First and foremost, this is a Kinetic Novel done by Key. Unlike similar-looking bishoujo games, kinetic novels are… kinetic, meaning linear. There are no choices, no diverse story paths, and no multiple endings. More true to the term ‘visual novel’, this is indeed a piece of literature sprinkled with visuals and sound.
Planetarian is a story set in a post-war time, where destruction is abound and seemingly not much people exist anymore. We see the lead character, a sort of survivor/wanderer/traveler in this desolate town. One day he chances upon this planetarium. In the planetarium, there exists the girl. She is actually a robot, who serves as a sort-of security/tour guide/receptionist for the planetarium. While she is a robot, she seems to have lost a few circuits, in which she doesn’t know about how desolate the world is right now, and that she imagines that the planetarium is still functioning well.
Through this title, I seem to have discovered that I myself am not an audience for bishoujo games. It is not that I hate them, it’s just that I couldn’t force myself to play them, unless it deems virtually needed. Long-time gamers of this genre may disagree, but most of the games I played seem to have long, drought out narratives that seemingly get boring and boring as time passes. I fully understand the reasons why dialogue of this magnitude is needed, it is after all for character interaction and development. But in effect, when seen as a whole, for me the story flows very slowly.
I know this is supposed to be the case, especially in regular novels and commercial literature, but alas, I do not read novels even if I wanted to. I have no time to weed through thousands of Harry Potter pages, so I opted to watch the movies. In the same way perhaps, I have no time to play Kanon, that is why I opted to just watch the anime instead. But as always, I will play the games if I am an absolute fan. Maybe not right now, but eventually.
Don’t take my word as if I know these stuff. Planetarian, if taken from a regular bishoujo gamer’s viewpoint, may be a gem. One can zip through it in 4-5 hours, and feel accomplished. The storytelling is expected to be powerful, because it is after all made by the visual novel masters that is Key. The graphics are vibrant, with well-drawn backgrounds, rain and snow effects, and the cute robot girl. And the music is somewhat limited but quite memorable.
Again, Planetarian is more or less a good visual novel to entertain yourselves with. As for me, this is one simple example that visual novels may actually not be appealing to my hunger for entertainment.