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  1. 14 points
    Clephas

    Stubbornness and Burnout

    For those familiar with me, you know I spent year after year doing VN of the Month and that I ritualistically complained about how tired I was of this or that trope or bad habit that plagued the industry or games. I was asked repeatedly why I could still plow through so many VNs, despite the stress? The simple answer is that I have always been stubborn as hell. I've experienced 'burnout' numerous times in my life, mostly because I have a naturally obsessive personality. Once I start obsessing over something, I literally am incapable of ceasing to do so without something jarring me completely away from it for a time, which usually results in me realizing I burned out long ago and have just been hanging out of stubbornness. The same was the case for VNs. When I first started playing VNs, all VNs were worth at least trying. However, as time went on, I increasingly lost interest in most nukige and eventually my interest in 'everyday teenaged life SOL romance' (or 'the standard charage') began to fade. It was probably about 2016 when this reached the critical point, but it took another year and a two-week bout of flu where I couldn't think well enough to play anything to bump me out of my years-long trance. Part of it was that I rarely, if ever, took a break from VNs during those years. I was always playing at least one, and I had a tendency to barrel through them consecutively without even a short pause to rest, week after week, month after month. I used most of my free time to play them, I structured my work schedule and habits around playing them, and I generally existed solely to do so. I dunno how many of you can even imagine what living like that is like... but it was the fact that I am no longer driven to play game after game that is letting me sit back and enjoy the few I actually want to play. I go back and pull stuff out of my attic on a whim, I dig through my collection based on a desire to relive a single scene, and I generally just take pleasure in playing what I want to play. Would it be strange for you to hear that this all feels unnatural to me, after all these years? I've been playing third-rate charage I didn't want to even see, much less play, for years... and now I only play stuff that takes my interest, dropping them if I don't see any hope for the game to break out of the shell of mediocrity. I don't feel driven to blog about replays beyond when I feel like it or when I think I have something to add to a previous assessment, and I can actually sit back and enjoy the few charage I actually feel like I want to play. While I do have regrets, they aren't about the years spent obsessing and over-playing VNs, despite my previous words. I set out to do VN of the Month because, at the time, there was no way for people to have an idea of what they were getting into with most VNs. It was a bit startling how few people were seriously trying to let people know what kind of VNs were out there without spoiling everything from beginning to end. Even today, most reviewers can't seem to keep heavy spoilers out of the text, which saddens me. However, I no longer feel that it is my mission to 'fix' this. I've been there, I've done that, and I won't be doing it again. I will still play VNs, and I will still review them (on occasion), but don't expect me to be as prolific as I used to be, lol.
  2. 4 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 The Great Voyage The retro-inspired, pixelart VN The Great Voyage is definitely the best piece of literature among the titles listed in today's post, despite being the shortest one out of them all. This kinetic novel, with only around an hour of content, tells the story of three refugees from a city sacked by a ruthless rebel army. Stuck on a fleet of ships escaped from the carnage, now desperately looking for a new home and avoiding inevitable pursue by the enemy, the three protagonists (young noblewomen Eugenie, a melancholic poet Vassan and a con-artist posing as a foreign ambassador, Memnon) have to cope with their new situation, the loss they experienced and even the sins of their pasts. All this leads to a highly-compelling narrative about vastly different individuals trying to survive against all odds, find a new meaning to their lives and manoeuvring events mostly outside of their control – a deeply un-heroic and rather pessimistic scenario, that nonetheless feels interesting and genuine just because of how imperfect and often powerless its main characters are. The story is presented with simple, but highly stylized art that greatly fits its gloomy climate (and the same can be said about the game's eerie soundtrack). Its main downside is, obviously, the tiny length of the whole experience (thankfully the pricing is appropriately scaled, with the game costing $2 both on Steam and Itch.io), but I can't say it left me unsatisfied in any major way. It did a surprisingly good job at both developing the main characters and resolving their arcs, and even creating an interesting and believable setting for their stories to play out in. The premise obviously held the potential to expand into a much grander tale, but it's not something I could seriously hold against The Great Voyage – it's simply a great short story that I can recommend wholeheartedly to anyone that looks for a satisfying literary experience in their VNs above anything else. Final Rating: Highly Recommended Manna for our Malices Today's Steam is full of extremely simple VNs that are put on the platform as cash-grab shovelware, early experiments with VN-making software or even straight-up trolling. And while Manna for our Malices might look like it belongs to one of those categories, with its simplistic visuals and over-the-top writing, there’s actually much more to it. In this short time-looping story, you take control of Ai, a foul-mouthed high school girl who, for an unknown reason, is killed by a knifer while coming back home after lessons, only to wake up in at the beginning of the same day. Throughout the game, you’ll go through this loop dozens of times (quite often with Ai commenting angrily about her poor luck), slowly uncovering the underlying conspiracies and the roles the protagonist and people around her play in the whole intrigue. With every new piece of information, the already-visited locations will provide new clues and new dialogue options will appear, until you’re ready to solve the puzzle and break Ai out of the endless cycle of waking up and being murdered. The game, for the most part, does a really good job of implementing this concept, at least before the very last stretch – I had to consult the walkthrough to reach the true ending and I’m not sure I’d ever come up with the solution the VN expected me to find otherwise. The characters are heavily exaggerated, being either complete weirdos or walking anime tropes (this includes the protagonist and her closest friend Aoi, who’s a “deredere childhood friend” archetype on steroids). The humour is crude but effective, and after getting into the story I was strangely invested in solving the overall puzzle, while the “true” conclusion was properly fun and cheesy. The game play’s a lot on anime clichés, with an obvious understanding of the medium, which helps in making its visuals and writing seem like a deliberate choice, rather than just amateurishness. The end effect is trashy for sure, but strangely captivating – I had a lot of fun going through the various stages of the intrigue and uncovering layers upon layers of mystery beneath the at first mundane-looking setting. For this, I can quite confidently recommend giving Manna for our Malices a chance – although, for the amount of content it offers, the $5 asking price is just barely acceptable. Final Rating: Recommended Lyantei Lately, I’ve grown weary of tackling stat management games, as over time I find more and more of them pointlessly tedious and boring, with “simulation” aspects rarely being compelling and mostly distracting me from the parts of the game I’m actually interested in, that is, the story. Still, in the case of Lyantei, I think my biases are among the lesser reasons for which I did not enjoy playing it. At first glance, this story of a young girl/guy (you can choose the protagonist’s gender, which mostly affects the romance options available to you) traveling to a distant inn owned by their aunt, in order to help her pay off a debt seems like something I’d enjoy – more casual, slice-of-life stories in a fantasy setting are still a bit underexplored niche and offer great potential. The production values of the game, while simple, were also not bad enough to discourage me – I can put up with anything that isn’t straight-up ugly if what I read is interesting enough. Sadly, in Lyantei there’s barely any interesting narrative to speak of – the character arcs are incredibly cliched, which is only made worse by the awkward English writing and the protagonist who just comes out as pushy and weird, sticking his/her nose into everyone's business without any real reason. The game is also very short, which makes all the character arcs feel incredibly rushed. The romance especially comes pretty much out of nowhere, while lack of proper CGs make the story feel empty like few other VNs I’ve played. On top of that, the structure of the game drove me to utter frustration – to get into each hero/heroine arcs you have to stumble upon them early on, by doing various chores at the inn at the right moments. Absurdly-enough, the triggers lead to these scenes are quite obscure and it’s easy to miss most of the story in each of your runs. I see absolutely no logic behind that choice and with no guide available, I ended up dropping Lyantei without finishing all the routes, which I do very rarely, especially with games I receive review copies for. Little good can also be said about stat-management itself, which is basic and functional, but not in any way interesting. Your only goal is to earn enough money in 30 days to pay off your Aunt’s debt, by helping around the inn and selling potions you make with your alchemy skills, but with the short span of the game and no meaningful side objectives, there’s actually very little to it. In the end, while I feel that Lyantei is not an awful game at its core, it just doesn’t represent the quality I’m looking for in a commercial product and can’t recommend buying it under any conditions. If it was a free VN, with some additional polish and tweaks I could still consider it worth trying out – however, I don’t think the developer will be able to fix it enough to justify putting a price tag on it, and especially the $9 one it currently has. Maybe on their next try… Final Rating: Not Recommended Courage for a Kiss Mikołaj Spychał is a Polish VN developer that has recently released his second attempt at creating a perfectly-generic high school romance VN (after his debut Jake's Love Story and a quite unfortunate journey to the world of catgirls in the form of his second title, Nekokoro). And while you're probably thinking now that more cookie-cutter, teenage love stories is the last thing our niche needs, there are still things to appreciate in Courage for a Kiss, at least from the perspective of its author's growth. The main storyline here involves the protagonist and four girls somewhat reluctantly banding up to create a school play for a regional contest – the play itself is an interesting storytelling gimmick, as its content and the roles particular characters will perform depend on some of your choices. These changes are particularly fun to observe between routes, just as are minor variations in the dialogue that reflect your previous choices and the information you learn about the girls in different paths. While other than that the heroines and their stories are utterly generic and even a bit too similar to each other, this attention to detail makes the setting feel a bit deeper than you'd expect. Visually the game is simple, but pleasant to look at and is undeniably a huge improvement over this dev's earlier projects, with decent, mildly animated sprites and high-quality backgrounds. However, it suffers from a single, borderline-fatal flaw – an utter lack of proper CGs, which takes away quite a lot of impact from crucial moments in the story. The music is good for the most part, but sometimes kicks in a bit too strong, distracting from the scene rather than supporting it. All-in-all, it's a competent and reasonably satisfying, even if very basic and tame romance VN, and if you for some reason feel like reading another one of those, there are definitely worse options out there. Final Rating: (Cautiously) Recommended There weren't many “must reads” among the shorter VNs sent to me in the last few months, but I can’t say they didn’t offer surprises – the one game that I actually expected the least from, Manna for our Malices, managed to be the most enjoyable among them and something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the EVN scene – a witty play on the formula that didn’t treat itself seriously, but still strived to tell a fun story and surprise the reader with its twists. This kind of fun factor is what both Snowed IN and Lyantei visibly lacked, making them much more forgettable by the result. The Great Voyage, on the other hand, reminded me that VNs can be great not only as full-fledged video games, but also as a form of illustrated literature – focusing on a really compelling narrative is often worth a lot more than gameplay gimmicks and branching paths, then it goes to satisfaction you gan from the whole experience. And for the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed this little post – if the games that get sent to me warrant it, the next one will show up in December. You can also expect full-on reviews of larger games given to me through Steam Curation – I’ve received review copies of some very interesting titles, both new and old, that I really want to give the spotlight to. Have a great weekend everyone!
  3. 4 points
    Clephas

    Tamayura Mirai

    Tamayura Mirai is the latest game by Azurite, the company behind Shinsou Noise and Akumade Kore wa. Unlike the previous two, it is not a guro mystery. Instead, it is a fantasy with an extremely similar setting to Monobeno (which had a great setting, even if the lolicon elements were outright disgusting). It also shares a writer (Touta) with such excellent games as Kin'iro Loveriche, Floral Flowlove, Gin'iro Haruka, and Ojousama wa Gokigen Naname. Before I go any further, I want to speak as to why I compared the setting to Monobeno. Fukano, the town/valley in which the story is set, is a backwater where youkai, humans, and deities coexist. Folk traditions, such as deities within the home, are still alive and well, if not entirely understood (the death of the last folk shaman in the area ensured that, from what is said). The protagonist's role is very similar to the role of the miko in Monobeno (keeping harmony and balance between the supernatural and mortal), and, though the younger generation isn't, a certain level of superstition remains in the older generation. In addition, the protagonist's choice to live isolated in the mountains in a run-down and modified old Japanese school (think the school from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni) also echoes the isolation of the protagonist's home in Monobeno. That said, the atmosphere in the game isn't as severe as Monobeno's, though the protagonist's 'duty' is harrowing at times. All that said, this is definitely its own game. The general atmosphere is a bit somber, and the characters all have some kind of serious problem that leaves them a lot less at peace than they seem on the surface (the protagonist included). The protagonist is a mage who wields runic magic (Norse shamanic style), and he has the role of keeping peace the mixed-origin supernatural community of Fukano, the setting. He lives in an abandoned school in the mountains with a succubus named Midari, who has the dual problems of being afraid of men and deeply fearing her own nature (though her upbringing shows through at the oddest times). At the school he attends, he frequently meets with a water spirit information broker named Hanako (one of the heroines). Occasionally, he meets up with his oppai-loli 'oneechan' (who is very childish and has a really poorly-executed accent that just comes off all wrong in the VA...). The story begins with his encounter with Yukina, a girl with naturally high levels of spiritual energy who is completely untrained (and is thus a danger to herself and everyone around her, since youkai and monsters can gain power by eating such people, and others make assumptions about what she can do based on her spiritual power). I won't go into details about their meeting, because this is a game best experienced the first time without too many preconceptions. This is essentially a nakige, and it does a pretty good job of bringing out the tears. The protagonist's duty often brings him into contact with situations where he must deal with various tragedies, sometimes from the present, sometimes from the past. His own previous life isn't exactly bright and flowery either, lol. The protagonist has a tendency to see himself as weak and selfish, but he has a seemingly endless capacity for getting obsessed with solving other people's problems... which actually makes him perfect for his work (considering the nature of the mountain deity and certain hints given during the common route, it is pretty clear that he was given his role specifically because of that tendency). The heroine routes, quite naturally, focus on the issues with the heroines... to be specific, dealing with the issues that bother them the most deeply. Equally quite naturally, the first heroine I picked was Midari, the succubus. Midari Midari is a member of the succubus nobility who was exiled from her homeland because of her fear of men and inability to feed properly (essentially have sex with men...and lots of them, preferably). Worse (from her perspective), she fell in love with the protagonist on their first meeting, thus dooming her in the eyes of her people and filling her with a constant conflict between her impulses and her love for the protagonist. Midari has a very gentle and refined manner, and she has the grace that one would expect from a noblewoman... However, on occasion, she makes remarks (usual casual references to sex acts or her sisters and mother's sluttiness) that reveal rather blatantly that she isn't human and her basic upbringing wasn't either. Her path is all about dealing with her internal conflict and its real-world consequences... and this leads to a lot of nice emotional drama and a decent catharsis... though, to be honest, the cathartic scenes two-thirds of the way through the common route were better. Hanako For those who understand the reference, yes Hanako does hang around in the girls' toilet. Hanako is a water youkai that came over from China six hundred years before the story began and eventually rose to become one of the top figures of all the water youkai in Fukano. She is actually pretty powerful, and she serves as an information broker for Mutsuki (the protagonist) as he performs his duty as the Mage of Fukano. Hanako's route is a weird one and it isn't as emotional as Midari's route was. To be honest, a large part of the reason why is that the relationship part starts really quickly and feels somewhat forced... Hanako has a reason to like Mutsuki, but Mutsuki doesn't really have a good reason to fall in love with her, so it feels weird. This is in opposition to Midari, who has been at his side for some time when the story began and is insanely devoted to his well-being (not to mention sexy and graceful at the same time, lol). This route could have been handled much better by using a tactic similar to the Midari route, where they become closer during the course of him carrying out his duties... unfortunately, the way the route was handled was sadly inept for such a potentially interesting heroine. Yukina Yukina is a young woman with a natural gift for the use of spiritual power (so much so that she can attack youkai with her bare hands and blasts of raw energy). Her characterization is a straight out tsundere, so anyone who reads this VN with some experience with the character type will probably be able to predict her reactions in most situations. I started laughing at a few points when she said something so typically tsundere that I couldn't believe any writer would still use the lines...lol Yukina's route is all about her personal issues, both her past and her present ones. I do feel that this route's romance was far too hurried (like Hanako's) in the sense that their relationship should have had more time to develop into something deeper before things began to accelerate. That said, the actual events after the romance solidifies are well-written and described, and you gain a lot more insight into Mutsuki's motivations and the depth of his personality than you do in the other paths. I recommend this path be read after the other two heroines available at the beginning, simply because the revelations made here are too overarching to allow you to truly enjoy the other paths without reservation. Shiro Shiro is the protagonist's loli-oppai oneechan, who speaks with a weird houben (regional accent) that is poorly used by the VA to the point of being wince-worthy (yes, this is worth mentioning again). Shiro and Mutsuki's issues are the core of everything that has shaped Mutsuki to be the person he is. As such, it was only natural that Shiro would end up as the true path heroine... indeed, her path begins after the end of a non-romantic Yukina path. I'm not going to spoil what those issues are, but I should note that Shiro was the motivation that drove Mutsuki to become a magus. In the setting, magi are seekers of forbidden truths, similar in some ways to the magi of the Nasuverse save that they don't seem to have a large-scale organization or influence on the mundane world. As such, they frequently take actions that are amoral in the pursuit of their path of research, and many naturally think in ways that are out of sync with humanity. The Mage of Fukano is a rare exception, in that the deities of Fukano have made a role for the holder of the position in the natural existence of the valley and mountains. Mutsuki's path of research is about as immoral as it gets, even if he still has a conscience and his motivations come from a very human place. As such, it takes a central role in the major dilemma of the path, as anyone who has read Yukina's path would guess anyway. In the end, this was the path (other than the common route) which drew out the most tears from me. Shiro and Mutsuki's story is full of sorrow but ends with joy, so I can honestly say this falls into the classic 'nakige' style. Conclusions I have a few things left I want to say before bowing out on this game. First, I wanted a Feles (Mephistopheles) route, since Feles is ridiculously deredere (in a yandere way) over the protagonist. Another issue is that I thought that leaving the protagonist's deeper issues out of Midari's and Hanako's paths was something of a poor choice. Yukina is presented as a mirror to the protagonist as well as a heroine, so it is understandable that she would play such a vital role for setting up the true path. However, I felt that failing to properly deal with his personal issues in either of those two paths was a mistake. Mutsuki does have VERY serious issues that can't really be glossed over... not to mention that I seriously doubt Midari's issues would end just with what we saw in the path (living with a succubus in a state of perpetual near-starvation will inevitably have its ups and downs).
  4. 4 points
    Sekai Project VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery World End Economica June 2014 May 2015 Not yet delivered Clannad November 11th 2014 October 2015 March 2016 Grisaia Trilogy December 2014 October 2015 April 2018 Memory’s Dogma June 2015 December 2016 Not yet delivered The Human Reignition Project June 2015 December 2016 Not yet delivered Narcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project October 2015 April 2016 Not yet delivered Root Double January 2016 March 2016 November 2016 Chrono Clock August 2016 April 2017 Not yet delivered A Clockwork Ley-Line Febuary 2017 January 2018 Not yet delivered Fatal Twelve March 2017 January 2018 November 2018 Hoshizora No Memoria May 2017 September 2018 Not yet delivered Shining Song Starnova August 2017 August 2018 June 2019 A light in the Dark February 2018 June 2018 Not yet delivered Tokyo Chronos July 2018 April 2019 Not yet delivered Frontwing VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Corona Blossom vol 1 June 2016 October 2016 Not yet delivered Corona Blossom vol 2 September 2016 December 2016 Not yet delivered Sharin no Kuni November 2016 October 2017 Not yet delivered Corona Blossom vol 3 December 2016 March 2017 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2 March 2017 June 2017 March 2019 Grisaia Complete box (part of Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 1 and 2 kickstarter) March 2017 Q4 2017 Febuary 2019 Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 3 June 2017 September 2017 Not yet delivered Wonderful Everyday August 2017 January 2018 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 4 November 2017 April 2018 Not yet delivered Momoiro Closet Febuary 2018 July 2018 Not yet delivered Grisaia Phantom Trigger Volume 5 June 2018 October 2018 Not yet delivered Island August 2018 December 2018 Not yet delivered Sol Press VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Sakura Sakura August 2017 December 2017 Not yet delivered Newton and the Apple Tree December 2017 May 2018 Not yet delivered Irotoridori no Sekai Febuary 2019 December 2021 Not yet delivered Others VN Start of Kickstarter Estimated delivery Actual delivery Muv-Luv September 2015 September 2016 July 2018 Libra of the Vampire Princess December 2015 November 2016 May 2017 Dies Irae December 2016 May 2017 April 2018 Koropokkur March 2018 September 2018 October 2018 Venusblood Frontier September 2018 December 2019 Not yet delivered Seven Days September 2018 January 2019 Not yet delivered
  5. 3 points
    First, for those who are familiar with me... Yes, I did play this. Why? Something about the way it was presented in the Getchu page said that there was more hidden beneath the surface than a standard oppai-nukige. Thankfully, my instinct was correct, in this case. Now, for those who are curious, this game is a straight-out harem, from beginning to end. This game's primary attractions are the comedic reactions of the heroines and the way they and the protagonist slowly 'fall'. It is like watching a train wreck in slow motion... it is too fascinating to look away from, yet you know it is going to end badly, lol. The protagonist, Yuki, is a somewhat hetare-ish guy who does his best to disappear in the classroom and has trouble speaking to others. One day, out of loneliness, he opens up the Tomefure app, where young guys offer young girls a place to stay for free without strings attached and signs up. The girl who appears at his door is the class idol, Sakurako, who immediately crushes his hopes (sexual fantasies) and basically does her best to leech off of him, dragging a bunch of other girls into the mix. This story is all about a bunch of young people too afraid to create real relationships or who have huge problems in their normal lives essentially huddling together and gradually becoming contaminated with this weird 'small community' Stockholm Syndrome thing. I spent most of the game laughing or in a state of 'frustration' (yes, that kind of frustration), because the process of Yuki and the girls' morals collapsing takes a long time (despite being a kinetic novel, this game took me almost 20 hours to complete) and actual H and near-romance (there is no true romance in this game) doesn't get going until you are about 7/8 of the way through the game. In terms of writing, the basic quality of the main writer is pretty low. I'd say he is somewhere below the baseline for charage writers, which is generally bad in any case. That said, because of the way the 'story' is presented, his lack of writing skills doesn't create as much of a negative effect as it might otherwise, even in a charage. If you want a comedy ecchi harem VN to read, this is probably the best option you can find for the last three years. The whole thing is so absurd that I couldn't help but laugh out loud (a real lol) on dozens of occasions. Don't expect 'healthy' romance, since the whole story is based on the characters' gradually losing their common sense morality about relationships as they sleep in the same room (there is more to it, but I won't spoil you). However, if you don't mind that kind of thing (or if you love it) this game is a fun read. PS: Yes, I surprised myself with how much I got into this one.
  6. 2 points
    Alright! I recently got into reading visual novels again, and while I wait for the impending demise of this website, I thought about paying homage to it before it goes away for good by using it for what it was originally intended to be for --- visual novels! Because I'm too lazy to look up the appropriate threads to place my thoughts about specific games, this will be their resting place. What better way to start off a blog dedicated to memories with a game placing emphasis on them in the subconscious plane? I'll warn you before you continue: The blog is full of my ramblings, so I'm gonna stop paying heed to what's a spoiler and what's not. It's not a review, so don't read it if you don't want to get spoiled! If you're fine with that, be my guest. Start of Rambling Da Capo. To be honest, I thought the name was pretty funny because I could only visualize one thing from it. While I may have missed the mark, I at least got the type of thing the title is right. It's referring to a musical term where one repeats the piece from the beginning until the first symbol that functions as the sort of end of that repetition. While I was skeptical of how the term would come into play in the game due to how I perceive some titles to have been chosen just because they sound cool (I'm looking at you, Fate/Stay Night), I was pleased to have encountered the concept in almost every route the game had. To better remember whatever I read, my thoughts will be focusing on each route and the emerging themes in them, and how the concept of "Da Capo" seems to have applied to them overall. But first, I'll think about the common route. Common Route Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours Common route felt like a real dating sim. You have around 10 days to guess your way throughout the places to meet and trigger flags with the different heroines of the game, with the changing of the illustration of the 'calendar' as your guide to whether you're approaching the route you want or not. I tried to actually guess my way through the game blindly at first, but after one route and four failed attempts to get into any other one, I gave up. It's pretty hellish guessing where you can meet the people. After a few attempts though, you kinda get a feel of where they have the highest chance of being based on their personalities, so if you're a guy who hates walkthroughs, don't give up. Just a few more graduations with your best friend Suginami, and you'll be able to grab the girl of your dreams. Dialogue was full of quirky fun. My favorite characters by the end of the common route were probably Moe and Suginami with how absurd the kind of situations you find yourself with them are. Miharu comes close to them because of how downright stupid she is. Nothing too special with the dialogue though. Plenty of content here that reminds me of high school life, but that's the majority of Japanese media out there. If anything, it was at least entertaining enough to keep me awake in the wee hours of the night. Now, since the common route was short and filled with SoL content, I'll be moving on from that to the meat of the rambling: the heroine routes. I'll discuss them according to the order in which I think they should be played, based on the kind of content they had. Yoshino Sakura Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours Sakura's your obnoxiously annoying imouto-type character, more so than your actual little sister in this game. Combined with her childish aesthetic and speech pattern that makes you go nuts in the head, she's the perfect example of why you sometimes want to just close your machine and get out of the house to get fresh air. While I thought that her mannerisms were pretty damn annoying (as is with a lot of characters that try to be over-the-top cute), I ended up liking how she was made because of its significance to who she is as a character in the game. While she's innocent and downright mischievous in the majority of the game, you get glimpses of what lies under her facade every now and then. This is particularly obvious whenever the fantastical aspects of the game, such as the dreams and the never-fading cherry blossoms, are of particular importance to the route. In her own route, you directly experience the consequences of the magical cherry blossom tree, as well as the significance of the encounters in Jun'ichi's childhood. Sakura stops being just your annoying little sister, starting to show her fangs as one of your love interests. The gap between the innocent Sakura and the Sakura that harbors malicious feelings gives me satisfaction because of the realization of how they played me like a fool all throughout the common route. While it's obvious that she has magical roots in her bloodline (as well as Jun'ichi's), you don't really get to see the significance of those roots until you're faced with the dangers that accompany the magic they possess. Through the image of cherry blossoms, the magical underpinnings of the game finally come out, and you're faced with a situation where the heroine is actually the source of the different misfortunes that happen throughout the route, especially poignant in Nemu's case. What I find most interesting in the route, besides the information dump, is the conflict within Sakura's character. The gap is there, yes, but it didn't come from a desire to create that gap, in which case it would have been placed to hide something. The gap is there because of the responsibility that Sakura bears, and with it, the suffering it entails for her and for the people around her. What needs to be done in order to stop it is to end the source, that is, to end the miracle of dreams --- to free Sakura from the burden of helping people reach their own dreams. It serves as a wake up call for the people of the island, and a form of liberation from the suffering Sakura. To be honest, the concept of magic here is pretty shaky. But I get that not knowing the entirety of how the magic works is exactly what makes it so magical in the first place. This encounter with the magical is exactly what I believe to be the best start to the experience with the game, because the death of the cherry blossom tree proves to be significant in the different routes that follow. Asakura Nemu Time Taken: 2 - 3 hours Nemu is the trademark capable imouto character who puts up a reliable facade when with other people, only revealing her weaknesses to her beloved big brother. She also has the added bonus of being a stepsister, so hurrah to those who are into that. If there's any one of the heroines who's the most believable love interest for the protagonist, it has to be Nemu. Along with Sakura, she's one of the heroines with the longest association with Jun'ichi, so it makes sense to have her as a love interest with the time given to them to nurture their budding feelings for one another. I thought Sakura's route was hard to understand because of how it talks about things in such a subtle way, but Nemu's was somehow able to make everything even harder to understand. Her sickness was kind of explained in the prior route, but goddamn, they suddenly make it into an internal struggle for Nemu when I already have the culprit in my mind as Sakura. It makes Sakura look worse than ever, even going as far as getting rid of Nemu's memories just to try and lessen the effects that the magic has on her. To be honest, the whole struggle with Nemu had a lot of emotions going on for her route, and it really enriches the experience. You finally find true love with your stepsister, then she encounters a potentially terminal illness that you have no idea what to do with. Sakura enters, tries to ruin your relationship with Nemu, but love is stronger than everything. I thought it was pretty nice, to the point that I found myself in tears during her last scenario before the epilogue. The feeling of dreaming about the goodbye, and it finally happening in real life to the two of them, was so overwhelming that the sadness you feel for their situation just pours out. ...Then they decide to step on your feelings by ending it in the way they did. Nemu's alright. I mean, it should be obvious for the readers that the death of the cherry blossom tree means the survival of Nemu, but after being faced with stakes as high as that prior to the epilogue, I can't help but feel that they discarded what they've built up for the past 9 pages of scenario in favor of a happy end with Nemu. If the aftereffects or any explanation was at least shown to justify the end, it would have been okay. But they just thrust it at you, as if they wanted to say 'sike' as you were reading it. It really took me out of her route, and it really downplays the whole experience. Frankly, it was pretty disappointing. Shirakawa Kotori Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours Kotori's the typical 'most famous girl in the school that falls in love with you for some reason'. She's the type of heroine that swoons because someone finally treated her like she was a normal person, because every other man out there is a beast that seeks romance with her. Her route is probably the most romantic out of all of them, but also the least believable in my opinion. In a laughable span of 10 days, Kotori and Jun'ichi develop feelings for one another, which finally comes into fruition after another week. A relationship that only took 17 days to start. Pretty damn amazing, with the lack of high stakes and all. Why is her route romantic? Well, it's full of scenes where they tease and flirt with each other! Compared to the others, Jun'ichi actually sees Kotori as a proper love interest from the start, which is probably why it felt so romantic compared to the rest. It actually made me embarrassed with myself while reading through it, pushing me to a point where I almost developed type 2 diabetes. I'd like to continue on with how embarrassingly sweet it was, but it's a topic not worth rambling about. Main conflict in her route was how she's unable to understand other people, and in return, unable to let other people understand her. By now, it's obvious that the game loves overturning the stereotypes it lays out for its heroines by associating the stereotypes with a sort of facade to deal with their inner struggles. For Kotori's case, I was not able to see it coming from a mile away. It comes in and suddenly slaps me in the face because of how casually Kotori mentions it after the end of the matter. With how dissociated I was with her struggle prior to the death of the cherry tree, I ended up feeling that her conflict was kind of shallow and lacking substance, being justified with the use of a special power that I would never have guessed she had. Would have loved to been more exposed to the inner workings of her conflict, especially outside that of dreams. Mizukoshi Moe Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours Your standard dojikko. I found her very cute in the common route, and she did not disappoint in her route as well. The gap in her character this time was not exactly a gap, but an underlying reason behind her being a dojikko --- a deep-seated trauma from her past. Moe tries to hide this behind a general face of clumsiness and airheadedness, literally sleeping her problems away. I felt like her route had the most potential. You have the ingenious idea of making dojikko not just a stupid trait, but a sort of coping mechanism to deal with the loss of a beloved one in the past. Then you go and end it in like one scene. The deep-seated trauma is warded off with the words "Live happily for him" or something like that. Amazing. If it was that easy to deal with depression and trauma, then therapists would probably be raking in money with the least effort. Or we wouldn't even need them in the first place. While I understand that it's the early 2000s and the awareness that comes with these kinds of conflicts is not as fleshed out as it is in our current time, it's still disappointing to see one of those with the most impact being easily solved through mere words. If it was that easy, Moe wouldn't have needed sleeping pills. It honestly makes everyone around her goddamn useless, especially considering she's part of a family that manages a damn hospital. Mizukoshi Mako Time Taken: 1 hour I don't get it. It's so out of place in the game. Amakase Miharu Time Taken: 1 - 1.5 hours Probably my best girl. I love Miharu so damn much. And I loved her damn route. It's everything I wanted from Nemu's route. The ending is exactly what I was looking for in Nemu's --- one that did not disregard the main conflict of the route. The build up ultimately leads to an end that is full of emotion; a satisfying conclusion to their short love story. I cried myself to sleep reading this route. It's so damn good. And the epilogue? My god! I cannot begin to imagine the pangs of pain the heart of Jun'ichi might feel seeing a stark reminder of the love story that ended as quickly as it began. Incredible. There's only one picture that can encompass the entirety of this route's glory. However, as much as I loved the route and its conclusion, I still had qualms with it. First qualm focuses on the event that triggers the route --- Miharu's accident. I can't believe Jun'ichi doesn't even mention feelings of remorse for the way things transpired. She fell from a tree, and you were in a perfect position to prevent it, had you not left her to her own devices. While not directly culpable for it, it's kinda hard to imagine thoughts about 'what could have been' not surfacing every now and then. Second would probably be about the memory of their past, which led to the unearthing of the time capsule. While it is an emotionally-packed scene, I can't help but to wonder where that places the real Miharu. The feelings between the two might be real, but the promise that the real one and Jun'ichi made as kids seem to have been trampled on, and that just doesn't seem right with me. In a setting where you're trying to act as a substitute for the real one while they're out of commission, directly interfering with one of their most intimate memories kinda feels like a strike to me, because of the implications it has on the prior relationship the real Miharu and Jun'ichi had. Sagisawa Yoriko Time Taken: 1.5 - 2 hours It was weird, but nonetheless enjoyable. Not much to say here, because it's mostly a feel-good route. You have a catgirl, and you know she was originally a cat but you still fall in love with her. Nice. The most notable thing about her route is probably the loneliness that surrounds it near the end of the scenarios, before the epilogue. Honestly, felt a lot similar to what Miharu's route was, with how abrupt the love story ends. The difference between the epilogue of this route and Nemu's is that the epilogue is properly substantiated, grounded with enough reason (even though it's magical) to be at least a bit believable. It doesn't discard the build up of the conflict prior to it, rather, adds to its significance with the kind of character Misaki is. That sex scene was hella unnecessary though. Da Capo So what made me like the game so much, despite all my qualms about the routes? Well, I think it's how they were able to tie in the title with the main themes of the game, such that they become more meaningful when put against one another. Da Capo, like I mentioned earlier, is essentially a repeat of the beginning, until a point where the end comes. After the end, a new segment of the music begins. This beginning at the end is the main paralleling idea behind the routes of the game (yes, even the disaster that is Mako's). Each route focuses on a particular dream, and these dreams, by the end of the route, mostly end with the death of the cherry blossom tree around May. With its end, the dream the characters live end, and a new reality begins. This idea was especially poignant in Miharu's and Yoriko's routes, where the dream with them literally ends because of how fantastical their existence is in the first place. The others also followed this pattern, with Sakura and the tree, Nemu and her illness, Kotori and her ability to read people's minds, Moe and her repeating dream, and lastly, Mako and the fake relationship (lol). With a game following its structure so faithfully, the experience of playing it becomes ever more meaningful because of what you can draw out from the content that it gives you. The little things you encounter in the SoL scenes become ever more meaningful with the theme of dreams and their end lingering behind your mind as your read them. Even the common route itself follows the same pattern, with the focus on graduation and the things that end with it. But as the characters say, with the end, new things begin, and it's exactly that kind of association it has with the majority of its elements that made it such a fun read. The subtleties and symbols that it shows become ever more beautiful, similar to how the cherry blossoms bloom in such an elegant manner, culminating in a shower of fleeting emotions that are rich in their passing. Final Thoughts Da Capo is far from being perfect, but it's an enjoyable experience. Fresh from the outside, Da Capo is a great VN to start with given its quirky cast, its reputation, and the way it plays with its overarching thematic elements. While full of fantastical stuff, it also doesn't fail to deliver in the romance aspect, although there are some that are quite questionable in their initiation. I'd recommend people starting out to pick it up, such that they may be better acquainted with the type of games that would follow should they decide to read more.
  7. 2 points
    Clephas

    Trinoline

    Written by Kiririri and edited by fun2novel and Me Trinoline If there ever was a time when the quality of a story was judged purely on its aesthetics then minori’s games would be tough opponents to defeat. Trinoline continues in the same tradition as many other minori games. High-budget top-quality visuals with a ridiculous level of attention to details. This includes blinking eyes and well done lip syncing, top-notch high quality CGs, and unusual camera angles, where you walk and look to the side at a character walking next to you while a long non repeating background scrolls by. All that and more put this at the top of one of the most visually polished games around. Fortunately, visual novels aren’t judged purely on how good they look. Not usually at least. Trinoline asks valuable questions and explores some very interesting themes and ideas. It is set in a world where the science has advanced far enough to manufacture real, lifelike androids. Events become more complicated when our protagonist’s little sister dies only to later come back as an android. She is just an android and not his real sister of course, only an illusion of the real thing. However, the twist is that she has all of the little sister’s memories inside her, and the question is, 'does it matter if she is real or not?' Do memories make her his sister or is she just a replacement for what was lost to tragic events? What happens if your loved one comes back in android form? Are they the still the same person? Are androids even capable of love, even if they don’t have a heart? Do they dream of electric ships? Trinoline features three heroines. Yuuri, the childhood friend, skips school often. However, nothing is what it seems on the surface. What does she hide behind that cheerful upbeat smile of hers? Her route was the least interesting, and it is a bit of a downer for much of it. Shirone, plays the role our protagonist’s “little sister”. She is the Trino (android) with the protagonist’s little sister’s memories inside her. It explores how and if love can bloom between a human and an android. Sara is the other childhood friend. She had a leading role in developing the Trino, a new kind of android. Because of her work, she and the protagonist haven’t seen each other in a long time. Her route is considered the true route and it explores the difficulties of developing an android and the problems in their thinking. The game is pretty equally divided between the common and all the other three routes, and it touches on very interesting issues. However, at the end of the day I don’t know how I really feel about it. I can't help but wonder if I actually enjoyed the game or not. It doesn’t help how stupid the protagonist acts in some scenes and changes his opinions about androids from one route to the next with no consistency, with no regard for his personality. I wanted to like the game because I thought the heroines are really great. In addition, if it wasn’t iterated enough previously, the game is really beautiful. Unfortunately, the constant depressing atmosphere kept up throughout the game pretty much crushed me and every false hope I had for it. I don’t want to further elaborate on that to avoid spoilers. The game has a lot of great moments, but it also has many points that will split opinions. If you’re looking for a deep and exhilarating science fiction story, you won’t find it here. The narrative is slow-paced and takes its sweet time to build up. This is a game for those looking for a character driven nakige with some light sci-fi elements. However, it might keep you depressed most of the time, so take care if you don't like that sort of thing.
  8. 1 point
    Foreword: It looked like a semi-historical plot-centered game, so why not sample it, really. Title: Salem no Majo-tachi Developer: Daiginjou Date: 2003-08-08 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v3679 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P53wX3hGx64&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv-sUBbx3VBtkjZ8QS4wiJk4 Synopsis: Year 1699. A young priest, named Kevin, sailed to the peaceful town in the British colony in the New World. This town's name was Salem. He is yet to know all of the horrors of the Salem's witch-hunt. Game type: Semi-historical drama Difficulty: Easy, very few choices Character Design rating: 7/10 Protagonist rating: 7/10 Story rating: 5/10 Game quality: 6/10 Overall rating: 6/10 Rating comments: Story became a major disappointment for me dragging it all down. Protagonist: Kevin is actually really nice. His identity is complex - English pastor of indian origin fighting with knuckles. He is always shown with face. He does not really move the plot, but he's still a cool guy looking naturally in this environment. Characters: There are four heroines - naive main heroine Meg, free-spirit Julia, pretentious Emily and genius Sophie. I played only the routes of the first two - main heroine and gun-wielding girl. And these are two dead-serious boring heroines. All the comedy relief is created by the other two heroines. The problem with characters is that routes are pretty much the same - first some incident happens which is resolved by particular heroine special skill - love blooms - then it moves to the actual witch-hunt. Story: Such pseudo-historical setting is quite disadvantageous, as for me. It is overcrowded with all kinds of one-sided grotesque characters. Even prior to playing the game reader already has a very good image of what's going to happen - there's going to be a witch trial and a happy end. So the only thing that should surprise to create an impact is process and plot shifts. Game introduces two humorous heroines to lighten up the mood, but it still remains overextended historical SOL with just two notable events. Main heroine Meg route tries to tell a more involving story, but too little too late. Thoughts: Somehow much older Dorei Ichiba produced a better impression on me. That were easy to grasp single heroine stories with interesting individual lines and plot shifts. Much shorter as well. Salem no Majo-tachi is a much more complex game containing dozens of characters, but heroines fail to charm, and lots of filler scenes both distract and irritate. Overall comments: Game is of very high quality and made with much effort and skill, but neither story, nor heroines manage to grasp attention, and without it any game is worthless for me.
  9. 1 point
    While it’s easiest to find high-quality free EVNs during popular game development events such as NaNoRen0 and Yuri Game Jam, from time to time there are small gems that pop up more or less out of nowhere, created either by hobbyists or as side projects by veteran developers without any particular occasion. One of the most interesting (even if infrequently active) collectives that created this kind of games in the past few years is Apple Cider, a team co-founded by DejiNyucu, a Chilean artist known for her distinct and high-fidelity character art. Over the last 10 years, she was involved in numerous visual novel projects developed under various labels, including my all-time favourite erotic VN, Cute Demon Crashers. This personal fondness of her work made me that more excited when I randomly discovered Apple Cider’s latest release, free yuri VN called DoraKone. Released on Steam in December 2018 despite its summer theme, DoraKone is an extremely cute, comedic GxG romance VN. It features four girls that meet and befriend each other over a dragon-themed, Pokemon GO-style augmented reality game Dragon Connection (DraCo for short), all of this in an unusual setting of an unnamed Chilean town. The energetic protagonist, Dulce, is a newbie that starts her adventure with DraCo after buying a new smartphone and quickly encounters three more experienced players: shy and kind Rayen, rash and competitive Brin, and spoiled rich girl Honorée. Depending on your choices and meeting events you pick, Dulce will get closer to one of the heroines, becoming a close friend with her, or even something more, while also either winning or losing the DraCo tournament held in her town. This creates over twelve possible endings, nearly all of them wholly pleasant and lighthearted. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  10. 1 point
    Welcome to the second and final part of EVN Chronicles’ NaNoRenO 2019 coverage (if you missed the first part, you can find it here), where I’m going through my highly subjective picks from this year’s submissions to the biggest annual visual novel game jam. While I don’t think any of the games listed this time could seriously threaten the position of Mnemonic Devices as my personal “winner” of the event, there are at least two worth giving closer attention to – Monochrome Blues, which is another excellent story tackling the topics of grief and depression (even though it adds a much more questionable sci-fi subplot to the mix) and Cooked With Love, which stood out with excellent sense of humour and compelling mix of comedy and smart SoL content. Of course, every VN featured here gets my genuine recommendation and I think they’re all worth the humble amounts of time they require to fully read through – especially considering that, once more, they’re all absolutely free and clicking the titles on the list will lead you straight to DRM-free downloads on itch.io. So, let’s find out what else NaNoRenO participants have prepared for us! RE:BURN OS-simulation games, where you interact with a story through an imitation of a computer interface, have a pretty rich history in NaNoRenO, with Christine Love’s Digital: A Love Story being probably the best-known example. While RE:BURN is not the most innovative or intricate iteration of this formula, it tells an intriguing, short story using UI of an e-mail client and an online communicator, and the mechanics of deleting or replying to messages instead of typical dialogue choices. The protagonist, a female student who took up a job as an editor in her college’s scientific journal, is tasked with clearing out old emails from the paper's official account. As the messages slowly synchronise, she starts uncovering more and more strange correspondence and even starts receiving popup messages from someone claiming to be her predecessor at the editorial job, giving her borderline-incomprehensible warnings – and whether she listens to them might have some serious and unpredictable consequences. RE:BURN’s intrigue is not particularly deep or memorable, but where the game truly shines is in its inclusion of various writing styles, unique to every character in the story and creating a sense of danger and urgency despite the rather static manner in which you interact with it. I would love to see more interactivity or some Easter eggs hidden within its Windows-like interface, but even as it is now, it’s definitely worth your attention for its brief, 30-40 minute runtime. Rating: Recommended Monochrome Blues While at first Monochrome Blues looks like a simple story about artist’s block and finding inspiration, it features many twists and surprising elements that leads it into a direction that is pretty much impossible to fully anticipate. Although I have some issues with how the plot developed later on, the overall experience of playing through it and reaching the true ending was excellent, espetially due to its more down-to-Earth and emotional story elements. Maja, the burned-out storybook author starting a new job in a preschool after months of deep depression is interesting and likeable, while the descriptions of her grief, lack of inspiration and struggle with simply keeping up with everyday life are believable and compelling. The five four children she takes care of are similarly charismatic, with their drawing sessions and conversations with Maja being among the clear highlights of the game. With a pleasant artstyle and overall solid writing, it’s a small treat that everyone should seriously enjoy… At least if you can forgive some over-the-top twists, that will seriously challenge your suspension of disbelief. Rating: Highly Recommended Cooked with Love Cooked with Love is a somewhat ironic VN about a messy college student (you can choose their gender and name) trying to prepare an ad-hoc dinner for their crush, after their wallet, along with the money for their date, mysteriously vanishes. The first part of the game consists mostly of a mini-game, where the protagonist tries to combine the underwhelming selection of ingredients they were able to find in their house (which they share with two other students), without a real clue what they’re doing, as they have no experience in cooking whatsoever. Then, they have to decide whether to go on with the date, or rather cancel it altogether and share the miserable results of their work with their roommate, Brooks. This creates two brief routes, with multiple possible outcomes depending on your “cooking” and dialogue options you choose. While relatively short and simple, the game charms with its humour and witty dialogue – the overall silliness of the story is coupled with characters that are exaggerated, but ultimately likeable and relatable in some ways, to a rather compelling effect. I've had quite a lot of fun exploring different, desperate "dishes" you can prepare with ingredients such as old instant noodles and an egg salad stolen from your roommate, and the dialogue they provoke after being presented to protagonist's date. The "right" dish & dialogue combination that will lead you to optimal results are sometimes quite hard to find, but it only takes a bit of patience to crack the "puzzle" by trial and error. The visuals are stylish, making for a really nice overall package – definitely one of the best games in the event and one you shouldn't miss out on. Rating: Highly Recommended Robot Daycare Robot Daycare is a short (about 1,5h of reading) story primarily about friendship and dealing with loss, but adds a very interesting twist in form of an AI observing the three main characters’ crumbling relationship and learning either the best or the worst of human nature, depending on player’s choices. The AI – a robot created as a college project by the said group of friends shortly after their roommate committed suicide, might witness them either coming to terms with the tragedy they went through and reconcile after a period of denial and shifting blame, or tear each other apart with accusations and hateful outbursts. The former scenario will lead you to a heartwarming and SoL-focus good route, while the latter will quickly devolve into a full-on horror story. This seamless fusion of genres is Robot Daycare’s most unusual feature and one of the main things that make it worthwhile, but the general quality of the writing and the game’s visual aesthetic are not bad either (although the art is simple and somewhat cartoonish, and the default resolution of the game is quite low, making it run in a rather tiny window). While I didn’t enjoy some of the overly-optimistic developments in the good route, the drama the game portrayed and its both positive and negative consequences were quite compelling to read through. The same can be said about an AI trying to comprehend human emotion and going haywire is a few different ways because of that – this might not be the best implementation of that idea that I’ve seen, but still one definitely worth experiencing. Rating: Recommended A Hero and a Garden Npckc is an author that uses simple art and stories to tackle the issues of otherness, prejudice and discrimination. A Hero and a Garden is one of the larger and more interesting attempts on their part, subverting the traditional trope of a knight rescuing a kidnapped princess from an evil witch. Our protagonist, who tried to be a hero like the ones from the medieval epics, ends up in humiliating captivity, cursed by the witch to help restore the monster village he destroyed during his misguided rescue attempt. While he tends to magic plants growing incredibly potent “berries” (this introduces a simple, clicker gameplay mechanic), he interacts with inhabitants of the village, the princess and eventually the witch herself, learning that nothing is as simple as he thought (while we learn the surprising nuances and tragic elements of his own backstory). While the message of tolerance is just as present here as in other npckc’s games, A Hero and a Garden makes an especially interesting commentary on how social expectations and roles we are assigned to by others shapes our lives and perspectives. Its simplicity makes it the kind of game I would love to see presented to children and talked about in classes, but even for an adult reader it’s a nice, casual experience, with enough thought-provoking and creative elements to be worth investing an hour or so into. Rating: Recommended And this concludes my NaNoRenO posts for this year. Last time, due to RL issues, I didn’t get to cover the event at all and it was a really fun experience to go through all those wildly different, creative games that often stay heavily underappreciated just because of how crowded and relatively niche the jam is. I hope my highlights convinced at least some of you to give these VNs a chance. I’d also like to give shout out to two games that narrowly didn’t make it to the list: Mikomi Kisomi’s Alice in Stardom, which offers a fun, but slightly shallow story about chasing your dreams against all odds and HitOrMissy’s Fetch Quest, which won me over with its humour and fun approach to “fantasy” storytelling, but disappointed with its lack of sound and music. So, thank you all for going with me on the journey through this year’s NaNoRenO VNs! I hope I’ll be able to repeat this after the next edition of the jam and be sure to look out for my Yuri Game Jam summary later this year – that event is something I’ll never skip on, as long as my blog is active. Have a great weekend everyone!
  11. 1 point
    Henshin !!! Pantsu ni Natte Kunkun Peropero is a nukige about a perverted guy who gets the ability to transform into different things which he uses to creep on girls and rape them (the reason why he can do this is that from the thing he is transformed to he can create different body parts). So ye it is a pretty weird nukige. The VN starts with the main character moving to another school where he ends up in the same class as his little sister (who moved out after he stated his wish to become womans panties). After his day at school he finds an odd creature which looks like a stuffed toy. This creature who gets called Nanako claims to be from the future and gives him a candy with nanomachines that enables him to transform into different things and a phone looking thing to select and record his transformation. The effect of this lasts for 30 days and it can only be used 2 times a day (only 1 time a day in the weekends). The scenes of the VN is built around a map structure where you pick different scenarios from the map, first starting with a limited amount of events, but as things progresses more areas are unlocked either due to events that happen outside of the sex scenes or due to one event unlocking another event with the character. As for characters there are 7 characters that are the main interest of the main character who have their own ending, 2 of them are sisters and shares events and endings so there are 6 endings. While these 7 characters are the main targets of the main character there are also lots of other events which has the main character target random girls with lots of these being full on sex scenes. The first part of the VN generally focuses on setting up the situation and mainly relies on comedy rather than H-scenes, so it does take a bit of time before the first H-scenes start. As for the early H-scenes I found a lot of them to be quite weak, they are both very long and also quite tame with a lot of the time being filled by the main characters internal monologue with little time spent on the different girl's reactions comperably. Though as I progressed through some scenes they started becoming much better in terms length and the situations also ramped which made them more comedic and more stimulating. So while I initially found myself dissapointed it improved substantially over time for me and i ended up liking it quite a lot. I did still find the internal monologues to be a bit long though, but that is kind of expected given the nature of the H-scenes as there really isn't a back and forth between the main character and the girl in most scenes (though the reason I found the internal monologue to be too heavy probably also has to do with me having a lower reading speed than native japanese people who probably read through these lines in a few seconds). The map system the VN uses works very well with it giving a good amount of freedom to the reader, this is quite limited in the start as only a few scenes are available at that point, but it works really well once more events are unlocked. As for the endings they are either romantic or comedic with the main character and one of the girls (2 with the sister route) getting together. While romance aspects seem rather odd they at least fit quite well with the specific girls which makes it less jarring. Also one of the routes is a bit special and has more story elements, while it is kind of a pain to unlock I did find it to be quite nice, with it tying very much into the character Nanako and why she is in the past. As for what I think is the strongest point of this VN I would have to say the uniqueness of the H-scenes, I mean it is just so different from anything else I have seen in nukige. Situations like turning into a bicycle and spawning a dick to rape the person riding it or turing into a snorkle to get a girl to give you a blowjob is just so freaking weird and exactly what I was looking for as I wanted a VN that would just make me go wtf japan? A bit about the different girls Amasaka Miko, the main characters little sister. She is a quite typical tsundere with a brother complex. I found her to be a fairly decent character though nothing really special. While there were some good moments with her she just ended up being too much of a standard tsundere without much else apart from a few situations. Andou Roza is a kohai who is a super hacker and really good at video games and is often in her own world and often comes of as emotionless. While the first few scenes did a decent job of getting to know the character and had some comedic moments the emotionless part kind of hindred a lot of the enjoyment of the scenes. However as the route progressed she opened more up and there were a decent amount of good moments with her and her H-scenes got a lot better. Merakawa Yuzu is an idol that the main character is a fan of and the girl who is number 1 on his list of girls he wants to be the panties of. The first scenes focus primarely on the idea of assulting an idol in secret while she is infront of a large crowd, while the later part shows her personality a lot more with her trying to catch whoever is doing these perverted things to her. The later part of her route really liked as I found the comedy to be really good and also liked the character. Minakoshi Konami is the main characters homeroom teacher as well as a PE teacher. I found her to be a likeable character and I feel like she had generally consistantly good H-scenes. I don't really feel like there is that much to say about her other than her just in general being a likeable character and that one of her later scenes in particular was really good in my opinion. Nakada sisters are senpais of the main character and are the leaders of the student council. One of them is a kind hearted airhead while the other generally portray herself as serious (other then all the time she fantasies about doing lewd things with her sister). Their interactions were in my opinion hillarious and they were by far my favorite characters. My favorite scene in the VN includes them and a double sided dildo and their other scenes were also some of my favorites. One thing I really liked about them was that there was much more of a back and forth between them and the main character after a certain point as well as just them interacting with eachother. I felt like this aspect really spiced up their scenes comedically and sexually which I would assume is why I found their scenes to generally be some of the best. Tsukishiro Kagura is the roommate of the main character's sister. She is quite timid and endearing and I think her route is the one that had the best romance, though the romance still felt a bit odd given how the VN is in general. The main thing with this route is that even though the main character often uses his power to assult her he also helps her with a certain problem she has been struggeling with for a while. As for the H-scenes I would say she has some of the weaker ones in terms of being sexually exciting, but I also think she has the best of the a bit more wholesome scenes in the VN. My general thoughts on the VN My general thoughts on Henshin !!! Pantsu ni Natte Kunkun Peropero is that it is a good weird nukige that I would recommend anyone who knows japanese and just want something that makes them go wtf Japan? While I think the H-scenes often suffer a bit due to a lack of interaction between the main character and the girl this is something seems pretty inevitable given the general nature of the VN and I think it makes up for this fault by the originality of the scenes as it has H-scenes with situations you won't find in other VNs. The girls were in my opinion all quite good given that it is a nukige though the Nakada sisters were the only ones that really stood out as great characters for me. She map system also worked quite well as it gave a decent amount of choice which is important for a nukige of this nature. The front of the physical box The back of the physical box as well as the inner box which contains the VN Here is a better view of how the CDs are stored. A very short manual as well as the VN itself, it also include the disc for Henshin! and Henshin!2 which are older titles by the same company which has quite low resolution and serves as some bonus things for the release. I don't have any intention to read through the first 2 henshin VNs though I do think it is a nice bonus and I did skip through them to unlock the CGs then upscaled the CGs so I can view them in higher resolution)
  12. 1 point
    A few days ago I watched an anime about a series of child murders. The show was pretty solid except for the fact that I was able to correctly guess the culprit the moment the show established that they were going to be more than just a minor character. Was it because the show was really bad at foreshadowing? No, except for one scene where the protagonist casually mentions that the culprit could be someone he knows. Was the character behaving suspiciously? No, they were cooperative to the point of actively sabotaging the murder attempts. Then what did they do wrong to earn my suspicions right from the beginning? Be a grown male authority figure with a more or less friendly relationship to the young protagonist without being related to them by blood. I'm relatively new to anime and visual novels*, and I've already seen characters fitting this description turn out to be villainous to varying degrees in about ten different titles (in one of them even twice within a few chapters).** Some of these guys are just being forced into doing something shady because of unfortunate circumstances while some them are psychopathic monsters because the writers liked themselves some shock value. Sometimes they are only minor villains or even red herrings, sometimes they are the big bad. What most of them have in common is that they at least pretend to be helping the protagonist out to the best of their abilities while secretly using the information they get from their conversations against them. I found only one example where the character in question is female, and even then the same twist happens another time with the male one being the major villain (#feminism I guess?). I get why this trope is popular with writers. The culprit should be someone who has been introduced early on and appeared in a reasonable amount of scenes for their reveal not to come out of nowhere. They should be an adult to have the necessary physical, mental and financial capabilities to properly commit and cover up a crime. Having a close relationship with the protagonist is a good justification for giving them enough scenes in a story that mostly revolves around younger characters. Add to that the betrayal of the protagonist's trust and you have everything for a good dark twist. So in theory "the nice adult is actually a murderer" can be a very effective trope if well implemented, it's just so overused it lost most of its its element of surprise, at least to me. I suspect that the writers of some of the titles I consumed were aware of this, but instead of not utilizing the trope they took the "let's add shock value by making the bad guy psychopatically evil" route, which is something that rarely turns out well, even if you add in discussions about the nature of psychopathy. I would really love to give examples of cases where I either really liked or really hated the implementation of this trope to add a bit more substance to my rambling. But I have no idea how to discuss plot twists when even mentioning the title of the game means spoiling them, so this will have to do. *This twist isn't exclusive to Japanese media. For example two of the first four Harry Potter books utilize it and I played one well known western storytelling game that does as well. **I even went through my vndb profile and made a list to confirm this. The reason I don't share it here is obviously spoilers.
  13. 1 point
    For more than a decade now the NaNoRenO visual novel jam is the biggest cyclical event organized by the EVN community, every year prompting dozens of hobbyist and aspiring commercial developers to present their work created from scratch within a strict, one-month timetable. Despite being mostly a non-commercial affair, dominated by both complete freeware titles or various demos and prototypes, it delivered many memorable games in the past, many of which are well remembered till this day (Christine Love’s Digital: A Love Story and NomnomNami’s Her Tears Were My Light are among the best known and most-appreciated ones, but are only two among dozens of memorable entries worth checking out). While with the gradual professionalization (and commercialisation) of the Western visual novel scene, it’s less common to find real gems among the jam’s entries, it’s still a unique opportunity to find interesting, free VNs within various genres and themes. At the same time, NaNoRenO is not a contest that would explicitly choose winners and allows VNs of all sizes and states of completion, so it’s not easy to navigate for an average reader – this year’s edition included the record number of 91 submissions and finding the truly interesting ones can be a challenge. For this reason, I’ve decided to prepare a short series of posts about my personal highlights of the 2019 event – games that I found most impressive and worth recommending. The lists will be obviously influenced by my personal taste and I’ll readily admit that I didn’t read all the entries, focusing on complete projects (i. e. no demos and prototypes) and avoiding some that I was convinced I won’t enjoy, or that were in genres I’m less interested in. I am, however, very much convinced about the merits of the games I’ve decided to feature and I hope you’ll join me on this short journey. Clicking the titles of every entry you’ll be transported straight to its itch.io page, where you’ll be able to download it for free. So, let’s get started! Mnemonic Devices My personal favourite of this year’s NaNoRenO is a tale of a person (you can choose the pronoun, although their looks are always rather feminine) who wakes up with amnesia after a car crash, greeted by a man claiming to be their husband. Soon after, they learn that the idyllic marriage with a wealthy lawyer is a sham, and they’re actually a sophisticated android send on a mission to assassinate him. Re-learning their identity and mission, the protagonist stands before a choice: to accept their role as a government-controlled killing machine, or try to rebel, while also possibly exploring their very-much-human emotions towards their husband, or maybe even their handler from the agency, with whom they previously shared a not-fully-professional relationship. Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  14. 1 point
    Foreword: I played Aya route six years ago, but was left quite confused for the lack of understanding. Anime put its dots, but it deliberately changed the ending. I'm over-enjoyed to finally read all the routes in all the complexity. Title: Interlude Developer: Longshot Date: 2003-03-13 VNDB link:https://vndb.org/v3195 Youtube walkthrough:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE78kKpg5QY&list=PLs4Gp5VU4Fv9mjQjlqFFGFu9r_-rNk861 Synopsis: For a close-knit foursome of high school friends, life is all about sleeping in class, strawberry milk, and after-class karaoke. However, our unnamed main protagonist is troubled by nightmares of death and disaster. Only when he begins to realize that his memories of people and events are different from those of Tamaki Maiko (named "Tama-chan" by her friends, "Mai-chan" by herself), Chimu and Harusa, his three female friends, does he begin to wonder. Later, when the waking dreams start.... a short moment of him seeing something that noone else sees....an attractive young lady, who stares back at him in amazement from an empty subway station, does he begin to wonder about his sanity. That evening, the four encounter and follow a shadow with no person, only to encounter a gang of stumbling zombies. And then he wakes up that morning from yet another bad dream, but the threads of reality have become a bit too frayed, and he begins to see a way in which he can travel over to the reality of his nightmares. Length: 20 hours Game type: Parallel universe piercing real world mystery Difficulty: Relatively easy. Avoid Tama and get one of two heroines. Mutsuki is more tricky. Character Design rating: 10/10 Protagonist rating: 8/10 Story rating: 10/10 Game quality: 10/10 Overall rating: 10/10 Rating comments: I love absolutely everything about this game. Well, apart of protagonist. Protagonist: Keichiro is very kind and reliable. He manages to find the right words to support each heroine in the time of need. We get to see his face, but not his eyes. He's easy to sympathize with as any reader can feel in his shoes. We don't get to see his eyes though, so he does not feel like a fleshed out character. Characters: There are four heroines. Tama is our genki childhood friend, and it's easy to get in her friendship root if she is paid a bit of attention during anyone else's route. Her love route is pretty much the same save for kisses as results of right choices helping Tama to start studying. Route is very easy-going yet ordinary. We get to see some strange things, but just ignore them. This route is quite ordinary, but it still is of masterpiece level due to great warm drawing and funny atmosphere. Izumi is our OL here, but she's pretty cute in hiding her breast that's impossible to hide all the time. Her route starts pretty much normally as we just tag along her at pubs etc serving as her bodyguard and helping her find her prince. In this route alternative world finally pierces real world with dreadful consequences. We also get to know a lot about this parallel world since Izumi work deals with it directly. But what this route really shines for is very colorful side-characters we stumble upon. Ending is very intense here. Aya is hands off the main heroine of the game. She is featured at the covers, and she's in the center of attention in every route but Tama. She has become everything I love in visual novels - cynical anti-social beauty with difficult fate and mysterious weapon. Of course, her route is the most powerful. Mutsuki route branches off Aya route and repeats it almost completely. We get to know not only fate of this suicide girl, but also the creation of the parallel world, so route is pretty important for the overall structure. Story: It starts normally, but we get to see abnormal signs with time. It's pretty much up to us and the route to decide whether we start to investigate them. Thoughts: 1) Game tells us the basic things, but a lot of stuff remains unclear and subject to further theorizing. What's the role of this organization? What's their main plan and backup plan? What happens to main characters? Who is actually the Councillor? 2) I like it a lot as after each ending we only get a very short ending filled with anxiety. Only after seeing all the endings we get a full great ending. Overall comments: Interlude was one of my first untranslated visual novels, and it determined my entire visual novel experience. My love for the moon and warrior serious beauties also originate from here. Game atmosphere is quite close to luv wave. Anime made the right steps in rationalizing the game and underlining the things that may have the biggest impact, but original remains the paragon of a great mystery game for me.
  15. 1 point
    Interlude is the only masterpiece of the month. This month blocked novels surpassed normal ones over four times which is very scary considered that it's not a Comiket month. 1. Erinyes [030313] Pleiades Company There is an island country similar to Japan. Memory of the great war that happened 50 years ago starts to wear off. But people who got hurt can never forget. There is a den where such people are gathered - underground prison. Now the time for settlement has come. Will protagonist escape from this place? What role will mysterious girl in the rain play? A free puzzle-based adventure with the aim to escape prison through many different ways and enter one of 20 endings. Game is more about the process than the result. 2. Interlude インタールード [030313] Longshot 1 For a close-knit foursome of high school friends, life is all about sleeping in class, strawberry milk, and after-class karaoke. However, our unnamed main protagonist is troubled by nightmares of death and disaster. Only when he begins to realize that his memories of people and events are different from those of Tamaki Maiko (named "Tama-chan" by her friends, "Mai-chan" by herself), Chimu and Harusa, his three female friends, does he begin to wonder. Later, when the waking dreams start.... a short moment of him seeing something that noone else sees....an attractive young lady, who stares back at him in amazement from an empty subway station, does he begin to wonder about his sanity. That evening, the four encounter and follow a shadow with no person, only to encounter a gang of stumbling zombies. And then he wakes up that morning from yet another bad dream, but the threads of reality have become a bit too frayed, and he begins to see a way in which he can travel over to the reality of his nightmares. There is an English review. I absolutely adore this game. Anime is an absolute must watch one. Visual novel has different, longer ending and is nice for those who liked the anime. 3. Angelium -Tokimeki Love God- ANGELIUM -ときめきLOVE GOD- [030314] Terios Zeus was an omniscient and omnipotent god who ruled in Heaven where the gods lived. However, he was a pervert who had a wish to flirt with young angels, unbeknownst to his wife, Hera. He came up with an idea to make use of the promotion examination which took place every three years. Three angels, Yu, Miki, and Chado-ko, came down to Earth to take the exams. When they began to work part-time jobs at the flower shop, the severe trials occurred one after another. Zeus was taking care of them secretly. However, it's wasn't from his kindness, but from his perverted desires. But, his activities were known in the lower world... Slapstick comedy. Anime actually follows story quite faithfully, just with less volume, naturally. 4. Colorful Kiss ~12 ko no Mune Kyun!~ カラフルキッス ~12コの胸キュン!~ [030314] Giga Main character returns to his alma mater for teaching practice starting in the fall. According to facility rule he has to stay at student dormitory. His stay there is full of nostalgia. Oh, and there are so many events at school - sports festivals, culture festivals and school trips. He gets in touch with many juniors through these multiple occasions. It's Giga, so I did not expect anything above average moege. And it's exactly like that - generic moege with 12 characters, each having 2 H scenes. 5. Ai Yori Aoshi 藍より青し [030320] KID 1 2 3 4 The game comes with two different story segments, South Island and Winter Lake. South Island Edition During winter vacation, Tina sees a TV program about the balmy southern islands and says that she wants to go to the ocean. Aoi proposes that they go visit her villa in the southern islands. They immediately board a cruise ship to make the journey to the island as a group. However, on the way the weather turns nasty and the ship capsizes. Miyabi calls for help, but the radio is broken and proves of no use. They Winter Lake Edition During winter vacation, Tina sees a TV program about the warm southern islands and says that she wants to go to the ocean again. Kaoru points out that they just been to the ocean. With perfect timing, Mayu shows up to invite them to her vacation home for the holidays. Game is localized and has English reviews. 6. Run [030320] Lip2 1 The story begins with Kouichi, the only son from a wealthy family. His mother died when was very little, and within that lapse of time, his father married a second time, and the stepmother brought her own daughter over, Serino, who would later become Kouichi’s little sister. His father used to ride a bike in his youth, on which he went on many trips to many places, meeting up with new people, and having different experiences. Kouichi liked to listen attentively to his father stories, no matter how plain, or simple they sounded. Both his admiration and love for his father grew with the pass of time, mostly due to these stories, and seeing how other people relied so much on his father. But after a couple of years, his father passed away. It’s normal, life comes to an end, he thought. By then he was already a college student, and would soon inherit and administrate his father’s company. Reality kicks in, a reality far away from those stories he used to hear. He had to embrace it, until he stumbled upon that old bike once again. It was non-functional, rusty, long forgotten by time. That beaten up bike, left abandoned at the corner of the garage brought him to tears the moment he laid eyes on it, and decided to do a total restoration of it to go on a journey, just like his father did. Easier said than done, though. There’s school, responsibilities, and pretty soon, work. Somehow, he got permission, both from his father’s company and school to be absent for a while. And his stepmother helped him with the cost of the bike’s restoration. Okay, everything is moving smoothly. But he hasn’t done anything on his own, he is just the family’s pampered child. They answer to his whims. But that’s precisely why he wanted to go out to the world; to grow as a person, to gain experience in life, to stop being the family’s child, and become like his father, his life-long role model. To obtain that “something” his father had, but he actually hasn’t. There is an English review. 7. Sister Princess 2 シスター・プリンセス2 [030320] STACK software The story begins on the final day of school before summer vacation. Then the player chooses a sister who he wants to start with for a close relationship. Therefore, Sister Princess 2 is about spending the player's time with either one sister or all sisters at the same time as they spend their summer together. Especially in Sister Princess 2, the player can spend the summer with all the sisters, not just one, in a special ending where the sisters invite their brother to a summer party where the brother and the sisters would swear to be together forever. Sister Princess 2 has four endings for each sister. The first two were the non-sibling relation and siblings-together ending and, if the player chooses one sister in the beginning but ends up with another sister, either of the other two endings for the first sister who the player does not choose appear ("non-blood relation" ending and "still brother and sister forever" ending also) but with a different story. Prequel got quite famous. This sequel has different systems, but as for contents - it's almost the same. Summer vacation story - going on a trip with a sister. A solid sister experience. 8. Brown Doori Sanbanme ブラウン通り三番目 [030328] SofthouseChara The setting is Middle Ages, a time where peace and war is jumbled together. It is during this time that utility people called "Adventurers" came into existence. Monster extermination, ruins exploration, getting back stolen goods, etc. As long as you have rewards and policy, they're an extremely useful existence. To those people, weapons and goods necessary for adventure are sold, requests are dispatched and wounded bodies are tended and nursed. An extremely essential existence for them adventurers that is, "Adventurer's Bar". SofthouseChara continues to make weird SIM games, as always. 9. Tsuki no Mori 月の守 [030328] Ark Japan, feudal era. In this game, you are Tsukinomori, a samurai. After a very difficult battle, during a night of full moon, you are walking hurt and alone in the forest when you see a mysterious light emanating from inside an old sacred tree. Investigating, you find inside a beautiful girl, naked. Her name is Hime, and she is the promised daughter of the moon who comes to the Earth every 50.000 years to change the story of the humanity. Is she an angel or a devil? Will she bring salvation or destruction to the human race? It is up to you to decide by becoming her guardian, tutoring her and teaching her all she need to know in order to find her true destiny... Basically heroine asks about different aspects of the world and, depending on answers, one of four hidden parameters raises or drops. Such conversation continues endlessly, and - since there's no story in the game - it becomes super monotonous. The number of events is very limited. Rare kusoge. BLOCKED 1. Moshi Moshi Milk Cocktail Debut もしもし みるくカクテル Debut [030304] Studio-74 Get acquainted with a girl by email and date her without making mistakes to get to know her for real. Doujin 2. Boku no Mesu Hisho wa Doukyuusei 僕の牝秘書は同級生 [030307] Liquid 1 The Kirishima family holds the long standing tradition that the head of the company must train and maintain a sex slave as an obedient partner. Young Masato must find and train a female slave to take over his father's position as CEO of the group. Masato's father has left his slave (secretary) to help young Masato to find a suitable candidate. Masato turns to his classmates in hopes of finding a suitable female sex slave. Three girls rise to the occasion. He must put those girls through intense training so he can choose the best one. Your choices help Masato to find the best female sex slave. Nukige 3. Houkai Jokyoku 崩壊序曲 [030307] Rouge Main character gets mistaken for a pervert on the train one day, but that incident helps him to get acquainted with Miyuki who goes to the same university. They start dating, but Miyuki has phobia of physical relations due to past trauma. However after one seminar titled "Respect for self" she starts to behave differently... Nukige 4. Rakuen Yuki 楽園行 -RAKUENYUKI- [030307] Alice Blue Taisei spends his days working at a convenience store. Nothing ever changes--until the day a briefcase full of cash was dropped in front of him. Suddenly there are scary guys after him and the briefcase. Now, with the help of his friends, he is on the run to stay alive... Boys Love 5. Soushitsukyou 喪失郷 [030307] Mu Naoto and his lover Miyuki were going to ski resort. However, their bus was stalled in blizzard. The passengers were helped by Natsuyo, a landlady of a Japanese style hotel, and they decided to stay at the hotel for a while. At that night, Naoto and Miyuki made love at the hotel over and over, but he couldn't be satisfied, and finally he began to love Natsuyo. The situation was the same with other passengers. In this closed space, ritual and accidents continued... A bizarre and erotic story was just begun... Nukige 6. Toki no Tabibito 季節の旅人 [030307] Miryou Koubou Main character is on the verge of marrying his lover, but one passionate night he loses consciousness and is awakened by his lover crying. The girl runs out and gets in a traffic incident. Protagonist's desire to revive his love is so strong that he gets warped in time. Nukige 7. Promised Land [030309] ANGEL/BLOOD Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side parody game. Main heroine has time till the final exam to find her love. Otome Doujin 8. Angelique Etoile アンジェリーク エトワール [030314] Koei Fourth installment in the series. The main character is a girl from the cosmos ruled by Angelique Limoges named Ange, who must save the cosmos as the "Legendary Etoile". Includes all of the major characters from previous Angelique titles, plus three new "Holy Beast Cosmos" Guardians. Otome 9. Ayakashizoushi ~Oumagatoki no Yume~ あやかし草子~逢魔が時の夢~ [030314] Mermaid Main character is the successor of a shrine, but he does not believe in monsters, spirits etc. One day youkai begin to sing. Protagonist does not know how to handle youkai, but thanks to that inability he manages to handle them his way - by having intimacy with them. Luckily, all youkai have shape of little girls. Protagonist's revolution has begun! Lolicon 10. Cosplay Tantei Nama Kigae♪ こすぷれ探偵ナマ着替え♪ [030314] Chiffon Main character is an ordinary college student. One day he is taken to a cabaret by his sempai and falls in love with hostess Sakura at first sight. However, in reality she is a woman detective who loves cosplay. Protagonist decides to work as her assistant, and he has to squeeze into nurses, maids, shrine maidens etc costumes while she wears female police officer uniform. Depending on the content of requests, sex techniques need to be applied to successfully fulfill the cases. Nukige 11. Mahou no Milk Tea ni Onegai 魔法のミルクティーにお願い [030314] Hadashi Shoujo Main character becomes an owner of a tea shop, but he is not really interested in tea. He wants to have intimate relations with girls around. So he adds aphrodisiac to the tea and enjoys company of waitresses and cute clients. Nukige 12. Motto! Himitsu Taiken もっと!ヒミツたいけん [030314] Complet's Takes place a year after "Boku no Himitsu Taiken". Nukige 13. Ura Kazoku Yuugi ~Oyako Choukyou Hanashi~ 裏家族遊戯~母娘調教譚~ [030314] Haoh Father remarries a very young girl, and protagonist moves out to live alone. But as father gets into an accident, mother-in-law begs protagonist to return home. The scale of distortion at home is yet to become known. Nukige 14. Goukon Date! 合コンデート! [030319] TOKOTON-LOVERS Atobe gets a date, but choices can lead to a crazy outcome like getting to Sengoku samurai and ninja. Boys Love Doujin 15. Joi Okkusu 女医○っくす [030320] Blue Gale ON DEMAND This spring main character enters private medical college. He is attached to a senior doctor. This doctor turns out to be his lovely neighbor Yukari who he admires for a long time. However, she behaves coldly unlike old times. Protagonist is told that her character has changed after being betrayed by a man. Yukari... let me heal you so that you could shine like before! Nukige 16. Sexfriend SEXFRIEND ~セックスフレンド~ [030320] CODEPINK Sexfriend focuses on the protagonist, Takabe Tomohiro who just happened to have his first sexual encounter in the nurse's office after school with his classmate, Hayase Mina. Tomohiro and Mina had been just friends until that fateful day. But was surprised at her attitude, he started to become addicted to the woman's body, and he continued the relationship with Hayase and eventually desires a real romantic relationship, not just friends with "benefits and cookies". With the school nurse's help, they were able to have sexual practice everyday. Nukige 17. Tsuma x Tsuma 3 ~Koko wa Hitozuma Market!~ 人妻×人妻3~ここは人妻まーけっと!~ [030320] Discovery 1 Sakuraba Koutarou has taken over the Sakura Mart since his father passed away due to a traffic accident. He now has to take over Sakura Mart's management and also take care of his young and beautiful mother in law Sakuraba Minato and his little sister Sakuraba Nagisa. The road before him wont be an easy one however since his evil older brother is demanding him to hand over Sakura mart since he has more lucrative plans for that place... Koutarou has to make Sakura Mart successful as fast as he can...he should fear not as many hot wives will be more than happy to help him and give him some "motivation", including of course his mother and sister!. Nukige 18. Boku no Mushi Kago ぼくのむしかご [030321] Arkham Products At school the protagonist is bullied, while at home he's forced to live with the gold-digger stepfamily of his absent father. He finds solace with his friends, which consist of pets such as reptiles and insects. One day he discovers that one of his bullies is afraid of a spider. Shortly after, he discovers he can make any girl obedient with his "power": a fearful obedience instilled by waving one of his uncute pets in her face. With the aid of a secret dungeon under his house and tons of bondage equipment, along with an aphrodisiac he developed from his friends' venoms and secretions, he begins to wield his power in an aggressive campaign of vengeance. Nukige 19. Fuyuiro Denshin 冬色伝心 [030321] Hanerom Main character attends school on a boring winter day. But this day he encounters a mysterious person, and the world around protagonist starts to change rapidly. Will there be warmth of someone else by the end of winter vacations? Boys Love 20. Magical Twirler Angel Rabbie まじかるトワラー・エンジェルラビィ [030321] Kuroneko-san Team Humanity makes much progress through a combination of science and magic, until a large war breaks out. Many years later, the magical city of Sosarium (constructed on the Moon) sends an agent down to Earth to make sure history does not repeat itself as civilisation starts to rebuild itself. That agent is known as an "Angel". Fandisc 21. No Area NoAREA [030321] Fusyro Two solitudes - doctor and company president secretary - meet at a beautiful bar named NoAREA. Boys Love Doujin 22. Utsurogami ウツロガミ [030321] Underground Campaign The main protagonist is a boy who is working for the rich family. The game consists of two stories. First story is about demon that is killing people and the main goal is to understand the mystery about that demon. Second story is about protagonists childhood friend and about his relationship with other people(this story has more sexual content and consist only of narrow path). Boys Love Doujin 23. Wasurenagusa no Yoru 勿忘草の夜 [030322] Jewel Box Makoto is on her way to the drama club’s spring retreat when she gets lost in the woods, so she’s pretty glad to meet up with another lost kid. Taking him under her wing, she heads for the old school where the retreat is going to take place, blissfully unaware of what lies in wait... Doujin 24. Wagaya ni Majo ga Yattekita! 我家に魔女がやって来た! [030326] Touchy Black witch Kiri is defeated in a magic war and expelled to human world. She can not use magic there unless establishes a contract with a human being - and that human happens to be our protagonist. Kiri only desires to return to her primary world and conduct revenge at first, but her heart gradually softens. However, two white witches are soon sent to the human world to kill Kiri... Lolicon 25. Akikaze Yozora ~Boy Meets UFO~ 秋風夜空 ~BOY MEETS UFO~ [030328] Glasses! On an autumn night main character encounters a flying object and meets an alien girl who asks him to remember their common childhood recollections. Having finished playing the piano she says "I am the one who shot that person." Doujin 26. Daughter Maker ドーターメーカー [030328] Fortune♪ Suddenly main character's boss and lover Michiko dies from overwork. Protagonist decides to take care of Michiko's only daughter Mio. With time his attraction to Mio overgrows the one that foster father should have. Lolicon 27. Eden IV [030328] Forester Remnants of rockets drifting near Mars are discovered in 2070 AD. Investigation reveals that materials belong to the rocket from moon base attacked by aliens in 2067. Among the investigation team is planet geologist Ellen Marvell. Noone noticed Glen Collins lurking inside the recovered rocket... Nukige 28. Fushigi Densha ふしぎ電車 [030328] Digi Anime 1 2 The main character awoke at a bar in front of the station after getting drunk. There he saw a strange tram running through a strange city. A city filled with absurdity, a city lacking common sense. Our hero got on the tram and henceforth he was going to experience a lot of different stories and a lot of different sexual affairs as well. While getting himself involved in various strange happenings he arrives at the terminal station. Though, when he finally got there, the sun has already hidden itself behind the horizon, so he decided to wait for the dawn at the bar in front of the station. Once again drunk, he awakes and finds himself in a strange city with a strange tram running through it. Our hero, having lost all of his previous memories gets on the tram onсe again and sets on a journey through a mysterious town once more. Will this seemingly indefinitely looping tramway trip continue for a long time? When will our hero finally get home? Nukige 29. Gekkou ni Nureru Kyoushitsu de, Boku wa. 月光に濡れる教室で、僕は。 [030328] Cherry Soft Graduation ceremony is coming soon. Main characters writes a little novel where his classmates are insulted. He could never believe it when his classmate called him to meet in moonlight class. Her words were "Please insult me". Nukige 30. Grope ~Yami no Naka no Kotori-tachi~ Grope ~闇の中の小鳥たち~ [030328] May-Be Soft An earthquake causes the school campus to collapse living only 4 survivors—2 childhood friends, Fubuki & Shinichi with Takahaki and a Junior girl. Both Shinichi and Takahaki likes Fubuki, but Fubuki likes only Shinichi. Takahaki made false accusation on Shinichi having interest on the Junior, whom also likes Shinchi, in front of Fubuki to create a doubt between both childhood friends. And making use of the situation and raped the Junior and of course.... Fubuki. Leaving Shinichi in a mist of doubts. Nukige 31. Ichibatsu Hyakkai Special 一罰百快Special [030328] Herb Soft A set of two works with full voice: Ichibatsu Hyakkai and Ichibatsu Hyakkai 2. Card game 32. Kingin☆Heart☆Succubus! きんぎん☆はぁと☆さっきゅばす! [030328] Megami 1 Partly against his own will, Ataru has been specially chosen for an unimaginably important task: aiding three promising succubus achieve demonic transcendence. To do this he must rigorously assess the sexual performance of his charges, and in the process temper their strengths while correcting weaknesses. The reward for success is beyond anything his mortal mind could ever comprehend, yet the the punishment for failure is equally as incomprehensible. Nukige 33. Marionette ~Ito Tsukai~ MARIONETTE~糸使い~ [030328] Carriere 1 The main character is Hiroki Mikage, apparently nothing more than a gifted but unremarkable high school student, although this facade hides an almost physical Darkness, a profound sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction menacing his own sanity. However this is merely the prelude to even darker events, when Hiroki, while going to school, notices a strange violet light coming from the riverbank beside the road and finds a mysterious violet gem(?) scintillating with an eerie inner light... Nukige 34. Match Uri no Bishoujo マッチ売りの美少女 [030328] Gaia A great war that divides the world in two, ends. One battle robot returns to New Edo... The female protagonist is selling matches, but no one will buy them. One day she comes across the robot who is about to run out of energy, and she is able to communicate with it and help it by using her matches. Lolicon 35. Menou-kun no Oshiete Oneechan-sensei 瑪瑙くんのおしえてお姉ちゃん先生 [030328] Jewelry Main character is given summer vacations task to touch nature and describe experience in the notebook. But he lives in the city! So he comes to his relative's house and is greeted by pretty little girls. They happily agree to play in the nature together, but they are eager to learn a lot from this new onii-chan. Lolicon 36. Nikushimi no Rosette 憎しみのRosette [030328] Marine Heart City that never sleeps, Shinjuku. Cocktail bar "Rosette" dwells peacefully while most of neighboring establishments are crowded. Inside the store are three beautiful boys and a master with shade. They are the "revengers" who carry out the revenge tasks on request ... Become one of them in this fascinating occupation. Boys Love 37. Ryoujoku Chikan Bus 凌辱痴漢バス [030328] Interheart Hi, I'm Masashi. I'm a bus driver. I secretly installed some bug microphones into my bus and eavesdrop on my customers, especially young girls. I get their secrets and enjoy having sex with them. There are now five target girls.... Well, it's time to get down to work... Nukige 38. Sei Famiresu Gakuen 聖ファミレス学園 [030328] Black Light Vocational schools are opened in a little distance from Tokyo in an attempt to revive family restaurant industry. The world's first family restaurant salesperson training school opens its doors! Main character is the store manager who is responsible for apprenticeship and evaluation of waitress girls. This year there is a contest to choose "Miss family". A fun and challenging weeks starts. Nukige 39. Tsumamigui 2 妻みぐい2 [030328] Alice Soft Three years after the events of the first game, Kanae divorced of her late husband and married the protagonist from the 1st game. Now they are living happily together with their two kids. The new protagonist is Naoto, an university student good natured but a little womanizer. One day he receives a letter from his old neighroor and sempai from highschool days, Haruka "nee-chan". Her husband is traveling to Italia, leaving her alone at their restaurant for an entire month, so she needs help. You decide to help her, so you move to her block of apartments. Besides the new residents, there you meet your new neighroor Kanae (from the 1st game) too, who is feeling very alone because her beloved husband is traveling. Now you have the chance to live with two beautiful wives during the time their husbands are away on business... Nukige 40. D.Zone [030329] Ritz software The setting is a futuristic Japan in which the country is divided into the City and the lawless D.Zone. The citizens who live in the safe city have IDs and are implanted with chips that allow them access to everything (hence they're known as Chips). People who live in the slum-like D.Zone are either Lost (from the city but lost or sold their chip), Visitors (foreigners with no chips) or just plain unlucky enough to be born there (Next). Teenagers Tsugumi and Dail are childhood friends. Both are orphans living in a city called Eden and have only each other to support. Tsugumi works at a recycling plant. On his way home from work one night, Tsugumi found a sad-looking Dail in the park. He wanted to be left alone. "Tsugumi...I'm sorry.." were the last words he heard from Dail. The next morning, the police are at their house and Dail is nowhere to be found. It turns out that Dail has been accused of killing his uncle and is currently missing. He can't be found anywhere in the city and was last seen near the boundaries of Eden and D.Zone. Frantic to find Dail, Tsugumi leaves the safety of Eden behind and ventures into the dangerous D.Zone... Boys Love
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