Ugh... can you say kusoge out loud twenty times fast? I'm sorry, but it has been a while since I played a VN that was this awful outright. It had all the elements, setting-wise, that a good story VN should have... a protagonist who gave up high school to work to support his sisters, twin sister heroines (yay for incest), a generally capable protagonist, a hikikomori neighbor heroine, and a lot of hints of potential story points that could have been used to enhance the paths.
Unfortunately, this VN never strays out of the range of the mediocre, from beginning to end. Seeing as this is a new company, it is ok that they used public domain and generic BGMs, but the way they used it made me fall asleep... repeatedly. Koyuki also crosses the line from shy to just being annoying, making what I thought would be a character that would grow on me just bothersome.
Generic, generic, generic. I experienced this kind of low-level moege dozens of times when I was poring through the stuff released at the opening of the century and the middle of the last decade. However, I just wasn't anticipating that someone would resurrect all the most pathetic aspects of a moege without the visual quality that is generally the only benefit of such games.
In other words, it is a kusoge, a kusoge, and once again, a kusoge.
PS: If you haven't guessed, this game drove me up the wall with how... boring it was, in every way.
Now, for VN of the Month, August 2016... this is a straight-out contest between Gin'iro, Haruka and Inochi no Spare. Gin'iro, Haruka has the high production values and best character development I've grown to expect from Tone Works, so for most months, it would have been a shoe-in, despite its extreme length. Inochi no Spare, however, is a kamige in the utsuge genre, which had me in tears for over six hours after I finished it.
My end conclusion was that while Gin'iro appeals to the mainstream a lot more and feels like it completely explores all aspects of its characters, Inochi no Spare is probably the one I'll still remember twenty years from now... and cry my eyes out. Gin'iro deserves an honorable mention for its high-quality slice-of-life, seishun drama, character development, and romantic aspects. However, if I were to ask which was the better story, it is definitely Inochi no Spare.
So which is VN of the Month? I'm going to pull a rare one out of the hat and name Inochi no Spare and Gin'iro, Haruka for VN of the Month August 2016. *laughs hysterically at those of you who thought he was going to name Inochi no Spare as the sole winner*
Why did I do it this way? Because, when it comes down to it, the only thing that was putting Inochi no Spare so far above Gin'iro was my personal tastes. When I removed my bias as much from the equation as possible, they really were close to being completely even (though Inochi no Spare still had a lead... which I eliminated with points taken away for subconscious bias). One of my ongoing policies in this blog is not to name a VN of the Month solely based on personal bias (though some bias is inevitable). As such, I never name chuunige VN of the Month unless their quality level is so far above the rest of the entries that there is no contest (though they often get honorable mentions). Last month almost ended up the same way, which is weird... since I generally only experience one such month every year, lol.