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April Release: Tenpure!! (EDITED)


Clephas

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First, I'll say that this game is pretty much based on the concept of using the concept of templates and archetypes in the story.  The protagonist bumps into a girl with toast in her mouth, gets woken up by an osananajimi, catches a maid falling from the sky, is frequently scolded by a fake-prude iinchou, and he even has an ojousama fall in love with him at first sight.

Now, the attempt to turn all the classic template happenings of a moege/charage into a joke sort of falls flat in this game.  The common route is pure dirt in that sense (the lack of any original content plus a failure to fully play up to the game's theme ruins things).  I will straight out tell you that the common route is boring.  I've encountered similar happenings in literally hundreds of games in the past, and I never really felt a bond with most of the characters in the common route.  As a result, I only went off on one heroine route (and don't plan to bother with the others).

This route was Miori's... and Miori's route is the only reason I didn't just drop this game and give it a 4 on vndb (points for visuals and audio, negatives for storytelling, average characters).  To be blunt, Miori is of a template I didn't realize I had missed in recent days... the eccentric fushigi-chan.  In recent years, this kind of character has mostly fallen to the wayside (probably because Key got such joy out of overusing it), so having this particular template make a comeback was a definite positive for me (as opposed to the older osananajimi oneesan, the osananajimi imouto, and the secret pervert iinchou, which have been constants in charage since forever). 

If there is one thing Circus does well, it is moe.  Miori's moe point is the traditional gap between her nearly emotionless everyday and her dere.  This is shown briefly when she deals with a cat in the common route (incidentally the point at which I decided to pick her), but only really comes into play in her heroine route.  Her route is traditional down to the last detail (deep love after confession>frequent ichaicha>gets found out by father>confront father>betrothal) for her second character type (not going to reveal this, though it is fairly obvious after you see her and Matsuri in the same scene).  However, since I was just sitting back and enjoying fushigi-chan deredere action, I was perfectly happy to ignore the archetypical ending.

Overall, my advice to anyone looking at this game is... if there is a heroine type in there that you like, go ahead and just play that heroine's route.  The common route is pure crap, but the heroine routes will likely push a lot of positive buttons for those in love with their particular type of heroine, as they did with me.  I did make an attempt at starting the other heroine paths... but I just got bored at the endless stream of predictable occurrences.   For a veteran of charage/moege, this game can be a painful slog or a joy, depending on where you are in it.

Edit: It needs to be said, but the main reason I give this game a failing grade on the common route is because they went for a spoof theme but didn't make the common route wacky enough.  When it came down to it, except for the protagonist's complaints, it was just a weaker version of a normal moege common route.

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