This is a story of disease and suffering; of medication and adverse effects; of thoracotomy scars and cellular poisons; of the living who cannot help but to die and of the dying who cannot help but to live; of a resting place other than "on 7F" or "at home".
User reviews:
Very Positive (40 reviews) - 95% of the 40 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (2,368 reviews) - 93% of the 2,368 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 15, 2007

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Play Narcissu 1st & 2nd


About This Game

... on that blindingly bright day ...
... on that very day of winter ...

This is a story of disease and suffering; of medication and adverse effects; of thoracotomy scars and cellular poisons; of the living who cannot help but to die and of the dying who cannot help but to live; of a resting place other than "on 7F" or "at home".

This is a story of so many things.

But most of all ...

This is the story
of a girl whose heart was standing still
and a boy whose breath was being stolen away,
both of whom die.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (40 reviews)
Very Positive (2,368 reviews)
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1,413 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
A sad but powerful tale that describes the very real despair and pain of terminal illness patients who have to deal with their impending doom, their feeling of powerlessness, and how they hope to cope with it all.

I'd definitely recommend the first one, and even though the second one helps understand why one of the characters in the first story is the way she is, I thought it took way too long. I liked both, but if I only had Narcissu 1st I wouldn't have complained.

Yeah, definitely check this out. But if you're doing this in one sitting, like I have, make sure to lighten up your mood afterwards. And appreciate life and all it has to offer.
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1 of 5 people (20%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 15
no, the correct term that is grammatically correct within the realm of superior japanese cultures stands to be an "otaku" not a fuc*ing "weeaboo" you uneducated fuc*
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1 of 15 people (7%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
i hate it i cant do anything no wonder it was free
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
492 of 535 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
21.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 25, 2014
Narcissu 1st & 2nd is a Japanese visual novel developed by stage-nana and written originally in Japanese by Tomo Kataoka. This VN tells the story about the residence of 7th floor Setsumi Sakura and her experience during the last moment of her life.

This game includes both the Narcissu 1st & Narcissu 2nd. 2nd being the prequel and 1st is the main story of Setsumi.
The 2nd tells the story of Himeko Sunohara as her life take a 180 degree turn when she was diagnosed with a diseased that can't be cured, thus she's moved to the 7th floor. Himeko used to work as helper in 7th floor so she kinda used to the situation, but then it all changes when she met Setsumi.

Narcissu 1st set appx. 6-7 years after 2nd. The story is focused on the anonymous Protagonist (just think of him as us) who is terminally ill & Setsumi as both of them realizes their feeling of not wanting to die in the hospital or at home with their respective families. The two of them begin a long journey accross Japan until they find that place...

I have completed the game 2 years ago and when I found this game on Steam Greenlight, I immediately vote it up as I think this COULD BE first step of introducing the Visual Novel medium to the West. Currently the game is in Early Access but don't let that bother you because the story itself is completed & translated. I'm also part of the Closed Beta tester and I could say that Sekai Project did a good job of making the game engine compatible with Steamwork.

Definitely a must have if you are an avid VN player or you are interested in this medium, even after 2 years of finishing this, I still get dem feels moment :') a Masterpiece indeed!
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219 of 236 people (93%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2015
This is a story of disease and suffering; of medication and adverse effects; of thoracotomy scars and cellular poisons; of the living who cannot help but to die and of the dying who cannot help but to live; of a resting place other than "on 7F" or "at home".

Usually I would start a review with some sort of story hook, an attempt to use my own words to evoke the kind of atmosphere you can expect from the full experience, something to show you at a glance whether it could really speak to you or whether you would not connect with it at all. In the case of Narcissu 1st & 2nd, I feel that no matter how long I try, I will not be able to top the original summary by Insani (quoted above and throughout this review), the fan translation group that first brought Narcissu to English-speaking audiences. Instead I will just quote their writing where appropriate and dive straight into the facts myself.

Narcissu and its sequel Narcissu Side 2nd are rather famous kinetic novels (meaning they have no branching story or player choices) with a strong legacy in the VN community. They are known for their use of minimalist visuals, mostly showing backgrounds with no character sprites or even just a gray void, with only very few character CGs inbetween. The soundtrack relies heavily on piano pieces, but also makes use of other instruments in some places, and features two title tracks with Japanese vocals. The engine shows its age in some aspects and does not have a fullscreen mode for example, but apart from that it has everything you'd expect, including save states and a soundtrack menu. As a reader, you have the choice between two different English translations or the original Japanese script, and you can opt to listen to the Japanese voice acting if you so choose.

Imagine what it would be like to have your entire life -- your friends, your family, your interests, your loves, your hatreds, your future -- all taken away from you in a single instant. Imagine a hard, lumpy bed, a noise-filled ward, the sharp sting of needles entering your flesh at all hours of the day, the indignity of being woken up just as you are about to fall asleep for incessant vital statistics measurements, the doctors whose names you don't know (but that's okay, because they don't remember your name, either; they just remember you as "the non-small cell lung carcinoma in room 6"), and your own name, your very own name, that you have just about forgotten.

Then you might have some clue as to what it is like to be dying in a hospital.

It would be off the mark to describe Narcissu as an "emotional rollercoaster" since the concept would imply lots of ups and downs, but even though Narcissu ends on a bittersweet note of resolution, it is pretty much devoid of "up" moments. VN connoisseurs might note that this places it in the utsuge genre, everyone else seeking more stories like it now has a keyword to search by.

The story is about an unnamed young man who falls terminally ill. After all venues of hope are exhausted, he is moved to the hospice ward of the local hospital, where he meets a girl of about his age who conveys to him the unwritten rules of the inhabitants of the 7th floor, of those who are going to die. The two begin a series of awkward non-interactions that culminate in their decision to reject the dichotomy of dying either in the hospital or at home, which kicks off the main arc of the story.

The way that Narcissu hones in on its themes with every fiber of its being is both its strongest asset and biggest liability. Everything about it, from the background visuals to the character interactions, is teeming with the drabness that you would expect from a story about young people in palliative care, which is not at all a melodramatic "woe is me" caricature of exaggerated sadness and self-pity, but a cold collage of loss and hopelessness rooted in questions that no human should have to ask themselves, such as: What does it even mean to be alive if there can be nothing to look forward to? Both main characters' actions and non-actions need to be viewed through this lens to have any hope of being understood.

In that sense, Narcissu as a piece of literature is more demanding of your sense of empathy than many other games and visual novels: It could easily be misunderstood as a story trying to show "normal" people what it is like to be terminally ill by taking their hands and walking them through the experience, but in actuality it's closer to a slice-of-life story about people who are terminally ill, that asks you to make the necessary mental steps towards those people on your own if you wish to understand them. In short: This story isn't written for you, it's written for its main characters.

One example that I can give without veering too far into story spoilers is Setsumi's attitude towards the protagonist. She initially comes across as standoffish and rude, and there's the tacit expectation of a pivotal moment where she finally starts to open up so the "proper" story can start, but that moment never comes. Where a less patient or empathetic reader might leave the story unsatisfied, we can instead take the opportunity to examine Setsumi's behavior with her medical situation in mind, and ponder the way that human relationships develop. Most of us go through life every day making small passing connections to people, but only once in a while do we meet someone we like enough to allow ourselves to be vulnerable around them (which takes courage) in hopes of forging a lasting connection that we can depend on in the future. But what, then, if there quite literally is no future? Suddenly there is no point in opening up to anyone new. Why bother taking the risk of potentially getting hurt if we will not live to see the reward?

The novel doesn't spell these details out to you, it asks you to understand the characters on the basis of their actions. Questions like why having a goal is suddenly such a big deal to the protagonist are left up to interpretation. The combination of strong characterization (which if you've seen my previous VN reviews you already know I am crazy for) and partially unapproachable writing is not for everyone, especially not if you are looking for light entertainment, but there is a lot of substance to it for people willing to make the effort.

In summary, Narcissu is a great visual novel that can be genuinely rewarding to read, but is ill-suited for those of us with short attention spans.

This is a story of so many things.

But most of all ...

This is the story

of a girl whose heart was standing still

and a boy whose breath was being stolen away,

both of whom die.
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465 of 544 people (85%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 25, 2014
All aboard the feels train. Choo choo!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
119 of 142 people (84%) found this review helpful
18 people found this review funny
0.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: January 3, 2015
This is a free emotional visual novel. If you never had played a visual novel, this is a good way to start. Sad story, sad soundtrack... The keyboard is full of tears.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
73 of 84 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
10.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: November 30, 2014
Conclusion/tl;dr up top
Narcissu, being a kinetic novel, is not for everyone, but those who don't mind a "game" based primarily on reading or who are already fans of visual novels as a genre will be rewarded with a great story that will make you think and might just make you feel. Plus, hey, it's free, so it's hard not to recommend.

The nitty gritty
Narcissu is a kinetic novel released by the doujin circle Stage-Nana in Japan and published here on Steam by Sekai Project. The story rotates around young people from the 7th Floor (the hospice ward). That is, people whose death has been decided. Without saying much as to the plot, I feel like the novel eloquently covers some heavy subjects: What are the things one has to do before dying? Faced with an unavoidable demise, how might people react to take back independence lost and march vibrantly toward their final act? How does one smile at the end, and how do those left behind smile after?

For people who have experience with visual/kinetic novels, this section is probably unnecessary, but for the unintiated:
A visual novel generally works like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book with graphics, music, and sometimes voices. The "player", usually in the guise of the protagonist, makes choices throughout the story that affect the plot. However, Narcissu 1st & 2nd are Kinetic Novels, so they have no choices and very little player interaction aside from a click or press of the enter key to advance the text (though autoplay is actually the default setting for Narcissu Side 2nd, and the author mentions in the notes that he himself sees it more like a movie). Personally, I'd describe it as a long minimalist cutscene with save, load, and backlog options. The game itself is much closer to a novel or a reading experience than a game, and this, no doubt will be what turns a lot of people off from Narcissu, if not the genre as a whole.

Answering common questions
Narcissu was about a 3 to 4 hour read for me. Narcissu Side 2nd (the included prequel) was 5 to 6 hours. Understandably, it might be a lot of reading for some, but both games are neatly divided into chapters, and the save feature works like a bookmark that you can use at any time.

Narcissu was released in 2005, and Narcissu Side 2nd was released in 2007, both are included in this release, and I read them in the release order. However, Narcissu Side 2nd is actually a prequel to the events of the original Narcissu, and in the notes for Narcissu Side 2nd, the author suggests reading them in chronological order.

Replay Value?
That probably depends on the player. The original Narcissu was kind of an experiment in minimalist storytelling for Stage-Nana, so it was released in both voiced and unvoiced versions, as the author wanted to see how the voices changed people's impression of the work, and subsequently Narcissu Side 2nd is presented similarly. An interesting mirror of that for this release is that two different translations are included: one made with the intent to localize the novel smoothly into English, and one made with the intent to replicate the phrasing of the original as faithfully as possible and paint a mental picture close to what the original author intended. Though I'm writing this review after just one reading, I can see how this approach would add replay value, and I intend to revisit Narcissu after it stews on me a bit.

Why is this free?
Narcissu is a doujin (or fanmade/amatuer) work and was released for free in Japan. When Sekai-Project announced this Steam release, they said that in the spirit of the original release, Narcissu on Steam would be "As free as Steam would let it be," so here we are. With that said, don't take the lack of a price as a reflection of quality, because, quite frankly, there's no rule stating that professionals can't do doujin works. The music and voices are especially standout in this release, and a few of the voice actresses have both anime and game roles to their credit.

Well, I put it at the top for a reason...

This is an excellent release that feels like a labor of love on the part of the author. To me, it stands as a great experiment in minimalist storytelling (especially in the original Narcissu, where I found myself endeared to the characters even with next to no background given about them). Though the novel (and the genre) may not be for everyone, if this feels like your kind of thing, and you have the time to give to reading a great story, I can't not recommend it.
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131 of 173 people (76%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 25, 2014
Narcissu is a short, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable experience unlike almost any other.

Play it now.
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112 of 145 people (77%) found this review helpful
45 people found this review funny
10.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 24, 2015
The best things in life really are free. And send you into a depressed spiral for days. 10/10 would depression again. I really hope this gets popular enough for the 3rd game to be localized.
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Recently Posted
5.8 hrs
Posted: October 26
NOTE: I will ONLY be talking about the first story, and not the second.

I am very conflicted with this visual novel.
On one hand, I can see and respect what the creators were trying to do here, and I like the overall tone of the story.
It's usually hard for me to get into visual novels, but this particular one grabbed my interest from the start with its tragic story.
But on the other hand, there are many things that hold this visual novel back.

Its major flaw is just how short it is. If you're dedicated, you can finish it in an hour or two, which really takes away some potential.
The overall story is good as a whole, but it just ends in such an abrupt fashion, and the characters themselves aren't as developed as they could be.
I am aware that the 2nd story improves on this for Setsumi, but not so much for the male protagonist.
The beginning of the story describes him as a sick individual, constantly being readmitted to the hospital. While it does go somewhat into detail about his life, it doesn't do so as much as it should've.
It talks briefly about his friends, family, and health, and then bam, we learn that he's going to soon perish.
For us to feel more sorry for this character, more backstory and interactions would've greatly helped.
This visual novel went too fast into its main story without thinking about its characters, and that's a huge problem considering that there are really only two characters to follow and care about.
When you have such a small cast of characters, you really need to work hard in giving them as much depth and history as possible, and show a lot of development. Granted, there was not much development to be shown here, but they did indeed waste potential on giving them more depth nonetheless.

The most interesting part of this visual novel was indeed Setsumi. She had a mysterious quality to her, and she helped kept me reading, as I really wanted to know more about her.
But sadly, I didn't get to know too much about her character in the first story, but it was still more than what I got with the male protagonist.

And on another note, I know this may be a nitpick, but at the end, I was starting to feel really sorry for Setsumi, and I would have felt even more sorry for her... If it wasn't for the sudden happy-ish sounding music in the background ruining the mood.
I think I know what they were going for there, but it really didn't work. It just took away the amount of emotion that I could have potentially felt. That music definitely wasn't the right thing to play at a very serious and depressing scene such as that.
I've heard happy-ish music play in sad scenes before in anime, and most of the time it works, but here... Not so much, especially since it just ended so suddenly.
The ending really felt rushed to me. In fact, a lot of the story did.
To me, it felt like the visual novel didn't know what to do.
At some parts, it really took its time in explaining everything, but in other areas, it seemed to be in a hurry to cram stuff in for whatever reason. I mean, it's a visual novel. They're known to be long, so there was no limit here. They could've taken all the time they liked with this in making the story longer, and thus, making it more engaging with more details, but the whole thing just feels as if the visual novel was being rushed to fit some sort of imaginary deadline.

In conclusion, I really liked this visual novel at first, but over time my interest dwindled, to where Setsumi was the sole reason I continued reading.
I felt some hints of sad emotions occasionally, but not nearly as much as other people. I feel as if I would have felt more emotions if I had more time to actually do so.

-- PROS --
* Good soundtrack that mostly succeeds in fitting and even adding on to the mood. (except for in the end)
* The limited CG's that were shown were very well drawn, although a few more of Setsumi wouldn't have hurt.
* The voice acting of Setsumi was pretty decent.
* Both of the English translations were very well done. While both had differences, they both managed to keep the feel of the story.

-- CONS --
* It was sometimes hard to tell which character was speaking. (I am aware that the voice acting helped, but if you don't enable the voices, it may be a nightmare to tell who's speaking)
* The characters had a huge lack of depth.
* The pacing was inconsistent.
* The ending was very abrupt and disappointing.
* Too short for its own good.

While I did enjoy this game in some ways, I was very disappointed in many other ways.
I know that this is a free visual novel, but so was Katawa Shoujo, and look at how great that was. In my opinion, being free is no excuse.

While I personally did not enjoy this visual novel as many others did, I do not hate it. There are certainly some good qualities.

I would recommend this visual novel to people who just want a short little game to play to pass the time if you don't really care about the depth of the story or characters.
But in any other case, I'd say to stay away.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
I Want A Burrito
4.2 hrs
Posted: October 18
I absolutely loved it's story, I can't describe how much I liked playing this game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.2 hrs
Posted: October 15
Voices in the air
Helpful? Yes No Funny
21.2 hrs
Posted: October 14
Don't play this game while people are watching because you are most likely to cry.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.9 hrs
Posted: October 13
A touching story about two terminally ill people in the world and how they choose to spend their remaining time.
Classic meet a girl and make her wish come true(for better or worse) kind of game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.6 hrs
Posted: October 10
TT.TT Hits you right on the feels
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.5 hrs
Posted: October 9
oh.. i can't
Helpful? Yes No Funny