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Songs of Travel review – “A deep visual novel that cover real-life stories”

  • A visual novel tackling sensitive topics from today’s society
  • It has real-life stories, from real-life people
  • Not a lot of actual gameplay, but a lot of deep, tough, narrative

It wasn’t easy finding the right words to write about this game. In fact, there are no “right” words to describe it, since everything may vary based on your experiences in the world. This Songs of Travel review is going to give you just a little insight into what you can expect from this brilliant visual novel while trying to avoid spoiling it.

I mentioned before that there’s no right way to describe the game, so let me elaborate a little bit. You don’t exactly play a centralised role like you would in many other games. Instead, you play a slightly more passive role physically, while mentally you’re getting the entire immersive experience.

If you think that sounds like a lot, it’s because it’s not an easy role to play.

Songs of Travel covers sensitive topics for many

In Songs of Travel, you take on the role of the listener – you’re the listener of several voices who tell the story of their lives, lives where they faced adversity and marginalisation. 

Not all the stories are the same. In fact, they’re not fictional stories, but rather narrations of the lives lived by five different people in five different parts of the world. They’re sad, but they’re true. 


You will be faced with stories covering topics such as sexuality, identity, racism, loss, and loneliness, which are not always easy to digest – even more so knowing they’re stories of real people (whom you can also briefly see in the videos playing at the beginning and the ending of every chapter).

Songs of Travel menu interface

Despite being a game, Songs of Travel gives a voice to the vulnerable

The protagonists of Songs of Travel are people like you and me. They experienced adversity in the world, and this project is a way for them to make their voice heard. It feels like a safe space, where each interactive story is told in such a way that you can almost feel the emotions each person went through at that moment. 

Each chapter is interactive enough to get you immersed in the narrative. You’re put in the shoes of each one of the characters who’ve had to immigrate for various reasons. However, it feels like so much more than that. 

Songs of Travel mine closed with closed until further notice sign

Each picture says a thousand words

The way in which the panels are drawn gives a somewhat cosy feeling, and that only works better for immersing you in the story. Furthermore, you can see that a lot of thought went into the details. No element appears to be out of place – each relates to either a real-life experience or place from the protagonists’ stories. 

If you’re used to playing visual novels, you’ll know there are some that are beautifully drawn but lack something in the storytelling department while others achieve the exact opposite. Here, you have both. And you can easily tell how much went into integrating everything together and blending it nicely.

Character in panel sleeping

Minimal gameplay, but do we really mind that?

Songs of Travel doesn’t have a lot of gameplay. You just have to tap here and there and drag and drop occasionally. There are no “puzzles” to solve, or anything like that, just the occasional interaction that lets you move on in the story.

That might not be something a lot of people like, but I honestly don’t really mind it. To me, it feels like if there was a little more gameplay that could be great, but too much gameplay or puzzles or whatnot would just take people away from the actual point of Songs of Travel, which is to shine light onto the issues posed by migration and the hardships people had to go through. 

Miner with year 1948

Songs of Travel poses hard questions 

In the society we live in, a lot of questions go unanswered. Given the hardships many people go through, we often stop and wonder “Why did this happen?”, or “How could I have done things differently?”. With Songs of Travel, some of these questions get an answer, albeit from a different perspective – the one of the protagonists, the actual people who went through those hardships. 

My recommendation? Don’t consume it all in one go

I strongly recommend playing one episode per day. It’s a game that is extremely well-made, and the best way to enjoy it to the fullest is to experience each one of these stories individually, allowing for time between to let them breathe. 

I know, I know, once you start playing you’ll get curious about each upcoming chapter, but you’ll do yourself a favour by giving yourself some time to take in the entire story and ponder upon it. They’re beautifully made, and they leave a lot of room for questions too!


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