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Plk_Lesiak last won the day on February 23

Plk_Lesiak had the most liked content!


About Plk_Lesiak

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    Anime & VNs, writing, popcultural studies
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  1. Birthday thread

    As Clephas has his own self-appreciation space, happy birthday to @Kawasumi!
  2. Happy Birthday to Me

    What the title said! Well, I hope you and Decay don't go anywhere in near future or I'll be at risk of being the oldest guy out here.
  3. CUPID (free VN review)

    Wow, I don't think I'm anywhere close to a level that would justify donations, but I might think about it one day. For now, I would rather encourage people to donate to Fuwa, after all, this site is why I have a convienient platform to work on and an audience that is really interested in the topic. Seeing it thrive is something I very much care about. :3 I'm thankful for your feedback and compliments though, this indeed wouldn't be half as interesting without actual discussions with people and knowing that my writing can be fun to read and make others curious about the games and topics I touch on. There is some resemblence, even in visual department I think, although not that deep, it's still a slightly different brand of horror. I think it might be to your liking though, if you're looking for something fresh and with a western feel to it. Also, you can always show your appreciation through a like! ;p
  4. CUPID (free VN review)

    I couldn't really verify what version of the game was submitted to NaNoRenO, but it was definitely an entry, so the one-month rule should apply. I might reach to Fervent at some point and ask them directly, maybe when I get to reviewing Who is Mike. All pleasure is mine (like, literally, I really like writing these).
  5. Starting a blog about western VNs and VN developers?

    Yeah, I somewhat agree, but I actually haven't seen a meaningful update from that project for a long time. It was announced more than an year ago and there's still no release date and if the devs made some consistent attempts at promoting it, I haven't seem much of that. I think marketing is really not something most OELVN creators have figured out - although if Synergia turns out half as good as it looks in the promotional material, I think it will gather a lot of attention closer to its release.
  6. Starting a blog about western VNs and VN developers?

    Hello there, My Loved Ones! Today I'm offering you a review of CUPID, in my opinion one of the most interesting and compelling OELVNs out there. I'm also very satisfied how the text itself turned out, I hope at least some of you will share that impression. :3 After this slight detour, my otome-themed posts will continue for a few more weeks. I'm also quite excited to announce that I've conducted two interviews with VN developers that will go live in March. I'm hoping for the possibility to publish them in a way that will reach a bigger audience than a simple internal blog post would, but it's a complicated topic that I'll be working on in the coming weeks. Whatever happens, I hope that you guys will enjoy reading this content as much as I did enjoy creating it. Also, this weekend I'll be in Cracow on a cultural studies conference, talking about VN fan translations. I hope I'll be able to bring back some pics to show off, but either way, wish me luck. Have a great week everyone!
  7. CUPID (free VN review)

    In my previous review I was writing about a NaNoRenO OELVN-contest entry that definitely bit slightly more than it could chew – a large scale project that, due to its short development cycle, came out rushed and deeply flawed, not reaching the full potential its premise and characters offered if handled properly. Today, however, I’m dealing with a game that is very much a counter-argument to my thesis on what can and cannot be done within NaNoRenO’s tight timeframe – a visual novel made for that same event, mostly by a single person, but which turned out to be a fulfilling and shockingly intricate experience, often considered as one of the best western-made visual novels to date. CUPID, created by Fervent Studio and released for free in March 2016 is a surprising success story that at the first glance had no right to happen. This gothic romance/horror story, while it has a female protagonist, is pretty far detached from any established subgenre on the VN market. However, its mature, dark themes and extremely competent execution makes it potencially attractive for many types of readers, as long as they’re not easily discouraged by highly unsettling and potentially depressing content. It also introduces a few spins on the typical visual novel formula and unusual storytelling techniques that make it stand out from most Western and Japanese titles, creating a unique, memorable experience on a market dominated by rather generic, trope-driven products. CUPID’s artstyle quickly sets it apart from most of generic, anime-style OELVNs, but its originality doesn’t end there CUPID doesn’t wait long with establishing its tone and main themes – the short prologue welcomes the player with a rather agonizing introduction to the protagonist – an abused, mentally broken girl, who is driven by guilt into a horrible act of self-harm, gouging out one of her eyes (thankfully, that scene is only suggested, not actually shown). From this very moment it’s clear that the themes of mental illness and sexual abuse will be a crucial part of the game – I actually find that decision on the part of the developer very appropriate, as everyone uncomfortable with such topics or not prepared for seeing more of the tragedies the game centers around will simply drop it before risking being further unsettled. The prologue also presents one of the most original aspects of the game – the choice system, in which you don’t directly control the protagonists actions or thought, but instead act as a voice in her head, which she attributes to her long-dead mother – a symptom of mental instability, that depending on the path you take, will try to sooth protagonist’s pain and uncertainty, or push her even further towards madness and violence. I’ve found this system very compelling from storytelling perspective, but also felt that it adds a lot of weight to player agency and makes the cruel, abusive choices even more painful than they would normally be – if you push the protagonist towards another tragedy, the game even calls you out in a way, pointing out your cruelty and the fact you’re toying with her for your own fun or out of curiosity. The game’s “indirect” choice system is one of its most interesting ideas and paradoxically add a lot of weight to the decisions you make When it goes to characters and story, the game nearly fully concentrates on a very small cast, in a setting of XVIII-century France. This creates a very focused, well-paced and fulfilling experience, despite CUPID's fairly short playtime (completing the game in 100% won’t take you more than 10 hours). The characters include the protagonists, Rosa, Catherine, a child-prodigy pianist and Rosa’s best friend, who saved her from life on the streets and marquis Guilleme, Catherine’s patron. The story spans over nearly two decades but is told without strict chronological order, jumping between the tragedy that is the main axis of the plot and its immediate repercussions on the one hand, and various earlier situations on the other (those give context to the main plot-points and slowly reveal the meaning behind the overarching mystery). Just like the game’s title suggests, much of it all centers around the themes of love and sex, but this mostly concerns the relation between the Marquis and Catherine and above all, serves as the fuel for both drama and horror elements – it’s not a romance VN in classic understanding of the term. This is also reflected in the endings, only one of which can be to some extent described as romantic (and which is very much a non-canon, bonus route). As you can expect from the first moments of playing CUPID, there’s no real “happy” conclusion to its story and the endings vary between bitter-sweet and utterly horrific – it’s really not a VN for those overly sensitive and I myself struggled a bit after reaching the worst end. CUPID’s sexual content can be somewhat graphic, but more often than not it serves the horror, rather than romance and at no point it can be considered porn All this is complemented by very good visual and sound design. The graphical style is far-detached from the typical anime-inspired formula and rather unique, but maybe impresses most with its consistent quality and variety – a large number of CGs and interesting visual tricks in horror scenes are not something you would normally expect from this kind of free game. The sound effects and music are rather minimalistic, but do a great job of enhancing the climate and also fit well into the historical, European setting. In the end, CUPID proved to be a really excellent experience, one in which I have a hard time finding actual faults. Its literary values, storytelling and production qualities are all top-notch, especially by the standards of the OELVN market. The fact it’s a free game, made in a fairly short time span is absolutely mind-blowing. If you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend it – as a fairly short horror VN it has few worthy competitors and for low the price of nothing, it’s simply a sin not to check it out. Final score: 4,5/5 Pros: + Original and well implemented aesthetic + Very effective, unsettling atmosphere + Unique and well-executed choice system Cons: - Very dark, disturbing story – not for everyone Download CUPID for free on Steam or Itch.io
  8. Fuwa Chronicles - 1

    This text definitely exposes the weaknesses of Fuwa's "reaction" feature. I was going to click "confused", then considered both "sad" and "like", but no single option can truly express my feelings about this.
  9. Favorite protagonist?

    But I wonder if it's about making the story more immersive or just making the porn more effective? I've heard that many people insert themselves into live-action porn, so I can imagine it being only more prevalent when it goes to hentai games. Self-insert doesn't work for me in either way, so I'm always curious how others feel about it.
  10. Hi Everyone,

    Welcome to Fuwa! I feel your pain with having litlle time to read, I hope your schedule becomes more merciful soon. Have fun posting!
  11. Starlight Vega (yuri VN review)

    Yay! It's the first time a twitt made someone read something here, but hopefully not the last. xD
  12. The State of VNs

    Well... I hope Fuwa don't do anything to change that impression... Yeah. For me it's also super-dependent on my mood and I think it's similar for many people (especially if they're prone to depressive episodes or similar problems). Reading heavier stories can be extremely compelling, but sometimes a bit of fluffy SoL or a more comedic story can do miracles to how I'm feeling. Trying to read only the most complex and demanding VNs would just make it a miserable experience much of the time.
  13. Fuwa's First International Blame Mitch Day!

    I nearly edited it right now, but I think I'll leave it as it is and contemplate the possible messages that my subconscious tries to send me.
  14. Today is my birthday

    A nice game for nice people, that's for sure! Happy birthday! Wish you a lot of fun with that backlog. I expect mine to just grow to the point where it implodes under its own weight and turns into a black hole.
  15. Fuwa's First International Blame Mitch Day!

    I blame Mitch for failing to write my PhD in the last 4 months. I actualy blame you all for that! A bit. Bust mostly Mitch.