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38 minutes ago, LostPomegranate said:

Currently reading Heart de Roommate

That was a pretty good one from what I remember. Have fun :)

I'm currently somewhere in the middle of reading Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai untranslated Switch version. I finished all "normal" routes for main and side heroines, and I'm now on first of the "true" routes - Kodachi's.

So far I'm loving it :) Lots of humor and feel-good moments, nice dynamics between characters - and all spiced with just the right amount of drama. I only wish it had more CGs, since there aren't too many - or perhaps they were saving them up for "true routes"? We'll see.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/16/2024 at 7:35 AM, fujoneko said:

Man, I haven't said anything in a while huh... Well, I haven't been reading as much as I used to, but I'm currently going through Blood Domination and Umineko (episode 6)

I'm still finishing Uzuki x Izayoi's route but I've been enjoying it a lot!

Actually finishing Blood Domination right now, literally! It was way better than I was expecting.

I wanna read more, like I used to, mmmm...

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On 6/15/2024 at 6:27 PM, alexfang452 said:

I'm currently reading Mashiro-iro Symphony. Once I finish Airi's route, I will start Sana Edition. 

I started Mashiro-iro Symphony -Sana Edition- a little over a week ago. Currently, I am 11 hours into it.

Mashiro-iro Symphony is a great VN. Every character was used well in the story, all of the routes are good, and the visuals look nice.

I think some people would have an issue with the pacing for some of the routes. Personally, I was too invested in the plot for it to bother me.
Overall Rating: 8/10

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot to report, that I finished Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai (console version - including spinoff and FD) around a week ago ;)

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Overally it was very enjoyable read. With 40 endings and 90k lines it took some time, but I almost never felt bored - this VN created nice environment, where it was just enjoyable to spend time with the characters.

On 6/16/2024 at 6:53 PM, adamstan said:

Lots of humor and feel-good moments, nice dynamics between characters - and all spiced with just the right amount of drama.

Yeah, after finishing whole game I stand by that opinion :)

I also still find the amount of event CGs not enough - but that's a minor gripe.

As for "True routes", I think the naming might be a bit misleading. There is just one true route, and main heroine of that route is Nagi - but it also has optional branches for other girls. However, I'd treat that as an extra, since those endings aren't as fleshed out as the "normal" routes for the girls.

I'd also like to mention the console-exclusive route for new character - Kingyo. It was great, among the best routes in the whole game 💖 That's the second (or even third) time I encountered that phenomenon - the other one being Wakaba's route from Tenshin Ranman, (and perhaps also Chihiro from Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku o).

FanDisc provides very nice supplement for each heroine. And spinoff Houkago Shippo Days is just a nice short mini-VN in the same setting. Nothing great, but I liked it nevertheless.

**********************************************************

And currently I'm reading perhaps the most random VN so far - You & I. It's the last title by JAST/Tiare (best known for Sakura no Kisetsu, Meisou Toshi etc). It's also their first VN that ditched the command-based adventure game system, and went with Ikura GDL engine (Crescendo, Kazoku Keikaku, Yukizakura etc).

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This title got released in June 1999, so it's as old as Kanon. But the writing is more in-line with Sakura no Kisetsu ;) So far it seems to be very generic old-school charage, but for some weird reason I'm enjoying it :)

Edited by adamstan
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Currently reading Hapymaher - it's a lot better than I expected from its premise / summary on VNDB.

 

Since my last post I've read: Crescendo (technically a reread since I read it 20+ years ago, posted a review of it here), Canvas 2, Yandere, Aikagi and Aikagi After days (Fandisc), Tenshi no Inai 12-gatsu, Kanojo no Seiiki, and Cerulean Days. I'd recommend Crescendo to nakige / moege fans, Canvas 2 and the Aikagi's to moege fans although Aikagi is pure SoL fluff. Cerulean Days is a pretty good EVN that could've done a lot more with its premise but is still a serviceable mystery-sort of. Yandere - if you don't mind some pretty dark stuff - is so bad that it's funny at times, but it is pretty terrible don't get me wrong. And Tenshi no Inai is both interesting and has the most insufferable MC in a VN I've read recently. Leaf really has the craziest range in their development portfolio.

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On 6/30/2024 at 7:07 PM, alexfang452 said:

I started Mashiro-iro Symphony -Sana Edition- a little over a week ago. Currently, I am 11 hours into it.

Mashiro-iro Symphony is a great VN. Every character was used well in the story, all of the routes are good, and the visuals look nice.

I think some people would have an issue with the pacing for some of the routes. Personally, I was too invested in the plot for it to bother me.
Overall Rating: 8/10

Today, I am going to start reading Black Heaven: A Necromantic Dating Sim

Since my post from nearly 2 weeks ago, I finished both Mashiro-iro Symphony -Sana Edition- and NEKO-NIN exHeart. Sana Edition is a great addition to the original Mashiro-iro Symphony. It may take a long time before Sana and Shingo become a couple, but it makes the moments after the confession worth it. This is a really good romance VN.

As for NEKO-NIN exHeart, I would just say that it is decent. The characters are unmemorable but likeable, the art is good, and the music is acceptable. The story is just ninja catgirl antics and Haruki slowly warming up to them. Even though I am just following Haruki's daily life, the story never makes me forget that it is building up to something. And most of the plot being slice of life makes everything that happens near the end of the story stand out more. Also, I was a little moved by some of the scenes Haruki has with Yura and/or Tama. Someday, I will read the other VNs in this series. 

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Yesterday I finished You & I. It was much better than I expected.

Even though it was very generic school-slice-of-life charage, somehow it turned out to be quite enjoyable. Also, I guess back then in 1999 all those cliches weren't as clichey as today - 25 years later ;)

The premise is simple - the protagonist missed few weeks of school because of traffic accident (he got hit by a car). He returns to school at the beginning of June, and there he meets (and possibly falls in love) with heroines - the game takes place over one month (and few days). There's no bigger overarching plot or story* - like elections in Princess Evangile or gliders in Konosora - just school slice of life. Sometimes MC complains that everything feels a bit unreal to him, like he was seeing a dream, but is there more to it?

You can definitely sense strong dating sim roots here - but it is IMO handled much better than, for example, first White Album which bored me to the point of dropping it. Here there are no "generic" repeatable scenes, and there's no map movement (yay!). However the common route is very long - basically the whole June is common route, and then there are relatively short endings. And there's insane amount of choices - well over 100 😮. I noticed is that many scenes in common route play out differently depending on your relatonship level with given heroine - there might be additional text, CG or different set of choices. Nice attention to detail.

*except in Sayaka's route.

Heroines are quite likeable, there's also usual funny MC's male friend - here he's named Fujita, and is class' president. Your usual Sunohara type - although he predates Sunohara :P. He reminded me of Makoto from Sakura no Kisetsu (which was also done by Tiare).

I started with Misaki's route.

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Class' vice-president, very friendly, gentle, caring and hard working girl. She seems to have crush on the MC right from the beginning. Her route is nice (if a bit naive) "first love" story. I also think that her H-scene was quite nicely and tactfuly written (for an old eroge).

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Haruka is Misaki's best friend, and has very different personality. She's very energetic, with some tsundere vibes. Keeps "fighting" with Fujita. Her route was a bit weird..

Spoiler

She falls in love with MC, but she also knows about Misaki's feelings, so she's conflicted. To make matters worse, she also has/had crush on Fujita. So one day she comes to MC's house under the pretext of studying, and kind of forces herself upon him - and then says something like "It's OK if you don't love me, I'll just go away now". Now, depending on your choices in the common route, the route splits into two versions. In the main one MC confesses to Haruka and they get together.

But there's also weird second ending, where they can't make a decision, and continue an unresolved love rectangle - Misaki likes MC, MC likes both Misaki and Haruka, Haruka likes MC, but cannot decide between him and Fujita - and Fujita stays completely indifferent towards her. It all ends with graduation CG (quite nice BTW), and Haruka running towards MC - I guess after trying to confess and being rejected by Fujita.

Haruka also appears as a final boss in Misaki's route - she confesses in tears to MC on the school roof, saying that she's OK to be just his secret fuckbuddy. Of course if you agree, you get kicked to the bad end ;)

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Asaki - quiet, mysterious girl. Her story has some nice twists and plays a bit with the reader and setting (let's just say that to enter the route you need a specific item - a book titled "The Existence of Parallel Dimensions").

Spoiler

At some point Asaki claims that she's an alien/person from another world, and perhaps MC is also the one, and that's why he feels "unreal"/out of place. I immediately thought about Ruu \^^/ from ToHeart2. But then they drop it - after all she's just an ordinary girl who felt lonely - especially since she's an orphan.

And I really loved her ending.

Spoiler

Marriage/family ending - sweet ❤️

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Here I also encountered first weirdness of this game's system. In addition to making right choices in the common route, you have to select right prologue when starting new game (there are two) and make right choices there as well. Otherwise the route ends prematurely right after the H-scene - that's really cruel 😕

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Megumi - shy, introverted girl, member of library committee. Her route has the most drama.

Spoiler

She gets bullied because of her hair color. The bullying intensifies when she gets closer to the MC. Because of that, and because she already decided to change schools from the next term, she starts to avoid MC. You get the picture ;)

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Miyu senpai - an idol with pretty zealous fan-club of self-proclaimed bodyguards in school. I quite liked her scenes in common route, but her ending was rather disappointing 😕

And finally there's Sayaka - MC's little sister

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I spent over 10 hours of constant replays trying to get this route! And let me tell you - it's almost impossible without walkthrough. There's even a review over on EGS where someone complains that they couldn't get that route. And there's no walkthrough available on any of the usual sites, like seiya-saiga or sagaoz. I finally found one on some archived page from 2001. And yeah - many choices were rather counterintuitive. Basically it seems like instead of focusing only on Sayaka, you have to keep balanced "relationship score" between all heroines, and cannot neglect anyone, at least in the first half of comon route.

However the route was interesting, and quite meta. (Heavy spoilers below)

Spoiler

It start as your typical imouto route - characters falling in forbidden love. However just when they're already naked in MCs bed and are about to have sex, he's unable to cross that boundary. "Incest, huh... If only you weren't my sister..." - and after thinking that he blacks out, and wakes up in hospital, with the same CG we saw right at the beginning of game with Sayaka, Misaki and Fujita next to his bed.

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But Sayaka calls him "Ryou-kun" instead of "Onii-chan". WTF? He's utterly confused.

And then it turns out he was right, when he was feeling like in a dream during common route - basically the whole game up to this point was MC's dream he was seeing while being in coma after the accident. And Sayaka was not his sister but actually his girlfriend (also, right before the accident they were on the verge of breakup). Then MC leaves hospital, we get final H-scene, and they rebuild their relationship. Whew...

I briefly mentioned that when talking about Misaki's route, but generally I liked H-scenes in this VN. There's only one relatively short scene for each heroine, and I think they are quite tactfuly written, especially for old eroge. Of course there are some usual cliches, but nevertheless it doesn't feel like characters got entirely replaced by their porn stunt doubles. They're having sex, not acting out an JAV scenario - which was my main complaint towards many H-scenes in VNs, and what steered me towards console/all-ages editions ;)

Also, for each route we get very nice "pillow talk"/"morning after" scene ❤️ Just have a look at this Misaki's morning CG:

Spoiler

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Now for the downsides. This VN is pretty bad when it comes to engine/QoL side. With this insane amount of choices, and one very difficult to get route, you get

  • no backlog
  • only unconditional skip mode
  • only 9(!) save slots, and loading a save always rewinds to the beginning of the scene
  • no keyboard support at all

There were also some typo's / editing errors (like repeated words or characters) here and there.

Also, the game is only partially voiced. Basically, common route is unvoiced, except for one scene (for each heroine) during sports festival. And only main heroines are voiced. The voices themselves aren't great, but that's quite old title, so I guess it can be forgiven. The music was nice.

Considering all of the above - on one hand, quite enjoyable content, but on the other - tedious gameplay, I rated this VN at 7/10

And now, can someone tell me WTH am I writing this wall of text about an obscure 25 years old moege nobody will ever play? 😅

Also, for posterity - Here's the walkthrough

Edited by adamstan
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I'm late to the party again, but I just started playing GINKA.

(I found pretty good deal on DLSite - weak JPY combined with some discount coupon that I had meant that it was 40% off compared to Steam price)

It looks great, and after two hours it seems to be ticking almost all the boxes for me ;) It seems to be the VN that could be put on a shelf next to Natsuzora Kanata and Summer Pockets, both of which I loved. (I haven't read ISLAND yet...)

 

PS For my first playthrough I'm going to read in Japanese. Then perhaps I will check out the translation afterwards.

Edited by adamstan
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