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  1. 10 points
    You should read this over at https://j-addicts.de/vn-of-the-month-december-2003/ as not only does it have (some) juicier screenshots, but the formatting is much better. First of all, I believe I should thank the j-addicts/Koutou Yuumin team for their knowledge and expertise. This article grew way beyond my expectations, and I would surely have lost my way without them. Also, to the several friends who gave me feedback and helped me out in various ways, thank you very much. Well then, shall we start? This month has four masturpieces (get it?). They are Saishuu Chikan Densha 2, Kadowakashi, Christmas★Present, and Kizumono no Shoujo Gaiden. That being said, there are still several other quite decent games. The game that surprised me the most by the positive and my personal masturpiece is Jam 'n Limit, and the games that disappointed me much were Eisai Kyouiku and Yami no Koe III. If you're looking for this month's overall best game, the answer is probably something boring like Saya no Uta (the answer, not the game). How are masturpieces decided, you ask? Introducing: the fap-o-meter! In Erogamescape, it's possible to vote on how suitable the H-scenes were for fapping material, ranging from "Weren't useful at all" to "Were pretty useful." Thus, I will attribute a numerical score (from 0 to 5) for each of those and tally up the average. This will be known as the fap-o-meter. This isn't a fallible and objective method, but it should give an idea of how much cummies the players were able to get out of these games. The Games To begin with, I decided which games to play based on EGS's database. This is because it's bound to have more games listed than vndb. Out of 107 releases, I checked out 31 games. There were 21 games I would've considered for review, except that I wasn't able to obtain them as nearly all of them are obscure doujin games, which were sold exclusively at Comiket. I blacklisted 55 games: 32 are moege/charage/plotge – basically, games that have too much plot or other crap in the way of my precious porn, 9 were re-releases, 7 were PS2 games or not VNs, 6 were all-ages and thus no porn, and 1 was listed incorrectly. Please keep in mind that just because a game is ranked higher or lower, it's not an absolute indicator of its quality. Some games cater to one fetish exclusively, so they're not bound to please everyone. The game titles have been localized by me, as I thought that's something that a predominantly English-speaking audience would appreciate. That is if they don't have one already. The same goes for the synopsis. Many of them are translated by me, and at times, I've had to replace what was very obviously nonsensical machine-translated garbage. I am still in the process of learning Japanese, and translating is, well, challenging, but I can assure you that there are no lies, falsehoods, or made-up stuff on them. I will put any game descriptions that aren't mine between quotes and credit them appropriately. The screenshots are at 75% of their original resolution, except for one of the games where I could only play the widescreen version, so it's at 50%. If you're interested in a specific game, I'd advise for you to CTRL+F search for it. If you'd like to read my overall conclusions on this whole venture, search for My Thoughts and Conclusions. One last thing: I did not rely on machine translation tools to play these games. 1. Midnight Sleazy Train 2 EGS-Score: 74 (442) Atelier Kaguya TEAM HEARTBEAT Fap-o-meter: 3.26 (91) Saishuu Chikan Densha 2 Main appeal: chikan, forceful sex, group sex 最終痴漢電車2 "Touch her/Lick her/Verbally abuse her" "Some towns have legends of haunted houses or underground communities in the sewers. But in Takumi’s town, the ultimate urban legend is the Midnight Sleazy Train. Desperate for a spot on the train, Takumi waits by the station after hours. But he finds that you can’t just buy a ticket. Only by bringing the perfect female guest can you ensure permission to come aboard." http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?show=anime&aid=2444 Well, color me surprised! For some reason, this game has hundreds of votes, so I was curious about how that came to be. Perhaps a lot of people watched the H-OVA and became interested in the game that way? That's what I call a marketing success. But that's not all. The game itself is a pretty good nukige. Beyond the beautiful art and hot H-scenes, the game bolsters a pretty robust map movement system. Unlike most games where you wander at random, hoping you'll run into the characters, the game tells if there's someone at the place you're about to visit. It sounds like something straightforward, but it doesn't matter how good the game's content is if the system doesn't facilitate the access to that very content. Besides that, you also have verb-based interactivity during the H-scenes (filling up their lewdness level gauge), and this makes for perfect roleplaying. You're not just playing as a groping protagonist, you feel like the groper yourself. With all of these factors combined, it's no wonder that so many people enjoy this game and the series, yet to this very day. Though, if you're not that big of a fan of uh...gangbangs, you might not enjoy it that much. Maybe watch the H-OVA first and see if it's something you'd like. 2. Kidnapping EGS-Score: 65 (41) ZyX Fap-o-meter: 3.25 (4) Kadowakashi Main appeal: sexual slavery 拐 ~カドワカシ~ There was a certain man, an all-girls school art lecturer. One day, he came across Tomoko, a student who was being bullied, and saved her from her predicament. However, this very event triggered his innermost sadistic desires. Suddenly, he could no longer hold back, and forced himself upon her. To our protagonist who had awakened to his sadistic desires, Tomoko proposed that he sexually train one of her classmates, Yazawa Mizue, a pure girl, ignorant of the ways of the world. While being aware that Tomoko was hiding something, the protagonist decided to play along with her plan. Could he become such an individual that could rule others into submission? Not out of simple, mere lust, he earnestly wanted to find the answer to that very question. Will he really be able to rule over the heroines as if they were his own possession, or else, will he end up as nothing more than Tomoko's puppet? Wow, uh, what a fast development. They really get straight to the action, huh. Within a couple of minutes, the protagonist rapes one of his students, Tomoko. I'm actually not a fan of justifying this as "lol deep dark desires," but I guess that's the setup they were going for. The main meat of this game is to sexually train a trio of heroines. True to its name, with Tomoko's help, you kidnap two of your students and confine them in a locked room, starting off with Mizue. What really makes this game stand out is the sheer variety in H content. The heroine has stats, most of them sexually-related, and you have to raise them to allow for even kinkier play. You have to be strategic with your options to train the ultimate sex slaves. Though, if you suck, you can play on Easy difficulty. When I say variety, I mean that ALL of these options are available at the start (well, as long as the heroine "consents" to it). This means all kinds of play. You can choose to be kind or to be sadistic. You can make her service you or teach her pleasure through shamefulness. Ultimate freedom and variety. That doesn't mean you can just do anything. If you're too harsh on her, she'll collapse. Have this happen enough times, and you'll get a game over. So please, be responsible, and take good care of your sex slaves! When it comes to the staff members, the spotlight is on the game's artist, Mutou Keiji. He is responsible for the character design and art of many games I have played in the past, from Studio Triumph. It's extremely similar to JAST published Do You Like Horny Bunnies?. Perhaps they had the same teacher? It might seem odd at first, but I grew really fond of this style over time. The sex scenes are also animated, and for once, they actually look good. Nice! 3. Christmas★Present EGS-Score: 70 (62) Ail [Team Riva] Fap-o-meter: 3.09 (11) Christmas★Present Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, comedy クリスマス★プレゼント On the night of December 16th, with Christmas close by… In the corner of a town wrapped in the holiday spirit, our protagonist, Sajima Yuuji, was once again completely absorbed in picking fights with delinquents. All of a sudden, a girl in Santa Claus's garments fell from the sky, crashing into him. Carrying the collapsed girl who to his room, he raped her without waiting for her to regain consciousness. And so, the very next morning, this one Santa's apprentice came to her senses. Upon realizing the situation she was in, she was bewildered. "No...it can't be!" Not only did he deprive her of her precious symbol of maidenhood, but also the source of her powers: her precious Saint's Crest. And so, promising to return the crest, he set the following terms: "Until the day of Christmas, you'll be my slave." Abusing these powers, and laying his hands not only on this Santa's apprentice, but also his stepsister Yuzu, stepmother Honami, and other women…what will become of this year's Christmas? This was actually the game I was looking forward to playing the most. Considering this is the month of December, I really wanted to play at least one game that would really get me into the holiday spirit. It took me hours to figure out how to get it working, but man, was it worth it! While the description is a bit grim and dark, the game is actually the complete opposite. It's always fun and filled with comedic moments. The best way to describe this game would perhaps be "bakage" (silly game) due to its sheer absurdity and ridiculousness. Of note, the game has a sort of "affinity" system. Your actions will increase your "evil" points by a certain amount. So, you can abuse the powers of the Saint's Crest, which can make any wish come true, or you can be a good boy and play along as Santa's Little Helper, spreading happiness all over town. The art is beautiful, the sex is hot, the banter between characters is great. This game would make for the perfect Christmas present. 4. Defiled Girls - Campus of Used Goods Side Story EGS-Score: 70 (83) Rasen Fap-o-meter: 2.82 (17) Kizumono no Shoujo -Kizumono no Gakuen Gaiden- Main appeal: blackmail, forceful sex, group sex 傷モノの少女-傷モノの学園・外伝- The "Kazaoto Academy Student Guerrilla Incident". An incident where roughly all survivors suffered greatly. The women, raped. The men who refused to rape, killed. And now, once again, a new humiliation play was about to begin... After the terrifying incident took place, part of the students who attended Kazaoto Academy transfered schools. And so, the stage changes to the preparatory school, Mizuto Academy, which two of the incident's victims attended. They were Oomura Takeshi and Shindou Narumi. In the middle of winter, when he had just gotten used to his new school life, Takeshi discovered a laptop which contained a video of Narumi being gang raped. While he was in shock at this devastating sight, his friend Kaneda Masaru saw the video by accident. Unflinchingly, Kaneda comes up with ways to use this video to blackmail Narumi. Without being able to refuse Kaneda's suggestion, Takeshi, while holding complicated feelings in his chest, ends up agreeing to blackmail and rape Narumi. And so, asides from Narumi, they gradually went on to defile the other girls surrounding them... This an insult game. This game has insult scenes, the protagonist and his buddy insult the girls...wait, what? Duh, I mean, rape. Yes, that's the word. This game is basically a side story of the original Kizumono no Gakuen. You don't really need to have played the previous game as it's not a direct sequel. Takeshi and Narumi's involvement in the previous incident is briefly explained - Takeshi was forced to film the girls being raped, under threat of being killed, and Narumi was one of the victims. Upon finding one of his old videos, he can no longer contain his excitement. I prefer this game to the first one because I like seeing the gap between peaceful school life and the moments of higher tension. That's not to say that the battle royale setting isn't thrilling though. It also feels like more of a personal experience, since you have one protagonist instead of multiple ones/multiple POVs. While you might initially think it to be a rape fest...it's just so much more than that. It capitalizes on human emotions: sorrow, anguish, sadness, loneliness...and instead of an abrupt chaotic state, it's gratifying to witness that transition. You can also expect exciting developments such as betrayals when you least see them coming. The H-scenes are well, pretty good. There's nothing that bonds friends together any more than doing the same girl at the same time...the story is about the defilement of the girls, as much as it is about the corruption of the protagonist's psyche. Though it helps to have a friend who is crazier than you. At least in this game, the "villains" actually feel like villains as they delve into their intricate plots, instead of your casual rapists. Of particular note, this game has a quite nice atmosphere, boosted by a quality soundtrack. Good faps are to be had with this game. 5. I'm a Booth Attendant - Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales EGS-Score: 65 (35) Interheart Fap-o-meter: 2.75 (4) Oira wa Bandai ~Heisaku & Kenta no Yume Monogatari~ Main appeal: voyeurism オイラは番台~平作&健太の夢物語~ One day, a police detective suddenly barged in a certain popular public bathhouse that the protagonist was in charge of. "Dan Koutarou! You're under arrest, under suspicion of sexual assault!" With a clack, he was handcuffed. Several months passed, and after a hellish series of interrogations, his guilt was established. "Why, why am I the only one serving a prison sentence? Why are Heisaku and Kenta getting away scott free? But, it seems that is my fate... Even if they were to be caught, it does not mean that my punishment would go away, but... Is the public bathhouse that I inherited from my pops done for? I've really done something awful to him..." Man, I can't believe we came out innocent. I feel kinda bad about pushing the blame solely on Koutarou, but this too is part of fate, huh. Kou-chan, just sit quietly in your cell! So, we were cleared of suspicion, but what should we do from now on? You're right...for now, how about we go back to Koutarou's shop, and peek in the bath once again?! There's also videos of those women we filmed that we haven't used yet! To begin with, let's change bathhouse's name! Enter Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales! This is a side story, continuing off the ending of the first game. I really recommend that you play that game first so that you'll get the most enjoyment out of the story. Basically, this is a real-time, public bathhouse management game. You take in customers, and you can peek at them while they change clothes, are in the toilet or just chilling in the bath. You'll have to follow the schedule carefully and know the exact times when the heroines visit the bathhouse. The game's system is pretty helpful in this regard, but something like a tutorial would've been much appreciated. It takes some time to get used to the gameplay, as you also have to use and buy items that will help you in your peeping quest, but I find the experience to be worth the trouble. If anything, the banter between characters is pretty well-done. Most of the characters are actually adults, which is a nice change of pace. I also like that the previous game's protagonist went to jail since that's what happens when you do bad things. The game is pretty similar to the first one, so once again, that's probably where you want to start. Interheart themselves published a walkthrough for this game, and I wish I had noticed it before playing...oh well. 6. Please Teach Nanami and Konomi the ABC EGS-Score: 68 (101) Studio Ring Fap-o-meter: 2.61 (18) Nanami to Konomi no Oshiete ABC Main appeal: lolicon ななみとこのみのおしえてA・B・C "You're a college student on summer vacation. In your neighbourhood live two extremely friendly cute twin girls, Nanami and Konomi Nishimura. One day their mother asks you to tutor the two of them. "Nanami wants to study with onii-chan!" "Onii-chan, will you teach Konomi?" Of course, onii-chan immediately replies. "Sure, if you want me to, it'd be my pleasure." "He didn't say no... thank goodness." "Yay!" And thus begins your summer "lessons" with Nanami and Konomi." https://vndb.org/v1620 Alright, so uh...yeah. Despite the pretty art and cutesy voice acting, I found this game to be not much more than wish fulfillment for lolicon. To begin with, I'm not a fan of deredere, lovestruck heroines, but if you're into this type of content, you're probably going to enjoy it. 7. Lewd Little Sister BABY EGS-Score: 65 (65) Image Craft Fap-o-meter: 2.58 (13) Inmai Baby Main appeal: lolicon 淫妹BABY "The protagonist is a young man. He lives with his younger stepsister Mana in the same house, together brother and sister discover a lot of games (with sometimes interesting toys) and they have a lot of fun." https://vndb.org/v3153 Right, so, uh...yeah. There are two main points of interest in this game. First, it's the art or overall art direction. Not only are the H-scenes fully animated, but the sprites are also constantly changing very fluidly. The artstyle might seem simple, but it's nice and colorful. Honestly, this game very much feels like an anime, to the point I'd almost unironically call it an "anime game". The second point is the sheer amount and variety of endings. You have the freedom to craft the story as you please, but remember that everything you do has a consequence. Strictly speaking, I'd only recommend this to fans of the genre. 8. Children Milk Parfait EGS-Score: 66 (28) Shiritsu Sakuranbo Shouggakou Fap-o-meter: 2.57 (7) Kodomo Milk Parfait Main appeal: lolicon こどもみるくぱふぇ "You're a college student and while you love the many beautiful girls you see around you in college you prefer elementary school girls. Your girlfriend is 10 year old 5th grade elementary school girl Ai Hasegawa. She's happy to be your girlfriend but discovers that her best friend Aya Sakurai has a crush on you too! Ai loves both you and Aya so she decides it's ok to share! She brings Aya to your apartment and asks you to take her first kiss. Where will you go from there?" https://vndb.org/v4244 I swear, I'm not doing it on purpose! Anyway, for this game, I actually had to make a decision, since if I included the votes of the 2007 DVD release, it would score much higher. To make things fair, I decided not to. In my opinion, I found this game to be boring. The children don't act like children (more like naughty adults trapped in a child's body), and most scenes are teasing. I also thought that the OP was really catchy, it even forced me to get up from my chair and bust my moves for a few minutes. The UI is also extremely cutesy, which fits the mood of the game. 9. Matty, the youngest child EGS-Score: 61 (22) Complet's Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (6) Matty Main appeal: straight shotacon まってぃ Due to certain circumstances, Ryouta was sent to live with his parent's relatives, becoming a freeloader of the Okano household. However, in this house, he is treated as nothing more than the "youngest child". As the youngest child, he is constantly teased, submitted to unreasonable requests, and sent to do errands. However, he is simply not in a position where he can refuse. The eldest daughter and office lady, Sena; the second daughter and tomboy, Kana; and the youngest daughter and his classmate, Mana. These three, without exception, do as much as they like with their new younger brother. On the other hand, his aunt Kaori dotes excessively on him. In the middle of such an exciting daily life, embarrassing and fortunate events occur...what will happen to Ryouta? I actually completed two routes of this game...but it's difficult to call them routes to begin with. Okay, first of all, this is what will usually happen. At school, you get two alternating choices that decide what type of event will occur. When you're back home, you get four choices which are meaningless by themselves (e.g., kill time, go back to your room, watch TV, etc.), and if you're lucky you'll trigger some kind of event with the heroines. When it's time to go to bed, you can choose between going to sleep right away, going to the restroom, or reading a porn magazine (there are like four to collect, can you get them all?!). The first two of those choices CAN trigger events, but 90% of the time nothing happens. And this repeats every single day until the game ends. You have no idea which choices trigger what, you have to constantly savescum if you want to see events with a certain heroine (and of course, you'll have to try all the choices first, every time), and even then, more than half of the scenes are teasing. So all you're really doing is collecting events. I hope I was able to convey the frustration I felt playing this game. Why couldn't they have employed a map movement system, where you could just visit everyone in their respective rooms? Why this lazy, inane system? And even worse, the heroine I was aiming for doesn't even have an H-scene or a proper ending. The game just ends abruptly. What a piece of crap. Either way, the art by Mame is definitely the game's high point. I recommend that you read the prologue, download a complete save file, and check out the H-scenes. Or play a better game, by the same company. 10. Surrender - Ravished Body, Broken Heart EGS-Score: 60 (3) X[iks] Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (2) Shikkan ~Hazukashimerareta Karada, Oreta Kokoro~ Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, mystery しっかん ~辱められた躰、折れた心~ On a solitary island, somewhere in the distant seas, there laid a certain hospital. Upon embarking on a ship towards the island, and arriving at the facilities, the protagonist received a request from his brother, the hospital's director, to investigate the spy the who had snuck in. Taking on the guise of a doctor, he will interrogate the various suspects through any and all kinds of methods. However, in the midst of the swamp where anticipation and expectations intertwine, the evil that remained dormant within the darkness reared its ugly head. This is a mystery game where the objective is to uncover the spy and the island's other mysteries. Who is the spy, and what are they after? What secrets does this hospital hold? The navigation is done through a map movement system. I usually dislike these, but you can at least trust the characters to hang out in a specific place. There's the doctor who hangs out at her own office, the patient that stays inside her room, the two nurses in the nurse station and the nurse in the psychosomatic ward. If you check out the other areas, you can find out more about the game's world, side characters, and... special tools. When you talk to the characters, there's also this interactive system, kinda like the old verb-based games. Except that it's with nouns, people's names, locations and so on.In conclusion, the game's system is kinda annoying, and honestly, I don't feel like doing bad things to the characters when they're so lovely... The dialogue and voice acting are built in such a way that they actually feel like real humans. Speaking of voice acting, it's pretty good! You might recognize some industry veterans... I'd say that despite some annoyances, the journey does feel worth it. It's definitely a game I'd like to spend more time with. 11. Good Girl's Worries Counselling Room - Fantasy World's Immoral Guidance EGS-Score: 65 (15) Collection Fap-o-meter: 2.33 (3) Yoi Ko no Nayami Soudanshitsu ~Mousou Sekai no Haitokuteki Shidou~ Main appeal: group sex, forceful sex よい娘の悩み相談室~妄想世界の背徳的指導~ The game's protagonist manages a counselling website called "Good Girl's Worries Counseling Room". Officially, it is a well-renown website where volunteers give counsel to its female users, easing their worries. However, if you seize their trust by giving them appropriate advice, you will be able to meet them directly for a sexy time! In the meanwhile, the protagonist, upon reading the contents of their e-mails, flies off to a fantasy world, where his imagination takes hold of the events they describe. Essentially, when his brother collapses from overwork, by sheer coincidence the protagonist manages to find out that he was in charge of a counseling website. The gameplay is simple: you check your inbox on the website, pick the e-mail you want to read, read it, and then the protagonist imagines the H-events described on the e-mail. After that, it is your job to give the girls advice through a series of choices. I was initially disappointed, thinking it was kinda lame to not engage with the heroines directly, but I find this to be a really novel idea. They take what would be generic H-scenes and give them a backstory, aftermath, and the female character's perspective. The most fun I had with this game was reading those very e-mails and challenging myself to give good advice. For example, there's a high school student who talks about how several boys confessed to her at once, and she ends indulging their wish of wanting to create "pleasant memories" with her. I told her that she needs to value her body more and that she should be responsible and pick only one of the guys to be her boyfriend. It really feels like a very personal experience, where I am crafting my own story, almost as if I was actually talking to a real high school student. I did not get that far, but it seems, later on, you'll actually be able to meet the girls, so there's something to look forward to. After all, most of the game's H-scenes only occur inside the protagonist's fantasy world, not in reality...or do they? Another point I'd make is that while the art might seem kinda amateurish, I actually think it's pretty hot. I like it! 12. Bright Future - Wet 'N Messy 2nd Time EGS-Score: 70 (93) FlyingShine Black Fap-o-meter: 2.17 (12) Akarui Mirai ~Wet And Messy 2nd time~ Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, wet and messy アカルイミライ Wet And Messy 2nd time "In Azami High School, the stage of this game, there is a rumor about a ghost. According to witnesses, that ghost is surprisingly beautiful and her scent is luscious. Masaki starts to examine the fact about the ghost and one day, he happens to talk with a girl who exists in the past, Sakura. But the fact is that she doesn't exist in the present. She was killed in the past and Masaki tries to change her future to save her...." https://vndb.org/v546 This is a mystery/drama game that also doubles as a nukige. You, as the leader of the newspaper club, are initially given the task to investigate the so-called "Honey Ghost." The rest is according to the description: you start talking to a girl from the past and then realize that she died. Your objective is to find out what happened and change her terrible fate to a bright future. But that's not all. There are also several peculiarities happening in the present. There's the mysterious psychic treatment (psychosomatic) school club, which is in fact just a front for a group of rapists. While you are busy with your investigation, be careful not to let the heroines fall into their grasp... True to its name, you can expect things to get really wet and messy, by a variety of fluids...be it water, essential oils (aromatherapy), milk, SEMEN...But while the art is beautiful and the story seems promising, the game actually suffers from the excessive H-scenes. Before you really have time to care about a heroine, you end up peeking on them having or being forced into sex by a group of guys. If the scenes were more spaced out, the game would actually feel like it has some tension. Overall, I Just feel like it's trying to do too many things at once. While you get plenty of choices, only very few of them branch out the story. Most of them just give you an alternate or slightly different scene. They don't really have an impact on the story. The series was rebooted as the Kurai Mirai (Dark Future) or Crime Rhyme series. By the name alone, you can see the new direction that they took with the games, which I'm not of a fan of. Because no matter which manners of cruelties they must endure, at least the title name "Bright Future" gives you the hope that there is a way for the heroines to avoid their awful fate...even if not entirely. I'm not a fan of these quasi-NTR gangrape games, where you're just walking around, peeking on others having sex, and not really doing much about it. That's not to say that some of the scenes aren't hot, especially if you like it...wet and messy. I like this scene where your previous choice changes whether the heroine calls you senpai or onii-chan. It's, uh, a nice touch since you're pretty much defining the relationship you have with her. 13. Mansion, the Prison of Lust EGS-Score: 60 (12) Girl's Software Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Ingoku no Yakata Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery, maids 淫獄の館 The ultimate immoral adventure game - combining extreme humiliation and sexual assault elements with the component of sexual slavery. Taking a remote western-styled mansion as the game's stage, train these beautiful and lovely maids into your sex slaves! Will you accept your fate, exhausting the limits of rape and sexual slavery? Or else, will you continue opposing those who hold you captive until the very end? If you were to take a single step within this mansion, you too would end up becoming its prisoner... First, I suppose I should start with what I liked about this game. The art is gorgeous when it comes to the character design and HCGs, drawn by one of my favorite eroge artists. The sexual slavery scenes are quite varied, but there's also a good number of vanilla scenes. You basically get the choice to give in to your "deep dark desires," or to defy your captor. To be honest, despite this being a nukige, what I enjoyed the most were the slice-of-life scenes and banter between characters. The music is a great mood-setter, but what made these scenes that much more enjoyable was the stellar voice acting performance. I'm sure that if you look at their names, you'll recognize several industry veterans. I'd point out Isshiki Hikaru, who voices the protagonist's sister in Cartagra as especially memorable. However, all of them were really good, and I also liked their performance in...other parts of the game. That's the thing, though. After spending all that time growing fond of the characters, I don't really want to do awful things to them. For this game's negative points, I'd say that getting a good ending is really difficult without using a walkthrough, and otherwise, it just gets frustrating. I also disliked the spontaneous H-scenes during the first part of the game. This is because they are all "dream sequences," more like showing a possible future for the protagonist. It feels as if those scenes were just thrown in there because the slice-of-life and comedy sections were too long, and they thought people would get bored if they didn't get some fap material, but eh. They feel entirely out of place because there's no context and no build-up for those scenes.Another point is that when I train my sex slaves, I don't like sharing them with others...especially dirty old men. 14. Stray Sheep - Disgraceful Confession Room EGS-Score: 55 (4) Panda House Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Stray Sheep ~Chijoku no Zangeshitsu~ Main appeal: BDSM, mystery STRAY SHEEP ~恥辱の懺悔室~ For yet but an ephemeral moment, a rape scene that makes one's sadist heart boil strongly with passion. A tale that does not confine itself to the boundaries of desire. In order to solve the mystery surrounding his sister's death, our protagonist headed towards St. Raffine Mission Girls' High School. And for the sake of his unsatisfiable, boundless desire, he infiltrates the school, takes on the mantle of a clergyman. In this place, there yet wandered innocent lambs...however, a feast that would push the very limits of shame and disgrace was awaiting them. These Stray Sheep will kneel before one who borrowed God's name to find the truth at any cost. Stray Sheep doubles as mystery and hardcore BDSM game. The protagonist makes use of his privileged position as the school's new Father to search for the truth, little by time, at times employing more forceful means. I did not find myself able to empathize with the protagonist and his revenge-filled heart. It's not that I'm not fond of revenge stories, but if you're going to do awful things to someone, then at least do it to people who deserve it. If one thing though, both the CGs and character sprites sure are pretty. Reminds me a bit of Mink's artstyle of that time. 15. Masquerade EGS-Score: 64 (14) Soft Circle Courreges Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Masquerade Main appeal: maid, pure love story MASQUERADE Under the strong duress that was succeeding my father's legacy, my life resumed itself to dedicating myself to my work. Finding absolutely no joy to this monotous, repetitive routine, I soon found myself to be a mere husk of a man, caring about nothing but maximing profits and running a successful business. But then, there she was. Elena Garshis. Following the death of her mother, she was taken into my household, working as a maid. I want to see her scream and shout, to dye her pure white skin with my jet black desire. Yes, the very same Elena who does not lose her perfect, radiant smile, no matter what the task...If it's her, she will accept me with no protest. Over time, I came to be consumed by such feelings, and finally, I was able to satisfy my desires. Taking shelter from the coldness of Winter, a small story took place in a certain mansion. And with it, so did develop a pure yet depraved love that taught me the warmth and true meaning of Christmas, together with the one most important to me. While the setting seems to be grimdark, it's actually kinda wrong to call it a nukige. In fact, you could complete the game while avoiding most of the sexual content. I actually completed this game as it's relatively short, about one to two others long. I found the main story to be sweet and very much worth the time I spent with it. Some might find it generic, but I guess I'm fond of these pure love type of stories. You can choose to either engage in sexual acts with your maid or to have conversations with her about a variety of topics, getting to know her better. By sexual acts, I mean that you don't force yourself upon her and that everything is done consensually, even if the protagonist is in a position of authority. On that front, it's kinda weak as a BDSM/sexual slavery game, but I appreciate the variety of content and the hot HCGs. The negative side is that both these conversations and H-scenes repeat themselves. For example, if you want to unlock further conversations, you'll have to approach specific topics an X number of times. The problem is that the conversations are the exact same the second or third time, so you're gonna be skipping them. It's just annoying. Did they run out of content even though the game is so short? Why force you to repeat conversations? Anyway, you'll probably want to follow a walkthrough. The similar happens with the H-scenes, where you can unlock extra scenes or variations of the same scene. Anyway, this is a pretty decent doujin game if you like maids, sweet but kinda corny love stories, are willing to press the skip button half the time, and use a walkthrough. 16. A Naughty Doctor EGS-Score: 58 (7) Sol-fa-soft Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) H na Oisha-san Main appeal: lolicon Hなお医者さん "A somewhat naughty doctor has come to take medical examinations. He is supposed to inspect their bodies, but all he's doing is touching the young girls all over." https://www.dlsite.com/ecchi-eng/work/=/product_id/RE039687.html So I booted up this game, which is unvoiced and has the same looping soundtrack all the time. And on the very first few choices, I hit a little girl, was sent to jail and got a premature Happy Ending. Great game. "HAPPY ENDING...hell if it is!" But it's actually an enjoyable game. You touch the characters in places where you're not really supposed to, but get away with it with some convincing persuasion, and eventually get to do a more direct inspection. I actually like this type of games where you play as a doctor and interact with a patient, deceiving them, and abusing their trust. For example, Studio Triumph's games. But well, this one doesn't even compare since the game is too damn short, as the whole thing is about 20-30 minutes long. Apparently, there's a voiced version, but I couldn't get my hands on it. The game is decent for what it is, but it's nothing special. I think there should've been more bad endings. 17. Jam 'N Limit - LOCKED/ROOM/CON/FINE/MENT EGS-Score: 53 (18) Studio Jikkenshitsu Fap-o-meter: 2 (2) Jam n' Limit ~Mis/shitsu/Kan/kin Main appeal: roleplay, forceful sex ジャムアンリミット~密/室/監/禁 Ever since I was a child, I had always questioned myself. Yes, I've always hated those so-called moral lessons. "Do not hate or harm others. Try to be mindful of other people's feelings. Plants and animals are living beings too, so treat them kindly." I wonder if there is anyone who actually puts these lessons in practice? To begin with, it is impossible for one person to adequately understand the feelings of another person. Also, treat other living things kindly, they say? Should such a line come from someone who eats meat? Who gave them the right to preach such hypocritical nonsense? Even if I were to narrow down the topic to human beings…for example, a person who raises funds for the sake of the homeless or those in greater need…I wonder if they're as great as they seem to be. Helping elderly people cross the street, giving directions to those who ask, offering your seat on the bus or train… wouldn't that be nothing more than feeding one's superiority complex, feeling of self-satisfaction, or just your typical social propaganda? Considering that I ponder these issues on a daily basis, I'm quite certain that society would just say I'm "going crazy". However, as far as I'm concerned, this is completely "normal" to me. If the world is to think that I've gone crazy, then I must prove that they are the ones who have gone mad. Thus, I shall find a suitable target for this "experiment", to show the world that I am the one who is normal. The only reason I went ahead and made the description this long is that this is the type of philosophical musings that are constantly present in the game. You can only imagine my surprise, playing this game after I almost considered skipping it - from the cover it seems like a generic nukige, and the score reinforces that assumption. I'm very glad I did not. Honestly, I can only do this game justice with a full review, which I'd like to do in the near future (maybe), so this will be a bit of a sample of what's to come. It comes with a fair warning though: this game isn't for everyone. It's probably only for sexual deviants like me. I've played this up until I was done with the first heroine's section of the story. Instead of having character routes, you "conquer" one heroine after the other, so you follow the protagonist's journey through madness. That is to say, this is more the protagonist's story than anything else, but you only truly understand the depth of his madness when you have a "normal" person as a reference. But that isn't all, as they too will find their own "madness." Your choices in-game have to do with the course of actions you take as much as the preparations you have to make. For example, for your plan to succeed, what kind of precautions should you take, what should you be most concerned about, how will you create the perfect locked room while avoiding suspicion, how will you psychologically corner your prey, how will prevent their escape, and what will you do in the event something unexpected happens. Accompanied by an in-built flow-chart, you'll be making these decisions as you try to avoid the game's multiple bad endings. I don't want to spoil the content of the H-scenes, but they've mostly based around..."personalized roleplay."For me, this is the best game I played this month and my personal master and masturpiece, or at least the one which surprised me the most, making this whole venture worth it. Please don't overlook it just because it has the "nukige" label. It could also be that the game simply left a lasting first impression, which lead me to overhype it slightly. Either way, I look forward to finishing it and publishing a more detailed review, whether it lives up to my expectations or not. Maybe. 18. Gifted Education Frenzy EGS-Score: 65 (89) Kuzuryuu Fap-o-meter: 1.93 (14) Eisai Kyouiku Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery 英才狂育 "Certain subjects being taught these days at college aren't always on the curriculum... Sex education is one of them. Here at our all-girls school, one male teacher takes it upon himself to best educate students in the ways of carnal knowledge. Using (and abusing) his authority, he lures the hottest students into his lair and has his sleazy way with them. In the end, these girls will learn some lessons they'll never forget." https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=8497 You might know this from the H-OVA "Study a Broad." With beautiful art from Innocent Grey's CEO Sugina Miki, renown artist responsible for Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo series and Flowers series, coupled with BDSM and sexual slavery themes, what could possibly go wrong with this game? Put simply, this game sucks. Sugina Miki's art and the seiyuu's talents were put to waste with this game thanks to an awful gameplay system. So, you have three phases during the day: morning, lunchtime, and after school. During those periods, you can visit different locations during the game, taking up one, two, and five time slots respectively. Oh, and I fail to mention that there are ten locations in the game? So, you have to visit the heroines at the RIGHT TIME in the RIGHT PLACE to trigger the events. What a load of crap. This game is the ultimate proof that no matter how good your game's content is (in this case, H-scenes), it doesn't matter if it's locked behind a nonsensical and overly complicated system. Sure, you have an idea of where the characters are likely to hang out, but who would've thought that the flower arrangement club member likes to hang out on the rooftop? So, definitely use a walkthrough. And don't try to pursue more than one heroine at a time, as the timeslots often clash. That's not everything, though. If you fuck up too much in the beginning, you can get a bad ending. And even if you follow a walkthrough, you probably won't get to see every event. This game is as sadistic to its players as it is to the heroines. I actually completed one of the routes - the twins. And there I witnessed some of the most stupid teen drama I ever had the displeasure of going through in recent times. At the very least, the H-scenes are hot, but I don't think it's worth seeing them without the context behind them. How frustrating! 19. Erosion EGS-Score: 74 (21) Black Package Try Fap-o-meter: 1.8 (5) Shinshoku Main appeal: sexual slavery 浸蝕 The protagonist, Kokubo Toshiya, is adopted by the loving Kitagawa family. In truth, he was in cahoots with the orphanage's director, and aimed to turn the women of this family into his prey. Despite conducting himself as a mature and overly polite child, Kokubo Toshiya secretly harbors dark thoughts, this twisted personality being a result of a traumatic childhood experience. Gradually, he starts to show his true personality just before starting his plans on his stepmother and stepsister. While his stepfather is away from home, Toshiya puts his plan in practice. Using a photo of his stepsister shoplifting, he starts with her stepmother, and soon he also reaches his hand on his stepsister. I actually edited the first part of this synopsis from vndb because it was filled with lies, so I claim it as my own. Ahem. This game unceremoniously starts with four H-scenes in a row. It sure doesn't waste any time, huh? On the very first scene, the setting is established. Toshiya, despite being of high school age, is somehow a hardcore sex slave trainer, all because his mother was a whore when he was a child. The orphanage's director is already his sex slave, as are other girls in school, and then he "infiltrates" this loving family intending to make them his sex slaves just for the lulz. You witness the mother, who knows the protag for nothing but a few days (or like, 10 minutes in-game), masturbate while calling his name. I mean, what the fuck. Already? She hardly even knows him! This protagonist is literally the equivalent of an isekai anime protag who one-shots everything in sight on the first episode. I did not find the art or the voice acting appealing either, but there's plenty of variety when it comes to the training scenes, I guess. If I had to mention any positives, it would be that the game is quite technically advanced. There's an in-built flowchart, a read text marker, the ability to jump to the next and previous choices, and voice lines on the backlog. All in all, this game is nothing more than rape fantasy and is completely disrespectful and demeaning towards women. 20. Last Order EGS-Score: 70 (50) 13cm Fap-o-meter: 1.75 (8) Last Order Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex ラストオーダー The stage of this game is a family restaurant named flóreal. As an able floor manager, the protagonist enjoys the trust of his fellow staff members and respect of his superiors. However, there was another side to this man. He gets closer to the female employees while feigning kindness... By the time he has attained their trust, he discovers and exploits their weaknesses, and forcefully makes them his own possession. In reality, all of the women who work at this restaurant have already become his sex slaves. However, one day, two new job applications had come, and at that very moment, the protagonist had already decided on his next prey. Although she seems to be a quiet, docile girl, in reality, she keeps hidden an unparalleled lewd side of hers. Not letting this go unseen, the protagonist comes up with numerous ploys in order to completely put his new prey to shame. This is a game which seemed to be nothing more than a generic nukige, but ended surprising me. If there were such a thing as a theme for this game, it'd be moratorium, the postponement of social responsibilities. The protagonist and other characters deal with this issue on different degrees: feeling like they're growing up too fast, being afraid to become a full-fledged adult, or being too attached to things of the past. As someone finding themselves within this very period of transition, I felt I was able to connect to the game on a personal level, if even slightly. The sexual content mostly revolves around the use of devices for sexual training and bondage. With two new waitresses bolstering floréal's ranks, so are there two new prey for the protagonist to lay his hands on. I have mentioned this several times before, I believe, but I'm not fond of sharing my sex slaves. After the slaves' training is cumplete, you have them serve the customers, often multiple at once, and this happens when you had just thought they became yours. I'd say that might be why the fap-o-meter is so low, even though this is actually a quite decent game. 21. Intense Pregnant Belly - Senpai, Please Acknowledge My Child! EGS-Score: 41 (18) Acme X Fap-o-meter: 1.67 (3) Hageshiku Botebara! Senpai, Watashi no Ko, Mitomete Kudasai!! Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, yuri 激しくボテ腹! ~センパイ、私のコ、認めてくださいっ!~ "It's a creampie without contraception!" Thus were the words of the savage brutes who targetted her… Nami, a pure and naive who always has her head up in the clouds, whose only noteworthy feature is her liveliness. Letting her heart be filled with high hopes and expectations, she begins attending the same school as the senpai that she admired. The very picture of a typical shoujo manga heroine, Nami lived her life blissfully ignorant of how truly scary men can be. However, nothing but terrifying fiends awaited her in this school, be them men or women. Her volleyball club adviser, fellow club members, classmates, dormitory roommates and the dormitory manager… Even the surrounding neighbourhood's bums, all of them constantly aimed at Nami's fresh and ripe body. Will she really be able to offer her chastity to her beloved senpai? First of all, I gotta ask. Who the hell came up with such a dumb title? This game is just a tasteless and senseless complete rapefest. It is disgustingly evil and cruel. I'm sorry, but I don't have much else to say. I dropped it because I'm not a masochist and there's hardly a redeeming factor to this piece of crap. I guess some people might be into it, but I'm not. Moving along. 22. Say Yah! Happy New Year 2003! EGS-Score: 55 (9) Authoring Heaven Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Say Yah! 2003 Main appeal: comedy, straight shotacon Say Yah! 2003 This is a sequel to Say Yah!. This time around, in order to pay back Old Man Klaus, Aria has officially acquired her Santa Practitioner License, and distributes presents all over town to various houses. There reside a shotacon mother, a lesbian chick, and even a sister got dragged into it! This Christmas Eve, you'll be cumming down their chimney! This game is not only a sequel to first Say Yah!, but it also features characters from other Authoring Heaven and Complet's games, as they're both imprints of the same stock company. You can expect similar kind of content and humor from the same games. Basically, you have a map, and you choose which house to deliver presents to... in the form of sex. It's not really my cup of tea, but the game is kinda funny, if you're into that type of humor... 23. Married Woman Slave Coffee Shop 2 EGS-Score: 60 (20) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Hitozuma Dorei Kissa 2 Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex, forceful sex 人妻奴隷喫茶2 "To think that you'd really take pictures like these...you're scum, human scum!" Wild beasts lust after the body of a beautiful married woman, who manages a coffee shop. With a new sacrifice being offered to these very beasts, they will squeeze out every single drop of these two cows' lewd tits! I played the first game too just so I could understand this game better. Thus this will serve as a review for both games. They're about 20 mins each, so that wasn't an issue. But well, there isn't that much to say, except that the games suck. On the first game, these three high school students with nothing better to do than wander around town manage to spot a lady shoplifting. And somehow, they make use of that knowledge to blackmail her into becoming her sex slave. After the first H-scene, it's scene after scene until the game ends. On the second game, this chick finds The Three Stooges talking about how much they love sex, and apprehends their sex toys. After calling them human scum, she ends up fapping with those toys inside the classroom, and she follows them to the coffee shop because she's secretly a colossal pervert, I guess. The rest plays out the same as the first game. The games have slight ero animations which kinda look good, but since it's a zoomed up close-up, they end up covering most of the CG. These games are cheap, they're too short, and they suck. 24. The Voice in the Night III - Summoning Circle Pentagram of the Three Desires EGS-Score: 60 (45) Black Cyc Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (14) Yami no Koe III ~Gobou San'yoku Mahoujin~ Main appeal: corruption of characters 闇の声III ~五芒三欲魔方陣~ "K is trapped within the academy, and recruits a passerby to find girls in various locations outside the academy in order to break the barrier. To accomplish this, she lends him her bag containing clothing and apparel with a degenerating influence." https://vndb.org/v3336 Wait, what is a Black Cyc game doing at the very bottom? To truly understand this, you'd have to play the first two games, as this one is part of the original Yami no Koe trilogy. Thankfully, I am perfectly suited for this review as I played all of the three games. However, this is a game that I would like to review at a greater length, so I'll try to keep this short. Basically, this game sucks. No, it would be more correct to say that this would just be an average nukige, if not for its preceding legacy. Because it bears the Yami no Koe name, anyone who plays this game expects high-quality nukige, the same as the first two. But it's the complete opposite. Here's how the gameplay goes: you have a box with several magical items, starting with five, and each one of them is supposed to awaken a dormant fetish within the heroines. Once you reach the second stage, you get up to ten items to use on the heroines. Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really. The heroines are only receptive to one or two of the items in each stage. Most of your time is actually spent trying out different items, getting a generic "this item wasn't very effective" message, reloading, trying out a new item, getting the same crap all over again until you get it right. That's not all. While a heroine might've been receptive to an item at first, it might happen that they will not be interested in it in the future. So, it's save, reload, save, reload, save, reload. How about I just quit, uninstall this piece of crap, and never play it again? Even worse, the protagonist doesn't interact with the heroines directly. Thanks to K's powers, he makes the item magically appear in front of the heroine, and they'll make up a suitable excuse on their own for why the item is there. What a load of bullshit. The only time you have sex with them is at the very end (if you managed to corrupt them all fully), on what feels like the developers' way of mocking and trolling the player. You know when you play a sequel to one of your favorite games, and it's complete shit? Except that here, you can't blame EA, like with its sudden takeover of Bioware franchises such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. No, it's literally the same writers, the same director, the very same team. They knew what they were doing with this game, and it's nothing more than a quick cash grab. I hope I was able to convey my feelings on this matter accurately, and looking at the scoring, it's no surprise. Everyone felt let down by what is the weakest game of the Yami no Koe series. The only good point to this game is the amazing art, by one of the best eroge/nukige artists. Even Conjueror agrees! However, he gave the second and third games the same score, so I wonder if he actually played them at all. 25. Rape Secretarial Office 2 -Midou Shirou's Chapter EGS-Score: 65 (12) Maika Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (2) Ryoujoku Hishoshitsu 2 ~Midou Shirou Hen~ Main appeal: sexual slavery, mind control, forceful sex 凌辱秘書室2 ~御童志狼篇~ Midou Shirou manipulates females' body and mind at will, as the legitimate successor of the dreadful, evil fist, the "Obscene Vortex Core Fist". Of course, that is nothing but his secret identity. He worked as a respectable employee of a high-tech development enterprise, until... One day, the situation suddenly changed, ever since he was confronted with a mysterious conspiracy. He receives a missive from Yuuzuki Yukino, Internal Investigation Bureau's top agent dispatched directly from headquarters, to settle this incident once and for all. This game is about rape. It has rape in the title, and even the game's executable file is called "RAPE2.exe". Basically, you have Midou Shirou, who can use some sort of mysterious power, which translated literally would be something incomprehensible such as "Obscene Vortex Core Fist." Probably some kind of wordplay. When he says specific keywords, it triggers something within the heroines - there are no tools that need to be used, so it's just a special ability of his. And by special ability, I mean that it's a complete cheat. After you meet all the heroines, you can choose one of them to be your trained sex slave, as in, it's something that already happened. I found that to be interesting at first, but it's actually kinda lame. Let's say you were interested in a character, would you want to conquer her or would you want the game to gift you her as your already trained slave? Your objective is to obtain sensitive financial information and have lots of sex while you're at it. Your chosen sex slave will assist you in this task, so you already have six slightly different ways of playing the game. This all sounds awesome, but it's simply too easy. It's too easy to make the heroines fall thanks to Shirou's ability, having them call you "Master" by one H-scene's time. To begin with, the protagonist is already a cool stud, does he really need this power? He doesn't have any interesting motivations or something you can empathize with. This game is just a trashy rapefest, which puts its beautiful art to waste. 26. I'll Grant Your Wish - A Gift Received in Winter EGS-Score: 58 (17) High Soft Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Kanaete Ageru ~Fuyu ga Kureta Okurimono~ Main appeal: group sex かなえてあげる~冬がくれた贈り物~ The protagonist is a university student, a complete bookworm who has been enamorated with reading ever since he was a child. He was confessed to by his bright and cheerful childhood friend, Shiraishi Yuri, and they became a couple just before highschool graduation. However, even to this day, the two have yet to engage in lewd acts, as Yuri has developed some sort of complex, thanks to her huge breasts. Ever since he was a middle schooler, he eased his worries and feelings of gloominess by engrossing himself in reading. Being immersed in that world, he was able to reduce his stress with the power of his imagination. However, as one would expect of one who had just become a university student, such a thing is simply no longer possible. His accumulating sexual desire. His increasing sexual fantasies. That wasn't only towards his girlfriend Yuri, but other women as well. However, one day, with the day of Christmas approaching. A group of women, introducing themselves as Santa Claus, suddenly appeared. "In exchange for helping us, we will make your dreams come true." And so, taking on a four-year period contract, the protagonist accepts their proposal. Will his sexual fantasies remain in the world of dreams, or else...? The premise is rather simple. The protagonist wants to have sex with his girlfriend, but it's totally not happening any time soon, and he faps to his sexual fantasies all day. Wow, he and I are not so different after all! So, these girls suddenly appear in his room and make the proposal as mentioned earlier. The story is well, as you could imagine, nothing special. It's nothing but senseless H-scene after H-scene, without any thread linking the events together. Put simply, it's just boring to read/play. You literally play as Santa's little helper, as you go from house to house, and research which present to give to the residents. Depending on the presents you pick, your relationship will improve with one of the heroines. This is a quite cumbersome system, and not very easy without a walkthrough. I wasn't able to find one... Since the protagonist is the only one who can see the girls, it could also be that he's simply had one fap too many, and none of this is real. Yep, that's probably it. 27. Let me fuck 'ya, teach! EGS-Score: 50 (11) Tryset Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Yarasete! Teacher Main appeal: straight shotacon やらせてっ!てぃーちゃー "Ishibasha Yuuta is young, but already way too much interested in erotic things, to the point that at school he is considered a pervert! There is a new temporary teacher at school: her name is Riko Okamoto and she's there to assist the actual teacher during 2 weeks. She makes the perfect target for Yuuta to tease..." https://vndb.org/v5884 For a while, I thought I was playing a Complet's game, as this one has similar art, humor, and sexual content. You play as an overly perverted brat and constantly tease the new assistant teacher. Instead of proper routes, just like Matty (ugh), you collect events. The difference is that you trigger those events by moving around the school, as you pick the location you want to visit. I find this blind guessing system to be annoying, so I'd recommend a walkthrough once again. I actually liked the H-scenes, and I'm pretty surprised this game is sitting here at the bottom, especially when you consider that it spawned a whole series. Maybe Tryset were off to a bad start with this one, or the players just found the system to be too cumbersome. 28. Day-care worker <3 EGS-Score: 45 (9) Triangle-delta Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Hobo-san Chu! Main appeal: roleplay 保母さんちゅ! Kasuga Shin'ichi works at the Kazamizawa Daycare Center. Together with Osamura Natsumi and other daycare workers, their daily routine resumes itself to taking care of and supervising the growth of multiple children. One day, the cute and lively Shima Chiaki joins them as a new daycare worker. However, she ends up causing lots of problems as she can't get used to the various tasks related to taking care of the children's needs. As her senior on the job, Shin'ichi is instructed to put into practice a special curriculum, which they came to mention as "night training". Witnessing Chiaki in low spirits over not being able to perform at her dream job, he steels his heart in order to turn her into a proper daycare worker. Thought I'd start by giving a warning that, despite the protagonist's profession and the game's setting, all participants in sexual activities are consenting adults. That already makes for strange setting though. Who thought about mixing up daycare work with...roleplay? The worst part is that they do a pretty poor job at explaining the need for such a thing in the first place. I mean, I don't think it helps her understand the kids' feelings any better by changing adult diapers or making her piss on the ground. Overall, the setting just feels at odds with the game's sexual content, but it does make for an interesting premise, I guess. I do commend them for trying out something different, and I do find the H-scenes to be not that bad... The main highlights are the beautiful OP (no need to listen past 2:10) and yet another casting by Isshiki Hikaru. 29. Petite Idols - Disgraceful Fan Appreciation Day EGS-Score: 52 (14) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Puchi Idol ~ Chijoku no Fan Kansha Day Main appeal: lolicon, cosplay, forceful sex, group sex ぷちアイドル~ちじょくのファン感謝デー "It's time for fans to punish these two little selfish idols!" https://vndb.org/v6957 This is just bad. I feel like I really hit the bottom of the barrel with this one. It comes with a really stupid reasoning for revenge: the two idols are cheeky and foul-mouthed and treat their greasy, sweaty, disgusting otaku fans with the disrespect they deserve. But then came fan appreciation day... 30. Nestle Close III - Manager Hibiki EGS-Score: 70 (3) Haikara Kissa Fap-o-meter: 0.5 (2) Nestle Close III Main appeal: onee-san, big breasts, glasses Nestle Close III "A pretty girl who is a daughter of your apartment house's owner is asked to take care of the building during the owner's two weeks absence. How do you get along with her? https://www.dlsite.com/ecchi-eng/work/=/product_id/RE024315.html I physically cannot play this game, as short-haired heroines with glasses are the worst. Next. 31. Soft and Tender Lesson EGS-Score: 50 (11) Trabulance Fap-o-meter: 0 (1) Pururn Jugyou Main appeal: breasts, big breasts, big tiddies, tits, oppai ぷるるん授業 The ultimate game for lovers of huge, enormous breasts! The heroines are all female teachers, mature beauties featuring a bust size of over 100cm! As it is the specialty of Trabulence, the H-scenes are fully packed with all sorts of juicy big tiddies! As advertised, the heroines have enormous breasts to the point that it's sure to cause back problems. If you're into this type of thing, you might get some enjoyment out of it. However, I found the game to be a completely average nukige. Of particular note, there is a toggle correct choice indicator. Interact with the same heroine enough times, and you'll have sex with them. Wow, now that I put that in words, it seems that'd describe most games. Either way, despite being thrown to the very bottom, it's certainly not THAT bad. Then again, there's only one vote which is... mine. My Thoughts and Conclusions First of all, thanks to everyone who stuck with me until the very end. Or perhaps you're one of the people who scrolled down to the very bottom? It's alright, I don't blame you. The truth is, this format sucks. Usually, you'd first find a game you like, play it, and then maybe review it, not the other way around. This would've worked much better if I had a team of perverts working with me. Each one of us could pick a game that we might like, play it, and then review it. This was way too much work for one person, as this was all my own, original commentary, but I did my very best for the quality not to suffer. The very idea of reviewing eroge and excluding nukige would be ridiculous, as despite bearing the "stigma" that comes with the nukige tag, there are some pretty good games amongst those that I reviewed. Making people aware of that was my initial objective, and I hope to have realized it. Not surprisingly, there's a good number of games focused in particular fetishes. I think it's interesting that there wasn't a single Netorare game amongst these, perhaps the genre hadn't taken off yet. There's a big divide between games with consensual sex and games with forceful sex. The first usually focuses on lighter fetishes, while the second group often goes all the way with hardcore sexual slavery. I play my games on fullscreen, so I wasn't bothered by the resolution. And there are plenty of games with beautiful art, mood-setting soundtrack, and stellar voice acting performances nonetheless. The most significant conclusion I'd take is that most of these games, well, suffer from too much gameplay at times. Like I've said on my very first review, it doesn't matter how good your content is if the system is cumbersome in a way that players have too much of a hard time accessing it. You can have a map movement system like Eisai Kyouiku's, which forces you to check a walkthrough every 10 seconds, or you can have one like Saishuu Chikan Densha 2's, where you can worry less about optimization and focus more on having fun. The second is one where the creator really thought about the player experience, how would people actually feel playing the game. I also found it interesting that most protagonists are actually adults. There are several university students, but you have them do all kinds of jobs: ordinary salarymen, teachers, daycare worker, clerk, doctors, idol manager, grocer, businessman, restaurant floor manager, tutor, even a priest... You also have many different kinds of settings, as if everyone was trying hard to carve their own niche. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how everyone, even the little guys, was working hard, giving up precious time during the holiday season to provide us with great fapping material. God bless you. Oh, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk about Saya no Uta. Well, it’s the title that needs no introductions, so I decided to go ahead and not talk about it at all to make my job easier. The point of this article was to have short reviews and summaries for lesser known games of the month, so I can’t just feature the most popular ones and not or just dismissively ignorant talk about the rest. The fap-o-meter is astonishingly low, which is complete blasphemy. This is one of the hottest english published eroge out there, with also one of the best translations available. There’s a story about how Makoto wouldn’t sell his translation until his writer parents approved it, so you can be certain of its quality. As a closing statement, please, by all means, do try some of these games and enjoy yourself to your heart's content. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, please go ahead and message me or leave a comment below. As always, thank you for reading, and I appreciate any and all feedback.
  2. 5 points
    Hello and welcome to this year’s first EVN Chronicles Steam Curator Clean-up, where I look at the games that were sent to me in the past six months through Steam’s Curator Connect, but were either too small to warrant a full review, or I simply couldn’t cover them in detail due to time constraints. When I first did this kind of posts last year (you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2), some of the games featured there waited extremely long for being covered. Because of this, I’ve decided that from this point forward, I’ll make this a twice-a-year event, being sure that every VN given to me gets its space on the blog within a reasonable time period. As always, I’m extremely thankful to all the developers that send me their work for assessment and it saddens me whenever my impressions are negative. I hope, however, that the feedback I can offer will be valuable to them, while believe it’s my duty to my readers to warn them against buying a game I find lacking. So, setting the introductory drivel aside, I hope you enjoy this brief overview of these four interesting VNs sent to me during the first half of 2019! Snowed IN Snowed IN is an unusual yuri nukige, focusing on pair for soldiers in the distant future, where cybernetic enhancement of the human body has reached incredible levels of sophistication. The protagonist, Sigma, is an experienced spec-ops officer who has modified her body to the point where little of it remains organic. For an infiltration mission against a cell of anti-augmentation radicals, she’s assigned with a fresh, talented recruit – a full “natural” named Linde, whose presence in the military is connected with an affirmative action plan for those not augmented. The two polar-opposite individuals, both through their background and attitudes, have to work together to survive the extremely dangerous assignment – and the mission itself hides even more threats and twists then the initial setup would suggest. Sounds intriguing? It surely does, but the fact this is a nukige, and a very short one at that (up to an hour and a half of content), should be taken into account when setting your expectations. The game explores its main themes rather briefly, often switching to sex scenes that are only vaguely justifiable in the context of the tense plot – the writing and main intrigue are solid, but simply too rushed to provide a compelling narrative. There are also some highly-questionable elements to it, especially in the rather distasteful bad ending – that’s definitely one point at which h-content was very unnecessary, even if those scenes are the “main point” of the game. As a piece of yuri smut in an unusual setting, it's definitely not the worst thing around – just don't expect anything more than that. Final Rating: (Cautiously) Recommended Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  3. 4 points
    Clephas

    Dead Days

    On request and because I am a Kurashiki fan, I decided to play this, despite worries about the concept and the characters... and I came out finding my worries perfectly justified. First, the protagonist Teru... in a standard chuunige, he would be the jackass that gets killed after begging for his life in the opening act after doing something totally scumbag-like. Worse, rather than being merely a cold-blooded manipulator (which is how the Getchu page presented him), he is actually an irritable kid who thinks he is a lot smarter than he is. Second, the heroines... first, the punk-like Aira who overdoes her makeup and generally speaks like an airhead but has definite anger issues. Second is Asami, another man's wife who is generally weak-spirited and only clings to her second life out of a desire not to lose what she has left (her husband and child). Third is Mao, the protagonist's osananajimi who has a strong sense of justice, is pretty naive in general, and tends to get on the protagonist's nerves constantly (this gets worse after he dies and gets resurrected). Mao is the true heroine of the game... and also the single most annoying character in the game, even setting aside the protagonist's issues with her. To be blunt, she is yet another Victim A heroine presented as the true heroine of a serious game with violence... Third, the writing... I wanted to cry at how low-quality the writing in this game is compared to Kurashiki's previous two Clock-up games. Both Okami and Maggot showed off his skills in full, and as a result, they have a cult fanbase even amongst those who don't like the sexual themes involved in the latter or the social ones in the former. The basic narrative quality is scaled down to the level of the protagonist, which is hugely disappointing. Last, though this is more of a universal complaint for all Clock-up games... too much meaningless h-scenes. I hate Clock-up's visual style for H-scenes (there aren't any torture rape scenes in this one, outside of the bad endings which I didn't watch), and the presence of loli content made me vomit... twice. Seriously, was that really necessary? The good points of this VN lie solely in the individual heroine paths, because the common route is just poorly handled and paced. The heroine paths, on the other hand, are slightly stronger, though only Mao's has a decent epilogue (even by VN standards). Overall, this game felt like a really inept attempt at psychological horror. Considering how good a job Kurashiki has done previously at this kind of thing, it startled me how huge the gap in quality was between this and his previous works... both for Light and Clock-up. Even Sora no Baroque was better, and that is saying a lot.
  4. 3 points
    Love in Space, authors of the highly-appreciated Sunrider series, are a very peculiar kind of EVN developer. In their games, they unapologetically cater to weeaboo sensitivities, copying the Japanese storytelling tropes and stylistics pretty much in every aspect of their games. Sunrider: Liberation Day, the second Sunrider titles was the clearest example of this, with its Japanese speech mannerisms (which look at least a bit questionable in English prose), Japanese voice acting and pompous, Japanese opening song – each of them included despite the story being placed in a fictional sci-fi world with no clear connection to Japan, and being directed pretty much exclusively to Western otaku audience. Thankfully, the studio also was able to supplement its second-hand Japanese identity with some interesting ideas, consistently high production quality and, for the most part, compelling stories. After the second Sunrider game was completed (and after the backlash from its controversial conclusion was partially mended with an alternate-timeline DLC), Love in Space decided to double down in their turbo-Japanese formula, announcing Shining Song Starnova – a game about a Japanese idol producer trying to turn a team of misfits into major stars of the entertainment business. Funded both through a large Kickstarter campaign and substantial Patreon support, it became the studio’s most ambitious project by far, promising, among other things, seven heroine routes, partial VA by a cast of experienced eroge seiyuu and a high-quality soundtrack appropriate for the game’s music-related main theme. After long development and delays caused by Steam policy changes, SSS was finally released in July 2018, to quite a lot of fanfare, and sparked genuine interest from the VN community. But, was it able to deliver on its ambitious goals? Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  5. 3 points
    Clephas

    Tasogare no Folklore

    I do not regret playing this game. I needed to say this first, because this game has a pretty high level of emotional impact. The actual characters are quiet for the most part, but the relationships in this game are so twisted that even thinking about them being real would make a saint wince. This story centers around a young personal servant, Kumagata Arima, and his young mistress, Otobe Supika. It is the Taishou Era (pre-WWII, late teens to late twenties of the twentieth century), and Japan's first age of modern prosperity is at its height. Supika is an apparently sickly ojousama who reluctantly goes to school at the urge of her personal servant Arima, who takes care of all her personal needs (up to and including dressing her and doing her hair). Arima is an apparently devoted servant who can be relied on without reservation by his sickly mistress... Well, there is a lot more to it, but this is as far as I can go in terms of specifics without spoiling it for you. Tasogare no Folklore is a game where not knowing too much is an important aspect of enjoying the story, so I really suggest you don't read the official site or the Getchu page. Instead, I will explain what kind of game it is. Tasogare no Folklore's primary attractions are the disparity between the darkness hidden in the depths of the characters' home and the apparent strength of their relationships, particularly the one between Supika and Arima. Their relationship is not as simple and straighforward as it seems on the surface, and the way it twists is the source of a lot of the sick fascination I felt watching the train head for the broken tracks. To be straight, this is a dark game with no miraculous salvation. Oh, there are a few times when a 'convenient' outcome occurs, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. The characters' feelings for one another are real, but they are also muddied by circumstance and events in the past. As a result, their relationships are twisted to an extreme degree (though Supika and Arima's relationship is so twisted even the other characters can't understand it). However, the presentation of this game is top tier. I'm almost tempted to cry 'kamige', but that is going too far, lol. This game is a dark fantasy, but it is also a quietly intense love-romance. It also has elements of a number of genres, but in the end, what stuck with me was that I felt it was a romance from the beginning. There are two endings (and one extra story based off the 'good' ending) in this game... a 'good' ending and a 'normal' ending (in Tsukihime style). The good ending is a happy one... but I say that with the caveat that it is still bittersweet. The environment Supika and Arima are forced into is not one that goes for charage-style 'purely happy' endings, after all.
  6. 2 points
    Winged Cloud, creators of the infamous Sakura series, are visibly past their prime, which shows not only in their diminishing Patreon support and smaller interest in their games in general, but also the lack of marketing effort and innovation. For two and a half year now their VNs are only becoming shorter, simpler and more iterative, making the already not-particularly-impressive projects from the peak of studio’s popularity, such as Sakura Nova or Sakura Fantasy, look like absolute heights of quality and ambition. At the same time, the company seems heavily disinterested in actively promoting their work or opening new niches, even nearly dropping the production of straight eroge for the sake of pushing out more yuri games, feeding of this niche's popularity with Western audience. And few things symbolise this sorry state of affairs quite like the Sakura MMO trilogy, the latest three entries in the mainline Sakura franchise, this time tackling the grossly overused theme of gameworld isekai. Coming out between October 2018 and June 2019, with little fanfare (the second and third game pretty much appeared out of nowhere, with no communication from Winged Cloud’s social media accounts before the releases) and to a rather lukewarm reception from players, Sakura MMO games still stand out in some ways from Winged Clouds usual output. Particularly, it was the first time since Sakura Beach that a game in the series received a direct sequel, and the only instance one received two. This, at first glance, makes it look like one of most ambitious projects Winged Cloud ever attempted, but one thing should be said in advance: all three Sakura MMO games are very short (3-4 hours) and heavily overpriced, with each costing $10. For the amount of content you’d usually find in one 10-15 dollars VN, you’re asked to pay 30, while also having to deal with issues that wouldn’t be there if it was all released as a single product or a well-constructed episodic game, like your choices not transferring between parts and somewhat shoddy continuity. But aside from it being a shameless cash-grab, is there something worthwhile within this trashy sub-franchise? Inma’s art is, as usual, one of the selling points of the game, but even it gets diminished by the constant reuse of assets and straight-up mistakes Sakura MMO follows the story of Kotone, a bored Japanese salarywoman who blows off steam from her stressful job by playing an MMORPG called Asaph Online. There, with her mage avatar named Viola, she became something of a dominating figure, styling herself as a “dark witch” and casually humiliating other players – the act she enjoys so much that she considers herself a sadist. While having relatively little fondness for her real-life routine and few meaningful bonds with other people, she is still deeply in shock when she one day wakes up in her avatar’s body, in one of the bedrooms of Nightmare Citadel – the massive castle acting as her player-owned residence and holding her immense in-game wealth (no, you won’t see much of the castle, only a few generic-looking rooms). She’s also immediately greeted by Neve, a darkling NPC who she placed in the castle as mere decoration, but now became a real person, dead-bent on serving her as a maid and bodyguard (with impressive magic skills to aid her in both tasks). Thus starts Kotone’s, or rather Viola’s adventure in search of meaning behind her summoning to Asaph and, possibly, a way back to her world. And probably most importantly, a journey of creating an ultimate harem of cute, gay girls for her to dominate – after all, if life gives you ultimate power and wealth, it’d be a shame to not indulge yourself at least a little bit? If by this point you feel a certain disconnect between the serious and trashy, ecchi-oriented parts of the setup, you’re definitely not wrong – the Sakura VN template prioritise fanservice over anything else and the more serious and grand the premise, the more obvious Winged Cloud’s shortcomings become. Art prioritizes random boob shots over crucial events in the plot, the story frequently comes to a halt to give space for variably out-of-place scenes of cuddling and lesbian sex. One remedy that could make it bearable is humour, which is what JP fantasy eroge often use to keep the formula fun to read, but this might actually be Sakura MMO’s biggest problem – for the most part, it feels utterly humourless and the few jokes that actually are there rarely land. It introduces a high-stakes main intrigue (even if it's heavily trope-filled), but couples it with one-dimensional characters and repetitive interactions that make it hard to get engaged in the story, failing to even give satisfying context to the porn the way some older Winged Cloud titles did. Splitting everything into three games help little, as each part only has space for two-three significant plot developments between fanservice and pointless banter. The bickering between heroines, by the way, would not be a bad thing if it was funny or witty enough to justify its existence, but it fails to do so even by Winged Cloud’s mediocre standards. The whole storyline ends up feeling soulless and dull, despite a few relatively fun fights and amusing moments scattered around. Like in every other game by Winged Cloud, fanservice constantly gets in the way of Sakura MMO’s story, but the surprisingly serious main plot makes this dissonance particularly visible If there’s something genuinely intriguing here, it’s probably the protagonist, who’s a contradictory character but not necessarily in a bad way. She likes domineering over others and as Viola, she maintains the boastful, aloof persona she relied on while playing, proudly announcing to be a villain and a sadist. At the same time, she cares about her companions more than she is usually willing to admit and is capable of self-sacrifice when the stakes get really high. With better writing, she could’ve easily become a very compelling lead and still manages to be the strongest part of the whole scenario. Other characters lack either potential or proper growth. Neve is mostly a one-beat heroine, with her clingy, servile and overprotective attitude towards Viola growing irritating quite quick. She gets an excellent piece of development and crucial role to play in the third game, but kind of reverts to her previous behaviour after that, to my genuine frustration. Fion, a homeless thief that steals a powerful artefact from Viola in the first game is a lazy, demoralized glutton and there’s honestly little more to her character all throughout the storyline. She also gets the dumbest ending, illogical and absurd in its implications. Eleri, the knight, is probably the most consistent heroine, hiding her shy and insecure personality behind a facade of a stalwart defender of law and justice. Being the only other character transported from Japan and having a much more traumatic arrival to Asaph than Viola, she is hell-bent on coming back and acts as a counterweight of sorts to the protagonist and her embracing of life in the fantasy world. In the end, while not the most attractive love interest personality-wise, she’s the most believable and least irritating girl of the bunch. The secondary characters and the overarching intrigue (finishing with an epic [?] confrontation with a fallen deity), suffer from similar problems – they might even look reasonably good on paper, but are implemented in a deeply mediocre way. This extends even to the thing usually working as the highlight of every Sakura game – the visual assets. While I’m personally fond of Inma’s artstyle and there’s plenty of amusing fanservice and softcore porn illustrations in the game, there’s also a good deal of things that should’ve been shown in CGs but are only described in text, straight-up drawing mistakes contradicting the game’s text and battle illustrations reused on every possible occasion. This very much reminded me how Sakura Agent screwed up its theme by never showing the aliens and generally, why Sakura games in action-oriented genres generally don’t work – the dev team simply doesn’t want to invest appropriate resources into these projects, Sakura Dungeon, Fantasy and Nova being the only outliers. MMO at least manages to wrap up its story properly, with romance endings for each heroine and a harem one, but in every possible path, the journey leading to those conclusions was heavily underwhelming. There was also the issue with the episodic structure of the story, as Sakura MMO 1 & 2 also offered romance-oriented endings for each heroine, but as your choices do not transfer between the games, the scenario more or less resets with every new chapter – it's not a huge problem, but it further undermines the already wonky cohesion and immersiveness of the storyline. The storyline in Sakura MMO is far from being the worst thing Winged Cloud produced and concludes in a rather satisfying way, but each game on its own feel short and underwhelming, hardly justifying the $10 price tag Continuing the topic of h-content, Sakura MMO is distinctly softcore even when compared to some other entries drawn by Inma – the scenes generally rather vanilla, don’t show genitals and are rather short. They offer decent variety, including a lot of milder sequences of cuddling & nudity, but don’t include the kind of straight-up fapping material you’d find in Sakura games with art drawn by Wanaca – something I don’t mind personally, as that is not what I’m after with these ecchi VNs, but might easily leave some people disappointed. One interesting gimmick connected to erotic content in MMO trilogy is that the games often place Viola in intimate situations with the heroines and it depends on your choices whether you escalate each interaction, or back down from it – it’s the kind freedom I’m always fond of, as while it isn’t crucial to the endings you get (that where the more story-centric choices come in), it lets you effectively “roleplay” different routes within the game’s linear framework, pursuing only the girl(s) you're actually interested in. Like other fantasy games by Winged Cloud, Sakura MMO includes a climatic, JRPG-style soundtrack by Zack Parrish and a decently-varied set of pleasant-looking backgrounds, but in the end, these qualities can hardly save it from feeling dull, undercooked and cynical. Apart from people interested solely in fanservice CGs, I can’t really imagine any audience that would be fully satisfied with what this trilogy has to offer, or the value proposition it represents. Despite my questionable fondness of trashy ecchi VNs, I find it hard to seriously recommend getting into Sakura MMO, even if you find it on deep sale – it simply excels at nothing to a degree that would make it a worthwhile experience, and lacks the junky charm that makes more comedic Sakura games fun to read, even if they were never genuinely good. If this is the quality level Winged Cloud is going to offer from now on, their games might stop being fun to follow even in a semi-ironic fashion, or for the die-hard fans of their formula. And by this point, it’s kind of hard to imagine them stepping up their game – I just hope that whenever this studio fade into an uncomfortable, but closed chapter of EVN history, someone will utilize the admittedly impressive skills of its character artist to some much more worthwhile projects. Final Rating: 2/5 Pros: + Decent art + Good variety of fanservice and hentai scenes Cons: - Dull heroines - Short episodes and rushed main intrigue - Cliched writing devoid of wit or humour VNDB Page (Sakura MMO; Sakura MMO 2; Sakura MMO 3) Buy Sakura MMO trilogy on Steam
  7. 2 points
    Clephas

    Book Series: The House War

    The House War series is one of three co-existing (to some extent, each of the series co-exists in time, often with the same characters) series written in the same universe by Michelle West, a half-Japanese, half-Canadian writer who first came to my attention when I was stunned by the first book of the Sun Sword series. The universe created in the three series (the Sacred Hunt duology, the Sun Sword series, and the House War series) extend across over thirty years of time in-series and involve as many varied perspectives, people, and desires as the more infamous large-scale high fantasy book series out there (the Wheel of Time, the Game of Thrones, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, etc). However, it is distinct in every way from them in style. While the world West puts together is often as harsh or more so than the Game of Thrones series, it manages a degree of mystique that Martin never achieves, at least partly because the focus is more on the people and setting then making as many dirty deeds as possible occur in the shortest time possible (incidentally, that is my assessment of Martin's works). A typically Japanese flavor exists in the writing, mixed with flavors of Celtic and even Middle Eastern tones at times. Depending on which characters form the core of an individual book, the atmosphere differs dramatically. The House War series is centered around Jewel Markess ATerafin and the people that surround her. Jewel is a key character in all three series, though in different ways. In the Sacred Hunt, she is the desperate leader of a den (think street gang) of orphans whose existences are only considered relevant relative to her. As such, little focus or spotlight is put on the den, except to give them some minimal color and give you a vague idea of how they matter to Jewel. Jewel is seer-born, a rare form of 'talent' that causes her to see potential futures in dreams and instinctively (knee-jerk, gut-level) know when her own life is in danger and avoid it reflexively. Other talents, such as mage-born, healer-born, god-born, bard-born, and maker-born are all present in the series, but explanations for each are generally only presented as aspects of their existence become relevant to the story at large. She lives in Averaalan, the capital city of an Empire ruled by the Kings, two god-born children born of the gods of Wisdom and Justice. The complex society of the Empire nonetheless has only a very limited privileged class, made up of a wealthy but not feudal 'patrician' nobility, the commons, and the Ten. The Ten are one of the constructs I like most, besides the Kings, in this particular setting. They are a group of ten aristocratic clans that are granted almost complete internal autonomy and are not hereditary. Instead, the Ten increase their numbers by merit-based adoption, wherein individuals that have talents and skills desired or needed by the clan as a whole are 'adopted' regardless of origin. The House War series follows Jewel's life from early childhood, details the creation of her den, and further writes in details of the events around the duology solely from the point of view of the den and Jewel herself in the first book. The rest of the books detail her rise after the events of the Sun Sword series to the rank of the Terafin (the ruler of the Terefin, the greatest of the Ten) and the results of her choices until she meets her destiny. Of the three series, the House War series most deeply details the aspects that are left oblique and unexplained in the previous books, regarding the nature of human talent-born, the nature of power in that universe, and the nature of the immortals and gods. Jewel is, other than her power, merely a fiercely compassionate woman who cares far too deeply for someone who rules. Her immortal companions are frequently frustrated by her (mostly because they only understand the power she wields and what it will become), and her mortal companions fear for her as her power grows and she struggles against the necessity to change in order to master it. The over-arching antagonist of all three series is Allasakar, the Lord of the Hells, a being that is deliberately demonized (lol) in the Sacred Hunt, given some perspective through the eyes of Kiriel, his half-human daughter, in the Sun Sword, and given a third and more complete relative perspective based on the truths revealed in the House War series. I won't go into detail about this, but Allasakar is presented as being inimical to all mortal life... and this is true in every way. However, one thing that gets revealed in a rather stark manner in the House War is just how inimical ALL immortals in this series are to mortals. The world Jewel and the other characters live in is one that is asleep, the gods having withdrawn to another realm for reasons of their own, the Firstborn (their 'children) confined to the mystic wilds, and many of the other immortal existences in a thousands of years long sleep. Because of this, a marked difference between the early books and the later ones is the stripping away of the gentle human 'myths' that gloss over just how terrible the immortals, regardless of alignment, were. If the Duology was a simple good vs evil play and the Sun Sword was an interwoven tapestry of demons an politics, the House War is the mortal coming into contact with and struggling against the immortal. Michelle West's concepts of the immortal are very Japanese, for someone familiar with Japanese Buddhism and Shinto. Indeed, I can say that while there is a strong Celtic influence on the aesthetic, the essence is almost entirely Japanese when it comes to immortals in the story (it becomes even more so later on). For those with an interest on why I said there is a strong Middle-eastern influence, I recommend you read the Sun Sword series. Following the events in the lands of the Dominion, in particular the first book of the series which almost exclusively centers around that region with few outside influences, brings that influence out in full. Serra Diora, one of my favorite characters in the series, is someone I can honestly describe as one of the most admirable characters in the series as a whole, while being one of the weakest relatively (Edit: In terms of power, not personality). It gave me a much better perspective on Middle Eastern culture, and it is one of the reasons I actually began reading some literature from that part of the world.
  8. 2 points
    In the EVN world dominated by clichéd romance stories, titles by InvertMouse, a long-time indie developer from Australia, stand out in a few significant ways. Staying away from most common genre tropes and easily-marketable story elements, the games he creates often focus on topics such as friendship and struggles of everyday life, rather than grand tales of romance and adventure. The three short VNs in the Without Within series are particularly unusual and interesting in this regard, tackling themes of ambition, motivation and talent in life of an artist, in the rare setting of modern-day Australia and South-East Asia – all of this in a highly comedic style, but not without serious messages underlining the, most of the time, silly storyline. Another thing that makes these games interesting is their complicated development history. The first Without Within was a very short, freeware title, published in December 2014 as one of InvertMouse’s earliest works. The second, commercial entry followed nearly a year later, showing up on Steam in December 2015 and offering a much more substantial story, but in a very similar production quality and tone. The final game, however, didn’t release until mid-2018 – by this time its creator had a lot of more experience and technical prowess, which makes it a visibly different experience from its prequels. Still, with how short and thematically-consistent the three games are, I’ve decided to tackle them as a single package – the third part ends in a rather open-ended way, but with InvertMouse moving away from VN development, it’s pretty clear that the whole trilogy should be treated as a complete story and there’s little chance for any kind of continuation. So, what is Without Within series about exactly and what makes it worth your attention? Vinty’s visual design is just as caricatural as her personality – this, however, doesn’t mean her story is nothing but a sequence of gags All Without Within games follow the story of Vinty, a comically-unfortunate and unsuccessful calligraphy passionate, trying to make a name for herself within the somewhat obscure niche and struggling to keep her dream alive against the crushing pressures of everyday life, and various discouraging mishaps. Throughout the three WW titles, she is portrayed with a nearly constantly dejected, chibi sprite (the only exception is being her delusional daydreams, where she imagines herself as a star). This represents her hopeless mental state and feeling of inadequacy in comparison to the talented and successful calligraphers she meets in her adventures, particularly her idol and the biggest celebrity in the world of calligraphy, Excelia (she and all other characters outside of Vinty have normal proportions and are drawn with a very decent level of detail). Excelia herself is Vinty’s direct opposite – wealthy, incredibly talented and famous, representing everything she aspires to be at the beginning of the story, but also hiding a darker side that will make Vinty reconsider her priorities. This duo of caricatural, exaggerated characters are the main heroines of the series, acting as both counterparts and rivals for each other, bound by their shared love for calligraphy. The first title in the series focuses on the everyday life of Vinty, showing her usual struggles: ugly apartment, hostile landlady, unsatisfying job and hopeless attempts at selling her work on the streets, broken up mostly by her delusional dreams of greatness. The bitter comedy is accompanied by a few choices that will decide whether she can keep her goal of becoming a full-time artist alive, or be forced to give up on it (possibly crashing & burning in spectacular fashion in the process). It’s a simple, somewhat ironic game about motivation and chasing your dreams, and these themes will be the driving force of the story throughout the series. It doesn’t mean, however, that all three VNs are exclusively gag comedies. Without Within 2 follows Vinty on a government-sponsored trip to a calligraphy convention in Melbourne and mixes the humour from its prequel with travel-guide-like descriptions of the experience of leaving her hometown for the first time. This includes links to real live videos of various landmarks and elements of public transportation that show up in the story – these elements will either amuse you or bore you out of your mind, depending whether you find mundane trivia about foreign countries interesting (or possibly plan to visit them yourself and have a real use for all that information). It’s a bit of a strange mix and in certain ways kills the pacing of WW2 and 3 (that one takes Vinty to Singapore and Malaysia), even despite both sequels getting rid of choices and branching paths – if you want to enjoy them, you have to be ready for quite a lot of downtime and trivia between actual story developments. Vinty’s idol and rival Excelia is a polar opposite of the protagonist and just as exaggerated – the setup that works fine for comedy, but can hardly handle shifts into a more serious tone While the gag comedy and overly-detailed descriptions of Vinty’s travels somehow merge into a particularly slow, casual SoL experience that will not be to everyone’s taste, but is not objectively bad, the issues with this formula show up as soon as the games introduce serious drama. This transition first happens in the ending sequence of Without Within 2, when Excelia is exposed for vandalism of other calligraphers’ work and loses her reputation in the community, after which she is comforted by Vinty. The dramatic reveal and the heartfelt moments after it are not done terribly, but simply feel out of place due to the earlier tone of the game and the exaggerated features of both main characters. This issue becomes even deeper in Without Within 3, in with Vinty and Excelia go on a joint trip to Singapore, to solve the mystery of the “ghost” of famous calligrapher Kiki showing up in various places connected to her life. At some point the investigation transitions into a fully-fledged backstory segment for this character, who died of cancer at an early age before reaching her full potential, and her turbulent friendship with Tai, another calligraphy star. The story of Tai and Kiki is hands-down the best part of the whole series, showing a deep and dramatic tale that I never really expected to find in it. However, while it’s meant to have an important meaning for both Excelia and Vinty, helping them reshape their goals and attitudes towards life, it also showcases their flows as characters – both of them are, more or less, caricatures and by the point Without Within 3 was made, it was very hard for InvertMouse to give them proper depth without breaking up the whole formula. Especially for Vinty the conclusion is kind of unsatisfying – as the butt of every joke, she’s just as unfortunate and unskilful at the end of the journey as she was in the beginning, her only success being the fact of finding a bit more balance in her approach to art and competition. While not the worst possible payoff, it makes you wish for something at least slightly more hopeful and substantial. The detailed descriptions of Vinty’s travels and locales she visits are occasionally interesting, but hurt the pacing of Without Within 2 & 3 significantly When it goes to production values, each Without Within game was an improvement over its predecessor, especially when it goes to the number and quality of CGs, but they’re also very consistent stylistically. Vinty’s chibi sprite is always contrasting with rather detailed backgrounds and good-quality portrayals of other characters – none of it is ever particularly amazing, but solid nonetheless and especially the third game impresses with its sheer variety of visual assets, representing the many locales visited by the heroines. Also, all of the games feature catchy, energetic soundtracks, which honestly help to keep the slower moments of Without Within 2 & 3 reasonably entertaining. In summary, Without Within trilogy is unusual and sometimes contradictory, but I still find it worth experiencing. It rarely conforms to your expectations, telling a rare story about being a small-time artist without dishonest wish-fulfilment or tacked-on romance plots. Even its most dramatic and exaggerated moments are, in their core, mundane and painfully realistic, telling simple truths about life and struggles of an unsuccessful creator (which, in relative terms, might be the majority of people that ever attempt becoming one). It comments on our reality and explores real places rather than providing means of escapism, but if that is something you’re interested in when you pick it up, you most likely won’t be disappointed. Final Score: 3/5 Pros: + Unusual story with interesting themes + Fun, humoristic storytelling formula + Well-stylized visuals and good soundtrack Cons: - Lacklustre character development - Poor pacing in the sequels - Inconsistent tone of the third game VNDB Pages (Without Within 1, Without Within 2, Without Within 3) Buy Without Within Trilogy on Steam
  9. 1 point
    After 2009 and 2012, this time I'll talk about 2010 in which there's still quite a number of good VNs being fan translated while at the same time Mangagamer was slowly making their way to be more active. Of course obviously we still didn't have Sekai yet and JAST here is still idling with they readying the release for 2011, and apparently from what I remember they already got infamous because on how they only announced fan translated projects or something like that. As for the list here, the rule is still the same with no nukige, no otome, no BL, and no fandisc in the list. Let's see what kind of good VN that we have at 2010. 10. Daibanchou -Big Bang Age- (VNDB 7.50) Another VN that was translated by Aroduc and that was released by Alice Soft, so it should be pretty obvious that Daibanchou here is another gameplay VN. For the premise, we have our hot blooded student Zanma Ruga transferred to a school in Tokyo in order to cure his fiancee's curse, and that he must collect the magical items to achieve the gals. There's a problem though, namely that the items was held by some powerful school leader so Rouga must gather his army in order to take the items. By the way in here we have a setting where the world was invaded by the demon and that each student did have superpower, and the strongest one would be the school leader (Rouga here is one of the strongest student). Since this is Alice Soft VN, it's possible for Rouga to have sex with other woman even though Rouga himself already have fiancee (Well she allow it if I remember). As for the gameplay itself, it's sort of crude version of Sengoku in that you can't do multiple battle per turn, although the most significant things is that you have time limit in which it force you to play several times if you want to get all of the characters. Even then, I'm still find that Daibanchou here is quite fun and that Rouga was not as selfish as Rance (Not say a lot though). 9. Kikokugai - The Cyber Slayer (VNDB 7.54) There's a story abut a Ki Master (Kong Taoluo) who lost his sister (Ruili) that married to his best friend (Haojun), because her husband way of showing his affection by brutally rape her and split her soul into five (Also storing the souls in the sex cyborgs). Enraged, Taoluo decided to kill Haojun and try to get back Ruili's soul by fusing all of five separated parts, only that it's not as easy as it looks seeing that Haojun became the Chinese mafia leader and that he handed the other four sex dolls to his trusted four cadres who each of them are quite strong. Seeing that there's no other choice and the cadres are also helping Haojun showing his affection to Ruili, Taoluo decided to kill them as well even though it may prove too much for him. As for the releases we have two version with the original one was back at 2010, and at 2015 we have the remake release in that it have improved graphic and voice from famous seiyuu (Including Yukari Tamura as Ruili) in exchange for slight CG censorship. We also have JAST was abut to release it since back at 2011, but considering that we already have the remake translated let's just say that it'll be redundant release if they ever manage to release it. Almost forget to say that this is another Urobochi's work, so obviously don't expect happy story here. 8. Narcissu 2 (VNDB 7.58) The second part of Narcissu duology in that it tell us the story abut our main heroine Setsumi before facing a certain ending that rumored to made some reader spent a lot of tissue, and apparently the same rumor would hold true to this VN as well (After all Narcissu is categorized as utsuge not for nothing). Anyway as for the premise in the first part we have Setsumi was go through the journey with the nameless male MC seeing that she didn't have a lot of time thanks to her disease, and in this second part here we'll roll back to seven years ago when Setsumi was at 15 at the hospital. At the hospital Setsumi will slowly befriended Himeko who is also a car otaku, and that Himeko have some problem with her faith because of her past. As for the release it's an unique one seeing that the author himself did approve the fan translation just like True Remembrance, and that this release was also combined the first part that was released back at 2005 so you can get this to play Narcissu fully. There's also Sekai rereleased this back at 2014, although of course by then it's release is already redundant. For the bonus, here's the second part opening and as usual eufonius here did a good job. 7. Da Capo 2 (VNDB 7.62) Took place ~50 years after first Da Capo and ~20 years before Da Capo 3 Prologue, once again we have our advanture at Haysunejima in that it was famous because of the everlasting sakura that can grant any wish. This time our MC is Sakurai Yoshiyuki who been best friends with Junichi's (Da Capo 1 MC) granddaughters, and those two granddaughters are also one school with Yoshiyuki. Other character to note is Sakura (Returning character from the prequel, and Junichi's cousin who doubled as one of Da Capo heroine), in that she's the principal of Yoshiyuki's school and that she didn't aging for ~50 years because she's a magician and all. As for the writing it's generally accepted that the routes writing here did improved from Da Capo, although there's a flaw as well though in that Koko's route which became infamous because Yoshiyuki here prefer to make some drama instead of resole it calmly. Other than that, this time Circus learn from first Da Capo in that they place the main heroines (Junichi's granddaughters) routes unlocked later instead of available from the first. Lastly we can play 'passionate Hitomi Nabatame-voiced love-making' scenes here, because we have Nabatame voicing Nanaka who as we know is quite similar with DC Kotori. 6. Eien no Aselia -The Spirit of Eternity Sword- (VNDB 7.65) An isekai VN in that we have our siscon MC Yuuto was summoned into anther world, and forced to work for a warmongering king that want to expand his territory as much as possible. To make it worse, the sword that Yuuto weld is a sentient being and Yuuto himself is could be succumbed into the sword's influence and thus make the people around him suffer. Of course seeing that it's a VN Yuuto is not alone in that he have female companions with one of them is the titular heroine Aseila (ie the main one), and that her ending is canon thanks to a certain character at Senarukana (The sequel). As for the release, while back then it's censored at least it could be justified because back then Xuse still not released the perfect edition in that it contain both of PS2 contents and 18+ contents, and that Dakkodango (Later will become Fruitbat) already finished this back at 2010 (Besides the PS2 contents are more than enough to make up the censorship anyway). After a year (At 2011), JAST rereleased this and it's still censored as it is. While they gave a reason in that they didn't want to take a risk on the lolicon contents, I'm more convinced that they didn't want to do an extra work to either translated the sex scenes or working on the Complete edition. 5. Remember11 -The Age of Infinity- (VNDB 8.01) The most infamous Infinity series, manly because the fact that the ending was quite abrupt thanks to the conflict between the staffs that didn't allow them to have a consensus in regard of the true ending (Or so that's what I'd read somewhere). This VN is also the second Infinity series to be translated after Ever17, although people was more well aware with the controversy though. As for the premise, we have two accidents in that both of Kokoro (Female MC) and Satoru (Male MC) did get trapped around the place where the heavy snowstorm is happen. As for the circumstances we have our Kokoro was one of the surviving victim of a fatal airplane accident, while for our Satoru he apparently was abut to be murdered only to be survive and trapped in a snowstorm. To complicated matter, both of Satoru and Kokoro was somehow can swap each other soul in the most impossible circumstance seeing that both of them was separated for around a thousand kilometers and more importantly the accidents were happened in the different years. As for the solution here, at least we can still guess what's really happen if we get a certain bad end, although for now most of the solution is only hypothesis though. 4. ef - a fairy tale of the two (VNDB 8.13) If back at 2009 we have Aoishiro as the most beautiful graphic in regard of translated VN, then in 2010 we have ef in that we can say this as minori's Magnum Opus. And it really show considering that it's still famous because of the arts, in that it's still be able to rival some modern VNs graphic (And both of ef opening here is really show good animation thanks to Makoto Shinkai). Another thing to note is that apparently ef was released back at when both No Name Loser (NNL) and minori did have a conflict of interest, and that the incident was called minorigate. In the end it's hard to say whether their closure can be called bad karma or not, although seeing that in an instance they say that they didn't need foreign support or something like that perhaps it is. It's still unfortunate though that minori is no longer after their big fail in Supipara. As for the VN itself, it contain five different MC with five different love stories. While at the first glance this looks like separated stories, actually there's a Myth Arc happen behind it and it also happen that each characters in each stories turned out have some connections with each other to a degree. As for the Myth Arc, we have our main MC Himura Yuu have meeting with the main heroine Amamiya Yuuko at the church in the Christmas Eve, and both of them reminisce on how they help some couple along with their own love story. For additional note here, we have Mangagamer act as the third party in regard of minorigate, so in order to resolve the conflict they decided to allow Mangagamer to own minori's license. So obviously Mangagamer did rerelease ef at the latter years, and the release is not so redundant because they add the Extra menu that was missing in 2010 release (Probably because NNL release it hastily back then). 3. Symphonic Rain (VNDB 8.19) Also known as the only rhythm gameplay translated VN (So naturally ther'll be some insert song), and that it's only all age release in which it's logical seeing that we have well-known seiyuu voicing the heroines here. It also have rerelease as well back at 2017 by Degica, in that it change the graphic slightly (Not as drastic as YU-NO remake). And for the most important part, the songs and the BGM here is the late Okazaki Ritsuko's Swan Song because she compose the BGM for this VN before she passed away back at 2004. The premise is we have our MC Chris attend a music school in a city that always raining, and he somehow managed to befriended a fairy. One day he's about to graduate from the school and that his last test is he must play a fortell to allow his partner to sing along, and that it might be too hard for Chris seeing that he didn't have much friend. Even so, there's no choice for Chris other than to search the partner to do his graduation test. While graphically wise this VN would give you the impression that it'll be a lighthearted story (Especially the rereleased one), don't be fooled by that because like Hakuai (Same developer) some of the ending are quite heavy. 2. G-Senjou no Maou (VNDB 8.47) The most famous VN that was translated in 2010 and also the most controversial rereleased by Sekai (At 2015) because not only the license itself is redundant, it's also because Dovac was use his trusted brand of public communication to respond the criticism in regard of the censorship back at VNDB, and let's just say that it make me face-palmed there. Granted that Sekai was finally release the 18+ patch for this at April, but even then (And even back at 2015) most people are already know and discuss about this a lot so more or less people already know about this (If nothing else at least it's good for newbie). Controversy by Sekai aside, in here we have Kyousuke who is a stepson of a head yakuza and that he was intelligent. One day, he crossed path with a beautiful intelligent woman that have messy long hair (Haru, who also the main heroine here), and that she's chasing her nemesis who known by the alias 'Maou'. And so the curtain for the battle of wits between Haru and Maou was started, and little did Kyousuke know back then that he have much more involved into the battle more than he know. As for the route structure, it'd use the ladder system in which Kyousuke can either pick a girl or keep going until he reach Haru's chapter. 1. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (VNDB 8.70) The second part of Higurashi that contained the last four chapters (Higurashi have eight chapters for the reminder), and unlike the first part this time we'll going to uncover the truth behind Hinamizawa tragedy and mystery. As for the release while back at 2010 Mangagamer only released Matsuribayashi instead of full version of Kai, it still count here because Matsuribayashi here is the last part of Higurashi. As for Kai itself of course things were still as bleak as ever with death and all even though it's not as scary as the first part, but this time our Keiichi and friends are starting to uncover some information. That said even with the horror was slowly diminishing, Chapter 5 (Meakashi) was also quite infamous because of some action that was quite horrifying. This is also the part when Ryukishi started to ask some help to compose the BGM instead of rely on the free BGM, and it really show seeing that the soundtrack was considered as being very good. For more info Mangagamer was also rereleased this along with the first part, and the only chapter that was still unreleased is Minagoroshi (At 18th later) and Matsuribayashi. For the opening I'll use Miotsukushi opening in which it's the PS2 alternative ending for Higurashi, although it's quite fitting anyway for Kai's opening. That's all for 2010 list here, and as you can see some of the releases were rereleased officially with the most notable examples are G-Senjou and ef. Another thing to note is that we got many good VNs, and also JAST was starting the decline in regard of their activity (They started to be more active at 2011 if I remember). We also have some drama though, namely with minorigate in which apparently it's because minori so traumatic with Rapelay incident so much that minori was lashed out. Honestly both of Rapelay and minori VN are very vastly different, but remember back then the stigma that VN was a porn games for Westerner is still stronger compared to nowadays. I hope you'll like my list here. PS - As for the title, seeing that we have Symphonic Rain and G-Senjou released back at 2010 I decided to combine those two so we have 'Rain on the G String' as the title. For additional note here, G-Senjou title is derivative of Bach's 'Air on the G String' so of course I change the 'Air' part into 'Rain', even though it was impossible in the real life (It sounds romantic though). Forget to say that both of Symphonic Rain and G-Senjou did have music as the topic, and the latter did remixed 'Air on G String' to be used as a BGM in the G-Senjou soundtrack itself.
  10. 1 point
    I decided to make this post after analyzing my own reading speed and the reasons why it is so fast... but I also wanted to give tips on how to increase your reading speed without hurting your enjoyment of VNs, manga, and books. At the same time I was doing this, I gradually came to realize that one of the big reasons why my favorite genre is so niche (chuunige) is simply because most people bump into the walls of complex text and give up. Regardless of which language you are reading (Japanese, English, or any other language), the basics of reading are the ability to see and understand the writing, have the vocabulary necessary to understand the words, and an understanding of grammar advanced enough to comprehend how the words come together to create meaning. I know it sounds condescending for me to go back and name these basics, but it is necessary to do so in order to make my points. When it comes to reading fiction, there is an aspect that comes into play that many don't take account of... the gap between the language used when writing and that which is used in verbalization. Most people won't use even a fifth of the terminology and styles that exist in the literary world to converse with others (at least, if their job doesn't require it). For this reason, becoming a fast reader necessitates that a person have a gut-level understanding of a large amount of word and style choices that simply don't get used when they are conversing with others. This is also the reason why classroom Japanese is inadequate for playing or translating visual novels, incidentally. To be frank, the above reality is the main reason why reading for pleasure is an acquired taste for most, rather than a natural addiction. To me, a well-written scene in a VN is a sensual, almost erotic experience... but that is because decades of reading have made me into that kind of person. To be frank, there is a limit to reading speeds based on intelligence and short-term memory. However, this limitation is far less of an issue than most think. It is quite possible for someone who is of less than average intelligence to be able to enjoy reading something as ridiculously complex as Dies Irae at a speed you might be surprised at, and it is quite possible for a person who is otherwise of high intelligence to have a turtle-like reading speed. Basic methods to increase reading speed include deliberate expansion of vocabulary (memorizing lists of words and how they are used) and deliberately exposing yourself on a regular basis to writers with unique or unusual styles that are difficult to follow. Grammatical understanding needs to be gut-level or reading speed won't improve, as you'll be constantly stumbling over how the words come together. Context is also important... essentially, to be a fast reader, one must be able to keep at least a decent grasp on what has gone before and be able to at least retain most of the details from the chapter you are currently reading. A bad habit many translators, both professional and fan, fall into is translating line by line. This is also a stumbling block when reading. If you are merely reading line by line while not keeping at least some track of what has been going on, you will be unable to grasp what is coming. This lack of understanding slows the reader, as they grow confused, then bored. One reason why I almost never play multiple VNs at once without dropping the previous ones outright is because retaining a firm grasp on the flow of events at my stopping points for those games causes an intellectual and emotional disconnect that makes it hard to resurrect my interest if I try to go back to them. In the end, what was this post about? Essentially, I was saying 'refine your basics, and your reading speed will improve'. I'm not going to go into more advanced techniques such as being able to 'flash-read' paragraphs and lines, because I generally don't use those techniques when playing normal VNs (the slow death of the NVL format has ensured it only has limited usefulness when reading VNs). A note about the difference in enjoyment: The pleasure gained from reading varies in nature as you get faster. One reason I love VNs that are heavy on complex narration is that such VNs rarely leave me feeling that I wasted my time reading them, whereas ones with little narration and most if it simple tend to leave me feel like I wasted my time. In my observations of others, including some friends I introduced to VNs who have significantly slower speeds than myself, I saw that they tended to be more able to enjoy both better than myself. However, since large-scale VNs seemed like monumental tasks to them, they often don't even try them. In this sense, reading speed determines what some people read in the first place, thus narrowing their options and experiences. I hear stories about people taking months to finish a single VN, and I honestly can't comprehend that, given that even the longest VN only takes me about thirty to forty hours (incidentally, only a half dozen VNs have reached this threshold in my personal experience)... which is about the same amount of time full completion of an average-scale jrpg takes, lol. I honestly don't have the experience to gauge how to enjoy a VN over the course of a month or more of time... and I'd like some input on just how that experience feels, since I don't have any references in my experience that might enable me to understand it. Even my friends were book-addicts before I introduced them to English-language VNs, so they were still faster than the average... Edit: What caused me to decide to post this was the simple fact that I have, on a number of occasions, been asked for advice on how to improve reading speed. In the process of trying to articulate how to improve reading speed based on my experiences, I decided to focus on visual novel reading speed, because the explanations for some of the techniques I've picked up over the years would require me to rediscover how-to books I read back in my teens when I was trying to reduce the amount of time I had to spend studying by finding ways to read faster. I had to laugh when I realized that all I could do was explain why the basics were important, because the most important element for reading VNs turned out to be accepting that the vocabulary you pick up reading the 'classics' in your years of public education is not nearly enough. Vocab and an understanding of how it fit into grammar are so vital to reading quickly, because you don't have to stop to think about what a sentence means if there is no part of it you don't already understand.
  11. 1 point
    Star Platinum, Angel Halo, Stone Walkers and Bounty Hunter Rudy are masterpieces of the month. That's a difficult choice! I believe that Bounty Hunter Rudy is the worthiest for being VN of October 1996. 1. Girl 2 ガール2 [961001] Juice Reiko is a female tutor of three young girls. Here are three stories of what happened at the lessons. Game is focused on H events and the feature of the series is small windows that show only some part of the body. 2. Star Platinum スタープラチナ [961010] Custom 1 2 3 4 High in the heavens, there was a girl who was training in a shrine to be the successor of a goddess. One day, the goddess had to leave the shrine to attend a meeting of the many gods, leaving the girl alone at the shrine. The goddess warned her to leave alone a box of star-souls within the shrine, and that under no circumstances should she open it. Naturally, as soon as the goddess had left, the girl's curiosity got the better of her and she opened the box. The star-souls escaped, turned the girl into a small fairy, and fled down towards the Earth. She must track down and capture the star-souls, now causing mischief on Earth, before the goddess returns to the shrine. However, while chasing several of the star-souls through the sky, the girl crashes through the window of a young man who lives on Earth. She decides that since he can somehow see her, that he's going to help her out, and so the two of them begin their adventure. In the story mode the story unfolds until a character in need of exorcising is encountered and then a special card battle is held. The biggest feature of this work is totally unique style of graphics that's impossible to confuse with anything else. 3. Toriko 虜 [961011] D.O. Slave training simulator with prisoner as main theme. Shocking game and spiritual follower of SEEK. Training scenes are even animated. System is too difficult for modern players. There are some ardent fans of this work, but majority won't even come close to it. 4. Angel Halo Angel Halo −エンジェル・ハイロウ− [961017] Active 1 2 The protagonist, Kusakabe Makoto, is living a normal school life without knowing he is the reincarnation of Lucifer. One day an angel named Sofia and a demon named Lilith come to him. They are the messengers of Heaven and Hell. The day of Lucifer's judgement is approaching. I have a full review prepared. 5. Katei Kyoushi 家庭教師 [961018] Interheart Again Interheart and again nothing is found. 6. Stone Walkers ストーンウォーカーズ [961018] Sunsoft 1 Stone Walkers is an adventure game in which you take the role of Randy a teacher similar to Indiana Jones and his two girl helpers in a dangerous adventure searching for a mayan artifact called the Jade Mask. The adventure begins when they travel to Guatemala to start the search in some mayan ruins. Playstation exclusive title. It's command selection, but at times different forms like setting up traps that trigger trouble events. And you can not bruteforce all the commands since you've only got limited selection number, so need to think carefully what to choose. And there are multiple endings so the weight of choice increases even further. As a non-romance adventure story it returns to the origins like De-Ja or Nook series and that's why feels fresh in the launched romance novel era. 7. Bounty Hunter Rudy バウンティはんたぁルディ [961025] Scoop 1 Rudy is a famous space bounty hunter with top notch skills. But she's famous mostly for her ability to fall into troubles due because of uncontrolled destruction power. In order to deal with the debts she goes to casino but drenches down into even deeper debt. She is offered a top secret military case and she's in no position to reject it. Rudy is bisexual in the sense that with women she becomes a futanari... The main feature of the game is parody... it has reference to dozens of contemporary western and eastern media works from Start Wars to Crayon Shin-Chan. The evaluation of the game greatly depends on the ability to find and enjoy those parodies. I've a full review prepared. 8. Cherry Moderate チェリーマドレット [961025] Ucom Hero and his classmate argued about who of them was more popular with the girls. Now with the nanpa competition launched hero needs to win the hearts of as many girls as possible. Capture is not really difficult since at all times you can consult the school nurse who tells exactly what to do in each girl's case. The number of girls is big, but each girl story is plain and short - and ends with a CG. There is a time limit and all the girls that aren't conquered by the hero are conquered by his rival - that guy has a 100% success rate! 9. Ikumoto 生本● [961025] Illusion This Illusion game has the same fate as other early win95 eroge - oblivion. 10. RAM 1 - New Evolution Organize ラ・ム1 ニューエボリューションオーガナイズ [961025] GMF Shinsuke is a teenager from modern time. He has a special mark on his forehead which is said to kill him on removal by his father. RAM is a girl who comes from 10.000 years ago in the past to the modern time. She searches for NEO where NEO stands for New Evolution Organize or in other words human with evolved cellular organization, a superhuman. After RAM removes the patch from Shinsuke forehead the bright light fills the room and a new sign is formed there. RAM is going to turn Shinsuke into NEO before DOMI from future arrives. Game actually follows Classmate as there is top down travelling around the map and time dimension. Shinsuke meets different girls at different locations. I'm bad with such type of games and there's next to zero information about the game. 11. Haruka no Sora ~Gekitou Mahjong Taikai Hen~ 遥の空 ~激闘麻雀大会編~ [961025] This is another strip majong game. In the story mode, you can pick one of 6 girls to fight for a banshee tear, which can grant one wish. I've no words for strip mahjong. 12. G no Kyokuhoku Gの極北 [961031] Bunny Pro. And one more forgotten eroge of early Windows era.
  12. 1 point
    If you thought that I was actually going to finish something I'd started before moving on to something else, then you don't know me very well. So here I am playing Tsukikana instead of Ginharu!
  13. 1 point
    Live footage of rare JOPs hearing the bimonthly autistic EOP scream over some license Today I got to know that my blog's reader base has been very sad that my blog has been so quiet for a long time so I decided to do a little update. This time I'm gonna list you some reasons why you might want to learn Japanese! (Start it today or you will never start it just like this blog post) These reasons are not in any order (are) Can play Idol M@ster Shiny Colors (or any other idol game but Shiny Colors is the best one) Number 2: Kotose. Can become a true believer of the true god Can get all the Yuuko goodness (get cucked!!) Have a meme I made earlier this week but got deleted for """derailing""" CoC Get to know the difference between Keyakizaka46 and Keyakizaka46!! There is a difference trust me. Other idols in general such as Nogizaka46 and AKB48 Can watch all the idol bingos. Always wanted your favorite anime to have 10 seasons??? Well idolbingos do have more than 10 seasons and are of the same size as anime seasons! No more shitty scans or subs. Only godtier real source material. (Eats all your money but who the fuck cares just work a little and be rich xD) Make bad memes Get vampire GF Can make shit lists like this Did this motivate any of you my lovely readers? I hope it did! Now smart ones of you might have noticed where is all the eroge!??? Well to be honest eroge is not worth it. It fucking sucks and so does the community. Idols, soshage, anything, is better than eroge. Don't do eroge kids. Peace out!
  14. 1 point
    Clephas

    Amatsutsumi

    ... it's been a while since my feelings on a VN have been as complex as my feelings for this one are. I say 'feelings' because this VN has massive emotional impact... not as much as Hapymaher, but nonetheless a lot of emotional impact. To be blunt, Makoto is nothing like Hapymaher's protagonist, so if you were hoping for more of his 'consumed by sorrow and despair but still living my life' personality, sorry, no luck here. Makoto is... a blank slate. I don't say this in a bad way. For better or worse, Makoto has lived his life in an isolated village where people literally don't talk any more than is absolutely necessary, lest they accidentally compel one another with their power, 'kotodama'. Makoto has a fiance named Mana (and no, not that kind of lukewarm, 'distant fiance' sort of thing you see in some VNs, since they actually get down to business), and a rather nice, slow life in that village... However, he yearns for the outside world, where people can talk to people without restrictions. He escapes from the village and collapses from hunger in a small town four days later, where he is saved by the first of four heroines, Kokoro. From there the story begins, as he makes the journey from an innocent 'kami' to a real human being with all the baggage that comes along with it. A lot of the most interesting parts of this game come from the fact that he naturally doesn't understand much about the outside world. Makoto's innocent, unstained viewpoint, combined with his natural kindness and willingness to embrace new experiences, feel surprisingly refreshing. Things other 'normal' protagonists would worry over don't even occur to him, and he is so laid back he makes the drugged hippies of US in the sixties seem tense. While he does change as part of the story, his personal 'lens', through which he sees the world, remains remarkably clean throughout... not to mention the guy has absolutely no sense of sexual morality (in other words, his idea of sexual morality is 'don't use his power to compel people to have sex with him'). The first of the heroines, Kokoro, is a shojo manga addict who has fantasies about immoral relations with older brothers. She is a natural at unconsciously grasping the hearts of others around her without trying, and she is pretty much the picture of a heroine who 'exists to be loved by everyone'. The second heroine, Kyouko, is a miko that can see dead people (yes, I went there). She has huge self-esteem problems and is more than a little weird... for one thing, her reaction to Makoto is one of the more unique heroine reactions to a protagonist I've encountered over the years... for another, she is abnormally self-derogatory in both action and word. Mana... is the protagonist's fiance from the village. She is pretty much apathetic about other people, unless they have the decency to provide her with food (from her point of view, people who give her food move up from 'stone in the road' to 'slightly adorable insect' in most cases). She is a bit of an S, when it comes to Makoto, and Makoto is pretty much her reason for living. Because of a careless use of kotodama by another member of the village, she is always cold and in her eyes, it is always snowing. Hotaru... is the true heroine of this story. Cheerful and active, not to mention highly intelligent and perceptive... she is actually a fairly attractive heroine from the start. However, she has less initial impact than Mana or Kokoro, for reasons that are fairly apparent. Since that is by design, I actually am not complaining about this, though. Now, to get to the downside of this game... it uses the G-senjou 'ladder' story structure, wherein the story progresses arcs where you choose to either pursue the heroine associated with that arc to an ending or move on with the main story. I can say that the path endings for the non-true heroines were actually pretty good, but having played the true path, they are comparatively low-impact. A lot of this is the fact that the major events of their 'paths' are in the arcs they branched off from, so little is added by their endings save for more sex and some minor tying up of loose ends. To get back to the main game... the true path is the impact I was talking about. The main arcs were all emotional, so I guess you can say that the other heroines' 'paths' were also emotional, but, as I mentioned above, there is a definite sense that very little was added by choosing one of the other heroines. Hotaru's path is easily the most powerful 'arc'. In fact, it is so emotional and powerful that there are two ends for it. The first one (which you are required to watch first) is... sad, to say the least. It isn't a bad ending, but it is a sad one. I know I cried. For the second ending... well, let's just say it is a good one and leave it at that. Overall, my viewpoint on this game is... just as mixed as I said above. My conclusions on the G-Senjou story structure are unchanged in the least. I still believe that all VNs that use that story structure should be changed to kinetic novels, just so I don't have to deal with heroine endings that are neglected by the creators of the stories themselves. While all stories with true heroines inevitably put a much larger emphasis on the true heroine, the way this story structure trivializes the other heroines is really irritating, especially when they are good heroines, like these were. However, if you take the arcs, characters, and the true endings separate from that source of irritation, it is a great VN. It just happens to use the single worst VN story structure in existence. Indeed, that story structure and the inevitable realities it brings along with it are the only thing that kept me from naming this as a kamige. PS: I will erase any and all comments that spoil anything in the last arc. I say this because this is the type of VN that can only be enjoyed to the fullest once, not the type that merely changes flavor with each playthrough, like Devils Devil Concept. Anyone who spoils this VN should have their skin sliced open, drawn back, then have salt rubbed into the exposed flesh. ... *Clephas drools and goes off to make BBQ*
  15. 0 points
    I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing it for myself. 今年もとある滑稽な癖に従い、伝統ありのヴァルパージス炎を観に行った。別にその滑稽な想いだけが理由でもなくが、正直な所、その想い未だ持っているだけは情けないと思う。 I met my soulmate about a week before I started the first, transitional year of elementary school. I guess that means we were like, six or seven years old? She was sitting on the swing in the playground next to an apartment complex, and for whatever reason I was drawn to her instantly – I broke off from my parents and greeted her, and we got along like a house ablaze. The next time I saw her was at school. She was in my class, and it was only natural that we’d be inseparable from that point on. Or was it? There was another boy who by now I barely remember who used to be in the picture, but he moved away. I think at one point she – I guess I’ll call her M – told me I was actually her second choice, but that other boy had left, so she’d picked me. Looking back I find myself analyzing this interaction as heckin’ weird, but at the time I accepted this without feeling bad about it. I guess I used to be even more obviously autistic than I am now. Soulmates, for those reading who have had the misfortune of never having had one, are a real thing. It’s hard to describe the feeling of absolute, utter 乗り, of flow, I felt in her presence. Sometimes I doubt myself – did she feel the same? – and I guess by now I’ll probably never know. But there was something there I have never felt interacting with anyone else in my life. She and I were best friends for I think five years. For most of them, as far as I know, I was essentially a donkan eroge protagonist, going as far as openly telling other people ‘she loves me, but I don’t love her’. We were officially boyfriend and girlfriend to each other for a little while at the end, but the most intimate thing that ever happened was a hug. Technically we got best couple at a dance or something, but frankly what I did there was a performance, not *real*. So I’m left with the curious feeling that while I may have unlocked the achievement ‘kissed a girl’, though we never did do it in the French fashion, I have never done it when it truly meant something to me. I think it’s fair to say I was a late bloomer when it comes to emotional maturity, if I ever hit it. Eventually we slid apart, gradually, seemingly as naturally as we were first joined. Different classes and different friend circles meant we rarely met. We actually did happen to join up once again after having slid apart, however, and it felt just like to old times to me as we took a walk together. But that was it; we went to different high schools, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her since then. 今でも彼女を会いたいなぁっと想い、毎年あの炎に行く。 Mum told me she went to IT-Gymnasiet. 毎年「やっぱり居ないなぁ」って感じで炎の原始的な美しさを楽しみながらちょっとした悔しい思いも含む状態でいる。 She talks to M’s mum sometimes, I guess. 必死染みた所もあり彼女を探して失敗して、毎度悔いの有る想いを持ちながら火を観るのも飽き、家を向いて戻り始める。 今も会いたい。それだけだ。 View the full article
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