Expect a new review soon™.
Welcome to my refuge, where shitty porn games reign supreme and salt is the only currency. Here you will find ramblings about things that make most of my current life, aside from art, work and sleeping. I typically rant about visual novels - mainly eroge and other vn-related topics, but you might stumble upon different genres from time to time. Digital entertainment aside, I also talk about wide range of topics I take interest in - gamedev, otaku media, good books... the list goes on. I do post infrequently and when I actually do, don't expect any logic, nor coherence. Randomness is my sister and my attention span is that of a few weeks old pup. On a side note - I tend to be more critical of stuff I particularly like. I do not rate the vns I play, providing fair summaries instead. I have a very low tolerance for stupid bullshit.
If you're looking for honest opinions about games, without any sort of sugar-coating or political correctness, you're in the right place.
Hope you'll enjoy your stay.
Disclaimer: Creator of this blog does not take responsibility for any negative results caused by prolonged exposure to salt. Bias at the bottom of the bottle is a naturally occurring process. May (or may not) contain high amounts of catgirls. You've been warned.
Expect a new review soon™.
Yeah, exactly that.
Title: オトミミ∞インフィニティー (Otomimi ∞ Infinity)
Developer: Applique -Sister-
Genre: Social Fiction
website (overseas IP's are currently blocked because Akabei Soft3 are a bunch of faggots)
Despite being a very popular trope in japanese pop culture, mimikkos don't appear that often in visual novels. Sure - they aren't uncommon as side characters or a single addition to the game's cast, but that's pretty much where it ends in most cases. Games focusing on these are a rarity and it's ever harder to find one that tries to be more accurate and ambitious, rather than focusing on their moe and fetish aspects. I wanted to play one of such games for longer while, so when @Clephas mentioned Otomimi Infinity around a year ago, I couldn't restrain myself from elevating this visual novel to the top of my backlog. And in all honesty, I couldn't chose any better, as the game prove to be far more interesting than I expected at first.
This is literally what you're greeted with within the first minute of the game and it doesn't look that cheerful, contrary to the game's cover.
The story is based on an alternate near-future setting, where vast scientific achievements lead to creation of artificially engineered hybrids, which are half-people, half-animals. The reasons for this are more or less left unknown, but the beast-people (as being referred to within the story) live now amongst humans for a longer while, resulting in at least one or two generations co-existing with each other to a better or worse degree. Sadly - due to many different factors - the relationships between humans and beast-people have been gradually getting more awful as of late, mostly because humans consider them to be inferior and as such, try to limit their presence and rights as citizens. One of the major problems is that humans can actually reproduce with beast-people and many are worried about potential future implications this might bring. As such, relationships between both races are shunned and having a beast-girl or a beast-man as a partner or love interest is considered immoral and perverted.
Our protagonist - Yamato Sagawa - lives on a remote island (which basically consists of two small islands connected through a large bridge), located somewhere south of Japan, where racial conflicts increase to such point, where a prominent politician figure and the island's currently residing governor - Touchiji Iwahara - manages to successfully and easily pass down a law (which is more or less a martial law, involving the island's peace keeping forces), encouraging actual segregation of beast-people from humans, all for the well-being of two races. Our protagonist, being an actual beast-people lover isn't obviously happy with such turn of events (actually, he's incredibly pissed). Needless, to say he has more fitting problems at the moment, which include constant love attacks from his older sister with a severely-developed brother complex. During one of such events, while he was trying to get away from Chizuru, he is run over by a yankee beast-girl, Ryouko - and somehow, ends up at the shipping company she's the owner of. There's a bunch of other beast-gals living there, each of them with different circumstances. Thankful for rescue and tired of both his sister and family, but without livelihood, he decides to agree with Ryouko's offer and begins working at the company. As it soon turns out, he's a really capable worker, who's genuinely interested in company's well-being, much more than Ryouko herself, which instantly grabs attention of some of the girls working in the company - mainly Kon and Mayoi - and slowly takes over the responsibilities of actual manager. Meanwhile, statute enforced by Iwahara is increasing in power to the point where government decides to slowly enforce it; the only reason it doesn't affect them directly is because they are located within the middle part, which has been considered a "neutral zone" between both races doing business for a long time. Needless to say, Ryouko suddenly disappears one day without a trace, leaving both the company and girls living on it's premises in Yamato's hands. At this point, Yamato decides to stay, take care of both the company and girls and with their help, oppose Iwahara and his government's plan to segregate beast-people from humans.
Yamato Sagawa - The game's protagonist. He comes from an affluent family that had a major saying in many aspects of island's life, which he himself considers more of a burden, than a blessing. He is generally an independent, kind albeit cautious, hard-working person (supposedly after his father, whom he actually despises as a politician) with enough common sense to see through people and situations far better than most of his peers and as such, capable to work out solutions in circumstances, others typically fail at. He often complains about his family and how intrusive his older sister is, wishing for a more average, normal life. He is also a huge beast-girl lover (they are his fetish) and unlike many other people, doesn't see them any different or more ridiculous than humans, wishing for humans and beast-people to co-exist in peace.
Chachako Koya - The dog-girl heroine, Chachako is a rather clumsy and airheaded, hyperactive ball of fluff to the point you'd love to hug her for the rest of your life. She wants to be as helpful as possible within the company, but because she often acts ahead before thinking, her efforts utterly end up in disasters, others have to usually clean up after her. Even though she's a bit of a birdbrain and her puppy-like lack of common sense can be staggering at times, her kindness and near child-like trust and acceptance towards others, including humans allow Chachako to easily form bonds with new people she meets, including Yamato. Despite her seemingly flawed personality and childish behaviour, she can be surprisingly sharp at times - even more so than Kon.
Hanemi Kusahara - The pink haired bunny-girl, Hanemi is shy, timid and similarly to Yamato - a hard-working person that often puts the well-being of others above her own. Due to events from her past, she gets lonely very easily, often to the point of suffering from anxiety attacks and feels uncomfortable, when left alone for extended periods of time. Likewise, she's probably also the most reliable girl from the whole bunch and often helps Yamato to run the entire business, including dealing with clients and company's accountancy. Hanemi is also very close to Ryouko, almost to the point they consider themselves sisters. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHE SHOULD BE EVER ALLOWED TO CONTROL ANY VEHICLES, unless you're ready to face the consequences.
Kon Miyama - A true "kitsune" in every sense, Kon is a sly and intelligent, mature girl with a good grasp of human psychology and a gift of speech unlike any other, allowing her to easily smooth-talk through most of the problems arising throughout the story and often to company's benefit. Within the Otomimi Transportation, she acts mostly as an elderly sister figure and it's not rare to see other characters holding her opinions in high regard. Unfortunately, Kon has a weak constitution and suffers from illness, which causes her to vomit blood in stressful situations. Due to difference in opinions, she often argues with Tetora and takes great enjoyment from teasing others, especially Yamato.
Tetora Byoubu - The resident tiger-girl of the group, Tetora is a genetically enhanced, hot-blooded baby boomer. She was born with an outstanding intellect making her a tech junkie genius, but also made it more difficult for her to admit to mistakes through pride and as such, resulting in her being very insecure and vulnerable to teasing which she responds to in a typical tsun fashion... and boy, oh boy is she cute when that happens. When she doesn't work or play with her gadgets, you can find her constantly bickering with Kon to the point where people in the company don't use alarm clocks anymore, because these two are typically the first to wake up, haha. In all honesty, I consider herself the hottest female character in the whole story.
Chizuru Sagawa - Yamato's older sister, who currently manages the whole Sagawa household. She's both reliable and shrewd, but also unforgiving and strict when it comes to business, making her a prominent character in terms of island's political scape and definitely a person not to be trifled with. As adult-like and mature she acts, everything about her changes with Yamato around. Chizuru is an insane brocon, to the point where she's capable to order her family's security forces to stalk Yamato, controlling various aspects of his life through deceit and even waiting for him half-naked in his bed, when he goes back home from school. It's pretty obvious her feelings for Yamato extend far beyond those of siblings.
Mayoi Suzune - The game's true heroine. Mayoi is a rather solitary and lazy (leisurely would be more fitting) cat-girl with an incredibly foul mouth who dislikes working, gets vexed easily and doesn't care that much for humans, or anyone else in particular aside from those really close to her heart. She's also an avid otaku with a particular fondness for jrpgs and chuuni stuff, as well as cute (moe) anime girls. Completely indifferent and rather reluctant towards Yamato at start, she gradually opens up to him throughout the events of the game, revealing her different, warm side. Her past is tied with events, which ultimately lead to current situation on the island. Personally, she's my favourite heroine, perhaps because I found her the easiest to relate with.
Ryouko Nagumo - Originally Otomimi Transportation's first manager, Ryouko is a cool-headed and laid back tanuki chick with a troubled past, who's efforts to increase her own well-being lead her to creation of the company and bringing in the other girls with similar life problems. As much as she acts very mature at times (she understands there are circumstances people have no control over and have to live with), she ends up being a completely irresponsible and lazy klutz most of the remaining time, much to Yamato's disappointment. Her past ties many of the characters together; my only gripe is that she didn't got a route of her own she really deserved, not to mention she's definitely the second most sexy character after Tetora, which is a big loss for the game.
Ryouzou Daikoku - One of the school's teachers, Ryouzou himself is a powerful elephant beast-man and the home room teacher of Yamato's class. He's very much a fatherly figure - both as helpful, as unforgiving and a peculiar example of a beast-person, who doesn't wish bad to humans and understands the circumstances of the entire conflict, which pretty much earned himself both admiration and respect amongst his human peers and students. When not busy with teaching, he's typically found patrolling the school premises bringing swift demise to all sorts of delinquents and troublesome students (including Yamato, who's notorious for entering school through the gate reserved for beast-people, for obvious reasons), fiery temper and bamboo sword included.
Dr. Foresto, aka prof. Hakumi / Hakumi Sensei - The ultimate scientific genius, also being one of the youngest characters within the story. Dr. Foresto is a cute, quirky and cunning (or at least that's what she thinks) owl-girl, balancing between something akin to an evil scientist delivering cheesy one-liners, intellectual recluse and insecure child. Much like an ancient troll, she lives somewhere under the great bridge and ordered her robotic creation - Mio to not let anyone carrying meat through, unless they hand it over, which obviously includes Otomimi Transportation (actually, it pretty much only involves their transports as of late). Considering her intellect and figure, I wouldn't find her gluttonous attitude surprising.
Mio (also known as F-30) - Dr. Foresto's creation, Mio is an android driven by high-grade AI prototype, capable of self-thought and learning, as well - as shown within the story - genuine emotions. Despite that, she still falls under the very same pitfalls of all applied AI mechanics, including pre-programmed routines and need to follow orders in a straight fashion (more commonly know as "watch what you ask for"), much to her guardian's annoyance. Her main job is to steal meat from Otomimi Transportation company's shipments, which she always fails in one way or another because both Yamato and Kon find it really easy to trick her, whilst Tetora would love to take her apart to learn how she functions. Despite being rivals, Mio is often found helping Yamato at school, especially whenever Sango's involved. She also self-destructs in a large detonation, when left in severely unfavourable conditions.
Sango Tomajiri - The shark-girl that also attends the same school as Yamato and rest of characters. A typical girl by day, leader of a notorious gang of shark pirates otherwise - her actions definitely shape a large portion of the story, as she tries to subdue Otomimi Transportation's speed boat, which carries goods between island and mainland. Those events, which almost always end up in spectacular failures for Sango and her gang, led her to treat Yamato both with admiration as the company's manager, as much as hatred to the point of them becoming ultimate rivals. When she's not busy with pirating, she typically stalks Yamato at school, trying to slash him with her sword or shouting how she'll never forgive Yamato, barging inside even in the middle of a class, much to Ryouzou's annoyance.
Touchiji Iwahara - The game's main antagonist, Iwahara is a prominent politician figure and current governor of the island our characters live on. His decisions more or less shape the political and social landscape of the entire region. From a personal standpoint, he is a typical representation of japanese politics, including bluntness and far-reaching arrogance (an actual jab from the dev team towards real life Japan politics, in fact). As the story moves on, players will learn there's actually far more behind his decisions to segregate the island's residents than human well-being and aversion towards beast-people... including some, which are both really personal and tied to his past, when he was still a young man.
Akutaa - An applied AI module once made by Tetora, found in warehouse trash and stuffed inside a large hamster plushie. He unintentionally becomes the company's mascot. Akutaa (his name is indeed written with kanji, meaning trash/garbage) is the sole character, which brings hilarity and sexual humour into this game not found in anything I've previously played. A hardcore masochist and pervert the Earth hasn't seen so far, Akutaa's sole reason of existence boils down to either fluster and embarass all the female workers of Otomimi Transportation, or make them step on him with a various degree of success. While his dirty jokes remain super effective against Hanemi and Mayoi, both Tetora and Mayoi retaliate with passion, which nearly always ends up with him being thrown outside the window, stomped, punched or flushed down the toilet. Even so, it's noteworthy to say that despite his constant antics, he's really caring for everyone in the company and an actually reliable AI partner in business. He wins the award for best voice acting in the game.
There's a lot of things I could talk about, which raise this game above the crowd of many, similar titles and overall sea of mediocrity in visual novels.
One of them is definitely how writer handled the game's main themes - racism and prejudice against different species. Similar to Bloomkamp's District 9 alien race, beast-people are often portrayed in a very unfavourable position, ranging from being called a burden of society, "dutch wives" in regards to females (this is actually quite relevant in regards with game's premise) to plain subhuman trash. Younger beast-people are often bullied at schools by their human classmates (Mayoi being a prime example and it happens literally in the beginning of the story). They can't feel comfortably outside the streets and it's not uncommon for them to be treated with disdain or contempt. Obviously, not everyone behaves like that, but with time it became somewhat of a publicly accepted behaviour for humans to treat them in such way. Likewise, beast-people aren't without their share of negative traits - by being mostly hot-blooded, they often get easily provoked by humans, which only turns things worse in the process, making them spiral down into sort of situations, where they can be easily jailed. The overall situation on the island is definitely not the best, but certain fragments indicate, there are actually places in the world, where things became much worse, with beast-people being devoid of their most basic human rights. Regardless, the islanders are faced with many problems and their future is left uncertain. Kon even states at certain part of the game that if the segregation law gets enforced, it will become nearly impossible for many of them to find jobs or homes and as such, sustain themselves which might prompt the government to take further measures and it's not hard to imagine what might happen. It's a rather bleak, if not nearly dystopian portrayal of future, which also goes perfectly along with modern day issues we're currently facing in real life as societies, especially in Europe and United States. Thank gods Mayoi's route concludes everything on a rather positive, if not slightly bittersweet note.
There's something really warm and fuzzy in the way how game managed to portray work at Otomimi Carrying Company, with Yamato and girls struggling hard everyday not only for their own benefit, but also well-being of the whole island they live on. After all, they are not only doing this for themselves, but recalling Yamato's words "The well-being of many companies and people on the island depends on our ability to deliver goods in perfect shape to right places and on time". Who wouldn't want to work in such a nice shipping company, being surrounded by so many cute female co-workers? I presume this sort of idealised image of working environment ca be treated equally to otaku's idealization of youth, prevalent within school settings. In the same way school setting-based visual novels let us relive those most cherished and nostalgic moments of our lives (at least, for most of us), games like Otomimi Infinity with their intricate portrayal of adult labour lets us - older players, who actually became a part of actual society - self-indulge in those dreams of a perfect workplace, while our real life jobs are often rarely as beautiful and fulfilling. I found this particular side of the game really enjoyable, knowing there's this part probably only we - older players - will be able to truly understand.
This game has a lot of great, enjoyable moments, plenty of laughs as well as plenty of situations, where you will sit on the edge of your seat, which is quite surprising for a game - which despite it's themes - is still being kept in a rather bright tone for most of the time. Some of the fragments made me genuinely feel for the characters and the way the game is made - despite my overall dislike towards ladder-structured scenarios - easily keeps exploring the different angles through each of character routes. I was distraught after Chizuru's route, which can be definitely considered the worst possible ending in the game, while both Chachako's and Hanemi's endings were particularly bittersweet. Tetora's and Kon's endings are more light-hearted, whilst Mayoi's route leads to the penultimate ending - both extremely bittersweet and charming in itself - that will definitely both surprise and leave everyone satisfied.
Otomimi Infinity presents a particularly high level for a game from the modern eroge period of 2011; It's probably one of the last games, that were presented in an SD format, although the game's assets were already HD. The game's graphics are beautiful - particularly character sprites themselves, backgrounds look very nice and there's lot of panning and additional effects that enhance the visual experience. The soundscape is thick and works well to build atmosphere - everything from small details like characters leaving rooms, closing/opening the car doors (repeated properly by number of characters) to various silly anime sfx are all present and add a lot to the game. The soundtrack is very good - and even if a bit generic to an extent in a typical, anime fashion (lots of instrumental tunes, a bit of electro/trance and even some rock) - provides an extremely good background for all the in-game scenes. The OP song "Megumira -Megumira-", sung by Marie's bright voice will probably become one of the very few OPs I will actually remember and I found myself already whistling the tune a couple times. Speaking of scenes, the game's direction deserves a particular praise, with proper character placing on screen (there's so many different character sprite variations!), movement and animations - it all creates an unique feeling, not to mention there's so many things going on at the screen in certain moments, you feel the characters might even pop out of your monitor at any moment.
In overall, this is a great game that shouldn't be omitted by anyone, least by fans of mimikkos or animal anthropomorphism.
Impressive / Highly recommended
I've been meaning to do this for a longer while now, but various circumstances always prevented me from making it.
Before we start, let me make this clear. I dislike value-based rating systems, where numbers are supposed to be an estimate on how "good" something is, or how much quality there is to it. In my opinion, those systems are all fair and square but don't really work the way we'd like them to, not to mention a simple number is vague as hell and doesn't really provide anything except a scale between "good", "bad" and "mediocre" in-between. Why is that? Because vns don't work that way, sadly. You can't really rate a visual novel in the same exact manner as a standard Hollywood movie, plastering a number on top of it; it's because vns are insanely diversified works with many unique sub-genres, built with particular audiences in mind. It's a world, where one fan's treasures are another fan's trash, often within the same genre trees. The same can be said about almost every other work medium belonging to japanese pop culture. Discarding this tiny nuance might actually have a pretty detrimental result in terms of ratings, that are either too vague, unfair or way too hedonist, without actually trying to get the gist of what the game actually is and to whom it is addressed. I'd rather want to think of actual ratings as something that helps in deciding how much a game is in line with one's personal interests and how high that goes. Different groups of players have different needs, therefore it's probably easier to explain the whole thing in form of a diagram:
Don't think of it as "things consuming things", but more as "things supporting other things". Moege aren't particularly worse than high-rated vns, they simply have a completely different target audience, with completely different set of tastes and demands. Obviously, certain genres are more common - because there's a much higher demand for those, but at the same time it means lowering standards to match tastes of a far wider audience, which uniquely leads to genre blandness (this happened to moege and majority of charage already). The games higher on the list in terms of complexity are more streamlined and niche, requiring more refined tastes and greater knowledge in a variety of topics, which leads to them being far less approachable by majority of players. This by default leads to subsequent categorization and further alienation which is one of the major reasons why it's so hard to get into those games and communities that surround them.
Those tiers are permanent and games belonging to them remain forever bound to their respective positions within the chain. It can't be changed, nor affected in any way, as accessibility by ease of understanding is the sole factor that decides about their fate. This also lead me to believe, that a proper rating system should actually take this into consideration. As much as you play a high-tier chuunige for it's cool story and characters, you play a simple charage not for the plot, but for character interactions and protagonist finally connecting with one of the heroines; you want to see where their relationships will lead to and it's the only actual thing you will care about. It's not really possible to compare both through the same exact value-based rating system.
Obviously, we could argue about this forever, so without further ado - I present my new rating system, I'll be using onwards for my vn reviews.
Basic ratings go as follows:
Awful - When things get so bad, you might as well ask yourself what kind of wrong have you committed to end up with such game in your hands. Somehow, you ended up picking it along the way - maybe because it had a cute maid on the cover or a synopsis, which looked particularly interesting; who knows. The point is - the more you play, the less impressed you are and by the time you reach the end, you might be banging your head against the desk in utter disappointment and resentment you ever got yourself into vns. Looks can be deceiving, after all. Avoid whenever possible, since there's probably a thousand things more worth wasting your time on, than crap in p(r)etty disguise.
Hopefully, I won't ever stumble upon a game, that will prompt me to give it a lower score.
Imperfect - Games that strive to be good, but fail somewhere along the way - in one or more aspects. Typically a result of many problems piling up on the dev side of things, including lack of proper knowledge, skills, financial aspects, neglect, and/or faggotry. Those titles might (and prolly will) be enjoyable, but often most, the amount of issues outweighs positive aspects, successfully lowering the enjoyment factor to a large degree. They range from being mildly obnoxious in their issues to outright annoying and might be even riddled with bugs. Needless to say, they should be played in moderation to avoid salt overdose and in most cases, only the most devoted fans are arguably able to look past their flaws. For every imperfect game, you will find at least few similar titles that don't suck as badly.
Mediocre - Games considered a widely accepted quality norm, stuck at their designated level. Mediocre titles tend to be far simpler in nature and typically offer fair value from a consumer standpoint, but lack in soul and technical aspects, making them cheap in comparison with anything above their tier. They tend to be mostly forgettable and don't leave a long-lasting impression (exceptions happen), but remain enjoyable while they last, giving you something to do for a bunch of cozy afternoons. In overall, they tend to leave players with hunger for more and unfulfilled dreams. Expect whatever being mass-produced at current moment to fall under this group, including majority of moege. At times, I tend to leave them with a tiny +, to indicate devs at least tried.
Impressive - A game, which elevates itself above norm and skilfully uses tropes, settings and standards along with various medium-related mechanics to create memorable experiences. Those are typically good games by default, albeit not devoid of flaws, often times being a part of their very nature. They still tend to be far from perfect, but you'll love them regardless of those tiny mistakes and bumps, which remain an indicator of hand-crafted approach. Titles as such aren't uncommon, but more than often - they will leave you thirsty for more and that thirst is something, they aren't really capable to quench; after many of those, you will most probably want to delve deeper. They will purposefully tingle your ego, but don't expect them to give you clear answers, nor solutions to problems they create. They are more often about the voyage itself - asking questions and leaving their readers in a state of bewilderment - rather than the end result. Nonetheless, they are almost always a truly enjoyable ride till the very end. This group tends to attract simpler story-heavy games, as well as more ambitious charage titles.
Outstanding - Very few games reach this sort of artistry, that could be only matched with writers' attention to detail and cleverness in which they build their settings and play with commonly found tropes, much to everyone's surprise and delight of their more hardcore fanbase. In those, the definition of up and down doesn't really exist and any sort of distinctions between what's considered widely accepted moral norms blur to the point of being almost indistinguishable. They rarely give a damn about normalfaggotry conceptions of the perceived genres. Such games will often have great heroes and even greater antagonists - actual people made of flesh and blood, driven by most primal human desires and emotions that will defy physics, bend time and space, obliterate entire armies and cause nations to fall. Such characters often find themselves fighting no less with their enemies, as much as themselves - their flaws, imperfections, inner demons hidden somewhere between the folds of their souls and enjoying to peek outside at times. In those tales, people will die and things get destroyed, with certain fates becoming far worse than a visit to the nearest afterworld. Don't expect your favourite characters getting selective treatment; in realm of outstanding stories, characters considered to be "redeeming" or "favourable" often go through even bigger hell than defeated antagonists - at most if they win - with worst possible cases including moral event horizon induced insanity, gruesome deaths or eternal suffering (preferably all in a never-ending cycle). Those stories will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they are frequently emotionally draining - and boy oh boy - entertaining as hell, provided you're capable to grasp concepts behind their inner workings.
Considered a desired habitable zone by many aspiring and skilful writers, simply because it allows badassery to exist without hurting immersion in the process.
Brilliant - Games that ultimately defy laws and conventions of genres they belong to, written by literate geniuses, capable to mould words into whatever the hell they want. Plot no longer functions like in normal space and characters are akin to visitors on a vast plane of reader's subconsciousness. Those games are typically considered difficult to grasp for most people and with a good reason, because you're expected to deal with creators themselves and whatever personal issues, grudges, hate and passions they throw at you, while you're trying to make sense of everything. They are extremely rare and as such, prone to complete subjectiveness, becoming battlefronts for fan-based warfare. They always attain a cult following and grow endless forests of epileptic trees, which serve as fuel for discussions, that will go on for years - AND YEARS, if not decades after release.
Masterpiece - This, my ladies and gentlemen - is what any fan could consider a holy grail of eroge... if one would only exist. I doubt I'll ever come across a visual novel as good, to be able to freely - and without doubts - give it such a high rating. It didn't happen yet, perhaps I'm yet to read them, who knows. Most of the really good games I know fall somewhere between outstanding and brilliant, to give an example. This rating is more of a gimmick to keep myself at bay there are no perfect games.
In addition, I use the following special tags as well:
Highly recommended - Games I consider being capable of showing "how things should be done", both in terms of writing as well as genre standards and rules they operate under. Such works, are - more or less - exemplary and at the same time - provide both content and enjoyment in a way, that's easy to grasp even for novices and people unaccustomed with their tropes or elements.
Guilty pleasure - You DON'T question why certain games get this tag. Period.
This is something I typically reserve for titles, that might not really be the best or most worthy of attention or general context (I could quite possibly not play them under most circumstances), but definitely deliver elsewhere. Where the former doesn't apply, they simply have things I have a strong and particular fixation about and approach them in such an excellent way - including fetishes I can't really live without anymore - I'm able to forgive those games any other flaws. I don't really play them because of their depth or plot, I play them for my personal enjoyment on a very carnal level and you might find them of equal interest.
Wicked - A game that breaks any contrived norms or standards and does it in a fashion, that's definitely worth praising. I use this tag specifically for games that are a cherry on the top amongst the more morally ambiguous titles, often scaling between "cute", "awful" and outright "disgusting". Those games usually throw players into a vortex of extreme emotions, crushing their hopes and uplifting them seconds after, only to cast them into despair once again; The sort of games, that leave you both with sense of a profound disapproval and an almighty grin on your face. TL&DR Games that are literally a blast to plough through, provided you are both physically and emotionally strong enough (lol).
For those of you, who ever wondered how do I rate the games I play, or what's my perception of vns in general this hopefully clears things up, even if a little bit.