developer: Kadokawa Games
Game mode: single player
Root Letter: Last Answer is a visual novel adventure game with gameplay similar to series such as Danganronpa or Ace Attorney. The game was developed by Kadokawa Games, which is part of a huge publishing conglomerate of Kadokawa, which produces films, animations, music, games, etc.
Root Letter: Last Answer is an extended remake of the original Root Letter, which was released in 2016 on PC, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, selling more than 400,000 copies worldwide. It was the first adventure game done by these developers, many of whom had previously worked for Konami, as well as the debut work of a series of unrelated detective games. The re-edition replaced the original two-dimensional illustrations with photographs and films of actors characterized as heroes of the title. It is worth mentioning, however, that the game allows us to use their original appearance at any time. The authors also extended the game with a new epilogue for each of the available endings, as well as introduced a number of improvements to the interface.
Root Letter: Last Answer takes place in contemporary Japan. The main protagonist of the game, an over thirty-year-old man, discovers long-forgotten letters, which he had exchanged fifteen years earlier with a correspondent friend named Aya Fumino. The contact with her broke out suddenly after she admitted in the last letter that she had murdered a man and had to repent. Despite the passage of time, the protagonist decides to solve the mystery that was hidden behind the disturbing letter. The protagonist travels to Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, Japan, trying to find friends from the school mentioned by Fumino, hoping that they will take him to the girl. On the spot, he discovers with amazement that a friend is said to have died in a family home fire ten years before she made her first contact with him. Depending on the decisions made, we can unlock one out of five endings, in a drastically different way of solving the main plot, which is additionally extended in epilogues.
The gameplay in Root Letter: Last Answer resembles a classic two-dimensional visual novel, but it also allows more interaction and influence on the course of the plot than usual (just like the Danganronpa series, for example). The story is divided into chapters, and each is linked to one of the letters we have received. Players can choose different locations in and around Matsue by questioning the people mentioned by Fumino and those related to her disappearance/death. At various moments, we are asked to make a decision affecting the course of the dialogues. When we find a person hiding important facts from us, we are transferred to a mini-game, where we use the arguments, hints and evidence discovered during the investigation.
The authors of Root Letter: Last Answer have used the real locations in Matsue and all over Shimane, in cooperation with the prefecture authorities, they present various authentic tourist attractions of the region, both in a cartoon and actor's version using photographs. Mino Taro, famous for his Love Plus dating series on the Nintendo DS, is responsible for the illustrations and designs of the characters. The artist also worked on Exist Archive jRPG.