Sumire is an emotional narrative adventure set in a rural Japanese town. You play as Sumire, a lonely girl who is dealing with the passing of her grandmother and other family issues. One night, a magical talking flower appears before her. They explain they will only last one day in the human world. However, if Sumire can show them a wonderful day before they disappear, they will grant her wish to see grandmother one last time.
The world is rendered as a beautiful watercolor canvas. The sky is especially gorgeous and serves as the player’s clock as it changes with the passing of the day. The 2.5D environment allows exploration into foreground and background areas, although Sumire felt odd to control when moving up and down with the control stick.
The world is brimming with colorful characters. Jealous houseplants, friendly scarecrows, enamored snakes, and local bullies are just a few of the characters that inhabit the world. Many of these characters will ask Sumire to do a something for them.
These tasks are fetch quests, like finding a hat for someone or delivering honey to a local hot spring. These side quests are straightforward and do not require tedious backtracking. A fast travel system allows players to easily hop to different parts of town. The day only advances after main story events, so you are free to explore as you please without the pressure of a time limit.
While the world looks bright and cheery, Sumire is not afraid to tackle mature themes. The narrative explores the darkness within the human heart through moral choices presented to the player. Will you be selfish or help others? Will you show forgiveness or see revenge? Each choice is permanent, affects character arcs, and results in different endings.
Sumire is not intended to be a challenging game. Minigames appear at intervals, like puzzles or games involving timing. These were straightforward, but required ones can be skipped if needed.
Sumire struggles with replayability. Subsequent playthroughs are a drag as the only way to skip through dialogue is to button mash. Saving is also automatic, meaning you cannot reload to find missed quests or make different choices. While there are branching story paths, the good and bad choices did lead to some predictable outcomes. Achievements exist as incentives too, but for most players Sumire will be a brief adventure.
The music covers a range of melancholic and upbeat tunes. The short, looping acoustic melodies created a pleasant and relaxing mood. While there is no voice acting, the dialogue was consistently interesting and engaging. There were a few translation errors, but the intended meaning still came across.
Performance-wise, loading screens are present when leaving certain areas. In handheld mode, the game was noticeably a lower resolution with blurry text that was more difficult to read. Playing docked is recommended for a much crisper experience.
Sumire is a wonderful, brief story about moving forward and facing your fears. I can easily recommend this title to those looking for an emotional, relatable adventure.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for review is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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- Beautiful watercolor art style
- An emotional narrative that is brief, but heartwarming
- Chill acoustic soundtrack
- Lacks replayability
- No options to advance text faster
- Low resolution when played in handheld mode