Punch Line

Punch Line is a point-and-click adventure, and visual novel, game based on an anime of the same name. Developed by 5pb and published by PQube, the game tries to be a comedic, cliché-breaking romp. It succeeds at times, but due to cut corners and conflicting mechanics, Punch Line is a joke that falls flat..The story is lifted from the anime. You play as Yuuta Iridatsu, a boy that discovers he has the power to become a superhero - when he becomes aroused. The only catch is that he finds this out right after his body has been stolen by an evil entity. Now as an astral spirit, not only do you have to find a way to get your body back but also you have to be careful of the drawback of your power: if you get too aroused, you die and the world ends. The game follows the events of the show, almost beat for beat.

As a comedic piece of media, the writing is passable. There are hits and misses. Depending on your taste, one might out weight the other. However, I do admire how it tries to steer clear of the known Ecchi genre. All the girls in the game are college age just to clarify, and the main mechanic of the game is to not look too much at things that'll likely arouse you. There is a cute meta-joke in it of itself. Like the world is an Ecchi joke, and our hero getting a nosebleed is the punch line that ends it.Graphics wise the game looks good. 3D models and environments are true to the show's looks. Since the game is based on the anime, sprinkled throughout the game are animation clips from the show, which are animated excellently. That is not so true about the in-game animation, however. The game uses 3D models which are animated, unfortunately the animations don't flow with each other, they snap from one to another. Basically, they use what some games do with their 2D art, without realizing that it doesn't work with 3D. The game suffers which misloading animations too, when a character who's supposed to be dramatic will still be smiling widely in the cutscene.

Since you are stuck as a ghost that has to interact with objects in a certain way, in an order, usually so that a character(s) can go from point A to point B, the gameplay really becomes stale. But there are issues that take away from that experience that 'Ghost Trick' delivers. For starters, you are stuck in a small selection of rooms for the entire game. But also you are stuck with 3-4 stationary camera angles to inspect the room with. Which makes the game feel restrictive. Not only that, but one or two angles are always traps.
By that I mean they place in such a way that you can catch an upskirt shot a female character currently in the room. And if you look at it for too long (around 5 seconds) you get treated to a game over sequence. On the other hand, if you don't get the correct action first try, you will again get a game over. Because there are very few context or clues to hint you towards the correct sequence, you will game over a lot, and that nice sequence will get annoying.

Other than that, the game has a lot of down time, with long introduction scenes (you can't save whenever you want, and must wait until you pass around three-quarters of an hour in the game), even as an erotic game it misses its mark by giving only giving you a small number of pinup artworks. The whole, 'don't be too pervy unless you want to get a game over' was tiring at times. Honestly, I did want to enjoy the game more than I did. Sadly all of its flaws just kept piling up, and in the end, I can't recommend this game to anyone, except maybe to a hardcore fan of the series.

Tubich