Root Letter is a game that can throw a lot at you. There are quite a few unexpected situations you’ll find yourself in as you explore Matsue, attempting to learn the truth about Aya Fumino. There are five endings total, with two that unlock after you’ve beaten the game twice. The thing is, some of them go to really unexpected places. The first ending I received ended up being far more unsettling than I expected.
The issue with this is that Root Letter’s lead up to the resolution doesn’t always feel like it makes sense. There are really only three endings where I felt like things made sense, based on what I’d experienced as I played through the game. I’m going to use the stationary names they unlock rather than their official titles assigned to each one, since they give a pretty good hint as to what happens in each one. But, strangely enough, I felt like the true ending, airplane ending, and skull ending tie in best with everyone’s reactions throughout the adventure.
In a way, this hurts Root Letter. The adventure and investigation elements we encounter throughout the game hint at certain possibilities, since all storylines are identical up until the eighth chapter. It’s only then that storylines start to diverge. I felt like this sometimes made the ending I earned feel as though it was tacked on. It doesn’t help that, after completing the game once, a feature is unlocked to make additional ending acquisition speedier. Once you’ve gone through the game once, you can skip the earlier chapters via your in-game phone, only responding to the letters to earn the right endings. While this is more expedient, it almost made me feel like the lead up mattered more I replayed to unlock every possibility.
It also feels like there’s a natural progression someone should follow when it comes to completing Root Letter. The airplane ending feels like a less satisfying version of the true ending. To unlock it, you need to talk about day trips and traveling in the first letter, discuss school events in the second, say an ideal adult is a dreamer and ask who Aya’s ideal adult is, say men and woman can be friends and ask if she feels the same, say kindness matters and ask about her personality, say people should have complimentary personalities and asks if she believes in fate, then confess that you like and want to meet Aya. It does a good job of playing on what can happen when people grow up.
From there, I’d suggest going for Root Letter’s true ending. Mainly because the previous ending will be fresh in your mind, so you can see how the two play off of each other. For that result, the first letter’s reply must deal with playing and sports, the second should talk about challenges, the third should again be about being a dreamer and asking about an ideal adult, the fourth should be about men and women being friends, the fifth should talk about fateful encounters, and the sixth and seventh responses should be identical to the airplane endings. Talk about complimentary personalities, fate, liking Aya, and wanting to meet her. This is the sweetest ending in the game and feels like the stereotypical sort of conclusion.
From there, I feel like you’re in a good place to go for the scary endings. There are two, and they’re unsettling in different ways. I preferred the skull ending and would suggest pursuing it first. When you respond to Aya, first talk about reading. Then, talk about ruins and ask for spooky stories. From there, say you don’t want to be an adult and ask if she wants to become one. After that, say girls are selfish and ask what she thinks about you. The fifth replies should mention nature and ghosts, the sixth should focus entirely on black hair, and the final responses should be about doing and going places with friends. I really liked how this one did tie in with some rumors we’d heard throughout the story.
After that, I recommend going for the princess. It isn’t that this ending is bad, but I felt like it made a lot of assumptions. You should talk about shrines and folklore in your first reply to Aya, then go on to talk about history and Shimane’s warriors. After that, you should refuse to have ideals and ask how she feels about selfish adults. The response after that should let her know you like girls, but wonder how she feels about stony men. From there, bring up ancestors and ask what she does for fun. Bring up mysterious, beautiful people after that and ask if she’s interested in history. Finally, say you’re focused on studying and wonder if she’s studying history too.
The last ending, the alien ending, is just plain weird. It’s the gag ending. In a way, I feel better about it than the princess one. Even though it goes off of the rails, it reminds me of other unorthodox endings. To earn this one, your first replies have to mention talking a walk and aliens, the second should bring up meteor showers and stars, the fourth letter should say gender is irrelevant and ask Aya’s feelings on aliens, the fifth should deal with fateful encounters, the sixth should mention mysterious, beautiful people and folklore, and the seventh should mention that you’re worried and wonder if Aya has someone she likes. Even though this ending has nothing to do with the narrative and is completely crazy, I admire Kadokawa’s guts in including it.
Sof Root Letter’s endings don’t make much sense. A few fit better with the overarching storyline. That doesn’t mean they aren’t all worth earning. It’s interesting to see how your perspective may shift with a few alterations. Especially if you free your mind of any expectations and are okay with being a little imaginative or silly. At the very least, I’d recommend taking the time to see the skull and true endings. You probably won’t regret it.
Root Letter is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.