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Been playing Senren Banka and so far I'm liking it, even though I'm still on the first chapter. The slice of life comedy is well handled, going well with the good voice acting and comedic artwork; the regular artwork is really good be it for the backgrounds and the characters (though I swear Mako looks so much like a Type Moon character design-wise she kind of stands out from the other characters) and so far all the characters are likable. My on worry is...

Spoiler

now that they've introduced the supernatural stuff with the town curse, I'm worried if the game can balance the SoL with that and I don't find myself bored with either.

 

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Finished Lonely Yuri... And well, it definitely got better and more comfortable than the pretty... Ekhm... Forceful opening suggested. It's still 80% fluffy yuri fanservice, but the other 20% consists of really nice, subtle character development and romance progression. The theme of loneliness wasn't elaborated on that much, simply because of how short the whole thing is, but it was present more than I've expected, with a lot of small clues on why the girls act the way they do and how much they need each other. By the end, it was just as fuzzy-feeling and satisfying as I hoped for. 7/10

I'm also halfway through Hitomebore/Love as First Sight and its... A lot cuter than I've expected, considering the author's taste for weirdness and macabre. Maybe some surprises or tense moments are awaiting me later down the line, but so far it's really wholesome and nice to read. I guess that is by itself, in a paradoxical way, a spin on monster girl tropes – focusing on the person behind the unusual traits and developing a very traditional romance arc with them. If it stays this good all the way through...

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9 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

If it stays this good all the way through...

I'll make a prediction here, so read once you've finished:

Spoiler

It will stay that good. But it'll probably end in the next 10 lines or so because the game is microscopic and that's my only issue with it.

 

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All his games are pretty short content wise, but all of them have a somewhat genuine feel and approach to (strange) love.

 

I'm finally done with Yumina the Ethereal, it took me about 60 hours and my Ctrl button shouldn't work anymore considering how much it was used. Yes, this is very grindy if you're shooting for 100% completion. (I even had to give up falling one scene short that I just couldn't find, which will haunt me) That is also my major gripe with this game, especially since it didn't feel meaningful. The whole ordacle training sessions give you a much needed edge to some genuinely hard battles in the debate war, but the lack of enemy variety (Enemies just get upscaled for the most part) quickly gets old. I liked the characters, but for a long time there weren't really many strong character moments and that's kind of (not) illustrated by how few CG's this has. Don't get me wrong, you have a lot of nice little shorts that expand on the characters, but nothing really striking happens to keep you engaged in the characters themselves. Overall it was well executed, but misguided in some of it's choices. (Like having to play through the game 6 times with all the side quests and grinding) I'd recommend a casual playthrough. 7/10

Spoiler

After you're done with the first half of the game, that is the school debate war, the game goes full on anime space battle against monsters, while recognizing your previous choices for the girl route you get to be on. I kind of get how they just wanted to up the stakes and make it feel epic, but this is were the game, well, maybe didn't lose me entirely, but made me go "Well okay, whatever, let's do this". I liked having recognizable, even at times deep opponents during the school debate war, which made the second half feel like it lost more than it gained. It leads to some good conclusions on the heroines character arcs, but I took it with a grain of salt.

 

I also played Maitetsu and I liked it a lot. It has this strange quality to it, where it goes on and on about topics that may not interest the reader, but with an in-depth and pathos filled perspective, that I couldn't help getting sucked into it. It had pretty much everything that I missed in Under one Wing. It's about trains and while under one wing was extremely superficial in it's portrayal and use of planes, this comes with a built-in encyclopedia of terms that are used in-universe and in trains in general. When the characters use specific terms you can click on them and get further explanations. I haven't seen this for the first time, but this was the most in-depth and expansive version I have seen to date. This attention to detail made the VN an engaging read for me, even though there were a lot of questionable choices. I'd think that a lot of readers will get annoyed by the pace, I felt it was mostly appropriate how it took it's time to slowly expand the narrative, but at times it does so by using tired tropes of miscommunication and dense protagonist. I wouldn't care too much otherwise, but the title tried hard to be unique and succeded, if not for that. The story also dives into economical and socio-ecological problems this world faces. I'm very much a fan of that, but I imagine a lot of readers having trouble with those topics. The biggest problem I had, was the shift in moral values and to some extents common sense. Not that these shifts existed, but much rather where they came from, which is left mostly unexplained. Guess that's where the adult version gets it's content, but with how casual it is about things like mixed bathing an in-universe explanation would be appreciated. (My guess is that it implies a Japan that was less influenced by western culture, since the town where the story plays out is also very traditionalist, but who knows) The heroines are likeable, although a bit simple, they are more defined by what they do, rather than who they are, that leads to some problems and some solutions. They all have their unique roles in this community and their respective routes revolve mostly around that, but there is some suspension of disbelief on how they came to obtain that role. (That's one of the things I questioned earlier with the shift in common sense, high schoolers working full time jobs or multiple jobs with lots of responsibility placed upon them seems a bit jarring, I don't want to go into too much detail) The protagonist is calm and pragmatic, but not so detached that it would make him unlikeable, he also connects well into the story, even though his backstory isn't explored and reconnected thoroughly in all routes. (Which is kind of a good thing, since it reduces repetitiveness) All of the sprites and CGs are animated, which adds to immersion and showcases the extra work and effort that went into this, even if it's not top notch animation at all times. 

All in all I had a great time with this one. 8/10

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I've been slogging through Muv Luv on and off for the past few months

Still in Extra lol

But I've managed to finish Sumika, Meiya, and Chizuru's Extra routes

MuvLuv Extra is truly... Average. Which means it's probably boring af to seasoned readers who've seen all the cliche high school SoL shenanigans by now. Doesn't help that Muv Luv is technically 2003 so it has the older type of writing/humor/dialogue and outdated graphics with them lovely body proportions.

I found both Sumika and Meiya to be fairly annoying, it's the classic should I bang my lifelong airheaded clingy and naggy childhood friend who's been by my side through thick and thin since forever, or this enigmatic super-privileged-super-rich and lacking-in-normal-people-common-sense/mannerisms girl that popped out of nowhere who seems to have larger than life fate/destiny ties to me?

I did like the moral crisis Takeru faced when it came to choose time, the writers did a good job setting it up by making Takeru reflect on both girls via inner monologuing flashbacks reinforcing the whole "childhood friend vs destiny girl" dilemma.

Needless to say I banged Chizuru first (Jk about "banged", I'm playing the Vita version LOLOL). Anyway she's the class rep strict by the book hardhead who tries to shoulder everything by herself. And she looks damn good when she lets her hair down and takes off the glasses. Her drama was pretty eh, a lot of LEAVE ME ALONE, I CAN HANDLE IT!!! And Takeru being NO YOU CANT, LET ME HELP!!! But yeah, Chizuru's my best girl atm.

I really really don't feel like slogging through Miki and Kei's Extra routes, might just start Unlimited now...

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56 minutes ago, Eclipsed said:

I really really don't feel like slogging through Miki and Kei's Extra routes, might just start Unlimited now...

If you think the slog ends when you stop reading Extra, I've got some bad news for you.

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On 2/23/2020 at 9:05 PM, Mr Poltroon said:

I'll make a prediction here, so read once you've finished:

  Reveal hidden contents

It will stay that good. But it'll probably end in the next 10 lines or so because the game is microscopic and that's my only issue with it.

 

Yup, but for what it is, I think it was only a little bit too short – could've used slightly more development around the moment when the romantic parts kicked in. It makes sense the author rushed it for an event, as it even feels similar to the higher-end NaNoRenO or Yuri Game Jam VNs, but it probably doesn't deserve half of the bashing the dev himself gives it in the author's notes. 7/10. :)

I've also read through Planetarian and well, it definitely lived up to the hype when it goes to the emotional impact. I have a hard time remembering when a VN genuinely made me cry, but I was completely defenceless against this ending. It's also all-around a great example of how awesome short stories in VN form can be – whether literary adaptations or original ones, I think these are the ones where visuals and good music offer the greatest added value. You never get that stale/repetitive feel that @solidbatman likes to talk about, and which is inevitable when you deal with tons of dialogue and similar events repeating over and over again, but all elements are synergizing with each other all the way through.

Anyway, quite a compelling little game. 8,5 tears out of 10. I think I'll go through Harmonia now, I know it's considered to be a lesser Key game, but it's also pretty short and kinetic, and I feel like playing another one of those. :3

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1 hour ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

It's also all-around a great example of how awesome short stories in VN form can be – whether literary adaptations or original ones, I think these are the ones where visuals and good music offer the greatest added value.

Exactly. That's why I say that in the end Planetarian has the best writing in a Key VN. It just singlehandedly shows that the whole Key formula (typical for VNs in general, actually) that you need to start with lots and lots of SOL to make the later "serious" scenes more impactful is simply wrong. Not that I dislike SOL, I actually like it a lot if it's done well. The problem is that I'm almost never satisfied with it in most VNs (and Key VNs are actually a nice exception).

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Ah, Planetarian... sometimes even thinking for a moment about poor little Yumemi still makes me a bit teary-eyed. :rubycry:

 

For a few last days I'm getting unusually sleepy in the afternoons, so I definitely cannot read Japanese in that state - thus my reading has been stalled for a moment.

Edited by adamstan

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Oh sweet, I managed to make it through Unlimited, the Shuckle Pokemon that told me about bad news must've reverse psychology'd me or something so I didn't really find it a slog to read as much as Extra was.

Not much to say about Unlimited, it was more enjoyable for me than Extra with its more "serious" tone but it's basically the same generic high school harem 'cept with mecha sci-fi military the world's ending!!@# elements thrown in to keep things interesting.

Kind of missed Sumika, never thought I'd say that l0l

..Well, now it's time to see what all the Alternative hype is all about..

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So I've finished several VN's - time to drop a few words about them.

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First on the list is Hatsukoi 1/1 which I was playing for quite some time now. It's a slice-of-life VN, so I had to consume it in smaller doses while reading other VN's as well. So it took a while to finish, even if I only played Maya's, Kyou's and Midori's routes. Overall, I think this VN kinda clicked with me. While it wasn't super special, I think the characters had a good chemistry with each other and the whole cafeteria stuff turned out to be more entertaining than expected. I also appreciate that you had two male buddies to hang around with, which weren't just idiots - reminded me a bit of Da Capo 2. They offered a refreshing change of pace to the cafeteria commitee with the girls.
Heroine routes felt a bit too long and overdramatized though. I had the impression that if they would have cut the last third of each route, the VN would have been better for it. The protagonist could occasionally get a bit annoying, but on the other hand he shows some remarkable growth in some routes, especially Midori's.

Heroine ranking: Maya > Kyou > Midori > Runa > Yukino

Overall rating: 6.5/10

I was even thinking about granting it a 7, but decided against since it was lacking a certain something that would make it stand out, like Aokana or the 9-Nine series. Still, it's a decent slice-of-life VN.

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So the next one on the list one is a quite unusual one for my standards: Koutetsu no Majo Annerose. Me playing a Lilith title is certainly something that doesn't happen every day, and this will probably also stay an exception. Usually, their H-content is far too extreme for me, but on the other hand they have some interesting settings and cool adult heroine designs. Lilith are one of the rare companies that somehow managed to distance themselves from generic school life moege and still be successful with it. It's a pity that they just waste their potential for fetish nukiges.
Annerose is a bit of an exception since it has a male protagonist and at least half of its H-content is just vanilla. The majority of the more extreme content is optional in bad endings or you get a choice to avoid it. It's also rather plot heavy to a point that I wouldn't call it a nukige anymore. There's a reason why it's the highest rated Lilith VN on VNDB.

The story was certainly quite refreshing. You're pretty much captured and killed during a slave raid by the Steel Witch Annerose and cursed into her undying slave servant. During the course of the game, you're slowly ascending from a useless lackey to a powerful and reliable partner of Annerose. The plot is about finding the truth about an evil cyber-werewolf running amok in the city and killing lots of people. This is also a true cyberpunk setting with fantasy elements almost like Shadowrun. You've evil cons, street-samurai, assassins, gangs, zombies and all kinds of shady people to interact with. And not to forget, a school girl equipped with a fully armed machine pistol which she uses on almost EVERY occasion against EVERYONE around her out of fear of rapists, making her one of the most dangerous persons in the city. XD

I really liked the more 'feme fatal' character designs and the overall anarchic and violent cyberpunk atmosphere. Riku also made a good team with Annerose and Michiko. Music was also decent, but it was a bit annoying that the VN didn't use its full 800 x 600 resolution.

Heroine ranking: Annerose > Mayfeng > Ray > Michiko > Miki

Overall rating: 7/10

The VN wasn't too long and for its length it offered enough content to keep me entertained. I also appreciate that it was possible for the most part to avoid the more extreme content. It's a pity that Lilith stopped compromising and just produced plain hardcore fetish nukiges since then - what a waste of potential! So this will most likely stay the only Lilith VN I'm reading.

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So, the last on the list is Baldr Sky Dive, the VN with the most potential and that 'should' have been the best on my list. Just that it's not. But let's start with the good things first. The VN looks surprisingly good for such an old title. The effects were smooth and the character designs still look decent enough. They also used such a good text font that they didn't need a text box, so even if it was just 800 x 600, at least you could see all of it. Every VN should have that. Music was okay, some soundtracks better some worse. I wasn't interested in the gameplay and therefore set it to very easy, and it really was easy to breeze through in that mode, which was nice.

Now to the not so great things. The VN consists of three core themes, a cyberpunk world of the present, a school life episode of the past and mecha for the fights. Unfortunately, none of the three themes complement each other very well. It's more the opposite, the whole thing would have been better if the writers would have focused on one theme and skipped the others. Instead of trying to establish the cyberpunk world as good as possible, the VN lost itself constantly in school life back-blendings, with most of them completetly irrelevant to what's currently happening in the present. It would have been better to just make a separate 'MuvLuv Extra' out of it, which you could just finish for good first. It's also odd to have a heroine route where the protagonist is constantly hitting on other girls, even if it is just in back-blendings. Overall the first 2/3 of the route had literally no story flow at all because of the constant interruptions. Only in the last third it got a bit better.

Another problem is the mecha theme. It's actually not just a game for the reader it's also a game in the VN because it's purely restricted to its virtual reality. It's pretty much just like League of Legends in our world - even kids play it. The only thing that differs is that you can switch it to fatal mode in certain regions. But besides that, it could also just be a Tetris contest. That means that the whole military background like sweaty mechanics, repairs and conflicts with all kinds of other troop types is missing. This is NOT a mecha VN like MuvLuv, it's a cyberpunk VN where the hacking part was realized with some nice mecha combat. The whole 'mercenary group' stuff with military titles was just silly since they were actually just hacker groups. But it's even worse, because since all conflicts were played out with the mecha gameplay, the entire armed conflicts of the real cyberpunk world were missing. It's ironic that just the two antagonists Gregory and Gilbert got the idea to make an (incredible successful) attack outside of cyberspace. The protagonist itself never got that idea and tried to solve every conflict via mecha combat.

The plot itself stays minimal and almost doesn't progress at all. Gray Christmas gets mentioned hundreds of times and even if it's pretty clear from the start what happened, they try to strech even the most basic information through most of the route. They tried to bring up some pseudo intellectual themes like designer childs or living Ai's but barely knew what to do with them. The antagonists were completely forgettable and just your typical unlikable 'Muahahaha...' types, easily recognizable as just that from a mile away. It's remarkable how they could stretch so one-dimensional characters to two dimensions. The plot in the actual present also only involves just about 5 - 10 characters, since half of the cast only appears in back blendings. Drawn support characters pretty much don't exist, neither in CG backgrounds nor as sprites. Most 'factions' are just represented by their leader. Their troops are handled mainly as mechs. As compensation they used Sora's sprite for pretty much everything.

Overall I'd only advise this title to people who are really interested in the gameplay. If you just want an interesting story you won't find it here. The first route took me over 30 hours and from that probably 5 hours at most had any plot relevance with the rest just being painfully boring filler scenes. So I'll leave it at that. Even a short VN like Annerose did a much better job at showcasing a convincing cyberpunk world with all its grey tones - what a disappointment!

Heroine rankings: Sora > Rain > Aki > Don't care

Overall rating: 5/10

Edited by ChaosRaven

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1 hour ago, ChaosRaven said:

Heroine rankings: Sora > Rain > Aki > Don't care

I'd actually rank Sora last out of all the heroines, mainly for three reasons:

Spoiler

1. All the other characters are part of the story no matter which route you go down, but Sora only appears in the final route and in flashbacks trying to solidify her status as a sad memory of Gray Christmas.
2. The whole NTRish deal where you find out that the one she was actually in love with was the protagonist's simulacra rather than with the protagonist himself, as opposed to all the other heroines, who truly love Kou. Sure, you could argue that they're more or less the same person, but a simulacra is basically just an android that has received memory information from a human, so I still see them as two separate beings. To me, it feels like Sora only started dating Kou because of his connection/resemblance to the simulacra, which made me care a lot less about her and their relationship. (Likewise, although I already suspected that was the case, I automatically started caring less about the present Kou when it was confirmed that you had been playing as the simulacra and that the real Kou was truly dead.)
3. I'm not a big fan of tsunderes.

 

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5 hours ago, Eclipsed said:

Oh sweet, I managed to make it through Unlimited, the Shuckle Pokemon that told me about bad news must've reverse psychology'd me or something so I didn't really find it a slog to read as much as Extra was.

*shrugs*  I really only found Unlimited to be a bit better than Extra.  Extra was 2.5/10 for me and Unlimited was 3.5/10 and that difference was mostly because of how much shorter Unlimited was.  Still, glad you liked it more than I did, and more importantly now you've made it to the good part of Muv Luv.

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45 minutes ago, Seraphim88 said:

I'd actually rank Sora last out of all the heroines, mainly for three reasons:

I just went purely by how I liked the heroines from the parts I read. If you've read the whole thing, you've probably a way better picture of the heroines. Originally, I had Rain in front, but towards the end of the first route her endless whining got so on my nerves that I switched off her voice and she dropped to second place in popularity. lol

Edited by ChaosRaven

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Going by how much I liked the heroines I'd go Chinatsu>Rain=Aki>Sora>(don't remember the name of Sora's sister)>Nanoha.

The routes I'd rank Sora's sister>Chinatsu>the rest>Nanoha.

Each heroine actually had some interesting aspects to them (even Nanoha, who I really hated), but the game never really cared enough about its characters to explore them properly.

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After devoting my time to a bunch of lenghty VNs lately, I opted to change things up by reading some shorter ones. Here's some input on them, in order of completion:

Ambre - a heartbreaking kinetic novel
The fact that they're using "heartbreaking" as a selling point in the title made me a bit skeptical, and rightfully so, it turned out.
The main plot twist was too obvious, and despite the game only being somewhere between 60-90 minutes long, it still managed to feel repetitive, because you're forced to view the same events all over again after said plot twist has been unveiled.
Furthermore, while rather well-written, the narration feels needlessly convoluted. I like variation as much as the next guy, but they kinda went overboard here. At times, it felt like the writer was just randomly piecing together fancy words in an attempt to make it sound like there was some deeper meaning there, when, in truth, there wasn't.

The Language of Love
One of the most wholesome and adorable slice of life VNs I've read to date.
I really liked the character design. The eyes, in particular, look great; especially when compared to the lifeless eyes in Baldr Sky, which I finished a few weeks ago.
I also have to say that it was nice to not be stuck in high school for once, and relationships with single mothers aren't exactly commonplace either, at least when we're talking non-fetish titles. Furthermore, it was oddly refreshing to see a character who makes average-tasting food. (It's usually one of two extremes; either really tasty or bad to the point of basically turning into coal.)
I've had several of ebi-hime's VNs in my wishlist for a while now, and I intend to look into some of those other ones in the near future. She actually released a new one, The End of an Actress, just a week ago and it seems interesting. (Sidenote: The dude in the screenshots reminds me of Jacopo in Fata Morgana.)

missed messages.
This one caught my eye due to the "Overwhelmingly Positive" reviews on Steam. I tend to be skeptical whenever I see that for a title I've never heard of before, and I was even more so this time around due to the fact that there's a mention of "memes" in the game description. However, just as was the case with Acting Lessons a couple of months ago, this turned out to be a worthwhile experience.
It's really short - just 30-or-so minutes to complete all four endings - but it somehow still managed to make me develop an emotional bond with the characters. The artstyle is cool and the psychedelic music fits the ambience of the game rather well.
I wouldn't have minded paying for this title, so the fact that it's completely free is all the more reason to give it a chance.

Carpe Diem
This received a major visual overhaul at the end of last year, and judging by the old screenshots on VNDb, it now looks a lot better.
In any case, this is probably the shortest VN I've ever read, clocking in at around 10 minutes playtime. While "missed messages" (referring to the VN above) managed to, despite a lack of information, make me care for the characters to a decent extent in a remarkably short time, this VN ultimately failed to do so. The twist at the end felt interesting enough to warrant giving the direct sequel, Carpe Diem: Reboot, a go, though. So, without further ado...

Carpe Diem: Reboot
Leaps and bounds above the original, but that doesn't really say much, considering the lack of substance in that one. To make things a bit clearer, let's just say that this wasn't anything special either.
The scenes leading up to the twist in the original are replayed at the start of Reboot, so right off the bat, the original becomes kinda redundant.
The art (mainly the character art) is better this time around, and there's even English voice acting; something I've only seen in a couple of VNs before. Problem is, there's only English voice acting, so if you find it awkward, like I did, you'll have to turn off voices completely.
The slice of life scenes were rather nice, but all that stuff about

Spoiler

government conspiracies, secret societies

and whatnot that they started spewing later on felt out of place and unnecessary. I don't really see the point of adding that when the story could easily have stood well enough on its own with the prerequisites it started out with, but I guess it's all just meant as a setup for the true ending, which was equal parts depressing and disappointing. The two choices that determine whether you get the good ending or the true one shouldn't influence the story progression in the way that they do. Despite the choices being more or less entirely irrelevant, the contrast was like night and day, and the protagonist started acting really out of character for seemingly no reason whatsoever. The ending is a prime example of forced drama and solidified my opinion of Jung as one of the worst protagonists ever.

Being a DIK: Season 1
Honestly, I kinda regret playing this. Not because it's not good, because it most certainly is, but because it's unfinished.
I was under the impression that the seasons would have individual conclusions as parts of a greater, overarching story keeping them all together, but that turned out to not be the case. No matter which choices you make over the course of the game, you'll inevitably just end up with a bunch of questions that won't be answered for a long time, possibly several years (considering the fact that DrPinkCake has said that he plans to make somewhere between 10-20 episodes in total, which would equal 3-5 seasons).
The game itself is great, just as expected, with the same type of humor as in Acting Lessons. The story isn't quite as dark as Acting Lessons, but there's still drama and I expect it will escalate rapidly in the upcoming seasons.
The characters aren't as relatable for me as the ones in Acting Lessons, due to the college life theme and age difference, but the developer does a good job at making you care about them nonetheless.
One of my main concerns is that there are so many choices and branching paths in this first season alone that I honestly have no idea how DrPinkCake is going to be able to piece everything together without cutting a few corners in the end. Hopefully, he won't do something among the lines of what the Walking Dead game series did.

Spoiler

(At the end of one season, you get to choose which one of two major characters live, and then in the next season, that person is killed off right at the start of the game, no matter who you previously chose to save.)

Depraved Awakening
While Acting Lessons and Being a DIK are storydriven games with sex scenes mixed into the plot to spice things up, Depraved Awakening feels more like a porn game with some plot added for good measure to lead the player into the next sex scene. Sure, the noir approach is a bit interesting, but it didn't manage to keep me interested enough to actually care about the story. The same goes for most of the characters, who feel pretty hollow; the protagonist included.
Some of the stuff happening was really stupid, like

Spoiler

the times when the protagonist was yelling "JESUS H CHRIST!" in situations where people were dying, or when he decided it would be a good idea to have sex right after getting shot straight through the chest with a crossbow bolt.

Moments like that make it hard to take the story seriously and it really cements this title as a porn game through and through.

Kill or Love
Another free VN. I don't have much to say about this one other than that it wasn't anything to write home about. It did, weirdly enough, still somehow manage to keep me entertained for the two-or-so hours it lasted, which I assume might be because I haven't read that many VNs with yanderes in them, so it felt a bit fresh despite some awkward story developments and blatantly obvious plot twists.

I originally planned to give Totono a go by now, but what with the last minute delay until May, I'll have to improvise a bit and take on another project. We'll see where I end up.

Edited by Seraphim88

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7 hours ago, Seraphim88 said:

Being a DIK: Season 1
Honestly, I kinda regret playing this. Not because it's not good, because it most certainly is, but because it's unfinished.
I was under the impression that the seasons would have individual conclusions as parts of a greater, overarching story keeping them all together, but that turned out to not be the case. No matter which choices you make over the course of the game, you'll inevitably just end up with a bunch of questions that won't be answered for a long time, possibly several years (considering the fact that DrPinkCake has said that he plans to make somewhere between 10-20 episodes in total, which would equal 3-5 seasons).
The game itself is great, just as expected, with the same type of humor as in Acting Lessons. The story isn't quite as dark as Acting Lessons, but there's still drama and I expect it will escalate rapidly in the upcoming seasons.
The characters aren't as relatable for me as the ones in Acting Lessons, due to the college life theme and age difference, but the developer does a good job at making you care about them nonetheless.
One of my main concerns is that there are so many choices and branching paths in this first season alone that I honestly have no idea how DrPinkCake is going to be able to piece everything together without cutting a few corners in the end. Hopefully, he won't do something among the lines of what the Walking Dead game series did.

I honestly found this a bit of a letdown. It's a good nukige I think, but in terms of plot and characters Acting Lessons was better. Derek in particular was an absolutely terrible written character and a walking disgrace for everyone around him. No idea how we could get from a likable buddy like Liam to this... thing. The hell week trials were also too long and too exagerated to be even remotely believable anymore. And it was almost impossible to focus on just one heroine, though that was an issue in Acting Lessons too. H-scenes improved a lot though, no doubt about that.

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Yeah, Acting Lessons is better, but I think we'll have to await the full release of Being a DIK before we can really compare the two. I mean, this is just the beginning of the story, so a lot can happen.
As for Derek, I also hated him at first, but he grew on me after a while and I expect to see him evolve a bit over the upcoming seasons. (Liam seemed pretty shallow too at first but turned out to be a great character.)
One of my biggest issues with the game is the fact that

Spoiler

most of the heroines are already in committed relationships and either cheating or willing to cheat on their partner. That makes it hard for me to see them as a love interest for the protagonist, no matter how nice their personalities are otherwise.
The only one we know (?) isn't cheating on anyone is Jill, and that's one of the reasons that makes her one of my favorites so far.
Isabella also seems like a decent person. She keeps thinking that she’s cheating on some guy, but I don’t really think that’s the case. I get the impression that their relationship is long since over and she’s just holding on to some regret, thinking he might eventually come back to her. My guess is that she and her former lover had or were going to have a kid, but then the kid died and Isabella and her lover's relationship crumbled after that. The locked room in Isabella’s house is probably a nursery, that is now being kept untouched as some sort of memorial. I think the combined loss of both her child and her lover is what inevitably turned her into the “ice queen”, as a desperate attempt to protect her heart from further suffering.

 

Edited by Seraphim88

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1 hour ago, Seraphim88 said:

Yeah, Acting Lessons is better, but I think we'll have to await the full release of Being a DIK before we can really compare the two. I mean, this is just the beginning of the story, so a lot can happen.

That's certainly true, the ending of the first season had a bit of a cliffhanger, so the second season could bring some interesting developments. I'm still a bit worried about the creators tendency to add new girls though. He really seems to like that, but at some point you have to stick to what you have and go with it. Not sure if he can resist the temptation though. :chaika:

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For HatsuKoi, both Runa's and Yukino's routes are widely acclaimed as the worst routes, so if you think that you didn't want to play those two routes then it's okay to skip those routes seeimg that it's charage and all (Besides it's not like that tonework's make HatsuKoi to be a plot VN here (HatsuKoi is firmly charage)).

To answer the title, I tried Chimera and after play Frontier I would say that the nukige tag in Chimera here is more reasonable, because the gameplay did emphasize the sex with training and all. Too bad though that there's no evil costume change for the heroine, so yeah it's quite lacking compared to Frontier. Other than that, there's no country to conquer but instead we have three girls to corrupt (Without Evil Costume Switch trope). The gameplay is quite unique though in that you need to be careful to manage your time and affection unless you want to get game over early, and that you got 30 turns to finish it. So yeah just expect Chimera as nukige instead of conquering the countries, because Dual Tail just started their usual SLG started at their 3rd VN (Desire) while Chimera here is their 2nd VN.

Edited by littleshogun

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6 minutes ago, littleshogun said:

For HatsuKoi, both Runa's and Yukino's routes are widely acclaimed as the worst routes, so if you think that you didn't want to play those two routes then it's okay to skip those routes seeimg that it's charage and all (Besides it's not like that tonework's make HatsuKoi to be a plot VN here (HatsuKoi is firmly charage)).

Yeah, unlike some other charage, routes in Hatsukoi are pretty much stand-alone.

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I've played through Karakara 1 & 2 and the best way I could describe the experience is "NEKOPARA, but without sex slavery". The first episode is beautiful visually, greatly voice-acted and just wholesome slice-of-life fun spiced up by the interesting post-apocalyptic setting (definitely the most lighthearted post-apocalypse I've seen). The scripting is great, making the dialogue very lively despite the lack of Live 2D or similar techniques used.

Spoiler

It also implements my storytelling fetish, vampires, in a really whilesome and romantic manner.

Even the way heroines are treated feels extremely NEKOPARA, with two added to the harem every episode. I have to say though, I liked the second one, which Fred the Barber trolled everyone with by giving it a 5/5, a bit less than the first. The gimmicks of the new heroines are pretty poorly done, the story introduces many new elements that feel more like retcons than expanding the game's world and the mystery subplot is a jumbled mess. I'd rather get more slice-of-life stuff and well thought out stories about the setting than these half-assed attempts at being dramatic with a massive cliffhanger at the end. I felt antithetical to what was actually enjoyable about these games. I give 3,5/5 to Karakara and 3/5 to Karakara 2. Nice, short distraction, but hardly anything beyond that.

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On 20.2.2020 at 7:31 PM, alpacaman said:

And lastly, yesterday I started reading SubaHibi. So far it seems nice enough. Yeah, I know of its notoriety and expect things to get way darker over time. I feel like this this VN could be either a thought provoking masterpiece or pretentious bullshit. I'm pretty excited because I love passionately hating stuff, so either way it's going to be a win for me.

Just finished SubaHibi and yeah, I liked it a lot. What surprised me a little was how "normal" the VN is in the sense that there is a coherent plot and way less artsy posing than I expected after what I read about the game beforehand. Occasionally there is an overly long tangent or some pretentious symbolism, but never to a degree that it hurts the overall experience. Also SubaHibi is one of the rare cases in Japanese media I consumed so far where I felt like the author actually did some research on the mental illnesses they wanted to portray. And it has one of the best soundtracks of any non-Key VN I've read so far, including one of the greatest stupid shenanigans songs ever, which is close to the last thing I expected to get out of it all:

Spoiler

 

 

So after having finished almost every long VN on my must-read list, I decided to go for a change of pace and purchased a total of 14 promising looking short EVNs (plus one JVN) for a total of ~33€ in the recent VN-sale on Steam and which I'm probably going to read all over next few weeks.

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