[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]emories are a fickle thing. We can forget what happened in the past, whether deliberately or by accident, or what we believe to be true can be entirely false. How one remembers an event can be completely different from how someone else remembers it. Pinocchio’s Murder takes this idea one step further and applies it to the memories of a cyborg family. There’s currently a short demo without sound on the project page and I took a quick look at what has been released for play so far.
The demo for Pinocchio’s Murder begins with Angel, our protagonist, waking up inside what can best be described as a stasis tank. She begins to panic, not knowing how or why she got in there, and calls on Lien Lei her boss to come help. Apparently she’s contracted a disease that rapidly ages her if caught in the sun too long or something. And to compound things she’s lost her memory and barely knows who she is.
Depending on how you respond to his question of what you can remember you can end up skipping half of the demo. If you want the full experience, pretend you know what’s going on instead of confessing that nothing’s returning to you. The first half of the Pinocchio’s Murder demo takes place at Seon Corp, where Angel’s a nurse for the cyborg family there.
This is her first day on the job and this works as a tutorial of sorts. It not only introduces us to some of the main characters in Pinocchio’s Murder but it also gives us a brief glimpse at some of the unique features of the game. It’s more than just a romantic visual novel but also heavily features some investigative and deductive reasoning mini-games. Some (probably most) that need to be completed before continuing on with the story.
The Lei family don’t exactly get along and Lien’s a real hothead when it comes to his brother and father and gets worked up even if just their names are uttered. The main problem with this is that as cyborgs they’re a bit more…robust than a normal human. We see first-hand just what Lien can do when agitated and nearly fries Angel with an electric shock. But it doesn’t faze her in the slightest. She still wants to be friends.
We do find out, sort of, just why they’re not exactly on speaking terms in the second half of the Pinocchio’s Murder demo. Angel’s a clone of an elderly woman who knew the family before they became cyborgs (and called them by different names back then). “Chris” and “Darren” befriend what I can only deduce as the original Angel that gave her template to the clone that we get to play as. The term “murderer” is bandied about only leading me to suspect that this was the tipping point of their estrangement.
While there’s no audio currently in the demo, the story and artwork more than make up for this shortcoming in spades. And within the next couple of weeks even that should be put into an updated release. If you like your visual novels mixed with some investigative work then you should find this one to your liking.