||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (August 2012)|
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (July 2012)|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction, bishōjo, romance visual novel|
code_18 is a Japanese science fiction visual novel produced by CyberFront and released on September 29, 2011 for the PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360. The game was later ported over to PC as both a standalone product, and as part of the Infinity Selection compilation which included Ever 17: The Out of Infinity.
code_18 is a part of the Infinity series by KID - CyberFront took over the brand name after KID announced bankruptcy in 2007. The other entries in the series are Never 7: The End of Infinity, Ever 17: The Out of Infinity, Remember 11: The Age of Infinity, and 12Riven, all of which (with the exception of Code_18) take place within the same universe.
Unlike the rest of the Infinity series, Code_18 had no involvement from either Takumi Nakazawa or Kotaro Uchikoshi, the director and main writers of the rest of the series. Instead, it was written by Chabo Higurashi of Run and Gun. Because of this, the game is not considered to be officially canon with the rest of the games.
Gameplay and system
As with most visual novels, code_18's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as the majority of the time is spent reading the text that appears on the game's screen.
The text being displayed represents the thoughts of the characters or the dialogue between them. The player is occasionally presented with choices to determine the direction of the game. Depending on what is chosen, the plot may progress in a specific direction.
The story starts on September 11, 2018. Hayato Hino is a high school student at Ryuusei Academy in Tokyo, and is a member of the school's Second Science Club. That day, he goes to the roof of the school to practice his "Dragon Unit", a flight pack. Just as he's about to test it out, he sees a girl falling out of the sky, wearing a similar device. He tries to save her, but fails and falls to his death. However, several seconds later, he finds himself having gone back in time a few seconds ago (though he has no memory of it) with the same incident occurring. This time, he manages to successfully fly and save the girl. Upon awakening, the girl asks for the date and location. When Hayato tells her his name, the girl slaps him and runs off.
Ryuusei Academy is currently preparing for its school festival in a month, as is the Second Science Club, which is composed of Hayato's fellow members (Yoshito Asakura, Haruka Tokomine, and Takeshi Fujii), along with Hikari Haruna, a friend of Hayato's who, though not a member, frequently visits the club. At the same time, Hayato's Science professor, Genkuro Kanbara, gives Hayato a special smartphone chip composed of a stone known as the "Agastia Stone", which should theoretically allow Hayato to receive voice messages from the future.
As the month goes by, Hayato meets several other girls: Tamaki Tatekawa, Yuzu Soraki, and Nanari Torikura . He also meets up with the girl he saved several times, and finds out her name is Arika Tokitou. Eventually, due to an accident with the Dragon Unit, Hayato's house blows up, forcing him to sleep in the science clubroom. He and the rest of the club decide that for the festival, they should put on a live performance for Hikari, who is a good singer. During the month, Hayato and Hikari get closer and closer, and eventually Hayato temporarily moves in with Hikari. Hayato becomes a couple with her, and helps her succeed at her performance at the festival on October 13.
However, at the very end of the festival, time loops back to September 11. Hayato, unaware of the looping and with no memories of the past loops, goes through the same month over and over again. Each time he does, he finds himself falling into a similar pattern- he gets closely involved with one of the girls he met (first Tamaki, then Yuzu, and finally Nanari), decides to help them with the school festival (putting on a cosplay cafe for Tamaki, a haunted house for Yuzu, and a science experiment with Nanari, each club involving unique machines that Hayato finds lying around), learns of the problem that's troubling them (Tamaki's issues with her strict, traditional grandparents, Yuzu's issues with her overprotective younger brother, and Nanari's troubles connecting with her father, Professor Kanbara, whom seems to ignore Nanari altogether), and helps them resolve the problem. In each loop, Arika maintains a constant, cryptic presence, though she seems to slowly lighten up towards him the more loops he goes through. Furthermore, he receives more voice messages, each one giving him some kind of advice, but finds that the audio quality differs depending on which loop he's on. But each time he reaches the end of October 13, time loops back to September 11.
Finally, after finishing Nanari's version of the month, Hayato loops back with all his memories intact. Realizing that Arika is the only one who seems to have any sort of connection to the loop, he confronts her, and while she admits she is connected, she can't trust him to help her out. However, when Hayato realizes his house is about to explode (with Hikari and Arika inside), he puts priority over getting them out instead of saving the Dragon Unit. Stunned after seeing this, Arika decides to trust him, and tells Hayato that she's a time traveler from 22 years in the future. She had traveled back in time, but, now realizing her presence is what's causing the loop, wants to go back. Unfortunately, her time machine is broken, so she can't. Hayato offers to help her, and she accepts.
Hayato learns that in order to repair Arika's time machine, they need to recover the key parts of it, which turn out to be the machines that Hayato had been using for the school festival in the past loops. While acquiring them, Hayato decides to help each of the other girls out with resolving their problems, and finds himself getting close to Hikari once again. When they acquire the final part, the full truth about Arika is revealed- Arika is actually Akari Hino, Hayato and Hikari's daughter from the future. In the future, Hayato has apparently become a workaholic, completely focused on building his time machine and paying little attention to his wife and daughter, making Hikari a very sad, lonely woman. Furious, Akari stole his time machine and traveled back to 2018. However, Akari finds that she can't hate the 2018 version of Hayato, who is the exact opposite of his future self. Akari then apologizes to Hayato for all her past behavior, and together, they work on fixing the time machine.
Realizing that the only way to break the loop is to send Akari back to her time early on October 13, Hayato and Akari finish the time machine. However, the time machine, which has been combined with the Dragon Unit, can only be used in a zero gravity environment, so the two decide to have Akari jump off the Sky Tower (a 1,200 foot tower) in order to recreate the conditions. However, on October 13, a major earthquake strikes, causing massive damage to the city and making it nearly impossible for Hayato and Akari to reach the Sky Tower in time. Fortunately, Hikari, Tamaki, Yuzu, Nanari, and Professor Kanbara show up to help, each contributing to getting the two to the Sky Tower.
While ascending to the top floor of the Sky Tower, Hayato reveals to Akari that the night before, he had received a lot of voice messages from the future, and from them, he now realizes the truth- the voice message sender has been none other than 2040 Hayato. All of the story's events had been planned out by the future versions of Hayato and Hikari- because Akari had existed in 2018 for a month in their pasts, there was a need for them to create the event that would send her back in time in the first place, otherwise Akari would have ceased to exist due to causing a time paradox. To accomplish, Hayato was forced to put almost all his time and effort into creating a time machine by 2040, meaning he wasn't allowed much time to spend with his family, and purposely acted cold to Akari to incense her to travel back in time. Hikari, who was in on the whole plan, faked her sadness and loneliness to also stimulate Akari into going back to 2018. 2040 Hayato then sent voice messages back to his 2018 self in order to guide him and tell him how to send Akari back. This would create an ontological paradox that would ensure Akari wouldn't cease to exist.
With this, Hayato manages to successfully send Akari back to 2040. There, she makes up with her parents, now understanding the reason for their behavior. Back in 2018, the time loop has broken, and Hayato thinks to himself that while he will have to tell Hikari the whole truth someday and that they'll have to repeat their future selves' actions, he'll allow himself to relax for a little while and deal with it once it comes.
Voiced by: Kenji Akabane (Drama CD)
Voiced by: Ai Nonaka
Voiced by: Madoka Yonezawa
Voiced by: Kei Shindou
Voiced by: Sanae Kobayashi
Voiced by: Yuko Goto
Voiced by: Unsho Ishizuka
The soundtrack of the game, unlike in the other games of the infinity series, was composed by ms-jacky of the band milktub. The opening song, "Agastia Stone", and the ending song, "HIKARI", was performed by AiRI. The insert song, "Rocket", was performed by Ai Nonaka.
The game did not receive the same amount of praise as the previous entries in the series, which resulted in overall poor sales. Among Amazon.jp users, Code_18 has a one and a half star ranking out of five; indicating generally negative reviews.