After finishing my otome games of November 2016 post, I realised that I’ve forgotten to direct you all to my review of Sapphire Dragon Productions’ Love in the Glen I wrote for the first issue of ADVaNCE e-magazine. Really sorry about this!
As such, I won’t be directly posting the review on this site, but ADVaNCE can be downloaded via itch.io (it’s free) and you can find my review starting from page 61.
A quick note for those wondering what ADVaNCE is: It’s an e-zine with content that focuses on visual novels and ADV (adventure) games with an emphasis on English VNs. ADVaNCE shares its name with the visual novel reviewing website.
Click this picture to see the OP video on YouTube!
NOTE: This review does not contain any sexually explicit content, but some hyperlinks lead to example photos of fashion models in NSFW attire.
90% of R18+ otome games come in three narrative tones: somewhat serious, moderately serious and deadly serious. The most well-received and beloved titles are all serious. To name a few examples: Tsuki no Hikari Taiyou no Kage (2006), Chou no Doku Hana no Kusari (2011), Koezaru wa Akai Hana (2012), Sakuya (2013) and more recently, Yoshiwara Higanbana (2015). The bestsellers with critical acclaim are the beautiful elites who can’t even crack a smile at you even after you paid approximately $70 for their time.
So that’s why the silly, gag-filled, almost hyperactive Bocchi Musume x Produce Keikaku. (“Bocchi“, from here on out) is quite surprising. To compound my surprise, Bocchi is nothing like Kalmia8’s first title, the darker and maturer Torikago no Marriage.
Categories: PC Visual Novel Reviews, R18+ Visual Novel Reviews, Trial Reviews, Visual Novel Reviews
Tags: Bocchi Musume Produce Keikaku, Kaibara Elena, Kalmia8, Kuroi Isamu, Okitsu Kazuyuki, Shirai Yuusuke, Yokote Kumiko, Yotsuya Cider
To check out the game’s OP, please click on the image.
NOTE: This review does not contain any sexually explicit content.
It’s no secret that I’ve been greatly looking forward to the trial of new adult otome game brand MariaCrown’s maiden title, Yoshiwara Higanbana. Technical difficulties meant that the trial was released on the 14th instead of the 11th of September. Honestly, that’s far from a good first impression (and if I were the creators, I’d be reeling). I remain worried about this bungle, but nevertheless eagerly downloaded the fixed, re-uploaded trial.
Anyway, the main things that attracted me to Yoshiwara Higanbana since its announcement are as follows: the darkly dramatic, tragic and mature aura, the brothel setting appearing to be utilised without any bowdlerisation and a protagonist who’s seemingly unlike the many others in the otome world. Plus I’m not gonna lie- the gorgeous art by Ranpumi really helps!
In my eyes, Yoshiwara Higanbana has the makings of a good game… However, does the trial live up to the hype?
Dear Zettai Kaikyuu Gakuen (ZKG),
Congrats on being released! Though the truth is, my interest in you has been yo-yoing so much that I just don’t know what to do with you. Here’s what I think:
What is this? 19th century U.K? How can a school get away with enforcing such archaic and unabashed bigotry in 2020 and not attract any unwanted attention? 2020 isn’t far enough into the future to find this complete change of society’s perception on social classes believable. What a stupid idea for a story… Pointlessly long title, super-boring protagonist and boring love interests (The Arrogant Do-S™, The Perfect Princely Gentleman™, The Flirty Playboy™, The Delinquent™ and The Poor Artsy Bullied Kid™) You even have the Mysterious Principal with a Mature Attractiveness™, Laidback School Nurse™ and the Creepily Supportive of You Female (NO HOMO) Friend™ as support characters!
…but then you released your generously-sized 857MB trial on May 21st, and boy, do many of my first impressions of you seem very wrong!
ALICE=ALICE is Rejet’s take on the famous novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Unfortunately for the long-since-departed Mr. Carroll, his masterpiece was done practically no justice by Rejet’s writers. I did have my doubts, as I’ve been getting sick of seeing every company and their mothers adapting Alice in Wonderland, but since Rejet is (currently) my favourite otome company, I thought ALICE=ALICE deserved a try. I played the trial, and remained interested enough to purchase the game. Sadly, my faith in Rejet didn’t pay off. Don’t get me wrong, ALICE=ALICE isn’t a terrible game- it’s somewhere between “slightly-below-par” and “par”. I don’t know why it received so many good-bordering-on-rave reviews. LOLNOPE. Of course I know why! It’s because of the super-popular cast and the shoehorned fan-service. When only 2/6 routes are worth your time (by the way, the said two don’t even include the implied main guy of the game), “supplementary game” or no, you may need to work on improving your writing, not the fan-service. Sorry Rejet, I know your game- this “EAT ME” business is a sad attempt at emulating your undead horse Diabolik Lovers’ blood-sucking thing. No amount of kissing will atone for the many times I got ass-pulled into the plot holes!
* THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! *
Alongside Blind Prism ~Rainy Season~, Kare to Kanojo no Koi no Sankaku (from here on out, I’ll refer to it as just “KKKS”) is one of the few games I purchased during my monthly(-ish) DL Site shopping expeditions. Priced at just a mere 108 yen, I had even less expectations in KKKS than I did with Blind Prism. Just like Blind Prism, I’m sad to report that I had a baaad time with KKKS. Even moreso than with Blind Prism! The reason why I decided to try this game out (other than because it’s cheap, of course) was because it was created by Skip>>. Skip>> created Sensei no Goshujin-sama, which wasn’t too shabby.
The premise is very simple- the protagonist, Kugami Chika, is best friends with Takaoka Natsuo, and adores Natsuo. However, Natsuo is close to Satou Keita, who Chika dislikes. In order to be able to hang around Natsuo more, Chika tries to become better friends with Keita. As the story progresses, a love triangle emerges and complicates their relationship with each other. Unlike most otome games, and VNs involving love triangles in general, this is a kinetic VN. A kinetic VN is one in which the player simply reads through the text, and isn’t required to make choices or stat-raise. In other words, you merely read how the situation gets resolved, rather than having an active role in choosing who ends up with who.
*** This review will contain spoilers. You have been warned! ***
With only 9 days to go until the release of ALICE=ALICE and Bad Medicine -Infectious Teachers-, Rejet has released a trial for each game on 13th May. I don’t think I spent any longer than 20 minutes per trial. It seemed like Rejet was cautious as to not give too much away. The shortness of the game makes me think that both of these games could be interpreted more as a “supplement” to their respective drama CD series rather than an established, stand-alone visual novel title such as the Black Wolves Saga duology or Ken ga Kimi. This also explains the pleasantly cheaper price when compared to your average otome game. So if you’re strapped on cash and/or would like to play something short that won’t command too many hours of your time, both of these titles are worth checking out- especially ALICE=ALICE.
Categories: PC Visual Novel Reviews, Trial Reviews
Tags: ALICE ALICE, Bad Medicine Infectious Teachers, Hino Satoshi, Itou Kentarou, Kakihara Tetsuya, Kondou Takashi, Midorikawa Hikaru, Rejet, Shimono Hiro, Tachibana Shinnosuke, Takahashi Hiroki, Takahashi Naozumi, Terashima Takuma, Toriumi Kousuke
Blind Prism ~Rainy Season~ is the second release of doujin circle Ka*Kuu. It also is the second release in the Blind Prism series, though the website dictates that you don’t have the play the first game (Blind Prism ~Before Sweets~) in order to better enjoy ~Rainy Season~. From here on out, I’ll be referring to this game as just “Blind Prism”. The story is about the evolution of Kuronagi Mikoto and her overprotective older brother Wakazumi’s relationship. After Mikoto meets with the school nurse, Nikaidou Shinobu, Wakazumi and Mikoto’s relationship begins to change. Anyway, I got the download edition of Blind Prism from DL Site’s Girl’s Maniax section (some content is NSFW) here for 324 yen, encouraged by the positive reviews it had received. At roughly $3.25 AUS, I certainly wasn’t expecting things from it like I would with games by bigger companies, but I was still disappointed. While it isn’t an exceptionally bad game, it is far, far from good. I’ll be going into detail on why it ended up being such a mediocre game- in my humble opinion, of course.
*** This review contains spoilers. Please be wary! ***
Since its release isn’t far away, I would like to share my predictions and thoughts about this game. ONEDARI ShareMate has an interesting system, where players determine which two of the four housemates Ayumi will live with. Though I can’t help but feel it’s a bit gimmicky, if executed well, the mundane premise will be made up for by the system of being able to explore the nuances of Ayumi, Guy 1 and Guy 2’s relationship towards one another. It should be interesting to see how Ayumi’s actions determines the course of the three’s relationships, which will branch in three ways- true love, “sordid affair” (i.e. cheating) or a love triangle. At its worst, it will be a borderline-nukige with a gimmick made to lure optimistic gamers like myself into playing a mediocre game. Given the shortness of the trial, ONEDARI ShareMate has left me with many doubts, which will be elaborated on further into this post.