December 23rd, 2014

Review – Elvine

[Title Image]

This game actually impressed me a bit, as most OELVNs tend be be cliche recycled crap. (See (P)lanets, Halloween Otome, etc.)
This one looks like it values story over trying to be “just like those other VNs” out there. Honestly it’s worth a play.

Story:
The story itself is one of oppression and “last of their race” scenario. Overall it’s done well, BUT, what really killed some of my enjoyment was this “God” bit. Almost as if the game was trying to shove Christianity into it. For one why would the Dragon people ever follow a human god..ever. People make their gods in their image, so having the human god be the “one true god” didn’t feel all that believable in the end. I know I expected there to be a dragon god that was discovered or that “god” didn’t exist or was some outside alienish force. That never happens so the narrative feels broken that in the end the dragon people still believe in the human “God”.
The story is one you need to replay to get it all, which I didn’t mind since it’s short enough
Characters:
The characters are solid and they are all given backstory. None of them felt out of place.
Music & Sound:
The music was appropriate, nothing to write home about though.
Overall:
Overall this is a decent game that actually explores some of the social justice issues around different races, however it’s marred by having the “God” story bits in them. It’s worth a play through or two.
[Screenshots]

February 13th, 2014

Quick Review – Halloween Otome

Halloween Otome Title

Halloween Otome Title

I’ll make this one short and sweet as I couldn’t put up with the blatant misogyny in this “otome game”.
First off the MC (Main Character) and her friend both look like they were referenced from a “bishoujo game” basically a for male audience game, thus the skimpy outfits, broken uncomfortable arm anatomy to show off breasts etc. This is supposed to be an otome game, I am playing this to get away from bishoujoge bullshit. Yet.. there it is!!

These next ones speak for themselves. Let’s to say Mr. Misogyny was sure that I was hitting the kill switch on this game fast.

Firstly the “FEEEEMALES!!” one… He refers to old men as MEN.. not “Old males”, but women are clearly FEMALES. A dehumanizing term.

Next is the “Excuse me this is NO JOB FOR A LADY” bullshit. Yeah seriously, GTFO of otome games Mr. Misogyny.

Lest to say I hit the exit button and didn’t look back. It MIGHT have been a better game except for this bullshit. I am NOT going to sit through this crap.

August 9th, 2013

Review – Rei

Snap 2013-08-09 at 00.35.06Rei is a short Visual Novel made by Sonnet009 in three days for the Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam 2013.  It’s about Aya, who is forced to go ghost hunting with her friend and finds Rei, a ghost that can’t move on thanks to his fuzzy memory. Of course you get to help him and in that you can find romance.

There are I supposed technically two guys you can romance, however they are the same person, just past and present. I’ve only gotten two out of four endings so I don’t know how all of them end up.

The Story:

Overall the story is unique, it’s got a few moments in it that are sexist, like when you say you don’t believe in love you get told “How can you even call yourself a girl” and your going to be an old cat lady, but overall the experience was nice. The story is solid and short and didn’t leave a lot of loose ends to tie up. For a game made in three days, that’s saying a lot that it has a beginning, middle, end and no dangling story.

I can see the story being expanded to include more ghost histories and trying to save them all or only a special one, and a possible harem ending. :D

Characters:

There are only three major character and one minor character.
Risa, Aya and Rei and the minor Taka.
Risa is mostly there as a catalyst to drag you to school and act as a check when your character completes some routes.
Rei is of course the main target in the game. Both the present and past Rei. He’s the jerk type, but if you pick the right options he’s not that much of one. Not like the typical verbal abusing assholes of other otome games.
Taka, well, his character is more of a spoiler than anything, but he’s involved with Rei somehow.
Aya is a nice character and not a doormat. So that is awesome, and most of her choices are given to you so you can basically guide her character how you want. Which is another nice thing.

Art:

This is going to be short because all the art of the game comes from 3rd parties.
Tokudaya and +cube+ specifically. Which means it super nice art, but you might recognize some of the characters or backgrounds.

Music/Sound:

This is where I felt it needed major improvement. There is only ONE sound, and that’s the school bell. Either some more spooky ambient sounds to set the mood or some music or something would have been nice. Maybe have added those at the end and again from a free materials source.

Overall:

Overall Rei is a nice quick game to kill some time and offers 4 routes to play for some replay value. The story can certainly branch out into a fuller game if the author wanted and it could use some more sounds.

August 3rd, 2013

Review – DUÆL

Title Screen for DUAEL

Title Screen for DUAEL

I came across DUÆL while trawling the VNDB for otome games and saw the screen shot popup,  the story was interesting and I had been wanting to explore something similar so I thought ‘why not’.

It should be noted that I played with the adult content OFF, as that was the default and I didn’t know it had any in it…. (I’m not sure how much adult content there was. Play at your own comfort.)

I also THINK I got the good ending so I haven’t seen, or know how to get the bad ending. This review is based on that information.

The Story:
The story deals with two worlds one about Cadfael and his quest to stop the world from being eat by this “Nothing” (think Neverending Story) and Walter a teenage gamer who enjoys playing as Cadfael in the game. Only that people in Cadfael’s world are linking up to the people in Walter’s world.

This is where the story breaks down a bit for me, as we never see another “Linked One”, we only hear that there was a massive group of them that passed through the town.  Thus we never really get to see how they are treated by people that aren’t linked, or how other Linked Ones are dealing with their situation. It was a missed opportunity. Another way the story breaks down is at the end, where everything is being explained. The story never really goes into WHY the things that are happening are happening that way, it’s just.. “Yeah that’s what happened… Don’t know more details… Yup.”

I also didn’t like one part where they are trying to keep some villagers away and the narrative was saying that Lucille was casting weak spells…. I had leveled her up where she could devastate the battlefield, which she did after  you get into that fight, but everyone was powered up.
Also, if Cadfael is the main character of the games, why did he just then bond with Walter. Is the story going with the “Chosen, one out of a million” kind of thing? Still it’s something the story could explore more.

Characters:
There are four main characters in the game, Walter, Cadfael, Lucille, and Kuruk. Honestly I felt that Lucille got the most characterization, even more than Cadfael as we saw more of her emotions. While I felt that Cadfael was going through the motions and had a lot of telling that showing moments. Kuruk by far was the weakest character. You learn nothing about him.

I really didn’t like that the only woman in the party was also the mage/healer as is cliche of the fantasy/RPG world. However she is also the most powerful character in the game. She really breaks the game if you get her Fire 1-3 and level her up in the gym. Kuruk and Cadfael can’t even compare. So at the end boss was basically a cake walk. Walter, since he does not fight, is mostly there for the Earthside aspect of the story. His character is one of the lonely gamer type who finds a connection to the characters he plays. I honestly thought he was done well.
I thought Lucille would also get on my nerves and typically be annoying, however she wasn’t at all and I found I liked her the best. (Her ability to almost one shot a screen of enemies probably helped too, Cadfael looked weak and helpless compared XD)

Gameplay:

Gameplay… was… not so good. While I did enjoy the RPG aspects of the game, grinding at the gym was NOT FUN. You probably don’t need to grind all that much at the gym, but not knowing what comes next I decided to do it. At one point you pretty much have to when you get Kuruk as the enemies are tough enough to kill you.
Lucille is the easiest to level up, Kuruk is the hardest. Also Kuruk is broken, At the end I want to level him up and got him to level 49 and he just would not level up any more. I checked his screen and it constanly said “~8000 point till level 44” Level 44? However he’s not important at the end anyways… especially if Lucille is leveled up to 50. So it was nothing game breaking.
There were also end game items I could not by for whatever reason, maybe on a second play through? In the end I didn’t like the grinding as it took away majorly from the story.

Art:

What is up with that face?

What is up with that face?

The art is proficient enough, not really to my tastes, but the characters feel constant… save Lucille. She has this one face that just does not look good at all. I cringed every time I saw it. If your looking for the kind of anime look that professional Japanese VNs have, this doesn’t have it, but it isn’t so far away from that style like some other Original English Visual Novels (OEVN, OELVN). So Lucille’s face is my major nitpick, past that it might could use a revision later in the artists career to polish things up a bit more.

It also does have a nice shot of Cadfael in there if you so desire it ;3

There’s a character gallery and a CG gallery and a concept art/notes gallery as well. So a bit of stuff to unlock.

 

Overall:

Over all the story was enjoyable, while there was some cliche going on, none of the characters felt too much like a stereotype save for Kuruk the noble knight bear. Lucille most notably felt more human, and while she was jealous of Walter, she showed it more in distrust than the typical clingyness that some authors write. She also has a right to be a bit distrustful of Walter as a whole. Some random floating projection coming out of nowhere and acting familiar with someone you’ve known. Walter was refreshing to see as well, you’d think he’d be a typical power gamer but really he’s a sad loner that gets his human interaction from the games he plays. I feel that there’s a connection to be made there. Cadfael I felt was a bit too stale however, I did like his manner of speaking and his overall personality, but it felt like he was going through the motions and the whole Link between them could be explored a bit more. Kuruk honestly felt jammed in there as a third wheel, but became someone that Lucille could go to after she realized how close Walter and Cadfael had grown together.

I especially liked the ending just after the battle, it was a real smart way to end that kind of story.

DUÆL

October 13th, 2012

[Labyrinth Sprawl] Asciivania

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