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

Posts tagged ‘relationship’

Humans Live Today Possibly Dying Tomorrow: Review of [160729] Floral Flowlove

Foreword: Okay, so this review was slightly delayed because I (like I do always) completely forgot I had a 6-day work week which obviously is going to crush my playtime of galge or MMOs. Apologies in advance for the delay!

Let’s get into the review anyways. As you know, my previous games with Saga Planets (or Sagi “Scammer” Planets as some Korean players might call them xD) involved Hatsuyuki Sakura and Kisaragi Gold Star, which I believe are both written by the dreaded Nijima Yuu. It’s going to be a little different this time, with different writers and a different setting; Getchu labels this game as a 恋愛ADV (Romance Adventure) which means it’s pretty much your normal galge.

However, I should definitely mention that I’m really getting sick of all these “Romance Adventure” games that skimp out on romance the most. Don’t get the wrong idea though; story-wise, this game was extremely well planned and highly intricate, while also being fun in some portions, but as it’s advertised as a ROMANCE ADVENTURE game, I’m going to have to criticize the living daylights out of this game because the romance portion was pretty much the worst thing that this game had to offer. Like seriously. Just take out the damned romance and you have such a great game! Why ruin it, SP??

You might also be surprised to hear from me that this game was also quite depressing, at least in my opinion. I’m going to explain my reasoning for this as well as other elements that contributed to this game within the review below, so let’s begin!

In order to properly prove my points, spoilers are included in this review. Please read at your own risk! 

Title: フローラルフローラブ (Floral Flowlove)
Producers: Saga Planets
Release Date: July 29, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18842
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=895714
Game Type: School-life Romance Game

Summary: “I met an Angel that day”

That’s the quote that Masataka states even as he does not believe that God exists or angels for that matter, and this is already on top of how he can see white or black feathers emanating from a person’s back depending on whether or not the person has a good or bad motives. Aside from this special ability called a “Gift”, Masataka is mostly apathetic about various things and refuses to get involved with anyone, including his childhood friend Kano, her best friend Nanao, or anyone around him for that matter.

He was always searching for what happened to him in the past since he couldn’t remember anything, and for the most part, seems do not care that much. It’s not until long, however, a girl named Adelheid who seems to know something about the “accident” a long time ago that catches his attention, and he then finds the motivation to find out everything he can to learn about himself.

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The Cursed Fate known as Bond: Review of [151023]Kenseiki Alpha Ride

Foreword: So June releases weren’t that great, so I decided to go through some backlog as well as play through games I enjoyed in the past. Good stuff, right? Yeah, it is if it wasn’t for me going full retard and trying to play 6 games at once. GGWP, joyjason. Just fabulously smart.

…And that’s the excuse I give to why this review was delayed more than it should have been really…

Regardless, let’s get to this review. I was mostly intrigued by how this game had two protagonists. If you remember my review from Sorcery Jokers and Ikusa Megami Verita, I did mention that I greatly enjoy games that feature two protagonists because that just adds more complexity to the game. However, this game actually botched up in the sense that while it did feature two protagonists, they never really correlate to each other, so it seemed as if the game was two separate “games”. I’ll do more explaining of this, and why I didn’t think this was a good game, further below.

Title: 剣聖機 アルファライド (Kenseiki Alpharide; Alpharide the The Holy Sword)
Producers: Eternal
Release Date: October 23, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v14325
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=796625
Game Type: Fantasy SRPG revolving around themes of “relationships”

Summary: Kai and Shizuma are both normal teenagers in the real world, but both of them were destined to be brought to this world of war and strife sooner or later.

Kai follows the steps of the mother who has passed away, and acquires new friends and an existence that he wants to protect with all his might, Shizuma defeats his opponents one by one and climb the ladder ranks even to the point of becoming the Commander of the Lujiwada Army.

The two protagonists will cross paths, despite how different their environments and mindsets are.

Story Length: Moderately Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Difficult (Level Grinding)
Comments: So the difficulty of this game stems from the fact you need to grind like hell. Yep, this is going to be a real turn-off for some of you, so I suggest getting a savedata from somewhere (Sagaoz doesn’t have one LOL), OR OBTAIN A CERTAIN WELL-USED CHEAT PROGRAM HINT HINT.

No seriously. Get “Cheat Engine” if you’re going to play this game because otherwise, you’ll probably become bald due to hairpulling from frustration. You’ll thank me.

But with jokes aside, this is very bad design; having a game which forces the player to literally “grind” his units from already completed battles (which are also pretty fucking long, mind you), with no real context on said grinding. I’ll make sure to get into the details about this in the comments. In regards to Choices, however, it is extremely straightforward and simple.

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The Stars Shine Whether or not You’re Looking at Them: Review of [151218] Miagete Goran, Yozora no Hoshi wo

Foreword: Well, this was actually quite an unexpected surprise. While expecting a full-on charage with themes of astrology, this game presents some pretty vague but definite symbolism which I didn’t find myself catching at first. Like with the previous title I’ve reviewed, Sakura no Uta, this title also seems to have a very poetic ring. This really makes me think that Pulltop is at least decent with producing games (as seen with a great game called Natsuiro Recipe)

Title: 見上げてごらん、夜空の星を (miagete goran, yozora no hoshi wo) [Lit. Trans: Look up, to the stars in the night sky]
Producers: Pulltop
Release Date: December 18, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16560
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=842090
Game Type: Poetic Novel revolving around astrology and themes of “stars”

Summary: Akito hikes up into the forest to the abandoned train station, where he enjoys his morning coffee and looking off into space. Ever since he fought with his childhood friend Hikari and had a bitter separation, he decided to not go stargazing anymore, but always had this “morning ritual” before he would devote his day to schoolwork and part time jobs at the Sawotome Convenience Store.

It’s been 6 years since that day when Hikari disappeared, and the friends around him suggest that he move on. The truth is though, Akito is still hesitant and scared and would rather be called that one “Astrology Member who never looks at Stars”.

This is when he receives an invitation to visit another school’s astrology club from his own club’s head. Mostly heading over to politely decline whatever they had to offer, the president offers to recruit him into the Mutsurashi Conference, or a group of people who want to share the beauty of the skies with everyone.

The “leader” of said Conference, Orihime

Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: The first choice of what to do with the letter splits the game into two arcs; one with Saya and Hikari, the other with Corona and Orihime. The route then splits again into said heroine routes, so I don’t think anyone would have too much trouble.

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: A mediocre game, which has its goods and bads, so let’s try to go through them.

First Character Design. Generally well done, I enjoyed the various plethora of subcharacters who worked as support characters throughout the game and within routes. This especially worked well since other heroines still participate in each route (with the exception of Hikari who completely disappears in the Corona/Orihime arc). While the main heroines seemed a bit more generic (osananajimi, tomboy, senpai/kouhai), I still found them to be more colorful than what I would find a normal galge with traits that I’ll discuss later in the character sections.

Story is decent at best. Sure, there are those scenes where the game “teaches” its readers about the various stars, shapes, and technology used in astrology using highlights within the main game, but that’s really all there is to the story. The rest is essentially the same old “club activity” storyline prevalent in a lot of other galge. If at all, I gave story a bit of a higher score because of the poetic ring, the ambiguous symbolism at the end, and maybe the love triangle that Pulltop attempted to pull off (pun not intended) in the Saya/Hikari arc.

Protagonist is really what makes this game go into the gutter more than anything else. Seemingly normal, the only thing that separates him from any other male astrology club members was his past history with Saya and Hikari. If at all, while he does have the insights of an astrology member (and maybe the diligence), it wasn’t particularly outstanding, nor was he a great of an individual for the game to attempt to have a full-on love triangle for.

Basically, Akito was too normal and boring as this game’s protagonist, in addition to several other designs ultimately creating a minus more than anything else (e.g. his firm determination to never look at stars but changes his mindset at the beginning of the game without much happening). Even within the game, the heroines are never given that “romantic transition” with Akito, making this game also have one of the worst types of romantic development; aka, none.

Character Summary:

So despite how the game presents the characters, it’s actually recommended to go through Orihime and Corona’s routes first, since the producers put a lot more effort into Hikari/Saya’s arc.

So Orihime. She’s the club head who calls out Akito after hearing he was the “club member who never looks at stars” and tries to convince him to join the Mutsurashi Conference due to him having a great amount of knowledge for astrology. As an upperclassman 2 years older than Akito, she’s ironically shown to be more childish and playful than what we would normally expect from a “senpai” archetype, and loves anything to do with astrology or horoscopes, seen by her using tarot cards to create a first impression on Akito the very first day they meet.

Voiced by Tono Soyogi, I thought this was a very good match for Orihime’s character; mature but playful. The entire character needed a relatively serious, but cheerful atmosphere, for which I think Tono Soyogi was a perfect fit.

Orihime’s route mostly involves how she is approaching graduation, but never really “created a legacy” as she hoped to do during her school-days. She had gotten her love for astrology from her mother, but always compared herself to her, causing herself even more distress than she needed to.

Next is Corona, the younger sister of Takeichi and as the readers will quickly see, she has a huge crush on Akito from since their childhood since she compared her brother to the calm and solemn protagonist. Even more childish than Orihime, this is to be expected since she’s younger than Akito. In addition to this, Corona expresses her disdain for Saya quite liberally, which is answered in her own route.

Despite this, it is shown that Corona is heavily protected and very intelligent. It’s always been a complaint to her that during every event that occurs in the game, she is left out purely because her mom wouldn’t let her go out and play with friends, and instead made her study at home. Also because of this, Corona is relatively ignorant about the outside world, and has no idea what she wants to do with her future.

Overall, routes for both Orihime and Corona really lacked impact, and both heroines did better as a subcharacter than heroines themselves. Especially for Orihime, who outside of her own route, was “graduated” and never really made a contribution anyways.

Despite how it seems like Hikari is the main heroine, it’s actually Saya who’s considered the “Central Heroine” since she plays a role within all four routes unlike the tomboy heroine. Immediately recognized with the gold/blue heterochromia, this has been her taboo since she was young, but in my honest opinion, heterochromia is pretty damn sexy.

My perverted opinion aside, it seems that Saya has been with Akito for as long as they can remember, from when Saya transferred to their kindergarten and up until high school. From a third-person’s perspective, she almost looks like Akito’s girlfriend, often bringing him food to the school she doesn’t even attend (they attend different schools) almost to the point Saya accepts and becomes fond of the title “Traveling Wife”. In reality, it’s obvious that a girl so loyal holds a very large amount of affection for the protagonist, who doesn’t really think of it too much until much later.

As mentioned previously, Saya and Hikari are involved in a full-blown love triangle which is prevalent in both routes (so this is a good trait!), but it’s neglected to a large extent in Saya’s route much to my disappointment. Instead, Saya’s route focuses more on the past of her and Akito, which then becomes the implied symbolism for Saya’s route; that “Stars are the representation of the Past”.

Overall, Saya as a character was pretty adorable, though like with all the other heroines, the transition of the romantic interest on behalf of Akito was completely lacking and even Saya herself had only flimsy “past events” which kept her being so loyal (which was rather unrealistic). She plays a role in all the other routes making her the “central heroine”, but the game makes it so as if Hikari is the “main heroine”. While ambiguous, I think this works well because of the love-triangle present in both routes.

Now only if Akito would have been more of a protagonist than he was >.>;;

Hikari is the red-haired tomboy who fought with Akito in the past and disappeared. Despite this, she was essentially Akito’s motivation to live and go stargazing, so after her disappearance, Akito felt betrayed and disappointment for this character more than anything. However, as fate turns out, Hikari returns to the town with her father’s continuous changing of jobs (I like how this game pulls in the parents to play a part in the story, but it’s more as a “restrictive” role more than an encouraging one for their children), and both Saya and Akito are completely surprised to see the return of this character who they never thought would be able to see again.

With the return of Hikari, Akito seems to be more willing to go stargazing again, and starts to become involved a bit more. While I generally thought this was a good transition, Hikari’s route also involved the crappiest transition to romance with a large portion of the mid-section being Hikari refusing Akito’s confession multiple times because of feeling obligated to Saya, but changing that mindset suddenly after a certain scene. To be honest, I thought Hikari’s route had the romance with the LEAST amount of validity because even for characters like Orihime and Corona, Akito never really had that “negative emotion” of feeling betrayed suddenly transitioning into love for absolutely no reason. While said “past conflict” was explicitly resolved at least in her route, there should have been much more taken for the two characters to slowly regain that trust they once lost for each other, and thus the romance seemed abrupt and crude.

In addition to this, Hikari herself disappears permanently within two of the routes anyways, so I thought it was pretty damn retarded for Pulltop to “try” to make her a main heroine as such (via making her more conspicuous on the cover, etc…) Regardless, Hikari’s route itself has a bunch of conflict going on which made it at least worth reading. The resolution felt awfully convenient though, but people who have already went through the game can debate about this a bit more.

Let’s also debate whether Saya or Orihime make the better “Traveling Wife”!

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments: So some comments. I actually quite like how in the beginning, there were “animated” backgrounds pretty much right off the bat. This really enhanced the “visual” feature, and it doesn’t stop there; the game also uses various highlights to mark some of the constellations, which was a big bonus since it teaches the readers about what the characters are discussing.

Some of the negatives might be that other than Saya/Hikari, Orihime and Corona as a whole seemed very insignificant. It’s almost as if the writers simply attached them as somewhat of a “bonus” to the main storyline, although it’s true that these routes briefly touch on the identity of specific subcharacters and necessary in that sense. Both deviate quite heavily from the symbolism of stars and may not even hold a “quote” as the writers included for Saya and Hikari. For the reference, they are as follows:

Saya: The Stars represent the Past and History

Hikari: The Stars represent the Infinite Possibilities (thus the future)

The possibility of being able to explain this scenario without looking absolutely ridiculous? Near zero

Which actually worked pretty nicely in contrast… though on the other hand, it seems that this is the only “symbolism” that the game expresses at all, making the entire game seem like a charage. I say this because within the game, there’s very little seriousness and/or conflict. Sure, there’s that love-triangle, but it’s never resolved well, and problems arising from Project Starlight also gets resolved relatively conveniently: my impression as I finished the game was that it was all pretty anticlimactic.

In all honesty, I don’t think this game really warranted a fandisc (which was released quite recently). It involves characters who weren’t so important, so I think I’ll pass anyways.

…Now that I think about it, I think I may have had too high of an expectation after Natsuiro Recipes LOL

I don’t know if it’s because of the string of doujin/nukige I’ve been going through recently, but I was half-expecting a “harem” route of some sort.

I seriously think Akito’s design was quite unfortunate. I generally liked his traits of being so diligent and knowledgeable about astrology, but I really hated how he suddenly used the fight with Hikari as an excuse to not look at stars, came back to stargazing after seemingly not much conflict, falling in love with heroines for almost no reason and without a good transition (especially with Hikari), and generally not having impact on heroines in general.

Affection for the Characters: Moderately Low

CG Score: 8/10. Added a couple of points for all the animations to be honest, which really worked to the game’s benefit more than anything else
Music Score: 5/10. The game does have some nice soundtracks, but they never really added a mysterious or darker soundtrack as it would have been appropriate to represent Akito’s “uneasiness” when he went stargazing.

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion:

Pros

  • The game includes various animations to enhance visuals as well as various highlights to teach the readers about constellations, if he wasn’t familiar with it already.
  • There is a definite attempt at one of the most difficult story elements; a love triangle. That in itself is worth a praise.
  • While the game does have archetypical character design, each heroine does have something unique about her that allows originality.
  • Subcharacters are well utilized to create conflict, act as support, and offer connections between main heroines or the protagonist
  • There are “flashbacks” well-placed at certain points within the game allowing for a good flow and pace.
  • Symbolism for the theme of this game (Stars) exist in the main routes, although it’s possible to argue that the lack of thereof in other routes also makes this a negative trait

Cons

  • Protagonist, while very diligent and admirable for the most part, is also someone you can’t really become too immersed with since his beliefs are rapidly overturned in the beginning of the game and he makes little impact on the heroines.
  • Romance is absolutely terrible in this game, and seriously makes me wonder why the producers even bother with it in the first place (I know it’s for H-scenes but still =_=)
  • Two of the four heroines are greatly insignificant and more of a “filler” than anything else

Overall, I would consider Miagete goran to be one of the “more decent charage”. I can’t really say it’s worthy of being a “good galge” because of its flaws in romance, protagonist design, and maybe even story to a certain extent (e.g. not having significance outside of “teaching” the readers about constellations). Because of this, I also cannot understand why there would be a fandisc for it in the first place, but then again there are inevitably people who are screaming that this is the best game ever (Protip: Twitter gives you cancer).

I would only recommend this game to players who actually enjoy storyline revolving around constellations and/or astrology, and advocate that if this isn’t the case, there are better options available.

Okay, I might go through the FD for Saya