Once Again is an interactive point-and-click visual novel with a plot based on time-travel. The story comprises of 9 chapters that the players will experience. The game has point-and-click style games that the player will engage with in order to progress through the story.
Our story begins with a young protagonist boy laying in bed alone. He tries to reminiscence about his mother whom he had never met and only has a single photo of her. This summer day just so happens to be his birthday and a mysterious cake appears. “Please make your wish” is the message that appears besides the cake.
So our protagonist decides to humor this message by honoring this birthday ritual. However upon opening his eyes, he is in a completely different place and time than his room. He sees an older woman who just so happens to match the photo of the boy’s mother. Now the boy is given the opportunity of a lifetime to meet his mother who had been missing from his life and make up for lost time.
The story plays out in chapters which represent each passing summer in the boy’s life. We see our character grow up as we continue the story. I think this is pretty clever because the story really hits home how we should cherish as much of our time here on earth. I won’t go much further than that description to avoid spoiling the story. I will say that the story is very light-hearted with an emotional end that is satisfactory.
The game has two sides of the screen: The left has the images and the point-and-click portions while the right has the dialogue in the form of text messages. This game plays like a linear visual novel so keep that in mind.
There are moments in the game that require you to complete interactable actions to proceed. These are usually in the form of clicking and dragging certain items. Examples include clicking around the starting room to move, click-and-holding the cursor to paint, dragging camera sliders. As far as I know, there are only two mini-games: Math and “Jigsaw” Puzzle.
It feels like playing a mobile game and I mean that as no insult because it encourages more engagement from the player to interact with the story. After all the game aims to make players immersed in the story. Be wary that the game does repeat certain actions which gets repetitive at times.
Art & Sound
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love the webtoon/comic aesthetic that the game employs. Characters are beautifully well drawn. It feels as if I’ve been transported into a painting sometimes whenever I see the background. The art feels so stylish in that it exerts vibrant and chill in its color palette.
Speaking of vibrant and chill, the game has a mix of using lo-fi music and relaxing piano music. It made playing the game much more chill and easy to vibe to. There are also ambient sounds such as the chirping of cicadas to fully immerse the player.
I could only find one problem that I agree with some of the negative reviews. It is the distinct lack of instructing the player on what to do for each interactable event. I’ll admit that some events are very intuitive such as dragging sliders. However some events are not as obvious like needing to drag the boy’s hands up when he’s making the wish. Once players do figure out what to do, it should be easy pickings but it’d be great if players didn’t need to click randomly to figure out what to do.
I recommend Once Again, it is a fantastic heart-warming story about a boy time travelling back into the past to hang out with his mother. I would say that $6.99 is a bit high but with how the game runs pretty smooth with barely any game-breaking bugs, it’s worth it. I love the idea of using point-and-click mechanics to keep players immersed rather than sitting through a kinetic visual novel.
You can purchase Once Again through the Steam store page HERE!