A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Foreword: Without a doubt I’ve been slowing down. While there’s definitely my fault in this delay of finishing and writing reviews, I also want to place at least a portion of the blame on generic titles which I was simply not interested in or annoyed me to the point I put it off. Instead, I found myself going to doujin titles, games (admittedly, I played roughly 10-15 doujin titles between the last review and this one), and MMOs instead of galge, which is like one certain friend who went down this path (although for other platforms) much earlier than I.

For that reason, the bottom portion of this review (or where I place my “dropped games” explaining my reasoning) may be quite long. I still haven’t really figured out what I wanted to do with all these dropped titles because they’re now becoming rather increasing in number compared to actual review posts (wow much quality)

Let’s get to the review of the most recent game I played which left quite a bit of impression on me, I would first off say that as with a previous game I played, Senmomo, this game was actually rather fun. As that mystery game where you are required to use clues and various other hints to solve a crime or make various conclusions. It was almost like a puzzle game, which I really appreciated.

Obviously, however, this title wasn’t exactly the best ones out there, so I’ll be talking about the things that I found to be not-so-praiseworthy, which mind you, will take up quite a while. Let’s get started!

Please do note that this review may contain mild spoilers for this game! 

Title: シンソウノイズ (Shinsou Noise) [True Emotion Noise]
Producers: Azurite
Release Date: December 22, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19684
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=916833
Game Type: Mystery/Suspense Novel with themes of Social and Human Psychology

Summary: Since he was born, Kazuma had a strange ability to hear the “inner thoughts” of people around him. These inner thoughts would never lie and always tell the truth, and would sometimes overwhelm the poor boy.

After being abandoned by his parents and raised by his grandmother who also had this ability, Kazuma learned to live his daily life by shutting himself apart from all his peers and refusing to associate with anyone. Despite how he was able to see the “truth”, it’s this very truth which pushed the poor boy into depression and despair as he saw the evils and trickery that humans were capable of.

It was around this time he meets Yukimoto Sakura, a mysterious girl who would often go to the rooftop of the school and simply stare at the sky. When looking at her inner thoughts coincidentally, Kazuma saw violent and gorey images of her death which at first made him almost want to regurgitate his lunch. However, this event also lead him to wanting to know more about this girl, as he stops her from committing suicide one day.

It won’t be long however, that on another certain day, Kazuma would hear a loud thud, and witness the death of the same person who was his first love, and the inner thoughts of someone who whispers:

“I Killed Her”

Scary!

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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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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.

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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Foreword: Happy New Year everyone! I actually started this game quite recently and have a lot of good things to say about it, and I also refrained from publishing TWO reviews that have already been written, purely because they’re more negative and I want to start every year with a positive one and I don’t want to seem like a pessimistic asshole wait I’m already one

I want to start off by saying this game was fun. No seriously. It was really fun in its purest definition. So fun in fact that when I wasn’t playing it, I was itching to get back on to play it! It was THAT good

Despite this, it does have some flaws that other friends warned me ahead of time, so I’ll be explaining all of this below. Let’s get started!

Title: 千の刃濤、桃花染の皇姫 (Sen no Hatou, Tsukisome no Kouki) [Thousand Blades and the Royal Princess of Tsukisome]
Producers: August
Release Date: September 23, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v15708
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=901861
Game Type: Dramatic Action Visual Novel with Mixed Themes

Summary: The Imperial Nation was quite happy with their Empress (Suotei) who was fair and just. It was really only after the invasion of the United Nations and the mingling of their culture with the Imperial Nation’s when things started to get out of hand, and with the death of Suotei, their current empress, a traitor to the nation takes over with a puppet empress Hisuitei (my Tera Character’s name; bonus points if you know where I got it from) and drives out the Suotei’s daughter who was the last of her bloodline.

Soujin is a man with amnesia who participates in the committee of Samurais who dedicate their lives to the loyalty towards their empress. He spots a terrorist who tries to assassinate the empress and chases after the terrorist only to find that this “terrorist” somehow overturns his loyalty to serving her instead.

Soon she claims she is the last bloodline of the Empress, and the Hisuitei is actually a fake. This “real Empress” who calls herself Akari then receive Soujin’s help in rebelling against the traitor who ruined the country, as well as prevent future calamities to come.

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I remember the first time I came across Visual Novels was about when I was roughly 14, or roughly 9 years ago (oh god I’m old). It was a trial version of Ever17, and I was so intrigued by the medium after being only exposed to shallow anime at the time, it wasn’t long until I actually acquired my first set of HCGs *gasp* at a tender age of 16, and started playing all the English titles I could find. Being unsatisfied with the current collection of titles, I then started to look for more resources to play eroge while learning Japanese, which took me through various tools like ATLAS, AralTrans, AGTH, ITH, ezTrans, and VNR and Rosetta Stone.

Fast forward to today, when it’s been 7 years since I’ve dedicated to this genre. Obviously my review writing didn’t come until a few years ago with some conflict *cough cough* of its own, but I’m generally proud of my experience and expertise in determining what defines a good visual novel or eroge. Even though I can be quite the pessimistic fuck.

As I occasionally receive some questions regarding VNs, one of them was the typical “What title did you like the most?”, or “What would you recommend?”, and while it’s easy to pick out some of the more memorable games I’ve played, it’s rather hard to single out just one. I’ve only played like 200 titles you nerd. So instead, I just picked 10! I mean why not? I have 10 fingers. That’s good enough reason. SHUT UP IF I SAY IT’S A GOOD REASON IT’S A GOOD REASON

This is what I’d like to bring to my readers for the end of 2016; my (current) all-time favorite titles I’ve played so far. These titles have earned very high ratings, for which I’d like to repeat as well as a brief synopsis and my personal thoughts, as well as why I really enjoyed that title. I will mention that if the game does not or only has a very old review from me, I did not link it below. I will, however, produce a full-fledged review for each game upon request, so please don’t hesitate to ask for one! (It gives me a good excuse reason to play the game anyways)

I’d also like to take this time to wish all my readers the happiest holidays and my personal gratitude for following me so far. The individuals who comment on my reviews make all of this effort worth it and it’s always great to see another person who enjoy the same medium as I do. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you again in 2017!

Let’s get with my post!

TOP 10 TITLES for Joyjason as of 2016

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Foreword: I personally found myself picking this game up when I heard from a person named Zen, who works with Micchi back in Hau Omochikaeri in delivering previews of new releases every month (for which they really deserve more credit to be perfectly honest). For the most part, he has a very pessimistic (and humorous) attitude towards these new releases, but you can rarely see him being optimistic for some games. These are the games I generally want to try, because as someone who has a similar mindset as Zen, I imagine I might have a relatively similar preferences or tastes.

For the most part, this game was hilarious. Like seriously. There’s a lot of nonsense humor which really works if you know much about the otaku subculture and its taboos. Obviously though, being funny alone does not create a good game, so let’s get on with the review to see if this is a title you should try!

Title: スキとスキとでサンカク恋愛
Producers: Asa Project
Release Date: November 25, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19444
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=906632
Game Type: Nonsense Comedy Parody (?) Novel

Summary: Sousuke is a relatively normal guy with interests in the otaku subculture. He shares the same interests with his younger sister Nanaru, who loves cute things such as idols, and is involved in a club specific for the groups of people who enjoy anime, games, or even things like mobile games.

While his life is peaceful with this group of friends, two people are suddenly introduced to his surroundings. One is his actual biological sister who was separated from him at a young age due to a divorce, and the other is an upperclassman who stalks the boy claiming she fell in love at first sight!

This along with the current relationships he has with Nanaru and his childhood friend Maho, there will most definitely be some love triangles involved!

and ice cream. Can’t forget ice cream.

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