Nonorelia is a combination of a visual novel with logic puzzles rolled into a sci-fi story. You play as Noah Von Sterne, a scientist who is not only struggling to save the colony he built, but also to reunite with his family. And he has a lot of family. Nonorelia has a few different ways you can play the game. You can play through the story, only the nonograms they offer (I’ll explain these later), or even do an “ASMR” mode.
Most visual novels allows the player to choose what the playable character says and it’s no different in Nonorelia. As you choose what to say, it’ll increase or decrease certain traits Noah has. Picking more “family-orientated” things will up your family/father levels, whilst being more caring towards your wife will up your romance levels. Making choices may increase your levels in one field whilst reducing it in another. It’s a pretty interesting way to showcase a character’s growth, and how different one person might play the game compared to another.
Breaking up the talking components of this visual novel are nonograms. Nonograms are numbered puzzles, you’re given a grid where a certain number of cells need to get filled in. You might get a row that’s 1-8-4, thus you colour one tile, eight tiles, and four tiles with a space between. The nonogram part is fun, but it can be challenging trying to figure out where a tile goes. It’s also interesting to see when the game tells you it’s time to solve a logic puzzle. You might hit a locked door that requires a nonogram to open. Need to get out of some collapsed debris? Nonogram time! While it certainly wasn’t going for the humour factor, I found it kind of funny whenever the game brought up the nonogram.
The voice acting in this title is actually pretty good. Every line is voiced with Noah brought to life by Gareth West, who voices Ittetsu Takeda for all those Haikyuu! fans. Noah’s daughters are robot clones all named Angelon with a string of numbers. They’re all rather cute in their voice, but also how they react to whatever Noah says, like the two of them screaming love at each other to “show their love”. The writing is quite endearing.
And yes… the ASMR mode. There is voice acting for the ASMR version, and it’s fine? It doesn’t bring the tingles, but it works for what they’re trying to put down. But the sound effects are pretty cool, the devs obviously put some thought and care into it because there’s spatial 3D sound effects, like the ringing of glass or a spanner winding up. It’s a pretty unique way to have a section where you can just do nonograms if that’s your thing.
Nonorelia is a pretty weird mishmash of ideas, but it works. Truthfully, since it’s only in Early Access, there’s only 2 chapters of the story to play with, but the team does offer ASMR, picture, and random modes if you need your thirst quenched. Nonorelia releases in early access July 25th, 2023 with the full game set to come out summer of 2024 (Southern Hemisphere’s winter). Check it out!