Sonico is the mascot for the gaming company Nitroplus and she originated from the Nitroplus music festival in Japan and has since become a multimedia franchise from anime to her own games. It was developed by Nitroplus and Regista and published by Kadowaka. When it was first released, Sonicomi was originally a Japanese exclusive but not too long ago it was ported to the PC by JAST with English localization and Sonico’s dub voice actress Jessica Nigri reprising the role.
(during a photography shoot)
I would normally discuss the story but really this game is plotless. You play as a photographer for the college student, musician and gravure idol Sonico and you help her around with her day-to-day life. The cameraman plays as the sole sane person in the story as he keeps making remarks about the weirdness around him.
The game has two sections: the action phase and the adventure phase. The action phase is where you go on photoshoots while the adventure phase is mainly story segments of the game. The characters are all one note but at the same time are super funny so there is a fair bit of comedy in the game.
The voice actors from the game appear in the Japanese subbed version of the show. The story writers of the game came from Phantom, Chaos Head and the Guilty Crown visual novel adaptation. The musical score is surprisingly very good.
Depending on the dialogue choices, you could format Sonico’s career path either by breaking into the Japanese mainstream entertainment, an underground cult figure or anything you could think off that could transcend fame. The character designs were very interesting and unique and the art style is visually appealing. The 3D graphics were very good especially for a visual novel where its mainly 2D. The visual detail as well looks really good thanks to the PS3’s hardware.
There are hundreds of outfits and accessories from which you could choose to add on Sonico. You could unlock more as complete certain requirements. More costumes were added in the PS3 version and the 3D models were polished up as well.
(fashion outfits are fanservice oriented in the game and no fictional characters have no rights nor could they be objectifeid)
While the animation isn’t groundbreaking, there was a good amount of effort put in to be as best as it could possibly be especially for something that’s really underground. You could only save before photoshoots or after the chapter is done which is a pretty unusual design choice. You have to time each shot carefully and move around to get the right angle. You're also going to have to keep Sonico motivated by compliments and cheering her on to boost her morale and the higher the morale the more risqué the shots are. You need to focus youre eye contact at Sonico or else you are going to get scolded a lot during the game. For the photoshoots, you can choose 8 different locations across Tokyo and select what kind of style you want to use as a backdrop.
(Concert scene during the game)
The game is fairly long and with about 18 different endings based on your choices, there's plenty of replay value to enjoy. There wasn’t really much to complain except that the story was just full of cliches typical slice of life tropes. This is the most lighthearted Nitroplus game I've played and you can’t take this game seriously.
It gets 4 out of 5 stars.
They really should make more idol simulator games and there's actually another Sonico game for the 3DS that’s a Japanese exclusive but hopefully as time goes by these games get remastered and ported on the next gen consoles.
If you really enjoy Nitroplus’s visual novels and writers like Gen Urobuchi, you’ll have a good time with this game.