First, apologies to those who actually want to read about some of August's releases. I went on vacation (vacation being a word open to interpretation when it comes to sleeping in unfamiliar beds and helping with my brother's kids), and when I got back, I found I had absolutely no urge whatsoever to pick up a VN. I guess that taking a true break from VNs for the first time in almost a decade (no VNs for five days straight) was enough to free me from the spell of my obsession.
That said, Jinkou Bato was pretty amusing, so I had every intention of getting back to it, eventually.
This game is based fifty years in the future, fifteen years after a disaster caused by technology (deliberately) gone wrong wiped out the global internet and reduced people to using wires and letters to communicate. This disaster was caused by artificial lifeforms based on the pigeon that originally served as self-replicating flying antennas. The maker of these 'artificial pigeons' made them begin to 'eat' radio and electromagnetic waves, literally stopping all signals not passed through a wire. This resulted in innumerable deaths, and it was such a huge economic and technological blow that the characters of the story are quite aware of how they live in a much-reduced world.
Sora, the protagonist, is an orphan who hates the artificial pigeons more than anyone, as he lost his parents the day of the disaster. Living with this adopted family, he succeeds in building a set of radios that can communicate with one another without being stopped by the pigeons, and from there the story begins.
Mmm... I'm going to be straight about my feelings on this game. First, I like the character dynamics. There is a lot to laugh about early on, and the intensity of Sora and friends when they make a certain discovery is pleasing to me, as I'm a bit tired of characters living without a sense of purpose in my VNs, lol. That Sora and the others are college students at a vocational university rather than high schoolers is nice as well... and an adult heroine who is bisexual is also nice, hahaha.
That said, both Mizuki's and Akina's paths are weaker than the Tsubaki and Kaguya paths due to the fact that only Tsubaki's and Kaguya's paths actually confront the central issues head on. Mizuki's and Akina's paths both stink of escapism, and while that is fine on its own... it left me feeling a sense of distaste for the characters involved (yes, I want my characters to be better or stronger people than me).
Tsubaki and Kaguya's paths are the true path. No, I'm not saying that they are separately the true path... rather, together they form a single path, in a really weird (if familiar from other otaku media) way. The path is... extremely emotional, and I honestly felt that Sora, from beginning to end, fulfilled his potential as a character... something that is pretty unusual for VN protagonists in general.
Lets be clear, this isn't a kamige or even VN of the Year material. This is a nakige with a great main path and two so-so side paths. I say 'great', but the game's pace is really fast after the initial, lighter stages of the story. That said, there is no sense of choppiness to the pacing, and it feels like the events actually occur in the time you see them happen in the game (less than two months), as there are no excess SOL scenes whatsoever.
If you want a relatively quick nakige with some amusement early on, this is a good choice. I honestly can't recommend it for someone who wants a grand and sweeping opera, though.