Videoverse Review

Videoverse Review: A Ode to 2003’s Chatrooms

7.0 TOTAL SCORE

Videoverse

Buy Now
videoverse

Videoverse is a heartwarming visual novel following a teen struggling with the collapse of an online chatroom and looking to preserve friendships and kindle romance.

With a more involved take on its genre, Videoverse turns social media management into engaging and impactful gameplay that immerses you in its lovingly retro setting.

Even if visual novels aren't your cup of tea, Videoverse's heartwarming story and clever gameplay are enough to get you through its tedious star


My Review Score 7
PROS
  • Quality Visuals and Retro Setting.
  • Impactful Social Media Management.
  • Heartwarming Nostalgic Story.
  • Fascinating Descent into Dysfunction.
CONS
  • Slow Narrative Pacing.
  • Simplistic Gameplay Loop.
  • Morally Challenging Replayability.
  • Pixelated NSFW Butts.

I have a lovingly strange relationship with visual novels. Even if I adore their strong narratives with devasting outcomes, like Sayori’s terrifying fate in Doki Doki Literature Club, the incredible minimalistic gameplay and poor pacing can be unforgivingly boring.

In comes Videoverse, a visual novel set in a declining 2003 social media chatroom following a 15-year-old struggling to kindle romance and protect friendships as the platform crumbles apart.

Sail into the Heartfelt Adventure of Spiritfarer Deluxe | GOG

Embark on an emotional journey of compassion and friendship in "Spiritfarer Digital Deluxe Edition," where you'll guide spirits to their final resting place aboard your mystical boat. With its stunning hand-drawn art style and heartfelt storytelling, immerse yourself in a unique blend of management simulation and heartfelt exploration.

Check Price Buy at GOG
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
videoverse a ode to 2003's chatrooms

Despite my grievance with visual novels, Videoverse delivers fun, clever gameplay following a more mature narrative with some well-placed emotional payoff.

Almost every issue I had with the genre, between their lackluster gameplay and campy narratives, was excellently dealt with in making the game a social media simulator that gave payoff to our every like, post, and direct message.

So whether you’re a hardcore visual novel fan looking for their next narrative fix or a more accessible entry into narrative sims, I’ll review this exceptionally welcome addition to the genre!

The Death of Not-Twitter

videoverse 2003 chatroom markun666

Videoverse succeeded with its adorable, heartbreaking narrative following young teen Emmet struggling with the dissolution of a 2003 chatroom known as Sharknet. For its part, the story primarily takes place through social media posts, direct messages, and video calls, with a few scenes focused on Emmet.

Even if we (usually) never meet these characters in person, I still grew to adore its quirky cast, from lovable Marcos to obnoxious Zalor and shy Vivi.

Though I’ll concede that much of the game felt like a chatfic and I was forced to sometimes interact with characters I had little interest in (i.e. Nobu and Lorena), the inclusion of real-time video cameras and the ability to skip these side stories let me enjoy the people and interactions I was more interested in.

All in all, Videoverse boasted a compelling story with lovingly handcrafted characters that I came to treasure by the end. Though I might have found the pacing slow at first, the moment-to-moment calls through Sharknet and the epistolary story told mainly through Sharknet posts and direct messages had me laughing and heartbroken by the game’s gorgeous finale.

Sordid Social Media Management

videoverse sharknet moderator
Being a better Sharknet moderator allows us to say kinder responses for a better ending. Screenshot by JT Hussey.

Besides a riveting chatfic narrative, Videoverse’s saving grace for visual novels is its clever social media gameplay. Essentially, Videoverse expects us to act as moderators on Sharknet’s various communities, posting art, liking posts, and cracking down on mischievous fiends posting profanity and NSFW art (those scoundrels!).

videoverse kinmoku games community
Decisions, decisions. Screenshot by JT Hussey.

Though it’s widely optional, ignoring our role as a moderator locks us out of saying more compassionate or cocky responses for a different narrative path or can lead to a beloved character’s absence from the main game.

While I was sometimes confused about how to progress the story’s plot (i.e. Emmet doesn’t always tell us who’s post we need to comment on), I found the gameplay increasingly intuitive and appropriate for the game. 

Overall, Videoverse’s gameplay excelled in turning social media posting into a narratively enriching experience. Getting the good ending felt like the game letting me know I’m a decent human being on internet forums and a good moderator at heart.

Anime-Texting Adventure

videoverse smug vivi
Smug Vivi was hilarious to behold. Screenshot by JT Hussey.

I adored Videoverse’s visually retro charm and handcrafted scenes. Even if I found the game’s black-and-white text rather dull, almost every character interaction had a video component with the characters’ faces that would move in real time and believably emote.

videoverse fake video game
We can regularly enjoy scenes from a fake video game to break up the texting. Screenshot by JT Hussey.

While seeing the characters blushing, getting angry, and crying was appreciated (though smug Vivi was my favorite), a few of the visuals, like the characters turning and looking away if someone was calling them or angrily shoving their hand into the camera to end a conversation blew me away.

videoverse draw post

If you can put up with the seemingly dull black and white, you’ll enjoy a plethora of gorgeous anime cutscenes and a visually breathtaking finale. 

Radically Retro OST

Though it wasn’t profound, I enjoyed Videoverse’s music and audio as study music to listen to while surfing the web. Even if there were a few surprises where the audio cut out and the game nearly ventured into horror territory, Videoverse’s music was tonally appropriate and swelled when it needed to for the emotional moments.

Bug-Free Bash

Frankly, I had zero performance problems or issues running Videoverse. While I was slightly impatient waiting for characters to respond, each pause made every conversation feel realistic and further immersed me in the world. 

Though I wish the game were more explicit about telling me how to progress the story, it was never enough of a hindrance that I didn’t stumble upon the solution after commenting on a friend’s post or ragging on Zalor for getting dumped.

All in all, while I would appreciate concise instructions, Videoverse was intuitive enough to figure it out on my own and leave me feeling clever.

Cheery Chatroom to NSFW Nightmare

videoverse art corner community

Videoverse’s progression wowed me. Though it has that feature in common with other visual novels that leave you more invested in the characters as the story goes on, I adored the chatroom devolving into madness. 

Alongside the characters, Sharknet becomes increasingly dysfunctional as moderators’ departure enables bad actors to post nudity, harass others, and turn the platform into a socially toxic nightmare. Frankly, I was terrified and fascinated to see what new NSFW pixelated horrors awaited each time I logged on, even as Emmet’s social life fell to pieces.

All in all, Videoverse’s descent into dysfunction led to interesting character stories amidst a fascinatingly believable setting. Though the game returns to a more comfortable tone towards the end, it left me rattled, believing the same fate could befall my online friend groups and social media servers.

Morally Reprehensible Replayability

videoverse notifications
I don’t have it in me to upset this precious teen.

Though I found Videoverse exceptionally replayable, I don’t have the heart to do a second playthrough. To its credit, the game boasts some impressively branching narratives that reward our effort on the next with different character interactions and a final scene with our love interest.

However, I finished my first playthrough treating characters as kindly as possible, so a second playthrough would mean being ruder to some characters for a different result, which I can’t bring myself to do.

All-in-all, unless you want a kinder ending for Emmet’s cast of quirky friends or can stomach treating Emmet’s adorable friends like dirt, I can’t recommend a second playthrough of Videoverse.

Overall Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Quality Visuals and Retro Setting
  • Impactful Social Media Management
  • Heartwarming Nostalgic Story
  • Fascinating Descent into Dysfunction

Cons

  • Slow Narrative Pacing
  • Simplistic Gameplay Loop
  • Morally Challenging Replayability
  • Pixelated NSFW Butts

Alternative Chatrooms Destined for Doom

Videoverse isn’t for everyone. Between the tedious dialogue and slow-burn storytelling, it’s easy to get bored without an engaging gameplay loop or narrative that lets you get within 5 feet of other characters.

Luckily, we have various other visual novels or more engaging stories that may be a better fit. If Videoverse wasn’t your cup of tea, I recommend checking out the games below:

JT’s Playlog

JT spent 6 hours kindling romances and saving friendships in Videoverse’s online chatroom. He removed 30+ NSFW posts, built a strong relationship with Vivi, and was awarded various in-game backgrounds for his service to the social community. 

Though JT didn’t get the perfect ending, he’s happy leaving Emmet with a bright future as a successful video game developer and potentially reconnecting with his teen love interest. If JT ever turns to the dark side, he’ll replay Videoverse just to ruin Emmet’s social life; mwahaha!

FAQs

Question: When does Videoverse Take Place?

Answer: Videoverse takes place in 2003 in an online chatroom following young Emmet and his cast of friends. However, the game’s epilogue occurs many years later, when Emmet is an adult at a video game conference.

Question: How Long is Videoverse?

Answer: While it depends on how fast you can read, Videoverse will likely take you 6-7 hours to finish. However, replaying the game for extra content can add 2 to 3 hours.

Question: Is Videoverse Based on a True Story?

Answer: Though Sharknet is entirely fictional, the death of the early 2000s era chatroom was an actual occurrence that inspired the game’s setting and characters. Even if the characters are fictitious, their relationships mirror others left in tatters from this period of social media upheaval.

The Verdict: 7/10

Overall, Videoverse’s heartwarming story touched me. The sublime narrative and quirky characters in this bizarre setting left me laughing and crying towards the game’s devastating end.

Though it falls victim to the slow pacing and abysmal gameplay typical of visual novels, I adored the social media mechanics and subversive storytelling that set Videoverse above its peers. Even if you aren’t a fan of visual novels, it’s worth it just for that feeling of being in a dying 2003 online chatroom.

All-in-all, I recommend Videoverse to fans of visual novels or patient players willing to endure tedious gameplay for an emotional payoff. I only hope the same fate doesn’t befall my precious Discord server.

Sail into the Heartfelt Adventure of Spiritfarer Deluxe | GOG

Embark on an emotional journey of compassion and friendship in "Spiritfarer Digital Deluxe Edition," where you'll guide spirits to their final resting place aboard your mystical boat. With its stunning hand-drawn art style and heartfelt storytelling, immerse yourself in a unique blend of management simulation and heartfelt exploration.

Check Price Buy at GOG
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

 Continue reading:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top