Break Chance Memento is a visual novel by the developer Cyanide Tea that explores solving a mystery through time traveling. The mechanics of time traveling is done via collecting items and a little bit of time management. The mechanics of solving the mystery, however, is done with the actions and dialogue choice you decide playing the game.
Break Chance Memento follows a young feminine-looking teenager named Shuuki, who is a sexual being that is pretty much a free spirit in his life choices at the moment. Years ago, his fraternal twin, was involved in an accident and died. Her death had completely changed Shuuki’s family and how his two brothers, mother, and father interact with each other.
The game is set in Japan, and definitely explores the family dynamics of a traditional Japanese family. So when another one of Shuuki’s loved ones ends up being murdered in cold blood, he ends up being shocked again. However, this time a mysterious time traveler from the future comes in his life and gives him valuable information about the murder; it’s someone from the future who is set on killing the people in Shuuki’s life.
But why Shuuki? And what can Shuuki do to save his loved ones? Well, his new time-traveling friend also gives him an important item, a bracelet capable of time travel. All Shuuki has to do is to scan an item to return back to a certain point in the past. Armed with time-traveling abilities, Shuuki is determined to save his family and find out who the murderer is. The only problem he encounters, however, is that when he saves one life, another life ends up being compromised.
The concept of time-traveling in Break Chance Memento is pretty simple, and that is quite a problem. Yeah, the story mentions “butterflies,” but the concept of the butterfly effect is a bit twisted here. When Shuuki ends up saving a life and comes back into the present, everything just becomes status quo, like nothing happened. The problem is that the story seems to follow a set path, no matter what you do, and even though there are multiple endings to the story, the concept of people’s lives being completely changed because of certain experiences is non-existent.
Break Chance Memento has some gameplay elements that can help the monotony of a visual novel if you are not one for such games. First, in order to time travel, there are certain points in the story where Shuuki is given a period of time, in hours, to search for scanable items to do so. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of areas to search, and I mean, you can really count them by hand. The period of time is also allocated for Shuuki to travel to the past, and there are two ways to do so. Time traveling in stealth mode does not waste any time, but Shuuki is limited to only viewing that certain point in the past and not be seen by anyone. In contrast, time traveling in active mode does waste time, but Shuuki is able to participate and be seen by the people. The choice between using stealth and active mode gives the game a puzzle and mystery-solving element that is pretty cool.
As mentioned earlier, there are different story endings, and that is heavily dependent on the choices Shuuki makes. However, in order to really advance in the story, there are certain paths that Shuuki has to follow in order not to get a “Game Over” screen rather than an actual story ending. There is a difference between the two, and it is quite disappointing that not all paths have a separate ending.
Break Chance Memento features some pretty great artwork, and that is because the team at Cyanide Tea are experienced in the creation of manga and anime. This is your typical “boys love” art style, so expect shirtless Asian teenagers and some light sexual themes. The game does feature Shuuki is some sexual situations, but they are more implied than graphic.
Expect the same scenario for 90% of the game: a background of where Shuuki is, the people in the scene standing, and the same seven or so gestures for everything, whether it’s someone falling or hitting someone and whatever else. The other 10% is the hand-drawn artwork that’s usually reserved for endings and some important plot points.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
If you’re into visual novels and is heavily interested in time traveling and mysteries, definitely give this a try. If you’re a fan of “boy love” mangas and animes, maybe give this a try. If you’re not in any of those categories I mentioned, hold off. Maybe find someone else that has a copy and give it a try.
Use Items to Travel Back to the Past and Save Lives
Plot - 5/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Design - 7/10
+Visual novel enhanced with time-traveling and mystery solving elements
+Great manga- and anime-styled artwork
-Endings are more “Game Over” screens than disparate endings
-Scenes are pretty mundane