Having just completed the game 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, it seemed like an opportune time to voice an opinion. Granted, this examiner is a bit late to the party, however there may still be those out there who are hesitant about picking it up, and it is those that will hopefully find this review helpful.
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors is a text-adventure, or visual novel game following the story of a college student named Junpei. He wakes up in a rather painful position: Namely cracking his head on a low roof and falling off the top of a three-tiered bunk.Junpei has no idea where he is, however, he notices a small, circular window in the wall. A small, circular window like the ones ships have. Peering through, however, only reveals blackness… until it cracks, and water begins pouring in. This launches the more interactive “Escape” section.
In the “Escape” sections, you must investigate the environment and solve various riddles and puzzles. For instance, once the window has burst and the water begins flowing in, you start looking around and notice several objects that bear closer investigation, as well as a few items you can pick up, such as a note with seemingly random triangles and squares on it in blue and red ink. Objects that allow closer investigation usually have something hidden within, such as a note under a pillow or a screwdriver in an old stove. Some of these items can be combined, such as finding an object with screws in it and a screwdriver: You can remove the screws from the object.
After each “Escape” is a “Story” section. This section is much less interactive, allowing you to save, check a calculator you’ve picked up, read files, or, upon pressing the up button on your directional pad, rereading a bit of dialogue or story that you may have missed or want to go back over. You will also be presented with several choices in these sections, which can, along with other things, affect the outcome, leading you to obtain a different one of the game’s 6 endings than you had intended.
For example, once you have helped Junpei escape the flooding room, he will soon meet up with the other 8 players, one of which, he is shocked to see, is an old, childhood friend. All 9 wear bracelets that display one of the numbers 1-9 on them. Comparing notes with them reveals that you were all taken pretty much the same way: A mysterious person in a gas mask, hood, and cape used a can of white smoke that knocked you out. Each player then woke up in a seperate room and had to escape. The man soon makes himself known through a speaker in the room’s corner: He is Zero, and he has “Invited” you all there to play a game for different reasons. The game is called the Nonary Game, and the goal is simple enough: Seek a door with a 9, and beyond it lies your escape. Zero also explains that, to enter a room with a number on it, 3-5 people must swipe their bracelets, and that, “All who enter must participate”. After Zero’s voice fades, the group begins introducing themselves when one speaks up, and they agree to use codnames. The man with the “1” bracelet decides to go by Ace. The man with “2” goes by Snake. “3” is Santa, “4”, Clover. “5” is Junpei, who, having his name accidentally revealed already, is told it’s pointless to have a codename, and “6” is his friend, who he gives the codename “June”. “7” decides to simply go by the number of the bracelet, and “8” goes by Lotus.. With most of the players introduced, the Nonary game begins in earnest. Who will make it out of the place alive?
Overall, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors was quite a fun game. It has been quite a while since this examiner found himself playing through a game 6 times consecutively to see each and every ending. The puzzles, different in each room, can range from easy to fairly challenging, and upon finishing the game once, you can then press the right button on the d-pad to fast-forward the text until you get to either a choice or a bit of story you have yet to see, in which case it resumes the normal scrolling pace.
So if you happen to like visual novel games and are hesitant about picking this one up, you should drop the hesitations. Featuring a rather interesting story, multiple puzzles, multiple paths, and 6 endings, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors will be happy to suck up quite a bit of your time.