Two Weeks of Playing “The Ssum” – A Review Diary Part 1

Title: The Ssum: Forbidden Lab
Developer: Cheritz
Release Date: August 16, 2022 (NA)
Platforms: Mobile (Android, iOS)
Languages: English, Korean


Last August 16, Cheritz’s new game, The Ssum was released worldwide, and I have been religiously (and obsessively) playing it for two weeks straight now.

Firstly, let me just say that I love Mystic Messenger to death! It’s one of the few mobage that got crawling back to playing otome games and insanely hooked in the genre a couple of years back. Emphasizing the word ‘insane’ because there was truly a point in my life where I spent every waking hour unhealthily thinking about Jumin Han. (cackles) and I still do!

To give a little bit of background to the newer players of the genre, Cheritz is one of the most beloved otome game developers worldwide. The studio pretty much innovated the otome game scene in the west when they released Mystic Messenger in 2016. At the time of its release, the game was considered an anomaly to the traditionally styled visual novel otome games as its gameplay immediately throws you into a group chat with mysterious characters through a strange app on your phone right off the bat.

Mystic Messenger was in fact, probably the first successful otome game to incorporate chats, text, and calls effectively as its main gameplay mechanics. Which may have inspired different studios (indies and big commercial ones alike) nowadays to mimic the same features.  No doubt it was very fresh, not to mention highly addictive that it garnered 2.5 million downloads both in the App store and Google Play in the first two years of its release. 

In addition, Cheritz is also known for their heartwarming charity work throughout the years. The studio has been donating its profits off Mystic Messenger to different charities in the world such as Save the Children, Good Neighbors, UNICEF, and a couple of local charities in South Korea.

Not only that but the studio has also released some very well-written otome games on PC (Steam), like Nameless and Dandelion. They can definitely pull off some very interesting and memorable plot twists in otome games like no other studio can (that’s saying a lot coming from a console-only enthusiast, like me. Ha!).

Anyway, I think it’s pretty obvious that the biggest reason why everyone (including myself) is playing “The Ssum” right now is that we are all avid fans of MysMe and Cheritz and that we currently have high expectations going into this new game they’ve just released. It also took them around four years to develop The Ssum, which I believe added to the player’s curiosity. Does the game live up to its hype though? We’re about to find out!

PLAY LENGTH AND SUBSCRIPTIONS

I will not be going into detail in explaining what The Ssum is, but if you’re still wondering what this game is all about, you can check out this post to get a gist of its gameplay and mechanics. If you need some guidance and tutorials on how to play and explore this title’s many features, there’s a dedicated subreddit for The Ssum, which really comes in handy if you’re in need of a helping hand.

How long is the gameplay?
The Ssum promised 200 days’ worth of content and gameplay. That is, (if my calculations are correct) around six months and a half of texting, chatting, and calling Teo (the only LI in this game). Sounds a bit of a chore? Well, this title was initially advertised exactly as that – So I’d assume it’ll be a slow-burn process of unraveling the game’s actual plot (if there’s indeed any). The Ssum also incorporates realism in the sense that it will make you feel like you’re actually chatting with an actual boyfriend in real-time. Is this a good thing or bad thing? We’ll get to that later.

Now to the nitty-gritty which is the subscription. Hoooboi! Yes, the subscriptions! Idk if anyone saw this coming, I know I didn’t. But earlier this year, Cheritz announced that The Ssum will have subscription-based packages. Of course, there’s still a F2P option, but there are clearly more benefits if you are subscribed to one of their paid packages.

I bit the bullet and got the Aurora package bundle for three months. To hell with it! I got curious about the private account. Plus, the unlimited calls and ‘premium replies’ feature was pretty hard to pass up. There’s still a free-to-play option, but it felt like you can’t really get the most out of the game’s enjoyability gameplay-wise without shelling out cash. This to me, was utterly disappointing. Some CGs were locked behind a paywall (F2P option), and the Aurora batteries are quite hard to farm in-game if you aren’t grinding daily.

Is the subscription worth it?
For right now, it definitely amps up the enjoyability of your gameplay more (aka it’ll be less frustrating 🤣). Most of the time, Teo leaves you on read to take long breaks and do something else (like breathing, combing his hair, or approaching wherever the heck he tryna approach). With the subscription, the extra green batteries to the right (image below) definitely cut those waiting periods. You get 104 of these battery energies every day to waste at your own discretion!

The subscription also gets rid of the pesky in-your-face ads that pop up on your screen every time you back away from chat or from the main menus. Plus, it offers you the ability to call your man anytime you want! Now, as far as whether he’s going to pick up your calls or not, is another story! (cackles)😂

One of my gripes is that even when you’re paying for the subscription, there is no way to backtrack or save progress on the chats. As a scum-saver, it really drives me nuts not being able to know what the other choices would offer me. Will this choice get me a CG? Or unlock/trigger an outbound call? It’s so frustrating not to know! To add up, just a few days ago, I discovered that the chat progress and topics that Teo talks about is dependent on how well our previous conversations with him went. This means that the choices we make will indeed have an EFFECT ON THE GAME and your relationship with Teo. I’ll expound on this later, so keep reading.

To answer the initial question, I don’t think paying for the subscription is worth it (for right now at least). Unless you’re like me, who’s determined to really see this game through.

I know, I’ve sworn off playing and reviewing a mobage a long time ago (due to microtransactions), but there is absolutely no way I’d let this game pass without trying it. So here I am swallowing my pride…😤 Keep in mind, that this review will not be the typical review I normally put out for console otome games. Consider this more like an “impression log” of my daily interactions with The Ssum.

Spoilers will be kept to a minimum. Descriptions of how each day went (as far as chats and calls) will be boxed in case you want to avoid them. While I can’t post any guides for the chatrooms, I will be posting cheat sheets on the call times for this game starting Day 6 (it’s when I signed up for the subscription heh).

THE SSUM REVIEW – PART 1 (TWO WEEKS IN)

In the prologue, you, as the MC, downloaded an app in the hopes of finding your special ssumone. You are then, greeted by this bird AI called PIU PIU. It tells you how this app will help you find your perfect match. PIU PIU then asks you to put in a schedule that suits your convenience. This will determine the time of the day when you’d be chatting with your said “match”.

Soon, PIU PIU eventually shows you a match (Teo). Thereafter throwing you into a private chat with him.

Comments: Similar to Mystic Messenger, the game immediately launches you into meeting a stranger online. I like it! The awkward first meeting was cute! Teo had no clue what the app was for. He was just there to test it out because he needed a part-time job.😂 We also learn right from the jump that he’s currently in the hospital recovering from a recent accident.

🚀DAY 1 to 3

During these days, Teo immediately shares with you the reason why he ended up in the hospital. He talks about going through rehabilitation since he broke some bones from the accident. He also shares a little bit about himself, his career, and how he’s an aspiring film Director in the works.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments & Impressions on Teo: Nothing really stood out to me during days 1-3. It’s all about getting to know our guy here. I can tell he’s definitely a bored person (being stuck in a hospital for months like that), and he’s very eager to talk to you on a daily basis, which is cute. I thought his phone calls were pretty great too (kudos to Teo’s VA, Seunghoon Seuk, for really knocking his role out of the park!).

🚀DAY 4

Teo gets a mysterious package and tries to figure out who it’s from. The package is locked and very cryptic. He immediately had a hunch that it was probably from his dad (i guess quirkiness runs in the family). To unlock the package he needed to solve a mystery riddle that required his ring as the sole clue. Teo realizes that he lost his ring after the accident, so he goes and looks for it at the hospital.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Teo sends you a cursed picture here which made me cackle! (pic of young Teo) 🤣 Unfortunately, Cheritz’ CG quality has not improved. (laughs) Teo, also slowly opens up a little bit about his life to you. He tells you his inspirations and motivations, why he wanted to be a film director and his relationship with his father. Sometimes the conversations are very one-sided, 80% of the time it’s just him talking about himself in general. He does ask you questions about yourself from time to time though it is very minimal.

🚀DAY 5

Teo takes a stroll outside the hospital and takes lots of pictures and selfies for you. He also joins a singing contest in the hospital and ends up winning second place. He tells you that he’s finally getting released tomorrow! ***The game doesn’t bring this up, but if you look closely at the selfies he sent, you can find a silhouette of a strange woman behind his back.*** Later that night he calls you and tells you that a mafia boss is admitted next to his room.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Day 5 is probably the highlight of Week 1. There were so many curious things that took place. I was shook at the unintentional creepy pics he took here, plus the mafia subplot. What was that about? There were also a ton of easter eggs from Cheritz’ other games here. This was by far the most interesting day in week one. I’m still vibing with Teo, but so far, he’s pretty meh?

🚀DAY 6

Teo is finally out of the hospital, and he’s busy all day. He comes back to his apartment and starts cleaning the place. He also goes all out on eating all kinds of dishes involving meat since it’s been a while for him. Having been hospitalized for months has forced him to follow a vegetarian diet.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Now that Teo is out and about and no longer bored out of his mind in the hospital, it takes him longer to reply now. It’s frustrating having to wait these long minutes only to see a one-liner response from him. The pauses can sometimes take up to 20 minutes. I get that the game is trying to be realistic, but not everyone will have the patience to sit through this. This day was also pretty boring. Not much is happening besides Teo, just enjoying his day, eating meat, and tidying up his place.

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Inbound) After wake up chatThe Joy of Discharge and After-Story of the Bed Next Door
(Inbound) After breakfast chatAn Unwelcome Guest in Unpacking
(Outbound) After lunch chatI Trusted You, Phonie!
(Outbound) After bedtime chatGood Work Working Overnight (***this call is unlocked after selecting the choice “I am working late” during the bedtime chat***).

🚀DAY 7

Teo is still busy. He tells you he’s feeling motivated, so he’s going to see his grad school professor. Later in the day, his professor gave him a script to work on for an independent short film. The film’s theme is about “Revenge” and he’s conflicted about whether he should do it or not as this genre ain’t usually his forte. He also went for a tutoring gig today as a favor to one of his friends. He sends you some cute selfies and a drawing of stick figures which is supposed to resemble him and you. (LOL what a dork!)

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Day 7’s chats are still boring. Nothing’s really happening, and again, understandably so. Teo is just some guy right now. He’s also a bit of a Mimi Imfurst 🤣 (he talks about himself a lot!) It can be overbearing sometimes, and this may turn off many people ngl. Maybe I’m also selecting the neutral answers because his replies were so dry and sometimes even rushed

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Inbound) After breaksfast chatThe Problem of Over-Advertisment
(Inbound) After lunch chatAbout Scenario of <Revenge>
(Outbound) After dinner chatImpression on Tutoring A film Fanatic
(Inbound) After bedtime chatAbout Study During School Years

🚀DAY 8

Teo tells you that he had a dream about horses,😂 and that he journeyed to the Planet of Horses.🐎 (cackles) He’s also made up his mind and will take the offer to do the (Revenge) film, so he heads out to see his professor (to let him know his decision). During chats, he mentions how he might go and look for part-time jobs soon to cover up his hospital bills. Later in the evening, he goes for a drink with his friends. He came back home late at night feeling very uneasy. (probably due to indigestion lol). Plus, something was bothering him from his recent night out.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Another boring day of texting and calling Teo. I can sense his inferiority complex coming out during some of the chats. Sometimes I feel bad for him. Other times, I don’t really care. Obviously, he’s having a bad day, and he doesn’t flirt back with you (eye roll). Some of the calls were funny though. Esp. the outbound call where he says he’s in a packed bus full of smelly people (cackles). 🤣

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Inbound) After wake up chatWhat Does the Dream on Horse Mean?
(Inbound) After breakfast chatHoney Is the Spell to Expel Pseudoreligion
(Outbound) After breakfast chatA Song for You and Your Hard Work (***this call is unlocked after selecting the choice “I’ve just started intense work-out phew…” during breakfast chat***)
(Outbound) After lunch chatReceiving Call Challenge in the Middle of a Packed Bus (this is hilarious af)😂

🚀DAY 9

Teo didn’t get any proper sleep last night. He stayed up thinking about the stuff that happened during his post-night-out Day 8. He took a quick nap in the morning, so the wake-up chat was a bit short. After his nap, he says he had a very warm dream about you (Awww) . Later in the day, he tells you what was bothering him. It turns out that he had a little fit with his friends Jay and Harry last night. Apparently, Harry (the guy in the horse mask, he brought up during one of the chats in Week One) pissed him off big time. And his pride was destroyed because of Harry’s smug comment about him doing the film project.

He also sends you some cute selfies as an apology for being a total bore the previous day.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Aww, this day was actually kinda cute? His apology selfies were funny. I cringe but, at the same time, giggled. It was adorkable!🤭 He is giving off breedable vibes! finally!😜 His hair was also pushed back, and it made him look handsome. On another note, I can’t stop thinking about this smug friend of his, Harry. What a stand-offish a**hole! It’s kinda hot!🥵 (Sorry Teo!) A smug kuudere is just more interesting than a nice guy like you! Plus, hiding behind that horse mask is just adding up to the intrigue!(cackles). Anyway, I did like how Teo is finally opening up and talking to you about his inner inhibitions. It’s as if a wall is slowly coming down between you and him, and I appreciated that. 

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Inbound) After wake up chatBarely Refreshing Morning
(Outbound) After wake up chatMusic That Soothes My Sleepless Night
(Outbound) After lunch chatTo Bathe Or Not to Bathe, That is the Question! (I love this call, so make sure not to skip this one)
(Inbound) After dinner chatI’m Starving to Death

🚀DAY 10

Teo sends you more cute selfies in the morning, and he tells you that he’s planning to get some plants for his apartment for some ventilation. He also goes to the grocery store to buy some meat for lunch (dude sure loves his meat). Later in the day, his friend Jay asks to meet up with him in the evening. They catch up at a cocktail bar during dinner, and he gets a little tipsy from drinking.

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Comments/Impressions on Teo: The outbound call after dinner was too cute.🥺 He’s tipsy and a little chatty to you. He and you cracked some jokes together, and his cute laugh is making me clutch my chest!😩 One tip is to pick the most outrageous answers during these calls (as they tend to tickle his funny bone a lot). He gets flustered when you tease him and he starts hinting in his private account about how much he likes you. 

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Outbound) After breakfast chatSearch for Scripts
(Inbound) After lunch chatJay and Harry
⇨ (Outbound) After dinner chatProgress Report in the Middle

🚀DAY 11

Teo is hungover from his drinking session with Jay last night. He says you’re helping him cure his hangover by talking and checking up on him from time to time. Later in the day, he goes out and comes back with two stuckyi baby plants. He calls them ‘Onekey’ and ‘Twokey’. He also tells you that he has an interview for tomorrow regarding the film project, so he’s going to be a busy buddy mostly for today re-reading the script & preparing for the interview. You encourage him to do his best for tomorrow’s big day.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: There’s a lot of innocent flirting in Day 11’s chat. This time, there are no more walls between you two. He’s finally very relaxed and very open to you, esp. during phone calls. Besides the interview, he’s been thinking about you a lot too, wondering what kind of guy is your type and if he fits the bill (these are hinted from the posts he makes in his private account). During the bedtime chat, I find it really cute how he keeps coming back to chat with you despite you telling him to have a good rest. The last outbound call was really sweet! Oh nooo, I think I’m starting to like him now…!😩

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Outbound) Before Wake up chat startsIt Was Fun Working at the Bar, Despite the Hangover
(Outbound) After breakfast chatA Pro-Bartender, the Linguistic Magician
(Inbound) After lunch chatOnekey and Twokey Will Star in My Scenario
(Inbound) After dinner chatThe Deliveryman and Internet Shopping
(Outbound) After bedtime chatThe Night Before Interview

🚀DAY 12

It’s the day of his interview and you tell him to slick his hair back because it looked good (cackles).😘 You’re also helping him pick out outfits, and he sends you lots of selfies of him trying out a bunch of clothes. While waiting for his interview, he plays a game (via text) with you to pass the time. Later in the day, his professor invites him out for dinner to celebrate a job well done. (Apparently, his interview went well). You ask him if he’s going to drink all night, and he was like: “ehehe just a little” (typical guy response). In the end, he gets too drunk and sends you all kinds of wonky pictures as he was walking himself home.

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: I’m laughing. This day was actually quite hilarious. Drunk Teo is amusing af. Now that he’s an open book to you, I am finding him quite adorable tbh. There’s a huge difference between Week1 Teo vs. Week2 Teo, and I’m starting to realize that his character development is very dependent on how you’ve interacted with him so far in the game.🤯 I tried choosing the sweet & subtle flirty responses, which I believe gets you on his good side. He also likes it whenever you talk about films with him. His phone calls are starting to get endearing, and I hate that I’m actually enjoying this sappiness. (cackles)😩

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Outbound) After Wake up chatGetting Ready for Interview While Reading Scripts
(Inbound) After breakfast chatShould I Skip Shower for the Interview…?
(Inbound) After dinner chatLamb Skewers Are the Best
(Outbound) After dinner chatA Round of Game Before Interview!

🚀DAY 13

Teo is hungover again and is embarrassed by his drunk texting last night. He sends you a selfie with an apology note and he promises not to get drunk anymore. You worry and check up on him, and he sends you another cute selfie as proof that he’s still alive. He steps out during lunchtime to grab something to eat and strolls around the park. He sends you pictures of a bunny and a cat that he found while walking outside. Later in the day, he tells you how he’s been constantly thinking about you A LOT these past few weeks.

He spends the entire night re-reading your past conversations from weeks 1 and 2 and noticed how much he’s been having fun talking to you every day. He then says, there’s something in his mind that he wants to talk to you about. Dun dun dun…. What could it be Teo??? (screeches) He gets nervous and backtracks, and instead, tells you he’ll talk to you about it tomorrow. (Oh geez, hurry up already!). He decides to watch a movie to clear his thoughts and find answers lol

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: Oh geez lewiz! Teo, please! I can’t take this suspense! I hate it! Why am I starting to fall for you? Y A B A I !! 😣 I don’t like where this is going haha. 🤣🤣🤣 It was hinted by the beta testers that Day 14 was “confession day”. So pretty much, Day 13 is all about the build-up for whatever’s coming the next day. In his last phone call, he talks to you about the famous movie “HER” and likens the relationship of the main protagonist and his AI girlfriend, to his relationship with you. It was a nice serious talk, and it really seemed like he was genuinely contemplating his feelings towards you. Awww.

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Outbound) After Wake up chatUnusual Things My Professor Does When Drunk
(Inbound) After breakfast chatPlease Sing Me a Wake-Up Song!
(Outbound) After dinner chatTrivialities on Meat That Sometimes Come in Handy
(Inbound) After bedtime chatIs It Possible to Fall in Love without Even Meeting Each Other?

🚀DAY 14

It’s confession day! And Teo is feeling ALL KINDS OF THINGS! He gets all mushy but then gets self-conscious every time he feels like he’s doing it too much. You can tell he’s pretty nervous for some reason. He tells you he has finally signed the contract for the ‘Revenge’ movie and is now officially the assistant Director for the film. He also says that they’ve already confirmed the crew and are wrapping up pre-production.

During some of the calls, he tells you you’re his ‘golden luck’ and talks to you about the struggles he went through while he was still in film school. In another call (after dinner chat), he gets flustered and overly tensed talking to you, for no reason. Teo sir, what’s going on in that head of yours? What’s on your mind? (cackles). 😛It was during the bedtime chat that he finally confessed. Hallelujah!

❀Click to View Screenshots❀

Comments/Impressions on Teo: HOOOOBOI! This day took soooo loooong. Day 14 made me feel slightly anxious as your boi kept flip-floppin’ with his words. At one point, he gets a little affectionate and gives you hints here and there but then immediately backtracks, changes the subject, and sometimes even hastily ends the convos abruptly. It was kinda cute, but at the same time, I was also getting impatient. I even used up all my extra green batteries just to skip the waiting periods.😂 But oh man, it was all worth it… Because his confession was just BEAUTIFUL! It was so soft, so gentle, so innocent – I couldn’t take it ya’ll! (screams into the void)My old auntie ass was giggling like a high schooler! 😂😂😂 It was too much in all the right ways! I know I said some mean stuff to Teo. I apologize. He was a good boy all along.😭 I also wanted to bring up that his confession is customized to cater to you depending on your previous exchanges with him! Teo will remember all the things you’ve talked about as well as the choices you’ve selected since week one. The callbacks on your previous conversations with him were so satisfying.🥺 It was honestly the softest, sappiest thing ever, and it ticked all the right boxes for me.

CALL SCHEDULETITLE
(Outbound) After wake up chatCleaning Up the Shower
(Inbound) After lunch chatYou’re My Golden Luck
(Outbound) After dinner chatReading What We Exchanged So Far
(Inbound) After bedtime chatFirst Conversation as Your Boyfriend

THINGS I’VE NOTICED

  • I think it’s important to note that the conversations you’ll have with Teo are very dependent on the answers you’ve picked so far in the game. If you have been selecting all the mean, rude, and standoff-ish answers to his questions, you will get dry exchanges from him as well. I started noticing this when a friend and I began comparing our daily convos with him.
  • There are also outbound calls that only unlock if you’ve picked a specific choice in the chatroom that triggers it.
  • Rainbow choices or Answers that cost more aurora batteries are not always the best answers.
  • Teo’s dialogues are curated to the player’s personality. I feel so dumb that it took me until Day 14 to realize this.
  • The previous exchanges you’ve had with Teo indeed matter! Teo will remember your past conversations and will bring them up in future dialogues. I believe his lines are also curated to match your (in-game) personality test result.

THE PLANETS AND THE COMMUNITY

The planets and the Infinite Universe of this game are a whole other beast on their own, and it can probably get overwhelming, especially to those who are just starting out. To vaguely describe it, the “galaxy part” of the Forbidden Labs is like a community-building platform for all The Ssum players worldwide. To simply put it, it’s very akin to a social media forum or message board.

At first, I wasn’t really interested in this unusual feature. I didn’t care for it. I went into the game expecting to romance some 2D guy and nothing more. However, as I continuously unlock planets after planets and have started to explore them. Bit by bit, I have slowly become perceptive of the fact of how therapeutic this section of the game can be. Has anyone else felt this way, or is it just me?

List of Planets that You Can Unlock in the Infinite Universe:

  1. VanasCurrently the planet you are orbiting. This planet allows you to record a positive truth or a negative truth. No one will be able to see these answers but you.
  2. FREEDOM Planet (City of Free Men)Any topic under the sun can be posted here.
  3. Canals of Sensitivitylots of fanfic posts, poems, or any personal literally pieces.
  4. Root of Desirepost you pure desires, wishes and dreams.
  5. Archive of Sentencespost any sentences or your fav. quotes.
  6. Milky Way of Gratitude(my fav. planet) record anything that you are thankful for each day.
  7. Mountains of Wandering Humorpost a joke and let everyone rate it.
  8. Archive of Terran Info Post tips, discoveries about the game (you can share life hacks and everyday living tips as well).
  9. Bamboo Forest of Troublesanonymously post all your troubles and worries here. No one will judge you. (be mindful of the TW of some posts).

I will not be expounding on how the planets work, nor go into detail on how to navigate them. But in case you need any help exploring and understanding The Ssum’s infinite universe, you can check out this full guide here.

Truth be told, I am actually thankful for the Infinite Universe feature of The Ssum. The community has been very positive, warm and welcoming so far. It just made me feel a sense of belonging every time I spend some of my time there.💗💗💗

LOCALIZATION, AND GAME BUGS

The game still needs a lot of improvement, for sure. One, in particular, that I’d love to see the developers fix is the localization. The chats have awkward phrasings and janky grammar sometimes. Idk if this was intentional to make it seem like you’re informally texting someone IRL because the dialogues during calls were alright. The game is also very buggy when it was released the first week, and it still is despite the big update they had a couple of days ago. I believe Cheritz has also compensated all the users that have been hit with these pesky game bugs.

TRAILER

OVERALL THOUGHTS SO FAR

I admit I was initially part of the disgruntled camp of The Ssum, and I believe it was mainly because I was expecting another Mystic Messenger, that I’ve completely misunderstood what this game is all about. If I would’ve given my opinions on the first week alone, it would’ve been really negative all around. But I’m glad I stuck with it until week 2 because my opinions did drastically change for the better.

“I came here to romance a fictional man, but instead ended up with group therapy & Self Reflection…”

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I believe The Ssum is not just an otome game but also a platform that helps you improve your mental health and well-being. I never actually realized this until recently when I started developing this habit of visiting the planet ‘Milky Way of Gratitude’ to feed off the positive vibes that I always get from there. Just having to read everyone appreciating the smallest things in life that we normally take for granted is very warming, to say the least.

While I do think that the “otome” aspect should still be the main selling point of the game, as intended. I believe that the community-building feature of The Ssum shouldn’t be disregarded as well. Playing The Ssum, actually made me very aware of how important it is to have a support system in one’s life, a community that doesn’t judge you, and accepts you for who you are despite your flaws. And I really appreciated this a lot.

This brings me to another realization about the main love interest, Teo. Teo starts very blandly and unlikeable, and I think this is because he is curated to cater to every user’s personality and quirks – and to do that, we need to build a relationship with him first before we can actually appreciate his character. I’d also argue that the game is the actual opposite of Mystic Messenger. In MM, we, as the MC mold ourselves to become the perfect match for the love interests. The game has always been about the LIs and never about the MC (us). In The Ssum, however, Teo is molded to become the perfect match for us, and the perfect support system that we need to make us feel loved. This is probably reaching, but I feel like the game was never about Teo, but rather about making the players feel good about themselves through Teo.

AS FOR THE STORY

The Ssum is very much, a slice-of-life game. There aren’t any “plots” happening atm. I would assume that if the game indeed had some incredible twists, – that wouldn’t happen anytime soon. But so far, I just don’t think there’s any overarching plot that’s in store for us here. I would love for Cheritz to prove me wrong with this.😁 Week One was extremely boring ngl. With nothing really happening in the game plus the long waiting periods for Teo’s responses, I’m not surprised that a lot of users have already quit and uninstalled the app. I’m not kidding when I say this game requires a LOT of patience.🥲 With that being said, I don’t think it’s for everyone.

Week Two is where the ‘romance’ finally kicks in. I think it’s around days 9 and 10 that I’m finally seeing Teo’s walls, slowly coming down as he starts becoming very open to you. I actually thought the build-up to Day 14’s confession was pretty good, so I’m honestly glad I stuck around til this day. Teo’s character slowly grows on you each day, and I believe this is how the game intended it to be. This game was never meant to be played as a visual novel but rather as a simulation of real-life online dating with your special ssum-one. If this is not your thing, then I don’t think I can recommend this game to you.

I still stand by what I said when it comes to the game’s subscription. I do feel it’s ridiculously high, and for what the game is atm (with the bugs and localization errors), I don’t think it’s worth it. On the other hand, I thought the game was undeniably more enjoyable if you are subscribed to one of their paid packages (esp. for those like me who don’t want to grind for resources). So yeah, definitely think this through before dropping that dolla-dolla bill yall. Do you intend to invest your time diligently playing this game on a daily basis for the next six months? If the answer is no, then close that wallet and stay away from the paid version.

Despite everything, I still have faith that Cheritz may one day lower the subscription prices for The Ssum. I do believe that Cheritz is still a sensible company and will hear its fans’ feedback and suggestions (just as they did before).

For right now, I can’t exactly rate this game yet as we’re still in the early stages of it. But so far, I have enjoyed it for the most part despite its flaws, soooo I guess that’s a good thing right? 💖If you enjoyed this diary post and want me to continue doing this for weeks 3, 4, 5, and so on. Let me know in the comments section below!


10 thoughts on “Two Weeks of Playing “The Ssum” – A Review Diary Part 1

  1. I’d love more of these – I’ve neither the patience or time to devote to something like this, and seeing your experience through these psuedo-reviews xD is about the only way I’d get a feel for the game. Maybe I could poke it in a few months when things settle, but honestly with the titles coming out end of September and 3 D&D games on my calendar and I JUST got into Wano on One Piece, and there’s like 5 projects at work and…

    Yeah. Yes, I’d love more of these xD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Chloe! I’ve been on the fence about downloading the game after seeing so many initially negative reviews and people outraged by the subscription costs. Which, really, are ridiculously high. I think I’m going to download it and try being a free player though after seeing your review! The extra features in the game are intriguing to me too and seem up my alley, so I’m excited to experience that as well. Thanks for your review and time, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please do keep the diary going! I don’t have anyone to compare my Teo chats to and I like seeing how they’ve built the character to adapt to the user. I completely forgot about the outbound calls, I need to get back on that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your post! As others said, it’s nice having someone to compare. I was curious if Teo confessed on a specific day. Would have been cool if he only did so when you get close enough. As it was, it felt kind of out of nowhere for me? (But then again my game bugged after Day 11 and Days 12-13 got put in the same days after waiting for 48 hours and I missed Day 13. :’) )

      Also wanted to say!! You mentioned how there’s a creepy woman in the background of Teo’s pictures but it wasn’t addressed… Well it WAS in my playthrough! I got to point it out to him and told him to go to the roof (Spoilers?) It was a woman confessing her feelings to him. She heard her was getting discharged and wanted to confess before he left. Nothing too spooky in the end, but I wonder what we choose to get different reactions? Can’t wait for more entries from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If the best subscription fee (the aurora?) was $10 I would have paid it. Maybe even up to $12 or $13. But I can’t stand playing games without all of the features, and I also know a price model is a red flag if I would feel embarrassed to tell my husband I was paying it lol. As it stands, it’s WAY too expensive.

    I would probably love to give this game a chance again in the future (even thought Teo was totally making me cringe the first several days before I uninstalled) if they lower the price. Which also totally feels unfair to the people paying it now lol.

    I don’t really know what the fix is- I spent a lot of money on Mystic Messenger and didn’t regret it once, as I felt it was really worth every penny.
    Hopefully it’ll be tweaked by next year to be more friendly to a wider audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hahaha ! its so funny reading the reactions you have on your daily interactions with Teo. I am still confused about what this game is in general? An otome game with one LI only? This is new to me. But I am also new to otome games so I was not here during the Mystic Messenger era and now I am curious about Jumin Han since you love him so muhc. (eyes) I want to try this game but the 200 days is making me hesitate and the pricey subscription too! Please do more of this daily logs as i am very curious about whats going to happen next and Im too broke to make the purchase for the subscription. :’)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t have the time to consistently play this game enough to make it worth it, so I’m loving your diary-style post! This way I can experience it vicariously through you… although I will admit I’m a little tempted to try and play anyway after reading this >.<

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you and please continue! This post definitely helps with deciding if I should jump right in or maybe wait a bit more. The subscription is expensive and as someone who wants the full and best experience and can get a annoyed with having to grind for resources, haha, it’s so nice to know exactly what I’m signing up for.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Always a delight to see your opinions! I’m currently playing as well (on day 17), and the first two weeks really have been a rollercoaster for sure.

    I’m also on aurora sub, and I feel conflicted about it. The extra pictures and private account sneak peek ARE nice, but the account alone is not worth a separate tier in my opinion. If any one else is like me and has a rotating schedule though, the 104 secondary batteries are super useful for basically getting through all of the chats in 1-2 go’s every day. Other than day 6 (was so brutal), I’m usually able to skip every 20 minute break with those and without eating into my other batteries.

    The extra ringtones from the subs are cute, but the text ones never work correctly for me (neither do notifications from the app in general, always very late). The rest of the benefits are mainly for the social aspect of the game. It’s great if you do like it, but I’m personally here for Teo mainly; so really not sure if I’ll renew after this month is up. Shout out to the joke planet though, I’ve gotten some great ones to bug my friends with! My hope is that they’ll lower the sub price by $5-7 minimum, as well as that auto-incubator robot; the price on that is ridiculous.

    On a positive note – A different guy’s silhouette has been teased on the game site, so that makes me a lot more excited for the future. I haven’t been properly compensated every time they’ve fixed bugs, but I appreciate them working at it nonetheless.

    Misc tip: If you swipe instead of backing out of screens, you can skip most ads that way!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved your post!! I’ll be honest, I uninstalled the game already because of the amount of bugs I had, but I really liked Teo! Even his boring conversations from week 1. I’ll go back to it once the bugs are more or less resolved; until then please keep posting your weeks!! I’d love to see how it turns out !!

    Liked by 1 person

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