ReviewsReview: Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies

Review: Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies

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Life has a way of throwing out some negative experiences, but from these dark times, light and beauty can be found. No matter how strong you are, friends can be the crutch that prevents you from falling deeper. What would you do if your new friends also hit hard times? Would you be dragged down with them, or would you be the rock they desperately need? Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies explores this idea with its bittersweet plot and real to life imagery.

Developed by Magenta Factory and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a touching visual novel about love and friendship. A story that is supported by over one hundred CG images, Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies is fantastic to look at. It contains a long plot of around ten hours that has multiple endings to give the reader the impression that they are influencing the story.

It’s time to get uncomfortably close.

Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies is a well-paced and touching story.

The story is told through the eyes of Wei Qiuwu. He is a Chinese college student who spends his summer visiting his father in the hospital. During his trip, he befriends another patient called Li Jiayun. She catches his imagination because of her love and talent for music. The plot takes you on a journey around the vibrant city of Nanjing. Here the pair are joined by many eccentric characters. The story soon takes a turn for the worse as Li Jiayun’s health deteriorates, and Wei Quiwu becomes the crutch for his father and his newfound friend.

Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies explores its ideas in a slow-paced and relaxing manner. The relationships between the characters have real depth. This allows you to understand the bonds that are forming while enjoying the well-structured story. You’ll experience a range of emotions as it evolves and you may be conflicted about the over-sexualised images. This tale of love, loss, and friendship is oddly juxtaposed with smutty pictures of tight tops, enormous breasts, and sneaky underwear shots. It wasn’t offensive, and in some scenes, it would be suitable, but to have it thrust in your face repeatedly was a step too far.

The summer has taken a weird turn.

Limited dialogue choices and poorly translated words.

I’m no visual novel aficionado, but I have played enough to know the normal structure. It, therefore, stood out as odd that this one contained limited dialogue choices. There are multiple endings to experience, but I can’t see how the plot will alter too much when your influence is reduced to a handful of options. I like when you have the chance to change the direction of the story as it gives you a sense of ownership over the plot. However, this visual novel feels like a traditional book from beginning to end. This is great if you want a relaxing and laid back experience, but for gamers who want a bit more buy-in, it appears cold and standoffish.

I also instantly highlighted many poor grammar choices and incorrect uses of words from the opening scene. Now, this wasn’t an issue as I could read between the lines, but when a game relies solely on its text to sell its ideas, it should have been proofread at least one more time. The poor turns of phrase also impact the emotional attachment to the lead characters. It was clear what the intent was in all chapters, but the badly translated text was occasionally cold and gave the protagonists a lack of depth.

Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies has a fantastic style.

Now, I may not like the constant sexual images, but I love the CG art that is used throughout. These crisp images add realism and work perfectly with the plot. The touching narrative is enhanced by the true to life surroundings. In my experience, it’s rare for a visual novel to present such detail. With clear influences of Anime and Manga, the female characters have larger-than-life assets that will appeal to many players. Animation is shown through small changes in facial expressions and images fading in and out of the shot. It’s basic but works well alongside the constant flow of text.

The audio adds a wholesome atmosphere to this touching tale. There are moments of drama and suspense and these are reflected nicely with a sudden change in tempo and mood. The soundtrack acts as a nice distraction from the lengthy and in-depth story.

Limited choices = a simple control setup.

Is this real or a dream?

Grab a drink, get comfy, and put your controller on your lap. Set the pace, select auto, and watch the text unfold before your eyes. With limited dialogue choices, the use of a controller is kept to a minimum. You may as well sit back, relax, and take in everything that Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies offers. 

With its multiple endings and many CG images to see, this has some replay value. There is the option to skip text that has been consumed, so you needn’t waste your time unnecessarily. The story captures your imagination, so reading it again isn’t a chore. You’ll need to play it several times to unlock all twelve achievements. I suggest setting aside around twenty hours to finish this off.

Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies is a wonderful tale of friendship and sorrow.

The well-written plot will resonate with most gamers, even if the translation is off. The beautiful imagery, matching audio, and slow pace, allow you to relax and enjoy its many twists and turns. The skimpy outfits were a step too far and weren’t necessary, though I’m sure many players will appreciate the “artistry”. I enjoyed my time with it and recommend you to buy it here! Sit back, relax, and soak up the wonderful images and touching plot. 

SUMMARY

Bai Qu: Hundreds of Melodies is a long visual novel that explores some touching subjects. It's a tale of love, sorrow and friendship, and it's easy to lose yourself in its slow-paced world.

+ Striking CG artwork.
+ Touching and relevant audio.
+ A relaxing experience.
+ Multiple endings.
- The smutty images are unnecessary.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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