Please be considerate and read my review.
I will always love indie games, especially when absurdly unique titles like KUUKIYOMI: Consider It are gifted to us from such creative, deranged minds.
Developed and published by G-Mode, KUUKIYOMI: Consider It (available in English) is all about common sense in Japanese culture, specifically when it comes to “reading the air” — or, as I’ve come to understand, more about “reading the room.”
Here’s an example:
You’re sitting on a train and you see a couple start to approach you. You’re straddling a seat on either side of you, but the couple is clearly together and wouldn’t like to be separated. Time’s ticking, gotta think fast — what should you do in this situation?
Alright fine, that one’s easy; of course you move to the side and allow the couple to be seated.
What about this one:
There you are, tap tapping away on your phone, when suddenly, a not-at-all-scary ghost appears! What should you do?
Did you at least pretend to be scared so that the ghost could feel like he was doing a good job and save face? Because that would be considerate.
Considerate: the keyword in KUUKIYOMI: Consider It. It doesn’t matter where you are — on the escalator chatting with a friend, waiting at a convenience store for your bento to heat up, being abducted by aliens, or re-enacting super sad scenes from Grave of the Fireflies — you should be able to glean enough information from the situation and react accordingly. And with over 100 possible scenarios doled out to players in quick succession like a WarioWare title, you have to act quickly in addition to acting correctly. Failure to do so would be… inconsiderate.
Of course, this is Japan we’re talking about; a unique culture with its own norms, customs, and etiquette that isn’t always intuitive to those who haven’t been immersed in the society. As a gamer who tends to gravitate towards “weird Japanese games” I am not completely unaware of Japanese cultural norms, but I haven’t visited the country or anything. For someone fairly uninitiated like myself, how easy is it to “read the air,” in KUUKIYOMI: Consider It, and is common sense truly common?
Honestly, it wasn’t too bad. I won’t lie, there were some tough instances where I didn’t seem to understand what was happening, but KUUKIYOMI: Consider It is, quite frankly, very considerate about the players’ feelings. I’m assuming I did okay, because after 5 – 10 levels I was told I was considerate — sometimes moderately, sometimes very plainly, sometimes “in one way or another.” I never felt like a true failure since I was constantly let down gently.
Of course, this means the opposite was true — I never knew when I was doing well in KUUKIYOMI: Consider It. Is plainly considerate better than moderately considerate? In some scenarios, there didn’t seem to be a clear answer on what to do, and the “learning” portion of the game didn’t always plainly communicate what was the proper course of action. Perhaps it’s not considerate to ask for direct feedback; perhaps I’ll just have to be satisfied with what I’ve received.
All of this would be fine, by the way, if the controls were ever explained at all in KUUKIYOMI: Consider It. While I commend the developers for their vision to keep players on their toes in the spirit of gameplay, from a control scheme perspective it would have been nice to at least isolate on a menu which keys on the keyboard were to be used. It seemed like only space bar and arrow keys were needed, but according to a few guides, certain scenarios require players punching some letters. It was frustrating to feel like I knew what to do in a particular situation, only to have less-than-intuitive controls stop me. And in an already not-totally-intuitive game, that’s a bit of a letdown.
So much of this can be forgiven, though, because KUUKIYOMI: Consider It is a fun little novelty, especially if you’re a fan of WarioWare. And the fact that it’s a multiplayer game means the title can take a turn for the devious, especially if one person is more versed in Japanese cultural norms than the other. Imagine standing in front of a busy train platform, but instead of getting out of people’s way, you’re pushing player 2 into the bustling crowd, giggling as they get slapped for their rude behavior. Who knew party games could be such a learning experience?
When all boils down, I’d say there are more pros than cons in KUUKIYOMI: Consider It. It’s a silly palate cleanser in-between big games that serves laughs after laughs with each increasingly more far-fetched scene, and for the price, it’s hard to argue against the little title. The replay value isn’t totally there on single player, but I can definitely imagine KUUKIYOMI: Consider It being a fun game to stream or to prank someone who has yet to experience Japanese societal etiquette. In the very least, it’s extremely charming, and highly likely to be a delightfully oddball addition to your library.
Despite the Japanese-language trailer being the only one I could scrounge up for KUUKIYOMI: Consider It, the game has been translated for English-reading gamers. Of course, it’s only translated in language alone, not in cultural norms, which have stayed uniquely Japanese. If you’re a fan of “those weird Japanese games” and want to get your hands on something truly wild, it would be considerate of you to at least consider KUUKIYOMI: Consider It.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PS4, Switch, & PC (reviewed); Developer: G-Mode; Publisher: G-Mode; Players: 1 – 2; Released: March 29, 2020; MSRP: $4.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a Steam review copy of KUUKIYOMI: Consider It purchased by the reviewer