Foreword: Oh god, the salt. Oh man, the rustled jimmies. Although on the other hand, I’m so freaking glad I didn’t act on my impulses and preorder this game.
As I’ve fearfully predicted as with others on my preview, this most hyped sequel for 2016 ended up being very very poor. Unlike the kamige that I thoroughly enjoyed in the past, the only thing this game had to offer was pretty much the same setting (though if you wanted to argue, even this was not the same) as the prequel, except the writer was obviously too new or forced to write in a certain manner which ruined all the fame and glory obtained by the first game.
I’m also in the process of playing Giniro Haruka, and despite the ridiculous and painful length, almost finished with it. I plan on finishing that title before moving into August’s new September title (icwutididthar?), so bear with me that reviews aren’t so rapidly produced as I hoped it to be. (MMORPGs are too fun)
Just a fair warning that I’m going to be bashing this game SEVERELY within this review. If you enjoyed it for whatever reason, you may become offended, so keep that in mind as well.
Title: タユタマ (Tayutama) 2 – You are the only one
Producers: Lump of Sugar
Release Date: September 23, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v17388
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=883685
Game Type: Romance Adventure; Sequel
Summary: 50 Years have passed since the end of Tayutama, and there has been several efforts by both humans and the tayutai to coexist. These efforts are only small-scale now, but with people like Yumina, Ameri, and Mifuyu working hard, the efforts are starting to bear fruit.
Kusakabe Sora is an orphan who lives in a town called Yakotami, where the spiritual powers are relatively stronger than any other areas. Because he himself has higher spiritual abilities, he is able to see these Tayutai and interact with them as well.
One day, Sora witnesses a fight between a human child and a Tayutai, and rushes towards them to mediate the conflict. It’s really not rare to see resistances to this kind of “co-existence”, and Sora himself works hard to alleviate any form of conflict. Soon after, a girl appears in front of him with strange ears. This girl who presents herself as Kohaku take him to the Yachimata Shrine and asks him to become her husband.
This bewilders our protagonist, who was completely unexpecting such a request. However, with the explanation of Mito Mashiro, Kohaku’s mother, Sora learns that Kohaku has been searching for a partner to further solidify the co-existence between humans and Tayutai, and found Sora desirable as that partner.
“Well, I’m not sure about marriage…” is what Sora admits, but he agrees to live in the Yachimata Shrine along with this young girl and agrees to cooperate in her quest.
Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Easy to clear game; LoS just HAD to put in a shitty mechanic where while there is the episodic atmosphere of the story, the game pretty much TELLS you which heroine you’ve befriended in a single chapter out of 5, and the heroine who has been most “befriended” has her route unlocked. While it makes it much more easier to open the routes for the first three heroines, it makes the game much more unrealistic and more of a “play to complete” kind of game; not a “play it so you can enjoy the story”.
Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 4/10
Rating Comments: Okay, so for the ratings. These really deserve some explanations.
First the Characters. Generally cute and colorful, that was unfortunately the ONLY thing this game had to offer. Compared to the character roster from the previous game, this title lacked both quality AND quantity in characters and subcharacters. With various designs which will be explained later, the game fails to fully sell the characters to the reader, making each of them extremely shallow and boring. Examples include Kohaku’s sudden proposal, Hifumi’s double-personality, and Nano’s “tsundere” if you will. Cute, but extremely shallow. I personally found myself quite annoyed with some characters due to this. Again, more info on this later.
Momo is the best character though, let’s be honest here
Story is even worse, with literally NOTHING unique that sets this game apart from any other galge out there except for its setting. Unlike the prequel, the conflict of co-existence is rarely developed or explained, and there are no new mechanics regarding this fantasy element of Tayutama. If at all, the game only places very lengthy “explanation” eye-catchers in between scenes to be that “explanation” they said they’ll make sure new players (who has NOT played the prequel) would understand.
Such as these. I mean I appreciate that they’re there, but this is NOT a good alternative to playing the first game.
One thing I need to mention is that characters have NO meaningful interaction nor romantic transitioning. While this is already making me rage, “romance” wasn’t even utilized properly within the game. As an example, some games have conflicts that the heroine and protagonist must resolve, and the two resolve said conflict together with a strong bond. This game pretty much separates the “romance” and “heroine conflict” apart, so there was two things that happened:
- Romance was not only shit, but also not important to the overall story
- For all that matters, this “conflict” COULD have been placed before all this romance bullcrap, like the common routes.
Just… don’t expect anything in terms of story. It’s so boring and unoriginal, and the writer obviously did not even play the first title to get a feel for what kind of atmosphere he was supposed to create. The story of Tayutama 2 really reminds me that LoS is a company that’s went all the way downhill and they’re a bunch of unorganized group who are literally using the success of their previous works to stay alive.
Protagonist is at least a bit more bearable, as that resourceful protagonist relatively satisfying to watch. However, like previous games such as Rensou Relation and Kodomo no Asobi, lacks an impactful personality or a “protagonist route” where the game should display his good parts and sell him to the readers as they would sell heroines. The complete lack of “romance transitioning” for Sora also made the romance much less valid, and if at all, he himself was a giant trope of a galge protagonist in some players’ eyes.
Kohaku is that Tayutai who has attained human form after succeeding the will of Mashiro and Yuuri. It appears that she was in an animal form when Mashiro and Yuuri found her in this town of Yakotami, and founded the Yachimata Shrine where they found Kohaku.
Fitting as the central heroine, Kohaku shares various similarities to Mashiro except for various childish traits such as being unable to stay up late or being unable to see her surroundings. As opposed to her maternal counterpart, she is shown to lose control of her emotions much more easily or be a bit more immature.
She’s the one who immediately takes a liking to Sora when she sees him mediating a conflict, and this was something I found to be weird; she could have possibly gone up to someone exactly like Sora and made the same request, despite the fact this game’s title clearly says “You’re the only one”. How this character was designed to only pursue the protagonist was something that was poorly done overall, and was extremely shallow.
In her own route, she becomes excessively flustered around the protagonist, and this was also quite inconsistent to her “childish” personality. She does have a good element of being rejected in other routes by Sora (so a good follow-up), but again this had little to no value because her romance to Sora was extremely shallow.
Quite a pity I would say, since if she was more developed and was rejected afterwards, that would have at least caused some
Hnnngg sad moments
Outside of her character, Kohaku’s route is very boring. It involves the new antagonist going berserk and her stopping it along with Sora.
Like seriously: that’s it. Everything else is a filler and you can literally skip it. It goes onto showing how co-existence is hard and difficult, but never dives into it deeper.
The daughter of a rich family seeming to have a large role in said co-existence between humans and Tayutai, it’s quickly revealed that Hifumi is an adopted daughter instead. It’s heavily implied that she likes Sora at this point, but the two characters often deny it (This is so similar to how it was for Ameri in the previous title, except must less impactful due to the complete lack of a background story). She seems to have some spiritual powers to “calm” the people around her, which was apparently the foreshadow for her being a Tayutai but holy shit this was the most obvious foreshadow I’ve ever seen (every character makes a big deal out of it though, so I dunno. Is it just me?). It’s literally like someone giving me two apples when I have one apple and them teaching me 1+2 is 3. No shit, Captain Obvious.
Hifumi’s route starts with her having weird nightmares, for which Sora becomes concerned about. This concern involves Mashiro to an extent and makes Hifumi become attracted to him more (I’m screaming in pain here), and this involves the two to become lovers effectively removing many things such as Kohaku, from the picture.
Hifumi’s route was pretty much the least developed and the most boring. It involves a lot of tropes such as “amnesia”, so let that be your spoiler for the day.
The character who I had good impressions on, but immediately annoyed the shit out of me was Nano, the quietspoken character who is ironically stubborn about her beliefs. I’ll be extremely brutal, but she is extremely naive to the point of annoyance. This is because there’s a random tayutai causing trouble for the people, but instead of punishing said tayutai, she treats and releases it.
Call me a cynical asshole if you want, but this kind of design leaves a bitter taste in my mouth; a heroine who is literally powerless and weak, but because of some convenient design of characters which is not explained until much later, she has the support of a powerful subcharacter and does whatever the fuck she wants, and everyone just lets her be because she’s some kawaii anime girl who’s frail and weak.
No. You do NOT do this. Heroines are supposed to be those characters making an impact on the protagonist AND the readers, and if they’re literally worthless by themselves and all they have is their mouths running idealism, that’s going to annoy people like me.
Admittedly, I found myself skipping a lot of Nano’s route for the same reason as the two above routes, and considering how her route is all about the couple’s future (and NOT about the Tayutama’s co-existence and such), you’re really not missing out on much. The ending was also absolutely retarded.
The heroine who started all this hype is none other than Mashiro herself, the reincarnation of Kikuramikaminohime and a Tayutai herself who has a complete and full spiritual connection with Yuuri from the previous title. While more of a supporting character this time around, Mashiro participates as a heroine in the last route, where the route follows pretty much the scenario of the previous three routes to a large extent. The catch is, you look at these scenarios in the eyes of Yuuri and Mashiro instead, who play more of a support role. In return, Yuuri becomes the protagonist, and includes H-scenes for our favorite heroine from the previous game.
In general, this route is actually worth going through. Unlike other routes where there are excessive amounts of fillers, going through Mashiro’s route once not only gives you another generous serving of the heroine herself, but also gives you the general storyline of other routes without the bullshit. Win-win. The problem is that this route isn’t open until you actually clear the other three routes, so that was quite retarded.
I played this game JUST so I can see Mashiro-child version…
For Scientific Purposes
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So overall, a very poor game. In fact, I’d probably say that this game never really had a focus; it just went all over the place with its elements and story to the point it was just a jumbled mess of words. No theme. No meaning. No consistency describes this game perfectly which contrasts from the first game which involved “Co-existence with Tayutai” the most.
If at all, the game should have had the impact of this conflict (as I’ll mention in the conclusion), but even that was missing. Fantasy elements (such as the concept of Tayutai) are poorly used, the romantic relationship between protagonist and heroine was invalid, and even the heroines themselves had nothing special about them so that the reader can feel affection for them. I’m slightly salty too, that the game neglected to bring back the tayutai counterparts from the previous games, yet bring back the heroines as an “immortal”, AND create new antagonists like Fusma.
AND bother to voice both Sora and Yuuri
Tayutama 2 isn’t even a CHARAGE. It doesn’t even take the time to develop the CHARACTERS; you know, the individuals in your game that a lot of creepy Japanese are really in for? I’m going to sound fucking cringy right here, but literally the best thing about this game are the H-scenes purely because Moekibara Fumitake is skilled with years of artwork.
So yeah, the sequel of one of my most favorite eroge has most value as a nukige.
And do you really expect me to not be salty?
Basically, Lump of Sugar ruined a great title. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only eroge veteran out there complaining about the shit of Lump of Sugar’s games, and this is likely the reason why they attempted to utilize the fame of Tayutama to rake in as much money as they can with Tayutama 2. Even I was tempted to buy the pre-order; imagine how many would have fallen for this trap.
I’m calling it right now, but I’m almost definitely sure that LoS will try to mooch off of Hello-Goodbye in the near future. If that happens, I’m removing Lump of Sugar from my Twitter and will stop following their games. Well, I’m going to shun their games anyways but hey, that’ll just give me another reason to.
I might change my mind if Kohaku gives me a kiss though
Affection for the Characters: Very Low
CG Score: 7/10. CGs are generally good, although there’s less detail on WHAT the CGs were (e.g. the more important scenes warranted to receive one did not). This pattern is very similar to charage, and can be seen in games like this.
Music Score: 8/10. Similar atmosphere from the previous game can be seen, and this was generally a good trait.
- If you liked Fumitake’s art, well, I guess you’re in for a treat
- It’s really nice seeing the prequel’s characters again, though it would have been better if the tayutai counterparts (Ouryuu, Nue, and Ho-oh) appeared as well.
- The game is strangely a bit more high-quality with small effects which enhance the visual aspect of the game. In addition to the CGs, the music was relatively similar to the previous game as well.
- Story is absolute shit, and deviates heavily from the prequel’s “co-existence” theme. If I had to create a sequel for Tayutama, I would have given a similar setting as this game, but present two groups in general; those who are in favor of co-existing with the Tayutama, and those who are NOT in favor and strongly opposed (who may act as the antagonists). These two groups would be present for both humans AND Tayutai, which would make the story a lot more exciting and complex.
- On that thought, heroine-route conflicts were often also completely unrelated to Tayutai and co-existence and also not original. The writer was obviously not creative enough to formulate exciting scenes or utilize the various elements that the previous title laid out for him.
- Heroines are super generic and boring. The only good thing about them are that they’re drawn well, but that’s because of a good artists, and in that kind of scenario, he should be releasing artbooks instead.
- Protagonist is decently designed, but lack personality and impact. Most of the scenario involving him are effectively described as “convenient”, and if at all, his influence in the heroines are just as insignificant in previous Lump of Sugar games.
Overall, Lump of Sugar’s most hyped title for me turned out to be a complete disappointment for me, and what’s even more sad is that I’m not surprised nor disdainful about it. Lump of Sugar has really taken a turn for the worse as this is their 4th game in a row receiving a bad review from me, and I should really consider dropping this company for good.