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littleshogun

Sakura no Mori Dreamer Release

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Only three days before Mangagamer release this, so I thought that it should be appropriate to open a thread for this. Anyway as far as this VN goes I kind of look forward to it ever since it's been released back at 2016, so yeah good for Mangagamer to take the license for this. Feel free to discuss about Sakuramori here, and I'll add the heroines info later.

Edited by littleshogun

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I've also been eagerly awaiting this, but it has still managed to fly under my radar somehow. It was only a few days ago that I realized that "Oh, Sakura no Mori Dreamers will be released on thursday", which was a pleasant surprise. Looking forward to start reading it this weekend!

Edited by Seraphim88

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18 hours ago, Stormwolf said:

Mangagamer isn't the best with following up on their games. I'm gonna hold off until they announce the sequel

I clearly Remember Mangagamer staff saying that  the possibility of a sequel depends on how this one performs..

If everyone adopts the same mindset of "waiting for a sequel announcement before buying the 1st VN ".. then we may not get a sequel at all....

so getting a sequel on not depends on the buyer... also The sequel only happens if the protag doesn't end up with any of the girls from the first VN.. you dont get any after stories in the sequel from what i can gather.. so its not like your left hanging on a cliffhanger or something..

So if you want a sequel you better buy this...  I just hope that people who pirate come to their senses..  if they want more VNs they need to spend money on them.. or be left hanging.. while many JP Devs flock to Chinese only TLs 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/738510/Innocent_Fille/

This here may just be an indication of where things may start heading..

Edited by Wildbreed

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2 hours ago, Wildbreed said:

I clearly Remember Mangagamer staff saying that  the possibility of a sequel depends on how this one performs..

If everyone adopts the same mindset of "waiting for a sequel announcement before buying the 1st VN ".. then we may not get a sequel at all....

so getting a sequel on not depends on the buyer... also The sequel only happens if the protag doesn't end up with any of the girls from the first VN.. you dont get any after stories in the sequel from what i can gather.. so its not like your left hanging on a cliffhanger or something..

So if you want a sequel you better buy this...  I just hope that people who pirate come to their senses..  if they want more VNs they need to spend money on them.. or be left hanging.. while many JP Devs flock to Chinese only TLs 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/738510/Innocent_Fille/

This here may just be an indication of where things may start heading..

Well at least im not losing shit, which is just fine with me ;)

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49 minutes ago, Seraphim88 said:

Some interesting options in this game.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6078/WZ1Cb5.png

EDIT: No idea why, but images haven't been properly embedded for me these last few weeks.

Sounds like a genius move. Now I can just ctrl-skip all h-scenes without it being paused to make some weird choice I don't even care about. :makina:

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Sakura no Mori Dreamers is a pretty decent game, even despite the crazy Freddy Krueger thing they have going.  The protagonist's despair and lust for revenge are written in a way that really draws you into his hunt for the killer, and his relationship with Madoka will break your heart again and again.  It is one of the few horror VNs I find palatable, along with Butterfly Seeker and End Sleep.

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This has been pretty alright so far. The story is pretty cool and I like the protagonist and his clear, understandable motivation. However, I am feeling a bit of tonal whiplash with the girls. The cute girls aspect keeps getting in the way of the plot every now and then.

Furthermore, after the common route is over, there is a unique problem: 

Spoiler

After the murder solved, I don't really care about anything anymore. The protagonist just decides to date someone and it just happens within 30 seconds. I read one route (Kureha) and while it extends this plot a bit further, I didn't really care all that much? I can kind of guess what the other routes are about (based on the loose common route threads), but the story is kind of over already and the transition into the dating part feels a bit jarring. 

If that makes any sense, great. If not, why did I bother writing this down? :notlikemiya:

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1 hour ago, TexasDice said:
Spoiler

The protagonist just decides to date someone and it just happens within 30 seconds.

 

This was a bit of an issue for me. I like all the girls and the fact that they're fairly normal (compared to over the top tsunderes and whatnot that you find in a lot of other visual novels), but I feel like they really rushed the romance here.

Spoiler

As soon Madoka's gone for good, Shinji's just head over heels in love with someone else all of a sudden, and who that someone is is determined solely by a few choices that seem like they don't really matter all that much. It's kinda hard to buy that Shinji, who previously had been really averse to finding a new girlfriend (for years, mind you), would fall in love with a particular heroine just based on brief interactions in a couple of scenes following those choices.

The end result would definitely have been better and more believable if they had put some more effort into building the relationships before moving on to the next phase.

Edited by Seraphim88

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On 2020. 05. 20. at 10:46 PM, TexasDice said:

This has been pretty alright so far. The story is pretty cool and I like the protagonist and his clear, understandable motivation. However, I am feeling a bit of tonal whiplash with the girls. The cute girls aspect keeps getting in the way of the plot every now and then.

Furthermore, after the common route is over, there is a unique problem: 

  Reveal hidden contents

After the murder solved, I don't really care about anything anymore. The protagonist just decides to date someone and it just happens within 30 seconds. I read one route (Kureha) and while it extends this plot a bit further, I didn't really care all that much? I can kind of guess what the other routes are about (based on the loose common route threads), but the story is kind of over already and the transition into the dating part feels a bit jarring. 

If that makes any sense, great. If not, why did I bother writing this down? :notlikemiya:

Absolutely, they really dropped the ball after the common route, still on hold to continue.. The romance has no buildup just so happens, badly done.

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So, I finally finished this and it was a very nice read overall. Maybe not a master piece, it does have some weaknesses, but it was certainly an entertaining story.

The good stuff:
I think the VN was rather well paced for most of the part. While some parts might have felt a bit generic and lengthy, they usually weren't too long, because the VN iterates beween slice of life and plot arcs. In that regard, the VN felt rather well organized anyway. It had several connected cases and a bigger overarching plot arc. That's at least for me one of the best ways to write a story, because it gives you a feeling of progress if you can finish a case and then there's new stuff coming to keep you interested. On the other hand, there's still a bigger overarching plot with each case being one piece of its puzzle pieces. I also found the story reasonable explained for a super-natural thriller. They did neither try to overcomplicate nor overexplain things. There are some clear rules how the Bodach world works and they tried to stick to those for the most part, with some smaller unknowns left to keep the mystery. I also liked the protagonist. He was proactive and had a clear mind.

I also appreciate that they didn't try to bore me to death with a time loop. Taking a 5 hour story, stretch it to 10 hours and then further multiply it to 50 hours via time loop isn't something unheard of. If a plot arc is over, then it IS over and you don't have to go through it again a dozen times.

It's also nice, that despite delivering a full story full of murder mystery, you still get heroine routes with several H-scenes each, even if the routes felt more like extended epilogues. Although the VN has some rather creepy scenes and darker moments, it still keeps the mood comparatively light. Even if it's a bit darker than the 9-nine series and has more plot focus, I'd still also classify this as a story-moege mix. There was also considerable effort put into the VN, to pull that off. I counted well over 150 CG's im the image gallery, which is massive. Most VN's keep it well below a hundred - usually more in the ~70 region. I think Aokana had a similar CG count - probably even more and the quality was higher though.

I also played all routes, even Hatsune's, which is saying something. But granted, the routes itself weren't that long.

The not so good stuff:
I think most of my complaints could be summarized with one word: the execution. The moege roots of its creators are gleaming through in almost every aspect - art, sound and writing. While the VN does have some creepy scenes, it can feel almost undistinguishable from a generic slice of life of moege in its more peaceful scenes. Although this is a murder mystery, the whole mood and style isn't really comparable to darker counterparts like Kara no Shoujo. The VN also had some problems how to switch between the lighter and darker parts, especially at the start.

It also suffered from a severe disregard of male characters. I found almost all male character sprites and voices lacking. That's a typical moege problem. All the effort goes into the girls, while male characters barely make it beyond idiot-friend. And then the weird poses of some of them. Take Hidenori for example, he always has its arm at its head - ALWAYS. Rule number one for every character artist: If a character has only one pose, always use a neutral one, NEVER EVER a special gesture one. Tomonari's was almost worse. I think the only male character that was kind of okay was the detective. Since some of the male characters had important roles, you can't just leave them in the dust like that. Fortunately, at least the event CG's with them were usually better.

Writing and story was also a bit uneven. Some parts were actually pretty good. I think I liked the first case with the restaurant the most. It had good foreshadowing, decent introduction into dream diving and an intense finale. On the other hand, the case directly after felt more like 'monster of the week'. Character motivations were also relatable on paper, but with the cheap sprites and voice acting of male characters, they often came across as rather generic and one-dimensional.

Spoiler

I also missed that they actually save one of the antagonists. They might have had darker minds, but the ones pushing them over the border were the red bodachs. Even Hatsune admitted that she had some evil thoughts regarding Madoka - it's just human. In that regard they are just victims as well. I think Arisa would have been a good candidate for that. She still had some conscience left when she wasn't possessed yet.

The heroines were a bit overshadowed by the omni-present Madoka. That made it difficult to follow the fast switch into a heroine route after the main plot. It's admittedly not an easy thing to get right considering the circumstances. And I'm pretty sure I've seen worse in story VN's, provided they even have heroine routes which certainly isn't a given.

The last thing I want to mention is a bit of a, let's say 'luxus complaint' - the VN lacks a bit of 'flair'. The cool characters of a Dies Irae, the engrossing atmoshere of a Kara no Shoujo, or just the pretty character art of a Palette or Purple Soft title. While the female character sprites of Sakura no Mori † Dreamers aren't bad, they have just a front pose and the facial expressions could have been better. I played that in tandem with Senren Banka and Yuzusoft puts more effort into those things than anyone else, even if I'm not sure if they also have back poses like Palette.

Conclusion:
Although my complaint section is pretty long like usual, most of it is still more on the nitpicking side. They got the important parts right I think.

Heroine ranking: Madoka > Mahoro > Kureha > Hatsune > Mifuyu

Overall rating: 7.5/10

It doesn't reach the 8 in my book, mainly because of the problems with the male characters, but it deserves an upper 7 rating. It was certainly the best VN I've read this year so far, even if that doesn't say much. But I do appreciate what Moonstone tried to achieve here and for the most part they did succeed I think. I hope they keep that up and even improve with their future titles.

Edited by ChaosRaven

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