Title: QUALIA ～約束の軌跡～
Release Date: 26th June 2020
Age Rating: 18+
Length: 5+ Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
Koshino Hiro is a robotics researcher who, alongside his co-worker Karen, have been working on creating a humanoid android. Their current project is “Machina” – their best success and the first robot to ever pass the Turing Test. If you didn’t know she was an android, you’d easily mistake her for a human girl. However, she was still in the early stages of her development and, in order to help her progress and learn about human behaviour, Karen suggests that Machina become Hiro’s live-in maid. Despite his hesitations, he agrees to the arrangement and the pair slowly grow closer, discovering just what love means between a human and an android.
Hiro is considered to be a prodigy in the field of robotics, and is incredibly devoted to his job. His parents passed away when he was young and he has spent most of his life living alone so poured all of his efforts into his passion for technology. Others tend to find him a little quiet and distant. He was slightly wary of Machina living with him but warms to the idea. His hobby is watching movies.
Machina (CV Kitami Rikka)
Machina is a state of the art android who has advanced communication abilities due to her AI core. She is curious about humanity and likes to learn new things in order to improve herself. However, she struggles with understanding difficult concepts such as feelings. Machina moves into Hiro’s appartment to become his maid and, as such, does the domestic chores of the household.
The character design and artwork for this game was handled by Suzushiro Atsushi, with this being the first title they’ve worked on.
Opening & Ending Song: QUALIA: AI – Murasaki Hotaru
The 10 BGM tracks for this game were composed by s_e_beat & Orikura Toshinori.
The system for this game is simple yet clean enough and does the job. This is a single-heroine title with only one ending so there’s not actually any choices in the game.
I’ve actually been a fan of the concept of single character games ever since they started to gain traction within the visual novel industry a few years ago. The idea of a game solely focused on one character gives writers more freedom with the stories they write without having to make a “complete” game. Plus, I have honestly played through countless routes for characters that I really could care less for so the possibility of buying cheaper games with characters that only fit my preferences is enticing. However, I must say that I’ve been slightly underwhelmed by much of the offerings in this particular genre so far – many tend to be either nukige (not my thing) and/or part of a story-related series (normally making it more expensive to play the full thing than just buying a normal full-price game). However, Qualia appeared to fall into neither of those pitfalls and looked like a pure-love story – was it as portrayed?
What I particularly enjoyed about Qualia was that it had quite a small scope. The writer basically asks two questions – “Can androids understand and reciprocate feelings of love?” & “What does the future hold for a human & android couple? (due to their differing lifespans)”. Both these questions were answered sufficiently by the game and I was left feeling very satisfied with the ending. Perhaps some parts of the game drifted out of sci-fi and into almost fantasy realms but it generally made sense within the realm of the plot, so I didn’t mind.
This game is extremely focused on romance, with there being a pretty slow buildup and very satisfying moment when Hiro and Machina finally get together. I’d say that the romantic scenes in this game are generally pretty well done and are integrated nicely within the slice-of-life scenes that make up the majority of the story.
As this is a single heroine game, how much you like Machina will probably impact your enjoyment of the title. I personally thought she was adorable and was actually written pretty decently. The writer put a good amount of time into slowly developing her personality throughout the game, as she begins to understand emotions and the subtleties of human nature.
Hiro was also a decent enough protagonist, I liked that he had a face and he felt more like a character in the story than one of the typical galge self-inserts which was much appreciated.
There were very few sub-characters in the game but they all fulfilled their roles as required.
I understand that this is personal preferece, but, I really loved the artwork in Qualia. Machina’s character design is utterly moe and all of the CGs are pretty nicely drawn. I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many SFW CGs. The SD CGs were small in number but cute!
The BGM in the game was very few in number (and possibly where the game falls slightly short). The tracks individually are quite pleasant to listen to but they do get slightly repetitive when playing the game. I adore the game’s opening/ending song though!
This game has 4 H-Scenes, which was actually fewer than I was expecting (lol) but is a fine amount. I liked that the scenes were in the latter part of the game and continued the romantic feeling of the game.
My Score: 8/10
If you want to read a pure love story between two characters with lots of romantic senes and a sci-fi twist then Qualia is absolutely a game that you should play. It’s the perfect example of how a single heroine game should be made – it is focused on the love story between two characters & tells a simple story very well. Truly I don’t have much to complain about regarding this game and am incredibly impressed that this was Puresis’ first work – I sincerely hope they make more games like this!
Thanks for reading!