For an action visual novel, Sorcery Jokers has a relatively average story. It also does not help that there are quite a few technical issues. However, the game does include some nice, full HD art, plenty of animation, and a very cool in-game flowchart to help make up for these faults.
Lots of animation. Sorcery Jokers easily has the most animation I have ever seen in a visual novel. There was just so much going on on-screen that it felt like I was watching an anime at times. The game’s animation really shines during the battle sequences, with constant full-screen effects taking over the scene to fully immerse the player into the battle.
Full HD. This is the first VN I have played that has full HD support. All of the assets in the game are designed to be displayed in full 1920×1080 glory. There are no blurry character models or CGs, even when zoomed in. The game, when combined with its fantastic character designs, is absolutely beautiful to look at.
In-game flowchart. Sorcery Jokers is actually a kinetic novel, so the player does not make any choices that affect how the story plays out. However, the game gives the illusion of choice through its in-game flowchart feature. As the player progresses through the game, new scenes are unlocked and can be played in whatever order the player wants. There are five protagonists, each with their own scenes. The game does limit this feature to an extent, making it so the player cannot go crazy and play through the entirety of one character’s perspective at once. It is designed in such a way as to facilitate the game’s storytelling while still giving the player some options.
Frame drops. The sheer amount of animation within Sorcery Jokers brings along with it a nasty side effect, that being frame drops. Yes, frame drops in a visual novel. Oftentimes, when an animation was playing at the same time as text being read, the text would come out stuttering, not smooth like it does when no animations are present. Sometimes, it was the animation itself that would stutter, like the fps was suddenly cut in half. There were even times when the text would come out stuttering with no animation playing. The text still displayed itself at the same speed as it would normally, it just would not do so in a smooth fashion. It was a rather annoying issue that I just had to get used to.
Random long pauses. This may be an extension of the previous issue, but there is also a problem with some text not displaying at all for several seconds. I would press enter after a character has spoken their line, then the text box for another character’s dialog would pop up, but no text would display for four or so seconds. No animation plays during these random pauses, leading me to believe that it is some sort of technical issue. It really slowed down my reading pace.
Constant reuse of the same CGs. Sorcery Jokers tends to reuse the same CGs over and over throughout the game. It felt like every battle scene just showed the same CG of a character in action, like a JRPG that uses the same battle animation over and over. There is some variety, but it is limited. Very disappointing considering how great the animation is.
Issues with the 18+ patch. There is a minor issue when running the Steam version of the game with the free 18+ patch. After the game is cleared, four options are unlocked on the main menu, but two of them occasionally disappear and require a game restart to reappear. I assume this is an issue with the 18+ patch because one of these new options is basically an “H-scene mode”, which includes three additional H-scenes per heroine in the game. The 18+ patch also occasionally messes with the CG gallery, with some CGs appearing censored and requiring a game restart to appear uncensored again.
Sorcery Jokers may have an average story, but its use of full HD graphics and extensive animation really help to better the experience. The in-game flowchart is a really nice addition as well. There are some technical issues that hinder the experience, and the constant reuse of the same CGs got a bit annoying, but it was still a decent game overall. An easy recommendation for those already familiar with the action visual novel genre, but if you are not a fan of such a genre, there are better options out there.
You can buy Sorcery Jokers (All Ages) on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.