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Punchline review
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by Chase Ingebritson

Punchline is a bland, boring, and forgettable visual novel/point-and-click hybrid that aims to emulate its anime counterpart, but fails in every possible way.

Controls

Ok, so the controls themselves weren't too bad, X to skip movies, R1 to fast forward, and Square to auto-play text. The issue that I had here is that they never tell you this once you begin the game. The only way to find this information is by checking the config menu. This could just be a case of me being a bit stupid and not checking there first, but it seems like something they should be telling the player in the first place.

Gameplay

The idea for the game was pretty good, create a visual novel for the story aspects and mix it with a point-and-click game when it comes to the moment to moment gameplay. Unfortunately, in execution the ball is dropped completely. The visual novel sections pale in comparison to the anime and the art choice they use fail to convey any sense of emotion or life. The point-and-click sections aren't as bad, but due to story restrictions, just stop halfway through the game. Leading the player to have to deal with the terrible visual novel and nothing else for the second half of the game.

Sound

The music is fine. Its forgettable and annoying at points (i.e. the "joke" songs), but fine. It matches the tone of the game nicely, and never felt repetitive or out of place. The voice acting is also acceptable, but never really excels.

Art

This and the story are what really made me hate this game. Imagine the models from Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma, but with a terrible plot, bad character development, and no emotion behind the voice acting. Also, the animation was done by a 12-year-old. The environments are rather nice and fun to look around, but are never really used effectively. Punchline also strips a ton of footage from the anime, and I mean A TON. Every single chapter you have to watch an opening and closing (the same opening and closing every time to be exact) where most of it is just pulled from the anime. Probably a quarter to a third of the game's cutscenes are just ripped straight from the anime, but for some reason many of the shots are just still shots from the anime. They just stand still and narrate over them. Sometimes they move the mouths, but keep everything else completely static. The choices made in this game confuse me to no end.

Story

Just watch the anime.
«Waste of time»
«Boooring»