This is a reblog of my site http://geekysweetie.com – Other stuff may appear here such as reblogs from other wordpress.com sites. I blog and reblog about anime, video games, kdrama, toys, technology, and kawaii fashion and decor.
Sekai Project is one of many companies localizing Visual Novels into English. And for the next 2 weeks you can get 17 Sekai Project Visual Novels for $12. That’s less than $1 a game. (or pay less and receive less games) And it supports charity too! Feel good and score some awesome Visual Novels with the new humble bundle.
All of the Above PLUS…
NekoPara Vol 1
Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru Part 1
Marcissu 10th Anniversary Anthology Project, Plus Season PASS DLC
Fault Milestone two side:above
Sound of Drop -fall into poison
Highway Blossoms (a Yuri game (girl x girl game))
Japanese School Life
Pay $12 to receive it all:
All of the Above PLUS…
NekoPara Vol 2
Wold End Economica – Complete Edition
Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru Part 2
Memory’s Dogma Code:01
Robot Double – Before Crime After Days Xtend Edition
Sunrider: Liberation Day – Captain’s Edition
That’s a whole lot of visual novels for not a big price! I only had 3 of these currently in my collection (and almost all of them wishlisted). I am super excited about this bundle and can’t wait to start playing.
Robot Double sounds incredibly interesting to me from the brief description. It states that unlike traditional Visual Novels, there are no clear cut choices, but instead you control the story purely through your emotions.
This review honestly has been long overdue. I’m sure many of our readers already play Line Play everyday. This cute anime-styled game has been popular for a number of years now. It offers everything you could want in a dressup game, pets, cute outfits, rooms, fishing, minigames, and even chat rooms. There’s tons of stuff to do and new items being released constantly into the game which gets updated quite often with new cute things to collect, new minigames, or limited time events.
Geeky: 3/5 – Although it is saccharine overload at times, if you’re not opposed to a “cutesy” game, then Line Play actually has a ton of features and is more robust and in depth than a lot of other anime dressup games. There are also a lot of skill-based minigames which provide a fun challenge and way to earn in-game currency. It does however sometimes suffer connection issues or lag which is why I can’t rate it higher.
Sweetie: 5/5 – This game oozes charm and cuteness at every corner. It also partners with big-brand names you know and love such as Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon, Disney, and Show by Rock, as well as offering tons of options to customize your avatar, your room, even raising cute pets! It also has a journal system and chat rooms making it almost a social network as much as it’s also a game.
Overall: 60/80 75% C “Good Game For Girls”
Concept: 10/10 – I’ve mentioned it a few times, but this game has just a ton of things to do! You can go fishing, you can raise a pet, you can play skill-based minigames, you can dressup your avatar as well as decorate your room by layering different items from thousands if not millions of combinations. The social networking aspects are also a great way to make friends, or play together with your real life friends. There are multiple worlds you can explore and lots of new things to see and do which get added regularly with new updates.
Gameplay: 8/10 Although there is a lot to do in this game, it does become tedious and repetitive after long periods of play. The game also suffers from occasional lag or connectivity issues. However, those two small flaws aside, this game is a lot of fun. You get to interact with other players which makes the game world feel very immersive and alive. You can choose to play various minigames which require speed, skill, and a bit of luck. You can go fishing, explore multiple different themed worlds where you can chat or roleplay with your friends, or just spend hours alone in your room decorating your home, playing with your pet, writing in your journal, or trying on new outfits.
Story: 2/10 – I thought about giving story a zero to be honest, but then I remembered that there are occasional events which present a story in comic book form (similar to Gaia Online, actually almost everything about this game is very much like Gaia Online). These stories are cute and short, sometimes continued through multiple-part events. But ultimately, there really is no true overarching story of any kind.
Graphics:10/10 – This game is just so cute. The game is in 2D isometric top-down view reminiscent of many retro or anime-styled games. There is a lot of work put into the sheer amount of graphics needed to create this game. Really no two avatars ever look alike thanks to hundreds of thousands of different items. Items get removed and added in almost daily. When you first start the game, you can select to either be a human or furrie. This setting cannot be changed later, and both races have access to different face items. You customize everything about yourself, from your hair, to your shoes, to your eyes, nose, lips, shirt or dress, and then you can choose different accessories to accent your outfit. You also can decorate and expand your room. You can invite your friends over to party together in your room or go see your friends’ rooms too. There are also many open world areas for you to go explore each with a different cute theme! The user interface is also clean and intuitive.
Music: 5/10 – It’s cute at first, but gets old very quickly. Also I found some of the minigame music and sound effects to get distracting at times. There are lots of cute sound effects when fishing or playing with your friends. However, the main theme song gets used so often and in so many different areas of the world, that you will grow tired of it after a few hours max.
Community: 7/10 – Most of the people I’ve met in Line Play have been very nice and friendly; however, for being a social network, it seems most people are not that social. It’s probably more fun if you already have a group of friends to play with. However, there are several different chat rooms as well as the ability to chat in the open world areas, the journal system (where friends can leave a comment), and the ability to import friends from popular social networks such as Line and Facebook. It also features private messaging, group chats, or the ability to invite friends to see your room, or meet new ones in any of the open world areas. Friends can also help you out in various minigames or by sending you a “heart”. Once you get over that initial hurdle of making a few friends, Line Play definitely provides you all the tools you need to continue to foster that friendship. Since the game features kawaii graphics, many of the players in Line Play share common interests such as anime and games which can help when making new friends especially if you’re shy or introverted. On the other hand, because of the cute and simplistic nature of the game, the Line Play community also has many young children and teens and not very many active players who are over 30, such as myself, which can make it awkward or difficult to make new friends as well.
Replay Value: 10/10 Thanks to a wide variety of minigames and different activities to enjoy, as well as frequently updated content, limited events, and the drive to collect new and rare items for your home and avatar, this game keeps you coming back to see what’s new or to chat with your friends.
Geeky: 3/5 – On the fence with this score… Production values are fairly low and it shows, also not much “gameplay” as is the nature of visual novels. But it does earn a few points for geeky internet “meme-like” humor.
Sweetie: 5/5 – High marks for being an otome game (a game with a female protagonist) and for having cute cats. Also has pretty good character development and surprisingly good writing.
Concept: 8/10 Cat President is an otome game in which you get to help one of 6 different cat candidates (spoiler: one of them is a dog) become the nominee of their political party. You might also fall in love with your chosen candidate by the end of the game. Like most visual novels there is little to do aside from click and read. I like this genre of games a lot, but if you’re not used to this format, it may not be your cup of tea. On the plus side, Cat President takes a fun, whimsical, and light hearted approach to the visual novel genre. Most of the routes are short (around 2 hours each). There are multiple endings including normal, good, and bad endings which adds some more replay time. If you get all of your desired endings in one try, I estimate this game will take 12-15 hours to complete. Because of the light hearted nature, and short length of this game, it may be a purrfect game to give visual novels a try. However, if you’re a visual novel veteran, you might be disappointed by the “fluffy” nature of the plot, or by the somewhat amateur artwork, especially given the lack of poses of each sprite.
Story: 9/10 You play as a young girl who has been out of work for some time when she decides to attend a debate with her best friend and you are called upon to give a question to the candidates. You mention how you’ve lost your job and want to know how the candidates will help people like you. They all have the purrfect answer, by offering you a spot on their campaign team. These are no ordinary candidates however, as they are all cats (and a dog). This is how the game opens. The backstory explains that politics became so corrupt 20 years ago that humans are no longer allowed to hold any type of political office. It’s also eluded to pretty early on that cats can (and most do) become human (if they can afford it). Although the story does take itself lightly, and has some genuinely WTF moments, it’s not without more serious and delicate moments as well such as relationship drama, political scandals, and very likeable characters who have very human-like flaws. I was very surprised by how relateable the characters felt to me. I could see qualities in them and in myself, in my cats, and surprisingly most of all, in my past relationships with other humans. I went into this not expecting much other than comedy, so I was really surprised when I felt myself identifying with or nodding in understanding/agreement with many of the characters and situations in this game. Plus, if you like comedy (who doesn’t like comedy right?) and even more-so if you like cats, and are familiar with the internet memes, then you will really appreciate the humor in this game.
Gameplay: 5/10 – Unfortunately, as is the nature of visual novels, there’s really no “gameplay” per say, however the game does have all of the basic functions one expects in a visual novel such as being able to review different scenes or endings and gallery items. It does feature a lot of different endings and have high replay value. I’m not really so much of a fan of the “choose which route you want at the begining of the game” it seems to me only cheap “mobile games” use this mechanic, while “real” visual novels like Clannad for example, let you dip in and out of different characters’ routes, so you might experience different parts of the game each time you play. Locking into a route right out of the chute, limits then which stories and experiences you can enjoy in each play through. I’ve noticed this mechanic becoming increasingly popular, but I’m just not a fan of it. I like the “challenge” in trying to get with the guy (or cat in this case) that I want to be with, and putting me on his route right away takes away this challenge, and therefore, in my opinion, diminishes the fun a little bit for me.
Graphics: 5/10 – This is probably my biggest complaint with this novel. The game could have been really “cute” I think if it had “anime” style drawings for the characters and cats in the game, similar to Dandelion Wishes Brought to You, or other Otome games featuring cats and animals. The photographs of the cats are cute, but my biggest complaint is they are COMPLETELY static, they needed to have more photos in different poses, or different expressions. As a cat lover and owner, I find my own cats and those we watch on youtube etc to be extremely expressive. These static sprite images don’t capture much emotion or charm of these cats. They could have used different poses or angles, or tried to get their cats to be more expressive for some of the shoots (but well cats do what they wanna do so I understand maybe it was more difficult lol). I did critique the artwork when I left a brief steam review, and I was told that it was intentional to be more humorous and fit the theme and feeling of the game, and also because the creator wanted to include his friends’ real life cats. I did write back and suggest maybe just adding some more varied photos/poses would help – but I still think anime, ultimately is the way to go – it’s what the target audience wants, and what we expect. I am not a “graphics whore” – and I play all sorts of indie games (sprite based etc) and retro 8 bit and 16 bit games — but with a Visual Novel, the art work becomes highly important, because you don’t have that “gameplay” you need the artwork to help tell the story, hence the name “VISUAL” Novel, right? So the art was disapointing, if for no other reason, than it felt too still / stiff and wasn’t emotive or expressive. Although the writing was full of charm and did a great job defining the characters, the art didn’t help draw out that charm in any way.
Music: 6/10 – Music “gets the job done”, the main track is Hail to the Chief, the official presidential anthem of the USA. It’s really the only track I remember hearing consistently throughout, but I do remember hearing different tracks, including a vocal track even, but they’re ultimately not very memorable. The good news is, since each route is short, they can get by with a very limited number of music tracks, and the music itself does its job by providing background noise while not distracting or detracting anything from the focus of the story.
Replay Value: 10/10 – The replay value is exceptional here due to there being 6 dateable candidates, and each one having multiple endings. The characters are also diverse enough that each route feels like a fun and unique experience. The relatively short nature of each route makes multiple playthroughs easy and enjoyable.
Overall: 51/70 73% “C Good Game for Girls” – If you love games like Hatoful Boyfriend, and love cats, furries, internet humor, memes, youtube, or just want a fun, light hearted visual novel with great characters and a surprisingly warm and touching, though ultimately hilarious story, then you need to check out Cat President – a More Purrfect Union.
According to the official game page gameplay seems to be that of a rhythm game:
“What’s NEKOPALIVE? Why, it’s a “cat-certo!” The catgirls of La Soleil take to the stage and step into the spotlight with their very own live concerts. Dancing, singing, MIX’ing and purring, this is the NEKOPARA event that comes right home to you, and you’ve got the best seat in the house! No idol can compare to a catgirl! 🐾
As of today, Wolf Children is my all-time favorite anime “movie” (feature length, stand-alone film). I must’ve watched it 20 times or more by now. If you love Studio Ghibli films, you’ve got to check out Wolf Children. It’s not a Ghibli film, but it feels like it should be one. It has the same things that make Ghibli films so endearing. A heart warming tale of a family and a coming of age story, which in the end has an important message or two to leave with the viewer.
In this case, Wolf Children drives home a message about loving your children, no matter who they choose to grow up to be, a very important message for any parent to embrace in this day and age. You cannot change your children. Some day they will grow up and leave home, and all you can do is try to raise them with love and kindness and hope they make the best decisions for themselves. You don’t have to agree with their decisions, but you need to realize they are their own person. And also in a family with multiple children, you will find that each child is unique and needs handled differently.
Title: Wolf Children
Genre: Family, Supernatural, Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life
Story: 10/10 As I mentioned above, Wolf Children is a family film, about learning to let go and accept your children even when they aren’t “perfect”. Wolf Children explores these concepts without cramming them down your throat through use of anthropomorphism (giving human like qualities to animal characters). Ame and Yuki, the two wolf cubs of our story, were born out of love between a human and (what could best be described as) werewolf. Tragedy strikes when their father cannot resist his urge to hunt in order to provide for the new family, leaving their mother alone to raise the two cubs. She is unable to even go to a hospital for the birth or have any help because she is not sure what would happen if they were born as wolves instead of humans. As the cubs grow they begin to cause problems for their mother with her neighbors due to the thin walls in the apartment and their constant howling. So the mom decides to move her cubs to the country where they can be happy and be themselves and not have to worry about the neighbors. Eventually as the cubs grow they go through many changes. The girl wants to be more human and go to school. The boy is more shy and avoids humans. He prefers to learn from nature and the animals of the mountains where they live. The mother at first struggles with her children’s independence, wanting to always keep them safe and protect them, but eventually throughout the movie, the children continue to grow, and the mother ultimately realizes she must accept that they are capable of making their own decisions.
Characters: 9/10 Not gonna lie, Yuki’s exuberance as a puppy really got on my nerves – I had a tough time liking her character at first. But – when I think about it, isn’t that how puppies in real life are? They are destructive, curious, hyper, over excitable, etc. AND her exuberance was a nice contrast from her brother who was very frail and timid. Their differences were highlighted nicely and it made each of their characters stand out more. I also enjoyed the mother and her love for her cubs and dedication to doing anything it took to ensure their happiness and giving them the freedom to become who they wished to become. The character growth and development is also a key highlight of this anime. Yuki goes from that mischievous pup, to someone who wishes to be more mature and lady like, while Ame becomes strong willed, independent, and more adventurous. Watching that change and evolution is really one of the best parts of this anime; It’s like watching them grow up right before your eyes.
Artwork: 4/5 There’s nothing “wrong” with this artwork, in fact it’s “damn good” – I just would have liked them to have explored their own art style, instead of drawing so much inspiration from Studio Ghibli. That said, while it does borrow a lot of Ghibli, it is still beautiful – especially the backgrounds. The character style has a hint of realism, and lots of fantasy and charm as well. It’s also sure to be a hit with any furries out there.
Music: 5/5 Wolf children has a very emotionally moving and touching soundtrack that adds to the sentimental feeling throughout the film. This film really tugs at the heart, and the music I think played a big role in creating that immersion and highlighting many of the key scenes of the film
Voice Acting: 4/5 I didn’t really like Yuki’s voice actress. I dunno why. I just didn’t. I do think it fit the character, but it made it even more annoying and painful for me – Her voice actress captured her spirited, spunky personality – which to give her credit, is exactly what she was supposed to do, but it just grated on my nerves. Everyone else was also perfectly cast and delivered powerful and emotional performances that helped bring their characters to life.
Reviewing one of my all time favorite games today, Dark Cloud. I will also be reviewing the very similar, but slightly better, Dark Cloud 2 later today as well.
This game is extremely similar to Legend of Zelda. Our main hero even has a green floppy hat just like Link lol. But it brings with it some unique new features such as rouge-like random proceduraly generated level design, multiple playable characters, and most notably, a world-creation and city building system.
Also, if you missed out on this awesome game back in 2001, you can play it again now if you have a PS4 via the playstation store.
This was Level 5’s first game – and definitely a classic must-own for any JRPG collector. Interestingly enough, when the game came to North America, it was enhanced with new content and features that don’t exist in the Japanese version such as better AI control, an entire new dungeon, and dozens of new weapons.
Title: Dark Cloud
Release Date: 2001
Publisher: Level 5
Genre: Action RPG
Where to Buy: In addition to the digital versions on the Playstation Store, you can still find hard copies of the game on sites like Amazon. At time of this writing there’s about 10 copies on Amazon with prices ranging from $12 to $99 depending on the condition and quality of the disc, book, case, etc. Check out this page for more info: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Cloud…
Overall: 59/80 74% C “Good Game for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 As mentioned, this action RPG feels very Zelda-ish in design but brings with it a few surprises, namely the city and world building aspects along with procedurely generated dungeons. The dungeon crawling and city building style of gameplay reminds me a lot of Azure Dream which I reviewed here.
Gameplay: 10/10 This game combines real time combat such as that found in Zelda or Secret of Mana with Occasional Quick Time Events and of course, lots of world building and city building gameplay. The dungeons are proceduraly generated and it also features multiple playable characters each with their own abilities and fighting style. However, Atla (the items needed for city building) can only be found when playing as the main character.
In city building mode, you place the Atla retrieved from the dungeons onto your town. The atla may be something like a shop, house, or even something as simple as a tree or pond, or even a new NPC. As you continue to add Atla, and continue to talk to the NPC’s you will learn more about what they want you to build in their cities. Once you reach a certain level within that city, you can move on to create additional cities as well.
The game is also unique in how characters level up. In fact, your characters never level up at all. Only their equipment levels up as you battle your way through the dungeons. However, the weapons also break if not repaired between uses. Once a weapon breaks it is lost forever. Weapons can also be upgraded by attaching different effects to the weapon which can give it bonuses such as agility, strength, or elemental properties. Although it can be aggravating at times (to lose a really powerful weapon), I really enjoyed this weapon system and felt that it really added something to the gameplay to differentiate it from all the other Action RPGs of the 90s/early 2k.
The dungeon crawling aspects can get dull at times – but I feel it’s spiced up enough with plenty of other gameplay elements to keep it from getting overly repetitive. There’s just so many other fun things to do in this game.
Story: 5/10 Unfortunately, story is what misses the mark for me in this game. I just felt it was a little too slowly paced and that both the story and the characters felt bland and not very engaging. The story tells of a time when 2 continents existed peacefully governed by two moons. One day a Dark Cloud appeared over one of the lands (hence the title of the game). Anything touched by this cloud was destroyed (Sounds very Never Ending Story-ish with the Nothing destroying entire cities, erasing people, creatures, forests, etc – Unfortunately, Never Ending Story was actually exciting and interesting, while the same can’t really be said of Dark Cloud). To protect the people and places of the land, a benevolent fairy king sealed each of them away in a magic orb known as Atla. The Main character appears when his village is destroyed by the Dark Cloud. He encounters the fairy king who tells him how he can rebuild the world but that he must first find the orbs which have been scattered throughout the continent. While the bare bones for an interesting story are in place, it just doesn’t really captivate or connect with the audience.
Characters: 7/10 The physical design and appearance of the characters is quite cute and unique (aside from the main character who looks way too much like Link lol). But their personalities and interactions often feel like an empty shell. The characters include a cat who is stuck inside one of the dungeons that the Main Character encounters. She is rescued by the main character and taken by to the city where she is transformed into a human-like girl with cat ears and tail. Another interesting character is a robotics engineer who wears almost like a hazmat suit that’s very form fitting. He’s unique because he has large rabbit like ears and appears to have a custom suit built to take into account his large pointy ears. – So the concepts and creativity for the character design definitely gets high marks, but the dialog and interaction between them, not so much.
Graphics: 6/10 I take issue with how grainy the textures are in this game. However, I like the overall character design and game world. Dark Cloud 2 features a much cleaner (and cuter) art style.
Music: 7/10 I feel that the music just isn’t anything special overall. It’s not very memorable. Dark Cloud 2 has great music, Dark Cloud 1, on the other hand, is average to good, but falls just short of greatness. It’s also only half the size of the soundtrack in terms of number of tracks as compared to Dark Cloud 2.
Replay Value: 6/10 Although it’s a linear story, the world and city building aspects make it interesting enough to come back to.
Concept: 10/10 Breath of Fire II is another one of my all-time favorite games. I loved the cute and colorful graphics, interesting characters who are mostly anthromorphic or furrie in nature, and especially enjoyed the city building aspects of the game. It also had a very touching story; and one that was quite bold and unprecedented especially for a western release at that time as it takes a very negative view of religion. Combat is typical 90s RPG turnbased style and there are random encounters every few steps with unseen enemies. While this style of gameplay is dated today, it was pretty standard fare back in the early-mid 90s.
Gameplay: 8/10 There are numerous characters to recruit, while not as numerous, as say, Suikoden, it still offered a half dozen or more playable characters who could join your party, each with unique skills and abilities. You had a max party size of 4, but could freely rotate characters in and out of your group. As mentioned above, aside from the ability to build your own town, including choosing colors and styles of buildings, and selecting who to move into your city, aside from that aspect, it’s very typical of gameplay found in other 90s era RPGs, especially in terms of combat. While it doesn’t innovate, it’s definitely a tried and true gameplay mechanic with millions of fans of these games. Some people may find the gameplay a bit tedious if not used to games from this era. Combat is fun though since you have many different abilities to choose from with each character, and how many other games are there where you actually become a dragon :).
Story: 10/10 The story of Breath of Fire II follows a young boy, Ryu, who returns home from an adventure one day to find his family missing and other townsfolk acting oddly. It’s as if Ryu’s family, and Ryu himself, have never existed. No one has any memory of them and Ryu finds himself all alone in the world. He is taken in by a priest and meets another orphan dog-like boy named Bow. The two decide to escape the foster home together and flee for the city where they plan to live as Mercenaries for Hire. While taking an assignment from the palace, Bow is accused of being a thief. And thus Ryu’s adventures begin in an effort to track down the real thief and help clear Bow’s name. The journey begins with our cast of characters as light-hearted “scamp” precocious like children, and then it evolves into a very mature mystery as we witness the characters’ growth throughout their journey and we learn more about the evil demons and possessed citizens who have fallen victim to a false religion. We also learn what happened to Ryu’s parents.
Characters: 10/10 Throughout the journey, you meet many people who are possessed by a strange power. You also encounter dragons, beasts, demons, and learn that Ryu is in fact the last remaining member of the dragon clan with a latent ability to transform himself into a dragon and kick some ass in combat. You encounter a full cast of interesting, unique, non-human like comrades who will join your party, including Nina, a winged woman; a tiger girl named Katt; a bull or horse like character named Rand; Sten, a monkey like creature; Jean the frog; Spar, a plant like creature; and Bleu the Naga serpentine like creature. I really enjoyed such a unique character lineup. I also feel there’s significant character depth. While the game largely is light hearted and suitable for all ages, there’s some touching and even “heavy” moments such as the scene with Nina’s sister (if you’ve played the game, then you know the one). I found the entire cast to be likable and found myself caring for them and responding to their emotions.
Graphics: 8/10 The graphics are extremely colorful in this game, more so than other rpgs released around the same time such as phantasy star, final fantasy, illusion of gaia, and etc. The character designs are out of this world and unique (though admittedly, Jean does remind me of Frog from chrono trigger with the cape design and everything being very similar). The special effects in combat were also exciting and fit well with the expectations of one who can shape shift into a big bad dragon. However, clearly, the game is old, and its graphics don’t stand up to today’s standards. Also unlike other games of its time such as Lunar, Popful Mail, Vay, Y’s, etc It suffers from a lack of cinematic scenes which could have really brought this game to life. I’m assuming it’s because it was a cartridge based game and had to make due with less space than other games of its time, but I think it would have been awesome with some anime cutscenes.
Music: 5/10 The music didn’t really make any lasting impressions on me. It’s been about 3 years since my last playthrough; and I can’t really recall any particular tracks. I am sure the music was “good” but when I compare it to say Lunar, Chrono Trigger, or Final Fantasy 6… It just doesn’t “stand the test of time”. While other 90s RPGs have such “iconic” music that I can still almost “hear” in my head years after last playing them; Breath of Fire 2’s music just falls by the wayside.
Replay value: 4/10 The game is linear in terms of story, like so many 90s JRPGs were back then. But I still find myself replaying it, not necessarily for story or branching plot or anything of that nature, but instead, simply because, it’s a very enjoyable game with unique and lovable characters. It also offers a little bit of variety with its city building aspects.