Flower, Sun and Rain

The Silver Case, the first game peculiar Japanese auteur Suda 51 made at his studio Grasshopper Manufacture, is getting a remake for PC this autumn where it will make its western debut. And now it has a free demo on Steam.

Killer 7 and No More Heroes director Suda 51's first game at the studio he founded, Grasshopper Manufacture, was a little known PlayStation One visual novel called The Silver Case. Never released outside of Japan, it's only now, 17 years later, getting a western release with an all new remake set to arrive this autumn on PC via Steam, Playism and other online markets.

Flower, Sun and Rain

Flower, Sun and Rain

The dating game.

Sumio Mondo has a 1970s Toyota Celica and a briefcase he calls Catherine. He plugs Catherine into things - in the first instance, a bus driver's eye socket - and uses her to dial in combination numbers, as if cracking a safe, or using an old telephone. In this way, the mysteries of life are unlocked. Or the mysteries of Lospass island, at any rate - its enigmatic hotel, its bizarre inhabitants, and the endlessly time-looped aircraft explosion in its sky.

Like its creator Suda 51, Flower, Sun and Rain gives an initial impression of pretension that soon melts away under the warmth of its mischievous, self-deprecating sense of the absurd, and its willingness to take risks. Like the man himself, that makes it hard to dislike - initially. But Flower, Sun and Rain was first released for the PS2 in 2001, in Japanese only, and it probably seemed anachronistic even then. It's stuck in a time-warp of its own, re-enacting a pedantic and detached cul-de-sac of adventure game design that, mercifully, never actually happened.

Mondo, a "searcher" and finder of lost things, arrives on Lospass at the behest of Edo Macallister, manager of the Flower, Sun and Rain, the island's only hotel. Macallister, a grinning cypher in a sailor suit who seems to have stepped into the game from a warped Broadway musical, wants Mondo to solve the island's Groundhog Day problem. Every day is a repetition of the last, ending abruptly with a terrorist bomb destroying a plane high over the island, and beginning with Mondo waking groggy and fully clothed on his bed.

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