I’m so pleased how this new format is working out for me. I can save myself the pain of actually playing bad games fully plus the pain of having to write about it afterwards. Thanks to that I’ve been able to complete much more games in a shorter time frame so I think we’ll keep this pattern!
Here are the list of games for this Short Review post:
- IxSHE Tell
- Karigurashi Renai
- Mai x Mai
- 77 Sevens
- Justy x Nasty
- Summer Pockets (NOT A REVIEW)
- Cute Resort
- Maho Roba Witches
- Butterfly Seeker ~Chaos Nightmare~
IxSHE Tell [Dropped]
So despite having some good impressions regarding the writer for this game (who also wrote Fureraba, Pure Connect, Kanojo Step, and Amenity’s Life), I do NOT have good impressions on Hooksoft as a group, as games like Lovely Quest made me almost puke with the immense amount of hypocrisy (The game is about determining what’s “pure” and “not pure” in a relationship and of course the scenario involves having sex in the classroom. Completely pure. Yeah)
As such, when the harem school-life bullshit showed up in the first 5 minutes of playing this game, I wanted to just close the game right then and there and save myself the trouble… But as a veteran/review writer I know I can’t do that lol. “Maybe the game will provide some humor and get better” I said. Oh lord how fucking wrong I was when I said that.
I still wonder why I’m so naive.
The entire game is your highly generic galge with no depth of characters, romance is objectively bad, protagonist is supposed to be this super-popular student council president but has less balls than a girl (almost physically =_=), the CV cast is awkward, and the one of the only good thing I see from this game is MAYBE the artwork.
I was able to stand this game for about half and hour, then I had to close it and look outside the window because of how terrible this game was and why the heck I’m torturing myself to play this kind of crap. I feel like I can compare this title to Shuffle, minus the fantasy aspects because of how much it focuses around the protagonist’s harem while there’s really no background for it, and the school-life setting only providing the catalyst for “admiration and jealousy” which adds to the already super-cringe storyline in the first place.
The game does feature two unique systems where you distribute points into heroines (and thus is the factor that affects the “routes” if you will), along with another feature where you can see the viewpoints of heroines and other characters at certain points. While I can definitely give it to this game for providing these unique features, that really doesn’t matter if the general game is already loaded with tropes to the point a player can’t genuinely enjoy it.
If a game only has “Harem” and “School Life Romance” as its features, it is always, without exception, a shitty game (and you can quote me on this; prove me wrong if you feel ballsy). There are lots of other games with these themes but some of them alleviate the pain (though not too significantly) with other themes like fantasy. This game didn’t even bother to do that
For IxSHE Tell, which is also a really crappy way of presenting a pun in my opinion, that was not the case and for fuck’s sake I need to keep a note never to play Hooksoft’s games because there’s probably a damn good reason why there’s subsidiaries for that company that are more successful than the original.
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Overall Rating: 3/10
Karigurashi Renai [Finished]
Generally, I can’t really hate ASa Software games even if I didn’t really like it, because they don’t try to come up with some poor excuse to presenting their games and story. However, that same reason is also the reason I can’t get engaged with their games in general, and like a previous game I’ve played, Sankaku, I moreorless have similar opinions on this title.
The biggest complaint I have regarding this title is the protagonist, who is given this unique personality, but shallow in the sense he doesn’t have any meaningful interaction with the heroines at all. This in addition to how heroines literally go from “Unable to view him as the opposite sex” to “omg I love him” in literally a few days without any action on the protagonist’s part and that just makes the heroines shallow as well. The design of him coming back to this town in 10 years and not seeming to keep in contact with his childhood friends–yet each of them are relatively accepting of his condition and allows him to stay with them… this is also a very poor basis of the story and introduction since it seems unrealistic and fake.
The romance was similarly poorly presented, often with no transition of the heroines/protagonist’s feelings for each other, though on the other hand it was quite interesting to see how this game had relatively better definition of relationships between heroines and presented it more extensively.
The jokes as well as the light atmosphere is appreciated (with the occasional 4th wall breaking which is always nice), but in my opinion the jokes were a bit overused in this title; the heroines all have their unique traits but when nearly all the jabs and humor relate to this “unique trait”, it gets stale and doesn’t feel unique anymore. In Sankaku, each heroine had a bit of “otaku” associated with them which allowed for the humor to become a bit more varying, but this wasn’t the case in Karigurashi, where the supporting characters (such as the parents/siblings) were utilized instead for this humor.
This is also the reason why I can’t really give it to the game even though it does have subcharacters; they were literally only there for the jokes and never for any real “support” or meaning within the heroine route. Unlike having additional traits for heroines, having these subcharacters is merely a half-assed way of including “fillers” especially since it wouldn’t relate to the heroines in the first place. As an example: Dan’s masturbation running gag; he’s the younger brother of Ayaka, but this running gag isn’t associated with Ayaka at all and contributes nothing.
One last thing I want to mention is the Opening Movie’s song is really weird. Like the tune is off by several pitches and it just seems like something went wrong with the recording. It’s not like Navel where they change chords in the middle of their songs; the music is actually off to the point it sounds bad. Like what the fuck.
Here’s a link to the opening if you don’t believe me: https://youtu.be/zdspD1pbTmY
Was this intentional? Sankaku’s OP does have spontaneous rhythm changes but it wasn’t THIS bad
Overall, I wouldn’t say I recommend Karigurashi. The jokes are there but it becomes stale very quickly due to it being monotone and one-pattern, the extra characters don’t contribute anything to the heroine, and even the overall story design of the game is unrealistic so it loses out on the story compartment as well (even though no one would really expect anything fabulous in this segment in the first place from ASa Software). If you need a mindless “I-don’t-want-to-use-my-brain” kind of game then I guess you could enjoy Karigurashi… though to be perfectly fair that defines a lot of other crappy games out there.
Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 1/10
Overall Rating: 3/10
Nukige Mitai no Shima de Sundeiru Watashi ha dousureba iindesuka? (Nukitashi) [Finished]
Note: I’m using the game package for the September 8th release edition because the first one’s pretty NSFW
Definitely an interesting game, I was quite split between whether or not I want to make this into a full review but scrapped that idea last minute (thus this short review might be a bit longer/detailed). Mostly drawn in by its nukige-like atmosphere, it turns out this game is actually a serious game with a large focus on sociology. Having finished the game completely, I can say that while that sociology aspect the game presents is definitely nice, everything else is “acceptable” at best, and some things are just terrible.
Characters are definitely the focus of this game as very unique and original designs for them, what I didn’t like was how each of those unique and original designs were never thoroughly utilized by the character interactions and story, with many factors quite literally ignored and left up to mystery (e.g. Hinami’s Pipe-Chair). Each heroine except for Fumino is also paired with a “subheroine” whose additional H-scenes open up after finishing the heroine route, and this was actually pretty nice considering these subheroines were highly original and likable as well.
One thing regarding the heroines I’d like to comment is that the jokes seem overused and rather awkward. A prime example is Hinami being small, for which her catch phrase includes “ロリじゅないですけど！”, but the Japanese is weird as the phrase should have been something like “ロリじゅないよ!” (Imperative; I’m not a loli!) as the former translates into “While I’m not a loli!”. So yeah, having this incorrectly-worded joke repeated over and over definitely got on my nerves even as someone who’s not a native Japanese. This is honestly just bad scenario writing.
Story is the biggest thing that’s flawed with this game, as the light, jokeful impression of the game suddenly turned into this “dystopic survival” atmosphere rather quickly. Sex being this element of oppression was quite frankly silly at best and didn’t give the seriousness of the “dystopia” that the game tries to present for the heroines and the protagonist, mostly because said characters only refused this “dystopia” due to their personal beliefs. There’s also some unanswered, “no-shit” questions unasked such as why Junnosuke and his sister came back to the island or why they simply couldn’t have left (as the Do-Sukebe Law didn’t really exist outside the island). The basis, creation, and intention for this “Do-Sukebe Law” was also greatly flawed so that didn’t help the story at all.
Junnosuke definitely is a colorful character, though his design was also largely flawed in the sense his traits are just all over the place. Having a large penis + impotence (which was never really “proven”, meaning the entirety of the game shows him getting an erection quite often) + childhood trauma on sex + his own beliefs doesn’t have a good association with each other, plus his hypocritical “I’m still a virgin” despite having sex with multiple girls, and his design just felt so artificial despite how it was kept consistent throughout the game. I didn’t really have any beef with this character however until the last route where he just becomes a fucking idiot and then a coward just because he was wrong about something. Even on retrospect at the end, Junnosuke was only “made” to become the protagonist and most of the time all he was is talk and no bite, so I didn’t like this character that much.
Elaborating on the story though–one of the things that made this a big flaw was the sociology (quite unfortunately). The problem is that everything seemed fake, including the setting, the sex being a commonplace AND mandated, all the way up to the design of the characters themselves. You see all these fantasy games like the ones from Whirlpool and then you have this game which seems even LESS realistic than FANTASY games due to how “fake” everything seemed. While I can definitely give points to this game for utilizing sociology in its story, how everything else was just artificial negated that merit and invalidated its concepts it wanted to present.
Speaking of fake, the sex toys (transformed into spy tools) was also very farfetched element, considering you then have the protagonist and his younger sister first-class experts in developing these tools from scratch which ranged from smokebombs to high-voltage rotors and a fucking dildo (I’m serious here) used as a short blunt weapon.
The romance in this game was also quite bland, which is pretty ironic because you have the protagonist literally screaming out that he will never commit himself to a shallow relationship. Heroine routes present additional conflicts which is interesting enough, but having it be the catalyst for the romance is stretching things a bit, and you see the protagonist becoming a hypocrite himself for going against his own beliefs.
As such, Nukitashi is one of the examples similar to Seiken Tsukai in the sense it had some amazing concepts and good designs, but failed to deliver a good story because they were unable to utilize it properly. Quite frankly it would’ve been a better idea if each of these characters slowly developed their “anti-sex beliefs” (i.e. showed their change of heart) instead of flat out being against it in the first place, and if the characters were portrayed more in a heroic manner because the entire game shows them really being the rebellious ones.
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Overall Rating: 5/10
[No SFW Game Package Image exists for this game]
Mai x Mai [Dropped]
The reason I play nukige in the first place is similar to how a famous chef might go around trying various nameless restaurants; he might find a really good spot which is unfortunately not known just because it’s not backed up by a corporate or something. Similarly, I’ve found really good nukige this way (including the Loliita Series and the Mangekyou Series) and hope that’ll happen again
Yeah it didn’t happen with this title.
Highly generic with your typical tsundere imouto and a lazy underclassman, you only needed a childhood friend to complete this game as a shit game with the Eroge Trinity trope but that wasn’t necessary because the game was pretty crappy regardless. H-scenes begin in less than 10 minutes after the game starts, and a lot of the character design is brushed under the rug and the game prioritizes the H-scenes over anything else, how the first thing that shows up when you open the game is literally a 30 second summary of the entire game already gave me bad vibes, then the contents of the game just solidified it. CVs are poor (which is weird since one of them have a lot of previous works) and awkward as well so its value of being a nukige is also in jeopardy.
Even as someone with a biased “imouto fetish” I wasn’t intrigued by this game purely due to how shallow everything is; from the hasty introduction to the unoriginal design of characters to the same-old pattern of this kind of nukige.
On the bright side, that’s one company down from the thousands I’d like to eventually play games from to see if there’s any worth writing about.
Character Design Rating: 1/10
Story Rating: 0/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Overall Rating: 1/10
77 (Sevens) ~ and two stars meet again ~ [Finished]
My very first Whirlpool game, I’m honestly not TOO fond of this company in general but it’s true that Mikagami Mamizu’s artwork drew me in in the first place and I’m still following her artwork as much as possible plus Suzukaze is still standing strong as one of my all-time Top 10. As one of my first games in my entire career, I’ve had very poor understanding of Japanese as well as this game, but that’s obviously not the case anymore.
Despite being my first game from one of the few companies for whom I’ve played all their games, I still plan on critiquing it severely as I should be doing for all my reviews, and quite frankly the entire game can be summarized with “holy shit I see how I was able to bear with this game the last time I played it; by not knowing a goddamn thing that’s going on”. By that, I mean that the game is bad, like REALLY bad. It has the originality that I want to see in galge but dear lord everything else about the story is just pure terrible that I’m headdesking right now believing I would have had a good time with my first Whirlpool game.
The game has absolutely no fucking development, both physically and figuratively. The protagonist literally spends one week with a group of 3 girls due to certain events and that’s supposed to be the excuse for interactions between them which obviously don’t lead to romantic interest. Because of the variety of heroines (10 in total) there’s even less interaction with each of them and routes can literally be summarized in a single paragraph, if not a sentence because of the lack of events that happen.
Story is terrible and only has the trait of being unique but even then there’s only so much you can argue for a game’s originality until players like me will bash the game for simply being poorly planned. Lack of foreshadows in main heroine routes (we’re already assuming subheroines are nonexistent here), no transition in the sense one scene you’re all sunshine and lollipops and literally 5 seconds later characters are bawling their eyes out for some bullshit that happened and the world is going to be destroyed… Even Disney Princess stories have better transition than this. As it stands the game fails to find a common theme to revolve around and just goes fuck-all with its scenario from parallel universe to animals to magic to robots.
Protagonist is literally the worst of the worst, as someone with absolutely no traits who abuses his older brother and hooks up with a girl in a month because eroge logic. Nothing about him contributed to him being a protagonist and he was literally “made” into one and while most of my “bad protagonist scores” stem from the protagonist being a fuckwit, Shou was literally this “fuckwit”.
I used to say older games are better but oh boy am I wrong on this one! As it stands Sevens is literally at the bottom of Whirlpool games with titles like Magus Tale, and I can definitely see why some people (who might have had bad experiences with Whirlpool early on) take my words with a grain of salt when I suggest games like Suzukaze
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 0/10
Overall Rating: 2/10
Justy x Nasty [Finished]
I’ve literally played every one Whirlpool’s games, and as with almost any other big-time eroge producers, there’s a relatively stable pattern in their games; the fantasy elements in them does the same thing as Yuzusoft games (basically nothing but give a relatively poor excuse to present the story) and the romance in their games being absolute shit even in their best games like Suzukaze. Despite this Whirlpool do make good games for a casual, stress-free eroge experience and that’s probably the reason (along with Mamizu’s adorable artwork) that I even stay with this company even today.
Justy x Nasty follows the same trait as above, but in my opinion this game does a decent enough job with presenting their characters and humor to at least have that value as a charage and make it “fun”, especially with the humor being hilariously silly which is the exact humor that I appreciate in games. This is the type of games ideal to be played alongside MMOs (which is usually what I do) because of this.
Kiyoharu: You two actually hate me, don’t you?!?!
Story-wise it’s your typical Whirlpool game, though there’s a bit more depth in the characters to allow more interaction with the protagonist and thus a “better story” (this is really subjective though; most of the routes are just for the lulz and can be considered fillers by some people). You shouldn’t expect anything big like Suzukaze however, as this game was flat-out designed to be a silly, stress-free game. On the other hand, Justy x Nasty is still better than games like GIB or the Nekonin series from Whirlpool (which are newer titles and only God knows why Whirlpool thought such ideas would be good), and definitely better than some “serious games” like Magus Tale or Sevens.
One thing that really disappoints me about this game is that there’s a couple of critical elements that the game literally ignores. It’s one of those games that would have benefited from a true route but it didn’t exist so elements like the Amaoto were left up to mystery and never answered.
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 6/10
A relaxing and cute game, I picked this title up after seeing how it was from a Palette subsidiary plus the music composed by Burton (the same people for the other Palette titles like Moshimo ashita ga harenaraba, Mashiro iro Symphony). After finishing it I’m pretty confident in saying it doesn’t really have a serious story and most of the routes can be summarized into a couple of sentences plus the game focusing more on the heroines giving the impression of a charage, and while the ending of this game is extremely clever, that was really the only thing I found good about this game storywise; otherwise the game fails to keep a consistent theme throughout, abruptly switching from a story set in a bakery to performing surgeries (I’m dead serious) or studying the history about the town (Like what the fuck)
After anime like Gochiusa, I can’t help but compare any cafe/bakery setting games to it (games like Koi ni Kanmi wo soete), and it really does seem like the character design is inspired by the (in my opinion) overpopular series, which honestly lacks creativity
also the yuri but that’s actually a good thing for me that there’s no yuri; oh god the yuri was disgusting in the anime
And it’s really the story that suffered the most, as mentioned previously, since it can be summarized in a couple of sentences to describe the routes the game presents, and it was quite unfortunate that the characters weren’t too great either despite having some great CVs, purely because they seemed more copy-pastes instead of being original characters.
Personally, I kinda wished Komachi (a subcharacter) would’ve been a heroine of her own (since she seemed to be the most colorful and original + voiced by Suzuya Maya), and Crow’s identity was just half-assed. I also didn’t like how Aira literally knew everything but was simply too much of a bitch to help someone out and good lord her tsundere wasn’t even tsundere and she was frankly annoying at best
(please kill her off in any way possible). Heroines were bit on the generic side but ehhh, it wasn’t mind-crushingly terrible
I would really recommend players to keep Shugaten as a charage and only play it if Anzu Mitsu, Kusuhara Yui, or Fujisaki Usa is one of your favorite CVs. The only thing worthwhile in this entire title is that little twist at the end and honestly if you want to know what it is just ask; I’ll save you the 10-15 hours spent on this game.
Character Design Rating: 6/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Overall Rating: 5/10
Summer Pockets [UNFINISHED]
Please note that this is NOT a short review, but rather a bit of my thoughts on this title so far. (I currently have just over 7 hours of playtime in this title. I plan on finishing this game but I want to tackle some other titles first before I do).
So basically you have an all-ages title (which already kinda pisses me off considering you have eroge artists like Izumi Tsubasu and eroge CVs like Kotori Yuuka) but quite frankly it’s not as great as I thought. I expected Clannad/Little Busters type of silly humor but the jokes were a bit weaker this time around (either that or my sense of humor became more dull), and it certainly doesn’t help that outside of the common route you literally do NOT see any of the other heroines besides the one you’re aiming for so that’s shallow as fuck plus the severe lack of reality… then the game goes off and blatantly introduces fantasy elements in a title for which I received the impressions as a nostalgic, slice-of-life style of storytelling so that’s something out of the blue I didn’t appreciate.
The setting and the general design of the scenario is fine; “summer break” setting that I’m sure will play into why the protagonist even came onto this island and how the girls connect in the end. I just hope it doesn’t end up like older Key titles in the sense they use some cheap-ass methods to create a dramatic atmosphere.
This is honestly really disappointing for me within the couple hours of playtime, and I think this time around it may be because I had a bit high of hopes for this title in general (since I’ve seen some previews of it almost as soon as it was announced). CVs without previous works, a cop-out effort in creating a fantasy-based story, fucking Nijima Yuu (I swear to god this guy needs to die), the story already screams flaws right off the bat unlike previous games from Key.
The character design is good enough though, good number of subcharacters though they’re really only in there for the humor and doesn’t really seem to contribute to the story,
Character Design Rating: ??/10
Story Rating: ??/10
Protagonist Rating: ??/10
Overall Rating: ??/10
Cute Resort [Droppped]
There’s really nothing I can say about this game. I went in completely blind not knowing this was literally a fandisc for three of other Digital Cute’s games, WHICH ARE already pretty nukige-ish so you can imagine the massive amount of sexual content in this fandisc.
I’m not going to give ratings to this game, but that’s only because it’s a fandisc of games I haven’t even played and no other reason; I know fandiscs aren’t designed to have a splendid story and a lot of these H-scenes are actually quite niche so I don’t think it would be fair to the original 3 games if I made critiques on the fandisc as that opinion may transfer to the originals.
I’m only going to say that at least for me, I expected a nukige but didn’t really like this fandisc at all. Whether that was because the H-scenes were pretty crap or the fact I couldn’t appreciate it because I didn’t play the original games I’m not too sure but quite frankly after playing this game for a bit I’m not too thrilled for any of Digital Cute’s games in the first place.
Maho Roba Witches [Dropped]
Part of my eroge activity also involves following eroge CVs. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why I play eroge in the first place is for the CVs themselves, and this includes if said CVs appear in radio shows; that’s also a target of my appraisal.
As such, when Tachibana Mao and Hanazawa Sakura’s “Akabeisoft Radio” was aired recently, and part of their show was to introduce titles from Akabeisoft + its subsidiaries, I figured since I don’t really have other games amazing enough to play (plus the CVs overhyping the titles anyways and I figured why not see how wrong they are
kek), Maho Roba was added to my list.
Good lord this game is bad
I should’ve expected it since the scenario writer also wrote Gusha no Kyouben, what I consider the worst game from Akabeisoft 3. Literally the first minute into the game and you see Lucky Sukebe scenes and I’m just like “Seriously??? Are you REALLY going to start out the game with this fucking shit??? No introduction whatsoever and you just start out with panties and boobs???” I’m not joking at this point; it took me less than 60 seconds to open the game, adjust the text/sound settings, actually start the game, and get to that lucky sukebe scene.
I know a red-flag when I see one, but of course as a review writer I can’t just drop a game in 1 minute…
…But I CAN drop a game ~2 hours into it.
Shitty excuse to put an orphan protagonist in a place with S-tier bishoujos, with even worse excuses to add in lucky sukebe + service scenes where the character goes naked for a second during transformation + the game revealing that the protagonist is actually a magician himself that has the powers to help the girls control their magic… What’s next? Shitty romance with generic heroine routes and H-scenes to top it off?
As it stands, I’m willing to bet money on the fact that the above “sarcastic” quote will actually become reality. The half-assed introduction/beginning partnered with generic heroine designs + an awkward CV casting (Hanazawa Sakura voicing a tsundere character, Tachibana Mao voicing a well-mannered adult character, and Ayumi Sara just in general), the only thing I can find good about this title is the graphics and maybe the music so the only people who would enjoy titles like this are eroge plebians who just wants to see some cute girls and that’s it.
Also fuck DMMGamePlayer
Character Design Rating: 6/10
Story Rating: 1/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 4/10
Butterfly Seeker ~Chaos Nightmare~ [Finished]
As a spin-off to the main title “Butterfly Seeker“, this game warns you to play the main one before moving onto this one. As a story that happens near the end of the main game, many things about the original game might be spoiled if you read this fandisc first so you’ve been warned.
To get to the point regarding my thoughts about this game WITHOUT giving out spoilers, I’d say it was fairly decent but really short. Unlike the main game, the “Butterfly Effect” wasn’t really elaborated on much (except at the very end when it just makes a couple of implications), and there’s only one route (aka, no bad routes) which was somewhat disappointing for me as I did like the new characters + the overall scenario.
Something different about this fandisc compared to the main game is that the fantasy element wasn’t utilized that much, to my surprise. It made the mystery a lot more realistic and complex now that you’ve added new character into the mix, and how everything connected at the end was definitely a nice design.
It’s just that in the end the mystery was rather straightforward and even someone as dumb as me was able to hypothesize the events that happened early on, which was a trait that the main game also had. I also liked how the romance never interrupted the story (I actually finished this game in one sitting!); it was reserved until the very end after all’s been said and done.
In the end though, I’m still not sure why this fandisc was published. The main heroines from the original game don’t really contribute that much while it’s the new heroine that was given most of the spotlight, I kinda wished that because of this title having the title “Chaos Nightmare” we could’ve seen some additional “What if scenarios” of more happy endings (Touko ending in the main game made me feel all warm inside but it was a bad end
oops spoiler sorry not sorry)
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Aaand that’s it for this month! I’m definitely plowing through a lot of titles at this point including a lot of older titles/backlog, so you can expect to see a lot of that plus the more recent releases from me.