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Dergonu

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  1. Like
    Dergonu got a reaction from Mikoto for a blog entry, Tinkerbell "Aojiru verse" post #1   
    The Aojiru verse: Entry #1: An introduction
    This is the first in a series of blog posts I will be making about the "Aojiru verse", referring to a series of Tinkerbell games drawn by Aojiru, which includes popular games such as Kowaku no Toki, In'Youchuu etc. Tinkerbell has quickly become one of my favorite VN devs ever, specifically because of the games drawn by Aojiru. I have bought all of the games in the Aojiru verse, and have slowly but surely made my way through them. While I am not done with every single game yet, I have played enough to start making these blog posts.
    I will be doing a few specific game spotlights of my favorites later on, though this entry will mainly introduce the Aojiru verse in general. The next entry will talk more specifics about what to expect from Aojiru games in general, as well as a game spotlight of the first major title in the series, In'Youchuu 1.
    The "Aojiru verse" started in 2004 with Hanamaru! While Aojiru drew two other games for Tinkerbell before this, Okite no Shima and Hidamari no Kage de, these do not share any characters or story with the games that followed, so Hanamaru! becomes the game that basically started the "Aojiru verse". Hanamaru! Is interesting in that it is a completely vanilla game, without any real dark content at all, though it's still set in the Aojiru verse, which mainly consists of very dark stories. Very dark stories.
    Aojiru has drawn a few more games similar to Okite no Shima/ Hidamari no Kage de that are not counted in the Aojiru verse due to being done by different writing staff, and generally not fitting the tone of the Aojiru verse games at all. (The creative team behind most of his games have been the same, which has probably been one of the main reasons why they were turned into this one big universe.)
    Though, while most of the games in the Aojiru verse share characters and stories, there are some that do not, but that are still counted in the Aojiru verse. I have a list of all of them below.
    Games colored in green are important to understanding the overall plot in future games, and are considered "must reads."
    Yellow means they share characters/ plotlines with other games to some extent, and are recommended, but not needed.
    Red means they have little or no connection to the rest of the universe. They are still a part of the universe, though can be skipped completely if you want. This also means you can START with these games if you want, as they are standalone.
     
    The current Aojiru verse:
    2004-2009
    The beginning of the Aojiru verse, consisting of games all tied together in some way
    Hanamaru! (2004) - Introduces characters and story elements relevant in later stories such as In'Youchuu, Kowaku no Toki etc -
    Chou no Yume (2005) - Happens before the other stories in the current Aojiru verse, but is confirmed to be a part of the story in Hanamru! 2, and simply happens way earlier, in the 1600s -
    In'youchuu ~Ryoujoku Gakuen Taimaroku~ (2005) - Shares characters, story and a setting with Hanamaru! + introduces many new, important characters to the Aojiru verse. It is considered one of the, if not the best Aojiru game. It is definitely the most iconic -
    In'youchuu Shoku ~Ryoushokutou Taimaroku~ (2006) - A direct sequel to Gakuen, introduces Ouka and Kikuka -
    Kowaku no Toki (2007) - Somewhat standalone, though does use both Ouka and Kikuka, showing what they do after Shoku. Also shares a general setting with In'Youchuu, and introduces youma with different appearances and abilities from the ones found In'Youchuu games -
    Hanamaru! 2 (2008) - Shares characters from ALL of the previous games, and introduces the idea of a multiverse. No, I am not kidding, this is marvel cinematic level shit. The game is mainly pure comedy, though it has dark scenarios for each heroine available in a side menu, so fans of the standard Aojiru games won't be disappointed -
    In'youchuu Etsu ~Kairaku Henka Taimaroku~ (2009) - Introduces new characters relevant in future In'Youchuu games, teaches you more about the origin of youma -
    2010-2014
    The following period took a step back from the previous style of crossovers, introducing new stories and characters to the Aojiru verse, without needing knowledge of previous works
    Mouryou no Nie (2010), Kuraibito (2012), Kagome no Mayu (2013): - All confirmed to be in the same universe as In'Youchuu, introducing other sides of the world. No shared characters -
    Fuka no Jugoku ~Ugomeku Moushuu no Rensa... Owari no Nai Kyouen~ (2014)... - A standalone game seemingly unrelated to the rest of the universe, though based on the content and staff working on it, it's in one of the universes introduced in Hanamru 2 not related to In'Youchuu. It's an extremely dark thriller / horror game not for the faint of heart -
    2014-2019
    Releasing only games without any shared characters seemingly did not pay off too well, as the following period goes back to creating several new games int he In'Youchuu series, whilst also creating some new stories
     
    (Since I have not had the time to play each one of these titles yet, some of them will lack detailed information)
    In'youchuu Gaiden (2014) - Side stories setting up for the new In'Youchuu game, Kyou. Can be skipped since it's a side story, though I recommend reading it -
    In'youchuu Kyou ~Ryoujoku Byoutou Taimaroku~ (2014) - Introduces a whole new set of characters. While they have been mentioned in passing during previous games, they have not showed up yet-
    In'youchuu Kyou ~Kuon no Hime Miko~ (2015) - Side story to Kyou -
    Sarai no Me (2015) - Standalone horror game -
    In'youchuu Rei ~Ryoujoku Shiro Taima Emaki~ (2016) - Sequel to Kyou -
    In'youchuu Goku ~Ryoujoku Jigoku Taimaroku~ (2016) - Squel to Goku -
    Shin'yaku In'youchuu (2017) - A remake of the original In'Youchuu, mixing in the new characters from Kyou/ Rei/ Goku. It has a new artstyle, and some parts of the story has been re-done. It is considered canon in the In'Youchuu game, and basically works as both a reboot and a sequel to Goku. In short, it's basically just a modernized re-telling of the first In'youchuu story with the new characters mixed in -
    Shin'yaku In'youchuu - Shiro Neko Honpo Hen & Tsukishiro ... (2017) - Side story, can be skipped, shows what other chars not in Goku were doing during those events -
    Grand Guignol no Yoru (2018) - Standalone horror game -
    Mugen no Sakura ~Hitsuya-hime Injoku Youshokutan~ (2019) - Standalone fantasy game where elves from another world flee into ours for sanctuary, as they are hunted by a mad sorcerer. No standard youma are present, and there are no shared characters or lore to the previous games, so it's considered completely standalone -
     
    Hanamaru:
    With the general introduction to the Aojiru verse out of the way, let us quickly talk about Hanamaru. There really is not all that much to say, so I'll make it quick. (The next game spotlights will be much more detailed, of course.)
    It is honestly a fairly average moege. It's cute, it's fun, but that's about it. As someone who likes the Aojiru verse for its dark content, I wasn't really that interested in this game. But, it does set up the world that In'Youchuu is built on, so it's definitely still important. It's clear in the small details of the writing that the creative team were going to take this to a dark place. They just did not do it in Hanamaru itself.
    There are magical beings in our world, some good and some evil. Hanamru only really shows us the good ones, but introduces the idea of evil ones existing. You don't really get many answers to where these beings come from or why they are the way they are. These answers come later in the In'Youchuu games. But, this helps create a mysterious atmosphere to the game, which will be picked up again when the main characters of In'Youchuu travel to the school where Hanamaru is set to solve a case of a large amount of youma, (monsters, I'll get into details about them in the next entry,) have invaded the school. You are also introduced to Momono Momo, who is actually a monster hunter herself. Though, she does work actively anymore, and rarely shows her skills on screen. She is also the character with the most cameos in all of Aojiru's games, and has become the games' mascot.
    Anyways, the tl;dr of Hanamaru is: cute moe with a bit of a dark undertone that is picked up again in the games that follows it.
    Here is the game's opening. Personally I find the song incredibly catchy.
    That is it for this entry. In the next entry I will explain more in detail what to expect of the Aojiru verse games in general, as well as introduce the first big entry in the universe, In'Youchuu.
  2. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Random VN: Kanzume Shoujo no Shuumatsu Sekai   
    First, it should be noted that this game was planned and written by Watanabe Ryouichi, who also wrote the Harumade series (Harumade Kururu, Natsukumo Yururu, etc).  As such, it is - quite predictably - a mindfuck game.  Don't expect SOL romance in the traditional sense, because that isn't the kind of game this is.
    This game has two protagonists... the first is the normal-seeming Koumi Masataka, who begins the story by encountering Sarasa, the game's main heroine, as she eats canned saba miso (mackerel in miso) at a convenience store.  The other protagonist is Tsubaki, a young woman who spends her nights obsessing over videos of deaths of all types and thinking about herself in the same situation (it is more complex than that, but if I explain too much, you won't get to experience the creepy weirdness properly).  
    While this game has four heroines, there is only one actual path.  All choices that go off that path lead to cut-off endings ten lines later (which makes sense in the context of full knowledge of the mindfuck), so there really is no point in picking them.  For H-freaks, there are multiple h-scenes for each heroine... just don't expect happy romance endings, since there is only a single ending.
    There isn't a whole lot I can say about this game besides what I said above without ruining it for you, but I'll tell you what I liked that doesn't touch upon the mindfuck or main story.  I really liked the way the Preppers Club members got along, as they are one of those 'group of friends' that can't seem to stay on topic for more than a few seconds at a time (usually due to Yaotome Hanae making a sex joke or one of the others bringing up a subject that derails the conversation).  As such, I found many of the scenes involving the club highly amusing.
    Tsubaki and Amika's relationship is pretty weird, by any standard.  I won't go into details, but don't expect lots of soft normal emotions there.  
    As a conclusion, I can recommend this to fans of the Harumade series and the mindfuck niche in general.  It is often hard to follow what is happening due to the way the story is told, but, even with that, it was an enjoyable ride.
  3. Sad
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Venting sorrow: I lost my cat today   
    I love my cat.
    Let’s get that out of the way from the beginning. Even though she is gone, as of today, I have never, for one moment, believed that I would ever stop loving her. For seventeen years and eight months, this calico wonder has made her home in my heart, never failing to wrap me around her paw and jerk me around by my heart strings.
    As the undisputed mistress of all she surveyed (all eleven rooms and corridors of it), she has dominated the lives and conversation of our family for almost long enough for a child to have graduated from high school. In a very real sense, she was one of the most important pillars of our family, and her presence both lightened the atmosphere and gave us something to talk about even in the darkest of times.
    My cat loved people… primarily because she knew a few stares and quiet nuzzles could get any given person to pet her or give her what she believed she wanted at any given moment. She liked being with people, even if it was just in the same room, completely ignoring one another (incidentally, her favorite game).
    In her youth, distant as that is to me now, she was a rambunctious and hyperactive ball of calico fluff, her medium-length fur usually disheveled from one event or another until she chose to let us smooth it out. When we got saltillo tile on the first floor, she could be found with red dust on her belly constantly until it was sealed. When new carpet was put into the master bathroom, she was the first to roll on the floor, and when new furniture was brought into the house, she was always the first to ‘test’ it. Heck, I couldn’t keep her out of my computer chair when I wasn’t sitting in it.
    As she grew older, she retained many of her kitten-ish traits, being enthusiastic and affectionate to often extreme degrees, given our previous experiences with cats. She purred loudly, meowed insistently, ran at ridiculous speeds only to slam into walls, and generally made us laugh and smile.
    When we went out of town, she always made her displeasure known upon our return.
    She was an inside cat, mostly by our choice. While she enjoyed short periods outdoors, she could generally be trusted to want back in whenever her slaves decided to go back in, due to an incident with a coyote in her misspent (I can hear her indignant meow at the thought of her time ever being misspent in my head, even now) youth. If her life was a somewhat boring one by feline standards, she made up for it by being loved and lovable in general.
    When she first became ill, over a year ago, I had my first close encounter with absolute panic. The cat, as we always referred to her (subcontext: Empress) as being, was listless, had lost her appetite, and she had, for some reason, decided that my sink was her new home.
    We took her to the vet, where she was diagnosed as having thyroid problems, as is typical in elderly cats (as she was by this time). We began giving her medicine on a daily basis, and for some time, she was doing relatively better, even if she never quite regained the spunk and vigor of the now-lost past.
    However, a month ago, what vigor had returned to her was rapidly lost. She gradually ceased to eat, began to have bowel problems… and she began to starve to death. The only time she seemed happy was when she was sleeping on one of us, being lightly caressed, comforting herself with her own purrs.
    It was with a heavy heart that we listened to the vet start speaking of quality of life, a typical speech made whenever a loved one nears death… and, our hearts already broken, we eventually assented to euthanasia.
    Less than five hours later, I don’t know if it was the right choice. Was it a mercy, an act of love? Was it a betrayal of the absolute trust one can only gain from an animal when that pet is treated as family? Or was it something in between… I can never know. While I understood many things about my cat, I will never know what she thought on this, her last day, what she felt toward us as she went into the final sleep.
    I will never know. There are so many things about that last day that I will never know. I feel my heart breaking all over again as I write this. I feel the empty feeling of loss. The standard words are no comfort. The euphemisms and trite words of comfort that come out of people’s mouths at times like this feel like excuses and obfuscations. The bitter flavor of grief sours food in my mouth and makes the world a darker place.
    I can’t even make the excuse that she wouldn’t want me to grieve for her… because she is a cat, and no cat would ever miss out on a chance to be the center of attention.
  4. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Maggot Baits (JP VN Review)   
    Maggot Baits is something of a Holy Grail of dark eroge, highly anticipated guro fans within the Western VN community and often hyped as possibly the greatest achievement of the company that produced it, Clock Up. As one the most gruesome VNs ever produced, and quite likely the most brutal one ever brought to the West, it contains dozens upon dozens of violent sex scenes, all accompanied by intricate CGs, with small variations in them so numerable that they sum to nearly 2500 unique illustrations. All of that placed in a highly-unique, modern-fantasy setting populated by amazingly-crafted characters and tackling interesting philosophical and religious topics. While it’s pretty much the furthest possible thing from what I usually write about on this blog, few games intrigued me as much as this one, particularly after my inconsistent, but extremely interesting experience with Clock Up’s another famous title, euphoria. Everything I’ve heard about Maggot Baits suggested that it was both more extreme and overall better than studio’s other bestseller, and after reading it to completion, I felt the need to share my thoughts about it in detail. Both because it’s a pretty fascinating case of strengths and pitfalls of this breed of eroge, and to warn those interested in it as a piece of storytelling – while in many ways an incredible achievement, this game is extremely hard to recommend for a “normie” reader such as myself. Why is that exactly?
                    Before I go into story details, it’s most important to deal with Maggot Baits’ greatest issue – its structure and general storytelling formula. This game is, at its core, a guro nukige and it’s incredibly dedicated to this template. It throws h-scenes at you at very consistent intervals, disregarding whatever might be going on in the story and sacrificing any sense of pacing or tension so it can constantly offer a new piece of violent hentai. Quite often, the scenes are not important for, or even directly connected to what’s happening in the plot, pretty much pausing the whole narrative to insert a new piece of fanservice. In this, it goes even further than euphoria, which did a much better job intertwining its scenes with the story and had a bit more restraint in the most dramatic and meaningful parts of the plot. Maggot Baits even goes to the length of adding a major side-branch in the first chapter of the story, which is nothing but 3-4 hours of futanari porn leading to a bad ending. All of it narratively empty and pretty much derailing your experience if you expect any kind of interesting reveals or a meaningful conclusion within it. I still don’t understand why it was a part of the main story, and especially inserted so early in the game, before you build any connection to the characters involved or can understand the full implications of what is happening in those scenes. 
    Read the full article at evnchronicles.blogspot.com
  5. Like
    Dergonu got a reaction from Emi for a blog entry, Aojiru verse post #2: In'Youchuu   
    Aojiru verse introduction #2: In'Youchuu
    In the last post I listed the current games in the Aojiru verse, (I'm probably the only person on earth calling it this, but it must become a thing!), and I introduced the game that started it all; Hanamaru! Today I will dig deeper into what exactly you should expect from Aojiru games, and introduce In'Youchuu, the most iconic Aojiru-game to date.

    Introduction:
    Let us begin with a general introduction to Aojiru's games. These games are all fairly dark, both in general writing and story, as well as the H content. That being said there is also usually a decent amount of sol moments in each game, with a proper good ending that can be reached by avoiding a minefield of bad endings scattered throughout the games. For games like In'Youchuu with several sequels, this good ending will be the default canon that will continue to the next installment. Exceptions of this rule would be the standalone horror games, such as Fuka no Jugoku, which is a story of pure madness, with no real "good" outcome. There is just very little room for sol content in a game like that. But, the majority of Aojiru's games will feature at least some of it.
    What's interesting about Aojiru games is that the sol moments are actually very enjoyable, and it really feels like they belong, despite of the dark themes these games have. They really nailed it with having just the right amount of "feelgood" content before shit goes bad, so you have time to get to know the characters before shit hits the fan. You get invested in both the story and the characters. Well I do, anyways. I never get tired of seeing Yamato and Mikoto, two characters from In'Youchuu, shouting insults at each other like an old married couple. The games also have some pretty adorable chibi art:

    Many might brand the Aojiru games as mere nukige with no substance or plot, but this is inaccurate. Sure, the games have a lot of H-content and I can see a case being made for them being branded as nukige. But, they are absolutely not mindless nukige without any story. In fact, I find most of the stories told in Aojiru games legitimately interesting, and get very invested in the worlds and the characters introduced in them. Of course, I have to admit I am a fan of the dark H content that there is an abundance of in these games, but I also love the stories, and think games where the two elements can be combined are very cool. If you think the same, these are basically made for you.
    In'Youchuu

    Normally Aojiru games will feature some kind of supernatural entity, such as Nightmare from In'Youchuu-we will talk more about him in a second-or Kudan from Kowaku no Toki. (That dude scared the shit out of me when I first played Kowaku.) These two are very different beings, but both get classified as some kind of "youma", which is a monster born from negative emotions. Some are mindless creatures driven by primal urges, while others are incredibly intelligent beings with god-like powers.
    In In'youchuu we follow a group of monster hunters-The Monster Subjugation Division: The Black Cats- who can use different kinds of spiritual and magical powers to destroy these creatures. (Let's make it simple and call them "The Black Cats.")
    The four members of The Black Cats are Yamato, our protagonist, a half-demon who mainly relies on brute force when fighting. He's a big pervert, and is definitely not the brains of the operation. Then there is Mikoto, the oldest of the Shiratori twins, Mikoto and Takeru Shiratori. She might be the "oldest" of the two, but she is also the most immature of the girls. She always gets in arguments with Yamato, and gets scolded by her little sister, Takeru, for not thinking before she acts on a frequent basis. She hates doing paperwork and will do anything to get out of it. While she is not as well-versed in magic as her sister, she wields a powerful weapon, The Spirit Blade Raikou, and likes to fight in close combat like Yamato. Takeru, the youngest twin, is a cool and collected fighter who always analyzes the situation before charging in, unlike the other two. If not for her, Yamato and Mikoto would surely have gotten themselves killed already. Finally there is Yoru, the leader of the Black Cats and the reason for the group's name. He is a nekotama, a cat spirit. I said Yamato is not the brains of the operation due to his pervertendess and well, Yoru is... the same. He might be the leader, but Takeru is the one making the calls when it counts. Meanwhile, Yoru is off doing... this. (Told you there was some goofy content in these games )

    From left to right we have Yoru, Mikoto and Takeru

    And here is Yamato
    In'Youchuu starts off with Takeru being sent to a school up in the mountains where there have been reports of monsters popping up at night. However, she never reports back to The Black Cats, and goes silent. Concerned about what could have happened, Yoru sends Mikoto and Yamato to the school to investigate Takeru's disappearance, and the nightmare begins.
    Yamato and Mikoto start investigating the school, though find no signs of Takeru on the first night. She simply seems to have vanished. Meanwhile, there are clear signs of monsters hiding somewhere in the school, and the duo heads there at night when monsters are most active. At this point, you are given choices rather frequently, usually with each fight. One wrong choice and you will be sent off to a bad ending, where horrible things will usually happen to the characters. Trying to avoid these bad endings is in my opinion part of the excitment in playing these games. Make a wrong turn and you get "punished", as the characters fails, (though you could see this as a reward depending on how you look at it,) and if you make the right choice the story continues. Though, this does of course not mean you are guaranteed to be victorious. There are times where things just goes south, which is to be expected in games these dark.

    A standard group of youma that you will encounter a lot. These are the mindless sort, that feeds off human organs and are driven solely by primal urges: hunger and the need to breed.
    At the school we are introduced to some familiar faces, like Momono Momo and Sumire from Hanamaru! And also get introduced to a new face, Sui, a childhood friend of Yamato who gets pulled into the chaos that is unfolding at the shcool.
    Eventually you start to figure out what is going on, and meet the first big bad of the Aojiru games: Nightmare. He is a humanoid youma with horse features, that feasts on the wombs of women and aims to create an army of monsters by making the women he eat into breeding machines. Needless to say, he is not a nice guy. Some of the bad endings with this guy... phew. Erhem, anyways.
    In'Youchuu offers some pretty cool fight scenes, with everything from chuuni chants to epic battle CGs. Of course, I don't want to hype this part of the games up too much. Like, you shouldn't go into these games expecting Dies Irae level fight scenes. But, they are definitely enjoyable, and there is often at least one big climax at the end with some pretty cool stuff. There's tons of fight scenes, but the one big one towards the end often uses a lot more budget in the CG department, heh.

    Nightmare. He looks both hilarious and terrifying if you ask me, heh.

    Yamato in his transformed state, during a battle. Being a half-demon, he is capable of transforming himself into a demon for a short time, though it takes a huge toll on his mind and body.

    Yoru, after going into combat mode. Yes, he is a badass.
    I obviously have not linked too many NSFW images in this blog post. There is a lot of that in In'Youchuu, naturally. A lot. But, you can find them yourselves, I'm sure. What I wanted to do with this post was introduce more of the serious side of In'Youchuu, and in turn, Aojiru games as a whole. These games aren't just tentacle nukige with some dark scenes. Sure, there's lots of that, but there's much more to them. There's actual stories here, with well developed worlds and characters. I fell in love with these games because of the mix of seriousness and dark H. I am also just a huge fan of Aojiru's art in general.
    I really hope an Aojiru game gets picked up for localization one day. Heck, maybe I'll be able to translate one myself down the line. That would be pretty exciting.
     
    Anyways, if you do speak Japanese, I recommend giving one of these games a try. Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy the ride more than you expected. A lot of people see "nukige" and brush the games off as bad right off the bat, which is why I'm not overly fond of that branding. Yes, with the amount of H in these, it probably does fit to call them nukige, but there's also so much more to them.
    That is it for my post on In'Youchuu 1. Next blog post will either be about the sequel, Shoku, or Kowaku no Toki, one of my favorites. I still haven't decided which one to go with yet. Either way, see you again then.
  6. Like
    Dergonu got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak for a blog entry, Tinkerbell "Aojiru verse" post #1   
    The Aojiru verse: Entry #1: An introduction
    This is the first in a series of blog posts I will be making about the "Aojiru verse", referring to a series of Tinkerbell games drawn by Aojiru, which includes popular games such as Kowaku no Toki, In'Youchuu etc. Tinkerbell has quickly become one of my favorite VN devs ever, specifically because of the games drawn by Aojiru. I have bought all of the games in the Aojiru verse, and have slowly but surely made my way through them. While I am not done with every single game yet, I have played enough to start making these blog posts.
    I will be doing a few specific game spotlights of my favorites later on, though this entry will mainly introduce the Aojiru verse in general. The next entry will talk more specifics about what to expect from Aojiru games in general, as well as a game spotlight of the first major title in the series, In'Youchuu 1.
    The "Aojiru verse" started in 2004 with Hanamaru! While Aojiru drew two other games for Tinkerbell before this, Okite no Shima and Hidamari no Kage de, these do not share any characters or story with the games that followed, so Hanamaru! becomes the game that basically started the "Aojiru verse". Hanamaru! Is interesting in that it is a completely vanilla game, without any real dark content at all, though it's still set in the Aojiru verse, which mainly consists of very dark stories. Very dark stories.
    Aojiru has drawn a few more games similar to Okite no Shima/ Hidamari no Kage de that are not counted in the Aojiru verse due to being done by different writing staff, and generally not fitting the tone of the Aojiru verse games at all. (The creative team behind most of his games have been the same, which has probably been one of the main reasons why they were turned into this one big universe.)
    Though, while most of the games in the Aojiru verse share characters and stories, there are some that do not, but that are still counted in the Aojiru verse. I have a list of all of them below.
    Games colored in green are important to understanding the overall plot in future games, and are considered "must reads."
    Yellow means they share characters/ plotlines with other games to some extent, and are recommended, but not needed.
    Red means they have little or no connection to the rest of the universe. They are still a part of the universe, though can be skipped completely if you want. This also means you can START with these games if you want, as they are standalone.
     
    The current Aojiru verse:
    2004-2009
    The beginning of the Aojiru verse, consisting of games all tied together in some way
    Hanamaru! (2004) - Introduces characters and story elements relevant in later stories such as In'Youchuu, Kowaku no Toki etc -
    Chou no Yume (2005) - Happens before the other stories in the current Aojiru verse, but is confirmed to be a part of the story in Hanamru! 2, and simply happens way earlier, in the 1600s -
    In'youchuu ~Ryoujoku Gakuen Taimaroku~ (2005) - Shares characters, story and a setting with Hanamaru! + introduces many new, important characters to the Aojiru verse. It is considered one of the, if not the best Aojiru game. It is definitely the most iconic -
    In'youchuu Shoku ~Ryoushokutou Taimaroku~ (2006) - A direct sequel to Gakuen, introduces Ouka and Kikuka -
    Kowaku no Toki (2007) - Somewhat standalone, though does use both Ouka and Kikuka, showing what they do after Shoku. Also shares a general setting with In'Youchuu, and introduces youma with different appearances and abilities from the ones found In'Youchuu games -
    Hanamaru! 2 (2008) - Shares characters from ALL of the previous games, and introduces the idea of a multiverse. No, I am not kidding, this is marvel cinematic level shit. The game is mainly pure comedy, though it has dark scenarios for each heroine available in a side menu, so fans of the standard Aojiru games won't be disappointed -
    In'youchuu Etsu ~Kairaku Henka Taimaroku~ (2009) - Introduces new characters relevant in future In'Youchuu games, teaches you more about the origin of youma -
    2010-2014
    The following period took a step back from the previous style of crossovers, introducing new stories and characters to the Aojiru verse, without needing knowledge of previous works
    Mouryou no Nie (2010), Kuraibito (2012), Kagome no Mayu (2013): - All confirmed to be in the same universe as In'Youchuu, introducing other sides of the world. No shared characters -
    Fuka no Jugoku ~Ugomeku Moushuu no Rensa... Owari no Nai Kyouen~ (2014)... - A standalone game seemingly unrelated to the rest of the universe, though based on the content and staff working on it, it's in one of the universes introduced in Hanamru 2 not related to In'Youchuu. It's an extremely dark thriller / horror game not for the faint of heart -
    2014-2019
    Releasing only games without any shared characters seemingly did not pay off too well, as the following period goes back to creating several new games int he In'Youchuu series, whilst also creating some new stories
     
    (Since I have not had the time to play each one of these titles yet, some of them will lack detailed information)
    In'youchuu Gaiden (2014) - Side stories setting up for the new In'Youchuu game, Kyou. Can be skipped since it's a side story, though I recommend reading it -
    In'youchuu Kyou ~Ryoujoku Byoutou Taimaroku~ (2014) - Introduces a whole new set of characters. While they have been mentioned in passing during previous games, they have not showed up yet-
    In'youchuu Kyou ~Kuon no Hime Miko~ (2015) - Side story to Kyou -
    Sarai no Me (2015) - Standalone horror game -
    In'youchuu Rei ~Ryoujoku Shiro Taima Emaki~ (2016) - Sequel to Kyou -
    In'youchuu Goku ~Ryoujoku Jigoku Taimaroku~ (2016) - Squel to Goku -
    Shin'yaku In'youchuu (2017) - A remake of the original In'Youchuu, mixing in the new characters from Kyou/ Rei/ Goku. It has a new artstyle, and some parts of the story has been re-done. It is considered canon in the In'Youchuu game, and basically works as both a reboot and a sequel to Goku. In short, it's basically just a modernized re-telling of the first In'youchuu story with the new characters mixed in -
    Shin'yaku In'youchuu - Shiro Neko Honpo Hen & Tsukishiro ... (2017) - Side story, can be skipped, shows what other chars not in Goku were doing during those events -
    Grand Guignol no Yoru (2018) - Standalone horror game -
    Mugen no Sakura ~Hitsuya-hime Injoku Youshokutan~ (2019) - Standalone fantasy game where elves from another world flee into ours for sanctuary, as they are hunted by a mad sorcerer. No standard youma are present, and there are no shared characters or lore to the previous games, so it's considered completely standalone -
     
    Hanamaru:
    With the general introduction to the Aojiru verse out of the way, let us quickly talk about Hanamaru. There really is not all that much to say, so I'll make it quick. (The next game spotlights will be much more detailed, of course.)
    It is honestly a fairly average moege. It's cute, it's fun, but that's about it. As someone who likes the Aojiru verse for its dark content, I wasn't really that interested in this game. But, it does set up the world that In'Youchuu is built on, so it's definitely still important. It's clear in the small details of the writing that the creative team were going to take this to a dark place. They just did not do it in Hanamaru itself.
    There are magical beings in our world, some good and some evil. Hanamru only really shows us the good ones, but introduces the idea of evil ones existing. You don't really get many answers to where these beings come from or why they are the way they are. These answers come later in the In'Youchuu games. But, this helps create a mysterious atmosphere to the game, which will be picked up again when the main characters of In'Youchuu travel to the school where Hanamaru is set to solve a case of a large amount of youma, (monsters, I'll get into details about them in the next entry,) have invaded the school. You are also introduced to Momono Momo, who is actually a monster hunter herself. Though, she does work actively anymore, and rarely shows her skills on screen. She is also the character with the most cameos in all of Aojiru's games, and has become the games' mascot.
    Anyways, the tl;dr of Hanamaru is: cute moe with a bit of a dark undertone that is picked up again in the games that follows it.
    Here is the game's opening. Personally I find the song incredibly catchy.
    That is it for this entry. In the next entry I will explain more in detail what to expect of the Aojiru verse games in general, as well as introduce the first big entry in the universe, In'Youchuu.
  7. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Ramaladni for a blog entry, VN of the Month December 2003 - Saya no Uta   
    You should read this over at https://j-addicts.de/vn-of-the-month-december-2003/ as not only does it have (some) juicier screenshots, but the formatting is much better.
     
    First of all, I believe I should thank the j-addicts/Koutou Yuumin team for their knowledge and expertise. This article grew way beyond my expectations, and I would surely have lost my way without them. Also, to the several friends who gave me feedback and helped me out in various ways, thank you very much. Well then, shall we start?
    This month has four masturpieces (get it?). They are Saishuu Chikan Densha 2, Kadowakashi, Christmas★Present, and Kizumono no Shoujo Gaiden. That being said, there are still several other quite decent games. The game that surprised me the most by the positive and my personal masturpiece is Jam 'n Limit, and the games that disappointed me much were Eisai Kyouiku and Yami no Koe III. If you're looking for this month's overall best game, the answer is probably something boring like Saya no Uta (the answer, not the game).
    How are masturpieces decided, you ask? Introducing: the fap-o-meter!
    In Erogamescape, it's possible to vote on how suitable the H-scenes were for fapping material, ranging from "Weren't useful at all" to "Were pretty useful." Thus, I will attribute a numerical score (from 0 to 5) for each of those and tally up the average. This will be known as the fap-o-meter.
    This isn't a fallible and objective method, but it should give an idea of how much cummies the players were able to get out of these games.
    The Games
    To begin with, I decided which games to play based on EGS's database. This is because it's bound to have more games listed than vndb. Out of 107 releases, I checked out 31 games. There were 21 games I would've considered for review, except that I wasn't able to obtain them as nearly all of them are obscure doujin games, which were sold exclusively at Comiket. I blacklisted 55 games: 32 are moege/charage/plotge – basically, games that have too much plot or other crap in the way of my precious porn, 9 were re-releases, 7 were PS2 games or not VNs, 6 were all-ages and thus no porn, and 1 was listed incorrectly.
    Please keep in mind that just because a game is ranked higher or lower, it's not an absolute indicator of its quality. Some games cater to one fetish exclusively, so they're not bound to please everyone.
    The game titles have been localized by me, as I thought that's something that a predominantly English-speaking audience would appreciate. That is if they don't have one already. The same goes for the synopsis. Many of them are translated by me, and at times, I've had to replace what was very obviously nonsensical machine-translated garbage.
    I am still in the process of learning Japanese, and translating is, well, challenging, but I can assure you that there are no lies, falsehoods, or made-up stuff on them. I will put any game descriptions that aren't mine between quotes and credit them appropriately.
    The screenshots are at 75% of their original resolution, except for one of the games where I could only play the widescreen version, so it's at 50%.
    If you're interested in a specific game, I'd advise for you to CTRL+F search for it. If you'd like to read my overall conclusions on this whole venture, search for My Thoughts and Conclusions.
    One last thing: I did not rely on machine translation tools to play these games.
    1. Midnight Sleazy Train 2
    EGS-Score: 74 (442) Atelier Kaguya TEAM HEARTBEAT Fap-o-meter: 3.26 (91) Saishuu Chikan Densha 2 Main appeal: chikan, forceful sex, group sex 最終痴漢電車2
    "Touch her/Lick her/Verbally abuse her"
    Well, color me surprised! For some reason, this game has hundreds of votes, so I was curious about how that came to be. Perhaps a lot of people watched the H-OVA and became interested in the game that way? That's what I call a marketing success.
    But that's not all. The game itself is a pretty good nukige. Beyond the beautiful art and hot H-scenes, the game bolsters a pretty robust map movement system. Unlike most games where you wander at random, hoping you'll run into the characters, the game tells if there's someone at the place you're about to visit. It sounds like something straightforward, but it doesn't matter how good the game's content is if the system doesn't facilitate the access to that very content.
    Besides that, you also have verb-based interactivity during the H-scenes (filling up their lewdness level gauge), and this makes for perfect roleplaying. You're not just playing as a groping protagonist, you feel like the groper yourself. With all of these factors combined, it's no wonder that so many people enjoy this game and the series, yet to this very day.
    Though, if you're not that big of a fan of uh...gangbangs, you might not enjoy it that much. Maybe watch the H-OVA first and see if it's something you'd like.
    2. Kidnapping
    EGS-Score: 65 (41) ZyX Fap-o-meter: 3.25 (4) Kadowakashi Main appeal: sexual slavery 拐 ~カドワカシ~  
     
    Wow, uh, what a fast development. They really get straight to the action, huh. Within a couple of minutes, the protagonist rapes one of his students, Tomoko. I'm actually not a fan of justifying this as "lol deep dark desires," but I guess that's the setup they were going for.
    The main meat of this game is to sexually train a trio of heroines. True to its name, with Tomoko's help, you kidnap two of your students and confine them in a locked room, starting off with Mizue.
    What really makes this game stand out is the sheer variety in H content. The heroine has stats, most of them sexually-related, and you have to raise them to allow for even kinkier play. You have to be strategic with your options to train the ultimate sex slaves. Though, if you suck, you can play on Easy difficulty.
    When I say variety, I mean that ALL of these options are available at the start (well, as long as the heroine "consents" to it). This means all kinds of play. You can choose to be kind or to be sadistic. You can make her service you or teach her pleasure through shamefulness. Ultimate freedom and variety.
    That doesn't mean you can just do anything. If you're too harsh on her, she'll collapse. Have this happen enough times, and you'll get a game over. So please, be responsible, and take good care of your sex slaves!
    When it comes to the staff members, the spotlight is on the game's artist, Mutou Keiji. He is responsible for the character design and art of many games I have played in the past, from Studio Triumph. It's extremely similar to JAST published Do You Like Horny Bunnies?. Perhaps they had the same teacher? It might seem odd at first, but I grew really fond of this style over time. The sex scenes are also animated, and for once, they actually look good. Nice!
    3. Christmas★Present
    EGS-Score: 70 (62) Ail [Team Riva] Fap-o-meter: 3.09 (11) Christmas★Present Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, comedy クリスマス★プレゼント
    This was actually the game I was looking forward to playing the most. Considering this is the month of December, I really wanted to play at least one game that would really get me into the holiday spirit. It took me hours to figure out how to get it working, but man, was it worth it!
    While the description is a bit grim and dark, the game is actually the complete opposite. It's always fun and filled with comedic moments. The best way to describe this game would perhaps be "bakage" (silly game) due to its sheer absurdity and ridiculousness.
    Of note, the game has a sort of "affinity" system. Your actions will increase your "evil" points by a certain amount. So, you can abuse the powers of the Saint's Crest, which can make any wish come true, or you can be a good boy and play along as Santa's Little Helper, spreading happiness all over town.
    The art is beautiful, the sex is hot, the banter between characters is great. This game would make for the perfect Christmas present.
    4. Defiled Girls - Campus of Used Goods Side Story
    EGS-Score: 70 (83) Rasen Fap-o-meter: 2.82 (17) Kizumono no Shoujo -Kizumono no Gakuen Gaiden- Main appeal: blackmail, forceful sex, group sex 傷モノの少女-傷モノの学園・外伝-
    This an insult game. This game has insult scenes, the protagonist and his buddy insult the girls...wait, what? Duh, I mean, rape. Yes, that's the word. This game is basically a side story of the original Kizumono no Gakuen. You don't really need to have played the previous game as it's not a direct sequel.
    Takeshi and Narumi's involvement in the previous incident is briefly explained - Takeshi was forced to film the girls being raped, under threat of being killed, and Narumi was one of the victims. Upon finding one of his old videos, he can no longer contain his excitement.
    I prefer this game to the first one because I like seeing the gap between peaceful school life and the moments of higher tension. That's not to say that the battle royale setting isn't thrilling though. It also feels like more of a personal experience, since you have one protagonist instead of multiple ones/multiple POVs.
    While you might initially think it to be a rape fest...it's just so much more than that. It capitalizes on human emotions: sorrow, anguish, sadness, loneliness...and instead of an abrupt chaotic state, it's gratifying to witness that transition. You can also expect exciting developments such as betrayals when you least see them coming.
    The H-scenes are well, pretty good. There's nothing that bonds friends together any more than doing the same girl at the same time...the story is about the defilement of the girls, as much as it is about the corruption of the protagonist's psyche. Though it helps to have a friend who is crazier than you. At least in this game, the "villains" actually feel like villains as they delve into their intricate plots, instead of your casual rapists.
    Of particular note, this game has a quite nice atmosphere, boosted by a quality soundtrack. Good faps are to be had with this game.
    5. I'm a Booth Attendant - Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales
    EGS-Score: 65 (35) Interheart Fap-o-meter: 2.75 (4) Oira wa Bandai ~Heisaku & Kenta no Yume Monogatari~ Main appeal: voyeurism オイラは番台~平作&健太の夢物語~
    One day, a police detective suddenly barged in a certain popular public bathhouse that the protagonist was in charge of.
    "Dan Koutarou! You're under arrest, under suspicion of sexual assault!"
    With a clack, he was handcuffed.
    Several months passed, and after a hellish series of interrogations, his guilt was established.

    "Why, why am I the only one serving a prison sentence?
    Why are Heisaku and Kenta getting away scott free?
    But, it seems that is my fate...
    Even if they were to be caught, it does not mean that my punishment would go away, but...
    Is the public bathhouse that I inherited from my pops done for?
    I've really done something awful to him..."
     
    Man, I can't believe we came out innocent. I feel kinda bad about pushing the blame solely on Koutarou, but this too is part of fate, huh. Kou-chan, just sit quietly in your cell! So, we were cleared of suspicion, but what should we do from now on? You're right...for now, how about we go back to Koutarou's shop, and peek in the bath once again?! There's also videos of those women we filmed that we haven't used yet! To begin with, let's change bathhouse's name! Enter Heisaku and Kenta's Wild Tales! This is a side story, continuing off the ending of the first game. I really recommend that you play that game first so that you'll get the most enjoyment out of the story.
    Basically, this is a real-time, public bathhouse management game. You take in customers, and you can peek at them while they change clothes, are in the toilet or just chilling in the bath. You'll have to follow the schedule carefully and know the exact times when the heroines visit the bathhouse. The game's system is pretty helpful in this regard, but something like a tutorial would've been much appreciated. It takes some time to get used to the gameplay, as you also have to use and buy items that will help you in your peeping quest, but I find the experience to be worth the trouble.
    If anything, the banter between characters is pretty well-done. Most of the characters are actually adults, which is a nice change of pace. I also like that the previous game's protagonist went to jail since that's what happens when you do bad things. The game is pretty similar to the first one, so once again, that's probably where you want to start.
    Interheart themselves published a walkthrough for this game, and I wish I had noticed it before playing...oh well.
    6. Please Teach Nanami and Konomi the ABC
    EGS-Score: 68 (101) Studio Ring Fap-o-meter: 2.61 (18) Nanami to Konomi no Oshiete ABC Main appeal: lolicon ななみとこのみのおしえてA・B・C
    Alright, so uh...yeah. Despite the pretty art and cutesy voice acting, I found this game to be not much more than wish fulfillment for lolicon.
    To begin with, I'm not a fan of deredere, lovestruck heroines, but if you're into this type of content, you're probably going to enjoy it.
    7. Lewd Little Sister BABY
    EGS-Score: 65 (65) Image Craft Fap-o-meter: 2.58 (13) Inmai Baby Main appeal: lolicon 淫妹BABY
    Right, so, uh...yeah. There are two main points of interest in this game. First, it's the art or overall art direction. Not only are the H-scenes fully animated, but the sprites are also constantly changing very fluidly. The artstyle might seem simple, but it's nice and colorful. Honestly, this game very much feels like an anime, to the point I'd almost unironically call it an "anime game".
    The second point is the sheer amount and variety of endings. You have the freedom to craft the story as you please, but remember that everything you do has a consequence.
    Strictly speaking, I'd only recommend this to fans of the genre.
    8. Children Milk Parfait
    EGS-Score: 66 (28) Shiritsu Sakuranbo Shouggakou Fap-o-meter: 2.57 (7) Kodomo Milk Parfait Main appeal: lolicon こどもみるくぱふぇ
    I swear, I'm not doing it on purpose! Anyway, for this game, I actually had to make a decision, since if I included the votes of the 2007 DVD release, it would score much higher. To make things fair, I decided not to.
    In my opinion, I found this game to be boring. The children don't act like children (more like naughty adults trapped in a child's body), and most scenes are teasing.
    I also thought that the OP was really catchy, it even forced me to get up from my chair and bust my moves for a few minutes. The UI is also extremely cutesy, which fits the mood of the game.

    9. Matty, the youngest child
    EGS-Score: 61 (22) Complet's Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (6) Matty Main appeal: straight shotacon まってぃ
    I actually completed two routes of this game...but it's difficult to call them routes to begin with. Okay, first of all, this is what will usually happen. At school, you get two alternating choices that decide what type of event will occur. When you're back home, you get four choices which are meaningless by themselves (e.g., kill time, go back to your room, watch TV, etc.), and if you're lucky you'll trigger some kind of event with the heroines.
    When it's time to go to bed, you can choose between going to sleep right away, going to the restroom, or reading a porn magazine (there are like four to collect, can you get them all?!). The first two of those choices CAN trigger events, but 90% of the time nothing happens.
    And this repeats every single day until the game ends. You have no idea which choices trigger what, you have to constantly savescum if you want to see events with a certain heroine (and of course, you'll have to try all the choices first, every time), and even then, more than half of the scenes are teasing. So all you're really doing is collecting events.
    I hope I was able to convey the frustration I felt playing this game. Why couldn't they have employed a map movement system, where you could just visit everyone in their respective rooms? Why this lazy, inane system? And even worse, the heroine I was aiming for doesn't even have an H-scene or a proper ending. The game just ends abruptly. What a piece of crap.
    Either way, the art by Mame is definitely the game's high point. I recommend that you read the prologue, download a complete save file, and check out the H-scenes. Or play a better game, by the same company.
    10. Surrender - Ravished Body, Broken Heart
    EGS-Score: 60 (3) X[iks] Fap-o-meter: 2.5 (2) Shikkan ~Hazukashimerareta Karada, Oreta Kokoro~ Main appeal: BDSM, forceful sex, mystery しっかん ~辱められた躰、折れた心~
    This is a mystery game where the objective is to uncover the spy and the island's other mysteries. Who is the spy, and what are they after? What secrets does this hospital hold?
    The navigation is done through a map movement system. I usually dislike these, but you can at least trust the characters to hang out in a specific place. There's the doctor who hangs out at her own office, the patient that stays inside her room, the two nurses in the nurse station and the nurse in the psychosomatic ward. If you check out the other areas, you can find out more about the game's world, side characters, and... special tools.
    When you talk to the characters, there's also this interactive system, kinda like the old verb-based games. Except that it's with nouns, people's names, locations and so on.In conclusion, the game's system is kinda annoying, and honestly, I don't feel like doing bad things to the characters when they're so lovely... The dialogue and voice acting are built in such a way that they actually feel like real humans. Speaking of voice acting, it's pretty good! You might recognize some industry veterans...
    I'd say that despite some annoyances, the journey does feel worth it. It's definitely a game I'd like to spend more time with.
    11. Good Girl's Worries Counselling Room - Fantasy World's Immoral Guidance
    EGS-Score: 65 (15) Collection Fap-o-meter: 2.33 (3) Yoi Ko no Nayami Soudanshitsu ~Mousou Sekai no Haitokuteki Shidou~ Main appeal: group sex, forceful sex よい娘の悩み相談室~妄想世界の背徳的指導~
    Essentially, when his brother collapses from overwork, by sheer coincidence the protagonist manages to find out that he was in charge of a counseling website. The gameplay is simple: you check your inbox on the website, pick the e-mail you want to read, read it, and then the protagonist imagines the H-events described on the e-mail. After that, it is your job to give the girls advice through a series of choices.
    I was initially disappointed, thinking it was kinda lame to not engage with the heroines directly, but I find this to be a really novel idea. They take what would be generic H-scenes and give them a backstory, aftermath, and the female character's perspective. The most fun I had with this game was reading those very e-mails and challenging myself to give good advice.
    For example, there's a high school student who talks about how several boys confessed to her at once, and she ends indulging their wish of wanting to create "pleasant memories" with her. I told her that she needs to value her body more and that she should be responsible and pick only one of the guys to be her boyfriend. It really feels like a very personal experience, where I am crafting my own story, almost as if I was actually talking to a real high school student.
    I did not get that far, but it seems, later on, you'll actually be able to meet the girls, so there's something to look forward to. After all, most of the game's H-scenes only occur inside the protagonist's fantasy world, not in reality...or do they?
    Another point I'd make is that while the art might seem kinda amateurish, I actually think it's pretty hot. I like it!
    12. Bright Future - Wet 'N Messy 2nd Time
    EGS-Score: 70 (93) FlyingShine Black Fap-o-meter: 2.17 (12) Akarui Mirai ~Wet And Messy 2nd time~ Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, wet and messy アカルイミライ Wet And Messy 2nd time
    This is a mystery/drama game that also doubles as a nukige. You, as the leader of the newspaper club, are initially given the task to investigate the so-called "Honey Ghost." The rest is according to the description: you start talking to a girl from the past and then realize that she died. Your objective is to find out what happened and change her terrible fate to a bright future.
    But that's not all. There are also several peculiarities happening in the present. There's the mysterious psychic treatment (psychosomatic) school club, which is in fact just a front for a group of rapists. While you are busy with your investigation, be careful not to let the heroines fall into their grasp...
    True to its name, you can expect things to get really wet and messy, by a variety of fluids...be it water, essential oils (aromatherapy), milk, SEMEN...But while the art is beautiful and the story seems promising, the game actually suffers from the excessive H-scenes. Before you really have time to care about a heroine, you end up peeking on them having or being forced into sex by a group of guys. If the scenes were more spaced out, the game would actually feel like it has some tension. Overall, I Just feel like it's trying to do too many things at once.
    While you get plenty of choices, only very few of them branch out the story. Most of them just give you an alternate or slightly different scene. They don't really have an impact on the story. The series was rebooted as the Kurai Mirai (Dark Future) or Crime Rhyme series. By the name alone, you can see the new direction that they took with the games, which I'm not of a fan of. Because no matter which manners of cruelties they must endure, at least the title name "Bright Future" gives you the hope that there is a way for the heroines to avoid their awful fate...even if not entirely.
    I'm not a fan of these quasi-NTR gangrape games, where you're just walking around, peeking on others having sex, and not really doing much about it. That's not to say that some of the scenes aren't hot, especially if you like it...wet and messy. I like this scene where your previous choice changes whether the heroine calls you senpai or onii-chan. It's, uh, a nice touch since you're pretty much defining the relationship you have with her.
    13. Mansion, the Prison of Lust
    EGS-Score: 60 (12) Girl's Software Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Ingoku no Yakata Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery, maids 淫獄の館
    First, I suppose I should start with what I liked about this game. The art is gorgeous when it comes to the character design and HCGs, drawn by one of my favorite eroge artists. The sexual slavery scenes are quite varied, but there's also a good number of vanilla scenes. You basically get the choice to give in to your "deep dark desires," or to defy your captor.
    To be honest, despite this being a nukige, what I enjoyed the most were the slice-of-life scenes and banter between characters. The music is a great mood-setter, but what made these scenes that much more enjoyable was the stellar voice acting performance. I'm sure that if you look at their names, you'll recognize several industry veterans. I'd point out Isshiki Hikaru, who voices the protagonist's sister in Cartagra as especially memorable. However, all of them were really good, and I also liked their performance in...other parts of the game. That's the thing, though. After spending all that time growing fond of the characters, I don't really want to do awful things to them.
    For this game's negative points, I'd say that getting a good ending is really difficult without using a walkthrough, and otherwise, it just gets frustrating. I also disliked the spontaneous H-scenes during the first part of the game. This is because they are all "dream sequences," more like showing a possible future for the protagonist.
    It feels as if those scenes were just thrown in there because the slice-of-life and comedy sections were too long, and they thought people would get bored if they didn't get some fap material, but eh. They feel entirely out of place because there's no context and no build-up for those scenes.Another point is that when I train my sex slaves, I don't like sharing them with others...especially dirty old men.
    14. Stray Sheep - Disgraceful Confession Room
    EGS-Score: 55 (4) Panda House Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Stray Sheep ~Chijoku no Zangeshitsu~ Main appeal: BDSM, mystery STRAY SHEEP ~恥辱の懺悔室~
    Stray Sheep doubles as mystery and hardcore BDSM game. The protagonist makes use of his privileged position as the school's new Father to search for the truth, little by time, at times employing more forceful means.
    I did not find myself able to empathize with the protagonist and his revenge-filled heart. It's not that I'm not fond of revenge stories, but if you're going to do awful things to someone, then at least do it to people who deserve it.
    If one thing though, both the CGs and character sprites sure are pretty. Reminds me a bit of Mink's artstyle of that time.
    15. Masquerade
    EGS-Score: 64 (14) Soft Circle Courreges Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) Masquerade Main appeal: maid, pure love story MASQUERADE
    While the setting seems to be grimdark, it's actually kinda wrong to call it a nukige. In fact, you could complete the game while avoiding most of the sexual content.
    I actually completed this game as it's relatively short, about one to two others long. I found the main story to be sweet and very much worth the time I spent with it. Some might find it generic, but I guess I'm fond of these pure love type of stories.
    You can choose to either engage in sexual acts with your maid or to have conversations with her about a variety of topics, getting to know her better. By sexual acts, I mean that you don't force yourself upon her and that everything is done consensually, even if the protagonist is in a position of authority. On that front, it's kinda weak as a BDSM/sexual slavery game, but I appreciate the variety of content and the hot HCGs.
    The negative side is that both these conversations and H-scenes repeat themselves. For example, if you want to unlock further conversations, you'll have to approach specific topics an X number of times. The problem is that the conversations are the exact same the second or third time, so you're gonna be skipping them. It's just annoying. Did they run out of content even though the game is so short? Why force you to repeat conversations? Anyway, you'll probably want to follow a walkthrough.
    The similar happens with the H-scenes, where you can unlock extra scenes or variations of the same scene. Anyway, this is a pretty decent doujin game if you like maids, sweet but kinda corny love stories, are willing to press the skip button half the time, and use a walkthrough.
    16. A Naughty Doctor
    EGS-Score: 58 (7) Sol-fa-soft Fap-o-meter: 2 (1) H na Oisha-san Main appeal: lolicon Hなお医者さん
    So I booted up this game, which is unvoiced and has the same looping soundtrack all the time. And on the very first few choices, I hit a little girl, was sent to jail and got a premature Happy Ending. Great game.

    "HAPPY ENDING...hell if it is!"
    But it's actually an enjoyable game. You touch the characters in places where you're not really supposed to, but get away with it with some convincing persuasion, and eventually get to do a more direct inspection.
    I actually like this type of games where you play as a doctor and interact with a patient, deceiving them, and abusing their trust. For example, Studio Triumph's games. But well, this one doesn't even compare since the game is too damn short, as the whole thing is about 20-30 minutes long.
    Apparently, there's a voiced version, but I couldn't get my hands on it. The game is decent for what it is, but it's nothing special. I think there should've been more bad endings.
    17. Jam 'N Limit - LOCKED/ROOM/CON/FINE/MENT
    EGS-Score: 53 (18) Studio Jikkenshitsu Fap-o-meter: 2 (2) Jam n' Limit ~Mis/shitsu/Kan/kin Main appeal: roleplay, forceful sex ジャムアンリミット~密/室/監/禁
    The only reason I went ahead and made the description this long is that this is the type of philosophical musings that are constantly present in the game. You can only imagine my surprise, playing this game after I almost considered skipping it - from the cover it seems like a generic nukige, and the score reinforces that assumption. I'm very glad I did not.
    Honestly, I can only do this game justice with a full review, which I'd like to do in the near future (maybe), so this will be a bit of a sample of what's to come. It comes with a fair warning though: this game isn't for everyone. It's probably only for sexual deviants like me.
    I've played this up until I was done with the first heroine's section of the story. Instead of having character routes, you "conquer" one heroine after the other, so you follow the protagonist's journey through madness. That is to say, this is more the protagonist's story than anything else, but you only truly understand the depth of his madness when you have a "normal" person as a reference. But that isn't all, as they too will find their own "madness."
    Your choices in-game have to do with the course of actions you take as much as the preparations you have to make. For example, for your plan to succeed, what kind of precautions should you take, what should you be most concerned about, how will you create the perfect locked room while avoiding suspicion, how will you psychologically corner your prey, how will prevent their escape, and what will you do in the event something unexpected happens.
    Accompanied by an in-built flow-chart, you'll be making these decisions as you try to avoid the game's multiple bad endings.
    I don't want to spoil the content of the H-scenes, but they've mostly based around..."personalized roleplay."For me, this is the best game I played this month and my personal master and masturpiece, or at least the one which surprised me the most, making this whole venture worth it. Please don't overlook it just because it has the "nukige" label.
    It could also be that the game simply left a lasting first impression, which lead me to overhype it slightly. Either way, I look forward to finishing it and publishing a more detailed review, whether it lives up to my expectations or not. Maybe.
    18. Gifted Education Frenzy
    EGS-Score: 65 (89) Kuzuryuu Fap-o-meter: 1.93 (14) Eisai Kyouiku Main appeal: BDSM, sexual slavery 英才狂育
    You might know this from the H-OVA "Study a Broad." With beautiful art from Innocent Grey's CEO Sugina Miki, renown artist responsible for Cartagra, Kara no Shoujo series and Flowers series, coupled with BDSM and sexual slavery themes, what could possibly go wrong with this game?
    Put simply, this game sucks. Sugina Miki's art and the seiyuu's talents were put to waste with this game thanks to an awful gameplay system.
    So, you have three phases during the day: morning, lunchtime, and after school. During those periods, you can visit different locations during the game, taking up one, two, and five time slots respectively. Oh, and I fail to mention that there are ten locations in the game? So, you have to visit the heroines at the RIGHT TIME in the RIGHT PLACE to trigger the events. What a load of crap.
    This game is the ultimate proof that no matter how good your game's content is (in this case, H-scenes), it doesn't matter if it's locked behind a nonsensical and overly complicated system. Sure, you have an idea of where the characters are likely to hang out, but who would've thought that the flower arrangement club member likes to hang out on the rooftop?
    So, definitely use a walkthrough. And don't try to pursue more than one heroine at a time, as the timeslots often clash. That's not everything, though. If you fuck up too much in the beginning, you can get a bad ending. And even if you follow a walkthrough, you probably won't get to see every event.
    This game is as sadistic to its players as it is to the heroines. I actually completed one of the routes - the twins. And there I witnessed some of the most stupid teen drama I ever had the displeasure of going through in recent times. At the very least, the H-scenes are hot, but I don't think it's worth seeing them without the context behind them. How frustrating!
    19. Erosion
    EGS-Score: 74 (21) Black Package Try Fap-o-meter: 1.8 (5) Shinshoku Main appeal: sexual slavery 浸蝕
    I actually edited the first part of this synopsis from vndb because it was filled with lies, so I claim it as my own. Ahem.
    This game unceremoniously starts with four H-scenes in a row. It sure doesn't waste any time, huh? On the very first scene, the setting is established. Toshiya, despite being of high school age, is somehow a hardcore sex slave trainer, all because his mother was a whore when he was a child. The orphanage's director is already his sex slave, as are other girls in school, and then he "infiltrates" this loving family intending to make them his sex slaves just for the lulz.
    You witness the mother, who knows the protag for nothing but a few days (or like, 10 minutes in-game), masturbate while calling his name. I mean, what the fuck. Already? She hardly even knows him! This protagonist is literally the equivalent of an isekai anime protag who one-shots everything in sight on the first episode.
    I did not find the art or the voice acting appealing either, but there's plenty of variety when it comes to the training scenes, I guess.
    If I had to mention any positives, it would be that the game is quite technically advanced. There's an in-built flowchart, a read text marker, the ability to jump to the next and previous choices, and voice lines on the backlog.
    All in all, this game is nothing more than rape fantasy and is completely disrespectful and demeaning towards women.
    20. Last Order
    EGS-Score: 70 (50) 13cm Fap-o-meter: 1.75 (8) Last Order Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex ラストオーダー
    This is a game which seemed to be nothing more than a generic nukige, but ended surprising me. If there were such a thing as a theme for this game, it'd be moratorium, the postponement of social responsibilities. The protagonist and other characters deal with this issue on different degrees: feeling like they're growing up too fast, being afraid to become a full-fledged adult, or being too attached to things of the past. As someone finding themselves within this very period of transition, I felt I was able to connect to the game on a personal level, if even slightly.
    The sexual content mostly revolves around the use of devices for sexual training and bondage. With two new waitresses bolstering floréal's ranks, so are there two new prey for the protagonist to lay his hands on.
    I have mentioned this several times before, I believe, but I'm not fond of sharing my sex slaves. After the slaves' training is cumplete, you have them serve the customers, often multiple at once, and this happens when you had just thought they became yours. I'd say that might be why the fap-o-meter is so low, even though this is actually a quite decent game.
    21. Intense Pregnant Belly - Senpai, Please Acknowledge My Child!
    EGS-Score: 41 (18) Acme X Fap-o-meter: 1.67 (3) Hageshiku Botebara! Senpai, Watashi no Ko, Mitomete Kudasai!! Main appeal: forceful sex, group sex, yuri 激しくボテ腹! ~センパイ、私のコ、認めてくださいっ!~
    First of all, I gotta ask. Who the hell came up with such a dumb title?
    This game is just a tasteless and senseless complete rapefest. It is disgustingly evil and cruel. I'm sorry, but I don't have much else to say. I dropped it because I'm not a masochist and there's hardly a redeeming factor to this piece of crap. I guess some people might be into it, but I'm not. Moving along.
    22. Say Yah! Happy New Year 2003!
    EGS-Score: 55 (9) Authoring Heaven Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Say Yah! 2003 Main appeal: comedy, straight shotacon Say Yah! 2003
    This game is not only a sequel to first Say Yah!, but it also features characters from other Authoring Heaven and Complet's games, as they're both imprints of the same stock company. You can expect similar kind of content and humor from the same games.
    Basically, you have a map, and you choose which house to deliver presents to... in the form of sex. It's not really my cup of tea, but the game is kinda funny, if you're into that type of humor...
    23. Married Woman Slave Coffee Shop 2
    EGS-Score: 60 (20) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1.6 (5) Hitozuma Dorei Kissa 2 Main appeal: sexual slavery, group sex, forceful sex 人妻奴隷喫茶2
    "To think that you'd really take pictures like these...you're scum, human scum!"
    I played the first game too just so I could understand this game better. Thus this will serve as a review for both games. They're about 20 mins each, so that wasn't an issue. But well, there isn't that much to say, except that the games suck.
    On the first game, these three high school students with nothing better to do than wander around town manage to spot a lady shoplifting. And somehow, they make use of that knowledge to blackmail her into becoming her sex slave. After the first H-scene, it's scene after scene until the game ends.
    On the second game, this chick finds The Three Stooges talking about how much they love sex, and apprehends their sex toys. After calling them human scum, she ends up fapping with those toys inside the classroom, and she follows them to the coffee shop because she's secretly a colossal pervert, I guess. The rest plays out the same as the first game.
    The games have slight ero animations which kinda look good, but since it's a zoomed up close-up, they end up covering most of the CG. These games are cheap, they're too short, and they suck.
    24. The Voice in the Night III - Summoning Circle Pentagram of the Three Desires
    EGS-Score: 60 (45) Black Cyc Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (14) Yami no Koe III ~Gobou San'yoku Mahoujin~ Main appeal: corruption of characters 闇の声III ~五芒三欲魔方陣~
    Wait, what is a Black Cyc game doing at the very bottom? To truly understand this, you'd have to play the first two games, as this one is part of the original Yami no Koe trilogy. Thankfully, I am perfectly suited for this review as I played all of the three games. However, this is a game that I would like to review at a greater length, so I'll try to keep this short.
    Basically, this game sucks. No, it would be more correct to say that this would just be an average nukige, if not for its preceding legacy. Because it bears the Yami no Koe name, anyone who plays this game expects high-quality nukige, the same as the first two. But it's the complete opposite.
    Here's how the gameplay goes: you have a box with several magical items, starting with five, and each one of them is supposed to awaken a dormant fetish within the heroines. Once you reach the second stage, you get up to ten items to use on the heroines.
    Sounds awesome, right? Well, not really. The heroines are only receptive to one or two of the items in each stage. Most of your time is actually spent trying out different items, getting a generic "this item wasn't very effective" message, reloading, trying out a new item, getting the same crap all over again until you get it right. That's not all. While a heroine might've been receptive to an item at first, it might happen that they will not be interested in it in the future. So, it's save, reload, save, reload, save, reload. How about I just quit, uninstall this piece of crap, and never play it again?
    Even worse, the protagonist doesn't interact with the heroines directly. Thanks to K's powers, he makes the item magically appear in front of the heroine, and they'll make up a suitable excuse on their own for why the item is there. What a load of bullshit. The only time you have sex with them is at the very end (if you managed to corrupt them all fully), on what feels like the developers' way of mocking and trolling the player.
    You know when you play a sequel to one of your favorite games, and it's complete shit? Except that here, you can't blame EA, like with its sudden takeover of Bioware franchises such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. No, it's literally the same writers, the same director, the very same team. They knew what they were doing with this game, and it's nothing more than a quick cash grab.
    I hope I was able to convey my feelings on this matter accurately, and looking at the scoring, it's no surprise. Everyone felt let down by what is the weakest game of the Yami no Koe series.
    The only good point to this game is the amazing art, by one of the best eroge/nukige artists. Even Conjueror agrees! However, he gave the second and third games the same score, so I wonder if he actually played them at all.
    25. Rape Secretarial Office 2 -Midou Shirou's Chapter
    EGS-Score: 65 (12) Maika Fap-o-meter: 1.5 (2) Ryoujoku Hishoshitsu 2 ~Midou Shirou Hen~ Main appeal: sexual slavery, mind control, forceful sex 凌辱秘書室2 ~御童志狼篇~
    This game is about rape. It has rape in the title, and even the game's executable file is called "RAPE2.exe".
    Basically, you have Midou Shirou, who can use some sort of mysterious power, which translated literally would be something incomprehensible such as "Obscene Vortex Core Fist." Probably some kind of wordplay.
    When he says specific keywords, it triggers something within the heroines - there are no tools that need to be used, so it's just a special ability of his. And by special ability, I mean that it's a complete cheat.
    After you meet all the heroines, you can choose one of them to be your trained sex slave, as in, it's something that already happened. I found that to be interesting at first, but it's actually kinda lame. Let's say you were interested in a character, would you want to conquer her or would you want the game to gift you her as your already trained slave?
    Your objective is to obtain sensitive financial information and have lots of sex while you're at it. Your chosen sex slave will assist you in this task, so you already have six slightly different ways of playing the game. This all sounds awesome, but it's simply too easy. It's too easy to make the heroines fall thanks to Shirou's ability, having them call you "Master" by one H-scene's time.
    To begin with, the protagonist is already a cool stud, does he really need this power? He doesn't have any interesting motivations or something you can empathize with. This game is just a trashy rapefest, which puts its beautiful art to waste.
    26. I'll Grant Your Wish - A Gift Received in Winter
    EGS-Score: 58 (17) High Soft Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Kanaete Ageru ~Fuyu ga Kureta Okurimono~ Main appeal: group sex かなえてあげる~冬がくれた贈り物~
    The premise is rather simple. The protagonist wants to have sex with his girlfriend, but it's totally not happening any time soon, and he faps to his sexual fantasies all day. Wow, he and I are not so different after all!
    So, these girls suddenly appear in his room and make the proposal as mentioned earlier. The story is well, as you could imagine, nothing special. It's nothing but senseless H-scene after H-scene, without any thread linking the events together. Put simply, it's just boring to read/play.
    You literally play as Santa's little helper, as you go from house to house, and research which present to give to the residents. Depending on the presents you pick, your relationship will improve with one of the heroines. This is a quite cumbersome system, and not very easy without a walkthrough. I wasn't able to find one...
    Since the protagonist is the only one who can see the girls, it could also be that he's simply had one fap too many, and none of this is real. Yep, that's probably it.
    27. Let me fuck 'ya, teach!
    EGS-Score: 50 (11) Tryset Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Yarasete! Teacher Main appeal: straight shotacon やらせてっ!てぃーちゃー
    For a while, I thought I was playing a Complet's game, as this one has similar art, humor, and sexual content. You play as an overly perverted brat and constantly tease the new assistant teacher. Instead of proper routes, just like Matty (ugh), you collect events. The difference is that you trigger those events by moving around the school, as you pick the location you want to visit. I find this blind guessing system to be annoying, so I'd recommend a walkthrough once again.
    I actually liked the H-scenes, and I'm pretty surprised this game is sitting here at the bottom, especially when you consider that it spawned a whole series. Maybe Tryset were off to a bad start with this one, or the players just found the system to be too cumbersome.
    28. Day-care worker <3
    EGS-Score: 45 (9) Triangle-delta Fap-o-meter: 1 (1) Hobo-san Chu! Main appeal: roleplay 保母さんちゅ!
    Thought I'd start by giving a warning that, despite the protagonist's profession and the game's setting, all participants in sexual activities are consenting adults.
    That already makes for strange setting though. Who thought about mixing up daycare work with...roleplay? The worst part is that they do a pretty poor job at explaining the need for such a thing in the first place. I mean, I don't think it helps her understand the kids' feelings any better by changing adult diapers or making her piss on the ground.
    Overall, the setting just feels at odds with the game's sexual content, but it does make for an interesting premise, I guess. I do commend them for trying out something different, and I do find the H-scenes to be not that bad...
    The main highlights are the beautiful OP (no need to listen past 2:10) and yet another casting by Isshiki Hikaru.

    29. Petite Idols - Disgraceful Fan Appreciation Day
    EGS-Score: 52 (14) Black Lilith Fap-o-meter: 1 (3) Puchi Idol ~ Chijoku no Fan Kansha Day Main appeal: lolicon, cosplay, forceful sex, group sex ぷちアイドル~ちじょくのファン感謝デー
    This is just bad. I feel like I really hit the bottom of the barrel with this one. It comes with a really stupid reasoning for revenge: the two idols are cheeky and foul-mouthed and treat their greasy, sweaty, disgusting otaku fans with the disrespect they deserve. But then came fan appreciation day...
    30. Nestle Close III - Manager Hibiki
    EGS-Score: 70 (3) Haikara Kissa Fap-o-meter: 0.5 (2) Nestle Close III Main appeal: onee-san, big breasts, glasses Nestle Close III
    I physically cannot play this game, as short-haired heroines with glasses are the worst. Next.
    31. Soft and Tender Lesson
    EGS-Score: 50 (11) Trabulance Fap-o-meter: 0 (1) Pururn Jugyou Main appeal: breasts, big breasts, big tiddies, tits, oppai ぷるるん授業
    As advertised, the heroines have enormous breasts to the point that it's sure to cause back problems. If you're into this type of thing, you might get some enjoyment out of it. However, I found the game to be a completely average nukige.
    Of particular note, there is a toggle correct choice indicator. Interact with the same heroine enough times, and you'll have sex with them. Wow, now that I put that in words, it seems that'd describe most games. Either way, despite being thrown to the very bottom, it's certainly not THAT bad. Then again, there's only one vote which is... mine.
    My Thoughts and Conclusions
    First of all, thanks to everyone who stuck with me until the very end. Or perhaps you're one of the people who scrolled down to the very bottom? It's alright, I don't blame you.
    The truth is, this format sucks. Usually, you'd first find a game you like, play it, and then maybe review it, not the other way around. This would've worked much better if I had a team of perverts working with me. Each one of us could pick a game that we might like, play it, and then review it. This was way too much work for one person, as this was all my own, original commentary, but I did my very best for the quality not to suffer.
    The very idea of reviewing eroge and excluding nukige would be ridiculous, as despite bearing the "stigma" that comes with the nukige tag, there are some pretty good games amongst those that I reviewed. Making people aware of that was my initial objective, and I hope to have realized it.
    Not surprisingly, there's a good number of games focused in particular fetishes. I think it's interesting that there wasn't a single Netorare game amongst these, perhaps the genre hadn't taken off yet. There's a big divide between games with consensual sex and games with forceful sex. The first usually focuses on lighter fetishes, while the second group often goes all the way with hardcore sexual slavery.
    I play my games on fullscreen, so I wasn't bothered by the resolution. And there are plenty of games with beautiful art, mood-setting soundtrack, and stellar voice acting performances nonetheless.
    The most significant conclusion I'd take is that most of these games, well, suffer from too much gameplay at times. Like I've said on my very first review, it doesn't matter how good your content is if the system is cumbersome in a way that players have too much of a hard time accessing it. You can have a map movement system like Eisai Kyouiku's, which forces you to check a walkthrough every 10 seconds, or you can have one like Saishuu Chikan Densha 2's, where you can worry less about optimization and focus more on having fun. The second is one where the creator really thought about the player experience, how would people actually feel playing the game.
    I also found it interesting that most protagonists are actually adults. There are several university students, but you have them do all kinds of jobs: ordinary salarymen, teachers, daycare worker, clerk, doctors, idol manager, grocer, businessman, restaurant floor manager, tutor, even a priest... You also have many different kinds of settings, as if everyone was trying hard to carve their own niche. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how everyone, even the little guys, was working hard, giving up precious time during the holiday season to provide us with great fapping material. God bless you.
    Oh, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk about Saya no Uta. Well, it’s the title that needs no introductions, so I decided to go ahead and not talk about it at all to make my job easier. The point of this article was to have short reviews and summaries for lesser known games of the month, so I can’t just feature the most popular ones and not or just dismissively ignorant talk about the rest. The fap-o-meter is astonishingly low, which is complete blasphemy. This is one of the hottest english published eroge out there, with also one of the best translations available. There’s a story about how Makoto wouldn’t sell his translation until his writer parents approved it, so you can be certain of its quality.
    As a closing statement, please, by all means, do try some of these games and enjoy yourself to your heart's content. If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, please go ahead and message me or leave a comment below. As always, thank you for reading, and I appreciate any and all feedback.
  8. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, 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.
  9. Like
    Dergonu reacted to MaggieROBOT for a blog entry, Yes, I'm still among the living   
    Heya, people! It's such a long time I don't see you guys, I almost forgot my password to this forum. Guess Fuwa is still alive and kicking just like me, huh. First of all, sorry I disappeared from the face of the Earth and if I disappointed any fans I might had in this site (silly me). Since last time I posted back in February, a lot of things happened so if anyone's curious (maybe the aforementioned imaginary fans of mine) about what the hell's been happening with me, do keep reading. I talk about VNs, anime, and other disgusting weeb things, but it does include some personal shit. Well, a blog is a blog.
       1) Maybe I mentioned this a huge while ago at some point, but I'm pursuing a master's degree in the structural engineering field. All was going well and good, but now it came the time for me to write my thesis. Oof. So yeah, that's the main reason I became a ghost as my weekday free times went down the drain along with my hopes and dreams. It doesn't help my thesis requires some programming knowledge that may be more than what I can chew, sasuga me (whining aside, it's coming along fine as of now, let's hope I can keep it up).
       2) Not only my free time evaporated but also my attention spam. I'm honestly having a hard time staying focused for more than 40 minutes in the same task. When that happens, I usually take a short break to relax before going back. Except I move on to something else, oops.
       3) Related to the problem mentioned in 2, I fearfully discovered a new wonderful world that's now high in my interests list: gacha games. Their content is usually bite sized (except in events, but I don't play all that seriously... I think), I can auto play to grind, and I can play on the train going to uni. No huge time investment at once required, so what can possibly go wrong (dramatic zoom on my face)? Fortunately, I'm still keeping my two accounts (yep) free-to-play and I feel that I grew a lot on the self control department because of this www. Seriously though, never invite me to a casino trip, I may have an undiscovered gamble addiction and I don't want to open that door. But yeah, if anyone else plays Opera Omnia or Shining Live send me a friend inviteeeeeeeeeeeeee!
       4) Even with all that going on, I still find time to at least watch my anime and read my VNs, surprisingly. Thank God for weekend. Guess cutting yourself off of social media truly does wonders too, huh. Not that I check Twitter on occasion to look at art or anything... Soooo about that weeb shit...
          4.1) La Squadra was right all along
          4.2) I'm still a proud BL trash. From what I recently finished, the highlights are Sweet Pool and Nie no Machi. Both are really really amazing games, both scored higher than 9 in my book, and I definitely want to write a review for them at some point. Spread that love, Maggie!
          4.3) I'm actually a bit slow on the otomege department, sorry >.<  I did get Steam Prison and read both of the Prisoner Routes, but I'm not in the right mindset to keep going with it. I wouldn't enjoy it if I force myself through it. Eltcreed and Ulrik were striking my fancy, so I want to savor them. ......Okay, that came out wrong.
          4.4) EVN ftw, I always find some time to read them. Nanoreno gave me some nice short experiences, the highlight being Monochrome Blues despite the ending kek. Oh, and read Heart of the Woods, people. It's an order. High quality shit right there.
          4.5) Also I keep stumbling upon horror games and I'm okay with this. Recently I played Death Mark. As usual, I went without a walkthrough, solving every mystery by myself. Totally worth it. And it also have very good sound design. Mashita best boi.
          4.6) It does sounds like a lot, but there's nothing much more than what I mentioned wwwwww
          4.7) Did I mentioned La Squadra? (<-- edit that bit out, I totally did, as I should)
       5) Now, about my Fuwa life. I'll probably remain on indefinite hiatus, but every time I find the file I wrote some ideas for Dank a Ronpa, I feel sad. "How could I write such a shit story?" Jokes aside, I can try to maybe finish it at some point when Derg finished his battle royale. Such a rude, I gave him such a brutal death in my story and I didn't even debut on his smh. But yeah, I accept suggestion of what to do with it? Give it a Berserk treatment and finish it soon TM? Write all the bad ideas I had for it and let you guys fill the blanks yourselves in a very lazy way? Make each one of you write a chapter, put everything together, approve it as canon and call it a day? Decisions, decisions. Actually, I'm actually paying a homage to it in this post, as I'm not proof reading anything, hope you spot the reference.
    Aaaaaaaaaaaand that's it, I guess. For all of you that reach this line without pressing page down 3 times in less than 3 seconds, a big thank you. Please smash that like button and subscribe to someone's channel that's more active than me. Love, peace, and hope to see you all eventually when I get my degree! Until them!
  10. Like
    Dergonu got a reaction from Chronopolis for a blog entry, Shirogane no Soleil Review   
    Shirogane no Soleil -Successor of Wyrd- <<Unmei no Keishousha>>
    ( "The soliel of silvery-white" - Successor of Wyrd << The Fated successor >> )
     
    This is the first game in Skyfish's epic norse mythology series. I had never even heard of this game before Clephas made a blog post about it a little earlier this year, and that might be the case for many. Having finally played the game myself, I have to ask... how is this possible? Why is such a great game not more well known? This VN truly deserves more exposure than it currently has.
    Introduction:
    Shirogane starts off with our main character, Ryuuhei, and his sister Tamako on their way to a set of ancient ruins in Iceland. Ryuuhei is not an archaeologist like his sister, but was dragged along by her on the pretense of being her "bodyguard." Ironically, that is exactly what he ends up being. Ryuuhei's group gets pulled into an encounter with a strange creature called "Berserk", a monster made up by the broken soul of an ancient warrior, which fell in battle ages ago. Powerless against this incredibly dangerous foe, Ryuuhei prays for help, asking for power-- the power to protect the people he loves. His call is answered by a slumbering Valkyrie, Sol, who makes a contract with Ryuuhei. She will fight for him, in exhange for his life force. Every time she uses her powers, she drains some of Ryuuhei's life force out of his body, shortening his life. They fight off the Berserk together, but this is merely the beginning of their tale. This seemingly random encounter might not have been as random as they thought. One might even call it... fate.

    Story
    The story in Shirogane is fantastic. It's told in two parts, "Valkyrie in love", and "Successor of Wyrd." Some of the story takes place in the present, while certain other parts takes place in the past. Shirogane contains tons of refrences to norse mythology, though the descriptions of characters and events from norse mythology in the VN are not necessarily identical to the "real thing". Therefore, while familiarity with norse mythology helps with appreciating certain aspects of the game's story, it is not at all needed. What matters in terms of refrences are all explained well enough in game, and seeing as they usually put a unique spin on things, it is not at all needed to know everything there is to know about norse mythology before reading this. (That being said, knowing some of the general concepts about who is who, and what is what will certainly make it an even more enjoyable read.)

     
    Although Shirogane is a very serious story, with tragic themes riddled all over it, just like normal stories from norse mythology, the game contains a good number of humoristic slice of life moments as well. That being said, all of these moments fits very well into the flow of the story. We are seeing things from Ryuuhei's point of view, as he deals with the fact that his own life span is constantly being drained because of his contract with his Valkyrie. As a result, you feel a little more attatched to these everyday moments, since they are seen through the eyes of someone who only has so much time left to enjoy them. In addition, the comedy is pure gold most of the time. The slice of life moments very rarely feels out of place, and never gets in the way of the story. The humor in the game had me literally laughing out loud so many times, I lost count.

    Characters:
    One of the biggest strengths of this game is without a doubt the characters. Each character feels unique and is well fleshed out. They all add something to the story in their own ways, and it's hard not to grow attatched to them, be it heroes, anti-heroes or straight up villains at times. The interactions between the characters truly pulls out all sorts of emotions from the reader, making the story feel like one hell of a roller coaster ride. (In a good way. Prepare your tickets to the feel train, folks.) While the "good guys" are all very well done, my favorite characters were honestly the villains / anti-heroes that are introduced throughout the game.
    On top of making fantastic "villains", the "duos" in the game are brilliant. Essentially every single character is paired up with another in some way, and they all complement each other greatly. These "duos" were without a doubt one of the best parts about the game in my opinion. Be it heartbreaking moments or hilarious ones; nearly all the most impactful moments in the story stems from one of these duos' interactions.


    Art, Music and Writing:
    As shown in the screenshots above, the art is nicely detailed. Considering this game was released in 2007, the art is very impressive. The amount of special effects, cut-scenes and CGs is no joke either. Sadly, things aren't as good in the music department. The music is by no means bad, but it does feel a little bland at times. Certain tracks do work very well with the tone of the story, and are straight up beautiful to listen to, but others feel repetitive and aren't that impactful. So, my complaint with the music would be the inconsistent quality of the tracks. That being said, this is hardly a big issue, as the writing, art and story makes slightly repetitive music matter very little in the end.
    Overall, I have very few complaints about this game. It was a fantastic read from beginning to end, and I strongly recommend reading it. I don't use the term kamige a lot, but this definitely qualifies in my personal opinion.
    You can buy all the Soleil games on DMM. (NSFW LINK!!!)
  11. Like
    Dergonu got a reaction from sanahtlig for a blog entry, Shirogane no Soleil Review   
    Shirogane no Soleil -Successor of Wyrd- <<Unmei no Keishousha>>
    ( "The soliel of silvery-white" - Successor of Wyrd << The Fated successor >> )
     
    This is the first game in Skyfish's epic norse mythology series. I had never even heard of this game before Clephas made a blog post about it a little earlier this year, and that might be the case for many. Having finally played the game myself, I have to ask... how is this possible? Why is such a great game not more well known? This VN truly deserves more exposure than it currently has.
    Introduction:
    Shirogane starts off with our main character, Ryuuhei, and his sister Tamako on their way to a set of ancient ruins in Iceland. Ryuuhei is not an archaeologist like his sister, but was dragged along by her on the pretense of being her "bodyguard." Ironically, that is exactly what he ends up being. Ryuuhei's group gets pulled into an encounter with a strange creature called "Berserk", a monster made up by the broken soul of an ancient warrior, which fell in battle ages ago. Powerless against this incredibly dangerous foe, Ryuuhei prays for help, asking for power-- the power to protect the people he loves. His call is answered by a slumbering Valkyrie, Sol, who makes a contract with Ryuuhei. She will fight for him, in exhange for his life force. Every time she uses her powers, she drains some of Ryuuhei's life force out of his body, shortening his life. They fight off the Berserk together, but this is merely the beginning of their tale. This seemingly random encounter might not have been as random as they thought. One might even call it... fate.

    Story
    The story in Shirogane is fantastic. It's told in two parts, "Valkyrie in love", and "Successor of Wyrd." Some of the story takes place in the present, while certain other parts takes place in the past. Shirogane contains tons of refrences to norse mythology, though the descriptions of characters and events from norse mythology in the VN are not necessarily identical to the "real thing". Therefore, while familiarity with norse mythology helps with appreciating certain aspects of the game's story, it is not at all needed. What matters in terms of refrences are all explained well enough in game, and seeing as they usually put a unique spin on things, it is not at all needed to know everything there is to know about norse mythology before reading this. (That being said, knowing some of the general concepts about who is who, and what is what will certainly make it an even more enjoyable read.)

     
    Although Shirogane is a very serious story, with tragic themes riddled all over it, just like normal stories from norse mythology, the game contains a good number of humoristic slice of life moments as well. That being said, all of these moments fits very well into the flow of the story. We are seeing things from Ryuuhei's point of view, as he deals with the fact that his own life span is constantly being drained because of his contract with his Valkyrie. As a result, you feel a little more attatched to these everyday moments, since they are seen through the eyes of someone who only has so much time left to enjoy them. In addition, the comedy is pure gold most of the time. The slice of life moments very rarely feels out of place, and never gets in the way of the story. The humor in the game had me literally laughing out loud so many times, I lost count.

    Characters:
    One of the biggest strengths of this game is without a doubt the characters. Each character feels unique and is well fleshed out. They all add something to the story in their own ways, and it's hard not to grow attatched to them, be it heroes, anti-heroes or straight up villains at times. The interactions between the characters truly pulls out all sorts of emotions from the reader, making the story feel like one hell of a roller coaster ride. (In a good way. Prepare your tickets to the feel train, folks.) While the "good guys" are all very well done, my favorite characters were honestly the villains / anti-heroes that are introduced throughout the game.
    On top of making fantastic "villains", the "duos" in the game are brilliant. Essentially every single character is paired up with another in some way, and they all complement each other greatly. These "duos" were without a doubt one of the best parts about the game in my opinion. Be it heartbreaking moments or hilarious ones; nearly all the most impactful moments in the story stems from one of these duos' interactions.


    Art, Music and Writing:
    As shown in the screenshots above, the art is nicely detailed. Considering this game was released in 2007, the art is very impressive. The amount of special effects, cut-scenes and CGs is no joke either. Sadly, things aren't as good in the music department. The music is by no means bad, but it does feel a little bland at times. Certain tracks do work very well with the tone of the story, and are straight up beautiful to listen to, but others feel repetitive and aren't that impactful. So, my complaint with the music would be the inconsistent quality of the tracks. That being said, this is hardly a big issue, as the writing, art and story makes slightly repetitive music matter very little in the end.
    Overall, I have very few complaints about this game. It was a fantastic read from beginning to end, and I strongly recommend reading it. I don't use the term kamige a lot, but this definitely qualifies in my personal opinion.
    You can buy all the Soleil games on DMM. (NSFW LINK!!!)
  12. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Flutterz for a blog entry, Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #18   
    Been busy for a while, but this time I only stopped for a few months rather than a few years
     
  13. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Flutterz for a blog entry, Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #17   
    Shoutout to littleshogun for being the only person who commented on my previous entry 
     
  14. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Why I still haven't given up on VNs.   
    After ten years playing VNs, you would think I would have completely lost faith in them by now, especially considering just how many I've played (744 not counting most of the nukige, replays and incomplete/dropped ones).  Most VNs that aren't nukige are SOL-fests that exist solely to promote nostalgic fantasies about life in high school and getting into bishoujos' pants... not that that is an entirely horrible goal, but it isn't something I want to see five hundred times over.
    The romance is usually puerile and has no relation to reality, the characters have all their hard edges filed away by the needs of the archetype, and drama is used solely to add 'spice' (like one sprinkle of pumpkin spice, not cracked red pepper) to an otherwise endlessly sweet and bland recipe. 
    So how is it that someone who has experienced that much essentially boring and pointless repetition of the same scenarios able to continue to enjoy VNs, even if he can't stand meaningless SOL anymore?
    At one time, it was a sense of duty, a belief that I was doing the community good by digging gems out of the piles of crap that are the SOL genre.  I also had a sense of pride that I made an effort of objectivity that I have literally seen no one else attempt.  I played games no one else bothered with because they didn't have the time or patience, and I did it because I thought someone looking at the games would want to know what they were getting into.
    I paid a price in a growing sense of bitterness, of boredom, and of a sense that I was forgetting the reason why I began to read fiction in the first place.  I paid a price in people continually being trolls and trying to draw me into fights over my opinions on these games.  I had people start reddits and send me pms being sympathetic about the very conversations they'd started (yes that happens). 
    I also had people who respected what I was doing, and I knew there were people in the community who benefited from the fact that I was doing it.  I watched VNs I had pushed get localizations and fantls (usually to my surprise), and I saw others that I had labeled as mediocre get hyped to a ridiculous degree.   I tried to get other people to help with what I was doing, only to find that, without a reading speed similar to mine, it was too much of a burden on their lives and ate up the time to read the VNs they wanted to read. 
    The bad generally outweighed the good immensely while I was doing VN of the Month, and even after, I found that the after-effects of my years of playing games I wasn't interested in personally had left me with scars I was unable to feel while my sense of duty was keeping me going. 
    However, I can say that I still haven't given up on VNs.
    Why? 
    The reason is ridiculously simple and at the same time profound (at least to me).  I love the medium.  For someone who likes an experience that combines the reading, visual input, and music without the need for a lot of input from the one experiencing it, VNs provide a unique storytelling experience.  Books are great for the imagination and can send our souls exploring across landscapes that exist only in our own minds, but VNs provide a more filled-out framework for those who don't necessarily have the imagination to fill in all the gaps on their own, without rotting the imagination to the degree manga and anime do.  I've been able to get people who had trouble reading books into VNs, then led them straight back to books and opened the world of imagination to them.  I've seen people who had begun to feel the otaku community offered nothing more to them come alive again after playing a chuunige or a charage.  I've picked up a random moe-looking VN and found a deep and compelling story that remains within me dozens of times.
    In the end, it is moments, experiences like that that keep me coming back, believing in the possibilities of VNs even now.  It is the desire to find more such experiences that keeps me looking at new releases each month, and it is the belief that those experiences will never entirely vanish that keeps me from condemning the industry as a whole for the way it sabotages itself at times. 
  15. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Flutterz for a blog entry, Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #15   
    Wow, I actually made another entry. Nobody saw that coming.
     
  16. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Flutterz for a blog entry, Reading Ginharu Very Slowly #14   
    I've gotta live up to the name of the blog, ya know?
    Actually I recently found about about the Hoshi Ori patch that's being worked on right now, and that made me want to revisit Ginharu. I was considering just reading it on my own without updating the blog but that felt wrong. I'll probably end up disappearing for another year after a few entries, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'll probably have fewer screenshots and more summarization because I'm lazy.
    Also it turns out that I never even published the previous entry in September of 2017, so here it is I guess
     
    Now onto the stuff I read recently and not over a year ago
     
  17. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Fuukan no Grasesta: Story and final impressions   
    Now that I've completed the main game, it is time to post about the story... which is the most important part of any VN, hybrid or not.
    The story begins with Judar Schwarka, a Rovari (race of nomad/barbarians who are the source of prejudice due to their physical attributes) mercenary and his employer, Eutre Hyte, heading out to ambush the supply train of a Telphion Federation army besieging the Belgrad Empire forces in a fortress.  Judar, flat and uninterested in anything except the job, is forced to listen to his loquacious employer as he expounds on the battle below, and it is in that scene that you get your first impressions of two of the game's key characters. 
    Naturally, given that Judar is a general badass, the prologue is mostly about him being a badass and getting the job done, but the idiot general who was protecting the fortress surrenders about the time they get the job done.  This results in Judar and Eutre being sold to the Vanguard City of Grasesta as war slaves for the purpose of serving as cannon fodder against the constant incursions from the underground dungeon. 
    This should give you an idea of the atmosphere of the early game.  Judar, being razor-edge focused on survival and the keeping of his contractual obligations, takes being sold as a slave in stride.  Judar's personality is unique amongst the protagonists I've seen in Eushully's VNs.  Having clawed his way up from the worst slums of an Empire aligned with the Dark Forces, Judar is extremely straightforward and blunt.  He is a mercenary because it is all he knows, and, while he loves battle, he is nonetheless a survivor at heart, so he will avoid battles that don't benefit him or his employer.  He is an honorable individual to a fault, and he always keeps his word in all matters, large or small.   If I were to give him a D&D style alignment, it would be Lawful Neutral, albeit with the stipulation that his guide is his given word rather than the law as laid down by others.  Judar could probably be considered a fighter/barbarian hybrid.
    The early game is mostly about him fighting various forces in the underground and facing the oppression in the city itself, but he meets some interesting characters along the way, many of them party members.  I'll go ahead and give you a quick spoiler-free rundown of the recruitable characters and their personality/roles in battle.
    Eutre Hyte is a schemer by nature and a military man at heart.  He gathers information and uses people who aren't his allies ruthlessly, and he is not above spying or assassination as tools to fulfill his goals.  He does feel a strong sense of obligation to those in his care (Judar being one of those he considers to be such, though Judar just ignores him most of the time), but he is definitely from the Belgrad Empire, meaning his nature is more aligned with Darkness than Light.  If I were to give him an alignment, it would probably be True Neutral with one foot into Evil.  His role in the party is mostly as a battle-focused rogue, but he spends very little of the game in your party, so that is mostly irrelevant.
    Yuunagi is a gambling-addicted hedonist from a race that is a cross between oni and kitsune.  She is a freeman fighter (having willingly entered the city rather than coming as a slave).  She is very light-hearted and focused on pleasures of the moment, and she doesn't even really care that her personality is self-destructive.  Her alignment, quite naturally, would be Chaotic Neutral.  Her class would probably be barbarian with a bit of rogue, albeit with more of a focus on evasion.  I say this because all of her attacks are single-enemy, physically based, and she has the lockpick skill. 
    Ekthel is probably the second weirdest non-dark elf I've ever encountered in any game (the first weirdest being the child-killing schizo elf from Darkengard).  I say this, but i'm not going to tell you why.  On the surface, she seems kind and helpful... but appearances can be deceiving.  I'd consider her to be Neutral Evil.  Her class would probably be ranger, with no deity alignment.
    Aguna is the battle-addicted mage-warrior who would probably scare the shit out of any man irl.  She loves battle, money, and sex (in that order), and she absolutely loves life in Grasesta, despite having been enslaved (mostly because she couldn't stop picking fights and got dropped down there).  She would probably be considered a hybrid class of fighter and mage, as she can wield swords, staffs, and whips, and she has both a high attack and magic attack stat.  Unfortunately, she is also one of the two slowest characters in the game, with only Rosalind being slower.  Her alignment would probably be Chaotic Neutral.
    Rosalind is from a sub-race of dwarves known as the Nebel, who are less hairy and... round.  She is cheery and light-hearted on the surface, but she has a bad habit of making weapons that explode... on purpose.  Her alignment would probably be Neutral Good, and her class a combination between the engineer and fighter classes.  In battle, she wields a warhammer and has some nice area attacks, but she is so slow that most characters get multiple turns before she gets hers. 
    Mikuri is probably the only 'pure mage' character in the game.  Her personality is that of a studious sorcerer type... with the twist that she is cursed so that bad things happen to and around her whenever she goes to sleep (ranging from the silly to the seriously dangerous).  I'd probably call her True Neutral.  She is a pure wizard type, but until you finish her character quest, she has serious disadvantages due to her 'sleep deprived' 'skill'. 
    Yureeshya is an angel who has been asleep since before the worlds were fused together.  As such, she is extremely naive and uneducated about the current world, and she still acts as if she were in the service of the creator god of the original human world (most angels in this setting have either 'fallen' and turned dark or are in the service of one of the many deities on the side of Light).  If you manage to complete her events (which should be started as soon as you get her) she becomes one of your better healer characters, though she is only mediocre as a sacred magic user.  Unfortunately, you only have a very small window in which to complete her character events, and they require you to use her healing/support spells in battle and have them fail to activate them (this failure is a roughly 25% probability).  If you don't like her, you are given an opportunity to sell her to the brothel halfway through her events, but this means she isn't around to provide HP to your overall HP bar, lol.  Needless to say, she is Lawful Good.
    Dulphia is a Telphion noble and third in command of the Indigo Knighthood.  She is very much a believer in knightly virtues, but her personality has some... problems.  Primarily, she is a natural sadist and has a tendency toward tough love in her interactions with subordinates.  She also joined the Knights pretty much since she didn't want to get married to some random aristocratic scumbag and because going into battle lets her get the sadistic tendencies out of her system.    Her alignment would probably be Lawful Neutral, like Judar, but it should be noted that her fighting style is that of a fight-focused paladin (light element sword enchantments, power against monsters and undead).  She is only permanently recruited near to the endgame, and this makes it impossible to get full use out of her... but to be honest, this game has too many light-element mages and fighters already, so I only used her against regular monsters.
    Lilika is the main heroine of the story, a Grasestian noble who, due to exposure to dark miasma in the past, is forced to live most of her days with her soul attached to a flying mechanical doll whose technology is based off of the Madou Koukaku magitech concept.  She is a sweet-natured but determined girl who has a lot of the positive elements of aristocratic upbringing without the negatives.  She is also a skilled researcher of divine magic, magitech, and ancient languages.  She wields holy magic based off of the Blue Moon Goddess Luscion,  which is the most effective light magic in the game by far.  She can also cast healing and support spells, making her the closest thing you'll have to a true cleric.  She is Lawful Good by nature.
    After playing this game, my basic impression is that, while the story segments that exist are excellent, it is too sparsely spaced out through each chapter, due to the inevitable grinding of a dungeon crawler.  While I say 'inevitable grinding', it should be noted that it isn't grinding for levels... it is grinding for items to make money off of to upgrade skill levels, buy back weapons, or just in general for any of a number of purposes.  I found that the only item I used regularly after the first few chapters was the container item Gladiator's Bird, which can be used to store Gladiator's Wings, which restore skill uses.  One-use items are not something I found myself using on a regular basis.  Instead, I tended to rely on healing magic and just not getting seriously damaged by enemies.  Levels generally come to match the enemies around you or pass them slightly just by winning every symbol encounter and regular encounter on your way through each level of the Black Caverns. 
    Like a lot of Eushully's more recent titles, this game makes a number of major mistakes, the most annoying of which is the simple fact that gameplay has too strong of a grinding element without an accompanying 'reward' element.  Rewards from grinding are generally meager, outside of first trips through a given dungeon.  I only started seeing good drops in the final dungeon, where I was getting the ultimate female stat-boosting accessories on a rate of one for every other random encounter.  The story itself is not layered on heavily, and it is hard to find some of the heroines' events without a guide, which is a huge problem, since that meant I never did get rid of Yureeshya's negative skill (she has a very small window to see her events that lead to this occurring, and it requires you to do something counterintuitive).  Ekthel, for instance, needs you to occasionally sleep while she is not a member of the party to progress her events (because she shows other sides of herself away from you). 
    I'm also pretty sure I completely missed the extra events for the high-level courtesan, Atelyla, and she was a pretty intriguing character I never really got a full grasp of.  I'm also pretty sure I missed out on non-H events related to Lucilla, the brothel owner in the lower city. 
    One thing that seriously annoyed me about this game is that it is completely linear... there is no room for altering the ending or picking someone other than Lilika.  I would have appreciated a full-on Fleurety ending, just for the fun of it. 
    In conclusion, this was a reasonably fun game, and it is probably the best one from this particular writer.  However, it has a number of glaring flaws that keep it from reaching its full potential. 
     
  18. Like
    Dergonu reacted to bakauchuujin for a blog entry, A review of Princess Evangile W Happiness as well as pictures of the physical edition (english release)   
    I have now read through Princess Evangile W Happiness and of course that means that I have to do a review of it (which is hopefully at least somewhat good).
     
    Princess Evangile W Happiness is a fandisc to the original Princess Evangile and has an extra story of 2 chapters for each of the heroines as well as a 4 chapter long route for each of the 5 sub heroines. Other than that it includes the 13 first chapters of the main route in the original which means it can be played as a standalone VN, though I wouldn't recommend it since the extra stories for the main heroines won't make sense and you should just read the original first anyways. Also I would like to mention that you probably should read my review of Princess Evangile before reading this one.
    The extra stories to each of the main heroines I found to be really nice, I am not going to review each of them, but if you liked them during the main VN you probably aren't going to be disappointed. 
     
    Ruriko's route was really nice. I must say I just love Ruriko's personallity, she manages to be quite funny with her absurd jokes and she just has some really fun character quircks that I find really adorable. As for her route, well I didn't find it to take any interesting direction, but it just had lots of good moments with her and that was generally the focus of her route, just her and the main character being together.
     
    Konomi's route was also really good in my opinion. There are some really great comedic moments due to her personallity and I would say that this route was probably the most funny out of all of the character routes in Princess Evangile W Happiness. Other than that the relationship between her and the main character was built up really nicely in a way that really fit Konami. 
     
    Mitsuki's route was something I didn't really have high expectations for, I generally found her to be quite annoying in the common route as well as the other character routes, however I was quite pleasantly surprised. Her route did a really good job in terms of rommance and there were some good romantic lines between her and the main characters, something which I felt the other routes didn't do quite as well. I remember really liking it when I played through her route, though in the end she is not quite up there with Rise (who she constantly compares herself to). While it did do a good job with the rommance it didn't really have that much else going on though, at least after the first part, so ye it felt quite uneventful.
     
    Marika's route was a route that I would say is okay. It was a pleasant read though I didn't feel like it did anything especially well. One of my main problems with her route is that I just found her personality to be really boring, in her route the best comedic moments came from other characters and those were quite rare. Her route also just felt like it was lacking in terms of the story. So it was pretty much like Mitsuki's route just without the well done rommance and with a character who is quite boring. While I am sounding quite harsh at the moment I need to repeat that I still felt that it was a somewhat pleasant read even though it felt lacking compared to the other routes.
     
    Lastly there is Tamie's route. While not as funny in my opinion as Konomi's route it is a good second. Tamie is really wonderful and her jokes and teasing is quite endearing. What I think stands out the most about this route is how energetic it feels since Tamie just filled to the brim with energy. Her route started in a rather surprising way though it lead to some really nice sweet and funny moments. After the first part they did a really cliche thing to move the story forward, this specific cliche is something that I generally don't like, though I felt like they did a good job using it and in the end I don't really feel like I can view it as a negative that they used it. As for the later parts of it, well Tamie kind of mellows a bit out, though not to the point where she feels boring or lacking in her usual energy, just that it is a bit dialed down.
     
    As for my opinion of this fandisc as a whole I would like to start by saying that I think that if you liked the original Princess Evangile you should definitly pick it up. Each of the original heroines had nice extra chapters which both provided more nice moments with them as well as just being nice conclusions to their stories. The other heroines all had nice routes, with the exeption of Marika which felt kind of lack luster compared to the rest of the VN. A disadvantage the fandisc has compared to the main VN is that the routes are rather short, 4 chapters compared to the 10 chapers the heroines in the main VN have. While this does mean that each route has less of an impact on the person reading it, I still felt that they did a really good job using those 4 chapters. The routes in the fandisc manages to build the relationships really well through pretty much focusing on the heroine of the route exclusively. A drawback this has though is that the routes can't really have larger story moments like they did at the end of the routes in the original. I would also like to comment on the sex scenes, the sex scenes both in the original and the fandisc are really sweet and quite vanilla (disregarding that some of it takes place in rather risque locations) and I feel like it really works well with the sweet rommances that are built with each heroine, a problem with the scenes though is that they are just too long. It feels like the sex scenes in general should be shortened by quite a lot, preferably by replacing some of the lines that can be found in pretty much all vanilla sex scenes in VNs. Well I would like to end the review by mentioning that it also has some nice referances to Imouto Paradise (a VN I will do a review of in the future, once I have revisited parts of it), personally I found this to be really fun.
     
    The front of the physical edition

    The back of the physical edition

    Here is the inside of the physical edition including the disc
     
    As for my review of the physical edition, well I would say it is just pretty okay. It is just a standard DVD case and doesn't really include anything other than the steamkey and the cover being reversible which is a standard for physical editions by Mangagamer. To my knowledge the steam edition is just a censored version of the full VN, though you can patch it. While this is a nice bonus for those who want to have it both digitally and on disc I don't feel like it is as good of a bonus as the original which has replacement scenes for the sex scenes meaning you get extra content with the steam edition.
    As for the cover I find it to be quite nice with all of the 9 characters on the cover wihtout anyone of them being pushed too far into the background. The back of the case is pretty plain though it at least gives information about the VN. The reversible cover as I mentioned I think is quite lovely though it isn't really something that work that well as the cover since it is just one large drawing that would then be unnaturally split in two.
  19. Like
    Dergonu reacted to bakauchuujin for a blog entry, Picture of all my physical visual novels   
    Here are pictures of all of my physical visual novels.
    Some of these I have already done a review of while the others are planned to at some point get a review once I have read them.
    There are also going to be more visual novels added here in the future. For instance have I backed physical tier of kickstarter for Island, Momoiro Closet and Newrin as well as having pre ordered the complete box for Grisaia.
     
     
    Some of my english visual novels

    More of my english visual novels

     
    Grisaia complete box

    Aokana

    Nekopara vol 4 and Sengoku Rance

     
    My english visual novels with nsfw cover
    English Console VNs

    Japanese visual novels for PC

    More japanese visual novels for PC

    Some more japanese physicals, some of them have NSFW box
    My japanese visual novels for PS Vita

    My japanese visual novels for PS3 and PS4

     
     
  20. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Kenshin_sama for a blog entry, Learning How To Learn Japanese, Part 1: Obligatory Introduction   
    Index
    Hello and welcome to my Learning How To Learn Japanese guide series! My name is Kenshin_sama, and today I’d like to go over a basic overview of what these guides will be about. What I aim to accomplish with this series is share some of the observations I made while studying in hopes that they aid you in finding a sustainable method for yourself. While many of the techniques I discuss can be applied to almost any area of study, I’ll be writing these guides specifically for those who want to learn Japanese.
    Guide format:
    After dedicating several hours to writing this guide, I came to the realization that I’ve put in far too much information to consume all at once; and after some deliberation, I decided to break my guide into a series of smaller guides to provide moderate break points and make it a little less intimidating. Each guide will be dedicated to certain lifestyle aspects or learning techniques that can make the process of learning Japanese easier. Every time I create a new guide, I'll add a link to an index at the top of each entry for convenient navigation.
    What you should know before you start learning Japanese:
    Gaining proficiency in any new language is going to require a substantial time investment throughout the entirety your life; make sure you can justify that kind of commitment to yourself before getting started. There are plenty of reasons you might want to consider learning Japanese other than for increased enjoyment of your hobbies, but make sure they’re enough to keep you motivated.
    The key to studying effectively is studying consistently. In the wise words of James Raymond Watkins, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” If you can spend more time studying, great, but it is imperative that you take the time to study almost every day, even if it’s only for a short duration.
    I’m not sure if this is still a commonly held belief, but I think I’ll go ahead and address this argument in case you get the wrong idea. It is not impractical to learn a completely new language as an adult. You may have heard it said on occasion that the best time to learn any new language is at a young age. I’m not willing to verify the accuracy of that statement since it’s not exactly relevant to this guide (I’m not writing this for 5-year-olds), but I can say with some certainty that it is never too late to get started. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people who’ve started learning their second language in their late 20s or older, and have achieved fluency in that language with enough practice. Just know that it’s perfectly normal to suck at learning a new language at first; your age is not to blame.
    Afterword:
    Thank you very much for reading. It was not my intention to make the introduction post this long, but I wanted to be sure I made some of my points as clear as possible. I'd greatly appreciate it if any of you would be kind enough to share your thoughts on this guide. In part 2, I’ll be going over a certain method of learning Japanese grammar through Anki. I'm almost positive that this method won't take over as the primary go-to for learning grammar, but I figured it'd be worth sharing anyways since it's working well for me and I haven't seen it brought up in any other JP guide (at least the ones promoted on this site). Hope to see you there!
  21. Like
    Dergonu reacted to bakauchuujin for a blog entry, A review of Starless as well as pictures of the limited edition box (english release)   
    I want to start doing reviews of VNs that I have physicals of where I both review the VN itself and show of the physical edition. I figured I would start with the most recent one I have completed which is Starless.
    First I guess I should mention what kind of VN Starless is. Starless is a hardcore fetish nukige, so if that doesn't sound interesting to you it probably isn't something you are going to like.
    I guess I should first start of with the general plot, though I will avoid spoilers.
    In the VN you play as Sawatari a young man who is looking for a summer job. After finding a sketchy looking adverticement he ends up applying for a two week long job as a servant in a mansion belonging to a rich family consisting of a mother her two daugthers and one son. During the interview Sawatari finds out that the job is more like that of a sex slave rather than that of a normal servant, though due to the high wage and not wanting to back down after all the things they had done to him during the interview he decides to stay. The next day a woman named Mitarai who is in desperate need of money also applies for the job and reluctantly accepts it due to her suituation. After this you follow Sawatari's daily life as a servants of the family for two weeks. During these two weeks you and the other servants of the mansion act out the messed up desire of the family as you try to keep your sanity. Throughout your stay you learn pieces of information about all the shady and messed up things that the family is doing behind the scenes and ultimately your aim is to get yourself and Mitarai out of the mansion alive and with your sanity intact.
     
    Some things that I liked
    The art of this VN is really good, I suppose rather than me telling you about it you can look at the pictures bellow or you can look at the screenshots at vndb.
    As for the music I liked it quite a lot. I found it to always work with the mood of the scene.
    The main character is actually able to think and I found his inner monologue to be interesting.
    I really liked how they built up the different mysteries in the mansion, it was quite fun not really knowing what secrets were hidden in the basement and the shady things the family did behind the scenes.
    The characters were well writen, their distinctive personality really showed.
    After the first few days they start having sexual lectures and I found it interesting not knowing what type of lecture the next day would bring. I felt that this was quite good for building up anticipation for what would happen next and keep you playing.
    The VN has a rediculous amount of sexual content since it is a long nukige, I would estimate that the VN is about 40 hours long and most of it is just sex scenes.
    The genitalia is really well drawn.
    It covers pretty much every fetish you can think of, excluding fetishes found only in fantasy VNs, you know like monsters.
     
    Some things that I didn't like
    While the music is good there are few tracks compared to the length of the VN, this makes it feel somewhat repetative.
    During one part of the VN there are a lot of scat scenes, the high amount of scat scenes was something I really didn't like that much.
    Towards the end of the common route and during most of the endings I found the content to be too extreeme for my liking. During the last parts of the VN I honestly just wanted to get it over with. This is of course based on taste, but if you don't feel up for a lot of really messed up things I would advice avoiding the title.
    Too many bad endings in my opinion.
    I really hated the secound daugther of the family, though since the family are the villains of this VN I can't really call that a bad thing. Also while I despiced her I do remember being at the edge of my seat everytime she was involved with something just waiting for her to do something horrible. Guess this is more of a neutral point.
    Some of the content is censored due to legal reasons, things like scat and beastiality. This can be restored easily by using an unofficial patch, which to my knowledge is pretty much actually an official patch that they had someone else publish to avoid legal problems. While it is easy to fix I think it is somewhat annoying not to have all of the VN on the disc.
     
    In conclusion
     This is a high quality long nukige with good writing, art and music, but it is not for everyone. This title is only for those who really want a completely messed up nukige with a ton of fetishes ranging from slightly messed up to absolutely horrifyingly messed up. Personally I really enjoyed the first part, but as I got towards the end of it I found it to be way too extreeme for my liking. As for whether or not I would like to pick up any other VNs from Empress after this my answer is no, the reason being that I hated the later part of it. While I wouldn't pick up another similar title I am glad to have experienced this title since it was quite a unique experience that I haven't really had before.
     
    Translation
    As for the translation I found the translation itself to be really good, the lines had a good flow and captured the different characters personality quite well.
    However one thing I found annoying about the translation was that there were a lot of typos.
    It seemed to me like the one translating did a really good job, but that they then just didn't do proper quality control afterwards.
     
    Pictures of the limited edition
    In advance I would like to appologize about the pictures bellow not being that good, I am not really good at taking pictures and my iphone's camera isn't the best either.
     
    Outside of the limited edition box
     
    The inside of the limited edition box. The artbook is to the left and the DVD case for the game is to the right.
    The game itself as well as a user manual and a card with a code for starless that can be used through Jast USA. Of course the DVD works for the game so the code is just an extra.
    Here are some samples from the artbook
    As for my review of the limited edition I would say that it is really worth it, the box looks really good and the artbook is really nice to take a look in. If you think of picking up the title I would really recommend going for the limited edition. When I wrote this post the limited edition was available, but it has now been sold out and been replaced by a regular edition.
  22. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, A VN of the Month Announcement   
    I've been considering this for some time, but it has suddenly become a reality.
    To be blunt, I've come to my limit when it comes to playing pure SOL games.  Oh, I can still enjoy many of them, but if you asked me whether I can look at them without my resentment of 'normal' SOL content blinding me, the answer is no.  If I have to read through one more template date scene or see another osananajimi climb through the window from next door, I'm going to start tearing out the last remaining hairs atop my head.
    *coughs* Ahem, now that I've got that out, it needs to be said that I've been doing this since September of 2012... a ridiculous amount of time to be playing roughly 80% of all non-nukige VNs that come out (I'm figuring those I dropped or just couldn't play because they were just that bad into the twenty percent). 
    Just to be clear, I will still continue to play VNs and comment on/review them in this blog.  However, I will no longer play as many outside my tastes, nor will I go out of my way to seek gems from companies I hate reading from. 
    I realized while I was playing Koisaku (Ensemble's latest game), that a few years ago, I would have read this game without any real problems, and I wouldn't even have blinked at the crap that now drives me up the wall.  Oh sure, Ensemble's base quality has fallen massively, but when I took a step back, this is actually one of the better amongst their more recent games, with plenty of indications of real stories for the heroines in the background.  However, I found I just couldn't tolerate it.
    It hit me in the date scene that occurs in the common route... I have no tolerance for date scenes at all anymore.  Scenes like that exist for every heroine in every SOL VN, and they all turn out in almost an identical fashion.  Reading it, even though it was basically a 'friend date', was like dragging my brain through mud.  I just couldn't do it.
    I promised myself that I wouldn't BS myself on this particular matter years ago... and I knew the limit was coming.  I just didn't realize that it would be this soon.
    So, I have to announce that this is the end of my VN of the Month column.  Now, all that remains is my Random VNs and whatever VNs I choose to play each month.
    I will continue to play what I'm interested in, and that will probably include slice-of-life at times.  However, I will no longer play SOL out of a sense of duty to my readers. 
    My original reasons for starting VN of the Month
    When I first started Clephas' VN of the Month, it was because vndb gives nothing to you for info on their games beyond poor tls of the game summary from Getchu, character profiles, and sometimes tags (that might or might not be accurate).  I felt that that didn't do most games justice, and I hated the way I had to go into a game blind on so many occasions.  As such, I started putting up commentaries on just what kind of VN I was playing, with few or no spoilers.  This was a need that, at the time, was not being fulfilled (and as far as I know, still isn't, since most reviewers include major spoilers because they are inconsiderate). 
    Over time, my routine each month started with figuring out which games weren't nukige and which I would play first...  and picking out which one was the best after I played them (the latter of course being entirely a matter of my opinion, informed as it might be). 
    However, it is time to set down my burden.  I tried handing off my work to others, and that worked for a while (thanks to @Dergonu@fun2novel@BookwormOtaku@Kiriririri for their help over the last year - yes, even you, Kiriririri).  In the end, though, I'm just one man... and one middle-aged man with increasingly bad health isn't going to be able to keep this up any longer.  Heck, I'm amazed i kept going this long.
    I do hope someone else takes up the torch of at least informing people of what to expect in newer games (and not just the ones from popular companies), but that isn't my job anymore. 
    Thanks for reading,
    Clephas
     
  23. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Narcosis for a blog entry, Otomimi ∞ Infinity   
    Yeah, exactly that.
     
    Title: オトミミ∞インフィニティー (Otomimi ∞ Infinity)
    Developer: Applique -Sister-
    Released: 2011/09/22
    Genre: Social Fiction
    Rating: 18+
    website (overseas IP's are currently blocked because Akabei Soft3 are a bunch of faggots)
    trial version
    Trailer:
     
    Despite being a very popular trope in japanese pop culture, mimikkos don't appear that often in visual novels. Sure - they aren't uncommon as side characters or a single addition to the game's cast, but that's pretty much where it ends in most cases. Games focusing on these are a rarity and it's ever harder to find one that tries to be more accurate and ambitious, rather than focusing on their moe and fetish aspects. I wanted to play one of such games for longer while, so when @Clephas mentioned Otomimi Infinity around a year ago, I couldn't restrain myself from elevating this visual novel to the top of my backlog. And in all honesty, I couldn't chose any better, as the game prove to be far more interesting than I expected at first.
     
    The plot
     

    This is literally what you're greeted with within the first minute of the game and it doesn't look that cheerful, contrary to the game's cover.
    The story is based on an alternate near-future setting, where vast scientific achievements lead to creation of artificially engineered hybrids, which are half-people, half-animals. The reasons for this are more or less left unknown, but the beast-people (as being referred to within the story) live now amongst humans for a longer while, resulting in at least one or two generations co-existing with each other to a better or worse degree. Sadly - due to many different factors - the relationships between humans and beast-people have been gradually getting more awful as of late, mostly because humans consider them to be inferior and as such, try to limit their presence and rights as citizens. One of the major problems is that humans can actually reproduce with beast-people and many are worried about potential future implications this might bring. As such, relationships between both races are shunned and having a beast-girl or a beast-man as a partner or love interest is considered immoral and perverted.
    Our protagonist - Yamato Sagawa - lives on a remote island (which basically consists of two small islands connected through a large bridge), located somewhere south of Japan, where racial conflicts increase to such point, where a prominent politician figure and the island's currently residing governor - Touchiji Iwahara - manages to successfully and easily pass down a law (which is more or less a martial law, involving the island's peace keeping forces), encouraging actual segregation of beast-people from humans, all for the well-being of two races. Our protagonist, being an actual beast-people lover isn't obviously happy with such turn of events (actually, he's incredibly pissed). Needless, to say he has more fitting problems at the moment, which include constant love attacks from his older sister with a severely-developed brother complex. During one of such events, while he was trying to get away from Chizuru, he is run over by a yankee beast-girl, Ryouko - and somehow, ends up at the shipping company she's the owner of. There's a bunch of other beast-gals living there, each of them with different circumstances. Thankful for rescue and tired of both his sister and family, but without livelihood, he decides to agree with Ryouko's offer and begins working at the company. As it soon turns out, he's a really capable worker, who's genuinely interested in company's well-being, much more than Ryouko herself, which instantly grabs attention of some of the girls working in the company - mainly Kon and Mayoi - and slowly takes over the responsibilities of actual manager. Meanwhile, statute enforced by Iwahara is increasing in power to the point where government decides to slowly enforce it; the only reason it doesn't affect them directly is because they are located within the middle part, which has been considered a "neutral zone" between both races doing business for a long time. Needless to say, Ryouko suddenly disappears one day without a trace, leaving both the company and girls living on it's premises in Yamato's hands. At this point, Yamato decides to stay, take care of both the company and girls and with their help, oppose Iwahara and his government's plan to segregate beast-people from humans.
     
    The cast
    Main characters:
    Yamato Sagawa - The game's protagonist. He comes from an affluent family that had a major saying in many aspects of island's life, which he himself considers more of a burden, than a blessing. He is generally an independent, kind albeit cautious, hard-working person (supposedly after his father, whom he actually despises as a politician) with enough common sense to see through people and situations far better than most of his peers and as such, capable to work out solutions in circumstances, others typically fail at. He often complains about his family and how intrusive his older sister is, wishing for a more average, normal life. He is also a huge beast-girl lover (they are his fetish) and unlike many other people, doesn't see them any different or more ridiculous than humans, wishing for humans and beast-people to co-exist in peace.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Chachako Koya - The dog-girl heroine, Chachako is a rather clumsy and airheaded, hyperactive ball of fluff to the point you'd love to hug her for the rest of your life. She wants to be as helpful as possible within the company, but because she often acts ahead before thinking, her efforts utterly end up in disasters, others have to usually clean up after her. Even though she's a bit of a birdbrain and her puppy-like lack of common sense can be staggering at times, her kindness and near child-like trust and acceptance towards others, including humans allow Chachako to easily form bonds with new people she meets, including Yamato. Despite her seemingly flawed personality and childish behaviour, she can be surprisingly sharp at times - even more so than Kon.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Hanemi Kusahara - The pink haired bunny-girl, Hanemi is shy, timid and similarly to Yamato - a hard-working person that often puts the well-being of others above her own. Due to events from her past, she gets lonely very easily, often to the point of suffering from anxiety attacks and feels uncomfortable, when left alone for extended periods of time. Likewise, she's probably also the most reliable girl from the whole bunch and often helps Yamato to run the entire business, including dealing with clients and company's accountancy. Hanemi is also very close to Ryouko, almost to the point they consider themselves sisters. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHE SHOULD BE EVER ALLOWED TO CONTROL ANY VEHICLES, unless you're ready to face the consequences.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Kon Miyama - A true "kitsune" in every sense, Kon is a sly and intelligent, mature girl with a good grasp of human psychology and a gift of speech unlike any other, allowing her to easily smooth-talk through most of the problems arising throughout the story and often to company's benefit. Within the Otomimi Transportation, she acts mostly as an elderly sister figure and it's not rare to see other characters holding her opinions in high regard. Unfortunately, Kon has a weak constitution and suffers from illness, which causes her to vomit blood in stressful situations. Due to difference in opinions, she often argues with Tetora and takes great enjoyment from teasing others, especially Yamato.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Tetora Byoubu - The resident tiger-girl of the group, Tetora is a genetically enhanced, hot-blooded baby boomer. She was born with an outstanding intellect making her a tech junkie genius, but also made it more difficult for her to admit to mistakes through pride and as such, resulting in her being very insecure and vulnerable to teasing which she responds to in a typical tsun fashion... and boy, oh boy is she cute when that happens. When she doesn't work or play with her gadgets, you can find her constantly bickering with Kon to the point where people in the company don't use alarm clocks anymore, because these two are typically the first to wake up, haha. In all honesty, I consider herself the hottest female character in the whole story.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Chizuru Sagawa - Yamato's older sister, who currently manages the whole Sagawa household. She's both reliable and shrewd, but also unforgiving and strict when it comes to business, making her a prominent character in terms of island's political scape and definitely a person not to be trifled with. As adult-like and mature she acts, everything about her changes with Yamato around. Chizuru is an insane brocon, to the point where she's capable to order her family's security forces to stalk Yamato, controlling various aspects of his life through deceit and even waiting for him half-naked in his bed, when he goes back home from school. It's pretty obvious her feelings for Yamato extend far beyond those of siblings.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Mayoi Suzune - The game's true heroine. Mayoi is a rather solitary and lazy (leisurely would be more fitting) cat-girl with an incredibly foul mouth who dislikes working, gets vexed easily and doesn't care that much for humans, or anyone else in particular aside from those really close to her heart. She's also an avid otaku with a particular fondness for jrpgs and chuuni stuff, as well as cute (moe) anime girls. Completely indifferent and rather reluctant towards Yamato at start, she gradually opens up to him throughout the events of the game, revealing her different, warm side. Her past is tied with events, which ultimately lead to current situation on the island. Personally, she's my favourite heroine, perhaps because I found her the easiest to relate with.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Side characters:
    Ryouko Nagumo - Originally Otomimi Transportation's first manager, Ryouko is a cool-headed and laid back tanuki chick with a troubled past, who's efforts to increase her own well-being lead her to creation of the company and bringing in the other girls with similar life problems. As much as she acts very mature at times (she understands there are circumstances people have no control over and have to live with), she ends up being a completely irresponsible and lazy klutz most of the remaining time, much to Yamato's disappointment. Her past ties many of the characters together; my only gripe is that she didn't got a route of her own she really deserved, not to mention she's definitely the second most sexy character after Tetora, which is a big loss for the game.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Ryouzou Daikoku - One of the school's teachers, Ryouzou himself is a powerful elephant beast-man and the home room teacher of Yamato's class. He's very much a fatherly figure - both as helpful, as unforgiving and a peculiar example of a beast-person, who doesn't wish bad to humans and understands the circumstances of the entire conflict, which pretty much earned himself both admiration and respect amongst his human peers and students. When not busy with teaching, he's typically found patrolling the school premises bringing swift demise to all sorts of delinquents and troublesome students (including Yamato, who's notorious for entering school through the gate reserved for beast-people, for obvious reasons), fiery temper and bamboo sword included.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Dr. Foresto, aka prof. Hakumi / Hakumi Sensei - The ultimate scientific genius, also being one of the youngest characters within the story. Dr. Foresto is a cute, quirky and cunning (or at least that's what she thinks) owl-girl, balancing between something akin to an evil scientist delivering cheesy one-liners, intellectual recluse and insecure child. Much like an ancient troll, she lives somewhere under the great bridge and ordered her robotic creation - Mio to not let anyone carrying meat through, unless they hand it over, which obviously includes Otomimi Transportation (actually, it pretty much only involves their transports as of late). Considering her intellect and figure, I wouldn't find her gluttonous attitude surprising.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Mio (also known as F-30) - Dr. Foresto's creation, Mio is an android driven by high-grade AI prototype, capable of self-thought and learning, as well - as shown within the story - genuine emotions. Despite that, she still falls under the very same pitfalls of all applied AI mechanics, including pre-programmed routines and need to follow orders in a straight fashion (more commonly know as "watch what you ask for"), much to her guardian's annoyance. Her main job is to steal meat from Otomimi Transportation company's shipments, which she always fails in one way or another because both Yamato and Kon find it really easy to trick her, whilst Tetora would love to take her apart to learn how she functions. Despite being rivals, Mio is often found helping Yamato at school, especially whenever Sango's involved. She also self-destructs in a large detonation, when left in severely unfavourable conditions.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sango Tomajiri - The shark-girl that also attends the same school as Yamato and rest of characters. A typical girl by day, leader of a notorious gang of shark pirates otherwise - her actions definitely shape a large portion of the story, as she tries to subdue Otomimi Transportation's speed boat, which carries goods between island and mainland. Those events, which almost always end up in spectacular failures for Sango and her gang, led her to treat Yamato both with admiration as the company's manager, as much as hatred to the point of them becoming ultimate rivals. When she's not busy with pirating, she typically stalks Yamato at school, trying to slash him with her sword or shouting how she'll never forgive Yamato, barging inside even in the middle of a class, much to Ryouzou's annoyance.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Touchiji Iwahara - The game's main antagonist, Iwahara is a prominent politician figure and current governor of the island our characters live on. His decisions more or less shape the political and social landscape of the entire region. From a personal standpoint, he is a typical representation of japanese politics, including bluntness and far-reaching arrogance (an actual jab from the dev team towards real life Japan politics, in fact). As the story moves on, players will learn there's actually far more behind his decisions to segregate the island's residents than human well-being and aversion towards beast-people... including some, which are both really personal and tied to his past, when he was still a young man.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Akutaa - An applied AI module once made by Tetora, found in warehouse trash and stuffed inside a large hamster plushie. He unintentionally becomes the company's mascot. Akutaa (his name is indeed written with kanji, meaning trash/garbage) is the sole character, which brings hilarity and sexual humour into this game not found in anything I've previously played. A hardcore masochist and pervert the Earth hasn't seen so far, Akutaa's sole reason of existence boils down to either fluster and embarass all the female workers of Otomimi Transportation, or make them step on him with a various degree of success. While his dirty jokes remain super effective against Hanemi and Mayoi, both Tetora and Mayoi retaliate with passion, which nearly always ends up with him being thrown outside the window, stomped, punched or flushed down the toilet. Even so, it's noteworthy to say that despite his constant antics, he's really caring for everyone in the company and an actually reliable AI partner in business. He wins the award for best voice acting in the game.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Thoughts
    There's a lot of things I could talk about, which raise this game above the crowd of many, similar titles and overall sea of mediocrity in visual novels.
    One of them is definitely how writer handled the game's main themes - racism and prejudice against different species. Similar to Bloomkamp's District 9 alien race, beast-people are often portrayed in a very unfavourable position, ranging from being called a burden of society, "dutch wives" in regards to females (this is actually quite relevant in regards with game's premise) to plain subhuman trash. Younger beast-people are often bullied at schools by their human classmates (Mayoi being a prime example and it happens literally in the beginning of the story). They can't feel comfortably outside the streets and it's not uncommon for them to be treated with disdain or contempt. Obviously, not everyone behaves like that, but with time it became somewhat of a publicly accepted behaviour for humans to treat them in such way. Likewise, beast-people aren't without their share of negative traits - by being mostly hot-blooded, they often get easily provoked by humans, which only turns things worse in the process, making them spiral down into sort of situations, where they can be easily jailed. The overall situation on the island is definitely not the best, but certain fragments indicate, there are actually places in the world, where things became much worse, with beast-people being devoid of their most basic human rights. Regardless, the islanders are faced with many problems and their future is left uncertain. Kon even states at certain part of the game that if the segregation law gets enforced, it will become nearly impossible for many of them to find jobs or homes and as such, sustain themselves which might prompt the government to take further measures and it's not hard to imagine what might happen. It's a rather bleak, if not nearly dystopian portrayal of future, which also goes perfectly along with modern day issues we're currently facing in real life as societies, especially in Europe and United States. Thank gods Mayoi's route concludes everything on a rather positive, if not slightly bittersweet note.
    There's something really warm and fuzzy in the way how game managed to portray work at Otomimi Carrying Company, with Yamato and girls struggling hard everyday not only for their own benefit, but also well-being of the whole island they live on. After all, they are not only doing this for themselves, but recalling Yamato's words "The well-being of many companies and people on the island depends on our ability to deliver goods in perfect shape to right places and on time". Who wouldn't want to work in such a nice shipping company, being surrounded by so many cute female co-workers? I presume this sort of idealised image of working environment can be treated equally to otaku idealization of youth, prevalent within school settings. In the same way school setting-based visual novels let us relive those most cherished and nostalgic moments of our lives (at least, for most of us), games like Otomimi Infinity with their intricate portrayal of adult labour lets us - older players, who actually became a part of actual society - self-indulge in those dreams of a perfect workplace, while our real life jobs are often rarely as beautiful and fulfilling. I found this particular side of the game really enjoyable, knowing there's this part probably only we - older players - will be able to truly understand.
    This game has a lot of great, enjoyable moments, plenty of laughs as well as plenty of situations, where you will sit on the edge of your seat, which is quite surprising for a game - which despite it's themes - is still being kept in a rather bright tone for most of the time. Some of the fragments made me genuinely feel for the characters and the way the game is made - despite my overall dislike towards ladder-structured scenarios - easily keeps exploring the different angles through each of character routes. I was distraught after Chizuru's route, which can be definitely considered the worst possible ending in the game, while both Chachako's and Hanemi's endings were particularly bittersweet. Tetora's and Kon's endings are more light-hearted, whilst Mayoi's route leads to the penultimate ending - both extremely bittersweet and charming in itself - that will definitely both surprise and leave everyone satisfied.
    Otomimi Infinity presents a particularly high level for a game from the modern eroge period of 2011; It's probably one of the last games, that were presented in an SD format, although the game's assets were already HD. The game's graphics are beautiful - particularly character sprites themselves, backgrounds look very nice and there's lot of panning and additional effects that enhance the visual experience. The soundscape is thick and works well to build atmosphere - everything from small details like characters leaving rooms, closing/opening the car doors (repeated properly by number of characters) to various silly anime sfx are all present and add a lot to the game. The soundtrack is very good - and even if a bit generic to an extent in a typical, anime fashion (lots of instrumental tunes, a bit of electro/trance and even some rock) - provides an extremely good background for all the in-game scenes. The OP song  "Megumira -Megumira-", sung by Marie's bright voice will probably become one of the very few OPs I will actually remember and I found myself already whistling the tune a couple times. Speaking of scenes, the game's direction deserves a particular praise, with proper character placing on screen (there's so many different character sprite variations!), movement and animations - it all creates an unique feeling, not to mention there's so many things going on at the screen in certain moments, you feel the characters might even pop out of your monitor at any moment.
    In overall, this is a great game that shouldn't be omitted by anyone, least by fans of mimikkos or animal anthropomorphism.
     
    Final Verdict:
    Impressive / Highly recommended
    Guilty pleasure
     
    Pros:
    Mimikkos galore! Protagonist, who's not a donkan dumbass or incompetent hetare crybaby Cast of diverse, colourful characters Enjoyable story, being a well-balanced mix of drama, comedy and action with surprisingly good twist at the end Mayoi's route, which also serves as the true ending of the whole story Great art (character designs!) and soundtrack, good direction and use of sound all deserve praise as well excellent voice acting brings characters to life Akutaa; Seriously, his antics lead to some really hilarious moments Plenty of the h-scenes are hot as damn Cons:
    Ladder-based scenario structure with large portions of the story being either repeated or shared throughout character routes detracts from the overall experience Chizuru's obsessive behaviour towards Yamato can get annoying after a while Some of the work and slice of life portions tend to drag on a bit too much As much as Dr. Foresto's and Sango's fragments are fun in the beginning, they get stale after a while The romance part of the game is mostly neglected; coupled with such lovely characters it leaves you with sense of unfulfilled expectations Love scenes are rather shallow for the most part and there's little to no emotional development. Yes, it's the kind of porn even Yuzusoft wouldn't be embarrassed about People having issues with willing suspension of disbelief will probably get annoyed by plenty of small details, like characters driving vehicles despite still being students or maintaining a difficult business at such a young age Game has one of the longest and most unrealistic orgasm scenes I've seen in my entire life
  24. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Experimental Book Post: The Under Jurisdiction Series   
    First, I should note that this is a series that is right up the alley of people like Dergonu... it were a VN.  This series, Under Jurisdiction by Susan R Matthews, mostly follows Andrej Koscuisko, a Drakonij Prince and would-be (though not by his own will) Inquisitor. 
    Setting
    The Under Jurisdiction series is based in a sci-fi future where humanity, at some point, diversified so greatly that sub-specification has occurred (though most aren't quite separate species entirely.  In this future, humanity (such as it is) is ruled by the judiciary, in the form of the Bench.  All humans are subject to the law as proclaimed by the judicial forces, and punishments are mostly corporal... horribly so in some cases. 
    In this setting, torture is not only allowed, it is actually carried out by licensed medical professionals trained to inflict the maximum amount of pain to gain confessions of crimes (regardless of how heavy the evidence is), and, where it is justified, to torture them to death in the most horrible of fashions.  This legal use of torture as a deterrent to criminals has led to a gradual decay in the morale of the planets ruled by the Judges on the Bench, and rebellions have begun to occur on a regular basis by the time the protagonist, Andrej, takes his first steps into the world of the Fleet.
    Andrej Koscuisko
    Andrej is an extremely complex man... a man raised in a noble family of oligarchs who believe intensely and with absolute conviction in the duties of noblesse oblige and the duties to those under a lord's protection.  He is also a young medical professional, a genius surgeon and chemist with a the kind of skill in actual surgical procedures that is seen so rarely as to be unheard of.  He understands the human body (all races) to a degree that is often terrifying, and this is part of what becomes his plague... for when he begins his training, he discovers that, to his horror, the process of Inquisition brings out an intense, sick hunger to inflict pain upon and dominate the subjects that come under his hands.  Coupled with his natural understanding of the body and human psychology, he comes out of his training as the most horrifyingly skilled Inquisitor in Bench history, an artist of pain eternally on the verge of madness due to the conflicting imperatives within him.  He is only held back from the edge of the cliff by the efforts of his Bond Involuntaries, former criminals implanted with behavioral governors that force them to absolute obedience, so they can serve as his aides, and they are thus under his protection.  Their care for him, for his sanity, for his health, and for his honor, is all that keeps the sadistic madness at bay as it fights with his honor and inherent compassion...
    The Story
    The story follows Andrej from his training as an Inquisitor and first encounter with a Bond Involuntary, to his first duty as a Fleet Inquisitor and beyond... His fight with madness as he tries to glean mercy and justice from the horrors he is forced to perform on others, his fight to keep his honor, to protect his Bond Involuntaries from others who would use them poorly, and his fight with his own, culturally-ingrained sense of filial duty are intense to read.  For all the foreignness of his culture, Andrej's journeys through life leave behind an impact far out of proportion for the actual deeds he performs. 
    Unfortunately, if you have a weak stomach, I can't recommend this story at all.  The galaxy Under Jurisdiction is one of the most horrifying dystopian sci-fi systems I've ever seen... all the worse when you realize that it all began out of a desire for justice and fair play in a universe where human racism has, if anything, gotten worse thousands of years after leaving Earth.
  25. Like
    Dergonu reacted to Narcosis for a blog entry, Yougen Tennyo   
    Warning: This review isn't necessarily safe for work, but all the nsfw content remains hidden within the spoiler tags. Read at your own discretion.

    Title: 妖幻天女 (The Bewitching Celestial Maiden)
    Developer: Scoop
    Release: 2001/01/25
    Genre: Fantasy
    Rating: AO/18+
    Trailer:
    After way too many vns in our existence all the plots slowly run together into one and character development stops being important. It is when we want to take a break and get our hands on something extra crispy - as long as it allows us to indulge in the deepest of desires, there's no place for needless banter. We are merely simple beings with simple needs... and being a simple guy, I couldn't neglect a game, one of my friends recommended me long ago. "Play this japanese erogi", he said. "You will reach true happiness.", he said. At that point I barely knew moon runes, so I couldn't care less. Now when things changed, I accidentally stumbled upon this magnificent piece of software, while browsing through more forgotten corners of the japanese net. Was it worth it?
    If you're interested, please continue.
     
    Story

    It's common for sons of well-established leaders to be mostly useless, good-for-nothing gallants. Raziel isn't an exception.
    Prince Raziel is the successor to the demon throne, but his interests vary wildly from whatever his father keeps in stock, not to mention actual marriage. When his soon-to-be fiancée turns out to be an angel - a mortal enemy of the demon kind - Raziel takes a liking for the girl and decides to make her his bride, much to Demon King's disapproval. After a heated argument, king promises to approve of their relationship, but only if Raziel manages to bring her back to the demon realm. Clueless on how to begin, prince Raziel joins forces with his ever profit-hungry childhood friend Rosetta and together they embark on a fantastic journey through mystical realms, full of glorious dickings and endless hopes for treasure troves ready to be taken.

    In this realm, your future half is revealed through divination, the rest does not seem to matter that much.
    In order to reach the heavens above, our duo has to traverse through 魔界 ("Hell" for you, uneducated peasants) and obtain four elemental stones, which will allow them to open a magical portal leading to the mortal plane. From there onwards, they will have to pass through the Machine Country and Country of the Beasts, before they reach entrance to heavens. A seemingly simple task, if not for the fact the stones are being kept away within four great towers and each of them is supposedly protected by a powerful guardian. Obviously, the stones themselves contain tremendous powers that allow it's bearer to control the elemental energies and as such, shouldn't ever fall into anyone's hands, especially demon.

    What a cutie. I'm obviously talking about Rosette.
    No one really knows what lies beyond the mortal gates, but they're confident to push onwards. Such is their fate.
    TL&DR version: It's a game about a demon prince, boning any females that stand on his way to achieve true happiness. Also, snakes. Lots of 'em.
     
    Gameplay

    Thanks for stating the obvious, Rosette.
    Yougen Tennyo is a classic eroge, deeply rooted within the galgame realm of late 80's and early 90's. Game itself is divided into two parts - the usual story mode, presented in ADV fashion and a Qix-esque mini game, where your take control of our dark-winged protagonist trying to slash through maps compromised of tiles, avoiding and fighting against a variety of opponents. The capricious all-female guardians force him into a game of wits and wagers to prove his worthiness on being the next owner of the stones... and perhaps something else.
    As you slowly progress through the game, you quickly find out the damn stones are as relevant as Raziel's fidelity. While each failure results in a classic "game over" screen, after which the game restarts, actual victories net you - the player - not only story progression, but the main reward - h-scenes, in which our protagonist has his way with the defeated ladies (sometimes likewise). And boy, oh boy - if you enjoy stories, where protagonists are either rogues or straight out bastards, while females constantly switch from prideful to poor, oppressed beings into lust-filled demons demanding your se- I mean, your unyielding attention - you'll love every minute of it. It's not a mystery to behold our dear ladies are of supernatural origin and being forever bound to a single place with no one to accompany them, they grew both very lonely and bored over the passing centuries. Surely - they might be ill-tempered and/or cautious (PMS, perhaps), but it's in your task to soften them up and judging from devs, the best possible way to do so is by being rough. Push onwards, traveller. Open all the gates!
    The whole story is divided into seven arcs, not counting prologue and epilogue. There are four different towers and three realms our heroes will have to pass in order to reach ending. Each of the areas is a home to one of the game's heroines.
    The Earth Tower, inhabited by our shy nymph Raka (guarding the Earth Stone) Kingdom of Winds, home to the capricious sylph Sherra (guarding the Wind Stone) Tower of the Flames, guarded by the tsun fire sprite, Narsemi (guarding the Fire Stone) Rainy Kingdom, home to the tempting undine, Arga (guarding the Water Stone) Machine Country (human world), managed by the automaton Queen, Lia Country of the Beasts, supervised by proud centauress, Eija. Finally, the Heavenly Realm, where Raziel's fated bride - Oferina - resides. As a reader, you will spend most of the time following Raziel and Rosetta from place to place and engage in battles with it's guardians; either chasing after the more timid gals, or confronting the powerful vixens directly, ultimately falling into their playful clutches. It's worthy to note despite game's initial simplicity, girls themselves prove to be pleasantly developed, both in terms of personalities and the less, but not less important bits (when it applied). Each of the encounters is different and has something else in stock - there's a nut for every bolt, as they say. Not all of them run away scared or remain hostile to the protagonist. Some - in fact - welcome him as a pleasant surprise in their realms, offering to exchange their stones (wew) for a friendly game of cat and mouse. Those games - often being contests of strength, wits and spirit - ultimately turn to time, where they slowly get to know each other and sadly - the only time where we can learn something more about them. Fans of Rance series might find themselves at home, as most of the events in the story are described in an ultimately comedic fashion, rather than being serious and you can't deny that Raziel - even for being a villainous sort of a protagonist - isn't inherently bad, or evil as his only ultimate goal is to find a way to heavens and meet with his fated fiancée. In other words, you quickly let certain things go past the radar, even when most of the acts committed by Raziel could easily be described as nothing else but forcey fun time.
    Things get more hectic in the end, when you finally reach the Celestial Kingdom, that turns out to be less celestial, than you thought at first. A rather tiny, but surprising plot twist occurs, where you confront an unexpected guest and have to rescue Oferina from a fate far worse than death... I'd rather omit the details to avoid potential spoiling, but the whole final confrontation left me as much distressed and angry, as hilariously grinning for the remaining portion of the game.

    And they all lived happily ever after... or did they?
    I found the whole concept of the game symbolic at times. Embarking from the depths of the netherworld, collecting elements that form the basis of universe, passing through the human realm, reaching the kingdom representing nature itself (one that will always remain above humanity) and finally reaching heavens, representing self-understanding all create a somewhat mystic feeling. Each of the realms seems to be a self-sufficient, closed-off state - more of a dream, where our heroines reside, mostly alone, if not counting their faithful servitors. The lack of humans within their own world is thought-provoking and you start to wonder, what happened. Did we lost ourselves in our never-ending pursuit of perfection or perhaps the mechanical puppets themselves are what remained of our own kind? In contrast to this, the Country of the Beasts seems like a bliss, akin to ancient descriptions of Promised Land, or Eden. We see all the animals in the backgrounds - both herbivores and carnivores - living in perfect harmony. A place of eternal happiness and ultimately something we cannot return to. The Celestial world above seems very cold and empty, with ancient ruins older than the universe itself. It reflects in Oferina's eyes - distant, melancholic and filled with solitude.
    All those states form what could be seemingly described as our own consciousness. Quite artsy, to be honest.

    This is what happens, when you allow greedy lolis to do as they please.
    In overall, I found the whole story to be pleasant and really enjoyable, if not a bit repetitive. Despite being plain and very much straightforward, the entire voyage got me hooked until the very end. For that I have to thank the game's heroines and Rosetta's constant antics.
     
    Minigame

    Though the developers consider Yougen Tennyo a mix between ADV and Qix, the mini-game portion itself feels closer to Bomberman, rather than similar puzzle/arcade titles.
    The mechanics are very simple. Your primary task is to clear each stage from all the tiles scattered on the floor. There's a timer running, so you have to hurry up, because when it reaches zero it's instant game over.
    Raziel moves across the tiles, leaving a flaming trail behind him which can be used to close them in simple geometric patterns. When you succeed, all tiles contained inside turn into elemental bullets and shoot in a direction our character was last facing. Those can be used to damage and kill the servitors sent by the guardians to hinder our progress. Killed enemies will sometimes leave power-ups. Those are divided into few different types - offensive, defensive and utility, ranging from instant bombs and bonus lives to additional time or stop it for a while, prevent opponents from spawning on the map or summon Rosette's lovely pet companion - Grimarkin (actually, it's a female as well... hopefully) - to either destroy tiles or launch attacks at the opponents. Again, despite it's simplicity, the mini game turned out to be a lot more engaging than I expected. It's feels very balanced and provides constant challenge, while not being an overly frustrating addition. If you will play straight from the beginning and have some skill with arcade games, you shouldn't have any problems in reaching the end, considering how generous stages can be at times, raining you with constant stream of 1-UP's.
    You're also gifted with Rosetta's presence in the bottom-left window, cheerfully commenting on your achievements and mishaps, because all we need is more sarcasm.

    My only note is that the game could still use a bit more variety in map design and puzzle elements. If not for the slight changes in terrain graphics and opponents, you could be as well playing the same exact thing, over and over again.
    The whole game is divided into 7 different worlds and each of them contains four stages. The first one is considered more or less an introduction. The second one adds more opponents. Sub-bosses appear in third stage. Those are usually powerful beings and each of them comes with a fairly different set of skills, requiring different approach to clean stages. They can be killed, but attempting to do so can be quite tricky, considering their toughness.
    In the final stage, you will confront the guardian heroines themselves. Similar to sub-bosses, ladies have different skills and attacks, becoming progressively more dangerous and difficult to beat as the game progresses. Personally, I found Eija to be the most challenging opponent, truly worthy of her character. Heroines can be defeated as well, but they are one of the toughest opponents existing, requiring a lot of effort. Regadless, as your main task is to clear all the tiles, beating them is not required, but purely optional.

    Regarding boss fights, it's worth to remember about Rosetta's treasure hunting requests, if you want to earn her gratitude. As to why, I will leave it for players to deduce themselves
     
    Art & Music
    There is "music" in this game.
    Jokes, aside - it's all simple FM-midi tunes. Those might have been good around thirty years ago, but not anymore. Regardless, they are fitting and create a good background noise for all the action.

    Queen Eija is a lovely lady, but the bottom part seems incompatible.
    What really does shine, though is the art. For a game of it's time, Yougen Tennyo managed to reach a peculiar mix between simplicity and utmost artistry. The majority of art, including character concepts was done by Minoru Murao (of Knights, Last Exile, Burst Angel and 707R fame, amongst other works), remaining nothing less than gorgeous. It's obvious Minoru was heavily inspired by Arabian Nights (visible in character designs and setting) and Art Nouveau with it's flowery patterns, thick outlines, minimal shading, subtly drawn faces and beautiful anatomy. All of this is a true feast for eyes to look upon. The unique mix between erotica and high art - the subtle embrace of delicate female beauty portrayed against the flowery plains, contrasting with the primal joviality of our dark-winged demon protagonist turned out to be a really tasteful and unique approach for a visual novel of this kind.

    It's a shame the game is so old and as such, former hardware limitations prevented higher resolution graphics.
     
    Ero

    Because our protagonist is a an awful, awful person.
    The cherry on the top.
    If you're a fan of 100% consensual vanilla H, stay the hell away from this game, as some of the scenes might end in complete disgust to all things japanese, possibly combined with police knocking on your doors.
    If otherwise, this - my friend - will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life, you might feel ashamed of but won't ever regret.
    Not only you get beautiful gals, as they pant and tussle in ecstasy, there's a lot more in store for all the fans of dirty erotica. Our protagonist is a shape shifting dweller of the netherworld himself, capable to turn into a gigantic snake and command a whole flock of scale-covered familiars, ready to pursue his every single order. He is not afraid to use them to the fullest potential (don't click that link at work, seriously). The game offers a wide variety of heroines with different personalities, sexual experience and level of kinkiness, which results in a lot of funny situations (mostly for us, less for them), not to mention preceding sexual innuendos and dirty talking. As an seemingly inconspicuous but powerful apex predator - demonic avatar of lust and depravity - you will slowly drive your unsuspecting victims into a corner, devoid them of their dignity and work them up to new heights of carnal pleasure, they never experienced before.
    Even tentacles in this game come as one of the most beautiful I've ever came across and quite cuddly in their own way
    If you ever thought how females felt during the age of myth, play this game. Being forcefully taken against your own will is just the very beginning of a never-ending circle of perversion, our ancestors excelled at. Not only we loved to imagine how things are done within the celestial realm, but the cleverness behind the sex acts themselves could only equal to cunning tactics, our demigod brethren (and possibly sisters) employed to seduce their targets. Bulls, swans, sneks, golden rain, fog, treasure chests, spiders, mirrors, more sneks, wine, eagles, even more sneks, larks, mysterious objects(?) were all just a tip of an iceberg floating within a sea of wriggling snakes.
    This game just loves snakes. I won't be surprised you too might start to like them afterwards.
     
    Technicalities
    I can't forget to mention how hard Yougen Tennyo is to obtain nowadays (if you're a collector) and how even more difficult is to make it run on any modern PC at all. Since the game is basically a self-extracting software CD from circa 2001, it does not recognize modern display standards. I had to hack the executable in order to make it work on a 16:9 screen, although it did manage to open properly on another machine running Windows 7 on a 5:4 monitor, in 1280x1024 resolution. I suspect a windows hooker, such as DxWnd might be able to run it as well. If you own the original CD, an optical drive is surely required.
     
    End thoughts
    If you're a fan of oldschool eroge, looking for something nice and not overly long nor difficult to play, this game - despite it's complete obscurity - is a true gem in the rough and shouldn't be omitted.
     
    Pros:
    Gorgeous, highly stylized art Six different heroines standing on your path, plus Rosetta and your would-be fiancée Despite the themes, story is mostly light and comedic, akin to Rance games Plenty of well drawn and varied h-cgs with pretty, fairy-like gals You get to bang a haughty centauress 👌 Rosetta is cute af and she gets her screen time as well (provided you know what to do) You get cucked Cons:
    No catgirls (sub-boss in the penultimate map doesn't count) The story can be considered shallow and characters could include more depth The mini-game could use more variety in terms of mechanics The game is a pain in the ass to run on modern systems, unless you own a retro pc Lack of possibility to save, skip and fast-forward the text the old style censorship with it's invisible weenies and huge mosaics gets really annoying at times If resident lolis weren't enough, Narsemi's arc might be an actual deal breaker for a lot of people (YMMV) You get cucked
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