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Karifean's Blog of Visual Novels

Virtue's Last Reward First Impressions

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Doesn't bode well when you get stuck for an hour during the first two-and-a-half hours of gameplay xD

So Virtue's Last Reward has a premise similar to 999's. Nine people, locked away, forced to play the Nonary Game if they wish to survive. However this time around the game works a little differently, mainly with the addition of the AB and CD.

Instead of opening numbered doors with a fitting digital root, all the bracelets this time around show a '3' at the beginning, and have a certain color - red, blue or green. The goal of the game is to open the 9 door which is located in the very first area, but you need to get your bracelet to show a '9' or higher to be able to open it.

How do you increase the number on your bracelet? By play AB games which are themselves puzzles in the AB Rooms; those rooms are also located in the very first area. But you can't just go in, no you need key cards for that. And you get key cards by going through CDs: Chromatic Doors.

Chromatic Doors come in three colors: magenta, cyan and yellow. You need to combine bracelet colors to be able to open them, and they will only ever let three people through. That is until you solve the puzzle beyond, at which point they stay freely passable for eternity.

So that's the setup. It's a little more complicated this time around than just going round searching for a 9 door because this time you know exactly what you're getting. But it seems trust and betrayal are going to be key factors here, firstly because as it seems the 9 door can only ever be opened ONCE to let ONE PERSON through, and secondly because of the limited quantity of key cards. I just went through the first puzzle and got exactly one key card. I don't know how many people can use one key card to go into an AB Room, but it probably won't be all three of us who found it, so there's gonna be conflict over who can do the AB Rooms to raise their bracelet numbers.

The only recurring character so far is Clover, who is once again a participant in the Nonary Game. Although she looks very different from her appearance in 999... that's probably just because it's 3D now though. Zero is here too, of course, but who knows who 'this Zero' could be. This time it's announced right off the bat that Zero IS one of the nine participants, and the "game master Zero" communicates with us through an AI. A pretty annoying AI I might add. Not looking forward to interacting with that thing all too much.

On the technical sides there are both impovements and regressions over 999. Thankfully the text speed issue is resolved, and while you do still only get one save slot, you can freely choose to instantly jump to any chapter you've been to with your handy-dandy convenient flowchart - which also makes hunting for endings that much easier. Although you still have a bit of an enforced playing order according to VNDB. Something like in 999 I'm guessing.

The regressions I mentioned are related to the puzzles. Unfortunately I can't say I care for how you examine rooms now. The touchscreen has these weird static lines that make it kinda difficult to notice small objects, and you no longer get an indicator of what area you touch either. You can use the circlepad as a cursor too, but I'd rather use the stylus.

The puzzles now all end by opening a safe, and there's two different codes you can punch into it, one mandatory, one optional. The optional code is more difficult to find and puzzle out, but rewards you with a file with extra background information. If you get stuck in a puzzle, you're free to switch to the 'easier' mode in which hints given by the characters are more elaborate. The downside is that if you do that you only get a smaller file for getting the optional code. Eh... I guess it's okay, but I'm not looking forward to missing out on story-related details because I'm too dumb to solve a puzzle on my own.

Well so much for information. What do I actually think of the game so far? Well while in 999 the game was all about working together to proceed, it seems like VLR has the same principle but also promises that those you work with will inevitably stab you in the back. Which I'm honestly looking forward to. The main character is a real mystery since because there are only VERY few inner monologues you only know him through his interactions with others. I haven't even seen what he looks like yet! And no, the shot on the game cover doesn't count, for all I know that's a totally different guy.

The Zero-announcer is pretty silly and hard to take seriously though. Let's see where that goes.

Oh I can't forget to elaborate on why I got stuck for an hour out of the 2.5 I've played so far. Well see my first choice of room was the cyan door, with Alice (because 999 suspicions), and it took me FOREVER to figure out to just put the numbers 2652 into the smurfing phone, because I thought I'd already tried that but apparently made a mistake in inputting it, which had me running around the five rooms scanning for small items I'd missed even though nothing was to be found anywhere anymore. And then I'd found the optional code and it took quite some time to find the mandatory one. I set the difficulty to easy after getting the gold file, which led me to the answer. I even ended up overthinking the puzzle quite a bit, ordering the four symbol numbers by the room number in which the particular limb is indicated. Ugh, I hope that doesn't happen again.

I hope I end up enjoying this one more than 999~


  1. Fynn's Avatar
    From what I've seen of this game's Zero, he's very similar to the game master in the Danganronpa series. A deceptively silly character that was actually very threatening when the plot demanded it.
  2. Karifean's Avatar
    A bit of an update, turns out I was wrong, there are enough key cards for everyone to play the ambidex game. As for the ambidex game itself... well let's just say I'm suddenly much farther from getting a 9 than before. It really is a game of "trust and betrayal", huh.