Foreword: Another game from Saga Planets finished! This was, again, another title I’ve been eye’ing for a very long time (since it’s release!) but haven’t gotten to playing it until now.
As my second game from Saga Planets, I’m actually going to admit that this game was superior to Hatsuyuki Sakura despite being an earlier work, AND despite the fact that other players tend to rate the latter title better than this one.
So there you have it folks–this one deserves its “Best Game” tag, while the other may not.
Despite this, Kisaragi GS wasn’t a kamige. It had its parts that make it superior to its successor, but it wasn’t quite enough… Perhaps I might be able to get to it in this review.
Title: キサラギGOLD★STAR (Kisaragi)
Producers: Saga Planets
Release Date: September 29, 2010
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v4851
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=673738
Game Type: Slice of Life Romance Novel with themes of Childhood and Friendship
Summary: Futami is one of the group of friends who spend their days together. Including his little sister Ichika, Miss Popular Tsubasa, Quiet and Solemn Mikoto, Friendly Saya, and Jokester Hitomi, their days include two of them riding on a single bike to school (which isn’t allowed), and while being in different “Special Curriculum”, eating lunch together and being similar to a family.
This year’s Moon Festival will be different, however, when Futami hears the news that if they live as they are right now, the friends may have to split up. Hating this kind of event, Futami decides to help the friends around him with all his strength–so they will not be expelled.
And thus creates the story of Kisaragi Gold Star, where the protagonist works hard to fulfill everyone’s dream, but may not realize that the person who’s actually in need is…
Double-riding on a bicycle! This actually makes it harder for the pedal to be turned, so I guess that’s the reason for Futami’s agonized look?
Story Length: Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Difficult
Comments: Well, the four heroine routes aren’t that hard, but there’s also routes for 3-4? subheroines (which are short), and is needed to unlock the True Route. I personally used a walkthrough. I suggest everyone else to do the same.
Looks delicious? How about eating this 3 times every single day?
Character Design Rating: 6/10
Story Rating: 8/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Strange how a game that’s supposedly better than a 9/10 game gets a 7/10?
Yeah, I’ll try to explain myself. Regardless of how much I hate Hatsuyuki from the respective title, he has little to nothing to do with the heroine’s design or the story. Frankly, in that 9/10 rating I gave for the title “Hatsuyuki Sakura”, I simply refused to consider him a character at all, and would rather give a “Protagonist Rating” of 0/10.
On the other hand, for this game, I actually recognize the protagonist as one of the main CHARACTERS, who has his ideals, does his protagonist-ish things, and comprise the story that I half-enjoyed and half got bored with. I’ll try to get this into the detail in the comments section. I’ll also state that he has his own “route”, which I found very favorable.
Character Summary: Right. Onto the character summaries. Due to me being lazy like that, I’ll only include the four heroines.
First is Ichika! An adorable (?) younger sister who seems to always be embarrassed about Futami. This embarrassment is often followed by a strike with her sword, and despite being younger, Ichika seems to be stronger than Futami. As suggested, Ichika is very skilled in swordsmanship.
On the contrary, Ichika was very frail when she was younger. She was also reserved, unlike her current personality right now. During her sickness, Futami was the only person who would be near her, and perhaps because of this, she also displays slight “brother complex” features, which includes her acting strangely and slightly more aggressive if she hears Futami has started dating another girl.
Your typical “imouto” route, except that for Ichika, her decision to stay as a younger sister or a lover to Futami is represented with an alternate version of Ichika, whom Futami refers to as “Nichika”. Futami treasures both “Ichika” dearly, and worry greatly about them fighting over one identity.
Next I move onto Mikoto. Quite unfortunately for her, Mikoto’s route was actually rather boring since this “Yamato Nadeshiko” character is shown to be a “tsundere” instead. This inconsistency in personality was used conveniently to display two sides of this character–one that is solemn and responsible, and the other being unstable and scared.
Mikoto’s route originally involves her mother, who is about to get remarried, but does not do so because she still has Mikoto to take care of. Finding this unpleasant, Mikoto rebels against her mother, sincerely hoping her mother would obtain her own happiness. Mikoto’s emotions towards her mother is from a certain event, and the reader can see that they are actually not blood related. The events transition even after that to introduce a subheroine (who has a route of her own), who is related to Mikoto.
The main reason why Mikoto’s route was boring (at least to me) was that the conflicts in her route (regarding her family) didn’t seem to match up with her theme of “drawing” or “art”. While her theme is USED to resolve such conflicts, she was the only character who had a theme that didn’t match the conflict (In simpler terms, all the other characters COULD have had a family-based conflict (lolspoiler), but it wasn’t shown), and this inconsistency was something I didn’t like.
Next is Tsubasa, a miss popular who originally seems to be haughty, but this is still my favorite character, and it’s not because she has blue hair.
From the very beginning scenes, the reader can see that Tsubasa (or also affectionately called “You” [pronounced “Yoh-u”]) is head-over-heels in love with Futami. The irony of this is that while Tsubasa is admired by many guys in school, Futami doesn’t stand out as much. Here’s where I get to the good part: Tsubasa is so attracted to Futami, that she takes everything the wrong way and enters a “Black Mode” of jealousy when she sees him with someone else–even if it’s Hitomi.
Even in her route, and outside of it, her “black mode” activates frequently, when their time together is interrupted, or when Futami announces that he’s dating someone. The mere fact that such a popular girl is only set on one guy, and that she has such an interesting personality of mumbling curses or foul language under her breath makes me laugh every time she enters her “black mode”.
Nonetheless, Tsubasa’s theme is “piano”, and she is very skilled at it–to the point she will perform a recital during the Moon Festival at school. Her route starts off with her having a slump, which involves a problem that many people might have when they are several years into enjoying something.
Last is Saya! A strange girl who is energetic and arguably closest to Futami, she certainly doesn’t seem to be the central heroine despite being considered one. Many mysteries surround this character, because all of the friends are unsure of when they first Saya–they simply remember knowing her from a young age.
Regardless, Saya is very talented at singing. This causes her to become selected for the Utahime (歌姫 or Singing Princess) for the Moon Festival, and while refusing to accept such a role at first, Saya agrees with the influence of Futami.
The game introduces two additional characters at this point, whose name is Mika and Koutaro. These two characters seem to have some form of relationship to Saya, but their identity is hidden until the very end. Instead, Koutaro claims that he wants to become a producer for Saya, who is exceptionally talented with singing.
As the day for the Moon Festival approaches and Saya accepts the role of Utahime, she starts to act weird, as if she’s leaving for somewhere far away. This causes Futami to start to find out what’s wrong, and soon finds out the truth about Saya’s identity.
I’m gonna admit to this being my favorite CG. Although it can be better, this portrays the two “Ichika” actually fighting with each other to survive. Note that one side is glorified slightly (company bias? o3o)
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So is it just me, or the theme “group of friends” getting a bit too overused? I don’t know… after I saw LB and cried tears of joy about how awesome it was, I guess I was lured to games where “group of friend” elements are used.
Nonetheless, back onto the topic of the game. Simply put, the beginning parts start out confusing. The game introduces something about stars and wishes and dreams, and simply changes back to Futami enjoying his everyday life. Middle portion, which I’d like to call the actual game (or heroine routes) is extremely cliche. The true route, which is the best part about the game, it’s all about the protagonist and his surroundings. Ironically (especially because of my first title being Hatsuyuki Sakura), it’s the protagonist who saves the rating for this game.
Whether it’s being dragged into a fickle girl’s love problems or taking things in a positive manner no matter what they are, Futami is an interesting character. He also exhibits a large amount of “sister complex”, and this is shown in multiple scenes, including when he crossdresses for his younger sister.
Despite his seemingly passive role in assisting his friends, this gets overturned in the True Route, which reveals his own past. The main game frankly sucked, but the true route managed to “wrap things up”, and offers a higher rating than what it would’ve been without it.
This kind of scene is really a given…
It’s such a surprise how different designing Saga Planets can do with just the protagonist alone.
On the other hand, I don’t like how the several hundred scenes shown in the game of the moon, it is always shown as a Full Moon. I’m no expert, but I know the moon changes shape according to how it’s positioned among the Earth and the Sun, and there’s no way in hell all of those “scenes” take place within the same day, or exactly 28 days after that.
The strange woman who gives the group of friends the “bracelets”. Her identity is also revealed, but unfortunately do not play a big role in the overall story.
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Score: 4/10.
Music Score: 9/10. Nearly perfect music design for Saga Planets once again! Even while the story has its flaws, the music and BGM tracks are very good. The last point is taken off from its lower-quality Opening and Ending, as well as insert songs.
Conclusion: Another decent game from Saga Planets. Unlike Hatsuyuki Sakura, this game features a very able and strong protagonist who often goes to the extremes in trying to help someone out. The character design in terms of heroines could be worked on a little more, and while some subheroines get a route of their own, it frankly sucks.
Another fault is the “fighting scenes”, which (as with Hatsuyuki Sakura) sucks.