Before I begin this review, I urge readers to take a look at the “About My Reviews” page, to better understand how my new “ACTUAL Game Reviews” work.
Reality has been abandoned and humanity now resides in net space, which is further split up into different factions. How do these factions decide who is in control of net space? By nominating idols to participate in a quadrennial concert of course! Space Live is a kinetic visual novel that takes the player on a short journey through one of these concerts, featuring five distinct idols that each represent a web browser.
The sheer amount of metaphors. Each character in Space Live represents a different web browser. Ai E is Internet Explorer, Sarafi is Safari, Higitsune is Firefox, etc. What I found to be really cool was that the way that each character acts is symbolic of the browser they represent. Ai E is a clumsy idol who was only nominated to participate in the Space Live because of how recognizable she was, even if she is past her prime, exactly like IE in the real world. Sarafi cares deeply about her appearance and believes that style and fashion are #1 to winning the Space Live, much like Apple is with all of their products. Chrome does not speak much and uses as little words as possible, her cat ears picking up all the information around her and recording it, much like the Chrome browser and Google collecting information about its users for ad targeting. This is just scraping the surface of the amount of symbolism in this game and I really enjoyed the moments when I realized the true meaning behind why a character acted a certain way or why events unfolded the way they did.
Great art. While I may not be in this game’s target audience (that is, those looking for plot over plot), I can at least appreciate the art. The character designs were great and the CGs were well done throughout. My only complaint would be that the game oftentimes zooms into CGs to emphasize certain traits (usually breasts), which results in fuzzy art. The art most likely matches the resolution the game is played at (1280×720), so this is expected when zooming in.
Utterly bland storyline. It should be clear by the store page for Space Live that this is not a visual novel for the story. The story is an afterthought, with the art, character designs, and ecchi elements taking priority. For a visual novel (especially a kinetic novel with no choices), this was detrimental to my experience with the game, as I prefer actual stories in my VNs over scantily-clad girls. The entirety of the story was completely uninteresting, with just a few scattered comedic moments to bring it up. Really, the most fun I had with this game was identifying the different metaphors, but that did not make the story any better.
The soundtrack. This game has a total of ten soundtrack pieces spread across the four or so hour story. While a lot can be done with ten soundtrack pieces, most of them were barely 1:30 in length, so I heard a lot of the same music over and over. In some scenes, I heard the same song loop five or so times before the next scene brought with it different music. It was very noticeable when playing, especially because the music itself is rather generic. Additionally, while this game may be unvoiced, I was a bit disappointed when the singing scenes would either fade to black or just give a description of the performance. I should have expected this from an unvoiced VN, but I was hoping for some actual idol music.
This game is definitely for a different audience: those looking for risque CGs and character interactions without making the jump to straight-up hentai visual novels. The game may have its moments, especially with all of the references to real-world browsers and technology, but ultimately it is just a generic story slapped onto some great artwork. For visual novels, I value the story above all else, so this game was very disappointing on that front. However, if you are just looking for great art with plenty of risque CGs, this may be the game for you.
You can purchase Space Live here on Steam.