December 26th, 2014

Review – Spirited Heart (Deluxe)

I had trouble with the game back when I first played it and was rudely told by the creator that “It was playtested and not broken/unbalanced!”
So, I found out I could get a Steam key and tried it again.
The game is still essentially still broken/unbalanced because the stat system is terrible.

There is really no plot to speak of and the only world building you get are little snippets here and there.

The stat raising itself is garbage. You have the option to choose random dice to add up to a number without going over OR Auto Job, which just gives you a random outcome. Honestly, you’ll just want to pick Auto Job everytime as it’ll give you more favorable results.

Speaking of! Of you do poor you get nothing, if you do average you get half and if you do Good you get the amount you are supposed to. Perfect I think nets you 1/3 more or something. Considering how bad the dice fail is, Average should net you the full amount with Poor netting you half as you’ll be seeing POOR more often than not.

STATS! It seems stats go up randomly if you get Average-Perfect and even then it seems that the stat gains are random as well, I’ve gotten perfects and have had 0 stat gain.

ALSO BTW! You can have multiple events that steal your money, lower your health AND lower your stats. Stats you worked hard to raise through the crappy dice system or the meager wages you scraped up. So I’d often find myself taking 6 weeks or more just to recover from everything to Work/Train again.

ROMANCE! SO the romance is based on random chance. As other’s have said, you’ll randomly encounter your love and then have to pick the right choice to make the meter go up. Fail to do so and you didn’t pick the right choice.. I hope you can get that character to show up again. So really you’ll be switching off the boys and girls in the options to increase your chance of an encounter, or at least eliminate choices you don’t want to appear.

In the end, the game where everything is made up and points don’t matter. No really the points just seem to be there to get you a second tier job and I don’t think there is a third tier despite the graphics looking as if there are more tiers.

Comparing this to Princess Maker 2 and Prince Maker Braveness (MSN2), it fails to do stat sim and romance decently.
Using PM2 as an example, the marriage options were strewn throughout the game and the points were more or less used to get them. Want to marry the prince, talk to him every January and raise the Decorum, Social and such stats. Want to marry a dragon? Become a warrior and go on an adventure in the dragon ruins, thus all the combat stats go up. The prince is in the no time advancement Social menu, the dragon is on an adventure and there is yet even MORE people you can meet. There were things like talking to the character, going to town, talking to the palace people. Stuff that gave you a goal to focus on.
Spirited Heart? There is no point to the stats. At least in Long Live the Queen the stats were useful to try and maybe stay alive (though that game has issues). You could try and focus on combat to war your way through the game or dancing and such to try and socialite your way through the game. Magical Diary? Mandatory to get through the game (Even though a lot of spells were useless). The three character stats affected if you were going to romance anyone.

There seems to be a sequel in the make, hopefully it will be better than this and actually try and emulate the games it seeks to copy from. It just seems here the person didn’t ‘get’ what was fun about those games and thought kludging stats + romances without meshing them with a story in some way was going to work.

December 24th, 2014

Review – Rising Angels: Reborn (SPOILERS)

[Title Image]

Rising Angles: Reborn is a sci-fi mystery visual novel. You’ve been sent to investigate some ruins and somebody doesn’t like what you found.

Story:

Honestly the story is a bit weak. It could have been so much better if it didn’t take the path of least resistance. For a while there I thought that demon guy was just a petty smuggler and the REAL culprit behind everything was someone else. I was sadly mistaken. The makes what happens in the story seem bland and cliche and take any mystery out of it.

Characters:

Overall the characters are good, except Sol. He’s the resident racist, and in the end he’s more or less treated as the “cute/funny oh look at him so racist” character, rather than getting torn apart for still calling others “housecat” and “lizard brain” when they have stated they didn’t like it. What’s worse is that Rasoona is played off as the “cold bitch” character so when Sol kills her, it very much looks to me as a horrible misogynistic act. Not only did the “cold elf bitch” get “put in her place” it was by a man, and a man who was a racist fuck. She never gets a chance to learn that you aren’t a terrible SITO person, just just gets killed. By a racist fuck who’s racism is just ignored at the end.
I’m not sure she’s saveable as the ending I got was the “TRUE END” which means she had to die, which I find rather bullshit. (I did Zuri’s path)
The rest of the characters are cliche for their race, however they are given more of a depth than most other games do. While Zuri want to be the super dragon warrior, she also struggles with it.

Music & Sound:

Music was appropriate for the game. No track really stuck out to me as anything special.

Overall:
Overall this game is good to OK. It’s worth playing but don’t expect any deep mystery. The obvious looking evil demon guy did it. That’s it… That being said it’s worth exploring the story itself as there is more going on than just the mystery of who keeps sabotaging stuff.

[Screenshots]

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.