Cafe 0: The Drowned Mermaid (

When a young girl wakes up in a strange place called Cafe 0, a waiter tells her that she’s a ghost.  In order to ascend to the afterlife she has to experience the last seven days of her existence all over again.

During the story, you are constantly asking questions about the main character’s past and about the people in her life.  Ami is her best friend, Tooru is her boyfriend and Shou is the school’s doctor and her counselor.  Each one has secrets that not only affect their lives, but the life of the main character as well.  The game has six endings and always at the exact same place that the main character dies, but the objective is not to keep her from dying.  Your goal is to find out who killed her and why.  Only by getting all the endings can you have that question answered.

As I said earlier, you are playing the last week of the main character’s life.  During each day, you have the choice to visit Ami, Tooru, or Shou.  You can only visit one character a day so choose wisely.

Tooru and Shou each have two endings, a good one and an evil one.  Their storylines only serve to bring up more questions about the story and to collect an item when you’re done.  You also have two dialogue options when talking to them.  Your character will go down a light or dark road depending on what choice you pick.

After you’ve collected all four items, you show them to Ami to discover the truth. When you’ve gotten all the endings, you get an extra where you ask the mysterious waiter questions about the game, otherwise known as breaking the fourth wall. Well, not every ending; it doesn’t matter if you get the bad one.  You can also change your character’s name, but if you’re playing the voice-activated version just go for the default name.  The actors forgot that you’re supposed to avoid saying the protagonist’s name if it can be changed.  Did I mention that you can pay extra for Japanese voice acting?  Don’t worry, the text is in English and the acting’s not that bad, whether it’s worth paying five extra dollars is up to you.

DO NOT READ THIS PARAGRAPH UNLESS YOU HAVE PLAYED THE GAME!  IT CONTAINS SPOILERS!  I’m not sure that many would agree with me, but I feel that the game does have a theme about life in high school.  Tooru uses the main character and every other popular girl to attain status as the most popular boy in school.  Ami pretends to be her best friend but stabs the protagonist in the back.  Shou is the predator using his position of authority to seduce lonely innocent girls like the protagonist.  Perhaps it’s a little extreme, but that is what high school is like.  Everyone uses each other to further their own ends.  Some, like the protagonist, believe that these people actually care for them and are heartbroken to find out the truth.  After playing the true ending, you look back on the others and wonder which of them were truly the happy endings.  Is it better for the protagonist to go on to the afterlife, unaware of how these people used and betrayed her?  When she chooses to stay on earth and haunt either Tooru or Shou for the rest of their lives, what will she do when they die?  Will she go to hell?  Will she become a wandering spirit forced to observe but have no part in human interaction?  Are they even worth ruining your afterlife over?  SPOILERS OVER!

This game is ironic, suspenseful and psychologically scary.  I give it 10 out of 10, it left me wondering what it would be like to have people all around you and have no one care for you.  I also had a dream about this game once.  I do hope they make this into a series; it could be a visual novel version of the Twilight Zone.

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