Demo Review: MAMIYA – A Shared Illusion of the World’s End

Experience the stories of four characters who once crossed paths with a boy named Natsume and now are drawn into darkness by a mysterious figure named Mamiya.

Check out our thoughts on the full FallDown scenario, available now as a demo.

MAMIYA – A Shared Illusion of the World’s End, developed by Kenkou Land, is an upcoming visual novel set in a year when the world is prophesied to end. It is split into two main scenarios: FallDown and DownFall. The entirety of the FallDown scenario can be played now as a free demo, providing a sizable amount of content across four character routes and approximately one-third of the full story’s content.

The story begins at the funeral for a boy named Natsume, with you in the role of an unnamed protagonist. You have a few choices in this early section which lead you to speak with one of four characters who have also attended the funeral. Depending on who you talk to, that’s whose route you’ll be on after the funeral scene ends—not in the role of the unnamed character anymore, but instead now following the story through the eyes of the character you spoke to. Each route has its own unique story, and while you might cross paths with one of the other characters, the events that bring them together are entirely different. They can essentially be seen as four separate stories.

Each story is unique, but they all follow some similar story beats. There will be some lighthearted moments, with even a bit of humor here and there, before things begin to get started. Each route eventually delves more deeply into the chosen character’s personal struggles and private suffering. None of them are the same, but all of them are dealing with some sort of trouble they keep concealed. The story grows dark and bleak, touching upon some seriously heavy themes depending on the route. As some unsettling things happen, the stories ultimately end in an unhappy way.

There is one more consistent thing alongside these story beats: each character deals with the mysterious figure known as Mamiya. But who is Mamiya? That part is left ambiguous in more than one way. In one route, Mamiya appears as a boy in a gas mask; in another, Mamiya is a young girl dressed as a nurse. No matter what form Mamiya has, though, that route’s protagonist is always the only one aware of their presence. Mamiya becomes their lifeline in their darkest moments, but pulls them even deeper toward destruction. Is Mamiya a supernatural entity? A delusion? A metaphor? All of these possibilities occurred to me as I played, and all of them feel plausible on some level.

The art style and music of MAMIYA all contribute to its sense of mystery and increasingly oppressive atmosphere as each story progresses. There are no choices after that initial sequence, and instead each route plays out as a linear story with a set conclusion. However, since the full game includes multiple endings, it’s possible that more choices will come into play later on. One of the most interesting parts of this demo is the way the ending of each route hints at what the DownFall scenario in the full visual novel will be like. Another character not present in the main routes appears to be involved, investigating these incidents in some way.

I finished the full FallDown scenario filled with questions, not only about the character Mamiya but about many other things as well. Casual references are made to the end of the world, but it’s unclear if that’s a major focus or just another source of existential dread for these characters. There are a few points where it feels like something distinctly supernatural is at work, while other aspects of the stories suggest it might not be. Meanwhile, the conclusion of the scenario, which will lead into the DownFall side of the story once the full visual novel is available, left me more intrigued than ever to find out what the remainder will be like.

It’s a strange situation, but despite MAMIYA having more content in its demo than some visual novels have in their full release, I find myself not quite sure what I should expect from the full game in terms of content, style, or even genre. I could see it being a mystery story, plunging all the way into horror, or even focusing on the characters’ emotions and personal struggles. One thing I can say for sure, though, is that I’m very curious about where this all is going.

You can download the free demo for MAMIYA – A Shared Illusion of the World’s End from Steam.

Samantha Lienhard