Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect Review

Here we go then, no turning back now, I am all in…reviewing my first indie “game”. I have been meaning to do one for a while, but events have conspired against me, as even now I am fighting against onions being cut up and cooked behind me…

So, what indie game has the honour of being the first to have me type my thoughts onto my keyboard?

That honour goes to Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect. Developed by Crime Opera Studios and Ratalaika Games and published by Eastasiasoft Limited, this is the first of a 6-part series by the author Sean Bester, and this visual novel consists of 24 chapters in total and over 64 thousand words.

Now I know visual novels get a hard time by some people because they are not “games”, but I have to say after finishing all 24 chapters (that’s right I read the whole thing) I was left with the sense of wanting more.

Before you start, you have two options; you can either sit through and not have to make any choices or you can make choices at certain points and see “false” endings as the game calls them. One of the false endings near the end is a bit of an Easter egg into the thoughts of the people behind the project as they failed to meet their Kickstarter goal, which I have to say ruined the immersion for me, but I also could not stop reading and which in turn made me research the game a bit more.

In Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect you are following the fortunes of an Italian crime family; or more accurately, six children of the two Gallo families who ages range from 4-15 years old. 80% of story is narrative, which I thought at first was a bit of a negative, but you can tell that thought has gone into the way each kid thinks with their respective ages and it is easy to tell when you are reading 4-year-old thoughts compared to the 15-year-old.

The first thing I did when loading this up was test how long it would take to get 1000G as most of these novels you can get the full 1000G within 5 minutes. Achievement hunters will be pleased to hear that this is the case here as well.

After getting my 1000G I intended to read the first few chapters to get a feel for the story and then write a few words down as I was not expecting much. The reality was a lot different and I did not want to stop reading. There is not much more I can say really as I do not want to spoil anything.

The artwork is good but nothing spectacular with each character only having two or three facial expressions throughout the whole story and the smaller characters bob up and down as the bottom as the speech box is too big. Switching between people talking also shows that the characters are not fully drawn as the gap shows most characters missing lower legs and feet.

The music however is great and fits the mood of the scenes perfectly. The only negative is once you have completed the story there is not anywhere to enjoy it afterwards like some visual novels.

Unfortunately, as there is only one “true” ending there is not much drawing you back for a second read apart from maybe a refresher for when the next part comes out but as this is a 6-part series it is to be expected really.

If I were to base the review score solely on the story then it is an easy 8/10, but as I am reviewing it as an “game” other factors must come into play and the final score will likely be less than the story deserves, if there are any non-achievement hunters reading this, I implore you to give it a go.

Conclusion

I came in to Crime Opera: The Butterfly Effect with an open mind, but not expecting all that much from it. I’m glad I gave it a go though, as the story was actually very good and had me wanting to keep reading right until the end. It’s a shame there aren’t more endings to encourage more playthroughs, but as a part one of a series this is off to a good start. Whether you’re just interested in the 1000G or actually want a good tale to read, then this comes highly recommended.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Each character is written well
  • Really good immersive story
  • Music fits the scenes perfectly
  • Easy 1000g in under 5 minutes for the hunters
Bad
  • Not many facial expressions
  • You can see that characters are not fully drawn
  • Little re-read value once finished
7
Good
Gameplay - 9
Graphics - 5
Audio - 8
Longevity - 6
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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