Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Feb 162022

I’ll say this up-front: I would not describe SeaBed as a romance.

But by the time I realized that, it was too late to play something else in time for today’s review, and it is a game about love.

SeaBed is described as a yuri mystery visual novel.

It switches between different time periods, showing scenes of Sachiko and her girlfriend Takako on a romantic vacation, their past together as childhood friends, and working with colleagues after starting their own business.

However, it soon reveals that in the present day, Takako has gone missing. At this point, I thought I understood why it was described as a mystery.

I was wrong.

The prologue (which is lengthy, by far the longest chapter) follows that up with another twist, and then another one, leading into one of the most confusing visual novels I’ve ever read.

SeaBed is not an easy visual novel to read. It leaves you wondering exactly what is going on, and even once you start to form an idea, a new detail will arise to make you question it all over again. Part of this is because it’s told through three primary viewpoints. At certain points, you’ll also unlock “Tips,” short scenes worth reading as soon as you unlock them to add to your confusion fuel further theories.

Despite this sense of mystery, most of its scenes are slice-of-life. Casual conversations, simple interactions, pleasant day-to-day scenes with a slight undercurrent that something might be wrong. It has a glacial pace, so keep that in mind if slow slice-of-life isn’t your thing.

Sachiko and Takako’s relationship is a key part of the story. At its core, I’d say SeaBed is a story about love, and about how it feels to be separated from someone you love. There are hints of romance at other points in the story, as well.

Honestly, I still don’t quite understand the story even after finishing it. Instead of bringing everything together so that it all makes sense, it’s more ambiguous, with room for interpretation despite the biggest points fitting together.

Click for SeaBed spoiler
I’ve come to the general conclusion that Takako is really dead and the alternate reality where she lives at the sanatorium is the imagined world created in Sachiko’s heart, but it’s not easy to explain away everything as Sachiko’s own mind working to heal herself. Some parts feel as though they must have been paranormal in nature to at least some degree, yet at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t want you to think that.

SeaBed is a game about love, although it’s not quite a romance. Was it a good fit for a Valentine’s Day celebration? I don’t know. Either way, if you like slow-burn visual novels where the genre can most accurately be described as “confusion,” you might find SeaBed to be an intriguing mystery.

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  2 Responses to “Valentine Video Games Festival: Seabed”

  1. Sounds like an intriguing but slow game, but a shame it didn’t end up being as romantic as you had hoped!

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