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:
Recent:
Very Positive (42 reviews) - 95% of the 42 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (2,314 reviews) - 92% of the 2,314 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 15, 2007

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

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

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6
    • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Integrated Graphics
    • Storage: 300 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (42 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (2,314 reviews)
Recently Posted
Aunt J-mama Pancakes
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 22
This has to be one of the best free VNs out on steam right now. It is extremely heartfelt, even if the story is a little slow at the beginning. Please take your time reading through this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Euryale Eclipse
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
You know you're in for a ride when the game starts off with listing suicide statistics. This was not what I had in mind for the fate of my box of three-ply lotioned tissues.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
maliksusanto
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
Free ticket for feels Train
Helpful? Yes No Funny
joshthetechie
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Note: I've only finished Narcissu 1st and I'm working on 2nd. Will update review once I finish 2nd.

This VN has surpassed my expectations, especially for it being a free download (a rarity on Steam and for a VN). Some people mentioned that it's really dated, and I do agree, but it's not a bad thing. The simple graphics and artwork make you appreciate the story more, and leaves everything more to your imagination. The soundrack so far has been amazing, and ties very well with the very melancholy/gloomy mood that 1st is set in. I have a feeling that the majority of my gameplay time will be just listening to the OST. The story was drawn out, but I think that was for the better as well. It allowed you time to connect and sympathize with Setsumi and the Protagonist. I knew what to expect with the ending, as it's typical with Japanese stories and VNs in particular, but man, that ending hit me hard. Tears weren't really shed, but the feels did hit me once I realized what happened.

A very thought-provoking story, and I highly recommend it. Even if you aren't into the VNs, each story takes only a few hours to complete (Narcissu 1st can be completed in one sitting). Definitely worth the download. Read Narcissu 1st first voiced with English subs if you want to get the best experience.

10/10 would get the feels again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rasberry
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
Very well written novel about two people with a terminal illness going on an adventure.
There's no choices in the novel.
But it still worth a download.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Daikunshuu
628.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 14
good game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mikan
0.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: August 13
T_T
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Tin&Atk
9.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 12
Outstanding, something u will enjoy and remember, but yeah.. the feel is real ~
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sseviyyx
11.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 11
just really...
i have read Narcissu first on the novel... it seems didn't get the feel...
after i reading the 2nd .... really dude im crying ...
the story had a deep feel... and also the bgm is very relaxing...
rich meaning, fighting argument, and true love..
i cant.... really ... tell anymore... this also was good one sad novel story i ever seen
just ... nice story, nice art, nice voice actor (some voice i have heard)

overall 9.3
regard sennank aka sseviyyx

:'')
Helpful? Yes No Funny
n99dl
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Great Soundtrack!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: August 13
T_T
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 3
Hello!

Narcissu is a very emotional/happy game about 2 girls with diseases that are fatal which is very sad and reading through the story gives the viewer and sad emotion. This game is really good, however it would not be made for the light hearted.

In the end Narcissu is an amazing game and I'd recommend it to you all.

Much love, Yoshida.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
494 of 535 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
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...
NARCISSU

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!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
466 of 542 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
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
221 of 239 people (92%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
127 of 149 people (85%) found this review helpful
18 people found this review funny
Recommended
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
139 of 172 people (81%) found this review helpful
44 people found this review funny
Recommended
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
152 of 196 people (78%) found this review helpful
256 people found this review funny
Recommended
33.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: February 16, 2015
Just like my Friday nights before bed, I can't play this game without a box of tissue in hand.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
72 of 83 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
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?

Gameplay
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
Length?
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.

Order?
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.

Conclusion
(finally)
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny