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

Posts tagged ‘magic’

The Finale of Leyline: Review of [150130]Tokijikake – Asagiri ni Chiru Hana

Foreword: I’ll be honest: this game was the most hyped for me this month, and possibly even the entire year. I held so much expectations from its previous titles, and I was just twisting in agony of what was to happen after the first two parts.

MFW This game

Well my dear friends, you have the finale of the trilogy and the end to the title “Ley Line”. The one thing I really appreciate about Unisonshift Blossom and this game is that they know when to stop, unlike other companies who try to milk out as much money from sequels and fandiscs as humanly possible. There will be no other games relating to this series from Unisonshift, but I’m looking forward to their other games, which have a great setting of their own.

Finished in a single day, this short game delivers a promising and definitive conclusion to the end of the series. Let’s see if they did it effectively, yes?

Just a fair warning, however, that to effectively deliver my point, I will have to include some minor spoilers. Sorry guys :|
(I’ll try to be as conservative, though)

Title: 時計仕掛けのレイライン -朝霧に散る花-(Tokijikake no Ley Line -Asagiri ni Chiru Hana-) [Lit. Trans: The Clockwork of Leyline – The Flower that Wilts in the Morning Fog-]
Producers: Unisonshift Blossom
Release Date: January 30, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16212
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=831780
Game Type: Sci-fi mystery novel

Summary: The mystery is solved, and the Special Task Force group has finally defeated the Evil of the school… maybe…? Well, the problem is that the events from 20 years ago is still not solved, and the German guests from the 2nd title are still staying over for some reason. In addition to the real Michiru (who is currently recovering from using a large amount of magic) still frail, Mitsuyoshi (the protagonist) is really at a loss to what to do.

Otherwise, it’s just a peaceful day without troubles… until there’s some rumors regarding an artifact (Myst) in the infirmary room. However, the team soon realizes that this was just a trap set by Futahi, the cunning Homunculus Headmaster. The team soon find out that the Headmaster has not given up on reviving the “Students of the Night” and will go through anything possible to do so.

Just what happened 20 years ago? Who is the mastermind behind this? Working together, the truth behind the tragic story is slowly revealed… which started out with a simple “Hello”.

By this character, who’s supposed to be an important character, but gets the least amount of screentime

Story Length: Short (10 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Slightly Difficult.
Comments: As with other titles, the difficulty doesn’t stem from multiple routes, but the fact that the game asks you “questions” which you answer with what you think happened. At the end of the game, there is a “scoring” section where you are given a rank depending on how well you answered questions. For the first two games, I received SSS and SS ranks respectively, but for this game, I got just a plain “A” rank, which suggests that either I forgot most of the plot from the previous games or was a little dull when answering these questions.

If you don’t want to bother, feel free to use a walkthrough or just save-and-reload. You are given a humorous CG corresponding to your rank.

SSSS-rank quality CG right here

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Welcome to the World with Kindness: Review of [050810]Prism Rhythm

Foreword: Have you ever had a game SO bad that you weren’t even mad, but simply amazed at how much bullshit that you just read?

Yeah, that’s me with this game. Strangely, I wasn’t even mad that I spent time approximately equivalent to two-days-worth-of-sleep on this trashy game from LoS. I could only laugh dryly as I CTRL’d through scenes like I did with Astral Air. The only difference is that this game spared me of all the bullshit by being much shorter.

On the other hand, I need more nukige. My nukige playing has also plummeted, and if anyone has a light-hearted and humorous nukige with decent art that they’d like to share, please let me know and I’ll be very grateful.

Well, I’m not sure if this title was in deserving of it, but here’s the short review of Prism Rhythm.

Title: Prism Rhythm
Producers: Lump of Sugar
Release Date: May 8th, 2010
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v3306
Getchu Link: www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=675568
Game Type: Fantasy Romance Novel with an “Alternate Reality” theme.

Summary: Half a year ago, Kazuki infiltrated into the Holy Forest which was the home to the World’s Savior, the Spring Snow. When the world’s water was densely polluted, this strange tree appeared at the center of the island and began cleaning the water of all the filth and gave brilliantly clean water to the humans, effectively rescuing them from extinction. From then on, festivals were held on this island home to the Spring Snow to celebrate its contribution towards mankind, and includes displays of dance in its glory.

Back to Kazuki, who originally infiltrates the Forest due to his curiosity with fairies, which his grandfather advocated existed in this divine place. With the chaos from the festival, Kazuki has little difficulty gaining entrance, but does not see any fairies.

This is when a strange girl named Caroline startles him from behind and creates a lasting impression. Little does he know, however, that this girl named Caroline is the Eldess (female version of Elder? I couldn’t really get the spelling of this word) of this island, who is the absolute best in the “dance” towards the Spring Snow. Captivated by her dance, Kazuki decides to apply to the school of Verutina as it would give him the authority to investigate the Spring Snow if he graduated from there with a good standing.

 

Story Length: Moderate (~20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Slightly Easy
Comments: Not too difficult, but it’s not a cakewalk either. Some routes will be easy to open, while others aren’t. There’s a “Finale Extra” which becomes a “true route” for the entire game at the end as well.

Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 3/10
Rating Comments: So we have a very inferior game from LoS, and this may even be worse than another inferior game from LoS: Gaku Ou.

The biggest problem with both titles is that despite the character design (Gaku Ou receives a MUCH higher score due to the fact it utilizes subcharacters efficiently), the story for both falls greatly due to unexplained elements. For this title, it was the existence of the Spring Snow and its previous history, which was simply described in a few lines and thrown right over the shoulder. It really fails to help the readers see how important the Spring Snow was to the survival of humans. The Story rating, however, is salvaged slightly with the presence of a “true end”.

Character rating also falls extremely due to “cliche” characters and an even more predictable plot with a conflict thrown at the end just so LoS had the excuse to sell the characters somehow. Routes seemed significantly incomplete and inconsistent as symbolism that did not correspond to the heroine route was used, and even the true route was only placed so readers won’t flame about not having an H-scene with Caroline. Did I also mention how certain routes end abruptly without any form of reasoning?

The protagonist also receives a very low score due to his lack of action within the entire story. Essentially, he is but a visitor who (by miracle) is accepted into the prestigious school, except the game shows absolutely no scenes of him “working hard”. Even afterwards, they simply throw out all the “hard work the protagonist put into getting into the school” out the window as routes focus more on each heroine’s lifestyle instead of the protagonist’s efforts to not fall behind his peers.

Kinda like this, how even some of these scenes involve Ria’s “habits” instead of being solely on Kazuki.

That and Kazuki is never really “protagonist-like” throughout the game which includes him being pretty much toyed around by the heroines and having nothing special about him. Many of the comical scenes when he and the heroines argue or fight involve him losing like a derp and the heroines rubbing it in his face about it. Yeah, not a good trait.

But then the heroines fall in love randomly, so in addition to a shitty protagonist, the entire game seems to be inconsistent. Dear lord, this game is a mess.

Like this SDCG.

Character Summary:

Let’s briefly summarize each character. First we have Erus, which is a shortened version of Erustia. She is actually the younger sister of Caroline and very composed like her sister. Unlike her older counterpart, Erus seems to be much more dexterous and thorough with most of the things she does, including cooking, cleaning, and her studies.

Kazuki originally meets Erus thinking he spied Caroline, half a year later from the prologue. Wanting to startle her like Caroline did to him when they first met, he realizes quickly that he had the wrong person the entire time. This awkward moment, however is quickly dispatched with Erus playing along, and the two quickly become friends.

Throughout the game, it is shown that Erus is essentially perfect in everything… except one thing in Caroline’s eyes, who states that she is missing something. Kazuki constantly wonders what this “missing portion” may be, and it won’t be until later on within her route when he hears Erus’s past and her conflict with Caroline.

Overall, Erus’s route was highly incomplete and had a deus ex machina at the end. Kazuki played very little role despite Caroline’s “foreshadow” of “…you will need to help her when she realizes her barrier”…. which turned out to be something so trivial, I said out loud: “Seriously?”. Oh, if you want to know what Erus was “missing”, the game doesn’t even tell you so don’t even try figuring it out.

Next we have Ria, who is your archetypical “genkiko” (energetic) heroine. In charge of most of the silliness and humor within the story, her bright attitude often brings people together and is actually what Kazuki recognizes to be special within her “dance”. This is partially the reason why Ria is chosen for the dancer during the festival, but Ria refuses the role for some reason.

Kazuki and Ria start to get along after the part-time job that Ria offers to him regarding some laborwork in the strange library (the owner of this library happens to be someone we know, by the way), and Ria’s route starts with Kazuki working more with Ria and slowly finding out more about the girl.

In retrospect, Ria does have that active personality, but in reality, she is extremely passive and does not seem to like to stand out (which is rather contradictory). In contrast, she would often nose into other people’s business and self-proclaim herself to be the “reporter of malice” or even a “walking library”, so in a sense, her entire design was an oxymoron.

In fact, Ria’s route had this theme all around it: uncertainty. She rejects the role of the dance for the festival, but then immediately regrets it. Well, there must be a reason why she did this, right?

… I wouldn’t be bashing her route if there was one.

Next is Gin… which isn’t her real name. Her real name is Christina, yet she prefers to be known as “Gin” due to Kasumi giving her that name in the past. Seemingly infatuated with Kasumi, her relationship with Kasumi is explained in her own route, when this girl who is essentially a foreigner becomes cautious to everyone including Kasumi, although Gin opens up to her relatively quickly.

This affection for Kasumi also seems to be why Gin is cold to Kazuki at first. However, this doesn’t make sense since if you consider that Gin dislikes due to him being “friendly” with Kasumi, the small girl fails to realize that this is natural due to the fact that Kazuki and Kasumi are twins.

Simply put, this loli character with a weird-ass CV was being a bitch to the protagonist for no apparent reason, which is salt on the wound since the relationship with Gin includes how Kazuki offered her yakisoba in the very beginning of the game. Then there’s the fact that she randomly becomes closer to the protagonist with absolutely no transition. I’m a fan of loli, but I can’t stomach a crappy story as this one even with my dirty fetishes.

Last but certainly not the least is Kasumi, the older cousin of Kazuki who also doubles up as the osananajimi character for this game. It is Kasumi who invites Kazuki at the very beginning of the game to see the Spring Snow Blooming, but the two get separated in the massive crowd (which Kazuki takes advantage by sneaking into the Holy Forest). Revealed slightly later, it is shown that Kasumi herself is a very talented dancer and a target of affection by both boys and girls in the Verutina Academy.

Seeming to have some relationship to Gin, Kasumi herself is relatively dry about their relationship, caring for Gin as a younger sister. She also has some blunt and comical relationships with Yuhana, one of the “Eldess” (Highest-leveled Dancers) as well, and creates a humorous atmosphere throughout the game.

Expect your typical “incest” route in this character. Like Gin’s route, there was little to no transition in the two characters (Kazuki and Kasumi) of viewing each other as more than a family member, and especially in Kazuki’s case, he sees Kasumi as a sexual subject and nothing else, making it even worse.

Sexual Content: Low

Comments: So the company had the right idea about having a setting as this one: a world “apparently” (due to the fact that it failed to show any scenes) saved due to the efforts of a single magic tree and everyone pretty much going “omfgthistreeisholylet’sworshipit” which seems pretty ironic since a lot of people would frown upon religion in general nowadays.

LoS failed in the sense it tried to place excessive “fantasy” elements such as “fairies” into this setting, as well as the school-life setting. I really don’t know what’s up with LoS and School-life, but most of their titles (note: other titles from other companies may also apply) would do just fine and perhaps even better with this “school-life” completely removed.

The fact that the “background” of the human extinction crisis was completely missing was not a great factor, in addition to the half-year that the game completely skips in the beginning adding salt to the wound. Characters are highly cliche, story is predictable (with some routes containing Deus ex Machina), and with the protagonist as crappy as you can get, I can’t find a single compliment for this game except for the fact LoS took the time to create a “true route” unlike other games.

Oh, and this guy comes back.

But the story in this one sucks. No transition, nothing explained, and even the true route was just an excuse to add in an H-scene for a character that was really half-assed (Caroline would only appear occasionally and play little to no role in the actual story… In a sense, she was even less important than subheroines).

In addition to this, another reason why the story sucks is that the game conveniently places plot so that once you’re in the heroine route, everything is about that heroine: Kazuki is always thinking about the heroine, subcharacters will mention things that’s related to the heroine, and all the scenes involve that particular heroine in one way or another.

This seems forced. Sure, I understand that the heroine needs to be the center of the attention in her own route, but everything seems so unnatural if LoS goes on and on about how Erus has something missing or how attractive Kasumi is; it just gets sickening after a while. Repetition is good to deliver a point, but too much pretty much makes it annoying. The lack of transition and proper TPO (Time, Place, Objective) for such scenes knocked the score even further.

Affection for the Characters: Very Low

CG Score: 4/10. Good CG, but the scenes they depicted were not the right ones to depict. In essence, they made CGs for scenes that do not need them.
Music Score: 3/10. No special tracks for Gin, whom Kazuki gets close to with listening to music… Horrible Planning thar.

Addictiveness: Very Low

Conclusion: A really crappy game from LoS which relatively lacked humor and may even be the “worst LoS game” I’ve ever encountered so far. Even for previous games, there was at least one good thing about them and this game has absolutely none, which thoroughly disappointed me. Other than Tayutama, I guess it’s best if LoS titles are ignored…. which can’t be done for me since I’m a perfectionist. Bring on the May title… Ugh… X_X;

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures and overall effort I placed into this one. Didn’t feel like wasting any more energy on it.

The Last Drop of Despair: The Story of “Witch’s House”

Foreword: Well, it was back in the summer 2014 when my friend (in real life) came up to me and said, “Hey Jason, you play a lot of visual novels. Have you heard of “Witch’s House”?

I answered “no”.
She then replied by encouraging me to play it, and I agreed while putting the title at the back of my head.

Recently, another friend, named “Aero” has played it, and highly recommended it to me. With his suggestion, I asked where I can get a copy to my in-real-life friend, who willingly showed me the websites.

After 2 hours, my mind was raped and my whole body trembling with my mind completely confused. Curious to know how 2 hours of gameplay could cause such a trauma? You should definitely read on.

Please be noted that this review will contain LARGE amounts of swearing and rage. It may also include some mildly disturbing scenes that may not be fit for those weak of heart.

In addition, please read at your own risk due to my tongue having a relatively higher chance to slip when making reviews for games like this: There WILL be intentional spoilers included in this game. 

Title: 魔女の家 (The Witch’s House)
Producer: ふみー (Fuumi)
Release Date: October 3, 2012
Main Website (Japanese) Link: http://majonoie.karou.jp/index.html
M
ain Website (English) Link: http://www.vgperson.com/games/witchhouse.htm

Translated into English, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Korean

Brief Summary: This story is about a 13 year-old Viola who has been trapped at the Witch’s House. With no where else to go except into the house itself, there will definitely be danger to anyone stepping inside…

Age Recommendation: 12+
Personal Age Recommendation: 15+
This game contains lots of small animations and pixel art that will greatly startle the reader. It is NOT recommended for frail individuals, or people with certain heart conditions.

but the two look so happy!
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