver?
Sound of Drop: Fall into Poison begins innocently enough as the player is introduced to two best friends known as Mayu and Himeno. Mayu is the one that you will be controlling throughout the game, and the two are chatting about what they’re going to do in their spare time. Himeno, being a bit of a paranormal fan, suggests that they head to the Manten Aquarium due to the many rumors circulating about the place. Some of these include a fish with a human face, the aquarium water turning to blood during a full moon, and more serious rumors involving unexplained deaths and disappearances.
Though Mayu wants nothing at all to do with the Manten Aquarium, due to a past tragedy involving a family member, she decides not to voice her discomfort to her friend and the two decide to head to the Manten Aquarium after all on the night of a full moon and attempt to investigate the strange rumors.
After meeting an employee who seems to be hitting on Mayu, the girls begin exploring the aquarium. Mayu soon sees a familiar face from her past and, ignoring her friend, chases after this person. Unfortunately, things take a drastic turn for the worst for Mayu.
Being a visual novel, there’s not tons of gameplay in Sound of Drop: Fall into Poison. That said, you will be making a lot of choices, many of which can turn out to be life-or-death decisions. Some examples include the decision to return to a dangerous location or attempt to enter a new, unknown one, whether to help somebody or focus on protecting yourself, and whether or not to trust somebody.
The Manten Aquarium is anything but a nice place, and, as you can imagine, many choices can lead to Mayu’s death. In my first playthrough I unlocked 12 of the 27 bad endings, though there were times I had thought, “I bet doing this will result in death, but I want to see how it turns out/what that death will be like!” If I had not gone through with those thoughts, I probably would have gotten less than half the number that I did. That said, experiencing all of the endings, good and bad, are part of what I enjoy most about visual novels.
On the note of endings, in addition to the 27 bad endings possible, you can also obtain one of four good, or True Endings. As many choices can be difficult to determine in terms of the safe choice, you can expect to run into at least a couple of the bad ends on your first playthrough, if you aren’t consulting a guide along the way.
The True Endings each offers up a more pleasant outcome for members of the cast, and attempting to gather all 31 endings can take a while.
Graphics and Sound
Being a horror visual novel, Sound of Drop: Fall into Poison could still exist and tell a decent horror story without good graphics or audio, but it actually is enhanced by each that are present. While the anime art may seem similar to other visual novels, it delves into some rather disgusting territory as it depicts the horrors of the Manten Aquarium.
The art and audio both do a good job, but perhaps the best part is when the horrors are largely left to the player’s imagination. While you will see some creepy art in the game, you are also, many times, left to imagine what, exactly, is going on based on the text description, which can be even more frightening to those with great imaginations.
Those who prefer voice acting in their visual novels will be disappointed, however, as there is none present, English or Japanese.
Sound of Drop: Fall into Poison does its best to disturb the player and it succeeds in several cases. While playing I witnessed a death and immediately though, “Crap, is there any way to save him/her!?” on a few occasions. It tells a good story, and the many different endings are sure to keep horror fans hooked.
Final Score: 4.5/5