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Archive for the ‘Regular Novel’ Category

There are Things You Shouldn’t Forget: Review of [170728] Golden Hour

Foreword: Sorry for the delay in finishing this game… Actually I should apologize for one more thing that I actually didn’t actually finish the game completely; I dropped it halfway. Despite being a dropped game, I just wanted to point out that I at least followed through with all the heroines and entered/played through their route to see what it would be like, so even as I dropped the game (and thus would’ve felt better if I just ranted about it for 30 seconds with the next review), I felt too invested in the story in the first place that I would at least need to rant about this title before I move on (to my break, probably)

A new game from a company I haven’t tried out yet is always quite an exciting experience especially if it has the overall first impressions that Golden Hour had on me. Zen from “Hau Omochikaeri” also mentioned how this game was stunningly similar to Natsu no Ame, which I rate rather highly for focusing greatly on character interactions in a realistic setting, so I admittedly had higher expectations from this game.

However, instead of those high expectations, I was met instead with giant eroge trope and rather poor design of routes. Let’s get started with the review so I can elaborate more.

Title: ゴルーデンアワー (Golden Hour)
Producers: Niko
Release Date: July 28th, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v20416
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=957582
Game Type: School-life drama with crappy foundations

Summary: Yuuya is a retired soccer ace who was hurt in an accident and was unable to play anymore. Despair overwhelms his future as he is more or less forced to spend his time outside of school in game centers while admiring his friends which includes Natsumi. One day, he will meet a girl taking pictures at a station, and have a sudden overwhelming feel of nostalgia as he turns back and asks her “Hey, have we met before?”

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Magic Artifacts and its Consequences: Review of [170428] 9-nine Episode 1: Kujo Miyako

Foreword: I hope you’re not surprised that this game was pretty much one of the top priorities for me once I came back to VNs. As a fan of Izumi Tsubasu since Mashiroiro Symphony, I always want to fucking kill myself when I see her blogging the stuff she sells in her booth in Comiket for pretty obvious reasons. Legit one of my bucket list includes decorating all part of my room with Izumi Tsubasu/Hisuitei illustration, so my love for this artist is through the roof.

Let’s get to this title, which had some interesting concepts included in it. I actually have not read much of the information regarding it because I didn’t want to spoil myself, and heard it was quite short (which it was!) so there’s that too. I’m going to try my absolute hardest not to be biased for this title due to my insane love for Izumi Tsubasu but I just ask for your understanding that I’m a human too and can be a bit biasOMG MIYAKO IS SO CUTEE AHHHHHHHHHH@*!&@$(@&!##

Please do note there will be spoilers in this game in addition to various hypothesis I’ve made regarding this game! Please read at your own risk

Title: 9-nine-ここのつここのかここのいろ
Producers: Palette
Release Date: April 28, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19829
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=926298
Game Type: Short suspense novel

Summary: It would be a normal town until strange things such as its Shrine becomes broken by an earthquake and strange powers called artifacts start to appear out of nowhere. In this seemingly normal town of Shiromitsukawa, Kakeru is involved with all of these incidents whether or not from coincidence, and his meeting with Miyako Kujo will also be one of them.

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The Magic of Innuendos?! Review of [170728] Hatsujou Sprinkle

Foreword: I’ve been following Whirlpool’s games since a very long time ago and is one of the very few producers for whom I’m knowledgeable about all their games. While they’re not extraordinary, some of their titles are quite decent and a good read, and over the years they haven’t done anything absolutely retarded like other eroge producers.

It’s also actually quite pleasing to see that they’re utilizing more proficient scenario writers, seeing how they put the writer for Koidoll and World Election in full charge of writing this game, which gave Hatsujou Sprinkle that charage-like environment which allowed it to have value in the sense all the characters had superior designs

Title: 初情スプリンクル  (Note: Hatsujou means “in-heat” or “sexually excited”, but they use a different kanji meaning “First Affection” within the title) is it supposed to make this title more pure or something kappa
Producers: Whirlpool
Release Date: July 28, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v20975
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=952535
Game Type: Comedy Fantasy Charage with various real-life references

Summary: It was supposed to be a normal day for Souta… If he wasn’t suddenly pulled into the alleyway by a girl ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) who questions him with things he didn’t understand. She claimed he had magical powers of turning on women around him, and he was one of the “awakened” due to someone stealing a precious heirloom from her family. Without having any idea what the hell is going on, Souta really has no option than to allow this girl to watch over him in his daily life to make sure nothing goes wrong, which will sooner or later involve more people in his life.

I’d like to be involved in that uhhhhhhhhh…. battle

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Revisiting of the Three Kingdoms: Episode Gi [170728] Review of Kakumei, Gi Episode

Foreword: So here we have what’s really a overhaul of the Shin Koihime title that was released a long time ago (more specifically in 2008). Seeing how this series is still pretty popular for the original Koihime title to receive official translations and have extra games made (such as Heroes and now this remake), I was obviously going to give this title a go and see how great this “overhaul” would be, especially considering how it’ll likely be performed for other nations as well. The main reason I was unable to properly review the main game (e.g. the one from 2008) was that it was ridiculously long and was essentially three stories. Now that there’s actually separate games for each I feel that it’s necessary to place what I think about each title within the form of a review.

Generally, you shouldn’t really expect TOO many things different from the original. I’ll be comparing the two very frequently, so many apologies if you haven’t played the original…. Though to be honest you’d probably like this game if you DIDN’T play the original, because if you did you’ll be seeing the same scenes again for some portions of the game.

Title: 真・恋姫†夢想-革命- 蒼天の覇王
Producers: BaseSon
Release Date: July 28, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18649
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=948930
Game Type: Remake of the renowned game from 2008 with additional characters and stories.

Description: This game is a remake of the 2008 game’s Gi portion, retouching pretty much all of the characters, switching some CVs around, creating new characters and scenarios, and altering the main scenario a bit as well. The substories for characters remains the same, but the gameplay has been revamped greatly so it’s not a rock-paper-scissors anymore.

But on the other hand some of the “harder” battles involve bullshit tactics like enemies being able to use special attacks/heals/buffs without restrictions and such, similar to the 2008 game.

Story Length: Very long (>30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: I honestly thought the minigame would be harder because of the fact it’s not a simple rock-paper-scissors anymore, but turns out it’s really easy. Even when it comes to the final battles where enemies have bullshit moves like dealing extra damage (like it did in the 2008 game), random buffs, or healing, the game’s difficulty remained low which was something I found to be slightly more disappointing because there’s more factors to the battles which only made the game more complex; not challenging.

One thing is that I hate how you’re limited to 5 “choices” when reading substories. It’s just a stupid excuse to make you play through the game twice and shouldn’t have been a feature. It should have been something like Sengoku Koihime instead. Just use Cheat Engine to bypass this limit and read all the stories in your first playthrough.

mrw Cheat Engine lets me avoid reading the same damned scenes twice

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It’s Time to Settle Down: Review of [160930] Kanojo Step

Foreword: It’s been far too long without a review! I definitely have my schoolwork, employment, and other hobbies to blame, and even thought about quitting this site purely because of how little I was able to read VNs.

On the other hand, critiquing and reading VNs is one of the hobbies that I find unique about myself, so I just can’t really blow it off. It’s admittedly quite fun, especially when I get to talk trash about a title I hate. Why do you think I read bad VNs, you nerds?

However, I ultimately decided to swallow my pride and start DROPPING games. I generally had a very negative connotation about players dropping games in the first place (and still do, don’t get me wrong), but when one doesn’t have enough time to spend on a title as myself, this is pretty much the only option available since there’s way too many titles that’s dragging my time and not worth reading when in the end I’ll be complaining about how shitty it is anyways.

My biggest critique about players dropping games for whatever reason is that said reason is never expressed and doesn’t provide the player’s impressions on that game. This is why even if I do end up dropping games, I plan on mentioning them as well as my reason for dropping them. Whether I’ll do this as a monthly post or along with other reviews, this’ll be from trial-and-error, so please bear with me in that aspect.

Onto this title though, Kanojo Step! To be honest, I was actually quite surprised I completely forgot about this title; primarily because Smee is a company I find favorable especially with their writers specializing in intricate but silly humor. Overall though, I found this title was pretty much a copy-paste of another dating sim I found to be good, Lovely x Cation 2, so that was something I didn’t appreciate.

Let’s get on with the review!

P.S. After reading my review after writing it, it sounds pretty cringey, so I apologize in advance. I guess I forgot how2write during the long break.

Title: カノジョ*ステップ (Kanojo * Step)
Producers: Smee
Release Date: September 30, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19347
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=903610
Game Type: Comedy Dating Sim

Summary: Aki has never belonged anywhere due to his parents always moving around from one place to another, he was never able to make friends or form a deep relationship with anyone. With his parent’s death, his older sister takes him in and brings him to the countryside, where she promises would be the last “relocation”, and encourages him to form relationships here.

While Aki hates many things about the countryside including bugs or the lack of convenience stores, he is still grateful to his older sister for bringing him here, and genuinely decides to foster relationships he thought he wouldn’t be able to form during his school years. Perhaps that it’s time for him to settle down.

No Shiina, you can’t settle down on that bench
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The Successor of Like Life??? Review of [161222] Amenity’s Life

Foreword: It’s quite an interesting idea to have our daily  household belongings take on a human form especially because most of us use said things without really a second thought. While it does create some room for discrepancy in reasoning and logic, these clever ideas are often the ones that make the game fun, which is exactly what happened in this game here.

Despite this, unlike its predecessor that was released WAAAAAY back in 2004, this game did have some flaws within which was somewhat of a turnoff for me. I may reference said predecessor a couple of times within this review purely for comparison’s sake, but will make sure to explain myself thoroughly.

Please note that this review will contain mild spoilers about “Amenity’s Life” as well as for “Like Life”!

P.S. Due to grad school, work, and hobbies outside of galge such as mobage and MMOs, I’ve been quite heavily swamped with too much to do and too little time. I’m working on completing titles one by one, but they’ll be slow–as I’ve mentioned in this post.

Title: Amenity’s Life
Producers: Hooksoft
Release Date: December 22, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19609
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=911418
Game Type: Comedy School-life Romance Novel

Summary: It would have been a normal day for Reiji if he didn’t wake up one morning to find a naked bishoujo where his smartphone was supposed to be. Immediately panicking doesn’t do well for him as both his mom and his childhood friend gets involved, and they soon find out that this girl with weird accessories on her head is actually Reiji’s smartphone that turned into a human being for some reason. She became human in order to repay Reiji for “using her” (?) appropriately, but obviously he can’t take her to school and they separate that morning.

It’s only a matter of time until other objects around his house are turned into girls, and cause even more chaos!

Notice the head ornaments which characterizes the “corners” of a phone

Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Easy
Comments: Very easy game to complete, most of the choices don’t really make too much of a difference and all you need to do is select the heroine you want to pursue 6 times in the choices selection. You can actually pursue up to 3 heroines at a time, so there’s a bit of protip for you completionists out there. The other three stories are more as a filler and comedy than anything else.

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 4/10
Rating Comments: As with any other “charage” out there, the characters are what really makes this game worth your time. Starting with heroines who are rather colorful, some of the subcharacters such as Rezona sometimes take the spotlight as the most attractive characters similar to how Hyouka (one of the subcharacters in Like Life) topped #1 on the popularity poll and received a full route of her own kek. On that same note, the design of these heroines were rather unique and original, which added greatly to this score. As I see the writer was one who wrote games like Fureraba, I had no trouble laughing at some of the nonsense humor presented in this game.

The charming characters really helped this as well.

Story is greatly lacking and very much a disappointment as there is essentially no conflict throughout the game. The entirety of the game reads and feels like a nonsense comedy like Sankaku Renai, and as with any of these games liberally displaying jokes, their effort to create a serious atmosphere regarding romance instead made things choppy and lacking a good transition to said romance in the first place. It’s even worse to find that each heroine route was quite archetypical, boring, and instead stuffed with generic plot, so as someone who expected more from this title, I was unfortunately greatly disdainful about this lack.

Protagonist is low purely because of the lack of “protagonist” moments in Reiji, as well as his entire character being a boring cardboard cut-out of an archetypical galge protagonist. He participates in the humor, but is way too “average” to be leaving a good impression on readers, and there’s also the unspoken fact that the romance he’s involved is absolute shit. Wait I just said it

Character Summary:

Maho is the smartphone who Reiji finds naked and in his bed at the beginning of the story, and it’s shown that she herself is greatly appreciative of Reiji as her owner and wants to do anything she can to support him. Always wanting to cling to him as she should be doing as a smartphone, she eventually starts to attend the same school as Reiji after seeing she wasn’t the only object that turned into human.

More calm and well-mannered, Maho does have some clumsy moment of her own, but generally modest about herself and her role and speaks in a formal language to everyone, even “underclassman”. It’s quite hilarious to see her “drinking” electricity in order to be charged up or displaying traits of an electrical device throughout the story. Her route delves more into whether or not she should live as an object or a human being, though this “self-existential crisis” occurs extremely abruptly at the very end of her route.

Maho’s route was overall not to my liking. I actually expected a more bittersweet ending like in Like Life where Himeko turns back into a cellphone, but I’m guessing the writers didn’t really want to adventure out like that.

As the childhood friend completely infatuated with the protagonist, Mikuri was highly archetypical and thus wasn’t too immersive. On the other hand, her character is unique in the sense during the prologue, she is involved in a huge “makeover” regarding her appearance, making her look much more feminine and appealing to the protagonist.

Other than this, I found Mikuri’s route to be very generic as that “deredere childhood friend” type of heroine, and how her theoretical question to Reiji “Would you still have fallen in love with me if I didn’t have a change in appearance?” was literally disregarded in seconds was the real deal-sealer to me hating her route.

While her character was cute, it was highly generic and her route adds nothing to the otherwise common pattern of similar heroines.

The classmate who’s always cold and very much a lone-wolf, Kanade is someone who acts a bit surprised (unlike other characters who do not believe him) when she hears of Reiji’s smartphone turning into a human. She’s someone who is actually quite snobby, however, since Kanade is always talking about how certain activities are a waste of time.

First impressions on this character is obviously not the best, but this wasn’t the case for Reiji who makes multiple attempts to befriend this cold girl who soon open up to him with secrets that no one else knew. Her real identity as someone Reiji knew was a design I thought to be decent, but poorly foreshadowed considering the only one made it too obvious.

Overall, Kanade was that “cool beauty” type heroine that I personally thought didn’t have a good introduction. It’s never really implied why Reiji decided to befriend this heroine while no one else did, and unlike characters like Yuzuyu from Fureraba (who had a similar design), there was a great lack of transition of this character to actually becoming friendly with the others.

Mostly a comedy character than anything else, Naru is a character who has a large amount of impact in the beginning due to her wild personality and liberal display of disdain for her older brother. Also known as the “Imouto of the Saint”, she doesn’t have a good relationship to her brother who is also Reiji’s friend purely due to the term “Saint” being used because Toshio is a peerless expert when it comes to erotic material.

Naru’s character design was quite unique in the sense she is the younger sister of a friend of the protagonist. (Well at least for me I didn’t really see this design too often…) She tends to be rather childish in correspondence to her looks and acts like one as well at times, and like Kanade, doesn’t see herself getting along with her peers because of her older brother.

While their romance wasn’t that great either (as with all the characters in this game), Naru’s route was one that I cleared first and in my personal opinion not as boring as the others. It’s far from being “good” in terms of story, which is the unfortunate thing

Chuunibyou might describe this character quite well, as the tomboy (?) ish girl who calls other girls “princesses” might seem like a psycho to the readers. Her personality almost seems forced from the beginning (since it’s so unrealistic), but it’s soon revealed that Miki really acts like this for some reason and is her “natural” self.

Originally the two meet when Miki witnesses Reiji standing against a robber, for which Miki expresses the utmost respect. She then starts to call him “Prince” and keeps asking about how she can be like him, which startles the protagonist. Miki herself is actually quite popular with the other girls with this kind of personality/mindset, and this makes her following Reiji around a bit more unnatural (i.e. she never really saw her ideal example of a “prince” previously).

Because of the aforementioned “unnatural-ness” if you will of this heroine, I was originally intrigued with how her route would turn out, but it was more-or-less the typical tomboy heroine scenario where the heroine struggles to find her feminine self. Here I was expecting something unique. Boo.

Though to be fair Miki in feminine outfit was quite refreshing

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments: So comments. Overall a game that’s quite funny within the beginning, the humor should be the main reason to start or continue to play this game. It was similar to the humor presented in games like Fureraba (from Smee, which is pretty much a Hooksoft branch), which was greatly to my liking, and I personally had no trouble laughing at some of the intricate and nonsense humor. It’s different than Sankaku Renai in my opinion because the latter involves humor that’s a bit more specific and only recognized by certain people.

Otherwise though, I really didn’t like the fact that this game involved essentially nothing about its main theme about “humanized objects”. No form of explanation, contradictions everywhere, and the least the writers could have done was to create a good romantic transition between the characters or an impactful ending (like they did in Like Life!), which was not the case either.

They have these rather lengthy confession scenes, but they’re pretty much worthless if the romance sucks

On the other hand, each of the “items” that take on a human form receives specific side-stories and has unusually high involvement in some of the heroine routes, which was the main reason the character score is so high for this game and something I’d like to compliment this game for doing. If you can’t create quality characters, at least cover it with quantity and that’s what they did here unlike other charage that reuses CVs You know who you are

One thing that I should mention is that each route seemed very monotone. By that, I mean that once the confession occurs and you go into the heroine route, the events that happen afterwards at least regarding to dates, H-scenes, or the general icha-icha was pretty much consistent throughout the entire game. This made the game have that weird bland feeling where you feel like you’ve seen this scene somewhere, and really represents the lack of creativity for the writers.

Although the creativity was quite off the charts when designing characters such as these

Affection for the Characters: Moderate

CG Score: 6/10. Decent number of CGs
Music Score: 4/10. Not really a fan of the music to be honest. Sounds too generic

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • Amenity’s Life has amazing humor with a large cast which is the main selling point of this game. Unlike games from ASa Project, this kind of humor may be well received and do not require specific knowledge of subculture.
  • Heroines are well designed for the most part outside of being rather generic
  • The idea of this game was unique, though it is somewhat of a copy-paste from a previous title from a long time ago

Cons:

  • Story is heavily lacking in this title especially as it fails to maintain that theme of humanized objects.
  • Romance, as with almost all of the titles nowadays, is poor
  • Each route is rather generic and revolves around archetypical heroines

Overall, Amenity’s Life is that game which really had solid fluff (……?) almost to the point they failed the bare basics of a good galge. Said “fluff” which comprised of the humor and charming heroines covered the flaws up until a certain point until readers would likely get sick of seeing the same trope or pattern which is when the game goes downhill.

I’d be as brazen to call this game a failure since it even failed to copy-paste what its predecessor did to obtain its fame, and even fall short of my expectations even when it was already pretty low.

The Love Story that Starts in Winter: Review of [160826] Giniro Haruka

Foreword: As a super-delayed review, I feel that there needs to be some form of explanation.

I generally didn’t really want to touch any tone work’s titles purely because of the fact that it’s super long (I didn’t touch games like Hatsukoi 1/1 for the same reason). After hearing people suggest this game for me, and me myself having played relatively longer games like Sengoku Koihime, I thought I would be able to handle it.

Oh boy was I wrong.

The reason why I’m making this a short review instead of a full fledged one is because I ended up getting sick of it after completing Yuzuki, Bethley, and 3/4 of the way through Mizuha’s route and ended up going “fuck this shit” and dropping the game. For this reason, I won’t be talking about the characters at all, but basing my scores purely on what I experienced with the game so far, as well as my opinions.

For this reason, please understand that my review for this game is greatly unreliable. Please only use it as another player’s opinion instead of a source of solid information/criticisms. Let’s get to it.

Title:  銀色、遥か (Silver Color, Far Away)
Producers: tone works
Release Date: August 26, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18778
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=885200
Game Type: Realistic Romance Novel

Summary: Yukito’s childhood wasn’t colorful like anyone else’s, but it was definitely filled with kindness. His 2nd year in middle school was filled with potential as his younger sister Yuzuki hastily followed him outside to his “present”, and it’s not long until both of them form and remember new and old relationships.

The transfer student from Canada Bethley, Yukito’s new classmate Momiji, Yuzuki’s new best friend Hinata, Mizuha their childhood friend who they soon reunite with, and finally his own sister Yuzuki.

This is a story about them and their friendship that creates a group of inseparable friends. Even when Bethley returns to Canada, they are sure they will be able to meet again soon.

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