Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch Review – It’s All In The Family

Keeping it in the family, even if that means a heavy burden of corruption, double-crossing and murder: Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch review.

Does crime pay? Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect is the first visual novel in a proposed dramatic saga that follows the events of the fictitious Gallo family who may or may not have their fingers in some questionable pie.

That’s a mystique about organised crime that most law-abiding citizens (sweeping statement) find appealing. From the supposed glamour of being a kingpin in Scarface through to the antics of Kazuma Kiryu in the Yakuza Series – it’s all a bit exciting, isn’t it?

Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect, from Crime Opera Studios and Eastasiasoft, doesn’t follow that path of establishing an empire, taking out street punks, greasing the palms of cops, or squaring off against rival boss in a karaoke battle. Instead, it’s a narrative-driven story told from the perspective of a mafia family’s children.

Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch Review

Genres and their respective sub-genres get tedious, but having a label for a game clarifies what to expect. Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect will be tagged with visual novel on this site, but the game promotes itself as a kinetic novel. There are two options to choose from at the beginning of the game – the former, which is precisely that; a visual novel, and the second giving the player some choices, though the outcome remains the same.

Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch Review - Niece
Niece. Source: PR

First impressions were poor with telltale signs that this was going to be one of those visual novels that put me off the genre in the first place. You experience the story through each child in order. The first is Shana, a 12-year-old girl.

Reading the thoughts of a pre-teen girl isn’t for me, and my patience was wearing thin

A boy named Gavin comes to visit her in her bedroom, much to the dismay of her father and all that crap, and I ask my daughter to look on her phone ‘how many chapters are there in Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect?’. She replies 24. Christ. I’m regretting this one, but decide to stick it out.

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After a few character changes and the introduction of a dog, the story takes a turn, reaching that pivotal change in The Hero’s Journey. It all gets a little bit more interesting as themes of blackmail, corruption and murder kick in – finally, we have our crime opera! 

Bada Bing, Bada Boom

The head of the family, Loretta Gallo, pops her clogs and leaves her two sons in charge, Gerald and Xander. When it happens, it’s a bit abrupt but didn’t sway the story for me at that point. However, themes of doublecrossing, then second-guessing the many deceptions taking place were engaging.

Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch Review - Family Business
A family business. Source: PR

While the Wormtongue of a character Hans does say bada bing bada boom and his dialogue is slightly stereotypical, he plays a decent antagonist when the rug is pulled from under the Gallo brothers. They have to find their feet and pre-empt any attacks on the family by attacking first. 

It’s all rather sinister but manages to avoid many cliches and doesn’t take a predictable path.

Of course, this is told from the children’s perspective, and their naivety often shows. For example, a character is killed at point-blank, and the child thinks they’re playing a game. That said, the viewpoints from each character is interchangeable, and they all seem to with the same voice. The same applies to the six-year-old Amy, who doesn’t sound that much different to twelve-year-old Shana.

One thing that becomes apparent in Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect is the violence. It’s a crime family nature of the story, whacking people off and everything, but also the domestic violence. I wasn’t offended nor have any complaints, but be aware that the females get knocked about. Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect doesn’t condone nor glorify it, but if you’re sensitive like many people are on Twitter, be advised. It’s not real, though.

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Character Pop Ups

These visual novels tend to go through localisations and miss a few nuances and spelling mistakes here and there but didn’t notice anything here and a glowing testament to the writing. As a font whore, I found the small font and extending the text across the entire width of the screen very ugly. An overlay appears over the scene, and the text shows up in a small font, allowing you to skip back and forth accordingly.

Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect Switch Review - Loyalty
That’s loyalty for you. Source: PR

The only technical issues were the visuals. As a kinetic novel, scenes aren’t animated and just talking heads. If there is a scene of three or more characters, those in the middle will flip horizontally when addressing other characters. This stood out with the characters that had distinguishing features, such as one having a scar on his left eye, which then jumped to the right. 

Another issue with Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect was the juttering of characters. Each time a character speaks, a transition shows, fading them in. Often the image would jump, and they would temporarily appear taller than the other characters. It was pretty clumsy but didn’t spoil the experience. It’s worth mentioning that the illustrations are very good.

Despite my initial reservations, and truth be told, boredom, Crime Opera The Butterfly Effect picked up the pace about a quarter of the way in, and by that time, I was invested in seeing it out. Ignoring my niggles with the familiarity of tone with each child, this is a promising and ambitious project. The next chapter in the saga is currently in production. Set nine years after Crime Opera The Butterfly EffectCrime Opera The Floodgate Effect will boast 90,000 words, where this game is 60,000 words. That’s not too shabby…

Pros

  • Well written.
  • Kinetic novel or interactive version.
  • Intelligent plot and twists.
  • Nice illustrations.

Cons

  • Illustrations misplaced in dialogue.
  • Some of the themes might upset some.
  • The shift in character perspective takes a bit of time.
  • The characters voice is very similar.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this honest and thorough review! I know it takes some time to get moving, but I’m glad it won you over in the end!

    • You are very welcome. I’m impressed you found this article so quickly, more so you read it 🙂

      In fear of being cliche, you can tell it’s a passion project, and that’s what won me over. Also the motivation for simply reading rather than playing, and that’s down to how well written it is.

      I Will keep an eye out for the follow up in due course!

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