Foreword: What the hell, August Releases?! is this month some kind of an event to give Jason a chain of awesome games?! I’m completely fine with that! Bring on the great games! Oh, and this one was definitely one of them!
As proof, look who’s frantically writing up a review when he has something important to do tomorrow!
Pharmaceutics exam? Is that delicious?
Truth be told, I would’ve loved to call this a kamige, because it really has those desirable elements. However, I actually found a critical factor that prevents it from being called “Godly”, and I’ll definitely get into more of that as I go on.
Maybe I have a bias for any form of a time-warping themed game, but that’s because there’s a very difficult factor to overcome called a “time paradox”. I hope I can present how the game handled this element with the review!
WARNING: This review may contain UNINTENTIONAL spoilers! Please read at your own risk!
Title: できない私が、くり返す (Dekinai watashiga, kurikaesu) [Lit. Trans: The powerless me, will repeat]
Producers: Akabeisoft 3
Release Date: August 29, 2014
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v15166
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=810786
Game Type: Fantasy Novel with themes of Time Warp and Philosophy
Summary: “Just like how you can’t change my heart, you won’t be able to change the future”
That phrase is what Ren said to Riku, as she handed him a clock that can turn back time. That was five years ago, and Riku is now a full-fledged adult who is traveling all over Japan to “help” the people in need with this strange artifact. Despite Ren’s words that he cannot “change what has already happened”, Riku was determined to prove her wrong, and used the power of the clock for years… with no success.
As he arrived in another town looking for a place to stay while he works to “help others”, an apple rolls down from the hill. He is only able to catch one as many others passes him by, and even if he uses the clock to wind back time to see if he can catch any more than one, the apples defy physics and he ends up only being able to catch just one apple.
The owner of the apples, Shino, then comes to thank him for his help. To Riku’s surprise, the girl is stunningly similar to the person who once Riku loved, and hiding his surprise, he somehow receives the girl’s help to get used to the new town.
Riku will never be able to guess that this encounter will change his viewpoint of everything
And thus starts the story of Riku in this small town with a strange girl named Shino.
Shino is extremely skilled at peeling apples!
(Which reminds me… If anyone else realized what the symbolism for the apples were, please tell me)
Story Length: Moderately Long (~20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Very clear cut choices, although some may not be so obvious if you’re not an avid eroge player. It’s relatively obvious, however, that Shino’s route won’t open unless you clear the other three heroine’s routes first.
As scary as it was, Shino’s route is actually a “bad end”, and the reader is hit with this fact so suddenly that the CG associated with her despair has so much impact, it’s really something you can’t “unsee”.
However, only after her route is when you can access a route called “Re:Call” which is the True Route of the entire game. Only after that you receive a relatively humorous episode called “The Piece of Memory ” which makes some heavy implications about the “Clock”.
There are afterstories for each of the three non-central heroines, as well as an afterstory for Miu and another Miu+Yume, as well as the subcharacter involved in Miki’s route. However, all of these afterstories are just H-scenes.
Plenty of yuri to go around too! (huehuehuehue)
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 9/10
Rating Comments: A very high rating much to my content, it’s rare for me to come across two great games in a row unexpectantly, and this is already in addition to the fact that I had high standards for Akabeisoft 3 as well.
Character Summary: Let’s go in the order I went through as well! Here goes!
Yume is first, and originally, her encounter with Riku is actually them crashing into each other in front of his apartment, since neither of them were paying attention to where they were going. Yume is a relatively strange character who is pretty much an otaku, and is very knowledgeable about the Japanese subculture.
Originally, Yume and Riku’s relationship begins with Yume’s suggestion of a manga author after [That Event] occurred. The author is Yume’s favorite, and Riku, taking her advice, comes to enjoy manga as well. This makes the two spend time together, and introduces a character named “Miu”.
Yume’s route was actually pretty nice, since you can quickly see that Miu is a yandere character who points her hate towards Riku. Her reason? She’s absolutely infatuated to Yume, and finds guys around her as annoying.
Despite being considered a subcharacter, Miu has a lot of impact in Yume’s route and will go through the most extremes to “make Yume mine”.
Next is Airi, a relatively quiet character with a great sense of humor, especially in the sexual department. Most of her jokes involve Riku impregnating or cheating on her, and even though she says this with a flat tone of voice, some of the tsukomi that other characters perform were pretty funny.
Airi is quickly shown to be a skilled badminton player. This skill is shown when Airi completely dominates a tournament, as well as with Shino’s words that Airi was the National Champion at one point.
However, the reader is given a large hint of Airi during the common route: it is seen with her having some trouble with her right wrist…
And that’s exactly what happens in Airi’s route: her wrist becomes unusable for actual competition.
Being the nosy person Riku is, he agrees to help the girl find a new “hobby” or “goal in life”, and they start brainstorming.
The trouble blows with another subcharacter, who seems to have a deep relationship with Airi, and the characters will be challenged to some grueling conditions they didn’t even dream of.
The third heroine is Miki, and despite her being small, she’s still a 3rd year in high school: older than Airi.
Riku’s first encounter with Miki also presents her older brother, Atsuhi, who has a severe sister complex–he claims that whoever Miki brings home and introduce as her boyfriend will be sliced up into thin pieces, stewed and put into curry, to be served to the next guy that Miki brings.
This joke is repeated when Riku “bullies” or make sexual comments towards Miki, when Atsuhi would pull out a fork and threaten Riku. Atsuhi’s sis-con characteristic is used even during times when Miki and Riku would go out to shopping.
So you only need a spoon to eat curry and Miso soup… Where did that fork come from?
Miki’s route mostly involves the sibling’s past and her desire for her older brother to find happiness of her own. She strongly believes that her brother did enough, and it was time to make time for himself.
And what do you know? A subcharacter who seems to have a special relationship to Atsuhi! However, Riku and Miki will both find out that this will not be an easy task: they will have to work together and devise a plan that will overturn the future and achieve their goal.
Last is Shino! The adorable character who is definitely the story’s central focus, it’s also definitely true that there are the most mysteries surrounding her. “Is it just coincidence that she was so similar to the person Riku loved?” “What are the symbolism of the apples?” … and those are some of the biggest ones.
However, [That Event] involving this character happens in every route. It is only in her own route where Riku turns back time and asks what her “hope” (more specifically, her regrets in life) and asks her to list some things she wants to do with the short time she has left. Shino lists out 6 things for the protagonist, one of which is to “Experience Romance”. Immediately offering himself, Riku not only offers to be her boyfriend, but also help her accomplish the other 5 things in the list.
But Shino says there’s a 7th thing she wants to do… and she’ll only teach Riku once they’re done with the six things she already listed. She comments that this 7th “desire” is going to be extremely difficult, and as Riku will soon see… It is.
The person who started it: Ren!
She’s also a pretty nice comical character. (Not a heroine though)
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So Akabeisoft! The company who’s very famous for being heavily story oriented in terms of great flow and efforts in the smallest details. Well, it was rather different this time. I’ll just list the goods and bads.
So with one scenario writer, this writer did a splendid job on the overall story. The “small details” are greatly emphasized and covered, so you shouldn’t be seeing any form of story contradictions in the game. In addition to this, the romance didn’t absolutely turn out like shit as it did for other Akabeisoft games. With very little of the pointless ichaicha predominant in charage, most of those scenes are replaced by a sweet-and-sour scenes where both the heroine and the protagonist will create this “lovey-dovey” atmosphere which displays their affection for each other, without perhaps the annoying cliche phrases used between lovers. Even if THIS kind of “romance” bothers anyone, let me just comment how it’s definitely better than seeing H-scenes literally 5 minutes into a heroine route.
Although, I would’ve liked it if the number of H-scenes were reduced, since some of them were literally put back-to-back.
(I’ll admit that I actually read through some of them)
The bads though. The flow sucked. Honestly, the game just hopped back and forth between time as it wanted, and while I understand that it had the need to do this sometime, the skipping of weeks or months with just a phrase wasn’t exactly the best transition.
In addition, I really hate how the True Route is anticlimactic. It’s just [That Event] happening again and that’s it. I really hoped I can see some additional drama in there. I can’t say the ending was rushed, but it just seemed heavily incomplete, as if the writer simply got lazy and couldn’t think of anything else that wouldn’t contradict with the main theme.
(P.S. If you’re wondering at what “[That Event]” refers to, I’m afraid you’ll have to find out yourself!)
Another thing is actually my own personal preference, but I wanted to see some protagonist-in-action. Riku is extremely intelligent to be able to answer Miki’s “quiz” questions flawlessly, and this would have been a great foreshadow for him “going back in time” hundreds, thousands, or even millions of times. In reality, he does go back a large number of times to help out the troubled individuals, but in actual relation to the True Route, where it should be most climactic, it was only twice. Am I the only one who thought it was pretty weird how it was twice, and the game’s subtitles were “I will start over again and again for you”
Seriously, I would’ve screamed like a fangirl if the game added that “shock” factor that the protagonist went through hell and back multiple times. (Although they actually do this in a certain UNLOCKABLE SCENE *hint hint*, but in a humorous way)
So yeah, the game was great, but it can improve. It’s kamige-material, but not quite reaching that much.
Airi seems like an emotionless character, but oh man, she has one hell of a badass expression here, as if she’s saying “bring it on”
But I can’t forget this: Akabeisoft ALWAYS seem to try to put some form of moral lesson within all of their games. This is the huge plus that brought this game’s score up so much. It can be in-your-face about it (Never give up), or it can be relatively subtle (Future is only Perceptional). Regardless of how you analyze the human philosophy presented in the game, it’s sure to leave a strong impression.
Finally, one last compliment because throughout the entire game, the Clock never changes the future: The game makes sure to point this out before ending each route. It’s the characters that somehow drag the despair back to a happy end. So simply put, even as the “Clock” dictates the past and present, the Future is Dependent on the characters themselves (/spoiler)
Here’s a hint for Airi’s route: She is Right-handed.
Affection for the Characters: High
CG Score: 4/10. CGs were great, but the HUGE drop (-4 points) is resulting from too little normal CGs, AND no SDCGs. (I think in the case of Yume, the HCG count is greater than the normal ones)
Music Score: 6/10. The OP is OP. Ba-dam-tss!
Jokes aside, the opening called “Re:Call” is EXACTLY how I like it. Absolutely beautiful, and Shimotsuki(?) Haruka does a wonderful job singing it. (She sings a lot of galge openings, so it’s not a surprise if you heard her before). Too bad the other soundtracks were average at best.
Addictiveness: Moderate. Despite how it may seem one might not want to play this game again, it is something I’d come back to, just due to the lovable characters and the great mix of comedy and drama.
Conclusion: A great Akabeisoft game, as I expected. I didn’t really expect much in the romance category because they usually suck at it, but it was at least acceptable this time. On the other hand, the story seems relatively incomplete with some of the most important symbolisms unanswered, as well as having some unsatisfactory points like the protagonist only using the Clock’s Powers twice within the entire True Route.