I'll admit that I only picked up this otomege because I grew up playing RPGs and I have a soft spot for 8bit era games, even if I was born when that era was looong gone. In the end, the game itself have no 8bit whatsoever, aside of the menu, nor does it have "many H temptations" like the VNDB summary suggests, but it DOES have a lot of RPG-style fun that made me satisfied in the end. (OBS: VNDB says that the translation is partial, but it's actually complete already, for all three games.)
Second game's title screen
Dot Kareshi is a series of three short VNs by Rejet that tells the story of a girl that played lots of RPG
(totally not me) but sucked hard at them (totally not me, seriously this time). Then, she ended up inside the game by mysterious circumstances and found out that the characters she controled become corrupted by her terrible play style. All three games follow the same formula and not even once the game explains to you how the hell you ended up in that situation. Even better, in the second game it pokes fun at itself because of this lame plot device and by the third game they're not even trying. Just by this, you can see what these games are all about: comedy. The game is constantly making jokes about various RPG tropes and situations that I often run across when I played these types of games myself. The corrupted personality of the guys? I would probably have created some of those myself, like the Wizard that was always angry and feeling neglected because the girl always skipped his magic effect animations.
Token shota, look how adorable (?) he is.
The routes work in a very easy way. Pick the boy you want, clear the quest associated with him and try to score points with him along the way. Don't worry, no gameplay involved. Just don't expect chuuni level of description in the battle parts of the quest, as they are narrated by the characters themselves, describing what item and magic they used or merely saying something like "ha!" when they used physical attacks. Each route have two endings, "stay in the game" and "get out with your boy" and which one is the best depends on the boy, as I see it. But the game thought that getting out was the best for everyone, since it requires you to max the guys affection... And that's another easy feat, because the game have a status screen, so you can pick a choice and see this screen to check how many points you got. Oh, but if you score way too few points, you get a more or less harem (bad?) ending that's really worth to see, especially in the second and third games.
About the boys, the cast includes lots of classic RPG classes in the first two games. The first one gives you a Thief, a Wizard, a Hero and a Priest. The second gives you more unusual choices, like a Dancer and a Beastmaster. And when they run out of ideas, the third game gives you the "villain routes", with options like a Slime and even the final boss, that, this time, got corrupted by the action of the girl indirectly. Like the rest of the game, they also are massive jokes. Take one trait of them, usually the one that got warped by MC's gameplay, and exaggerate it a lot. You got the gist of the boys's personalities. The games are very short so the jokes never felt overused and I laughed a lot of the boys interactions, especially during the second game. The party only reached the end of the "game inside the game" because MC was controling them, because geez, they're a bunch of idiots (in a funny and not enfuriating way)!
Unfortunately, if you're looking for romance with your fantasy boys... Better look elsewhere, it's the weakest part of the game. Firstly, the main character simply don't exist. She's referred as "You"
(but it's totally not me!) every time and she doesn't have a single speaking line. Not only she's unvoiced, she only reacts with exclamation marks and other color coded symbols (like a red one for anger and a pink one for embarrassment) that appear in a bubble at the side of the screen. She actually appears in CGs, but it's always the same generic girl with a shadow covering her eyes. On top of that, because the game is super short, there's like no development in the romance. Sure, you can say the guys are in love with her already because they wouldn't be able to do anything without her, literally. But what about the girl? We have hug and kiss CGs for most of the normal and best endings, but we'll have to just believe that things went well between them... somehow.
This line only appears because it was right after a choice. Usually, the protagonist don't say anything.
Speaking about the games in separate now... Please note that they have completely independent stories and can be read in any order. The first chapter was the weakest one. I had a few laughs through it, but the perviness of the boys was a bit tiring and not very funny. Thief's (yeah, no one have a name, only their classes, FF1 style) character was also supposed to be all flirty, but he never convinced me, so his character felt a bit bland. My favorite route ended up being Wizard's, simply because the conclusion of his battle was priceless.
First four boys
The second chapter. THE SECOND CHAPTER. Now, this one is good and definetely the best. It's very very funny, I can't even choose my favorite part of it. Knight is surely the best boy, but meathead Monk is a pervy executed in a way more ridiculous and funny than the first chapter cast. Even the weakest route, Beastmaster's, because he's an ass sometimes, ended up being really enjoyable because of Knight and Monk. And Dancer's random dances just adds to the mess that it's this party. Believe it, they managed to ruin all the sexiness that could be an hot spring scene and I loved it.
These guys together are way too funny
The third chapter is also pretty good, but not as funny as the second one (but still funnier than the first). Why's that? Because somehow or other they decided to make the villain routes... the most moe ones. The guys are so adorable and harmless, I wanted to protect them all! Of course, the game also make fun of their harmlessness, and I laughed, but it didn't stopped me to find a certain tsundere extremely cute. And just to mention, there's not only villains in this chapter, there's also an NPC named only Villager. He's da man, I'm only saying this. Just leave the "bad" ending for last!
The one in the right is not a girl, it's one of the heroes. Actually, it's not a guy either, it's a slime!
Soundtrack is fine, and some songs even have some 8bit beats that add to the charm. Voice acting is really good, as expected of some well known names in the cast, like Hirakawa Daisuke (Saint Germain from Code Realize), Toriumi Kousuke (Saito Hajime from Hakuouki), Namikawa Daisuke (Sasazuka Takeru from Collar x Mallice) and Sugita Tomokazu (Kitagawa Yusuke from Persona 5).
In the end, Dot Kareshi was an overall positive experience, even more after I finished the first chapter. But even then, it worked well as an introduction to the game. It's a short journey, more or less 2,5 hours for each game (may vary, I'm a slow reader), but full of laughter and a bit of nostalgia, of my own time playing fantasy RPGs. And moral of the story: treat your RPG characters well!
- Recommended if you like RPG and short comedic novels.
- Skip it if you want important romance plots and a protagonist that actually exists.