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Astelight Trilogy 星継駅擾乱譚 / 星継駅年代史 / 星継駅疾走軌 [raiL-soft]


kivandopulus

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Foreword: I know I'm supposed to be finally reviewing Second Novel, but I give up. It has heavy gameplay elements and I'm stuck there at some point even with walkthrough, so I probably need to waste 10 more hours brute-forcing it, which I totally don't intend to do. Wanted to record at least short stories, but they aren't in the form of visual novel - just scanned light novels or whatever in vertical format and manual page flipping, no text hooking for them. As for Astelight games,I recorded all of them in just one day (and a week more for copyright clearing), so it's a breather compared to the horrible mess of Second Novel.
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Synopsis:
In the midst of a deep fog shrouding a ‘station’ somewhere in the barren wasteland of an unknown world stood a strange giant machine. 
Two people traveled around the universe in it and gave dubious performances until the carriage stopped. The two people are chairman of the group Okikaze B. and his companion Sharue .
One day they tried to make the station go again and could not stop it anymore. It was difficult to maintain the station at first, but they managed. From then on days of turmoil began for them.
 
Character Design rating: 7/10
Protagonist rating: 7/10
Story rating: 7/10
Game quality: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10
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Last raiL-soft works are difficult to talk about. First of all, they are quarter-price and very short. Debut story is less than 5-hours long while biggest last one is sitting around 9 hours. But the main problem is that game is a bakage in its ultimate form. It does not really try to tell a coherent story, so it's just a pure fantasy flow with synopsis as a starting point. Setting is made crazy on purpose to erase all possible boundaries. All characters are weirdos without exception, so any kind of empathy or character development is not possible. Debut game was announced just two weeks before release. With this kind of attitude, Mareni had all the freedom he needed.
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Protagonists are actually different for every game, but a lot of characters are inter-exchanged, and Okikase appears in every game thus creating continuity. System is traditional raiL-soft, so if you played one their game, you know them all all system-wise. H tilt is really big, and pretty much any scene can spontaneously turn into such situation. By the end of the third game even some corruption themes flash.
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Astelight games are a fusion of Albatross Koukairoku and Seven-Bridge. Albatross comes up naturally as it's the same writer, the same company and same unbounded craziness. But I absolutely can't stand Albatross and like Astelight. The reason is that Albatross is gloomy, repulsive, dark. Seven-Bridge is same adventurous, light and crazy while sharing the same flying railroad theme, but there are also a lot of differences like writing and especially concept. Seven-Bridge had a clear concept divided by chapters and moving to a set goal while Astelight does not care about such trifles as structure. As for humor, in Astelight I felt like watching a series of perverted sketches with only part of them being amusing. As a result, I can't rate a game with such vague concept more than a minor masterpiece, but it's perfect for times when I just want to turn head off and see something light, but not stupid, sweet or vulgar.
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