Narcissu is a visual novel developed by Stage-nana that was written and designed by Tomo Kataoka and originally released in 2005. The project was published later by Insani as an English version while the visual novel was translated into other languages by translation groups. Two years later, Narcissu: Side 2nd was released in 2007 as a free download with the English version published by Agilis. To the delight of many fans, the release of the sequel included the original game with options to play through the visual novel with or without voices. Fast forward to 2014, visual novel fans now have a chance to enjoy both visual novels on Steam thanks to Sekai Project and its project localization efforts.

The first Narcissu follows an unnamed protagonist who is admitted to a hospital ward after being diagnosed with lung carcinoma. It is there that he meets a young girl named Setsumi who is suffering from a terminal illness and a couple years his senior. Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they both borrow a Honda Integra and travel together across Japan during their last remaining weeks before death. In Narcissu: Side 2nd, the story takes place before the events of the original and revolves around the female protagonist, Setsumi. It is in this game that we learn of the events surrounding Setsumi’s life and her cultivated friendship with a hospital volunteer named Himeko.

As expected from visual novels, the game focuses on character development and your interaction with the lead as well as other supporting characters. The option to play the game voiced or unvoiced is entirely up to the player with the voiced version proving to be exceptional in quality and performance. After completion, the option to enjoy the epilogue and the soundtrack will be unlocked and made available. Unlike other visual novels, there are no crucial paths or decisions to be made as you simply progress from start to finish as the story unfolds.

As a fan of both games from their original release to the present day, I’m very excited that the visual novel is available on Steam for free for everyone to enjoy. With an emotionally invoking soundtrack, intricate characters and a sad but touching plot, you can’t help but feel drawn in by the heart and soul of both games. Here’s to hoping that the third and final entry in the Narcissu series (Narcissu 3rd – Die Dritte Welt) will be localized and released on Steam in the near future.


PROS – Intricate characters, Touching story, Beautiful soundtrack

CONS – The VN eventually comes to an end


SCORE – 9.0/10

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