Foreword: I lied. Despite starting to write the review for Oretsuba first, I felt inclined to finish and publish this review as soon as I can, so here it is.
Yep, I’m gonna have to say that this was a miss from the start.
Pure x Connect, which is SMEE’s “3rd” game (I exclude fandisks) was pretty much hyped by me and a lot others, but it was simply not good. It has the same atmosphere as the previous SMEE games, but has a considerably weaker story as I’ll explain. Plus, the company even got lazy and copy-pasted some things too, which was a huge let-down.
I may have had higher standards for this game, I was actually quite disappointed even aside those expectations. Let’s get on with the review for Pure Connect.
Title: ピュアｘコネクト (Pure x Connect)
Release Date: May 29, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16166
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=832646
Game Type: Dating-sim romance novel
Summary: Usami Hayato is a college student who hates “kuso-onna”, or pretty much girls who take advantage of their sexuality against guys. His previous “girlfriend” was similar to this, and since he’s so tired and fed up with these kinds of girls, he goes around shouting “I hate kuso-onna!” all over the place.
The thing is, though, he still wants a girlfriend. He’s obviously lonely by himself and without any friends in college and working part-time jobs whenever he has time, there really wasn’t a chance for him to get to know anyone.
This is when his cousin named Ayumi is added to the story, as well as his new job at the Cafe Pivoine, a fancy bakery which doubles as a restaurant.
Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: As ironic as it is, none of the choices really seem to matter except for when you’re texting a girl at certain points in the story. Even after choosing your heroine, you’re asked to make several ‘replies’ as you did in Lover Able, but that only affects how early the heroine pretty much calls you, which was pointless to the story.
Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 3/10
Rating Comments: Dem ratings man… The previous Smee games were over a 6/10 and now here we have a game that’s actually BAD. The main reason for this is because there’s barely any interaction between Hayato and the heroine. Sure, there are some events within the common route that may contribute to “romance”, but that’s supposed to be the tip of the iceberg. In addition, the previous games had the two characters meeting face-to-face in terms of interactions, but this game gets rid of that and uses a fucking smartphone. WHAT?! AND YOU EXPECT EACH OTHER TO LOVEY DOVEY EACH OTHER IN SERIOUSLY LESS THAN A COUPLE OF WEEKS?!
Normally, one would be jealous of Hayato to have bishoujo on both of his arms, but that wasn’t the case for me.
Adding salt to the wound, this game wasn’t even funny: The game utilizes too many jokes relating to Hayato’s sexual activity instead of actually creating jokes relating to the heroines. The protagonist was pretty much a copy-paste from the game “Fureraba” with the exception of being a college student, and the game seems to try to merge the environment of the two previous games together instead of trying to create a new enviornment (aka, having the environment of a restuarant instead of something else, while having the “college student” status for pretty much no reason). Also, the game needs to shut up about said “protagonists” being a chicken or a coward, because they’re seriously fucking not.
On the other hand, this is a dating-sim for a reason; heroine routes were generally acceptable (which earns back that 3 points in the story rating), but really nothing too special. While I usually give greater scores for these “lovey-dovey” scenarios (which do not annoy the heck out of me unlike some other romance titles), the basis (aka, common route and transition into being lovers) was pretty much crap. Think about someone taking a sour crabapple and making sweet apple juice from it: you know there’s some weird shit going on.
It’s REALLY unnatural how your childhood friend who used to be immune to sexual jokes suddenly finds you attractive.
Alright, let’s get through this!
Sora is going to be first. As the childhood friend of Hayato, they have been together for as long as they can remember; according to their mothers, they were even born in the same hospital, went to the same school for years, and now even attend the same college. Unlike Hayato, Sora is relatively popular in college due to her looks, but always rejects everyone that confesses to her, much to the curiosity of Hayato.
At first, Sora and Hayato can’t see each other as a romantic interest; Sora would often play with Hayato’s penis in the mornings (dead serious) and Hayato wouldn’t really become flabbergasted even if Sora was marching through the house in her underwear.
As expected, the game actually has absolutely no “transition” for these two childhood friends, with Sora randomly falling in love with Hayato after a few exchanges of texts, and Hayato suddenly finding his childhood friend irresistibly cute. Their route then moves onto how no one believes that they’re actually dating and the two having to go to the extremes to prove that they indeed love each other.
Next is going to be the “Conqueror”, aka, Shiho. As the manager for the shop Pivoine, this fancy restaurant/bakery is actually a branch from a main store located elsewhere. The beginning scenes show this woman being harassed by her peers to come have some fun, but her choosing work instead.
Relatively generic, Shiho’s common route is very similar to Sora’s in the sense there is no transition for the two characters with the exception of a few texts. While there is the comical scenes introducing Shiho’s father and his plea to Hayato to “impregnate my daughter”, this is quickly disregarded as a joke.
Shiho’s route, however, does focus more on her character and past, as a girl who lost her mother and was essentially forced to take care of herself. Ironically, Shiho’s cooking skills are very poor and it’s usually Hayato who contributes to this area instead.
Next is Moemi, and as strange as this may sound, I actually enjoyed her route more than the other routes. As a co-worker at the same restaurant, Moemi often lightens up the mood for the group when things get rough (but more frequently becomes the pursuer of sexual topics, which was annoying in a way =_=;;)
Cheerful and friendly describes this character, but like any archetypes out there, she strangely doesn’t have a boyfriend nor is “popular”, as inquired by one of her younger siblings, that she takes care of.
Moemi’s confession was arguably the one of the factors that made her route “better” than the other ones, as this girl who is often cheerful timidly “offers herself” to be the girlfriend of Hayato when the topic is brought up during the Christmas party. Now the problem I have here is that at this point, Hayato does not really see Moemi as a romantic interest but accepts anyways: the story could have been elongated over here for a better effect, but this is again another one of those incidents where the characters are MADE to fall in love with each other. Forced Romance.
Even with this kind of bullshit scenario that was bone-piercing painful, Moemi’s route has the most amount of FAVORABLE “ichaicha”. It’s shown that this cheerful character does have her own fears and uncertainties that relate to her younger sisters, which also doubles up to why she hasn’t had romantic interest in a while.
If you think about it, her “confession” actually contradicts with her mindset of avoiding relationships due to her siblings. Dat inconsistency, mate.
In addition, some players may become annoyed at her lack of self-confidence in certain areas. A small amount of shyness or timidness is great, but excessive just kills it entirely.
Originally, Hayato and Arisa are “set-up” by Sora on a date, since Sora found it necessary for this girl to have the company of someone else for a change. Her reason? Androphobia. While not exactly “fear”, Arisa seems to have a hatred for males. The thing is, this trait is never really shown in game, just stated. Like the protagonist’s description of “being the King of Cowards”, just saying something doesn’t warrant it to be a heroine trait, and is actually bad planning, so minus points here.
Arisa is relatively “good-looking” according to the story, and she even admits to receiving invitations to become a model due to this. Again, DON’T JUST SAY SHIT AND BE DONE: SHOW A DAMN SCENE WITH HER BEING INVITED BY SOME RANDOM RECRUITMENT OFFICER.
Outside of these poorly designed “heroine traits” that aren’t even followed-through, Arisa’s route really involves her literally being nothing good except for her looks; she can’t cook, her academic abilities are low, and with her hatred of men (which again, isn’t followed up), her social levels are lacking as well.
While this CAN allow the reader to somewhat sympathize with the poor girl, this DOES make Arisa’s character become very shallow; as if the protagonist really only fell in love with her just because she’s cute and nothing else. In return, there’s essentially no transition from Arisa’s hatred for males to falling in love with Hayato, who is (obviously) a guy.
Last is Ayumi, who is OH-SO-GENERIC that it’s not even funny.
More of a fanservice character than an actual heroine (loli-kyonyuu design), it shows how this character is the cousin of Hayato, and moved to his house after her parents left overseas. Hayato admires Ayumi’s “growth” (especially around the breasts area) but treats her well like a normal cousin (perhaps a bit more since his own younger sister is always an annoying bitch).
Ayumi’s route is actually pretty boring. In fact, since the “cousin-incest” (is that even a thing?) does not become a taboo, there is literally NO STORY. It’s just the ichaicha repeated for a couple of hours with sex scenes in the middle and the end. I’m honestly baffled to the point I have nothing else to say. In reality, there isn’t anything I can comment on Ayumi’s route in the first place.
“Welcome Party” for Hayato and Ayumi. Notice some weird, distorted fingers.
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: Okay, so for some comments. I’m not sure if you guys recognized this feature or not, but if you hide the dialog window and click the heroine’s character sprite at certain points, they’ll actually “speak” to you based on their affection. While there’s only two “states” (non-lovers and lovers), I actually had some fun “clicking” on the heroines at various parts of the game. This trait unfortunately doesn’t correspond to actual CGs though.
Also, the game doesn’t have an appearance-change system like it does in Fureraba and Lover Able, but it does have changing “eyes”. Whenever a heroine is in a “romantic state” with Hayato, her eyes would become sparkly and brighter.
Ayumi used as example: Here’s the normal version
And here’s the alternate. Notice the sparkles and greater details in the eyes.
But she does have some scarier expressions at times
But even then these two “features” are infinitely abysmal compared to how poor the game was set up in the first place. Again, the game had NO BASIS for the character’s affections to each other, effectively ruining its purpose as a dating-sim and making it seem more like a nukige instead. Actually, that’s probably a good conclusion, so I’ll repeat that later.
As I see it, this game was really just a copy-paste from the two previous games, with the setting and heroine designs copied from Lover Able, while the location and the protagonist design was almost identical to the one from Fureraba (except downgraded considerably),
In addition, I see Smee hopping on that Large-breasts hype-boat. WHERE THE FACK ARE MAH LOLIS?!
As regretful as it is to admit, Ayumi’s breasts aren’t the only things abnormally huge in this CG.
One last thing is that despite making this game have the same setting as the previous game “Fureraba”, AND making some scenes involve the very locations that were keypoints in the previous game (e.g. Sawatari Vegetable shop), the only character shared is this one really weird-ass guy named “Sato”, who most of you know of as Mochoppi.
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Score: 3/10. Cute CGs, but the occasional deformed fingers and body proportions are even scary to a certain extent
Music Score: 5/10. Average at best. Smee really needs to pick up their game. (Double entendre intentional)
Addictiveness: Not surprisingly, this game’s going into the trash for me
Conclusion: Smee’s first and hopefully its last failed project which many factors made its dating-sim atmosphere seem more like a nukige instead. Generic characters and copy-pasted protagonist/setting wasn’t a good trait for me, and lacks creativity on Smee’s part. The lack of interaction between the heroine and protagonist was the greatest flaw for this game, and my advice to Smee is to take things a bit more slowly, add more heroine-protagonist interactions, get a bit more creative with character design/settings, and actually have some drama in the game to hold a story.
Okay fine. I still admit that Moemi’s route was decent.