Norn9 Var Commons is a big game. I mean, there are three heroines, with three love interests for each, and a major overarching, science fiction plot. It’s a lot. (Even if there are some plot holes.) With the Norn9 Last Era fan disc, it really does the game justice. It’s still just as big as before, with lots of character stories and new insights. However, it is still a lot and, depending on how much you like certain characters, your mileage of how much you’ll enjoy it will vary.

So everything in Norn9 Last Era begins with the Prelude. This is the background that shows how everyone ended up on the Norn, with Masamune as the initial main character and other love interests each getting a turn. It’s fine. Like if you really enjoyed the lore of the game or the person starring in the current vignette in it is your favorite character, you’ll probably love it! However, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as the other stories in this collection. It’s quite a choice to lock additional modes behind a story like this in a fan disc, and I really didn’t appreciate it. In fact, I can’t even tell you exactly how long it is, because I did end up fast forwarding through three of the characters I didn’t like as much so I could get to the other modes.

Review: Norn9: Last Era Is as Packed as the Original Game

Image via Aksys

Fortunately, Fugue, Concerto, and Fantasia are far more entertaining and welcoming once you reach them. Fugue is a retelling of the original story. It’s absolutely fascinating, because you’re seeing the events through the love interests eyes over four chapters. I honestly felt it was better at establishing characters and offering insights into the background than Prelude was.

Likewise, Concerto is well done and my favorite part of the package. Again, it’s basically a four chapter story for each love interest that follows the different pairings from the best endings in Norn9 Var Commons. Not every epilogue is amazing, for example Kakeru and Masamune’s routes didn’t click with me, but I enjoyed Akito’s, Heishi’s, Ron’s, and Senri’s quite a bit.

As you can probably guess by what you’ve just read, this is 100% a game you should only get and play if you liked Norn9 Var Commons. Norn9 Last Era is also a lot! Sure, there’s a new quality of life adjustment that makes checking highlighted glossary text a little more inviting with character descriptions, but it’s still somewhat overwhelming.


Screenshot by Siliconera

Meanwhile, the Fantasia and Norn9+Life modes basically are the omake elements. Fantasia is a whole additional story where everyone turned into chibi versions of themselves due to an unexpected “treat.” It’s a brief comedy that isn’t as substantial as the other modes, but is fun in its silliness. Norn9+Life is a brief minigame. You can earn Tickets by going through a board game and its events, which you can then spend in the store for songs. It’s fine, but I didn’t touch it beyond an initial run for the review and feel no need to return to it.

There’s just one thing that gets to me about all of this. I mentioned UI and formatting issues in my original Norn9 Var Commons review, and these persist in Norn9 Last Era. There’s still that strange indent after the first line in each text box. It’s odd that this wasn’t cleared up for this new release. There is also some incredibly tiny font in the main menu, which might be an issue if you actually want to read about what a mode entails before starting it.

Norn9 last era

Screenshot by Siliconera

Norn9 Last Era is very clearly a game made for a particular audience. If you enjoyed Norn9 Var Commons, this is definitely an otome fan disc you will enjoy. All of the characters get their due. Aside from a bizarre requirement to force people through the Prelude, it’s well executed. Perhaps that love for the original game will even make it possible to overlook the formatting issues that still come up in the follow-up.

Norn9 Last Era is available for the Nintendo Switch.

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By mrtrv

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