Foreword: As surprising at it is, it’s actually quite tiring to be pessimistic all the time (Unbelievable, right?). This is why it’s not a bad idea to be a bit optimistic. For example: instead of complaining about the negative Celsius weather, instead tell yourself at least it’s not negative Fahrenheit weather!
And this was essentially what I was telling myself as I finished Kodomo no Asobi, Lump of Sugar’s most recent game. As what’s considered to be their “10th anniversary game”, Kodomo no Asobi actually had FOUR artists AND scenario writers. Talk about pushing the budget!
Now as you’ve probably been able to tell already, and with my previous rants at LoS games, Yes. This wasn’t a good game. Instead of complaining about it, however, I decided to look at Rensou Relation and how it was actually insulting because it spits out retarded theories about romance when the entire game was literally a meet-and-fuck game, and was able to say “Well, this isn’t too bad” for Kodomo no Asobi.
At least… for a while. My patience wore thin and by the time I finished this game, and my face was similar to the following gif:
Let’s see what exactly pissed me off from this game, shall we?
Title: コドモノアソビ (Kodomo no Asobi) [Lit. Trans: Child’s Play]
Producers: Lump of Sugar
Release Date: November 27th, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v17974
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=865126
Game Type: Comedy Harem Romance School-life Novel
Summary: “Now Choose!”
These were the words that Kiyosumi hates the most, since he’s someone who hates being pressured into doing something. He has had this “curse” for as long as he remembers, when he is asked to choose, time would stop and won’t start moving again until he actually made a “decision”. This was why he prefers not to interact with anyone if possible.
It was another typical day, however, as a girl in a strange outfit appeared to him. She introduced herself as Seera, and actually a demon who has met Kiyosumi before. If that wasn’t enough, she flat out comes toward him and confesses to him! Completely caught off-guard by the sudden confession, Kiyosumi soon finds out that this “affection” doesn’t actually belong to Seera; she received it from someone during a ritual that Kiyosumi performed when he was a kid. Seera came to Kiyosumi as an effort to “return” this affection to the owner.
Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderate
Comments: Four routes in total, two of them are quite easy. The other two, for Seera and Yuzuriha, are slightly more difficult to achieve and readers may need a walkthrough. To be honest, I think this game had a lot of “fillers” despite the fact the common route involved a lot of unique traits. I think this is mainly because the entire game really only HAD this “unique ritual” to offer aside from other typical charage, and once the ritual was actually over and irrelevant to the story, things just started to go downhill from there.
Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 3/10
Rating Comments: Hey, at least it’s not as bad as the previous game? For a “10 year anniversary” celebration game with so much effort put into creating it though? This game sucked.
Character Design first gets an EXTREMELY large drop from all the romance stemming out of nowhere. Here you have a “Romance Adventure (恋愛アドベンチャー)” and the entire game doesn’t even involve anything about how the characters came to like the protagonist and vice versa. It’s almost as if Japan’s thinking that it’s normal for “romance” to be something as shallow as a heroine liking the protagonist from the very beginning. Either that, or way too large of the Japanese male population’s been responding well to this “cheap-ass romance” and not questioning the processes of how these emotions developed. It really felt like I received a main entree of salad at a steakhouse, basically cheated out of what I really wanted.
I wish there would be more of these “flashbacks” at the beginning of the story too, not like, at the end
In addition to this, heroines were poorly designed with generic traits along with the severe lack of subcharacters (5 subcharacters within the entire game) which made the game very monotone. If you see the same 10 characters (protagonist included) for all four routes of this game, which happens to span roughly 20-30 hours, it gets pretty dull and boring after a while, especially if similar events occur for more than one route.
Story was unique in the sense it included all these fancy “Roles”, “Demons”, and “Rituals” to a certain extent, but none of these were even significant or relevant to the overall story. If at all, said “Roles” could have been said to be a “heroine trait” and there was nothing demon-like about the heroine considered to be one. This game was just too plain. Nothing adventurous by the producers; they just made the same old shitty charage probably because they didn’t want to have a “failed project” for their oh-so-fucking-special 10th anniversary game. Well Good-Game again LoS. The only population you’ve made happy are the retarded weeaboos, the low self-esteem Japanese teenagers, and creepy old men with cringe-worthy fetishes who can’t get a girlfriend receiving their much-wanted affection from shallow characters of a crappy galge.
I’ll also make another comment about why the story was shitty in the respective character descriptions too.
It’s really annoying that for Seera and Yuzuriha’s route, both Kiyosumi and the respective heroines become these cowards and unnecessarily elongate the horrible story even more
Well, let’s bring in that optimism again! At least the protagonist wasn’t as bad as last time, right? I guess, but Kiyosumi doesn’t even compare to the “ideal” protagonists, where he’s your typical “cardboard protagonist” that the reader easily replaces within the story. In fact, we at least know that while it’s disgusting to have a perverted protagonist scoring bishoujos at every angle, it’s also pretty idiotic for a protagonist with literally a “fill-in-the-blank” personality to be doing the same. PLUS, just wait until you get to the comments why this also worked to lower the score even further!
I’m thinking this is due to LoS targeting said “perverted or blank” population when designing their games, instead of actually making the protagonist be colorful and at least worth something as they did in Tayutama. Man, I’m hating LoS with every game I play, but I can’t simply drop their games because of how amazing Tayutama was.
Right, let’s quickly sprint through this section.
Kasumi’s going to be first, as the younger sister of the protagonist, it’s shown immediately that this quiet character hasn’t interacted with her older brother for quite a while, and is even somewhat cold to him even though it’s been a while since they’ve met.
However, readers soon realize that Kasumi actually holds a secret that she doesn’t want Kiyosumi to realize, and instead of being cold to her brother, she actually loves him since her childhood days. Her efforts to become a top-grade student and a responsible girl was pretty much her efforts to be more attractive in her brother’s eyes, and while I did appreciate this kind of a setting (in reality, any imouto setting that’s NOT associated with tsundere is probably acceptable in my dictionary #lowstandards), the complete lack of a background story of how Kasumi came to develop this affection for Kiyosumi also made her just as shallow as any other heroine within this game.
However, unlike Michiru (as I’ll describe in a bit), Kasumi does have a unique story/conflict associated to her and how she was always pressured with the guilt of her “role”. This made it at least a bit more bearable for her as a character. Complete lack of incest taboo though.
Michiru is next. Pretty much your typical “energetic heroine”, she was even more generic than Kasumi in the sense she is already in love with Kiyosumi from the beginning of the game and hides said affection with her bright personality. She’s also skilled at cooking, which she uses to make small appeals to this oblivious protagonist, and is actually safe to consider her a “childhood friend” due to how long they’ve known each other.
I’ll be flat out honest and say that Michiru’s route was arguably one the most boring routes, where it was literally the same icha-icha for what seemed like a millennium, with no other conflict being introduced to the route nor the character throughout the entire story.
In a sense, Michiru’s route seemed like a typical nukige route, which I say with confidence.
I’d like to make a confession; I personally HATE Ogura Yui’s voice when she voices the “mature” characters. I’m pretty sure this stems from my previous experience with her to be associated with more childish characters, and her voice doesn’t match up well with the “mature personality” and sounds very fake. In addition to how Yuzuriha was pretty much your “darker” heroine out of all four, I became very suspicious of her route at first (despite the fact that I actually appreciate darker storylines), because it was so obvious that LoS was going trash her route just like they did with everything else. Basically, while I liked Yuzuriha’s character design to be associated with a more “serious” story, I knew from the very beginning that Lump of Sugar’s not smart enough to actually pull through with this potential in the character/scenario, and would resort to a shitty typical-charage storyline consisting of nothing worthwhile (except H-scenes, if you’re the type to appreciate sex with shallow characters)
And in reality, I only have complaints about her as a character who had the most non-sense logic ever (despite the fact she was the most intelligent. Go Figure), and how Lump of Sugar made this character actually have a design annoying as hell in my opinion, as well as her mere existence (from childhood) putting a huge dent on Kiyosumi’s design as a protagonist as well.
In fact, I want to also complain about Yuzuriha’s and Seera’s routes because what the game presents at the beginning of each of their routes is Kiyosumi’s fucking harem of nonsense where all four heroines are aggressively approaching the personality-less bastard and I’m just writhing here in pain screaming WHY!?!?!!?!
This is why I really want someone to send a DDOS attack to VNDB when idiots tag this game as “pure love” and rate it with 9’s. I’m giving myself brain cancer, so I’ll stop. If it wasn’t so obvious, Yuzuriha’s route was probably the worst even more than Michiru’s, because Michiru’s route was just boring; Yuzuriha’s route was annoying.
Last and thankfully not the least (but was dangerously coming close to it) is Seera, with a stupid and irrelevant design of being a demon. Despite this, she isn’t any different from normal humans, and if at all, she’s shown in game to be able make herself invisible, float, change clothes quickly, or initiate these “Rituals”, but nothing else. There’s nothing “demon-like” about her outside of this and by the time a player gets to her route, it’s not an exaggeration for them to actually forget this trait. Bad planning, LoS.
She approaches Kiyosumi with “Romantic Affection” that wasn’t originally hers, but as we all find out that Yuzuriha was the original owner, it’s OH-SO-FUCKING-CONVENIENTLY shown that both Kiyosumi and Seera have said “affection” leftover.
Jesus Christ, how much more generic can you be with story? With this, the game takes off with the same route as it did with Yuzuriha’s route, creating Kiyosumi’s harem of sluts (almost literally, which is the sad part), and this continues for another 2-3 hours of mind-wrecking pain involving no transitions, no effort to create ANY form of story, and with H-scenes at the end to sexually please the loser of an otaku who finds these games fun.
Sexual Content: High
Comments: So I’ve said it multiple times already, but I’ll say it again. Lump of Sugar fucking sucks at making games now. Their originality was lost a long time ago as they continuously create shitty charage (I mean, make a decent one and I’ll be happy. Just don’t make it shitty) with SOMETHING unique just to make it a selling point. Even their announcement of having four scenario writers and four artists don’t do it justice when both the foundation of the THEME of the game and transition both are heavily underdeveloped (scratch that, completely non-existent) to the point a nukige easily has more relevant and heart warming stories
I’m dead serious. The screenshot above is from a nukige that’s roughly 3 hours long (I just finished it) and has more story with a very charming heroine unlike this game.
Kodomo no Asobi also lacks a proper climax for all of its routes, or a scene that makes the reader go “Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen next?”. Instead, all of their so-called conflicts that make up the heroine route often involve the greatest convenience or is simply not existent (such as in Michiru’s route).
It’s even worse that each characters are so-designed to be indecisive about romance, when their normal personalities dictate otherwise. Even for our bland protagonist Kiyosumi, this design backfired since first you have a blank protagonist that the reader’s supposed to “replace”, then the game tries to actually enforce a personality for him once you get into the heroine route, which results in an inconsistency in the protagonist and a clusterfuck of contradictions that the scenario writers sweep under the rug.
Don’t get me wrong; there are actually good charage where this doesn’t happen, and those games would be rated higher than this. It’s almost as if LoS is taking the “safe road” with creating eroge, but fail by thinking they can actually pull off a good game with that retarded mindset.
Ever think I’m saying too much or being way too pessimistic? Well I just tell players to look at the character design: what features within the heroines does the game accentuate or focus on, to “sell” them? The fact that they blush in front of the protagonist? The fact they’re so loyal to him? Not even! In fact, the game actually emphasizes their sexual traits (e.g. their breasts) before or more than anything else. I’d love to see players arguing Kodomo no Asobi was a good game despite this.
Not even kidding; the game has more CGs emphasizing the heroine’s sexual traits than actual normal CGs
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Score: 5/10. Four artists and all they were able to pull out was about the same number of CGs as a normal game. That’s pathetic
Music Score: 7/10. Decent enough with an okay variety.
Conclusion: Lump of Sugar’s so-called “10th Anniversary” Game, but the truth is, a lot of other games will be better than this one, and considering how I was disappointed with this title despite already having low expectations, I’m very worried about Tayutama 2 that’s coming up.
Lump of Sugar’s been taking the “safe route” for all their games recently, and if you do qualify as those losers who appreciate the generic and boring story where the protagonist is super popular for no fucking reason, then you’re in for a treat. If you hate such design with a passion like me and everyone a veteran of this genre, do yourself a favor and skip this one.
The next games will be IroSekai, SINCLIENT, and Astraythem. The latter two games I’ve already played and enjoyed, so I’ll be trying to console myself with them :x