Review: missed messages.

missed messages. by Angela He is an atmospheric visual novel that delves into the emotional impact of suicide and depression. 

missed messages. has four endings, each running between about fifteen to thirty minutes long depending on the choices you make. 

You play as a college student attempting to do her school work in her dorm room when “goth gf’s iPhone” sends an airdrop. Now, it’s up to you to decide what happens next. 

Game Mechanics

The player is able to do a variety of things including accept the airdrop and respond back to “goth gf,” check on the protagonist’s roommate next door, or continue working. This is achieved through a point-and-click mechanic where you click on the image in the room that you’d like to interact with.

From here, the trajectory of the story becomes unclear. You have several dialogue options with the other characters. These conversations act to give you insight on some of the character’s emotions. While effective, this mechanic doesn’t seem to move the plot forward much, as you can end the conversation whenever you feel most comfortable. 

The Story

missed messages. has a powerful story that explores the themes of love, depression, and the feelings of pain that may be associated with either of these emotions. Which side of the story you experience is based solely on your actions as the player. You can choose to do something that may lead to an opportunistic and hopeful love for the player but end in disaster for your friendship. On the other hand, you can choose to ignore the newfound love in an attempt to strengthen the friendship you already have with your roommate.

During my first playthrough, I was thrown completely off guard, having been tossed into a scenario with almost no explanation or exposition…all because I chose to keep sending messages to “goth gf” via airdrop. 

The story can end differently if you choose to ignore the messages, but that isn’t entirely satisfying. I can’t help but wonder, if the protagonist didn’t receive the airdrop, would the story end differently? Most likely not, and this is the main gripe I have with the narrative. Weighing the heavy implication of suicide on the back of a single chance encounter is unfair. But then again, life can be unfair in situations like this. 

As is true in our everyday lives, we can’t know what is going through our friends’ minds. We can only try to be there for them and make sure that they know how much we care about them. When you interact with May, this becomes evident. I believe her story is the strongest narrative and it overshadows the subplot with “goth gf” entirely. 

The Art and Music

The game’s art is absolutely stunning. Allowing the player to move the screen around, even as dialogue flits across the screen, is a great addition, as it allows the player to fully enjoy the painted style. The character graphics are really gorgeous and I’m quite fond of having CGs replace sprites entirely for a game of this capacity. Paired with the sound effects and music, missed messages. creates an immersive experience for players.  

The Verdict

missed messages. is a beautiful and well-made game. While certain endings leave much to be desired, I do think it’s worth pursuing May’s ending for the powerful message it leaves us with. 

You can get the game for free on itch.io and Steam.

Share

2 thoughts on “Review: missed messages.

  1. I still haven’t read this one, but I love Angela He’s works! <3 Her art is so good, I wonder what could she do with more budget and longer projects. Thanks for reviewing this vn. 😀

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: