Malus Code is a kinetic novel, which for the uninitiated means that it’s not interactive. It features E-Mote – ‘emotional motion technology’, created by developers M2 Co., Ltd. If you’re thinking this probably means lots of cutesy anime-style pouting and wide eyes, you’d be right.
That aside, Malus Code is rather odd.
Will is at the lab to study thermophiles in hot springs, of which Japan has many. Yae, who is actually a chap, seems to become strangely infatuated with Will straight away. For quite a while, nothing really happens. Everyone goes out and gets drunk. They go shopping for eggs (they’re on sale for just 86 Yen!). Next up, it’s raffle time! Then Yuri takes a few part-time jobs and gets a bit tired.
I was left wondering when the plot was going to happen.
Then all of a sudden, finally, Plot occurs (with a capital P). I won’t spoil the surprise, but I will say that Malus refers to a virus. The episode then ends very abruptly, having spent its plot all over the place.
Making it to the end of the episode changes the tone of what’s to come – even the menu screen changes.
Caption: What a delightfully cheery game this appears to be…
There are two more episodes, which are in effect you replaying Will’s first months in Japan, but each time events take a different turn. Although there’s a little more intrigue and a few more meaningful, more sinister events in these episodes, there’s still an awful lot of romantic filler. It feels incredibly strange, as if two completely different writers were involved – one who loves regular dating sims and the other who loves horror – and they couldn’t agree at any point on what to do with the story.
The writing itself is fairly basic but OK, if peppered with a few translation errors.
The music, on the other hand, I can evaluate. For the most part, it’s nauseatingly cheery. There are some very cheesy and ridiculously upbeat tunes here. In fact, the relentless happiness of it began to aggravate me after a while. At least it does change when the tone of the game changes.
However, if for some reason you did wish to hear some of these infuriatingly positive tracks again, you unlock them as you play and can listen to them to your heart’s desire via the ‘Extras’ option.
That said, it is at least quite a customizable experience.
There’s pretty much every option you could hope for here. Just don’t go hoping for any interaction with the game.