I know August has a couple of interesting titles so that’s kind of a thing that I can look at soon, but good god there’s really not many games worth playing now which is big mood. On the other hand it does mean I can be more lax about these reviews and the titles I play so I guess I have that going for me
I’m still taking recommendations for games to play whether that be console games, PC games, mobile games, or VNs. I seem to have a lot of time recently and nowhere to spend it on.
As always, reviews in this post are as follows:
- Hakata Dying Zombies
- Girls Book Maker
- Genjitsu wo Miedekitanode Shoujo wo Aisuru no wo Yamemashita
- Yakimochi Stream
Hakata Dying Zombies [Finished]
Well, here’s the Akabeisoft 3 game that’s going to be a hit or miss and it turns out it’s more of a miss this time for me.
It’s weird though since I found the humor is okay, characters are okay, protagonist is okay… Like everything’s just “okay”.
The thing with zombie idols is pretty unique, but the game doesn’t really elaborate on it too much since it’s incredibly short. Basically, the beginning scenes really doesn’t spend enough time elaborating on the heroine traits
(probably b ecause there are none) or the protagonist, or even just the background information of how all these characters met in the first place. There was just so little information to really become immersed in the story or feel affection for the characters, which is dumb because I thought character interactions were pretty decent–the game just needed a lot more of it even if it was to be fillers since it would help somewhat.
The game should’ve also considered additional subcharacters similar to how they did for Haru to Yuki, since Hakata had a pretty similar environment in my opinion–The game gives off impressions of a seemingly modern day Japan, yet claims that this is a fictional setting “Shura-kuni”, along with how everyone listens to Metal and idols are a minority. In this kind of realistic fictional (wow much oxymoron) setting, these one-time use subcharacters would’ve been easy to incorporate into the story and be used to give additional information about each heroines, though if you wanted to consider mob characters to have fulfilled this role I can understand that too
Story is obviously a lot weaker, with seemingly nothing more than this group of girls gathering to become idols, and most of the actually important information like what they did before they died or even how they lived previous to becoming a zombie is just quickly “stated” within a few lines as if it were fillers instead of being given a full-blown reminiscence scenes. This was bad not only for story, but the characters themselves since it just means the game failed to sell them properly to readers (heck with how it was written I didn’t feel like they even tried to). This carried onto stories within heroine routes which just had a couple more conflicts and that was it.
The game felt like it was supposed to be this “one-time gig” that the writer thought up one day and decided to create a full blown game about it without much planning. As it is Hakata seems to want to take on the role of a charage but strangely feels like a joke title, similar to how Nukitashi was, due to how random jokes or outburst of silliness was just inserted into some of the scenario.
As you could probably expect, they didn’t really pay attention to this “zombie” aspect either, with blatant CG contradictions to how said “make-up” included even the heroine’s private parts or how it doesn’t erase with water/bodily fluids despite how the very aspect is what the game started with.
On the other hand, some of the breaking of the 4th wall, parodies, or real-life references were pretty enjoyable. I guess there’s some value in the game for this, not to mention both the Opening and the Ending Song was voiced by the four CVs of this game (Himekawa Airi, Tezuka Ryouko, Hanazawa Sakura, and Ogura Yui) and was actually pretty good. Being someone who really likes it when Opening/Endings are sung by the actual in-game CVs I found this to be a plus.
Protagonist is unfortunately the weakest of the bunch, as even though I did receive good impressions from him with his abilities as a makeup artist with lots of mysteries shrouding him, all of them were just artificial traits only bluntly stated within the scenario and never elaborated.
I was able to finish the game, but it wasn’t a fun experience to be fair, and the only reason I was able to do so without dropping it is probably because it was so short.
This game would need serious reworking in order to be good as a charage. Heroine traits would need some major reworking + their background should be elaborated with at least a reminiscence scene, along with some kind of existential crisis as a zombie while also paying attention to “make up getting erased” for consistently. Additional interactions between heroines and protagonist wouldn’t hurt either.
Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Overall Rating: 3/10
Girls Book Maker [Finished]
So Yumemiru is a company from Nexton, the people behind the Koihime Musou series. Maybe because of that it’s not surprising to see so many characters in this main title which did give me Koihime vibes, especially since the game’s main gimmick was to incorporate real life aspects (such as popular folklore/stories) into the game.
Ironically, being a story about stories (lul meta), the game’s story aspect was very weak. Ignoring the fact how within this giant library you only get to experience 6 stories (though to be fair any more would’ve made the game way too long), the characters of these stories don’t really do anything within the entire game. Basically all you have to read for a good 20-30 hours within this game is just a reiteration of said featured fairytale and a small twist on it plus superpowers because fantasy, and the writer’s imagination of what would happen if a character from one story entered into another. Lots of deviance from the original can be seen here too (such as how Kaguya is displayed as a rebellious teenager who’s a Youtube idol on the internet) which kinda loses its flavor after a while unfortunately, and as with my criticism with the Koihime series as a whole, it makes the game seem like it was completely unrelated to the original folklore it was based on.
Instead, it’s probably a better idea to look at this game as if it was a charage; with literally the entire side scenario only present to sell each character’s traits instead of progressing through the story–it’s almost as if this was another version of Sengoku Koihime (though a lot worse because it lacked a central scenario) since all of the actual value this game had, whether that be the massive number of scenario writers or artists, were all focused on these “side” non-canonical stories that I didn’t really want to bother with.
The reason for this… apathy for the side stories if you will for the characters is really the fact that the game’s central scenario is non-existent. The entire premise of the game can be summarized in a single paragraph and the game drags the same plotline over and over again for the 6 storylines presented and never gives any kind of variety. In essence the same scenario repeats for 6 times (because the game goes through 6 of these stories) and by even the 3rd one it does get a lot boring to read the entire same scenario even if it presents completely different characters.
As I said, the writers focused much more on the character side-scenario which is decent enough, but even those portions lack a meaningful purpose and is just used as an excuse for H-scenes and pointless romance. Heck that’s the same design that Sengoku Koihime had (except Sengoku had some decency to “mandate” some side scenario whether it was via enforced playing or via putting additional scenario within these side stories) so as someone who just got sick of the main story (which again, was super repetitive) I just wanted to get done with the game and be over it.
The trait from the Koihime series with the game unable to properly antagonize any of the characters is back, and as soon as I saw this (this was probably after the Alice in Wonderland arc) I really felt like dropping the game because literally everything was so obvious and predictable after that–Grimoire wasn’t going to be a bad character, Mushiko was going to return as a heroine despite her existence basically being an abnormality in all aspects, and the game just goes back on its own setting designs purely for the purposes of trying to create this dumb charage atmosphere that one couldn’t get immersed with since it’s just so shallow and convenient. As someone who really wants various well foreshadowed plot twists and unpredictable scenario, this was basically the greatest insult a company could provide since it makes the game more fit for children (Looking at you, Princess Sugar) instead of adults 18 and up. A lot of games do this and it really fucking annoys me (and at this point I genuinely contemplated making a personal “pet peeves” list since I thought it’d be interesting to visualize what kind of tropes anger me the most)
Even when I’ve already bashed the central scenario of this game to be non-existent, the execution was also poor with no explanation of the origin of these “bugs” or using them extremely conveniently as an “antagonist” only to toss them aside like they did with soldier sprites in Koihime/Sengoku. Also adding in the entire premise of this timeless library was fantasy while Tale had literally no role until the grand finale (and let’s not forget how the game makes 0 foreshadows about her identity too), all points to bad planning.
Characters are okay, with most of them colorful as they should have, I guess I liked how there was this super-convenient messaging system, but that felt more like a copout way of forcefully involving all the characters instead of doing so normally by actually putting them in the scenario. It’s not like other “dating sim” or even that feature from Girl Cafe Gun (a mobile game) where you can actually choose what kind of reply to send so my analysis on this feature was that it’s just a cheap way to include “heroine interactions” in the most laziest way possible.
That being said, the emojis that they created for this exact purpose is pretty cute. Wouldn’t be surprised to have these released someday
Protagonist is… average I suppose. I can appreciate how he actually has some action though even then it’s questionable since he just has this “Colette” weapon basically making him omnipotent so it’s more like the item is the protagonist instead of this guy, whose name is clearly a reference to the word “Creator” (Kuri Eito) hint hint.
Having also gone through the Grimm side story-line which is almost like a spinoff I can say that I’m not too impressed. While the game DOES at least mention that the original Grimm Fairytales (like Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood) are dark as fuck (For example; I know off the top of my head the original Sleeping Beauty was raped in her sleep and woke up due to the pain of childbirth which is big wtf), the entire spinoff throws that concept away and instead puts their little “twist” on the respective stories instead.
The problem with this is obvious and kind of the same notion as the main game–at that point there’s really nothing that makes the story have any relevance to Snow White (especially since the heroine herself is portrayed to be this narcissistic/haughty princess), nor are the factors brought over from the main game like the bugs really adding anything to the overall scenario. Predictable scenario and lack of antagonists make this game more fitting towards children and there’s never any kind of growth within any of the characters, not to mention conflicts feel artificial and give no sense of importance or that dire environment… and that’s just the first spinoff. There’s 3 and oh god I really don’t want to go through all three of them.
Basically the game has some value as a charage, but the story is garbage and not worthwhile. It’s nice to hear some older CVs voicing characters but otherwise it’s not a game I’d be happy to spend time on.
Also apparently this title is getting a mobile game, so check that out if you liked it I guess
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 1/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Overall Rating: 3/10
Genjitsu wo Miedekitanode Shoujo wo Aisuru no wo Yamemashita [Finished]
Well I’ll be damned
You know when I sometimes say that there are some nukige with a better story than many commercial games? Yeah. This is one of them and it definitely took me by surprise.
I was literally just expecting another cheap loli nukige like the previous Kaerusoft game, but this one happens to be written by Daisangen and some other writers that have written some good games in the past.
Long story short, this game is actually pretty decent in some ways (and you know me saying that is a big surprise in its own because I’m such a pessimistic fuck). Set in a more realistic scenario, this game that I’ll abbreviate as noshoujo focuses HEAVILY (and I mean that) on character interactions and monologue. The result of this creates depth for the heroines and the protagonist, allows readers to feel more affection for the heroines, and allows them to relate to the protagonist as well. It’s almost the same as the Mayoeru title that I’ve complimented for doing character interactions proficiently, except I want to suggest that this title was even more superior due to a consistent theme (of that pedophilia taboo) and character design (in terms of the little character “plot twist” as I’ll mention) throughout the entire game.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that the story objectively good–this game literally has no real form of story and that can really be a big turnoff for a lot of people (myself included). On the other hand, this was supposed to be a nukige in the first place, so if you look at the entire game as a whole similar to just a longer version of the Loliita series, noshoujo feels a lot more complete with some routes having a dramatic love triangle (imagine that in a nukige) that wasn’t complete shit, and trust me–I’ve played a LOT of games with bad love triangles. Considering the only games I’ll admit to have a dramatic love triangle done well was White Album 2 and Damekoi, this is actually an insanely positive trait worthy of putting this “nukige” up at the top of my rating scales, just because the element wasn’t botched or screwed up terribly.
The game makes it explicit that Mikio (the protagonist) truly loves Mai for being so supportive during his struggling times (imagine a nukige doing romance well), and the game makes it more explicit with the scene where she falls ill. It’s just that he can’t feel sexual arousal from her no matter how hard he tries and instead is attracted women of smaller physique. Especially within Aoi and Maki’s routes this “drama” is amplified appropriately to reflect the social taboo of infidelity in addition to pedophilia, which made these scenes much more intense and added to the overall “guilt” that the characters would feel for their actions, allowing the readers to relate with the dilemma as well.
Characters are very well designed, since each of them has a twist in them that you wouldn’t normally expect which actually added to quite a bit in the scenario, and that “twist” also plays a large role when resolving the conflicts within the heroine route as well not to mention this trait about each heroine is kept consistent throughout the game. The game brings in one-time subcharacters to properly introduce the next scenario (ironic how the Hakata title above failed in this aspect) or quite literally support the main scenario to create that more fluid transition, so in terms of literary elements it’s also not that bad.
Protagonist definitely has positive designs as one who doesn’t want to be a pedophile and basically hates himself for it, and he does have his skills as an artist and gets plus points for being able to throw away his life until that point by discarding all of his doujin works in the river as an effort to “become a better person”. His efforts are very well portrayed by the narrative of the story along with his dilemma in his new environment while still displaying his struggle in this overall transition, making his monologue realistic and genuine.
That being said, this game’s not all perfect; while I personally found Mai as a character appealing, her design was flat out bad as since she is the canonical heroine yet the game doesn’t really portray or develop her as such, resolving some of the infidelity issues way too conveniently using excuses that Mai is “just that kind of person” and all actions she does is for the benefit of Mikio which also felt unrealistic for a women of her status. Considering Mai was the keystone and central heroine, I definitely wish there was a bit more drama here and that’s why the story rating is a lot lower than it would normally be.
The “twist” I spoke about is there and consistent throughout the game, but is very artificial that I can’t give it unconditional phrase. Having this trait be explained would be a spoiler so sorry; you’ll have to play the game for yourself.
Some bigger downsides are that the H-scenes are pretty maniacal while Kaeru Soft’s tendencies to include CGs of used underwear and the entire game and its concept itself is very questionable and extremely cringey (it’s actually kinda bad if even I thought it was cringe). Though to be fair TanukiSoft (which is the parent company) did this frequently so it’s probably influence from them and if you can brush aside this extremely cringey feature, it’s really easy to feel affection for these characters with how descriptive the game is, their artwork (emphasized by the well-known E-mote system), and just how characters interact with each other.
That being said I’m legitimately surprised from this game; it does the “romance” aspect relatively well because of the extensive monologue allowing readers to learn about each characters, and especially for characters Maki, I also was able to relate to her the most which means the writer did a great job appealing these characters to me as the reader.
It’s also nice to hear Sazanami Suzu as well, a newer CV whose voice I like.
Character Design Rating: 9/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Yakimochi Stream [Finished]
This was actually a game I played a long time ago, mostly because of the artist, Syroh, who drew a couple of titles for Softhouse-seal Grandee, a relatively well known nukige company at the time along with artists like 2-G and ani.
Anyway. I’ve played this game before and generally found it… interesting at best. All I originally remembered was that Sana was absolutely adorable while the game included some ridiculous character traits like trying to compare their boobs with tall mountains (i.e. Mutsuki’s chest is considered “Kilimanjaro-grade” both in her character profile and in-game) which is actually pretty cringey but in a way it does help the reader take this game lightly
I’m sure I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but while these kinds of “funny additions” does work to create that less serious atmosphere overall it’s also a double edged sword in the sense it basically kills off any kind of serious storyline the game wants to implement, whether that might be actual character conflicts, existential crisis, or taboos.
That’s what I can’t really appreciate about Yakimochi Stream, since it goes from all these four girls clamoring over this donkan protagonist for absolutely no reason (remember that this is in itself a bad story design and one of my pet peeves) into a heroine route where the game tries to be all serious and dramatic with heroine conflicts all of a sudden–it just doesn’t work because the game until that point came off as a humorous, jokeful title that the sudden change in atmosphere is foreign and choppy, while also lacking a good transition or even just a foreshadow to properly connect the two environments.
The conflicts are also rather generic at best (e.g. Sibling taboo for Sana), and as mentioned the transition into them are very weak. The game doesn’t sufficiently provide enough monologue for the heroine and the protagonist for the dilemma they face, and it really doesn’t help that their problem is quite artificial in the first place–some of it is basically their own fault. For example Kohane decides to keep quiet about her being a childhood friend for Takumi for the entire game despite having a crush on him or Mutsuki putting up a fake facade and bullying him to display her affection, which hardly appeal those heroines at all even if it creates dramatic irony, since there’s really no good reasoning to do so nor are there any monologue to justify to the readers why the heroine is acting like this in the first place.
As it stands, the only times when the game is true to its title “Yakimochi Stream” is the common routes where the heroines are fighting over the protagonist. I kept thinking throughout the entire game that having some detailed and sufficient reminiscence scenes would’ve been nice for the sake of the story because again baseless harem otherwise, while heroine routes are unfortunately more or less H-scenes and that’s it. It’s a big contrast to recent Madosoft titles like Raspberry Cube where heroine-protagonist interactions were amplified within their own routes which gave it some value outside of the short common routes and actually made heroine routes worth going into.
Though on the other hand, Yakimochi Stream does have very bright and cheerful music mostly composed of electric guitars, which added to that light atmosphere with some tracks silly and a great fit for these “arguments” between heroines. The CV choice was also not that bad, with Momoyama Ion (an amazing CV who also voices mobile games), Isshiki Hikaru (the original Four Queen of Eroge CV), Kusuhara Yui (has a really sweet, calming voice–also has a radio channel under her real name that I recommend you guys listen to), and Fujisaki Usa (has a distinct “loli” voice) so there’s some merit there as well.
I suppose my analysis for it can be that it’s an “okay” charage, borderline nukige. I also stand by my previous opinion Madosoft’s tendencies to be hellbent on including heroines with excessively large bust sizes is unreasonable and ironically (at least for me) works to kill my sexual arousal; I like anime titties as much as the next guy but this is just too much.
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 1/10
Overall Rating: 4/10
A niche title indeed but hey it’s definitely someone’s fetish and there’s already plenty of predecessors or previous examples of this kind of scenario the protagonist suddenly transforming into a girl and hooking up with someone. Pretty sure this has been both a doujin manga AND a game at some point
not saying I’ve played it but yes I’ve played it
As it stands though, the game lacks basically everything outside of a cute artwork and voice–the scenario is non-existent, the character traits rather slapdash and heck, there’s really no form of “story” since even that 3rd character that appears out of the blue to join in the
orgy story is just the game’s pathetic efforts to elongate the scenario. This game’s all about fulfilling that niche fetish of gender bending and providing the fantasy of having sex with your best friend who just happened to turn into a super cute girl randomly one day, and is actually self-aware because they literally give that exact introduction which is kinda funny.
Which sucks in my opinion, since as I mentioned the artwork and CV is pretty cute–they could’ve just as well gone and made a vanilla nukige instead with multiple characters or had a scenario similar to the Loliita series where the protagonist picks up a girl randomly off the streets (though Furifure and Kamimachi Sanachan does have scenario like this) and it would’ve at least appealed to some nerds
like me. The company apparently likes the gender bending gimmick though as seen from the previous title from April of 2012 (wow 8 freaking years ago?) so I guess they decided to stick with it in this one as well.
I expected a cheap nukige and got exactly that. I guess I should be satisfied but on the other hand my expectations were so low that if this game happened to be even worse than what I expected it to be that would’ve been a pleasant surprise on its own.
That being said the game’s pretty light-hearted and doesn’t take itself seriously, so play this game if you think the artwork is cute and/or if the above fetish clicks with you.
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 1/10
Overall Rating: 2/10
Right. I’m off to find some decent looking August titles, and probably will have to resort to playing older games if I don’t find any. Wish me luck