Today on the blog, we have a tester’s corner from SSparks!
Hey y’all, SSparks here. Today I’ll talk about Farther Than the Blue Sky, also known as Byakko.
First, let’s get the important stuff out: This game is a solid 10/10 in my book and I really want more people to read it. When I was invited to test it, I definitely chuckled a bit, as I am an Aerospace Engineering student myself. This not only allowed me to compare some of the contents of the game to real life, but also made my own journey through the game much more personal. Kaho’s route in particular really affected me, for some reason or another. As such, I’ll approach this corner very personally.
Byakko tells the story of a club with the same name. A club that will launch a rocket, even if it kills them. A club of people who love rockets. With only five members, they have to surpass all others. Byakko tells a story of hard work. A story of perseverance. The club prez and totally-not-a-tsundere, Arisa.
The wroom brrrr fzzzzfzzzz… I mean, emotional and airheaded Nazuna. The cheeky pervert, Honoka. The logical realist, Kaho. And perhaps most important, the idiot with a dream, Otoya. Byakko is by no means a perfect club. They clash all the time, and they make many mistakes. But that’s exactly what makes you cheer for them. Even with all their differences, they still manage to get together for a single, common purpose: making rockets.
Each of the girls specializes in one field of rocket development, and you’ll be seeing that very often when you do their route. At school? Rockets. At home? Rockets. Having sex? Rockets! And on that note, sex almost always leads directly to realizing what they’re doing wrong, whatever that may be.
Oh, our engine is exploding? Let’s think about it. (One sex scene later…) Boy, I sure am glad having wild sex made us figure out this fatal flaw in our monstrous rocket engine which burns at 3000 °C. The rocket’s guidance and control system’s suddenly malfunctioning? What could be causing that? (One sex scene later…) Man, that was simple… You get the point.
That aside, there are still many moments of heartfelt character development. And rocket development. There’s lots of rocket development here.
The only complaint I could even have is that the main issue from each route plays no part in the others, but that’s also something Byakko deals with relatively well, personally speaking. It allows the game to focus solely on what’s happening then and there.
With every route, you learn more about the main characters, about the side characters, about Byakko’s past, and about Otoya himself. The content is extremely well divided among the character routes, in a way that nothing is ever said twice. Everything that’s said has a purpose. Every character has their time to shine, even the ones set up to be complete dickheads you should hate.
And this is where things get fun: the final route. After you finish all four girls, you unlock the culmination of everything you did up to this point. It had me in literal tears, though less than Kaho’s climax. I vividly remember the night I told myself I’d finish the game. When looking through the scripts to situate myself on where I was at that point, I accidentally jumped one script too far, and ended up reading a bit of what was to come. And that one bit settled it.
I wasn’t gonna even blink until I finished it. My body and my mind knew nothing but Byakko. And man, was it worth every single moment. With a magnificent conclusion, Farther Than the Blue Sky solidified itself as my newest 10/10. It had been almost two years since the last time I felt so strongly for a game, and I don’t think anything will ever bring it down.
On the technical side of things, the game features a glossary for terms important to the story. I personally checked through them all, and all the information in there is accurate to the things I have learned (do keep in mind that I’m still only a student myself though), so props to the writers, as well as the localization staff.
Thanks to this glossary, as well as character explanations, you don’t need any background in the subject to be able to understand the basics of what the characters are doing. There are also diagrams to illustrate the explanations in the game, and if Otoya can understand them, so can anyone! I also made sure to go through every single line twice to make sure things adhered to SI style conventions, but that’s just the nerd in me.
Byakko features great characters, great art, and great writing. If anything I said here piqued your interest, please make sure to read through the game yourself, and help make Byakko’s launch a success! With that said… Liftoff!
Farther than the Blue Sky is now available for purchase on MangaGamer.com!