Foreword: Well, this was one short game! I don’t know if it was just me or if the game was stunningly good, but I felt this game was waaaay too short. It’s actually probably the former because I didn’t really think this game was that good as people stated on various websites…
All in all, Leyline was definitely superior when it comes to the story department, but when it comes to character design, it seems to fall quite a bit. This still doesn’t mean that the story was perfect either, so overall, the game was greatly a disappointment.
Despite this, don’t let it scare you away! Similar to eden*, the game may be short, but it’s filled with heartwarming and colorful characters. The protagonist is definitely one of them, and I thoroughly enjoyed his design. While I must agree with some reviews that the game ended too early without explaining many things, I hope to see the sequel reveal and answer all those questions.
For now though, let’s get to the review of Leyline!
So after playing the first game and in the process of writing up this review, I went ahead and finished the second game, in a mere 18 hours (which includes me sleeping and eating!). I will be writing up some parts in relation to the second game for this reason, and contrary to the first game, the second game was MUCH better. Please refer to the long-ass review below!
(For the reference, I’ll try to separate the information and ratings with a line. I’ve also marked both games in either RED for the first title, and BLUE for the second. I hope it won’t be too confusing >.<)
Despite how the second game was obviously better than the first, I’m going to focus on the first. This is because of my great desire for players to try out the second title regardless of their experience with this game.
Title: 時計仕掛けのレイライン －黄昏時の境界線－ (Tokeijikake no Leyline -tasogaredoki no kyoukaisen-) [Lit. Trans: Leyline of Clockwork – the Borderline of the Time of Sunset –
Producers: Unisonshift Blossom
Release Date: July 27, 2012 | January 25, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v10016 | http://vndb.org/v11093
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=762104 | http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=753497
Game Type: Fantasy Novel with themes of Magic, Artifacts, and Alternate Worlds
Summary: Michiru receives an invitation one day. Inside the package are admission forms as well as a note: What is your wish…? He wishes for something so simple, but so strong that suddenly, blue birds soar from the package he is holding and into the sky.
The Blue Birds, which is a symbol for something…
A few months later, he arrives at the school. Arriving slightly earlier than expected, Michiru decides to look around, until he sees a boy who falls off an elevated platform! Rushing to his help, the two are ultimately safe, but at a sacrifice of a seemingly-valuable statue.
Michiru and this boy he saves, affectionately called Omaru (if you know what this means, kudos), is soon “half-blackmailed” into joining the Special Research Team, and given a map to its room.
As the night falls, and the Disciplinary Committee starts to force the students to return, but strangely do not interfere with Michiru and Omaru, mentioning that they are “them”. Michiru and Omaru will soon find out that there’s a reason why they were chosen for this task, and perhaps find out more truths about themselves that they had no idea about.
If only that was a bishoujo, right Michiru?
Story Length: Slightly Short (~13 hours) | Slightly Short (~13 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately Easy | Moderate
Comments: Despite all the choices you encounter, the game itself is surprisingly easy. Most of the choices involve questions that ask the reader if he’s been paying attention to the story, and challenges him to think about what could have happened. This was a big plus.
Similar in the sequel as well, but it requires you to know the knowledge from the first game as well, and was a bit more ambiguous with its questions, so it was much harder the first time around.
Character Design Rating: 4/10 | 8/10
Story Rating: 8/10 | 9.5/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10 | 5/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 5/10 | 9/10
Rating Comments: So that was really confusing, but if you take a look closely, both games receive superior scores, while the second is a game I would have to say was “an almost perfect story”. The character design, on the other hand, varies in quality for both games despite the fact that it involves the same story. In the second game, they do a much better job of displaying the roles of the characters, their back story, importance, and least but not least, seem less annoying.
Character Summary: So there’s really not much to talk about each heroine, but here goes nothing! (I got lazy, so I’ll probably just touch on the second story briefly)
Ushio is the head of the Special Research Team and the one to save Omaru and Michiru when they are ambushed by a mirror that displays the greatest fears. She performs this by applying her own blood to a talisman, which she uses to temporarily “seal” the rampaging artifact.
Mysteries shroud this character about her backgrounds or personality, but it’s pretty obvious with her interactions with Michiru that the two DO NOT get along. Despite this, many scenes involve the two caring for each other. In that sense, both Ushio and Michiru are “tsundere” characters.
With the CV as Yoshida Mayumi, I surprisingly didn’t find this character too extravagant. While her story is obviously the “true route”, it seemed less climactic than other stories, and even her route ends with her not really opening up to Michiru.
Hopefully, this gets resolved in the sequel…
YES IT DOES! the True route available in the second game explains most (if not all) of the cliffhangers that the reader was exposed to regarding this character.
Neko is next. As strange as it is, her name is the same word for “cat” in Japanese, except spelled differently (spelled with the word “sleeping” (ne) and “child” (ko). Most of her route involves the time when she finds an important artifact called Yanus’ Key, and because she ran out of magic power when using it, was trapped in a strange location and considered “missing”.
Through a series of events, Michiru also becomes stuck in the same area that Neko is, and they work together to find out an exit in this strange location.
Neko’s route is mostly a “side-story” in the sense she doesn’t seem to have too great of an effect in the main story, and is just a heroine added for the lawls. While this doesn’t really work out well for her own rating, there’s SOMETHING in her route that I greatly appreciated. I challenge the readers to see if they can figure it out.
Right, let’s get on to Tsubaki, who is a very diligent disciplinary committee member who is the partner of Murakumo Shizuka. Tsubaki is on very good terms with the Special Research Team, and also becomes closer to the group along with her story which involves an artifact that she accidentally activates.
Surprisingly, Tsubaki is extremely intelligent and sharp to the point that she can tell if humans are lying. She does this by observing if the person’s aura has become distorted, and even in some scenes, she becomes exactly as such: a lie detector.
Despite all these qualities, Tsubaki has a very secretive hobby with cute things. Her favorite “thing” are cats, and as with every secretive hobby, it is kept secret due to her already stern and diligent impression left on other students.
Tsubaki’s route involves a living doll named Sumi-chan. Already adorable as it is, it’s unknown what this doll’s purpose is… until the true end.
Now we get to the sequel’s seemingly featured heroin– HOLY SHIT, DOS TEETAHS.
*cough*. Her name is Adelheid, and despite her appearances, is the head of the perfume industry back in Czech (as revealed through Louis’s speech). Because of this, most of her “attacks” involve the usage of magical scents, and sometimes this becomes really “convenient”.
Regardless, she is almost always accompanied by her butler, but here’s the twist: the butler is a SEVERE sadist, to the fact he can make the haughty and “bird-brain” ojousama shut up with a mere sentence. As if to add salt to the wound, he can freely change back and forth between a formal speech/personality to a sadistic one. I actually love seeing characters like this: it’s just so funny how they bully some of the characters.
Adelheid herself is simply an addition to the crew, as she originally sees the Special Research Team as enemies. However, after a few series of events which reveal the real enemy, the two groups team up to form the ultimate combination… or do they?
… I can swear I saw a character like this somewhere
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: An extremely good game, except I can’t label this as a “kamige” due to the fact that you can’t come back to it. Simply put, it’s a suspense/mystery novel that gives you that adrenaline, the bone-chills, and the “ah-has”, but it won’t be a game that you’d play it twice within a short period: you already know what’s going to happen.
Oh, and I do believe I forgot to mention it, but the reason why the “Protagonist Rating” drops from the first to the second game is because Michiru himself seems to become more shallow in the second game: he is “overridden” by Shizuka, Omaru, and even the mysterious butler Louis; they seem more active and protagonist-like than Michiru.
…?!? Mysterious bishoujo detected!
On the other hand, I really appreciate games like this: fantasy and magic themed, but they don’t really stray out of that theme even when you get into a heroine route, and they take the “fantasy” element to the next level in the sense that they’re able to add “mystery”, as well as an element that not many games have nowadays: “common sense”.
Many scenes involve the reader having to pay attention to the text to catch even glimpses of connotations that change the meaning of the story, and even the smallest lines will eventually point to the ultimate truth in the end.
EVEN AFTER THAT, the game manages to leave another cliffhanger at the end of the second title.
WOW! I didn’t expect that. It really goes to show that when it comes to Unisonshift games, it’s safe to assume that they’re
relatively (scratch that. MUCH more) superior if they have the “Blossom” attached to the end.
Now I’m quite looking forward to how they’re going to end the series.
It’s quite obvious how this will end though…
Lastly, the entire game was very hard to predict. Because they throw around so many elements, it was definitely harder to connect them, and I myself was pretty much bitchslaped multiple times then fell into self-hatred for not being able to recognize the foreshadows earlier.
Affection for the Characters: Very High
CG Score: 8/10. I don’t know. I really like the artist who works for Unisonshift Blossom. Even the SDCGs are adorable!
Music Score: 8/10. Sorry guys, my bias for dark or string music has taken its toll and this game gets a good score in terms of music.
Addictiveness: Very Low
Conclusion: An excellent series from Unisonshift Blossom! Honestly, the only game I ever played from them is the Flyable Heart series (including Kiminago), and this is a very nice addition to that list! I’m currently considering going back to games like Nanairo and Alice Parade.
The first game isn’t that great, and seems to only be used as an “introductory” game where it introduces the main characters and gives small bursts of events to keep the reader interested. Then in half a year, they produce a game that is extremely good compared to the first one, which leaves them in good shape to conclude the series with a third game.
And really, you should enter this game with those expectations.
Oh, and based on how “smart” you were throughout the game, they give you a rank between E and SSS. It’s not that hard to achieve SSS in the first game though… (got it on my 1st try… it’s harder to achieve E, actually)