I hadn’t really thought about where I would start when it came to furry reviews, I could have started pretty much anywhere, whether it be right back with 1991’s Sonic the Hedgehog, or whether to cover a latter day anthropomorphised character like Klonoa. But, when I saw Major/Minor glinting on the Steam homepage, I knew that I’d found it.
The story of Major/Minor opens with the player character confronted with a mysterious stranger, speaking in what essentially quantifies as existential riddles, before being thrown back into the real world. Here we find out that we won a competition, along with fellow winner Kila (an adorable squirrel character), to meet the idol Klace on his tour in Tokyo.
Unfortunately for you, Kila, and pretty much everyone else involved for that matter, Klace ends up dying in extremely mysterious circumstances, throwing everything into chaos. If that isn’t enough, before you have had time to take in that news, you’re suddenly dragged out of your world and thrown into an alternate one called Terra, where you are considered to be the “Saviour”.
More and more threads spin out from this point too, as well as more and more questions for an increasingly confused protagonist. Why are you the saviour of Terra? What is the Ark? Who is the mysterious stranger that keeps incessantly dragging your tail between worlds? What actually happened to Klace? And, the biggest question, who can you trust?
As a visual novel, Major/Minor is pretty light on what most would consider to be gameplay, but is more a string of story with the occasional choice thrown in, almost all of which alter the game from then on. The changes might be fairly innocuous like a character taking a shine to you, or can be dramatic alterations that will alter everything around you.
The former though is where most of the fun in this game comes from for me. Learning about the characters, listening to what they have to say (or reading it, whatever), and making choices based on these things and your own thoughts is supremely satisfying if you nail that extra affection point from the fluff that you want to get close to (looking at you, Acheron).
Making these decisions more difficult is that you cannot save at any time, you instead have to wait for specific save opportunities that come intermittently during, and always at the end of, chapters. Although this is actually an annoyance for trying to play the game portably on a laptop, as I did, it actually adds a level of permanence to your decisions.
One major (hehe) annoyance with the game is that there isn’t an option to autoplay the dialogue, with every one requiring a button press. This isn’t so much of an issue in itself, but coupled with the fact that the decisions appear suddenly in dialogue, and the less patient of us (i.e. me and others) can very easily select the wrong answer, resulting in laborious backtracking.
Couple this with the minor (hehe – again) problem that there isn’t a menu in-game and any mistakes mean closing the game entirely and reloading it, and you have a problem. It isn’t enough to diminish the overall game, but is just quality of life things that really should be here, especially as the story itself is quite long to get through on a first run through.
Visually, however, the game is stunning. All of the characters are full of colour both in their personality and design (sometimes a little too much in the latter) and the backgrounds are simple, but detailed enough to provide a decent level of immersion. The music, like the backgrounds, is simple but there’s enough variety to stop it becoming stale or overly repetitive.
As Major/Minor is a visual novel, it doesn’t have much in the way of gameplay, per se, but what it does have is a lot of story to contend with, some difficult choices to make, and gorgeous (albeit occasionally eye-rendingly gaudy) character designs. There’s a lot of story content here, and a decent amount of replayability too, with different characters to get close to.
Major/Minor has a few issues, but ultimately is an enjoyable experience and I will likely continue playing it long after writing this review – if only to try out different routes and interactions. Not a must buy, but if you’re hankering for something heavy on narrative and light on effort, this is definitely worth a try.
Major/Minor is available on Steam and compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.