Jisei: The First Case HD is a visual novel, murder mystery game from Sakevisual. It was originally released for PC in 2010 and is now on the Nintendo Switch for all the big-screen, HD glory. Murder mysteries are my personal favorite and this game did an amazing job of keeping me on my toes.
The game takes place in a single setting, which is a coffee shop. You can move to different rooms such as the main area, which is the seating area and main entrance, as well as the hallway, the ladies’ room (where the body is discovered), or the men’s room. You can examine the area or talk to whoever is there. In this case, the only other people around are an off-duty detective, a barista, and two other customers. Then, of course, there’s you.
You play as a nameless protagonist and, even though we’re inside his head, we don’t know anything about him. He seems to keep to himself most of the time, and it’s clear he has a past he doesn’t want anyone to know about. However, when a body is discovered in the women’s bathroom, it’s obvious he has supernatural tendencies. For the sake of story spoilers, that’s all I’ll say on the matter.
The gameplay was straightforward as you discover the body, and one of the customers walks in on you as you’re looking at the corpse. You begin to investigate alongside the off-duty detective to figure out who the victim was, who killed her, and why. The entirety of the gameplay is investigating. You’re examining rooms and interrogating people. The game gives you everything you need to ask. You just need to put the pieces together.
Investigating is a big logic puzzle as you speak to the two customers and barista trying to figure out their stories. Sometimes they contradict each other, themselves. Their stories may match up as well, which sometimes made me wonder if they were in cahoots together. There’s a lot of misleading and red herrings (or something to make you think it’s a red herring). Overall, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you intrigued and engaged throughout. Best of all? The ending made sense, and there were no loose ends within the case.
Jisei: The First Case HD is a short game and can be finished within an hour or an hour and a half. It took me about three hours because I played it with my sister. Even though it’s a one-player game, we love playing murder mysteries together to bounce ideas off of each other and figure it out together. At $3.99, you get your money’s worth and a good time to boot.
The visuals were fantastic with lovely backgrounds bringing the coffee shop vibes alive, and the anime-style characters were easy to look at as well. Plus, they were fully voice acted that really added some charm to the game. These voice actors included people who worked in games such as Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
This game left off at a cliff-hanger, hinting that there’s more to the story. An epilogue is unlocked once you beat the main story as well. It’s about a minute or two long that seemingly sets up for the sequel. There are two sequels already out for PC though I do hope they come to the Nintendo Switch in due time.
Review: Jisei: The First Case HD (Nintendo Switch)
Jisei: The First Case HD is a classic murder mystery with amazing art and voice acting. The story is intriguing and engaging, yet not too complex. If you enjoy visual novels and murder mysteries, this game is a must.