Time travel has been the foundation of many an epic sci-fi tale. Swirl it into an anime mystery with more than a hint of romance and sex and you’re bound to have a hit on your hands, right? That’s exactly what happened when ELF Corporation launched YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world in Japan back in 1996. Despite its popularity in the East, however, it’s only now seeing an official English-language release, having been revamped by MAGES Inc. (formerly 5pb.) and localised by Spike Chunsoft.
Players control Takuya Arima, a student at Sakaimachi Academy who receives a mysterious package from his apparently deceased father containing a Reflector Device, which enables its user to travel between parallel worlds. As well as using your new toy to unravel the mystery surrounding your father’s death and avert a disaster that threatens to shake the foundations of reality, you also find time to indulge your teenage hormones by falling in love (or at least lust) with everyone around you, in one timeline or another.
Although billed as a visual novel, YU-NO also includes more traditional adventure elements, with a variety of locations to explore and an inventory to build. The star of the show, though, is the Reflector Device, whose Auto Divergence Map System gives an overview of the branching timelines, enabling you to explore them in detail and return to particular events with greater knowledge and new items. Thanks to the fresh coat of paint in the updated version, everything looks crisp and modern, with new high-definition artwork and a remixed soundtrack. If the game's trailers are any indication, the English version appears to retain the Japanese voice work with translated subtitles.
You won’t need a Reflector Device to experience YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world, as it’s available for download here and now for PC on Steam, and in both physical and digital formats for PS4 and Switch.