Mercy sees things. It’s too bad that what she sees are warped distortions, filthy beetles, tentacles, horrifying flesh-beasts and all that, but at least it isn’t permanently on so she’s not quite Fuminori yet. Too bad it’s getting worse, though.
Mercy lives in a small, secluded village; the village is strongly religious, ruled by the local church, and all the kids around see her as a convenient punching bag. But hey, it’s probably her fault anyway, she was cursed by sinning at the tender age of ten. She was seeing nice things before that.
Mercy is the protagonist of Soundless -a modern Salem in remote area-, which is a bit too weeb of a title to not have me wrinkle my nose, but hey apparently they’re trying to pay homage to the old denpa game aesthetic, down to the 640×480 resolution (handily you can play at 2x window size…).
Soundless is about knowing that you are never safe, you could be hit any time, you could start seeing horrors any minute, and you will be punished for your own misfortune. Soundless is about freaking out and watching distorted background upon distorted background parade in front of your eyes, the attention to direction making the NVL format much less stuffy than you might expect.
Soundless is about surviving when almost everyone you know is trying to destroy you, whether slow or quick. Soundless is about being trapped by guilt. Soundless is about being exploited. Soundless is, perhaps, about breaking free from your tormentors – but it is not afraid to humanize them. Sometimes, you just have to let go anyway.
Soundless is written… acceptably well on the prose front, though it gets awkward more often than I’d like. There are a few standout moments, mostly during freakouts, but mostly it’s just… there. There’s also some annoying confusion in the tenses that 7 beta readers couldn’t catch, which I guess proves that you need not just QC but competent QC (though they did catch a lot of typos according to the dev). Overall I would recommend an editing pass by someone competent, but I think that stands for like every EVN I’ve read bar Lynne so whatever.
The music and ambient sound generally work well at conveying the atmosphere, though sometimes it suffers from short loops in ambient sfx leading to stops and starts in the track (a pet peeve). Sometimes the volume of the ambient sfx seems off, but I think that might actually be intentional. This is a denpa game, after all – you expect it to screw with you. A major bonus for adding sound effects to some of the distorted speech, though the VN is generally unvoiced.
If there’s anything to criticize, it’s the last part of the novel where things go seriously south. You could argue that the change in pace is too much of a break, but for me the themes remain consistent and carry it through to a natural conclusion.
Soundless sets you on a bloody path to madness, gore, and suffering, horrors, despair, a crescendo – and then, the point. It ruined my sleeping schedule yet again. It was kind of fucked already. I guess I don’t really mind.
Soundless is one hell of a ride and I recommend it to anyone into the horror/madness aesthetic that can take the content portrayed – none of which is sexual, but expect violence.