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

Posts tagged ‘winter’

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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Double the Love, Double the Heart: Short Review of [160826]1 bun no 2 Koigokoro

Foreword: I’m actually quite glad that I’m poor and generally pretty lazy. Otherwise, I can see myself losing a lot of money buying these crappy games then raging over it LOL

Right onto the review. Extremely generic is what you should label this game, along with the entirety having god-awful transition. The most primary outcome of said awful transition was that you literally can’t tell whose PoV you’re looking at, at least until some information on said viewpoint is obtained. Point of View switches literally happen within a single black screen and this was extremely confusing and quite disruptive to the overall scenario.

In fact, nothing really makes this game stand out… Other than the fact that it was bad. It’s already a bad thing that its design annoys me, so I’ll definitely criticize this game for having nothing to offer for its readers.

Title: 1分の2恋ゴコロ (Note: “1bun no 2” means two portions of one part, basically saying “2/1”)
Producers: Amanoha
Release Date: August 26, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16220
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=832618
Game Type: Inferior Romance Novel

Summary: Aoi would be your normal teenager, except for the fact that his parents died leaving behind him and his two younger sisters. Since he wanted to support them all he can, Aoi quit his school and started to work part-time jobs to earn their living expenses.

This story is about him, his sisters, and the timid underclassman who was once in the same club as Aoi when he was attending school, as well as the hikkikomori neighbor who often provides them with various meals.

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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

Our Love is always Connected! [150529] Review of Pure x Connect

Foreword: I lied. Despite starting to write the review for Oretsuba first, I felt inclined to finish and publish this review as soon as I can, so here it is.

Yep, I’m gonna have to say that this was a miss from the start.
Pure x Connect, which is SMEE’s “3rd” game (I exclude fandisks) was pretty much hyped by me and a lot others, but it was simply not good. It has the same atmosphere as the previous SMEE games, but has a considerably weaker story as I’ll explain. Plus, the company even got lazy and copy-pasted some things too, which was a huge let-down.

I may have had higher standards for this game, I was actually quite disappointed even aside those expectations. Let’s get on with the review for Pure Connect.

Title: ピュアxコネクト (Pure x Connect)
Producers: SMEE
Release Date: May 29, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16166
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=832646
Game Type: Dating-sim romance novel

Summary: Usami Hayato is a college student who hates “kuso-onna”, or pretty much girls who take advantage of their sexuality against guys. His previous “girlfriend” was similar to this, and since he’s so tired and fed up with these kinds of girls, he goes around shouting “I hate kuso-onna!” all over the place.

The thing is, though, he still wants a girlfriend. He’s obviously lonely by himself and without any friends in college and working part-time jobs whenever he has time, there really wasn’t a chance for him to get to know anyone.

This is when his cousin named Ayumi is added to the story, as well as his new job at the Cafe Pivoine, a fancy bakery which doubles as a restaurant.

Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: As ironic as it is, none of the choices really seem to matter except for when you’re texting a girl at certain points in the story. Even after choosing your heroine, you’re asked to make several ‘replies’ as you did in Lover Able, but that only affects how early the heroine pretty much calls you, which was pointless to the story.
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I Hate Winter! Review of [150327]Yukikoi Melt

Foreword: So this time, I actually made a poor choice with my game. My original interest for this game was mostly due to Pure Girl and Innocent Girl, both extremely well made nukige/charage combo from Front Wing, and I honestly expected something similar in this title as well. However, much to my disappointment, the producers made an attempt to make this game actually a serious charage and shy away from the “nukige” classification. Because of this, the game does receive some good scores in some parts, but very low in others.

In general, Yukikoi also had this general atmosphere that the other previous titles had, so if you’ve played the games before and enjoyed them, I’m sure you’ll like this one as well.

The crew celebrating Yuka’s 30th birthday/Christmas!

Title: ゆきこいめると (Yuki Koi Melt)
Producers: Front Wing
Release Date: March 27, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v15064
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=832647
Game Type: Charage involving the theme of “Winter”

Summary: Miharu absolutely hates the cold temperature. No, seriously. He HATES it with passion. He also hates winter for the same reason, since ice all over the place is just begging for people to be slipping on, and with his intolerance to the cold, he’s genuinely angry for being transferred to this school, where the climate is almost always winter.

One day, as he went his way with a meat-bun in his hand to somehow warm himself up, he heard a scream and looking up, becomes a crash landing site for a girl who was trying to do a triple spin on a snowboard. This girl named Kanon soon apologizes, but as Miharu didn’t want to stay in the cold weather for long, he rushes off as the girl’s head is fused with a snowman.

Soon, he becomes a target for the “Fuyubu” (Winter Club) who are a group of people who absolutely love winter. They’ll do anything related to it and even work as volunteers within the shopping center in the town. As they learn that Miharu hates winter, the members start to try to invite him into the club with the reasoning that “It’ll be more fun with you”. Miharu, of course, refuses.

However, the old Asian saying that “ten swings of the axe will make any tree fall” comes into play as Miharu sees for himself the enjoyment and fun that the group is having, and soon decides that he wants to join in that happiness. He still hates the cold temperatures, but as Usagi says, it’s not right to be prejudiced towards something without experiencing it, and as he spends more time with the club members, Miharu find himself slowly changing.

The original Winter Club members!
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I’ll see you again, in the future: Review of [140131]12 no Tsuki no Eve

Foreword: ALL ABOARD THE 12TSUKI HYPE-BOAT

Well, I think there’s one… right?
Pretty much what you would expect as you start the story, this game is from (insert trumpet horns here) minori! Yep! The awesome company who wrote up one of the best titles known to the English community: the ef series!

Frankly, their design is amazing. With all the character design and story aside, music is brilliant, clear, and bold. Art is at its highest quality and very detailed, and even the CG count is stunningly high.

minori is flat out one of the best companies when it comes to designing the UI or the systems of games: some of the other companies really need to follow their example.

Now, when it comes to story… maybe the following review might help you understand how I feel.

Please Note: The following review may contain unintentional but very mild spoilers! While there is little chance that the story will be spoiled, I warn readers ahead of time for the possible slip-of-the-tongue on my part. 

Title: 12の月のイヴ (jyuuni no tsuki no ibu) [Lit. Trans: Eve of the Twelve Moons… Obviously, the “moons” refer to months, but that’s simply how it’s written]
Producers: minori
Release Date: January 31, 2014
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v12562
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=784949
Game Type: Sci-Fi Drama Novel with the theme of Christmas Eve

Summary: The story starts with Naoto being order to pick up a cake on Christmas Eve. As he does so, he complains to his childhood friend Anzu about how he doesn’t have any family nor a girlfriend on Christmas. As they end the conversation, Naoto is passed by a girl who he thinks he saw somewhere. As he turns around, he sees the girl glaring at him from a distance, and say one phrase that will stay with him forever: “I’ll see you again, in the future“…

Naoto gets up in the morning and starts to head out. However, on the way, he wonders about the word “destiny”. As he does so, he bumps into his childhood friend Mizuka who falls down due to her lack of physical endurance. This is a normal day for the childhood friend trio, who were together since they can remember.

This group then soon includes Yuki, an energetic transfer student with nothing much known about her.

However, as “destiny” ravels out, Yuki is related to Naoto some way…
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White Graduation: Review of [120224]Hatsuyuki Sakura

Foreword:

“Exams? Are they delicious?”

… That was pretty much my mindset as I started and finished this game in another record time–3 days.
This is, however, considering that I really did NOTHING but play this game. As much of a horrible student I am, I am very pleased with my progress, as well as this game.

Overall, Hatsuyuki Sakura was a great game–probably enough to be called a “kamige” by various individuals. However, there’s a reason why I do not call it a kamige (if you want to know why, read on). Released on my birthday, I am shocked and have mixed feelings about this game, but most of it is a good thing, so…..

Well, I’ll definitely be following Saga Planets from now on (considering this is my first game from them)

Title: はつゆきさくら (Hatsuyuki Sakura) [Lit. Trans: First Snow Cherry Blossom]
Producers: Saga Planets
Release Date: February 24, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v7302
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=710938
Game Type: Romance Novel with themes of Graduation and Revenge.

Summary: Hatsuyuki is someone who is feared by his classmates due to his fierce attitude. He skips class frequently, and “threatens” a girl to create an alibi for him. One day, as he was skipping class again, a bunny hops over and snatches a 1000 en bill from his hand. Naturally, the protagonist chases the creature into the old ruined street which is rumored to have ghosts all over the place.

This is where he hears a girl crying, and this meeting between Sakura and Hatsuyuki will be something that triggers a chain of events of chaos, revenge, despair, anger, but most of all, love.

My favorite character: Ran! Unfortunately, she’s not a heroine :(

Please note that this review contains intentional spoilers. Read at your own risk!
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