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Once Again Review

Official Score

Overall - 65%

65%

Once Again has a fantastic foundation, but the follow-through just isn’t enough. We’re dying to know more about Sia and his time-traveling adventures with his mother - it’s just a shame that things are over before they even begin.

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A tale of time travel, RB Wolf Games’ Once Again provides a what-if scenario many have no doubt thought of before. Jumping between the past and present, should players dive into this visual novel and see what awaits each summer?

Once Again Review

June 6 is an important day – not only is it the young boy Sia’s birthday, it’s also the day his mother passed away.

With his lazy summer months spent napping, he wakes up to find a piece of birthday cake and the chance to make a wish. Wishing to share a moment with his late mother, he ends up in a darkroom finding his dream has come true. While these fleeting moments take place with a younger version of his mother, he still manages to find time to bond over photography, camping, and food.

Running a little more than an hour, this visual novel serves as a coming-of-age story for Sia, chronicling his growth through multiple summers and experiences with his mother. While these times might be short-lived, they still give him a chance to bond with her – even if she only thinks of him as a time traveler.

We are in absolute love with the concept – Once Again weaves a tale in lockstep with Makoto Shinkai (Your Name)’s greatest movies. However, what is here is not taken far enough. While it might be a good problem to have to crave more content, the concept simply isn’t taken far enough.

Sia grows throughout this tale, giving players the chance to develop film, learn the basics of photography, and discover the finer points of life. However, one does not get a chance to really know him or his mother, with only the most basic details uncovered throughout the tale. There are multiple pieces of cake and multiple wishes granted – that part is certain – but things only scratch the surface.

If anything, Once Again focuses on the wrong details. While we are dog lovers ourselves, focusing on Sia’s dog sleeping (above) or dwelling too much on his missing iPod before its foregone conclusion is a bit backwards and just adds padding. We do realize it adds to its worldbuilding, but there needs to be a bit more follow-through with the other elements of this title.

As a result, Once Again doesn’t provide too deep of a look into Sia’s world or his mother’s. The comic book stylings and long-form journey across multiple stages of Sia’s life are nice, but each chapter is over before it even begins. Once Again also loves to focus on the more surface-level details – we know that Sia’s mom is a smoker and loves photography, but more backstory into her history would have gone a long way.

Once Again has a fantastic foundation, but the follow-through just isn’t enough. We’re dying to know more about Sia and his time-traveling adventures with his mother – it’s just a shame that things are over before they even begin.

This review of Once Again was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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