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How To Date a Magical Girl (Dating Sim Review)

Plk_Lesiak

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Warning: Heavy spoilers for How To Date a Magical Girl and Doki Doki Literature Club! ahead!

Despite the amazing success of Doki Doki Literature Club! (including a commercial one, if you consider the 1300+ Steam reviews on the $10 Fan Pack DLC), there have been surprisingly few attempts to replicate its formula within the EVN scene, especially among the titles that could be considered of professional quality. While the plethora of mods kept the DDLC fanbase occupied, arguably no major Western VN even attempted to create a similar experience, or utilize some of the characteristic gimmicks used by Dan Salvato to a comparable effect. This, of course, can be seen as a positive development, as uninspired copycat games rarely make for compelling experiences, but elements such as drastic genre shifts, clever fourth wall breaking and weaving an interesting meta-narrative into the experience are far from being overdone in VNs, especially within the English-original niche.

                Or at least, this was the case before the release of How To Date a Magical Girl by Cafe Shiba, a game that openly featured a very similar base structure to DDLC – a cute dating sim exterior hiding a brutal horror story, in which nothing is at it seems at first glance. Showing up on Steam in January 2019, it promised 5 romanceable heroines, nearly 40 CGs and over 10 hours of content – rather impressive statistics, especially for a game that originated from a humble, $4000 Kickstarter campaign, and ones that make it hard to dismiss it as a cynical cash-in trying to exploit DDLC's fanbase. In my opinion, however, it managed to fail quite spectacularly, only in small part due to its mimicry of Dan Salvato's game and much more because everything it added to the table was deeply underwhelming. But where exactly did it go wrong?

Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com



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I agree with what you say. I started to play it. Was nothing bad either at first, but I got tired of the main character. I picked a girl, and it didn't feel like at all like I was playing one. They were really lazy with that part and should've just kept it a BxG game. Personally the dating sim part was a little annoying but not horrible. Took long though for me to get my stats up. As for the art, it's okay for me, though the sprites aren't my cup of tea but not too bad. I actually like the BG's, but maybe that's because I love 2D backgrounds. 

As for the girls, I agree that they weren't very interesting (though neither was the mc). Best part for me was with the best guy friend being gay (since I like BL). The girls weren't horrible, just not good. The worst was the Tsun character though. I'm really beginning to gate that trouble. I will say, I don't mind cliches but they have to be done well and this game just doesn't really do it. Yeah, there was some shock value, but too much blood and death. This is why it's hard for me to watch game of thrones actually lol. But anyway, the ending is what ruined it for me. Basically you're wasting your time. What would've been a better end if one would change this a bit, would to be to have the girl you wooed be the one to be by your side when you woke up and you had been lovers. At least that gives me a reason to do all the routes. But sadly, I doubt I will. 

So in the end, the game was meh for me. I'm not going to say horrible, but not good. Also, it's a no Yuri game as you said since they do a terrible job with that part. If only they took just more time with the writing/story, it could've been better for me. 

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10 hours ago, aliciarune said:

So in the end, the game was meh for me. I'm not going to say horrible, but not good. Also, it's a no Yuri game as you said since they do a terrible job with that part. If only they took just more time with the writing/story, it could've been better for me. 

Yeah, they definitely tried too hard to make it a genre shift game and forgot that there should be SOMETHING satisfying in the story regardless. Plus, interestingly enough, one of the endings (the one there Satomi takes over the protagonist's body) only makes any sense if you're playing as a girl. This might be just poor writing though and not the g/g version being the default. :P

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