Hi people! It's been a while since I posted anything (for me, anyway), and I wanted to go ahead and get the March releases explanation out of the way before I started on Waka-sama.
I played through one route of this game, but it was not really something I could keep going through to all the endings, primarily because the setting is pure nukige while the setup and execution is pure moege. Don't know what I'm trying to get at? Well, I'll go ahead and explain. Essentially, the game focuses on the protagonist being a teacher of the Love Education subject, which essentially allows him to get into a relationship with his students. The problem? Most of his students are either innocents about sexuality due to their upbringing or the very reverse. Naturally, this results in various wacky antics... and this would normally be a pure nukige with a kichiku-style teacher. Instead, we get the adult version of the classic charage protagonist romancing (by accident at times) a bunch of girls who would normally be underage for him.
While there were a lot of smile-worthy moments in the common route and I didn't hate the endings, this isn't the kind of game where you'll love the setting or get engrossed in the story. It is classic charage from beginning to end, with the setting being the only exception.
Sakura Iro, Mau Koro ni
I actually plan to go back to this one eventually. It is a first-class charage with a solid cast of heroines and side-characters, as well as a decent protagonist. As such, it is unusual enough that I felt I could go back and enjoy it later. It wasn't good enough for me to delay playing Waka-sama though.
Waka-sama no Zasuru Sekai
I'm going to be blunt going in... Minato Carnival's new game is, theme-wise, completely out of character. That said, it reuses a lot of resources from Tsujidou-san, being based in the same region, though without the same characters. The themes focus on Japanese mythology, youkai, and deities, and it is pretty screwy overall.
A few notes about this game's story... it is darker than you'd think from the usual Minato style. It is often casually violent, with lots of casual deaths and a huge number of bad (dead) endings you are required to read through to get to the true (Waka-sama) ending. The former element is very much in line with Minato Soft's style (the casual violence with superpowers), but the way people die off right and left in this story is more something you'd see from a horror VN company than this company.
Now, that isn't a complaint. If anything, I was amazed that Romeo still had this kind of game in him after all these years of spitting out reruns of his old games. Waka-sama is a great character and heroine. She is a sea goddess (at times she reminds me of the Cthulhu Mythos, though it is usually humorous) and is pretty badass...
The protagonist, Ryouga, starts out as a high school dropout and ends up going through hell to become her High Priest as she is resurrected into the modern world. Unfortunately for them, things are not as simple as an ancient evil goddess being released from entombment, but to me, that was good enough reason to follow the story from start to end.
I won't say that this game is very good at stimulating the emotions. Most of the events in the story, even the deaths and bad endings, are treated too casually to create a seriously emotional reaction on the part of the reader. Early on, the game feels like a new Majikoi with bad endings, but about halfway through, the more serious elements take over and make the story go bigger and bigger in terms of scale.
If I have a complaint about this game, it was the way it felt like reading something written by a guy on a Ritalin high. Yeah, it was frequently a fun read, but the very things that made it a fun read prevented me from empathizing with... anyone, really. Ryouga is so even-keeled and insightful in general by the end that it feels like he was a male clone of Waka at times.
Is this game worth playing for Romeo fans? Yes, I believe it is. Is it a kamige? The jury is still out in my mind, so probably not. This game would probably be very hard to replay, as a lot of its attraction comes from the surprises it throws at you constantly. Not to mention that this game is looooooong. I mean, it took me about 28 hours to complete, even though it is essentially a single-path game with branching endings.