A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Here’s a bunch of titles I’ve been playing and writing my thoughts for for the past two months or so. As always, I didn’t feel like writing a full review for these games but that doesn’t mean they’re bad; some are actually quite decent. Remember you are fully permitted to use any part of my reviews (or anything I say for that matter lol) as long as you credit me for it.

The list of short reviews this time are as follows:

  • Butterfly Seeker
  • God Sisters
  • Kanojo to Ore no Koisome Dousei
  • Sorairo Innocent
  • Aoitori
  • Hikari to Umi no Apeiria
  • Shin Koihime Musou Kakumei – Songo no Ketsumyaku
  • Maoten

Let’s get right to it!

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Foreword: So one of the main reasons I wanted to write a full review for this Navel game was because it’s pretty controversial. I’ll get it out and say it right now that I PERSONALLY didn’t like this game (and I’ll be explaining why), and I say that fully aware some idiot is going to scream his head off that this is the best game ever without realizing why and I like to oppose people kek


Title: 君と目覚める幾つかの方法
Producers: Navel
Release Date: May 25, 2018
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v22308
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=997904
Game Type: Fantasy Sci-Fi Novel set in a Realistic Setting

Summary: In the near future, where “Automata” is prevalent especially in Akihabara where their presence is in correspondence to the otaku culture, Ina Motors sits quietly within its walls originally a bike shop, but renewed to an Automata Maintenance shop after this boom hit. The manager, Ina Sousuke, also owns Automata for his own reasons, and is maintaining his daily life until an automata is abandoned in front of his home one day.

The problem is that while her legs are artificial, Sousuke immediately realizes that this girl is actually a human, and full panic arises on what to do. Calling on his friends Maika and Mikoto, Sousuke makes every effort he can to figure out what happened to this timid girl named Hatsune and what he can do to help.

While I found it skeptical why he would suddenly want to help an abandoned girl, goddamn she’s cute

Read the rest of this entry »

So I wasn’t gone for a while doing nothing: I was still playing titles and jotting down my thoughts for them. Unfortunately, I have NOT had the time to properly write reviews for all of these titles, and likely never will. I still find it necessary to at least give some form of feedback regarding my thoughts for these finished (or dropped) titles, so here we are.

I might be doing something like this on a 3-4 month basis because it’s easier for me. Obviously if there’s actually a really good game I want to scream about, those will get the full reviews like I’ve been doing in the past, but otherwise we’ll stick with this format.

Starlight Idol ~Colorful Top Stage~ [Dropped]

The main reason why I even thought about picking this title up was because a very famous writer named “Daisangen” was a part of its scenario. I remember this writer for being very good especially when it comes to specific Whirlpool games, so I was pretty eager to see what he had in store for me in this title.

Turns out, it was more of a miss with a very generic (despite being an older title) storyline revolving around personal shortcomings and heroines actually being far too immature for my liking. Very little of the introduction has anything about said heroines and it’s only once you enter their route (for which the splits happen pretty freaking quickly, mind you) when they’re described in more detail.

A lot of the intro was about playing the self-blaming game so that wasn’t exactly the most fun reading, and how there’s conveniently this school that trains idols and the protagonist was chosen to be the manager for one of the promising groups doesn’t really excite me to keep reading.

Art is actually somewhat awkward for some characters although this game did have three artists, and overall even the choice of CVs were moderate at best Ogura Yui is best off voicing nukige

I dropped this game purely because I didn’t see the story getting any better than what I saw so far. The characters are extremely bland even though the transitioning is decent, and I can’t see the game getting any better with interaction between heroines and the protagonist that’ll most likely NOT involve other heroines (ironically because subheroines are present) plus the art is actually really awkward.

Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 4/10

Hitotsu Yaneno Tsubasa no Shitade [Dropped]

Well we all knew it; we just didn’t say it.

But as a Aokana knockoff, the game performed much more inferior to its copy-cat, especially considering the main theme of the game was thrown out the window pretty early within the game. Just to avoid being sued for copyright they went with airplanes instead of flying shoes, and unfortunately the game was extremely hard to understand especially when it comes to its sports element because hell I don’t know jack shit about planes.

This along with convenient placing (a guy suddenly placed in an enviornment with bishoujos) and affection for him coming from nowhere, plus lackluster CVs made this game really boring.

I wouldn’t say it’s bad, per se, but anything that’s not original nowadays is a good reason for me to drop the game so that’s what I did with this one. Heroine routes are highly generic, beginning is interesting enough but loses its focus and transitions from the theme of flying to a very generic galge, and it really REALLY doesn’t help that the entirity of this game just screams a ripoff from the more successful title.

So overall, an “okay” charage to play, but with the plethora of games I have available in terms of both PC games, MMOs, mobage, and other galge, it was more or less a waste of time.

Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 4/10

Lost Echoes [Finished]

Generally speaking, I actually liked the humor and the heroine design in this game. Heroines were likeable and were the center of attention, giving this title that “charage” atmosphere, yet the story had a lot of elements and effort placed into it which gave the game this “ambiguous” atmosphere where the writer was trying to accomplish both things at once (sell its characters AND have a serious story). Ambitious, but unfortunately I think it failed this time.

It’s just that while the effort is commendable the execution was poor and the entire game just screams time paradox unanswered and rushed conclusions at the end. “Own World Logic” is highly prevalent here as well degrading the quality of the story, plus one of my peeves of having relevant subcharacters completely missing a sprite or even lines didn’t help with immersion at least.

Riku himself is the protagonist, but unfortunately doesn’t actually DO anything to earn his position. Heroines plus their counterparts were all attracted to him for apparently no reason making his design suffer greatly, and I consider him one of the prime examples of a “failed execution” because this game could have been really good should Riku have been designed differently and something about him actually makes him a protagonist and not his relationship with the heroines

There are a lot of elements within this game which also ultimately do not get utilized making this game seem highly incomplete (e.g. Riku’s photography to name one in-your-face example)

Despite all these cons, I wasn’t disgusted enough to drop the game probably due to the good design of the heroines. Some are generic but a heroine named Takeo was rather refreshing and original.

In conclusion, Lost Echoes is that game that tries to deliver a serious story, but failed to do that properly because a great majority of the beginning was utilized to sell the characters instead (humor/interactions). I think this game could have been better as a simple charage with boring and generic scenario (though this is less desirable in my perspective), or the writer should have spent a most of the introduction with story elements and less humor/characters

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 6/10

Mayoeru Futari to Sekai no Subete [Finished]

A game that gave me really good vibes, I selected this game a long time ago because of the artwork and kept it on my backlog for the longest time. Ironically enough now that I’ve actually finished the game, the artwork is really average at best and I have no freaking idea why I even decided to keep this title on my backlog several years back.

Regardless, the game starts out by introducing the characters and this “mysterious invisible girl” who Kazuma conveniently is the only one able to see, and while there is a lot of chuunibyou in this title it’s “just enough” meaning they use it sparingly (such as to name the various powers each character has), and relatively better character interactions… at least in the beginning.

The problem is pretty much everything afterwards. While the intro was very intriguing and kept me wanting to play more, as soon as stuff actually started rolling the writer started to bring in completely unrelated fantasy elements into the fray and retarded logic involving enemies suddenly being convinced to become the good guys and holy shit this kind of “There isn’t really a bad guy” scenario pisses the living HELL out of me.

Each heroine route actually progresses and ends on the same note while giving very small hints to the “truth” at the end which was good but then the actual true route is so absolutely retarded and failed to answer many of the questions that may arise in the beginning scenes I was pretty upset at how the game ended. To an extent, you should expect to remove your brain halfway through the game and set it aside because thinking will ruin this game for you.

Then I really hated how the game “reused” various subcharacters into different roles across routes and that’s completely and totally not laziness (/sarcasm).

It really sucks because you have this mystical “central heroine” and could have focused on how she might adjust to the current world lifestyle which would then create more interaction between characters and potentially good humor (the humor in this game was extremely artificial and bland) but nope. She’s someone dangerous to this world and that’s how we’re going to MAKE a dilemma instead of having the story gradually open up to displaying one.

In conclusion, this game was one of those games where the beginning starts out strong and interesting, but also suffers from the writer’s incompetence in understanding how to progress the story and eventually resulted in this pile of mess of “Own World Logic”, convenience, and contradictions. I can see why players may have wanted the fandisc for this game, but I sure as hell don’t plan on getting to it.

Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 4/10

Nekonin Ex-Heart 2 [Finished]

Pretty much the sequel to the bullshit tactic by JP companies to bring VNs to the West. The scenario is very much the same except we introduce two more characters who become rivals, but of course the protagonist is a spineless wimp who can’t even properly tell his subordinates that he does not want fighting.

Despite being absolutely fucking hilarious (in a cute way) this is the only thing this game has to offer in the first place. Yes, expect 0 story in this game. You play this because you either love cat girls or have this weird mission like me to play every game certain companies produce; that’s it.

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Overall Rating: 4/10

Sorairo Sorauta Sora no Oto [Finished]

So as the second title of the Nines series, let me start off by saying PRIASE IZUMI TSUBASU BECAUSE GODDAMN HER ARTWORK IS BEYOND GODLY.

With my bias aside though, my annoyance of how this series decided to divide things up into four games is still there. This is especially made worse because the release dates for the two separate games were 1 freaking year apart, though there’s really no sparkles and fireworks about this 2nd game that would’ve required that amount of time.

If you read my review for the first title, most of my complaints and praises really remains the same; it’s just that due to each game feeling more like a kinetic novel than an actual game that prevents me from complaining too much.

On another note however, it does seem that this 2nd title brings in lots of new ideas and tries to make some foreshadows on a lot of things, including the blatant fact that despite these games being released in a specific order they’re actually parallel worlds, BUT somehow interconnected to each other.

My reading on Youichi being the Evil Eye user was dead-on accurate from the first title, and quite unfortunately while the concept of the lore of Magatsu is definitely in this series there are substantial differences to the point you can’t really say the game was inspired by it.

At this point the concept is pretty obvious; the game tries to suggest that each of these four separate games are parallel worlds, but then goes to suggest that these games are somehow interconnected to each other, making a great suggestion that the timeline for this series might go something like this:

Miyako’s Timeline: Miyako’s Route -> ??? -> ??? -> ???
Sora’s Timeline: ??? -> Sora’s Route -> ??? -> ???
Haruka’s Timeline: ??? -> ??? -> Haruka’s Route -> ???
Yuki’s Timeline: ??? -> ??? -> ??? -> Yuki’s Route

Where said question marks involves the same scenario as the one you’ve seen with respective heroines except slightly different (e.g. Kakeru doesn’t actually hook up with said heroine)

This relates to Sophie’s foreshadows on Kakeru’s original Artifact ability and may suggest that Kakeru’s ability is that of Time-Control or the Controlling of Fate (in terms of his actions/choices)

Anywho, it’s gonna be a while until Haruka’s story is revealed and honestly I’m on the fence with this one; it’s not terrible but it’s not a title that makes me want to take my clothes off and run outside screaming this is a game that you need to play. I would at least say that it’s at a higher level than the crap I’ve been playing recently so I guess there’s that

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Protagonist Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Koiharu Adolescence [Dropped]

I’m 100% positive I picked this game for the Top-tier CVs and expected nothing else, and that’s exactly what I got. Absolutely rock bottom in terms of story, all this game had to offer was its characters with a small twist on them, except it was filled with eroge tropes one scene after another that I couldn’t bring myself to genuinely enjoy this game.

Starting off with a very incompetent protagonist who is strangely adored by all the girls in the game and absolutely no form of conflict in the heroine routes, even the common routes offered little and I genuinely think this is one of the only games that might receive a “0” for multiple score categories; it’s just that bad.

Of course I went into the game with the expections of a “below-average” game but didn’t expect the entire game to screw over like this. I would honestly say this game is a waste of your time except if you’re here to see some good CVs, but if that’s the case you might as well find some other decent games they’ve voiced anyways.

There’s probably a goddamn good reason why the producers haven’t made another game in nearly 4 years.

Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 0/10
Protagonist Rating: 0/10
Overall Rating: 1/10

Shoujo to Toshi no sa, Futamawari [Dropped]

So as a game with a setting very similar to porori’s Loliita series, I actually did have some higher expectations with this game. However, as with Akabeisoft going rather half-assed with its titles nowadays, I was admittedly greatly disappointed.

To be fair to the game, though, it wasn’t necessary bad. Flow is good, characters are well defined, and at least I don’t want to close the game down and look away from my screen like other games.

The problem is the characters. In the Loliita series, the whole adult male and young girl matching works because the girl is much more mature for her age and can actually comfort the protagonist with his psychological and social struggles as if she was older. While that “maturity” is also present in Mizuka (the heroine for this game), this is only presented through basic knowledge such as housework. Her design overall is shown to be a very normal girl and radiates tsundere vibes, which is the direct opposite of the “mature” required for the older male to find comfort in. Instead, most of the implication in this game is that the two are both very lonely, which suggests that they would’ve been a good match with practically anyone else.

Similarly, it is highly unnatural that a high-school girl like Mizuka who isn’t really suppressed from anything finds something attractive from the protagonist, that she DOESN’T find attractive in other peers around her (e.g. Classmates). It’s heavily implied that Mizuka appreciates the company of Masami (thus lonely), but then the question becomes why couldn’t she receive this from anyone else?

As such, unlike the series I received standards for this kind of setting/scenario, the heroine and the protagonist didn’t “match” properly, or at least wasn’t as great of a fit as I’ve wanted, effectively ruining the entire premises of the game.

It’s really unfortunate, however, since there was almost nothing else wrong with this title.

Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 6/10

Natsuiro Ramune [Dropped]

Well uhh, I should’ve understood that sharing a similar title name with a relatively better title “Natsuiro Recipe” shouldn’t have increased my hopes with this game.

Here we have tropes after tropes after tropes. The lack of originality in this game was quite painful and while I can give it to the company for adding that last bit of “group of friends” into this bishoujo harem bullcrap, that acted as another trope of said “male friends” being artificially degraded and heavily compared with the protagonist.

So many things wrong with this game that I can’t really think of where to start. You have this group of friends that Yuu remembers so clearly yet haven’t contacted in ages since he moved away (which makes perfect sense), and the fact that the relationship of said characters haven’t changed much (like at least include SOME impactful factor such as two of them fighting for some reason, or dating one of the male friends but didn’t work out, etc.). The entirety of the game screams laziness, generic design, and boring storyline.

It doesn’t even work as a charage because of these tropes being so archetypical as well, and much of the scenario revolves around bullying said male friends, and it CERTAINLY doesn’t help that all of the girls are attracted to the protagonist right off the bat because that’s how romance works nowadays apparently.

Really disappointing game overall, which should have included some form of nostalgic monologues if it wanted to even hit the spot. Maybe change something or experiment with different scenarios though let’s be honest; with the previous Carol Works following the same goddamned template I’m not looking forward to playing their future games.

To put the nail in the coffin, I just find it so hilarious how games like this are the ones that have several protections against pirating and intro screens warning about it because bitch if your game was actually good these people would actually buy your games. If you think your game is gonna be pirated maybe put in a bit more effort into encouraging people to buy it for fuck’s sake.

Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 3/10

Riddle Joker [Finished]

Quite strangely… it wasn’t that bad. While the game screamed of fantasy elements and character designs gathered from previous Yuzusoft games, none of the character routes made me want to close the game and look outside my window.

The typical Yuzusoft style of writing is still present, with the fantasy elements in the common route with a rather choppy romance in the heroine routes, the game introduces new conflicts within each routes instead of dragging out that romance so that was nice, and some of the design including how the protagonist and the heroine antagonized each other at certain points was definitely a plus from me (though I wish these portions were elongated a bit more)

Character-wise the game does do better, with some character traits carrying over to other heroine routes (e.g. Nanami’s bracon), so that was also a splendid design

Just sucks how this game still includes Kiritani Hana and Haruka Sora as the CVs (as did a lot of games previously featured) so it’s pretty disappointing that other CVs like Tono Soyogi aren’t voicing a lot of Yuzusoft games. (Though Kaibara Elena was in this game several times. Awww yisss)

Not a bad game, but also not a game I’d be thrilled to recommend to others. The lack of adventuring can be seen with various tropes, and how Yuzusoft always includes some form of fantasy element to crap on so they can formulate SOME form of story is still there and something I’ve never appreciated.

I would definitely rate this game higher than most other Yuzusoft games, including Sanoba Witch or Dracu-riot (two of games which this one’s compared frequently with) however, so I’ll leave it to the reader’s discretion whether to try this game or not.

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Aaaand that’s it for now. I’ll probably look forward to titles like Summer Pockets for June because Izumi Tsubasu. See you guys in another couple months or so!

Foreword: I really enjoy a good mystery/thriller/whatever kind of story that’s not spelled out in your face. It kinda gets me thinking about might happen, encourages me to keep engaged, and quite frankly this type of game is one of the main ones that can even HAVE a story in the first place.

Despite this game being relatively good in some portions (primarily the humor), it does suffer in some other areas as well, mostly the fact that it failed to deliver its most important elements (primarily said “mystery”) properly. Let’s get into the review.

As a story that really requires a lot of analysis, I’ll unfortunately be forced to spoil a large majority of this game! Please read at your own risk!

Title: ヤミと祝祭のサンクチュアリ (Yami to Hikari no Sanctuary)
Producers: Azarashi Soft Zero
Release Date: October 27, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v21073
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=953482
Game Type: Mystery action visual novel

Summary: Souji and Alice are moving to Nijima, a newly discovered island where only the ones invited can live in, and has very strange rules as soon as they arrive. Their original intentions are clear, however, that Alice came to this island looking for her lost sister that her family won’t even talk about.

While there is mystery surrounding every portion of this island, there is only one possible truth. Souji and the people around him are living their everyday lives unknown to the greater secrets that this island has in store.

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Foreword: I remember Samoyed Smile for their charage “Samidare Growing Up”, which was more advertised as a nukige but I really enjoyed some of the silliness and “group of friends” atmosphere that the game presented. Naturally a second game from this company would receive my appraisal, so here we have this title.

Quite an impactful game, I honestly thought this would be one of your average charage until I noticed an unusually high quality introduction which made me look up who the writers were. Sure enough I see “porori” as one of the scenario writers, (Hint: porori wrote the loliita series that I gave the utmost praise for character interaction) and this alone really explained the amazing character interactions and foreshadowing.

After this, it was all uphill; I was extremely engaged with this game that despite the game having several bugs (including how some Configurations wouldn’t save or the title screen glitched), I wasn’t annoyed and literally finished this game much quicker than I expected. I honestly hope with this review I can emphasize the pros and discuss the cons of this game, so let’s get started!

Title: 夜巡る、ボクらの迷子教室 (Yorumeguru, bokura no maigo kyoushitsu)
Producers: Samoyed Smile
Release Date: November 24, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v21405
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=964241
Game Type: Slice-of-life, realistic, drama game with recurring themes of psychological problems

Summary: Haruki sees himself as a failure as a teacher. While he would argue that the corruption within the classroom or the unfairness of society wasn’t necessarily his fault, he has learned to become apathetic towards his students and everyone around him as he was ridiculed, insulted, and oppressed his entire career. His mother who he admired was long gone and he hates his father who wasn’t there for either of them, he lives by himself with nothing to look forward in life.

One day he receives an offer. His father who is now bedridden with an illness agrees to give Haruki his entire inheritance of 400 million en (about $4 million) if he can teach the students who have not yet graduated at the school his father was the headmaster at. This school was to be closed with his death, and these last students who weren’t able to graduate or transfer to other schools become part of Haruki’s life as his desire for money got the better of him. He still hates being a teacher, but holds onto his mother’s words of encouragement as he struggles with his trauma.

But it’s not an easy task. These students weren’t able to graduate for a reason, and Haruki really needs to step out of his comfort zone to guide these students to success.

and flirt with young girls because this is an eroge

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So taking into full consideration of kzel’s advice; a reader who’s been giving me some really solid encouragements, discussions, and advice recently, I decided perhaps the best way to go about this website and my career in VN/eroge reviewing was really to write up a couple paragraphs regarding my opinions trying to explain the goods and bads of a game in the most straightforward way possible.

Of course, this definitely does mean no more bells-and-whistles full reviews for single games that do not deserve it… which just means that I’m getting lazy and while I will write up full reviews for games I feel like I want to talk about more, the other ones are going to just receive a couple words from me and that’s it. I’m not sure if I can even call them reviews, but considering how most of the veterans are doing the same, I felt like I should follow suit and not torture myself any longer.

I might do something like this with most of the future games I play every 2-3 months or so, with full reviews in between. Of course if you have any better ideas I do ask for your feedback!

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Titles discussed in this post!

  • [SMEE] Making Lovers
  • [Windmill Oasis] Hyper->Highspeed->Genius
  • [Marmalade] Koiiro Marriage
  • [Canvas Garden] Kimi ni Kanmi wo soete
  • [3rdEye] Shinigami no Testament
  • [Yoru no Hitsuji] Harem Futago Loliita

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey guys, joyjason here with some good and bad news.

Good news is that I’m still playing VNs even with my super busy schedule + work + MMO hobbies. I’m also preparing for finishing grad school too, so there’s that going for me.

The bad news is that I’ve really been slowing down writing reviews. As I tend to focus more on the critical portions of games (though I try to exaggerate the goods as much as I can), most of my reviews really tend to become very monotone and one-pattern regarding the same elements. Then there’s how many VNs released are essentially same concept, different company, so that’s not helping the variety of reviews I can write either. Heck, I have 4 reviews at the moment which I’ve written but never bothered to publish because they were literally the same comments over and over again.

How I feel about this entire situation

This is why I want to officially state an indefinite “Intermission” for this blog.

So What does this mean?

It just means I’m pretty swamped and I really need some time off where I don’t have to think about review writing and can enjoy some good titles I’ve played before. I also have my MMOs that I want to play and real-life things too.

What’ll happen to this blog?

Nothing! It’ll remain blank for a couple more months. I don’t plan on taking it down or anything, and I guess that’s one of the good things of having a free website from WordPress (lol I’m cheap. Don’t judge)

Will you return?

Almost certainly. Unless I somehow die from an accident or something (and may God forbid), I do plan on continuing reading VNs and even writing reviews. I’ll actually have it written as I do with the few reviews I have right now, but I won’t publish them until I actually do decide to return.

How can I contact you?

I’m still available through email (itsjoyjason@gmail.com) or if you want a more quick response, Discord is really the best way. I’m actually a moderator for a couple mobile game communities, so you’ll have an easier time getting in touch with me that way (ID: Seraphrose#7536). It also provides an easier medium to talk about VNs, so that’s really the best way if you have specific questions. 

Can I still make requests/recommendations?

By all means please do! As stated, I’ll still be playing VNs so if you have a recommendation or a request I’d be happy to have another reason to play that game! One thing I will NOT do, however, is write reviews for crowdfunded, non-Japanese games. I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from indie groups who make their own VNs and want for me to cover it, but my website is mostly dedicated for commercial Japanese galge. Many apologies in advance!

Any other questions? Please ask, but for now. I’ll see you all later!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!