There are four masterpieces this month - Tsukihime , Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ , Pure Mail , Gin'iro . Production-wise the most thrilling game is Sense Off, but I opt out for a chuuni whenever possible, so the winner is Tsukihime. I played it in the past, so won't be replaying now. But I still need something for a full rakeview this month. And this month is unusual as I'll be reviewing not game of the month, but some other gameRagnapolice which also turned out to be a masterpiece. Review incoming.
1. Canary ~Kono Omoi o Uta ni Nosete~ カナリア ～この想いを歌に乗せて～  Frontwing A young man moves to Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands, to live in Kagawa prefecture with his uncle who runs a sound studio. Attending the Kotohira Middle School as a student with an ear for music, the player engages in interaction with seven female students who play in the school band. Some girls specialize in vocals and others wield instruments in the pop section. Music provides the glue for possible friendships and amorous maneuvers. A supporting cast of other characters including classmates, teachers and your uncle also supply additional interaction and bolster the story-line. The bulk of the interaction leads up to the school festival where you and band members hope to create beautiful music together.
A charage with high quality of musical support, but it's not described why heroines like hero. The problem solving almost does not exist. It's almost like good hero exists by himself and nice heroines exist separately, and they can't really get along with each other well. There is just not enough satisfaction afterwards compared to the efforts involved.
2. Hohoemi o Mou Ichido ~Smile Again~ 微笑みをもういちど ～smile again～ [000804 Ume Soft] 1 The story revolves around four childhood friends and their reunion five years after. You are a high-school student going through a story of growing up and falling in love.
This composition is starting to frequent a lot - student happy years and then reunion X years later. Map selection part is quite evident, but what's tricky is mingames that are hard to beat, but reward additional CG. There are as many as 8 heroines. Such a huge gap between student years and aftermath is quite fresh and heroines change a lot in those 5 years. One playthrough is short, just 2-3 hours. It's a charage, so don't expect a good scenario here.
Asturia, a world of swords and magic. An evil wizard kidnapped Princess Emilia, and the king sent an elite army to take her back, leaded by the princess' personal clerk, Irina. But their journey was full of danger, and Irina's destiny will change forever...
Game imitates RPG heavily, but remains a pure ADV with only text choices in battles and elsewhere. There are four heroines that are pretty easy to flag - it's enough just to choose them for conversation between battles and events. There is just one H event at the end for each heroine. Game is quite short (some 3 hours)
4. Omoide no Kanata 想い出の彼方  PL+US Main character is contacted to visit his home town after five years of absence. How different will be the town from his sweet memories?
Work is built on contrast of memories with the changed landscape of the town. This mix of reality, fantasy and suspense is the main appeal point. Each of the heroines has her distinctive theme and it's often linked with death theme, so it's not your usual moege for sure. There are a lot of instant death choices in the latter part of the game. Branching happens very early in the game, so no repetitiveness of common route is felt. So it's a work with nice atmosphere, almost a masterpiece, really.
5. Sasurai no Ryourinin さすらいの料理人  Jupiter Protagonist is a world-wide known chef. This time he decides to cook for two weeks a western mansion on an isolated island. Six girls volunteer to assist him there.
It's a SIM mix. We need to cook and if the cooking suits girl's particular tastes, there's continuation in the form of some event. I still consider it a nukige for the number of H scenes and lack of any sense in the game beyond that.
6. She is...  Bell-Da Hospital in the suburbs. There is an internal struggle between the president and vice-president faction. President hires protagonist and vice-president hires Miu detective to find counterpart's weak sides.
Cover inevitably suggests it's a nukige, but as a tribute to Bell-Da I won't block it. Basically we gather information and when we gathered enough valuable information the story proceeds to the next day. Difficulty is easy since there is no limit on movements during any day. There are five heroines with endings. It's still more of a romance game than a detective game. It's quite nice as each heroine ending only shows up a portion of truth and the overall picture only comes together when every ending is seen. So it can be called an above average Bell-Da game.
7. Elysion ~Eien no Sanctuary~ ELYSION ～永遠のサンクチュアリ～  Terios 123 As the story goes, an old man lives on an island in a mansion near the ocean. He's reclusive, private and very wealthy. As the family physician, you are summoned to the island to care for the old man. The premise of the game introduction seems innocent and routine enough but the various characters you meet arouse suspicion and suspense amongst the different players inside the mansion.
The cast of characters include the codger's granddaughter, a groundskeeper, sinister men, and five maids dressed in frilly maid outfits that have a tendency to billow gratuitously.
The system is like Kakyuusei since we need to move on the map ourselves. DC/PS2 version is all about moe maids while PC version adds insult to the mix. There's a lot of love put into graphics which is superb for the year 2000. But the story is nothing interesting, so no use to play it for the plot.
8. Love Love Navigation ~Koi no Menkyo Koushuu~ らぶ2・ナビゲーション ～恋の免許講習～  Cocktail Soft Main character comes to a training camp on the southern island during summer vacation. He meets a variety of lovely girls there. They have fun every day attending classes together and going out to play. But won't study become neglected with so much love in the air?
The flow is good since it lasts up to the very last day of vacations where serious stuff starts to happen. Main character has a shifting personality depending on which girl he dates. The branching begins very early in the game, and after that there are only continuation/death choices. There is no plot, so it's pretty much an ordinary moege.
9. Once More Again  Ail Protagonist is a miserable office worker in the mid-40s. He was too shy to talk to a girl and could only get married with a marriage arranged by his parents. But neither his wife, nor his daughter never respected him. One day such man gets a chance to go back in time and live his youth years once more again. How will his second life turn up?
Hero is a source of gags himself since he has a shy personality, but he is very stubborn in getting a girlfriend this time, getting in funny situations. The scenario is largely divided into two parts, and heroines get much more mature in the second part. The setting looks alien to me, so I rather see it as just another H-centered game akin to other Ail abusive games.
10. Penciller ☆ Kana ペンシラー☆カナ  Ripe Eroge company Ripe is the stage. Main character becomes a new worker here. While working overnight, once a fairy from the other world appears before the hero. He gets transformed into a cute girl. His co-workers accept the change in appearance and give him a new name "Penciller ☆ Kana". So begins extraordinary life in the game company.
There is a normal game company routine - going to convenience store, eating and working take the bulk of game time with only occasional events. There aren't choices in the game apart of meal choice, so it's pretty much a single road changed only by cards flip. Choosing a certain card can trigger work/meeting event or some CG. And since events are kind of randomly chosen, they duplicate... There's no detailed setting given, and such everyday life bores really fast. All the H scenes are yuri ones.
11. Tsukihime 月姫  Type-Moon 12345678910 The story begins in a recollection of a boy called Shiki in his childhood years. There he gains a power out of this world. What is the meaning of this power, and what can he do with it? This is his story of finding the missing pieces of the puzzle.
There are lots of reviews around, so I'm not picking up this game for video playthrough. It's definitely a masterpiece, but I don't like it when some game is only praised. What I personally found bad about is how complex the route structure is - I failed to trigger Arcueid route for numerous times, in the end having to resort to walkthrough. I also found it very weird how Arcueid and Ciel are so super-friendly with the hero when they meet him alone, but whenever all three of them meet, both girls get so angry that they immediately start to treat even hero with suspicion, easily writing him down as an enemy as well. That I could never understand, it felt alien to me since such meeting repeated over and over with the same outcome. Overall I got mostly negative impression from the visual novel, but the anime version which is blamed so much was a lot better for me. But Tsukihime is probably the first classic chuunige - an ordinary high school student receives a wonder waffle and gets in trouble because of that acquired trouble. This setting is going to be repeated numerous times, especially in anime.
12. Natsuiro no Apron 夏色のエプロン  Uran Main character lives with his elder sister who does all the housework. But as summer vacations start, sister goes abroad. Hero has never washed or cleaned anything, so soon he finds himself in a pinch. He decides to bring one of his acquaintance girls to the house so that she does all the washing and cleaning again!
This exact setting I meet for the second time and its stupidity infuriates me greatly. It's not quite clear from the synopsis, but it's pretty much a nukige since hero starts to molest every girl that agrees to do cleaning for him. Game is focused on naked apron theme.
13. Remel  Usagi Club Shuji gets into an accident resulting in memory loss. He feels like he enters the body of anothe person. While hospitalized he meets various people and gradually starts to come closer to understanding the truth behind his past.
This is actually a doujin game, but it's fully voiced, has cute characters and not a nukige-tilt plot, so it feels like a normal commercial game. There are four heroines and there's a system of hero and heroine thoughts that need to intersect. Happiness and sorrow is the main theme of the game. The whole curse story seems incomplete, and it's not evident what developers wanted to say. Text often feels childish, but is ok to read unless you can only read professional texts.
14. Sense Off ~A Sacred Story in the Wind~ Sense Off ～A Sacred Story in the Wind～  Otherwise 12 The protagonist of the story, Naoya, was hospitalised after getting in a bicycle accident. During his treatment, it is found that he exhibits a number of unusual brain wave patterns, and he is asked to move into a particular Cognition Dynamics Research Laboratory to undergo further testing, along with a handful of other young people who exhibit similar characteristics. With his newfound friends, Naoya takes classes, has fun and lives peacefully in blissful ignorance of the truth behind their gathering together.
While it is difficult to say much about the story without spoiling a good deal of the enjoyment, 'sense off' is not a title to underestimate, and in whichever route you end up going down, the story will quickly spiral into something far more intricate and detailed than you likely thought possible.
There are English reviews.
15. Camera Eyes  Uncanny! Women assault murder cases continue to occur in various parts of Tokyo. Main character is policeman specializing in criminal psychology, and he has an ability to read memory of the criminals on the crime scene. He is in charge of this case and investigates it together with his partner.
As you can see the setting is so comfortable to show lots of insult and voluntary H scenes as a part of recollection memory ability. The volume of the game is scarce, but there are a lot of choices. If not all of the flags are set, only bad ending awaits, so the difficulty is very high. Once a happy ending is reached once, there's no incentive to replay, just to get some additional CG. Little is explained and resolution comes out of the blue, so the overall expression of numerous H scenes followed by hasty resolution is not good. Backgrounds are very simple without character sprites, graphics is very mediocre.
16. Can Can Bunny 6 - I ♥ Mail きゃんきゃんバニー６ i･mail  Cocktail Soft Imaginary city "Shibuya". Mobile phones received a universal spread, and main character decides to get acquainted with modern technologies after a year and a half of job hunting to get advantage at job interviews. After buying mobile phone he wins navigation communicator called "Monaco" and a CD-ROM from mobile phone manufacturer. It turned out to be a cute girl application! What a depressing synopsis for a genki charage! We need to date by using e-mail and move towards date in real life. There are SIM elements. What disappoints that all the girls follow exactly the same pattern and even extra "Monaco" scenario is absolutely the same by the flow. Game feels to be creator-centered since there's little attention to how player would feel while playing. Maybe it's just inheritance to repetitive and difficult games from the 90s, but it does not really help much with evaluation.
17. Fifth -Twin-  Rune The Ancient Documents of an angel's heart were stolen when the angel was only a child. The sacred angel's diary was found, but the last page was missing. What could have been written on it? The last page may include the secret of raising both angels to be White or Dark angels. Their destiny depends on you. You have a limited amount of time to decide how you will raise them.
We get to choose either of two girls, the magical element from four elements and start nurturing. After it's done there's ADV part with jobs from the Guild. Girl goes out for the day and tells stories about her daily adventures in the evening possibly triggering nightplay. Repeat till the time is out...
18. Gakuen Ojou-sama Kitan 学園お嬢様奇譚  C's Ware Sae Mikado is a genius girl who is good at everything since she were born, but she also have a supernatural ability she will put in use in her new academic life.
I love C's Ware, I really do. But it's monotonous raising SIM with parameters as well which I just can't stand. Apart of it it's a yuri bakage (also with shota) with very weird story.
19. Inaori いなおり  rúf Main returns from his trip with Yayoi. What he finds at home is funeral for grandfather and his testament that sets inheritance condition to marry a girl and live with her in this mansion.
As usual, when it's not clear from the synopsis whether it's nukige or not, I try to elaborate. First of all, it's ruf which only issued nukige at this point. Secondly, game also has a longer title which can be roughly translated as "Inappropriate ~ Or how I stopped worrying and started to love five women at the same time ~". So the answer is yes, it's more of a nukige where protagonists tries to date five girls at the same time in an attempt to choose a wife. We choose the girl portrait on the map and trigger events, most of which are devilish ones.
20. Kamiuta 神詩  Black Package Main character needs to remove spiritual stagnation which is the source of troubles and solve problems of the girls. Will he use family inherited techniques for that or try to relieve troubles intuitively?
It's another SIM as we need to do repetitive actions to advance treatment and increase levels till resolution is available. There are five attributes to raise - treatment, love, trust, ego, courage. Good luck raising them all to 10 for all the girls to see all the events!
21. Maya ~Madoromijima no Nemurihime~ MaYA ～微睡島ノ眠姫～  Noctovision The season is summer. Majima Masaharu who won a vacation trip invited his university's classmate, Seta Kiyohiko to participate in the tour. The trip is supposed to last seven days. The destination is a small island called Small-Sleep Island in the waters of Okinawa. They were supposed to stay at the pension named "MaYA" there. There were five invited people who also won the trip staying at "MaYA", other than Masaharu and Kiyohiko, four of whom are women. Majima's friend Kiyohiko is excited about the expectation that summer romance can be experienced on this trip ...
Synopsis is neutral, so let's dig deeper. Genre is suspense with someone threatening to take hero's life and also targeting girls as victims. We choose among girls portraits on the map and trigger events. Scenario is bad in the way that conversations are only loosely connected, and there is zero empathy as a result. Even one missed event results in inability to clear character. But it's not always clear where the character will appear next time, so it's constant save-load battle for each heroine. All the girls routes feel the same and there's no sympathy towards any of the heroines.
Kei has a difficult past with an abusive father and has problems socializing with people directly, so he chooses chatroom acquaintances over real people. But one day he discovers that his chat partner EVE is his classmate Midori, who has a crush on A,W - his internet alias. He falls in love with Midori but hides his idealized A,W identity from her so she would not be deterred by his real self, tainted by past and present events, and blackmailed into a slave-like relationship with the school's web mistress.
Game is a big hit with dozens of reviews. It's the first such bright appearance of hikki as main character on the stage. There are both pure love branches and extreme ones featuring S and M. The contrast of those branches along with the innocent title provoked shocking results. But there are negative sides as well - difficulty level is very high, and there's also a very irritating imouto hated by everyone. That alone can avert all the imouto-lovers. This is a game where Moe defeats eroticism, and that alone is worth the masterpiece title.
23. Ragnapolice ラグナポリス  Air Plants An investigator is dispatched from the Space Police Agency headquarters to the South Area Department. His name is Ryouma "Gold Wolf". He is attracted to a woman detective Margaret there. A shooting incident occurs, and Margaret is killed as a result. Ryouma stands on the trail of revenge and starts his private investigation of this case.
I foresee a disappointment due to mini-games and girl-centric case handling, but I'm too fascinated with armed girls to miss this game. I'm making a video playthrough of at least one route of this game, as well as a full review!
24. Gin'iro 銀色  NekoNeko Soft 1234 Giniro is a beautifully crafted fantasy tale comprised of four chapters. It is a bittersweet story of the legendary Silver Thread which is fabled to grant any wish to its holder...
There are four tragic stand-alone stories, and I'm not a fan of such composition. However, there are four positive English reviews, so I gladly agree to call the game a masterpiece. I'm not greedy.
25. Viper-GT1 ~Akira-kun to Issho~ VIPER-GT1～あきらくんといっしょ～  Sogna VIPER-GT1, subtitled "Be With Akira", taking place a few months after the story presented in VIPER-GTB's "Rise After", the player fills the role of a new Anne Mitter's employee who attempts to woo the three current waitresses: Akira, Karin, and newcomer Makoto. Many other VIPER characters, both within the Rise series and otherwise, make cameo appearances.
I tried to make my video of it, but actually failed. First of all, it's the first Viper game that's made on a horrible macromedia engine, so forget about skipping etc. Secondly, I found no voicing. Thirdly, it's become SIM-like since you target just one of three girls and spend free time on some part-time jobs to gain strength or smth. Then monsters come and insult all the girls and you can't do nothing. So probably I failed to do smth specific, but there are zero walkthrough, and I'm not going to make one of this less than perfect game.
Suzuki Shion is a second-year student who attends Namiki Highschool, and leads a rather average highschool life: her older sister is a teacher in the school, she has a best friend, Akemi, and she has several cute male classmates, none of which she has a particular favoring for, but like most highschool girls, dreams of falling in love. Her hobby is writing songs, but she keeps it secret, having no faith in her small musical skill. When she was a child, there was a time she had been bullied and a boy had come and saved her, and with a childish heart, promised to marry her. But now it is just a faded memory from childhood with a person who's name she can't even remember, and she thinks it was all just a dream. Pushing back the memory of that first love, she hopes to find a wonderful lover this time. Then one day in October as she was walking to school, she is stopped by bullies on the way, and is rescued by an unknown boy, who she finds out is Kurosaki Touya, who is just transfering to her school. The event brings back her childhood fantasies, that perhaps they weren't a dream afterall. Then by chance, one of her songs is discovered by Touya, and she is asked to help with recruiting students to form a school band and compose for them, with Touya as the vocals. Feeling flattered and compelled, she agrees. Will she find love with one of the band members along the way?
Protagonist decides to play Mahjong again with Akane as his new assistant. This time scene is girls' school with all kind of heroines as opponents. It's an undressing game, and after top and underwear stages there is punishment full voiced stage for each girl.
You are a scientist who is currently working on a project to develop a powerful drug that would cure men of impotency. Even though you haven't yet found the perfect formula for the drug, there has apparently been a leak in the medical institution, since different people were reported to use an early version of the drug, which ended in some very strange side effects. Your task is to find out who (or what) is behind the leak. Concentrating on the task won't be easy, since you have a beautiful girlfriend, a sexy colleague, and later you also meet a lovely journalist who wants to find out the truth...
A human type pet has been recently developed and became a hit. Main character enters an "Official breeder license exam" that lasts 6 weeks in order to be able to discipline human pets. There is cat-girl, a dog-girl, a bird-girl and a rabbit-girl. But protagonist's girlfriend is getting jealous. Will the exam successfully come to an end?
Main character is a newcomer music producer. With extraordinary talent he can make ordinary girls into popular idols in a blink of an eye! He practices not only conventional serious study session, but also gives energetic entertainment lessons.
One day, Sora mysteriously falls from the window of an upper floor in the school building. After being released from the hospital and returning to the school dormitory, his friend Matsuri announces that he has a new roommate, a very effeminate boy named Sunao who was their friend from childhood. The only problem is that Sora cannot remember him at all -- which upsets Sunao and turns him rather cold to Sora. Mystified as to why he cannot remember his past or why he fell from the building, Sora is determined to get answers, which turns out to be no easy task when things such as a sexually-harrassing math teacher or ghost possession get in the way. Then there is also the matter of Sunao acting very strangely from time to time...
Main character is a slightly devilish celebrity manager. He makes idols out of trouble girls with lots of complexes. There are three main disciplines - dancing, singing and acting - but the result greatly depends on the trust parameter nurtured in the girl.
Main character is a NEET hanging around an adult web site. He sends out emails pretending to be a computer profane medical student inviting girls to meet in real life. He receives a response from milhy84 and they start exchanging emails. One day she sends a letter saying "Hey... do you want to torture women?"
Main character is a son a business group chairman. But a series of conspiracies is launched against the group destroying it and putting chairman into coma from overwork. Protagonist discovers an ability to turn into his doberman dog with a nickname "king". This way he is going to crush the daughters of his enemies who caused the group collapse.
A new nurse comes to a hospital where protagonist works. He knows her already being introduced three years ago, and her shy personality, delicate body and innocent face excite him. He has a key to a secret room in the hospital where he can do whatever he wants to her.
Japan is devastated by the eruption of Mt. Fuji in 2010. A huge casino is built on the ruins of the city under JCP company. Main character is JCP intelligence agent tasked to prevent hostile companies plotting against JCP. Hero knows special technique from ancient India to make girls fall for him in an instant, and he utilizes it against females of the rival corporations to learn their scheming and secrets.
A boy is very bad in studies and he is sent to a special cram school. Hell reveals before him - escape is impossible, students have to study from morning till night and teachers are very experienced and strict. However it's written with small letters in the bottom that all the teachers are females and they attend students 24 hours a day. Yeah! It may turn out much more interesting that it seemed to be. The girl who likes him decides to follow him and prevent any misconduct that may arise!
Shuichi Nakata is from one of the most powerful families in Japan. After the death of his father, he moved out to live with his childhood friend, an older girl named Kumiko. The two of them have lived under the same roof for so long that they're like brother and sister. As time passes she becomes a teacher, and Shuichi finds himself attending to the same school she teaches at. But when he learns that Kumiko is engaged to a teacher he hates, he crafts a devious plan to take her virginity before her new husband can, which catches more than one teacher in his sexual trap.
You can choose one of five different female characters and play through, to see different scenarios from that character's point of view. Explore a cornucopia of forbidden themes as you assume the personalities of each of the characters and play through all parts of the interconnected story. It's a game that explores some of the more bizarre fetishes that can be found in an eroge. Some say that it's the worst bishoujo game ever made – and it even got a perfect score of -50 over at Something Awful. We think it's a crazy ride through the darker side of eroge genre that many people can enjoy. Ikumi-chan just can't control her bladder. Julyne is a clumsy nurse. Reika's a model with constipation problems. Setsuko doesn't know how to use a tampon. Shoko has too much time for love of vegetables. Water Closet tells each of their stories in graphic, erotic detail, exploring themes that usually go unspoken. Follow their stories in this fetishist's visual novel game that's fully voiced with the original Japanese, subtitled and translated into English.
A church on an isolated island. Main character receives a letter from this church asking for help to learn why the state of sisters became strange. Sisters turn out to be sexually aroused which is absolutely strange since sex is absolutely forbidden to them by doctrine. Hero investigates sexuality of the girls and decides to accompany it with sex education.