Review: Time Princess - Code: Whalefall

When Time Princess released Hela's Compass, I expressed my desire for them to do a more complete science fiction story. That wish was granted with the newest visual novel release, Code: Whalefall. This story takes place in a cyberpunk-like world with lots of fun robots and cyborgs and the usual sci-fi theme of speculating what the future of humanity might be. There is a bit of controversy involving arguments between religion and technology, but I don't think it gets expanded upon enough to offend any zealots. The story also has an insane amount of sci-fi-themed clothing that draws inspiration from so many different sources that it's difficult to pinpoint them all. As a result, trying to unlock all the clothing in this story requires an insane amount of resources that will cut through your supply of gold and clothing materials like a chainsaw.

Code: Whalefall visual novel cover in Time Princess

The story begins with our protagonist, Maya, waking up on a strange planet and trying to figure out why she's there and how to escape. She is soon accompanied by a playful robot named Roni, who is reminiscent of other loyal fun sidekicks from stories like Ancient Dreams, and is determined to help her escape. As they commence their journey together, she learns about how technology has come too far and destroyed lives and what her connection is to all of it. There are so many different story branches that the main plot can be difficult to follow if you try to play through the entire visual novel in one go like I did, but complicated and convoluted plots are pretty standard for sci-fi stories. I felt like the writers for Code: Whalefall had more of a sense of direction than they did with Hela's Compass.

All three of the main companions in this story have the potential to hurt Maya if the wrong decisions are made, so I had a hard time getting attached to any of them. I suppose Mitchell is the worst of the bunch because he was the one who kidnapped Maya in the first place. However, he has a tragic backstory to balance out his actions, and he never actually intended to hurt her. Z is a cyborg that Maya knew from her past. I was drawn to him at first because he was so determined to protect Maya, but that determination borders on Mother Gothel-style "tough love" at a few key moments. Yukari is the most interesting of the three. She is a Japanese android performer who wishes to be respected like a fellow human. Like the others, there is more to her than meets the eye.

This visual novel had some of the most beautiful artwork I've seen from Time Princess in a while as well as one of the biggest varieties of clothing options. These options come with the pitfall of using up many of the game's crafting resources, so make sure you are well-stocked before attempting to build all the outfits available in Code: Whalefall. Many of the two-piece cyberpunk ensembles looked pretty similar, but the story provided variety with some unique dresses. One was an old-fashioned evening gown with a goddess-style crown, and another was a cutesy Lolita-like circuitry dress with pink and purple wiring and belts. One of the most interesting designs in the story was the Japanese-style futuristic kimono dress that was designed to accompany Yukari's scenes. It was a very unique take on the kimono with an extra short skirt, metal obi, and see-through silicone sleeve panels. The black and green color scheme looks more cyberpunk than typical kimono fabric designs.

Overall, Code: Whalefall is a pretty heavy story compared to the other visual novels in Time Princess, so you need to be in the right kind of mood to play it. It requires players to have a lot more resources stockpiled than many of the other visual novels in the game. I would recommend this story to experienced players who are fans of cyberpunk and are looking for something different from the other options that Time Princess has to offer. It has some beautiful illustrations and clothing options accompanied by a deep story with a pretty strong pro-life message. Share your thoughts on Code: Whalefall with me in the comments below!


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