Title: ATRI -My Dear Moments-
Developer: Frontwing, Makura
Release date: 19 June 2020
ATRI -My Dear Moments- is one of the launch titles of Aniplex’s new visual novel game brand, ANIPLEX.EXE, released on 19 June 2020 on Steam and DMM Games.
A light science fiction title, ATRI takes place in a world where the sea level is rising and at a point where much of the planet has been submerged underwater, and mankind is on a slow and quiet path to destruction. While this is technically a post-apocalyptic setting, it is a peaceful, serene, and almost idyllic one.
The story follows protagonist Ikaruga Natsuki, who lost his right leg in an accident several years prior to the start of the game. Natsuki returns to his recently-passed marine geologist grandmother’s countryside town which has been turned into an island cut off from civilisation due to the rising sea levels. When searching his grandmother’s submerged storehouse in order to find something to pay off her debt, he finds and inadvertently awakens a robot girl, the titular Atri, who has lost her memories but wants to carry out the final orders of her previous master, which she cannot recall.
ATRI’s writer, Konno Asuta, is best known for his work on Kono Oozora ni, Tsubasa wo Hirogete (released in the west as If My Heart Had Wings), and despite the setting being more sci-fi oriented than it, ATRI feels very similar in how despite the reality of the setting and even some hard science, it has a fantastical quality to it, which this reviewer liked greatly.
The writing, music, voice acting, and art are all extremely well-done, and come together to make a great short sci-fi story.
The game is significantly cheaper in price than most games in the genre, and its length is thus much shorter in proportion to the reduced price: The game in its entirety lasts around 6-7 hours. While it does not feel incomplete, with the story wrapping up cleanly at the end, the interesting world and likeable characters ironically make it feel that it would have been better if there was simply more of it.
The game engine has the option to switch languages on the fly or display the text in multiple languages at the same time, which can be convenient.
This reviewer played the game in Japanese and only spent a small amount of time inspecting the English translation, but did not like the aggressive localisation, getting the impression that it was changing characters’ personalities from the original version. Whether this bothers the player will of course vary from person to person, as some people purport to prefer such localisations.
It should be noted that a demo which allows the player to go through almost a third of the entire game is available and does a great job of conveying ATRI’s charm; anyone who is interested in the game should give it a try
The Good: Interesting world, likeable characters, fantastic voice acting and soundtrack, and great story, that condenses some of the best parts of Konno Asuta’s writing into a small package.
The Bad: The world and characters are interesting enough that it left this reviewer wishing the game was longer. The English translations has a localisation job that might feel overly aggressive.
Conclusion: ATRI -My Dear Moments- is a great short sci-fi visual novel, easily picked up due to its size.