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VN of the Month March 2013 - Himawari no Kyoukai to Nagai Natsuyasumi


Himawari no Kyoukai to Nagai Natsuyasumi is my choice for March, another nice one is Lovesick Puppies -Bokura wa Koi Suru Tame ni Umaretekita- . Clephas backed the second one. Micchi actually supports both of those, plus Ryuusei☆Kiseki -SHOOTING PROBE-

 

1. Pocket ni Koi o Tsumete ポケットに恋をつめて [130315] Aozora Biscuit
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The gender split in Sayahama-chou’s Kouchourinkai Gakuen is greatly imbalanced, with 2 boys for every 8 girls. However, it’s not like a harem situation for the boys since they are treated as nobodies. Faced with a dimming future, the boys decided to create an unofficial ‘hero club’ with the aim to become people that everyone will want to have around.
Game suffers from average production values and poor common route, but is experimental in that heroines are unique and have very unusual problems to solve. H tilt is high.

 

2. Tiger & Bunny ~Hero's Day~ TIGER&BUNNY ~ヒーローズ デイ~ [130320] Witchcraft 
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Tiger & Bunny: Hero’s Day lets you follow different characters in the anime series and you get to choose how events unfold, and also features a talking battle system. Players have to select choices to defeat an enemy. These scenes are timed and if the clock runs out you lose stamina. You can also lose stamina if you pick an incorrect choice, so be careful if the stamina gauge runs out the game ends.
Anime Spin-Off

 

3. Lovesick Puppies -Bokura wa Koi Suru Tame ni Umaretekita- LOVESICK PUPPIES -僕らは恋するために生まれてきた- [130322] Cosmic Cute 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 
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Kotarou is a normal student at Hatao Gakuen who is a member of the ‘counselling room’. The ‘counselling room’ was viewed by many as a place for complaints and random requests. Even though he was pitied by them for being part of some a troublesome place, he didn’t mind it since he naturally liked helping out with other people’s problems.
One day, he was entrusted with a girl named Orie, who had committed a crime which almost got her expelled from the school. Even though her attitude was difficult to deal with, she earnestly completed all the tasks which he assigned to her. When she found out that he was living in an apartment, she implored him to let her stay there. After finding out the reason why she was so insistent, he agreed to take her in.
But not soon thereafter, his uncle informed him that the apartment will be demolished. He didn’t want to lose his home filled with memories, while she didn’t want to lose her newly found place where she could restart her life. With the mascot-like Maruna and transfer student Sonya moving in, and classmate Isami and trusted osananajimi Yuuki’s also showing up often, the apartment became more lively. Even if only for a limited time, their ‘family’ bonds strengthen.
There are English reviews

 

4. Fate/Extra CCC [130328] Type-Moon 1 2 3 4
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Head to the other side of the Fate Extra, the secret place where only the privileged few are allowed to enter. Because of a bug in the system, the Holy Grail wars is mutated. A new game starts, its lure and power draw magicians from across cyberspace.
Players are exposed to new dangers and the girls reveal a side of themselves that they have kept hidden in the first game. The person who knows the truth is Sakura, and the servant waiting to be claimed is Saber. Full of tension and seduction, this is an adventure that simply could not be missed.
RPG has English reviews

 

5. Rebellions: Secret Game 2nd Stage リベリオンズ Secret Game 2nd Stage [130328] Flat 1 
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Remake of Secret Game Code: Revise with 80% altered story.
14 people have been abducted and confined to small rural village . Each one has a metallic collar around their neck and a PDA representing a playing card from Ace to Joker with unique special function and clear condition, which they have to fulfill before the last day of the game. Clear conditions range from "simple" ones like "Survive until the last day of the game" to more complicated ones like "Clear conditions of all players with cards that represent a prime number are fulfilled". If anyone tries to leave the designated area, breaks one of the game's rules or fail to achieve their clear condition in their own PDA, their collar explodes killing them.
This is the "game" of death, where mistrust and manipulation runs rampart and death is common and when "rain starts to fall" ...
Remake

 

6. Bokura no Ue ni Sora wa Mawaru 僕らの頭上に星空は廻る [130329] Polarstar
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Hitoshi had been in Sakimihara Gakuen for three months and he still hadn’t joined a club. The astronomy club was in danger of disbanding due to the graduation of the third-year students and retirement of their advisor. He ended up being half-forced to join the club by the scheming of his older cousin and teacher Sakura. He met the other members of the club: energetic transfer student Supika, gentle neighbour Kano, shy senpai Sari, childish-looking but reliable Ayane. They were all new to astronomy as well, so their first outings were full of fumbles. However, as time progressed, they gradually began to change.
A normal simple youth romcom. Drawing is rather weird during SOL scenes, but becomes erotic during H scenes.

 

7. Himawari no Kyoukai to Nagai Natsuyasumi 向日葵の教会と長い夏休み [130329] Makura 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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Yousuke returned to his hometown of Oboshiro-mura after 8 years in Tokyo and Osaka. He had received a letter from Father Arakawa, who had raised him up as a child, telling him that the Oboshiro church will be closing and merged with a larger church in a neighbouring town, and inviting him back for one last summer together. He reunited with his childhood friends Yomi, Daiya and Ruka, and also met a little girl named Hina who reminded him of himself when he was a child. This is the beginning of a cheerful and refreshing, yet sometimes painful, summer tale.
There are English reviews

 

8. Mirai Sekai no Planeta ミライセカイのプラネッタ [130329] Libre 
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In the near future, technology has progressed to a point where people can live both in reality and the internet world, Planeta. Satoru came to Planeta to enjoy a school life in the virtual world. But he was recruited to work for the detective team Sprites after meeting their leader Ayaka. At the same time, there was a terrorist attack in Planeta, caused by a hacker who went by Irurihito.
Intriguing setting and opening turn into a fluke. Virtual school feels very much like normal school, main character is a weak cheating disgusting shota and mystery is not that great to gather its pieces from individual routes. World-building is done well in the first half, but there's just not enough development or interesting events happening in the second half.

 

9. Ryuusei☆Kiseki -Shooting Probe- 流星☆キセキ -SHOOTING PROBE- [130329] Unison Shift: Accent 
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Due to many satellite accidents, the world was littered with countless space debris. Space development had been suspended and people’s dreams of reaching the stars were stalled. Hayato decided that he could not wait such a long time for all the space debris to clear and development to resume, so he set out to build a model rocket which will be able to pierce through the debris. He continued to try despite repeated failures and the cool gaze from those around him.
On his 99th try, he thought he had finally attained success until his rocket collided with something. Running to the crash site, he found a naked girl holding a rocket. She opened her eyes and introduced herself as Twink, a space probe who had come to investigate Earth. However, she was unable to break away from Earth’s gravity due to the collision with his rocket. He promised to help her return to her home star.
Not bad good-natured royal road game with Twink pulling the blanket in her direction. But we've seen a lot of rocket-building games already, and this one focuses exactly on that and friendship rather that going for romance or humor. It treads on difficult ground competing with Rocket no Natsu and Robotics;Notes , and those are serious rivals.

 

10. Shukusai no Utahime -Kimi to Tsumugu Asu e no Uta- 祝祭の歌姫 ―君と紡ぐ明日への歌― [130329] More
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Kaito spent peaceful days in the musical capital of Wolfburg with his childhood friends Rio and Graf. However, his wish for this to remain unchanged was shattered one day when he heard a girl cry for help in a corner of the old town. He brought the girl Yuina to his house and after talking to his father, allowed her to temporarily stay with them since she had no place to call home due to strife. Thus began his life together with Yuina, whose values were quite different from his.
One day, his friends and Yuina heard about a recruitment for performers at the music festival and decided to join it. They worked hard together to make the best memories of their youth, but there were sinister things which were creeping towards them: the late witch, the hidden treasure, and the problem of the eastern district.
It's a middle price low budget work, so CG pattern is narrow and scenario feels chopped at times. Despite the witch death day hook thrown at the beginning, it's a normal youth pure love game with discrimination in focus. With better quality and proper protagonist it could be a thing, but in this state - alas.

 

11. Unmei ga Kimi no Oya o Erabu Kimi no Yuujin wa Kimi ga Erabu 運命が君の親を選ぶ 君の友人は君が選ぶ [130329] Whitesoft 
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The quiet town of Tounoyama-chou was full of shrines and churches, stone circles and other ruins, as well as an underground labyrinth which was built during the war and other historical structures. It was known as a spiritual place, where many believed in fortune telling and miracles. The protagonist transferred into Tounoyama Gakuen and the fortune-telling deemed him as the ‘destined boy’ upon which the school’s future rested upon. However, a great uproar ensued when they found out that he was just a normal person. During that time, he met many girls and his osananajimi Riri revived the occult club as the ‘destiny research club’ and proposed to see their futures together.
Game tries to be philosophical akin to Nekonade Distortion and has good atmosphere, but occult fortune telling tilt takes away a lot of charm for me. Individual routes take only 10 minutes, and the point of the game and title can only be understood after getting True End. If that does not scare you, scenario can actually be worth the effort.

 

 

 

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I named Lovesick Puppies for this month's VN of the month, for various reasons.  It is a first-class charage that falls into a very rarified territory of charage that didn't make the mistakes a typical charage tends to make.

Himawari no Kyoukai is probably Makura's sole top-quality game.  While it has the oddly archaic visual style of the company, it manages to tell a better story than any of their other games.

Mirai Sekai no Planeta had oodles of potential but never really went anywhere with it.

Ryuusei Kiseki has long been on my recommended list for charage fans.

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