Taisho Alice Picked Up For English Localization by E2 Gaming Who Expressed Interest In bringing Other Otome Games Overseas As Well

Taisho Alice has just been picked up for a North American Release by E2 Gaming. I found this news on Tumblr and verified it on E2 Gaming’s Facebook Page, where they’ve also announced a new image song for the English release.

Taisho Alice could best be described as a fairytale crossover. The different routes relate to common fairytales such as Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Kaguya, the Wizard of Oz, and of course, Alice in Wonderland.

It is an Otome Game – this is a type of game (generally a visual novel) (a game in which you read, and are prompted at times to make a decision which effects which parts of the story and which endings you will see) in which the main protagonist is a female – There are often (but not always) dating sim elements and a strong focus on romance and relationships – and lots of “eye candy” if you’re into bishounen (beautiful (often anime) men).

It is developed by a company called Primula and this is their debut work. It just released a little over a year ago in Japan – so it is good to see we are already getting news of an official US release. Also looks like it is a PC Game – and no word yet on if there’s plans to port it to consoles as well.

It looks like it was an episodic type of release in Japan – but no news has been revealed about how it will be distributed in North America. It is listed as having a medium to long playtime (which I estimate to be 20-40 hours).

The main story revolves around you (as “Arisu”) going through your mirror just as Alice in Wonderland did. When you get there, genderswapped versions of famous characters come to greet you – including meeting your own double who seemingly has lost his memories. The setting of the game is supposedly a “blend of Japanese and Western”.

I’m really liking the artwork in this game – and even though the concept of fairytales has been done to death in similar games – this one still sounds interesting and has likable characters.

Not much news is available yet – but you can learn more about the game by visiting the following pages:

NOTE SOME OF THESE SOURCES MAY HAVE SPOILERS!!!!

Taisho Alice Introduction

http://otome-jikan.net/2014/10/17/taisho-alice-introduction/embed/#?secret=gHU5bAcUoU

http://otome-games.wikia.com/wiki/Taisho_Alice

Otome Game Review: Taishou Alice Episode I

http://lamentfulsky.blogspot.com/2015/03/taisho-alice-episode-i-review.html

https://www.facebook.com/e2gaming/

www.e2gaming.com

 

Taisho Alice Picked Up For English Localization by E2 Gaming Who Expressed Interest In bringing Other Otome Games Overseas As Well was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

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Tsukihime Visual Novel Review and Details about the Remake

Tsukihime was my very first visual novel, and still one of my favorites. While looking up images to use in this post, I also came across news that there’s a remake in the works. This is old news I guess as it was first announced clear back in 2012. However, a post from Siliconera indicates that yes, it’s still in development as of July 2015, so that’s a good sign. You can see more updates about this remake over on Siliconera here.

I’m not going to cover those details here, because this review is actually for the original Tsukihime visual novel from 2001. Also, I’ve never watched the anime, I’ve been told by many people that the Tsukihime anime sucked. Please don’t ignore this visual novel, even if you really hated the anime. This is a must play for any visual novel fan.

PS: You can grab the fan translation here.  I couldn’t find a link for you guys to buy the game as it is now out of print, but Yahoo Japan Auctions or Ebay may be a good place to look. This game has never officially been released in English; but maybe now with the remake, we’ll finally see a commercial release.

P.P.S: This game is set in the same universe as Fate/Extra which is available in English. Instead of being a visual novel though, it’s an RPG that plays EXTREMELY similar to the Persona series. It’s a great game, and it’s getting older, and may become harder to find. If you like persona, or like Tsukihime, then you need to get this game. You can get Fate/Extra on Amazon for $44.95 here.

Also, Please Note: This is a Hentai Game, which means that it has adult scenes. — However, those scenes are very few in nature. This game is very long with an excellent story, and the hentai is near the end of each route. For example, I estimate it’ll take you at least 60 hours to complete all the routes in this game. The amount of hentai scenes in the game accounts for less than 2 hours from that total. You can always skip past those scenes if it makes you uncomfortable. Also one of the routes is with the main character’s sister, so if that makes you uncomfortable, you may either not want to play that route, or skip this game entirely. This is an adult game, and should not be played by children. Not only does it have a few sex scenes, but it has a TON of gore. It’s a very violent game.

Title: Tsukihime – Blue, Blue Glass Moon, Under the Crimson Sky

Platform: PC

Release Date: 2001 (Japan only)

Developer: Type-Moon

Genre: Visual Novel

Geeky: 2/5 

Sweetie: 2/5 

Overall: 57/80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Tsukihime is a visual novel with a dark, sad, and super natural story. It’s a very violent game. It’s also a hentai game. The writing in Tsukihime is exceptional. The characters are really unique and detailed. The writing is almost TOO detailed at times. I was really cringing in some of the scenes with Ciel near the end. It still makes my finger nails hurt just thinking about it haha. Overall it’s a great game. It has kinda amateurish artwork. It’s actually a Doujin game – which I guess is the equivalent to what we western folk call “Indie Games” – that is, Type-Moon began as a group of fans working on a game together, and not a big corporation. Given that – I think the artwork is acceptable since they didn’t necessarily have the budget or skill and experience as more established studios.

Gameplay: 3/10 Like most visual novels, there’s nothing to do except read, and click, and read, and click ad nauseam. The choices presented to you are also pretty dang spread out and few in number. The choices do matter and determine which route you get on. If you’re stuck, also there’s a tips section that’s set up in a really unique and humorous way. There’s also of course the option to skip previously read text. But it’s pretty basic visual novel style gameplay here. You don’t really play this game for gameplay, you play it for story, but I’m scoring story separately below. so Gameplay wise, it’s about a 3.

Story: 10/10 The reason I love this visual novel so much is because of the story. It’s a long tale with some surprising twists especially regarding Shiki (the player character) and the two maid twins. It’s been a few years since I played, but I think one of the maid’s routes only unlocks after completing all other good and true endings – and her route really will close the loop nicely on all the questions from the previous routes, bringing the game a good sense of closure.

I don’t want to spoil the story, but the bare bones is as follows (may spoil the first hour or so of the game for you): You play as Shiki; he has been hospitalized and sick for a long time. Shiki has a memory of a girl who disappeared from his life who was very kind to him and encouraged him greatly. The other girls throughout the game will remind him of his mystery girl in his memories. Somewhere along the way while hospitalized, he discovered he could see the “life line” in all things – living or even inanimate objects. Because he was bored and stuck in a hospital bed, he discovered one day that just by idly tracing his finger over this “life line” he could erase whatever that object was from existence. Not just “killing” whatever it was, but making it so it never “was” to begin with. Finally now he’s going home from the hospital. He gets notice that his father died and that he is being requested to move back to his childhood home. He has not been home in many years. Shiki becomes reacquainted with his sister and the maids of the mansion where he used to play as a child. He also begins going back to school. On his way to school one day he passes by a beautiful woman. He doesn’t know why, but he feels compelled to follow her. He waits until she enters her apartment, and he can’t resist the urge to murder her. Shiki is not a violent person; he’s never hurt anyone before, but he feels disgusted by this woman. He cannot control himself and completely destroys her, chopping her to bits with a knife and brutally attacking her. Much to Shiki’s surprise, as he’s leaving school the next day, the woman is there again in the same place where they met the day before. It turns out that she is a vampire, and that’s why Shiki could not kill her. It’s also explained why he felt so compelled to kill her (and about his strange power to see life lines) later on in the story – but I won’t spoil that for you just now. Needless to say, the vampire is pissed, and she also has a mission she’s on, so she forces Shiki to basically become her slave and help her by using his power of being able to see life lines to obliterate anyone or anything from existence.

Characters: 10/10 Each of the characters has a different super natural secret. Also all characters have a “good” ending and a “true” ending which is much sadder. The character interaction is really high. The characters are unique, and as the mystery plays out you do see them evolve and change. You also are drawn to the characters and begin to feel their pain and saddness. Most of their pasts are very sad.

Graphics: 3/10 Sorry to say, but these graphics are bad. They’re ugly, the proportions are weird, and they just look very amateurish. The picture I’ve attached is from the 2001 visual novel. You can see how her head almost seems to be detached from her neck and at a funny angle – and this one of the more “pretty” pictures that I could find. (Not counting the anime or fanart or etc) Luckily, in the new remake the artwork is much higher quality, while still having the same character designs and appearance, just being redrawn and recolored in a more modern style.  These graphics are no where nearly as bad as the original Higurashi – but still bad lol. By that, if Higurashi is like a 1 on a 10 scale, Tsukihime is maybe a 3. A slight improvement, but still not even “average” looking.

Music: 7/10 I like the music and sound effects used in Tsukihime. It fits the mood perfectly and gives it a nice dark and mysterious feeling. However, ultimately, none of the tracks really stand out in a memorable way.

Replay Value: 10/10 The game is long in and of itself. Each route will probably take 6-10 hours to complete. When you factor in the multiple endings for each character, that extends that time to 12-20 hours per character with 4 dateable characters – you’re looking around 60-80 hours of gameplay time. And it’s well worth it. The story and each of the routes are really interesting. The stories do start a bit slow, but you learn more and more about Shiki, his powers, his past, and just why he was sent away from his childhood home in the first place. Really great story, worth playing all routes to see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The new remake is adding more characters and routes, so I’m really looking forward to it. I just hope they don’t change the story too much as it’s so good already as it is!

Overall: 57/80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Tsukihime Visual Novel Review and Details about the Remake was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

LiEat Releases Tomorrow on Steam for just $2.99

LiEat is a little indie JRPG-inspired trilogy of short games. The entire trilogy can be completed in just 2 or 3 hours. The game was originally Freeware made with a program called WOLF RPG Editor. I’m not sure, but am assuming that some enhancements were made for the Steam Release as is typically the case for free to play games which later get redone for steam.

The story follows a con-artist trying to sell information in various cities and a dragon-girl named Efi who has the ability to turn lies into living things and then eat them. There are multiple endings and turn based combat when Efi encounters various lies who have turned into monsters.

Synopsis from Steam “Welcome to the heart-moving world of LiEat, a fascinating trilogy of JRPGs that captured the minds of thousands. Follow the story of a dragon, Efina, who travels the countryside with her multi-named caretaker/reluctant guardian. Appearing as a young girl, Efina has a unique, magical gift: when someone lies near her, the lie will manifest itself as a living monster. Efina then can consume the lie for strength and sustenance: she can eat food for fun, but only lies make her feel full. As she explores the world, she meets other dragons with interesting powers, discovers bizarre and terrifying mysteries, and finds out about her own history as well as her guardian’s.”

It also looks very kawaii (cute). You’ll be able to order the game from the store page in Steam tomorrow (2/26/2016). http://store.steampowered.com/app/373770

Check out the trailer for the Steam Edition Below.

 

LiEat Releases Tomorrow on Steam for just $2.99 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Get Stein’s Gate and Other Great Visual Novels From JAST USA in This Bundle for $30

I also forgot to mention there’s a limited edition bundle at Groupees.com right now which features a lot of popular JAST titles, including the AMAAAAZING Stein’s Gate – which I reviewed here. The bundle features a tiered pricing system, allowing you to get more games with each tier. I already have Stein’s Gate, so I went with the $20 tier. I was actually most interested in Snow Sakura and Snow Drop though, so even the $10 tier is a great buy. These games go for $40 and up on JASTUSA’s website and rarely go on sale or get placed in bundles. I think it is the first time Stein’s Gate has ever been included in a bundle. At time of this writing there are still 750 bundles remaining.

FOR A MINIMUM OF $10 YOU GET:

Do You Like Horny Bunnies
Snow Sakura
Snow Drop

FOR A MINIMUM OF $20 YOU ALSO GET:

Princess Waltz
Pretty Soldier Wars A.D. 2048
Yin-Yang! X-Change Alternative

FOR A MINIMUM OF $30 YOU ALSO GET:

Steins;Gate

You can pick this bundle up from Groupees at https://groupees.com/jast2

Get Stein’s Gate and Other Great Visual Novels From JAST USA in This Bundle for $30 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Tokyo Anime Mega Bundle of Steam Games

Just a heads up, for the next 16 days, until Mach 10th, you can get 13 anime games for just $3.49 (until price goes up).

The titles include:

Tokyo Hosto

Orion: A Sci-Fi Visual Novel

A Wild Catgirl Appears!

Sickness

Echo Tokyo

Always The Same Blue Sky…

Highschool Possession

Shan Gui (山桂)

Lamia’s Game Room

Quantum Conscience

Divine Slice of Life

Beach Bounce

Blue Rose

Many of these games have been in previous bundles, but a few have not. It’s a great buy – I picked a copy up for myself as well even though I already had about half of the novels (I will do a giveaway sometime soon for my extra keys) :)

You can grab this bundle at https://www.indiegala.com/tokyo

Tokyo Anime Mega Bundle of Steam Games was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Princess Maker 2 Review | Retro PC Game | Simulation Game | Life Sim | Anime Game

IMPORTANT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU CAN NOW LEGALLY BUY AND PLAY THIS GAME ON STEAM. RE-Released with new art work as “Princess Maker 2 Refine” You can grab the game, and learn more about the release on my news article here: Princess Maker 2 Refine Now Available in English on Steam for the PC.

Princess Maker 2 is part of the Princess Maker Franchise – Note – none of these games were ever released in English. Princess Maker 2’s translation was mostly complete – 99.99999% when their licensing agreement fell through and also the game met tough criticism (by American media and press outlets) from people that viewed it as too pedophiliac in nature despite there being absolutely no sex scenes in this game. The (western) world was just not ready for Princess Maker 2 (and may never be ready either).

There are many websites which offer Princess Maker 2 (in English) as “abandonware” however; it is the wish of the creators and those involved in the (failed) localization that you never download or play this game (you can google about that too, there’s copies of letters from people involved in the project all over the internet, in which they remind us that this is NOT abandonware and to not “pirate” the game. — So Take that as you will. It’s a little bit different from a “Fan Translation” in which you can still support the creators by buying the original game and “patching” it with the english translation – in order to play Princess Maker 2 (in a language you can understand), you’re going to have to pirate it – I’m not putting a link here, I’m not condoning it, I’m not promoting it – I’m just telling you, it’s out there, if you search for it and if you care to play it. And that that is the only way to play this game in a language that you can read and understand.

There are many similar, but ultimately inferior, games which have been developed by English speaking fans, drawing inspiration from the Princess Maker franchise. These games include but are not limited to Cutie Knight Deluxe, Prince Maker, Long Live the Queen, and Spirited Heart Deluxe. I recommend checking them out, they’re still great games, but I found myself constantly comparing them to Princess Maker, and found them to be inferior to it in every way (art, story, number of activities, number of endings, variety of things to do, etc.) – That is not to say they are bad games – I own them all and love them – but they are no Princess Maker.

Anyways, Princess Maker 2 is a great game – as are all the other games in the series which I have supported and purchased despite not being able to understand them. There’s even a (relatively) new mobile game – in Korean language which I play on Bluestacks (an android simulator). As far as I know there’s no plans to bring those games to an English audience any time soon. The same people who fan translated Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here by the way) – had indicated interest in Princess Maker 4 or 5 translation – however, to my knowledge that translation has not even begun yet. Many other translations have begun, but never gotten further than intro or menu translations for any of these games. I sincerely hope, maybe someone in the fan translation community might visit my little blog one day and see that there is a “need” to translate these games which have no hope of ever being commercially released outside of Asian territories.

With all of that out of the way, here’s my review of Princess Maker 2:

Title: Princess Maker 2

Publisher: Gainax

Genre: Life Sim / Raising Sim / Dating Sim / RPG

Release Date: 1993 Japan Only

Platform: (all different kinds, but the one I’m reviewing is the PC version) (It was also on Sega Saturn, PS2, and more consoles)

Geeky: 1 star 

Sweetie: 5 hearts 

Overall: 77/100 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 You raise a daughter from the age of 8 to 18. You see her grow and change as you manage her schedule in different ways, and you also battle in turn based rpg fights and dungeon crawling elements (I think that feature is unique to Princess Maker 2 – I know some of the other games don’t include the battling / dungeoneering elements.) You lead her to her destiny in dozens of different endings. Her sprite will change to reflect her mood, her condition, and her age as time goes on.

Gameplay: 10/10 You set your girl’s schedule choosing different tasks for her such as cooking, magical battle, dancing, etiquette, visiting the palace, reading, etc, etc. There’s probably about 20 different options to choose from. You can also choose to give her a break by giving her some allowance to go shopping in town, or splurging and taking her on a vacation. She’ll randomly encounter different people, sometimes they will attack her, other times sell or give her items, or sometimes just chat with her all of which may effect her stats. You can also choose to explore dungeons for treasure, items, and more which greatly alter her stats. There’s also a dressup element to the game and what you have her wear also effects her stats. All of these stats and her relationships with all of the other characters are taken into account when deciding what ending you will receive.

Storyline: 7/10 You are a war hero who defeats a demon – the gods are so thankful to you that they grant your lifelong wish for a family – you are all alone, and unmarried. Now you become a single father to a very young cute girl who needs your guidance. The plot is up to you! Will she become a powerful fierce wizard, a war general just like daddy, or a princess in the palace, or maybe she’ll even fall in love with you and become your wife! (which is why the game was so opposed in America lol – dunno why they couldn’t just remove that one ending and release the game still – but whatever, I’m not in the game industry so I dunno all the details, just what I’ve read online. Seems like such a waste to have completed all that work and spent money localizing this game and then cave to media pressure and pull the plug at the 11th hour.) It’s a very loose gloss-over type of plot, that doesn’t get very deep while playing the game, but that branches into dozens and dozens of endings and hidden scenes and lets you chart out your own destiny.

Characters: 6/10 – Most of the characters are not really well fleshed out – It’s not about them it’s about your daughter! You have a cute “demon” butler that assists you (or maybe I’m thinking of one of the other princess maker games) anyways he’s cute and provides some comic relief, but ultimately their character development is pretty low. The other characters you meet, like the guards and prince, and king, etc never really feel very well developed either. — Despite not really having any character development, somehow, it is still an awesome game, you “write” your own story, and decide who your “princess” is. It gives you great freedom of choice on unprecedented levels.

Graphics: 4/10 – They’re “cute” but the graphics in the later installments of this game, are not only “higher quality” but a hell of a lot more “attractive” either “kawaii” (cute) or “sexy” etc. — The characters and graphics in this game, are by no means “ugly” – but their age is definitely showing! There’s also lack of animation of the (large “portrait”) sprites. The smaller sprites you see in training are detailed and animated. There are numerous kawaii cut scenes to unlock with more detailed artwork – but even that artwork is rather pixelated and not as vivid as many other games in this genre. I can’t really give this a high score in artwork. Even the background environments are drab looking. There are other games from the 90s which look way better than this, so it’s not just that it’s “old” either.

Music: 4/10 Uhm, the music was not that great. I think it was just due to the limits of the technology at the time of release. It also was not very memorable.

Customization: 10/10 – Your girl’s figure will change as she grows, she may become athletic looking, frail, fat, strong, etc. She will wear different clothes, even her breasts will change in size, and of course each year she will change and grow more and more. It’s awesome for dressup game fans. Highly recommend.

Kawaii Factor: 10/10 – despite the outdated graphics, there’s some seriously cute moments between you and your daughter. And despite being pixelated she’s still adorable. Actually she reminded me of myself. lol. I have long brown super thick naturally curly hair – so if there ever was an anime character that looked like me, it’d be her haha which helped me to “identify” and “immerse” into the game lol. She grows and evolves into a supposedly beautiful woman – but the art style kinda misses the mark there for me – but still – adorable adorable little game.

Replay Value: 10/10 – Multitude of random events, dozens of ways to plan your schedule, people to talk to, dungeons to explore, and dozens of endings to unlock (I think it has 20 or 30 different endings) — So yes, you will want to keep replaying this game to achieve 100%.

Overall: 77/100 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Princess Maker 2 Review | Retro PC Game | Simulation Game | Life Sim | Anime Game was originally published on

Sonicomi Communication English Preorders Begin. Game Release Date Scheduled for Summer 2016

Sonicomi English Preorder is now live on JLIST. Up til now, the game has only been available in Asian regions. This new English release is the original Sonicomi Game from 2011 for the PC; however, JLIST has licensed the visuals from the much improved 2014 PS3 version.

Preorder Sonicomi Communication – and use Coupon Code: MOE-22Y-E8BNV5 to get 5% off!

Gameplay puts you in the role of a professional cameraman as you photograph a “Gravure Idol” (which loosely translates to Magazine Model), the busty, pink haired, Sonico. You get scores and combos for taking better photos. Outside of the photography element, you interact with the model in visual novel fashion.

The game features a ton of customization with well over 100 items to dressup in.

The replay value is also very high, because depending on your advice, Sonico’s career is at stake and she will evolve to reach one of 18 different endings, including a special ending where she falls in love with you.

Unlike most visual novels, this one is fully animated and in 3D.

In all, from the descriptions, Gameplay reminds me of a very perverse, echi style “Pokemon Snap” X Princess Maker 2 Crossover lol.

Super Sonico is Nitro+ special mascot and makes cameo appearances in many other games, and even has her own anime series.

There are 2 editions available for preorder. The standard edition includes preorder bonuses of an action figure, steam key (for when the game is later released on steam), and art cards. The special “collector’s edition” includes a “full body” mouse pad which is “2 times larger than other moe mouse pads” and they said the mousepad has never been sold before anywhere, not even in Japan, and features brand new artwork by the designer of the game, just for the US English release and once preorders end this Mousepad will no longer be available. $100 bucks seems Crazy to me for a Mousepad – but if you’re really into this character, I guess some people may be interested in it. Meanwhile, the standard edition will run $55 – which yes, is a lot for a visual novel. Clannad recently released with a $50 price tag too. Now that visual novels are gaining popularity in the west it seems we can expect typical “new release” prices on par with other genres of gaming. I plan to preorder the standard edition when I get paid this week.

Preorder Sonicomi Communication

Sonicomi Communication English Preorders Begin. Game Release Date Scheduled for Summer 2016 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Bundles and Black Friday Deals Make Christmas Bright for Girl Gamers

This is just a collection of things I’ve come across this week that other gamer girls out there may find interesting. It’s the biggest shopping weekend in the USA, and many digital retailers are also offering deals as well as deals in store for many electronics.

Both Kohls and Walmart will have the PS4 for $299 on Black Friday. – I’m hoping to maybe be lucky enough to pick one up but I did just get an Iphone so I don’t know if I’ll have the $$$$ for a PS4 right now, which is fine anyways since the game I really want (Persona 5) got delayed til summer 2016 anyways. And I also really need a new PC – mine is finally starting to lose it’s ability to play some nextgen games (such as Fallout 4). Which I realize isn’t even the most graphically intensive game out there; but I only have a middle of the line Acer that’s 2+ years old now (only cost me about 600 originally, compared to my previous rig, an Alien ware which cost me like 1300 (But last me for 2-3 times longer). So The PS4 $$$ could be half the payment of a new PC too. Still do want PS4 though — and a Wii U :) I don’t normally play graphically intensive games, but ocassionally I do such as the new fallout So I need to get a better PC at some point.

Humble Bundle has some games from Japan in their weekly bundle from last week still going on but none of them really interested me or I have most of them already You can view it here

Indie Gala has a lot of visual novels and otome games in their Every Monday bundle this week – I picked this one up. Lots of these games were on my Steam wishlist and also are games which I have not previously seen bundled.

If you’re looking for an Xbone (not sure why you’d want one except for the 2 “supposedly” “exclusive” JRPGs (supposedly and quotes because one of these titles already exists on PSP, its just getting a cosmetic pretty facelift for the Xbone, so not really “exclusive” in my opinion lol.) Anyways, if for some reason you do want an Xbone (Scalebound looks interesting as well as the two aforementioned “exclusive” JRPGs) you can pick one up this weekend for $450. Here’s a list where to find one at http://www.cnet.com/news/its-official-xbox-one-price-drops-50-during-black-friday-weekend/ — Personally I think the PS4 blackfriday price of $299 is a better deal and has better games, especially if you’re here reading my blog, chances are you like RPGs, JRPGs, Simulation Games, Otome, Visual Novels, etc – none of which you’ll find on Xbone.

Wii U reguarlly $299 is dropping to $250 at both Walmart and Meijer and looks like it comes with the much beloved Super Smash Bros game. Wii U is also home to Xenoblade Chronicles and future home to the upcoming SMT X FE # which that game alone, makes it a definite must own in my opinion. Plus the nintendo e-store has great retro games such as Earthbound, Harvest Moon, and Chrono Trigger too to name a few. You can read more here: http://www.idigitaltimes.com/black-friday-wii-u-deals-best-nintendo-sales-black-friday-2015-492132

It’s rumored that the big Steam sales that we all know and love will begin on November 25th and run through December 1st. This year it’s also rumored that we won’t have daily deals and flash sales, and that the game will remain the sale price for the duration of the steam sale. It’s also rumored the biggest event of the year, the Steam holiday sale will occur on december 22nd, and run until January 4th. Note this is just unconfirmed rumors. I heard about these rumors here: http://www.vg247.com/2015/11/20/no-steam-flash-or-daily-sales-coming-this-autumn-and-winter-according-to-leak/

All week long Tee Turtle shirts are just $12 I have bought from them in the past and can vouch they are amazing and utterly adorable, even the packaging they ship in! http://www.teeturtle.com/

http://www.greenmangaming.com/
Green Man Gaming has 25% off ALL digital games with coupon: 1MZ9FW-H92JSD-2CT74F

Holiday sale is now live at http://www.rightstufanime.com/ including dvds, figures, and toys

Junkyspot.com almost always has black friday sales for asian balljointed dolls, obitsu, and hujoo dolls. Though nothing has been announced just yet. Their sale traditionally lasts a week, with different unannounced dolls available at steep discounts each day, and if you miss out that day you can’t go back, which is tricky and exciting, trying to wait for the doll you want, or take the one you can afford. I got my Hujoo Dana one year in this way, for a big discount (I can’t recall but I believe she may have been 30% which is like $100 off).

I will keep adding to this list as I find other great deals for us <3.

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Bundles and Black Friday Deals Make Christmas Bright for Girl Gamers was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Norn9 Var Commons | PS Vita | Otome | Visual Novel | Game | Review

I’ve been spending the past few days playing Norn9 Var Commons on my PS TV (also works with PS Vita). Norn9 is an Otome Visual Novel with a scifi Time Travel theme. The game was hyped up quite a bit – and in some ways, my expectations were a bit too high to live up to that hype; however, I’m still really enjoying this novel.

Gamestop says: “Prestigious Pedigree!
Legendary maestro Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series) weaves soul swaying compositions and sweeping musical overtures to build a sonic world unlike anything heard before. Famed artist Akiba Minoru (Pokemon the Movie) provides expansive landscapes and awe inspiring visuals.

Content Packed and Feature Rich!
A 50+ hour story, branching story path and multiple endings ensure a deep and engrossing gaming experience. Complete all routes to reveal the truth!”

My Main Complaint – and gods, I cannot find the source now….  Edit: Found it: Here. Is that I read that the game was going to be fully animated. When in actuality, the sprites are super stiff (though not any more or less stiff than the majority of other visual novels out there). I was expecting something like School Days, or NekoPara in terms of the sprite art — but instead got just “Run of the Mill Visual Novel Sprites”. They do blink and their lips move as they read their lines. There are front facing, profile, and three-quarter views of each character. But beyond that, yeah, not exactly what I would call animated. Big Let Down.

Direct Quote Which Proved Totally Untrue:

“The characters in Norn9: Var Commons come to life. No completely static images, here!”

Source: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2015/05/26/norn9-var-commons-coming-to-ps-vita-this-fall/

The Music though, my god, the music is amazing. Though there is this one theme that’s used throughout that kinda sounds like a cellphone ringtone to me – but that’s just me / my imagination lol. The rest of the tracks are really good. Nobuo for the win. 🙂

And yes, the main reason we all play these games, the story. The story is solid gold. It starts slow though. But then it really picks up. The cool thing is that you have not just one girl to play as, but 3 different girls, each with their own story and within that story, different branches to pick to get the guy/ending you want.

The weird thing is, and I also noticed this also about Amnesia Memories – which I reviewed here (and need to update now that I’ve completed it 100%) – anyways I noticed that a lot of these Idea Factory / Otomate games use sorta “IOS / Mobile” “game mechanics” – by that I mean that they have you choose which guy you want pretty early in the game (after a “brief” prologue (though this prologue is longer than most) — I don’t really like this method of choosing the guy. It feels odd. I also find that you have to have 100% “correct” answers. Or you get the bad end. Which makes me feel like my choices don’t really matter (and makes me want to rage quit (or cheat and use a walk through lol).

In a normal visual novel by most other developers, that’s not how this all works. Typically you start a game, you interact with all of the characters, able to slip into and out of their paths by some mathematical percentage of who’s answers you’re matching up with the most. And yes sometimes you can screw yourself over with one bad answer and have to start over, but it’s not E V E R Y single choice with this weight of consequence.

In Norn9 I missed the good Kakeru ending on my first playthrough because I ate all my food in one scene instead of trying to copy another girl to eat less – because I thought Kakeru would love/accept me regardless of my choice, because he’s that kind of guy who likes more natural / carefree women. But nope, and that was in CHAPTER TWO…. Therefore ALL of my other choices became invalidated just by choosing to eat my food. I played the next Eight Chapters (or however many there were) and wasted all of those hours for nothing.

And yes, I did narrow it down to that one choice by using a guide on my second play through. First, in the guide, I thought it was because I did not point out that Kakeru was forcing himself to act happy. I didn’t point it out my first playthrough, saw that (which was in Chapter 6 or 7) in the walkthrough and decided, before going all the way back to Chapter TWO, to try that first. STILL got the bad end even after making this important change (which unlocked the important scene which I thought then for sure would give me good end.). Nope. So Went back to Chapter 2 to change the other question as well. You have to answer E V E R Y question the way they want you to.

Why even have freedom of choice at all? It’s really annoying. – My other answers were all exactly the same as the walkthrough. — Anyways obviously, finally on my third try, got the good ending. But I feel like it doesn’t really let me explore or live out the story the way I want to which is bad for immersion which is important in these games. It’s almost like a kinetic novel. It does have choices, but only really one path that you’re intended to take.

I don’t want it to sound like I hate the game; because I don’t — Nothing could be farther from the truth. I love this game a lot.

But I’m still able to point out its flaws (and point out the fact that it was way over hyped – like the “no static images here” — WTF @ sony blog???…. lol.

But like I said, the storyline is good, and that’s really all that matters in these types of games. If you enjoy games like Ever17 (and Remember 11 and Never 7) or Stein’s Gate – you will like this story. It deals with similar themes – though the pacing/timing and delivery in my opinion were not QUITE as good as the aforementioned games, it is only marginally less well written and the theme is one I honestly enjoy. And unlike any of the aforementioned games, this one is an Otome. Perhaps one of the only commercially available Otome games to deal with a scifi theme such as Time Travel.

At time of this writing, I’ve only completed Kakeru’s route. I’m playing through them in the recommended order (which you can see by pressing triangle within the game when it asks you to select your partner. I’m about 3/4ths of the way through Senri’s route now.

Compared to Amnesia Memories, this one seems to have less typos and inconsistencies – I still noticed a few here or there, but they weren’t as glaring to me as they were in Amnesia Memories. Typos are expected in any heavy text based game such as this. Anyways in either case, so far, the typos have not detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

I don’t have all the pieces/parts of the “puzzle” yet, as to what’s really going on here. But a lot was revealed to me already. I won’t spoil it though for you. 🙂 You’ll just have to play it for yourself.

The one thing which hasn’t been resolved for me yet (but I assume probably will be resolved by the end of the game by completing all routes) is if Sorata ever gets to return home. I’m really curious about that and about him as a character.

Anyways as for a brief story synopsis / overview / character introduction:

You begin the game as Sorata, a 10 year old boy who’s on a field trip to the Diet building (kinda like our house of representatives or senate). He starts hearing strange music, and then the next thing he knows he finds himself cold, frozen, and unable to move, nearly about to die from hypothermia in the middle of a busy city street.

Everyone ignores him, nearly tripping over his frozen cold body. But one girl approaches and is able to help him by building a fire to help him thaw out. This is the nameless protaginist who you get to play as (if you choose) and get to name as yourself or whoever you’d like. She is a bit of a space case, but very kind hearted. Sorta the typical anime heroine stereotype. Ditzy, Clumsy, Says things off-cuff, and Acts impulsively, but very interested in making friends and being well liked etc.

Because of her oblivious nature, and because Sorata really doesn’t have anyone else to turn to for help returning home, he decides to go along with our heroine. She takes him out to a grassy field, where she says a ship will be arriving soon to show her the world. Sorata naturally believes that they should be headed to a shipyard to wait for a ship. But the ship they’re getting on, is actually, a space ship, which swoops down and beams the pair up.

On board the ship, the other characters include:

Kakeru: the botanist who grows food on the ship

Akito: the chef who cooks the food on the ship

Mikoto: Another playable character, she helps protect the ship with her forcefield abilities. She is very beautiful and has a dignified / refined attitude which can sometimes come across as cold.

Senri: A shut-in who avoids the other characters, he has a weak sickly body. He is tiny in build, pale, and very softly spoken. He also hates doing chores or anything physically exerting.

Heishi: A really really dumb (but loveable) guy. His special power is to communicate telepathically with the crew. He is very loud and outgoing

Ron: I don’t know much about him yet honestly, other than he seems to know more than he admits. Even on Aksys’ official website for the game it says “No one really knows anything about him since he never talks about himself.” I suspect more may be revealed by the end of all the routes. I kinda wonder if he is Sorata in the future / a grown version of him. (Just speculation or a guess. Which may be way off base.) I think he’s probably connected somehow in some way to him at least.

Masamune: He is sorta like the “leader” he knows the most about the mission, and is responsible for reporting to the “World” throughout the journey. He appears taller/older than the others on the ship.

Nanami: another playable character. She is very quiet. Not as bad as Senri, but just a more private person. The one quirk I noticed is that she loves food.

Itsuki: He is a player / womanizer who flirts with all of the girls on the ship. He has a playful and mischievous personality. It appears his ability may be shape shifting and/or dream walking.

Sakuya: Stays close at all times to Mikoto. He gives off a quiet gentlemanly princely aura.

There are other characters too, but to reveal them now would be too spoiler-ish. So I’ll leave it at that.

Anyways, once on board, it is shortly discovered there is a traitor on board the ship. Someone is sabotaging the ship and attacking it which may cause it to crash before reaching its goal. In order to determine who the traitor is and minimize his movements, it’s suggested to pair up with another user so you can monitor them, giving the attacker fewer opportunities to go by unnoticed. Whoever you choose here as your partner will also be your love interest, and the focus of the story for that route.

Once you select a partner, the game focus shifts away from Sorata and onto you and your partner. And from the ending I got (Kakeru’s) It never shifts back to resolve things with Sorata – but I’m sure it probably does tie back into him somehow in the end.

There are several twists and turns in the plot/story mainly in regards to the Time Travel theme. It’s also full of futuristic technology and fantasy elements, androids, super-human powers, and space travel to name a few.

As far as gameplay, I’ve covered most of the gameplay elements above. Choosing your playable character, selecting their partner, having to answer 100% of the questions the way the developers want you to, and then arriving at the end, and rinse and repeat for the other characters and partners. The only variation from this is, there are some mini games along the way and points earned in minigames can be used to unlock additional stories, artwork, and soundtracks.

Graphics are beautiful even though I was immensely disappointed because of the way sony marketed this game about the non static image thing… blinking and lips moving hardly counts as not being static lol. but whatever, it’s still totally gorgeous. There are several CG scenes which highlight some of the important parts of the story and the background environments in this game are way gorge too.

Voice acting is also really well done, and if there are certain characters you dislike, you can mute or lower volume of individual characters in the settings which is a unique feature – not one I see myself using, but hey /shrugs. Of course, the voice cast is the original Japanese actors, with English subtitles which is what most of the people playing these types of games (myself included) prefer. So thank you aksys for not ruining the game with a shitty dub. Of course, Aksys could have taken it a step further, to please both sides of the debate, by allowing us to select from a shitty english dub, or original Japanese voice cast. But that would have cost them more money, and with Otome and Visual Novels being a very risky market, I can’t say I blame them for not wanting to put time into revoicing the game, when 99% of the players want it left alone in Japanese audio anyways.

Replay Value is obviously high with 3 playable girls and each girl having multiple romance options and endings for a total of at least 12 or 13 endings (maybe more.) The length of each route is also very substantial. I’d say you’ll average 6+ hours each play through. You do have the option to skip read text which is very helpful for replaying the game as well.

So that leads us to the following scores:

Geeky: 

Sweetie: 

Concept: 10/10 – For use of Time Travel, multiple female protagonists, deep, emotionally engaging story, high replay value, and cute mini games

Gameplay: 6/10 – I disliked how the choices felt “forced” – still good amount of choices, and once again back to the unique multiple protagonists.

Storyline: 9/10 – Emotionally moving, good character development. Neat time travel theme at center of the story. Also a story about humanity and technology and progress and a story about war and trust. Very complex, very engrossing storyline. Couldn’t ask for much more. Deducted 1 point for typos and a couple of weird translation choices. Why did the voice actress (Japanese) use Kakeru (first name) but Aksys chose to ALWAYS keep using Yuiga (last name) That bothered the hell out of me. If the character is on a first name basis (which is a very sweet/special sign of relationship status/closeness in Japan), why not reflect that also in the translation. There were other obvious liberties taken with the translation. At one point Kakeru’s voice actor used the word “Kanajo” which means “Girlfriend” (or can also just mean “Girl” or “that girl”) but the translation said “I’ve never felt this feeling before.” It seems like they could have done a closer / better translation by simply using a phrase such as “I’ve never felt this way about a girl before” or something similar. Still these are minor things that I’m being overly picky of.

Characters: 8/10 The main character feels a little cliche, but she’s still endearing in her own way. I like the use of super powers as a theme throughout and each character’s unique power and how they all tie in together at the end.

Graphics: 8/10 – I am still pretty peeved off about how I was led to falsely believe this would be a super animated high production value game — but when I take away my feelings of bitterness and resentment – and compare it objectively to other visual novels, it’s definitely above average. I mean look at Amnesia Memories and its black and white (almost) backgrounds, compared to the beautiful backgrounds in Norn9 and while yes, the sprites lack the promised animation and “life like” qualities, they’re still really pretty. If they had never made that claim and I hadn’t rode that hype train, who knows, maybe would’ve even gave Graphics a higher score. I think I gave Amnesia Memories a 7 in my review. These graphics are better than that, because of the backgrounds, so therefore, giving these an 8. On par with or slightly better than a slew of other anime otome games out there.

Music: 10/10 Nobuo never disappoints.

Voice Acting: 10/10 Every single character has such a distinct voice and so much emotion into delivering their lines.

Replay Value: 10/10 3 playable protagonists, multiple romance options for each, multiple endings, mini games, unlockable bonus content, one true ending playable only after completing all the other routes which ties everything together, skip function, yep, good replay value here :).

Overall: 79/90 88% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Norn9 Var Commons | PS Vita | Otome | Visual Novel | Game | Review was originally published on Geeky and Kawaii | Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews and News

Ensemble Stars – The Free IOS Game That Lets You Collect Cute Anime Boys

Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game

I’ve been enjoying Ensemble Stars, a game that lets you collect cute anime boys. When I first got the game, I assumed it was like Love Live School Idol Festival! However, it’s a little bit different. Most notably, Ensemble Stars is a Stat Raising Simulation. Not only do you collect the cards (just like in Love Live School Idol Festival!) but then you train different stats such as vocals, dancing, etc. Also, this is NOT a rhythm game. I initially thought it was, until playing it. There’s no user input in battles; it’s all mathematically determined. Your cards stats vs the Opponents’ stats.

This game is not available yet in the US app store. And in no app store is it in English; However, you can easily make a free account (must be on a PC (or mac)) by logging out of your main account and then at the bottom of the screen, change location, and select either the Korean or Japanese app stores. Then sync your iphone/ipad with your new purchase (its a free game).

The company also makes a game called Ensemble Girls which is available in the US app store, however, it is not in English. I just started playing Ensemble Girls lastnight and its gameplay is markedly different from Ensemble Stars. Ensemble Girls plays like a board game. You roll dice and move the corresponding number of squares through each level. You encounter girls to battle and collect points. You can use points to summon new girls for your deck and also get sweet tasting food which if you feed to the girls makes them level up. It’s a cute game, but the gameplay in Ensemble Stars is more fun since it’s a stat raising sim, which Ensemble Girls is not.

When you first start playing Ensemble Stars you get to select one “team” to be your “starter deck” which will determine your rare card.

This is the one I chose, because, he is hot as hell LOL. :drool:

Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game

There’s also a dating sim element to the game too. You can date the guys and by correctly responding to their questions (which are not in English), they will level up. Here are a few more screens showing all of these elements of gameplay. The dating sim, the stat raising sim, and the collectible card game (ccg).

Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game
Ensemble Stars | Dating Sim | Stat Raising Sim | Trading Card Game | IOS | Android | Anime | Game

The game is really super fun – even though I can’t understand a word of it. I keep hoping they’ll bring us an English version. It’s in many asian countries already. I think with the rise in popularity in America of otome games and dating sims and JRPGs we would be a good market for this game as well. I have already emailed the company and asked them if they would please release an English or “international” version of their app. The game has only been around since April of 2015. So it is not even a year old yet. That means there’s still a chance they could release it at some point in English.

Geeky: 

Sweetie: 

Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 finally a game like Love Live School Idol Festival but with all boy cards! Sweet!

Gameplay: 10/10 – The stat raising simulation and dating sim aspects are really fun, and it’s exciting/thrilling to summon the rare cards that you really want to add to your deck.

Graphics: 10/10 – one of the cutest games around. The little chibi sprites are so cute as they dance and practice their moves in the stat raising sim portion of the game. The still artwork on each card is beautiful, and the dating sim element treats us to fully animated 2d sprites. (not chibi though, full drawn like the card artwork. Lovely.) The backgrounds and environments are also beautiful, and the user interface is so simple and easy to use that I can easily navigate the game even without it being in English (I can’t say the same for Ensemble Girls which I’ve been stumbling through for the past day or two.)

Story: 0/10 – Unfortunately until the game is available in English, the story is a 0/10 – It might have a good story for all I know, but I can’t read it.

Characters: 5/10 – Well the characters are definitely easy on the eyes. But once again I can’t read any of their backstories. So shrugs. If I’m going by character art / concept / design it’s 10/10 – but It would be nice to have the “feels” during the dating scenes by understanding wtf the characters are saying. And getting to know their personality by more than just their facial expressions.

Replay Value: 10/10 Like most mobile games, there are numerous events every month with the chance to get rare limited edition cards and items.

Music: 10/10 – I really like the opening theme and some of the background music also

Voice Acting: 7/10 – I love the voice actors in this game as well. I can’t understand wtf they are saying since there’s no English subtitles (and I deducted points for that), but I do hope that should this game be brought over, that they keep the original voice cast in tact.

Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

If it were in English, chances are story and characters would rate higher, but as it is right now today, it’s still totally playable, and quite enjoyable even without understanding the dialogue.

Additional Resources:

English Wikihttp://ensemble-stars.wikia.com/wiki/The_English_Ensemble_Stars_Wiki

Official Japanese Webpagehttp://stars.happyelements.co.jp/

Reddit Group (mostly English discussion): https://www.reddit.com/r/ensemblestars/ 

How to get the gamehttp://taemintchocolate.tumblr.com/post/96995527773/how-to-get-the-superstar-sm-game-if-you-dont-live

The above guide is how to get a different game, but works regardless for obtaining any game from other app stores in different countries. It is the guide I used in order to get my game(s) :). I think she also has info on how to get the game for android, I don’t know since I am an IOS user.

If you know of other helpful resources for English players, please leave a comment below to share your sources!

Ensemble Stars – The Free IOS Game That Lets You Collect Cute Anime Boys was originally published on