Aokana – Four Rhythms Across The Blue Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Aokana – Four Rhythms Across The Blue
Genre: Visual Novel, Dating Sim
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam and PlayStation 4)
Developer | Publisher: Sprite | PQube
Age Rating: US  M| EU 16+
Price: US $29.99 | UK £24.99  | EU €29,99
Release Date: August 21st 2020

Review code kindly provided by PQube

Aokana is a romance visual novel that has since been adapted into a manga and anime. The Switch version has some removed scenes and altered dialogue. Avoiding an adult rating but I’d still insist that the content is still only appropriate for those of age.

When Girls Fly!

Aokana - Four Rhythms Across The Blue
Flight with gravity shoes!

In Aokana you play as Hinata Masaya living in a coastal town known for flight. In this world human flight is possible with the use of gravity shoes. This has led to the creation of a co-ed sport known as Flying Circus (FC). Masaya used to be a child prodigy in the sport but at some point swore it off for life. Though not long into the story a transfer student and his friends rope him into joining the school’s FC club. He still insists on not flying and instead becomes the club’s coach.

The story is a mostly laid back slice of life with a sports edge to it. In the lengthy common route you get to know the girls better and start opening up as a person. Nothing really gets serious until you pursue a romance option. Those being Asuka, the naive and bubbly transfer student who you teach to fly, Misaki, your childhood friend with little motivation, Mashiro, who’s oddly attached to Misaki and Rika, the girl next door with whom you’ve made a rather poor first impression. Of course there’s also a supporting cast that brings the story together.

While there are four branching paths there are very few dialogue choices and only the ones in the final common route chapter matter. I’m usually confused by visual novels that give you minimal choices as it makes me wonder what was the point of making it in this format, but outside of this flaw they’ve used the medium rather well.

Flying Circus

I found that they explain and commentate the sport scenes to great effect, which is important for any sport you can’t actually watch especially when it’s a fictional one. I can say I’ve never been so interested in a made up sport before. A lot of the talk and techniques in these scenes seem to give off a fighting game mindset.

Aokana - Four Rhythms Across The Blue
Playing a video game that sounds like Monster Hunter!

There are plenty of humorous moments in the story, getting a few chuckles out of me. I definitely enjoyed the part where they were all playing a game that sounded suspiciously like Monster Hunter. As well as emotional moments with Misaki’s route making me think about certain pursuits in my own life more positively. Masaya has his own character development alongside the main girls. Occasionally you might see what is happening away from the main character such as the other girls making friends with each other. Technically there is no true route in the game and things play out quite differently depending on who you go for, in one character’s route they seem to completely skip over the final tournament. With this and the romance I found that some characters got a better story than others.

As I mentioned, adult scenes were removed but some racy dialogue is still included as well as partial nudity. Asides from the annoyance of having less in the story it can make the scenes around it a touch confusing.

Moving Images

Aokana - Four Rhythms Across The Blue
Wonderful visual presentation

Despite not having animated models, Aokana has some of the best visual novel presentation I’ve ever experienced. The character sprites are frequently moved around and you get a great feel of where everyone is at any given time. It’s also used to create some enjoyable comedic moments. The only occasion this didn’t work well was when Misaki was holding certain plushies as they were not held in her hand.

There’s plenty of CGs (full still art) in this and they’re fantastic. In between chapters you might get anime like episode previews which I thought was cute. The visual style is a modern anime look but it’s well detailed even in the backgrounds. The best of this can be seen during FC matches where neon trails are used to depict flight paths and clashes. Occasionally the game cuts into a chibi art style for explanations or jokes. The music is much more of a standout than I’m used to in visual novels, again especially during the competitive scenes. Combined with the visual flair this really helps you to get into the spirit of the competition.

In The Bleachers

In the gallery you’ll unlock not just the CGs and all music tracks but any FC match so you can re “watch” to your hearts content. There is only Japanese voice acting but at this price point I think it’s fair. Once you’ve beaten the game there is a spite editor allowing you to move character sprites around in a few different poses and backgrounds with editable text boxes.

Aokana - Four Rhythms Across The Blue
A humorous touch

This might just be a personal thing but I had an issue where I would accidentally go an extra dialogue box ahead using either touch screen or buttons. This seemed to happen no matter what text speed I chose but luckily you can scroll back to previous dialogue whenever needed. In fact you can bookmark certain voice lines to access later, for a total of 150 if you so choose! I also found, not too infrequently, a flash of white light would go across some or all of the screen for no discernible reason. Otherwise it ran fine and there seemed to be no translation issues.


Aokana took me over twenty hours to complete. It seems that Misaki has the longest route while the others are much shorter in comparison. Though I wish there were more meaningful dialogue options, presentation wise Aokana shows just what you can do with a visual novel. The story is a nice change of pace with a good blend of sporting action, comedy and romance. It’s also made me really really wish I could fly.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot!

One comment

  1. Wowser! This only took you 20 hours? Took me 95 hours to complete all routes on the Switch version. Yes, I was using to get through dialog I already read on the routes after the first. I read it everyday for 5 weeks to complete. Same thing for If My Heart Had Wings which took about 100 hours. You might read faster than me. Loved every minute thought and even bought the anime afterwards.

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