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Preview: Non Casual Encounter - Prologue

Non Casual Encounter (or, if you prefer, Encuentro No Casual in its native Spanish) is a brand new visual novel for Dreamcast. Developed by SEGASaturno Productions, the game is set for a full physical release in 2022; and we have been given an exclusive preview of the game's 'Prologue' chapter, hence the title Non Casual Encounter - Prologue. Confused yet? I know I am...and I'm the one typing these words.

If the name SEGASaturno Productions seems familiar, it's because this is the same indie studio that brought us the quirky Dreamcastnoid: 128 Bit Wars a few years back - you know, the Arkanoid clone where you had to smash PlayStation 2 consoles and which came on a miniature CD in a tiny case? Yep, that one. Non Casual Encounter is the follow up release from the veteran Spanish outfit - which incidentally is aligned with the popular Spanish language forum SEGASaturno - and the Prologue is a teaser for what is to come in the final game.

A couple of things to mention up top. First - this game represents *gasp!* the first time in my life I have ever played a visual novel, so I go into this blind. I know the Dreamcast has a glut of this type of game (check out DreamPod Episode 73: Visual Novels for a deep dive) but somehow I have simply never attempted to play one. Second - thanks go to Alfonso Martínez González from SEGASaturno Productions for deeming us worthy enough to test this sample of his new game. As he explains, the Prologue will be available as a physical release and will launch around Christmas 2021, with the full Non Casual Encounter releasing in 2022.

As this is a prologue to the final game, the main reason for its existence is to explain what players can expect in the full release of Non Casual Encounter, and honestly, it hits that target rather well. From the very start the sense of humour and self aware, fourth wall breaking dialogue is very well done, and even with the somewhat stilted English translation it is still easy to appreciate the tone. The game knows that it is a visual novel and pokes fun at the genre, inviting you in once instance for example, to ask a character about the lack of music. Complaining about this lack of ambience prompts the narrator to command the Dreamcast to start playing music from the game CD.

In another sequence a bizarre noise starts repeating and I wasn't sure if it was a glitch or something wrong with the game, until the character you're conversing with mentions the noise and explains how to make it stop. It's all very Eternal Darkness, and I really appreciate this type of humour. I don't want to give too much away as there really isn't a great deal of game here - it is after all a prologue - but what there is is certainly entertaining. True, there's not a lot of variety in the gameplay - simply reading the text, pressing A and occasionally choosing between different response options won't be everybody's cup of tea - but from what I have seen so far in this ~20 minute long prologue (with a few additional surprises for those who can unlock them) I am very much looking forward to what becomes of Non Casual Encounter's full fat release in 2022.

Non Casual Encounter - Prologue is likely to be released (physically, on a disc pesented in a cardboard sleeve) around Christmas 2021 for a budget price in order to whet peoples' appetite for the full game. We'll be keeping an eye on this cleverly written little adventure, and no doubt have a full review once it is released.

Keep an eye out on SEGASaturno for more information in the near future.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Now this really sounds (looks as its a visual novel) interesting, same as you I've never played a visual novel, tried July and a couple of others but gave up due to the language barrier. So this is one I will definitely getting, like I need an excuse on dreamcast releases

Alfonso Martinez "Ryo Suzuki" said...

Hi Tom!

I loved this preview.

I would also like to say something else this prologue includes a full unlockable little game to increase the longevity.

And I'm glad it was your first experience with visual novels!!

Tom Charnock said...

Hi Alfonso, thanks for dropping by! Ssshhhh...don't give the secrets away haha! Very much looking forward to the final game after this teaser, great job :)

Unknown said...

So exciting to see another Dreamcast indie title coming before the end of the year! This will also be my first excursion into a visual novel and I'm defo looking forward. So, do we know when the full version is expecting to come out? Also, is the full version going to be coming in a proper jewel case? Great article.

Alfonso Martinez "Ryo Suzuki" said...

The development process is quite advanced right now.
My goal is to finish the Spanish version and then start the translation and localization into English, as I have done with the prologue.
It is difficult to adjust to dates in these matters but it should go on sale in the summer of 2022, approximately...

The prologue will be published in this Digifile version limited to 100 units in a few weeks.

The final game will go on sale in jewel case and surely a special edition too.

Thanks for the interest.