Otome Games of NaNoRenO 2016

NaNoRenO2016

PLEASE NOTE: All titles are doujin computer freeware available for Windows, Mac and Linux unless otherwise stated.

Title Release Date Notes
Rules They Abide By 09-3-2016 G x G option.
Magical Otoge Anholly [Link] 28-3-2016 Sequel(?) of Magical Otoge Ciel; referred to as “game 1.5” in the Magical Otoge series.
[R18+] Love and Romance – A Study of Intimacy 29-3-2016 Sexual content is skippable.
Between the Lines 31-3-2016
Phantom of the Hospital
01-4-2016 G x G option.
Heartbaked 02-4-2016
Iris Dream 07-4-2016 Beta, partial voice acting.
Lads in Distress 07-4-2016
misSHAPEn love! 08-4-2016
2 Minutes for Roughing 09-4-2016

 

 

What is NaNoRenO?

 

NaNoRenO is an annual visual novel game jam event in which participants challenge themselves to create a VN within a month. NaNoRenO takes place during the whole of March, and is mostly held at Lemmasoft Forums (perhaps the largest OELVN development gathering on the web). For 2016, NaNoRenO ran from March 1st until April 8th.

For more information, please check out the following links:

Lemmasoft Forum’s NaNoRenO page: https://www.lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=25451
Itch.io’s NaNoRenO 2016 page: https://www.itch.io/jam/nanoreno-2016

 

 

 

Rules They Abide By

 

RulesTheyAbideByNano2016

Release date: 09-3-2016
Age rating: 16+
Developer and Publisher: Cera Studios
Official website: http://www.cerastudios.com/rules-they-abide-by/
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=37532

 

* Plot Summary *

Straight-laced Misao Suzuhara is new to her teaching career. Fresh from a University in Tokyo, she lands a home room role for a class of third-year high school students in rural Gunma prefecture. However, Misao’s bland and carefully-planned life takes a turn for the unexpected when she piques the interest of a mysterious and underachieving student bent on teaching her some real life experiences of his own.

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

It sounds pretty plain, to be honest, so it’ll all be in the execution of the overdone student x teacher concept (which I don’t particularly love or hate). Don’t have anything against it otherwise, but I can’t say I’m interested.

 

 

[R18+] Love and Romance – A Study of Intimacy

 

LoveandRomance-AStudyofIntimacyART

Release date: 29-3-2016
Age rating: R18+ (sex scenes are optional)
Developer and publisher: Michaela Laws
Official website and Itch.io page: https://vamichaelalaws.itch.io/love-and-romance-a-study-of-intimacy
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=37866
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19214

 

* Plot Summary *

Amelia Waters is a brilliant 26-year-old romance writer who, after years of hard dedication and work, became the top romance novelist of the millennium. However, she has always felt that something was wrong with her writing and, after reading her books again, she finally found out what it was: the sex scenes were garbage. In need to fix this issue, Amelia talks to her manager and agent, Lee Yoon Ho, and asks for help. He manages to grab keys to a cabin, isolated from society, and takes her there for a week to help her get her head in the game and and for her to practice writing about sex.

When she hits a brick wall, Lee offers to help her again… with his body.

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

I applaud Ms. Laws’ bravery in releasing an OELVN otome R18+ game, which are vanishingly rare.  More importantly, I commend her truly admirable goal of centering the sex scenes around love, passion and consent rather than the Japanese otome world’s concerningly high amounts of unhealthy sexual practices. All the scenes are optional and players are able to stop them whenever they like- keeping in line with the “consent” theme.

I’m not saying that fans with more “hardcore interests” should get denied of their games… While I don’t fall on either extremity of the “vanilla~hardcore” spectrum, I think that consideration should be given to making games more centred around consensual, loving scenes rather than restrict them to “only happy endings/routes”. The otome drama CD market seems to be doing fine with sugary stuff (R18+ or not), so I thought the waters have been tested enough and sugary R18+ games would start cropping up by now…

Anyway, back on topic… The premise isn’t too strong, let alone the point. I’ve come across this type of plot before, and I’m not really sure if a romance writer could become a world-class success without a good grasp on love scenes in the current market. If it weren’t for the intriguing background behind the creation of this VN, I would have dismissed it as an excuse-for-porn kind of story. On one hand, I like the fact that Love and Romance isn’t trying so hard like many other “dark, deep and mature” R18+ otome games, but on the other hand, this isn’t the type of simplicity I’d be after.

That being said, thanks to the simplcity… If you’re new to otome R18+, perhaps Love and Romance would be a good place to start and then “work your way through” some more games until you reach the peak of your comfort levels.

Will I play this game? To be honest, I’m very interested to see the outcome of the creative direction, so I think I eventually will.

Congratulations again to Michaela Laws again on achieving her creative vision and releasing it before the end of NaNoRenO 2016!

 

 

Between the Lines

 

BetweentheLinesNano2016

Release date: 31-3-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by developer.
Developer and Publisher: missxtake
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=37913

 

* Plot Summary *

Bianca is living with her parents and halfheartedly studying to try to get into college. She doesn’t really know what she’d want to do there, to be honest, but her parents want her to be there — and they make it very clear that she’s to start doing something about it, very soon.

Deciding to take a break and try to focus on something else, Bianca picks up a novel (with a pretty ribbon attached to its spine) titled “Sage of the Sea” at a vintage bookstore. While she’s reading, though, she suddenly feels a bad headache coming on, and decides to sleep through the pain…

When she wakes up, she’s somewhere completely different.

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Ah, it sounds suspiciously like the “sucked into [X]” thing I’m sick of and don’t like. Again, I know it’s all in the execution, but I keep on thinking, “why bother trying anymore when I’ve been disappointed by this type of plot a million times?” Though, I like Ettore; he seems like a cool guy.

 

 

Phantom of the Hospital

 

PhantomoftheHospitalNano2016

Release date: 01-4-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by developer.
Developer and Publisher: Hidden Masquerade
Official website and itchi.io page: https://hidden-masquerade.itch.io/the-phantom-of-the-hospital
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=37938
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19266

 

* Plot Summary *

Helena has always justified her irresponsible life of partying with a smile and more beer. She wanted to live life to the fullest and not waste a single day on things she saw as “boring”. One day, though, one glass too much gets her into the hospital where she enjoys the company of her overly caring best friend Mel and handsome but kind of mysterious young man Alex. She finds herself in an unexciting environment where she feels trapped.

But, her boring nights become exciting when she hears a story of a ghost that roams the hospital in late hours…

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Sounds a bit cliché, but overall, nothing sounds blatantly stupid or wrong when it comes to the story and characters. It’s just not interesting enough to me.

 

 

Heartbaked

 

HeartbakedNano2016

Release date: 02-4-2016 (completed on 30-3-2016)
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by the developer.
Developer and Publisher: Gourmet Visual
Official website and itch.io page: https://gourmetvisual.itch.io/heartbaked
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=37960
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19263

 

* Plot Summary *

In a beautiful elven village hidden away in a lovely little forest, one pastry chef has just reached the last recipe in a sacred book passed down from her grandmother. Ginger has waited her entire career and quite possibly her life for this, and cannot wait to finally have created everything inside. However, the last recipe requires an ingredient that she doesn’t have in her pantry. TRUE LOVE! Ginger must go on a journey to find this true love, hopefully in one of the three admittedly quirky guys she knows. One problem though- she sucks at it. Good luck.

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Looks so cute (especially the protagonist- SO adorable) and I take no issue with it… Up until the “TRUE LOVE” thing. It could become a very, very long post if I explained why I don’t like (aside from the fact that I’m very much a cynic) the cheesy love tropes like “true love’s kiss”, “love conquers all”, “power of love”, etc. The things I always wonder about these “true love” stories are who decides how much love is enough? What constitutes as “true love?” How is it decided? I know it’s fantasy and doesn’t need to follow logic, but I just can’t get over the folly of making an item that hinges on an arbitrary concept like “true love”.

 

 

[BETA] Iris Dream

 

IrisDreamNano2016

Release date: 07-4-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by the developer.
Developer and Publisher: Iris Dream
Official website and itch.io page: https://irisdream.itch.io/iris-dream
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=37418
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19267

 

* Plot Summary *

This is a story of hopes, dreams and clutching them tightly, never wanting to let them go. However, some things aren’t as easy as they sound.

Regina is a talented, semi-famous singer with her own fan base. She’s very passionate about singing on stage, and nobody can deny that she has an amazing voice. To her, singing is about conveying messages and her emotions through music.

However, she discovers that she’s losing her voice. Every day, her voice gets hoarser and lower in volume. At first, it was just a mild case of laryngitis, but it eventually proves to be much more. She may permanently lose her voice. She becomes more and more depressed.

Meanwhile, the people around Regina are encouraging her by telling her that there’s a chance of recovery, or that there are other, new ways she has yet to discover which she can use to express her feelings.

Will she be able to recover? Will she find another medium wherein she can freely express her feelings? Will she find romance and happiness? Or will she fall into the pit of despair?

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Too bad that it’s still in the beta stage, because I like the sound of this! In terms of its concept, it’s nothing original or exciting. However, I like the idea of watching how Regina will deal with this big obstacle in her life; how her new relationships will change how she solves her problem or copes with it. It’s a great feeling when you know that the protagonist has suffered throughout the story, but after much toil and effort, conquers their demon (or at the very least, come out with a much more positive outlook). I’ll also enjoy the story even if it turns out to be more on the tragic side; maybe even moreso if it does.

 

 

Lads in Distress

 

LadsinDistressNano2016

Release date: 07-4-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by the developer.
Developer and Publisher: Catfish Crew
Official website and itchi.io page: https://catfishcrew.itch.io/lads-in-distress
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=37356
Tumblr: http://www.ladsindistress.tumblr.com/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19261

 

* Plot Summary *

The whole Lunar Kingdom is abuzz with excitement and curiosity – Princess Charming is throwing a royal ball to celebrate her 18th birthday, much to everyone’s surprise. Invitations have been sent to nobles and royals from all neighboring nations, although Charming and her parents only really care about the princes. After all, everyone knows that the true purpose of the ball is for Charming to find a man suitable as her husband so that she can form an advantageous political alliance, or even merge their nations together, to save her kingdom from poverty. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) for Charming, the princes may need to be rescued just as much as her kingdom does.

Choose a lad in distress to save in this comedic retelling of three well-known fairy tales!

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

I don’t like the “flip the genders!” gimmick, and I don’t even need to mention how overdone otome “retellings” of fariytales are. I grew up with and love fairytales, so it should be a selling point, but I find myself sighing at how pointless these stories are- most of these types of games don’t “retell” the original tale in any new, interesting or meaningful way. However, the fact that this is a comedy and has the potential to be a parody of typical otome concepts (many of which feel as outdated as fairytales) is something I’m interested in checking out.

Aside from the super-annoying amnesia thing, Prince Mer is the most interesting guy, IMO- and not only because The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairytales. I love dandere, though Mer may not technically be one, because he literally can’t talk unlike the dandere who is usually too shy to. I’m curious to learn just what happened to him.

As for the Prince Snow, he barely sounds anything like the actual Snow Queen. I hope there’s a lot more to him than his profile suggests and that he actually shares some things in common with the actual Snow Queen, though it’s not a very comedic-sounding choice. The Snow Queen is also one of my favourites.

I’m really on the fence for this one. It could be a pretty fun comedy poking fun at stale gender conventions, but the gimmicks make me distrustful. Since it’s free, at least my money won’t be wasted if I didn’t enjoy it. So perhaps I’ll leave this in my backlog.

 

 

misSHAPEn love!

 

misSHAPEnloveNano2016

Release date: 08-4-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by the developer.
Developer and Publisher: Alcor, etc.
Official website and itchi.io page: https://alcor-etc.itch.io/misshapen-love
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=38050
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19268

 

* Plot Summary *

Mia Hapen is a talented art student, but she is forced to take a dull and
difficult calculus class to meet graduation requirements. Inattentive and
bored out of her mind, she does the only thing that can keep her from
falling asleep–doodling in her graphing notebook.

Of course, when the professor is talking nonstop about derivatives of sines,
cosines, and tangents, the only thing to doodle are geometric shapes.
Soon, Mia finds herself daydreaming about dating the shapes she has doodled…

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Obviously not intended to be a serious story, but it’s not silly enough to grab my interest. Nothing against it, though- it just doesn’t sound like my type of humour.

 

 

2 Minutes for Roughing

 

2MinutesforRoughingNano2016

Release date: 09-4-2016
Age rating: All-ages; none specified by the developer.
Developer and Publisher: Yoshibb
Official website and itchi.io page: https://yoshibb.itch.io/2-minutes-for-roughing
Lemmasoft page: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=37386
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v19262

 

* Plot Summary *

Paige loves hockey. She’s studied and played on and off the ice for as long as she can remember. Her knowledge and toughness are top notch. While she’s never been gifted in natural skill, she’s one of the best when it comes to adapting to opponents and teammates. There’s only one problem, her temper. Paige has racked up innumerous suspensions and even been kicked off teams for her legendary bouts of rage.

However, she finally feels like she has her temper under wraps and she’s ready to give her favorite sport another go. Her brother has agreed to bring her to practice with his dek hockey team to see if she’s ready to handle competition once again. First step, making sure she can get along with her new teammates!

 

~ The plot summary has been taken directly from the official website.

 

* My Thoughts *

Paige sounds awesome. That has to be said first.

However, I care little about sport, let alone sport otome games. I doubt you’d need extensive knowledge of (dek) hockey to be able to enjoy the story, so that shouldn’t be a problem. If you do need extensive knowledge, that’s just a bad writing choice since the point of this game sounds something like “learn to cooperate”, “learn to handle the ups and downs of sport” and such.

Which brings me to my next point… I find stories involving sports (especially team sport media in Japan) all go down the same kind of path and have the same handful of character archetypes. They’re often cheesy ’cause they’re usually about “the value of a team” or “learning to cooperate”.

Even so, I’m interested in giving this one a shot, since I like the idea of older (and hopefully, maturer) characters, Paige sounds wicked and none of the main characters put me off (considering when it comes professional games, there’s always one or two that makes me sigh and roll my eyes, so this is great).

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Categories: Otome News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Otome Games of NaNoRenO 2016

  1. Pingback: NanaReno 2016 – Favorite Visual Novels Ed. | hayurika

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