Sekai Project Visual Novels Featured in New Humble Bundle

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.

https://www.humblebundle.com/sekai-project-bundle

Pay just $1 to receive:

Fault Milestone 2
KaraKara
NekoPara Vol 0
Ame no Marginal – Rain Marginal

Beat the average (currently $10.16) to receive:

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.

If you’re interested in grabbing this bundle for yourself, check out https://www.humblebundle.com/sekai-project-bundle.

Sekai Project Visual Novels Featured in New Humble Bundle was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Lady Popular – Review of Fashion Runway Dressup Game

Title: Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Genre: Dressup Game

Developer: XS Software

Price: Free to Play with Optional In-Game Purchases

Where to Playhttp://www.ladypopular.com

Lady Popular Play Now

Have you ever wanted to be a Top Model and walk down the catwalk in a Fashion Showdown between other beautiful and successful girls? Here’s your chance to be the best model, in XS Software’s Lady Popular Fashion Arena.

You can play this amazing dressup game for free in your web browser without needing to download or install any software. You can register either by email, or by connecting your facebook account.

Overview: 10/10 Lady Popular Fashion Arena has a lot to offer. You start the game by choosing your hair, makeup, skin tone, outfits, and accessories. As you begin to complete quests within the game, you level up and gain access to new activities such as a photo shoot, new shops to explore, pets to dressup, or even find a boyfriend and dress him up too. It also has a dating sim element and wedding planning element. It’s the perfect game for young girls dreaming of falling in love, being beautiful, popular, and having an amazing career.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Gameplay: 8/10 – When you first start the game there will not be much for you to do in the early levels. This can be frustrating, but it does make leveling up and playing every day much more rewarding, as you will gain access to more features that help to mix up the gameplay.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Like most games in the Dressup Game genre, the main gameplay focuses on purchasing new outfits and accessories. To earn in-game currency you will complete your quest log, or face off against other real players in ultimate fashion battles.

In addition to dressing up, you also have to undergo extensive training to learn how to become a Top Model. You can choose from many different courses to improve your scores in Style, Beauty, Creativity, Devotion, Generosity, and Loyalty. All of which affect how popular your model is.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

The user interface and tutorials in the beginning make this a very intuitive game to pick up and play without much of a learning curve. This makes the game great for young girls, even if they’re not experienced playing similar games of this nature.

The extra and unique features that begin to open up as you advance in the game, set Lady Popular apart from many other dressup games that focus only on fashion. As mentioned, Lady Popular also has a dating sim element later in the game and even allows you to plan your own engagement party.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Lady Popular also focuses more on social interaction and encourages you to play with friends, which is different from most dressup games that are more of a solo experience.

A recent update, totally revamped the questing system, making it much more exciting and rewarding to complete your quests which help you advance through the game. Once you begin to advance in the game, the sheer number of shops, outfits, activities, and little touches really hooks you in playing this game each day.

Story: 5/10  There is not much of a story, especially in the early levels. Your imagination becomes the story, and it allows you to choose your own path and determine what type of model you want to be.

Characters: 7/10 The characters in this game are all other models playing the game too. You can interact with your friends in real time, and compete against other players. On the downside, this also means there’s not much of a “story” behind these characters.

Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Customization: 10/10 The ability to customize everything about your avatar, from her hair, facial features, makeup, outfits, room, and the ability to customize pets and boyfriends, and then even customize your wedding and engagement, make this game a perfect 10 for customization options. You can be a cute, preppy, classic beauty, or rock out an alternative look with bright pink or blue colored hair or anything in between.

Graphics: 10/10 Lady Popular is a very brightly colored and attractive looking 2D game. The interface is intuitive, and the sheer number of clothes, accessories, and dressup items, make this game super cute.

 

Music: 5/10: Honestly, I usually play games like this on mute, or while watching tv or playing other games. If you’re playing with music on, like with most games of this nature, the music is fine, but nothing extraordinary, and due to the repetitive daily gameplay, the music can get annoying after you’ve heard it over and over again.

Replay Value: 10/10 What makes Lady Popular so much fun is the ability to interact with or against other players, as well as the mini games and other activities which open up later as you level up. To really appreciate this game you need to slog through the first few levels to get to the good parts. After that, you will be hooked by the number of things to do, and millions of different ways to customize your model and shape her life.

Lady Popular Play Now

Lady Popular – Review of Fashion Runway Dressup Game was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates?

By now you’ve already heard that Fire Emblem Fates is getting censored for it’s American release due to suggestive themes such as Gay Conversion, Rape, and Heavy Petting. The Petting feature is the latest in a long list of features and scenes to be removed for a Western release later next month. Nintendo of America stands by their decision to cut such items, stating that it was necessary to do so for localization.

Regardless on where you stand on this issue, my question is, will this significantly impact your decision to purchase this game? The fan translation begun nearly a year ago and from what I understand, the translation is complete and available (with a little effort and searching and digging) for those who seek to play the game as the creators intended, without censorship. How you go about getting said fan translation – I will leave that to your imagination. You could for example, support the game creators by buying the original Japanese language Nintendo cartridge for your 3DS and patching it with the translation — or you could use less ethical means which I won’t discuss here, and never indicated that I support. – It’s not just as simple as buying the English version and applying the patch to that version to restore the lost content, as the patch will only work on the Japanese version. However, if you choose to import the Japanese version you may be locked out of DLC content available only in the Eshop.

So you’re missing out either way. In the end, if you really like the franchise and wish to support Nintendo you could even buy both versions of the game. But ultimately, for most western gamers, the changes are small enough that they likely won’t be missed. Still for a small but vocal group of core fans, or Otaku (anime obsessed fans – such as myself) these changes are enough to be upset over. Many Otaku buy Fire Emblem solely because of the relationship aspects which differentiate the series from the slew of other strategy games available. By censoring and “Westernizing” the series, Nintendo runs the risk of deterring the fans who would want to buy such a game in the first place. Perhaps they are not satisfied with such a small market share and strategically removing the content to make it “less” Japanese and more appealing to “mainstream” gamers.

While I will miss the Skinship, I will probably still buy the western release. I don’t feel it’s enough of a significant change to boycott the series or Nintendo over. I am disappointed by Nintendo’s decision and wonder if anything will be added in replace of the Petting minigame, such as perhaps talking to, or giving gifts to your comrades, etc, as the Petting game offered bonuses and made a significant difference in the upcoming battles. It will be a shame to lose those stat bonuses just because of some controversial undertones within the minigame.

Skinship (or Petting as all of the media outlets are calling it) is not a new concept, not if you’re familiar with dating sim games – and Fire Emblem definitely has a strong Dating Sim component tied into each game. Skinship exists in other games in this genre – While the mainstream media outlets are loving to compare it to Pokemon Amie (possibly because it’s one of the only examples of Skinship in a Western Release) – and saying that it would be “creepy” or “odd” to pet a “human” character – this is nothing new for these types of games despite how “weird” or “sexualized” the media is portraying this mini game to be. For example, Tokimeki Memorial also has a Skinship feature, as does Ensemble Stars both are Otome Dating Sim games. Princess Maker 4 also comes to mind as having Skinship. The problem is, none of these games ever got “localized” – perhaps the Skinship feature is partly to blame as America is so up tight about anything with even a hint of sexuality – Meanwhile it’s fine for their kids to play games with blood, gore, violence, or foul language, but if anything is even slightly perverse, it riles up a frenzy in the media.

As other media outlets have pointed out, Nintendo’s entire marketing strategy has been on providing family entertainment for small children. While Fire Emblem is likely to be rated T for Teen, that won’t stop parents from buying it for their young kids anyways. So I do understand just why Nintendo has made so many changes. I may not like it, but I get it, it’s all about business at the end of the day and Nintendo’s business is all about very small children.

I am pretty concerned for what the future will held for SMT X FE #, another Nintendo release in the Fire Emblem franchise. While Atlus is focusing on the localization of that title, it’s even more “Japanese” than Fire Emblem Fates since SMT X FE # deals with the Idol Singing Subculture that proliferates Japanese pop culture. I worry that Nintendo of America may “Strong-arm” Atlus into making changes which will dumb down all the “Otaku Pandering” elements from the final release.

In case you haven’t heard news of these recent changes check out some of the major media outlets covering the story below for more info.

Fire Emblem Fates‘ Changes: The Censorship Is America’s Fault  iDigitalTimes.comJan 31, 2016

Nintendo Speaks on Fire Emblem Fates Censorship Nintendo EnthusiastJan 22, 2016

And then weigh in with a comment below and let us know which version you’ll be buying, or maybe you won’t be buying any of them. Do you feel Nintendo is making a smart business move to capture more audiences, or hurting themselves by isolating current fans of the Fire Emblem franchise?

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates? was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Growlanser Generations: Growlanser II and Growlanser III Review

Hang tight; things are going to get confusing if you’ve never heard of this series before. Growlanser Generations is the name of an American version of Growlanser II and III (that’s the one I’m reviewing below). BUT Growlanser Generations is the name of a Japanese game in the same game series, which is Growlanser V (and this game was also released in America as Growlanser Heritage of War, but I hate (or at least strongly dislike) that one, so I’m not reviewing it (at least not right now).

So Keep in mind, this is a review of Growlanser II and Growlanser III (Generations NA). And it is NOT a review of Growlanser V (Generations JP) Got it? Good :)

Title: Growlanser Generations

Publisher: Working Designs

Release Date: 2004

Platform: PS2

Genre: Strategy RPG with Dating Sim Elements

Where to buy: Amazon has a few available ranging in price from $65 to $95 depending on quality and deluxe or standard editions. You can browse whats available on this page here: http://www.amazon.com/Growlanser…

Geeky: 3/5 

Sweetie: 5/5 

Overall: 71/90 79% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 7/10 Though packaged in America as a single game, this is originally two separate games (though from the same series) in Japan. Growlanser I was never released in America, which puts us at a disadvantage because Growlanser II’s story takes place at the same time as, and has the same characters as, Growlanser I. It is basically letting you play as the opponent’s army  from the first game, to draw sympathy and give you another look at the war from a different view point. But since we never got Growlanser I in America (I’m sure Working Designs would have if they could, but this game actually was one of their last games and probably partly responsible for the ultimate demise of the company – selling two games, for the price of one, at the expense of double the staff hours, wages, localization fees, etc.) — Anyways, since we never got the first game, Growlanser II is mostly a stand alone story for English speaking players – and I felt its story, while good, was weaker than III – which is intended to be a new stand alone story – because Growlanser II is supposed to be enjoyed with Growlanser I.

Anyways, beyond that, they are both real-time strategy rpgs with a high amount of freedom and player choice and consequence. Choices matter, and there’s a branching plot, mostly focused around who you date in the game. There’s multiple endings and of course the data from one game to the next can be carried over from game to game.

Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay in these two games features real-time (as opposed to turn-based) strategy rpg battles which sometimes have you trying to reach the edge of the map to “escape” or sometimes destroy all enemies on the map, or sometimes must protect an NPC from being killed. Growlanser III expands on the gameplay of II by allowing you to freely move around the overworld instead of just choosing points on a map. However, Growlanser III cuts the active party members in half from 8 in Growlanser II to just 4 in Growlanser III. Growlanser III also raises the encounter rate significantly from that of II and introduces proceduraly generated dungeons which are sometimes rather hit or miss in their design.

Upon gaining a level you can spend attribute points to customize your party members to your liking, which is just another testament to the freedom of choice these games provide. Also as you level up your equipment, you can unlock new spells and abilities that are tied to the equipment, making the equipment a key focus of your battle strategy. You can team up with party members to unleash joint spells and abilities and you are also free to move around the map, not stuck using a grid based system in other Japanese strategy games such as tactics ogre and final fantasy tactics.

Because the game has a branching plot and multiple endings, there are some things which may happen in battle which would typically be a gameover in most games, but in this case, the game goes on (not always, haha sometimes it REALLY IS a gameover lol.) – Sometimes though this can throw you off the route you want in the game so save often and make use of multiple save files.

Outside of battle there is not much to do in this game (aside from talking to your comrades which can influence the storyline which is a big draw to this series) — That is changed years later with Growlanser Wayfayer of Time on PSP which introduces city building and “pet” raising elements to the game series. (But that’s a review for another day (maybe soon).)

That’s not to say that all you do is hack and slash your way through Growlanser Generations either. Both games feature a huge branching storyline with several secret hidden side quests and dialog scenes which unless you take time to back track to previous locations and explore the map fully, are very easy to overlook. If you enjoy exploring  every nook and cranny of every location, you’ll really enjoy the huge worlds and the fact that this game does not hold your hand or force you down any “correct” path as it’s very non-linear. However, there are some gamers, who may find all this back tracking and side questing to be tedious.

Storyline: 10/10 Both games have a very emotional and action packed story which is fueled by the theme of war and focuses strongly on character backstory and development. They take place in a fantasy setting, however; it is draped around a very modern and realistic atmosphere that makes the characters and story feel quite engaging and believable. Mostly, what I enjoyed about these stories is the overarching theme of betrayal, trust, sadness, and pain that are told through the events and actions that happen in each game. As mentioned above, Growlanser II definitely has the weaker story, because in America, we only experience “one half” of the “game” (although it is in fact 2 games in Japan too, Growlanser II is a “direct sequel” – and not only takes place “after” but also concurrently during the first game. So I can’t deduct points here, because it’s no fault of the game that we only have “half” the story here.) Overall, the story becomes very emotional and the sheer volume of the game world itself and lore added into every nook and cranny and dialog options and extra scenes really help bring these games to life.

Characters: 8/10 Growlanser II is packed full of dozens and dozens of interesting characters. Like most branching plot games, some character routes are more well developed than others. Growlanser III significantly cuts back on the number of characters, BUT in exchange, they devote the time to writing a very interesting and well developed story around those characters. As I’ve said a few times, III is definitely the more story-focused of the two games in this collection, and that also shows through character development and interaction – not that it was terrible in II either, but III just really digs into it more. 12 years later I still deeply remember the story and characters of Growlanser III – while I only sorta vaguely recall some of the characters of Growlanser II.

Graphics: 7/10 While the character portraits themselves are LOVELY and very appealing, especially I think to females, as they’re rather “Shoujo” in nature, the battle effects, background environments, and other artistic elements are very underwhelming, even for a PS2 game.

Music: 5/10 – It’s been awhile since I’ve played, but I can’t recall having a strong opinion of either like, or dislike, for the music in these games. I’ll update this the next time I play :)

Voice Acting: 8/10 Working Designs is always pretty good with their localizations – of course they westernize things and take some pretty big liberties with their translations (which some fans criticize them for) but for me, I’ve always enjoyed their sense of humor and found it often times make a dry script more engaging – not that I think Growlanser is dry by any means, but it’s always fun to see Working Design’s little touches. That said, the cast is very good, reusing many actors from previous Working Designs titles (such as Lunar and Vay). So if you enjoy the voice acting in those games, you’ll enjoy it in Growlanser as well. Each game has probably about 2 or 3 hours of voice over content – which isn’t much when each game probably spans hundreds of hours through multiple story lines and endings. But hey, there are games from early 2k that don’t have any voice overs at all, so can’t complain much. I would’ve liked the option left in for Japanese voices as well but I understand those are expensive with licensing fees and Working designs was such a small little studio. I appreciate all the love and care they always put into their games and I feel out of all the 90s Dubs out there, Working Designs were some of the best!

Replay Value: 10/10 Both games feature Multiple endings, though the differences to these endings are definitely more distinctive in Growlanser II as opposed to III. There’s also tons of hidden side quests and dialog options which will require multiple playthroughs to experience everything these games have to offer. Between both games, you’ll probably spend hundreds of hours to get 100%. I’d wager it’s about 35-40 hours per single play through.

Overall: 71/90 79% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Growlanser Generations: Growlanser II and Growlanser III Review 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

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review

I was asked by a reader that I met on crunchyroll’s forums today if I would please review the School Days visual novel, from which the popular yandere anime is based. I actually picked this game up a few months ago in Groupee’s Visual Novel 2 Bundle sale. And I’m glad I did.

Now before we go on, this is an adult game, or hentai game as they call it. I won’t be putting any adult screenshots or going into too much detail about these scenes. There is a lot of REAL story elements and it’s more than just all about sex, but you should know that there is still a fair amount of Hentai in this game.

With that out of the way, the single coolest thing is that unlike visual novels that you click and read, Playing School Days is more like watching an anime. You only have precious few seconds to make a decision when prompted to do so or the story makes one for you lol.

Everything is animated, everything moves, everything’s fully voiced (in Japanese with English subtitles of course), and all of this creates a game in which everything feels so alive. And everything is happening in real time. That’s my favorite thing about School Days.

It’s even presented like an anime, divided into chapters (don’t worry all included in one game) that are separated by opening and ending theme songs and credits rolling. The opening changes too depending on whose route you’re on at the time. A nice touch to help further create the illusion that you’re watching an anime, instead of playing a game.

With the initial thoughts out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the mechanics of the game below:

Title: School Days

Genre: Visual Novel

Developer: 0verflow

Publisher: Jast USA

Platform: PC (there’s many console versions too but none of them were released in English)

Where to Buy: JAST USA

Geeky:

Sweetie:

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

Concept 10/10: School Days is a fully animated “real time” experience which is quite different from most Visual Novel styled games. While watching the game, you’ll be presented brief, but numerous, choices, which will impact the game in a huge number of ways.

School Days has such a widely branching plot that there are still scenes I have not seen despite getting 2 good endings; and at least 1 or 2 more good endings that I know of. I first got the Christmas Eve Kotonoha ending and then got the Ending for Sekai in which she brings me Pastries.

I actually just looked it up; and there’s a total of 20 different endings; and apparently 2 more dateable girls – I thought you could only date Sekai or Kotonoha – but you can also apparently date Hikari and Setsuna as well. Which means I need to play more lol.

There’s also Harem endings and even an Otome ending (not sure what that is? Typically an Otome game is where you date guys (but you usually play a girl) Maybe it’s a Yaoi or Boy’s Love ending since you always play as Makoto.)

Despite how the anime ends – the game is not that hard, at all. All you need to do is treat the girl you like well and sometimes that means being cruel or mean to the other girls. I did not reach a bad end on either of my first play throughs while trying to obtain either Kotonoha or Sekai. And out of the 20 endings, only 3 of them are “bad endings”

Here is some more info about all the endings. NOTE: THIS LINK HAS SPOILERS AND IS NOT RELATED TO MY BLOG. YOU’VE BEEN WARNEDhttp://overflow.wikia.com/wiki/Endings

Gameplay: 10/10 As mentioned a few times above; Everything happens in real time, the game doesn’t even need input from you to move on to the next scene, and sometimes saying nothing at all is a valid, or even correct, choice in the game. Everything is fully animated, fully voiced, and there are hundreds of scenes and 20 endings. You won’t have to watch for too long before you’re being prompted to make another important decision. There’s also a nifty skip feature to skip scenes you’ve already seen.

Story 10/10: The main premise is there’s a girl that you like, but you’ve never confessed to her before. Then one day, a classmate and friend of yours find that you have your crush’s picture on your cellphone. They suggest that since they are a girl, they could talk to them for you and help introduce you. The three of you become best friends, but the girl that helped fix you up is suddenly realizing she has romantic feelings for you too. Your friendships and relationships begin to change as you are forced to decide where your priorities lie.

Characters 10/10: You play the role of Makoto, a shy, quiet young man with a crush on a beautiful stranger which he observes from afar. Your best friend at school is a girl named Sekai who discovers your crush and wants to help you out. At first, Sekai feels it’d be fun, like a game. Her personality is very fun and you feel relaxed and comfortable around her. But you still can’t forget the beautiful girl (Kotonoha) who has now become your girlfriend thanks to Sekai’s intervention. Kotonoha is very reserved. She’s afraid especially of men because she’s been harassed due to her very mature figure. Despite how beautiful she is, you’re her first boyfriend, and she is very distant and hard to get close to. You feel you’re always watching what you say or do so that you don’t upset her; and you begin to wonder if this is really what a relationship is supposed to be like.

I really liked Sekai’s route a lot better than Kotonoha… I feel like Makoto and Kotonoha just don’t have anything in common and are in a purely lustful sexual relationship (at least from Makoto’s standpoint; I think from Kotonoha’s standpoint it’s more just, she’s lonely, and has become dependent on Makoto which she has translated to feelings of love.) Whereas, with Sekai, there’s a lot more tender, emotional scenes, at least with my experience; now I have not played 100%; but I did get 2 of the good endings, so I’ve seen quite a bit. My fave scene is the bonfire festival with Sekai. 🙂

I thought I’d like Kotonoha best; but in the end I’m much more fond of Sekai.

I didn’t realize at time of this review that you could date Hikari and Setsuna – I thought that was only in Shiny Days (a spinoff of School Days). So I can’t comment too much on their characters yet until I play back through it again.

The characters do feel very real though thanks to everything being fully animated; just like watching an anime.

Music: 10/10 I know I keep giving everything 10/10 it’s so unlike me lol. (most of my “favorite” games end up scoring 60-70% and getting a C.) But the Music here is another great point. Since everything plays out like you’re watching an anime, the music, as well as voice acting (scored seperately below) are all really important elements. I love love love the Opening theme. It’s so catchy, that I listened to it every time a new “episode” began.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – Can’t complain here either. It is fully voiced. In fact, if you can understand Japanese you can play without the subtitles on and then it’s even more like watching a movie, which is how it would be in it’s native format for Japanese gamers. The production values are just sky high.

Graphics: 8/10 – Alright I’m going to finally pick on one TEENY TINY thing. The way the eyes, especially the eyelids are drawn/animated really bothers me for some reason. But hell, that’s hardly anything to complain about at all! The whole game is animated. This is huge. Why don’t other visual novels do this? I wish every visual novel was presented this way. It’s so much more dynamic and engaging. But yes, I’m guessing that this is 3d, instead of 2d, although cell shaded to look like anime – there’s a few awkward things (like the eyes) which just don’t look right on the 3d models. Sometimes a hand-drawn art is more lovely. But I don’t mind losing some “finesse” in this case, to be treated to a game that literally plays like an anime series.

Replay Value 10/10: With 20 different endings and different scenes/routes/paths to take to get to said endings, the combinations are almost endless. This is a huge project, where every single replay is truly unique. Where most novels don’t branch until the end, School Days branches right away and continues to twist and turn, as you play each game. There’s also the nice skip feature, which makes subsequent playthroughs much easier. Therefore, there’s really no reason to not want to keep playing to see all the different endings, including the rather iconic “bad endings” as well.

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

(or lets face it, with all the Hentai content, it’s an Excellent game for guys too hehe. But I really do think that girls who are not offended by the large amount of Hentai content will find this to be one of their favorite visual novels)

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Girlish Love Revolution | Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!! | Nintendo DS | Love Revo | Girlish Love Revo | Weight Loss | Anime | Dating Sim | Review | Editorial | English Translation

This review and editorial is for Girlish Love Revo (Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!!), a dating sim, otome, and weight loss management simulation game on the Nintendo DS.

Note: This game has never been released “officially” in English, but it has been fan translated. You can grab the fan translation patch AND the handy walkthru from this site here: https://sites.google.com/site/loverevoguide/translation-project/download They also tell you how to patch your copy of the game.

The game can be purchased from sites like Yes! Asia or Play Asia or occasionally found on Amazon It’s currently only $8 bucks on amazon with 34 copies available, so that’s the one I recommend buying from (at time of this review).

For $8 bucks PLEASE help support the industry and send a message LOUD AND CLEAR that English speaking gamers WANT otome games like this by choosing to BUY the game instead of downloading a rom of it online. (You know, especially since Idea Factory right now IS listening to us American fans and bringing us many of their Otome games, because, this is in fact, also an Idea Factory game too! So chances are good, if they hear us say we want it, they’ll release an official English version.)

Here’s the linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Otometeki-Kakumei-DS-Japan-Import-Nintendo/dp/B0013D98Q0

So the past few days I’ve been playing this game again. I had tried to play the game a few years ago when the fan translation came out. But it kinda offended me. I’m overweight myself. And the message that it sends to young girls just sucks to be honest. The main problem I have is that all of the characters except for one of them, treat the girl (that’s you by the way) like sheer crap. Like she’s less than human. But the main character is so dumb that she wants their love and affection anyways and so she decides to lose weight to impress these assholes. Okay, fine, if you want to lose weight, that’s cool. I want to lose weight too; but you know, for the right reasons, like not getting diabetes, and being able to keep up with more fit friends and family when they want to go outdoors and be active and well to look and feel better for myself. I mean fuck everyone else. My weight has never been an issue for any of the guys I dated, except for one, and he was an abusive asshole and not worth all the time and effort I put into things. BUT enough about me — Let’s get back to discussing Love Revo.

I began again, because, man there’s a lot of people online who LOVE this game…. I think I must be missing something here…. and I kinda was…. I think when I first played it a few years ago I was confused about how large the girl actually was. The measurements are in Kilograms. I’m like what the fuck she’s only 100 lbs. But no, actually she’s 220 lbs because she’s 100 KG when the game starts, about the same or close to my weight, so yeah, my bad. She is obese. (and so am I) And actually… once you get your weight down to 89 KG or less, the guys begin to be nice to you… which is still PRETTY DAMN BIG…. ESPECIALLY… considering the fact that this game is ONLY available for sale in asian markets — 89 KG is 196 lbs…. Which is HUGE for an asian. Now before you get all mad and butthurt, I’m not trying to stereotype (or body shame anyone for that matter), I’m just saying that over there, with body shaming and stuff, and the peer pressure to fit in, o they would typically be a laughing stock at that weight because you know, that’s just how their society rolls over there. That’s all. Everyone is like a size 2. And if you aren’t a size 2, you’re ostracized by your students, peers, and even your family. SOOOOOO On that note…. Well this game isn’t that bad. Hell. 196 lbs is still Obese by a doctor’s definition, even in America, land of the fat. But it’s a lot healthier than 220 lbs. I’d like to lose 30 lbs like that too LOL. So on that note… This game is not REALLY about body shaming, but about just being healthier. But it’s STILL about losing weight for the WRONG reasons. which upsets me. :(

That said, as I continued to play the game, I began to think about losing weight myself. I hate exercise, like most geeky gamer girls probably out there. And I already don’t eat much and eat clean and healthy, lots of veg, etc, so I know for me, the whole obstacle, is I need to exercise dammit. I’m sedentary at work and in my leisure time. Playing this game made me feel like I should start exercising, and that exercising might be fun, and that wow look at her weight drop off, I want to lose weight like that too! I got kinda motivated by it I guess is what I’m trying to say. There are better games out there, that actually you know, help you to burn calories, such as “Walk it Off” or “Dance Dance Revolution” or “Just Dance!”; but still, any game that can make a fat girl want to exercise, has some merit I guess.

There’s also a new recently released, unrelated but similar Otome IOS Iphone Ipad game that helps you work out. I think I might download it (and review it at some point). Which is called, Burn your fat with me girls! which you can grab here for IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/burn-your-fat-me!!-for-girls/id657192163?mt=8 and here for android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.funsolution.nensho_eng&hl=en

Actually the news of the release of the above Otome weight loss IOS app is what prompted me to want to replay Love Revo.

I spent 3 days with Love Revo this week and this is what I discovered:

1.) It’s not as “bad” as I thought in terms of body shaming and making the character “throw herself” at these men.

2.) Not all of the characters are assholes. (Though some of them are and I still don’t like that they only get “nicer” when you lose weight.)

3.) It’s actually really educational and fairly accurate

a. It focuses on weight loss from different core muscle groups such as arms, legs, abs, face, whole body, etc.

b. There are a huge number of different exercises that target the different muscle groups and you get better results by mixing up your workout routine

c. You have to cheat occasionally on your diet, like when going out with guys, or friends and family, food is part of social interaction. Also, when you’re alone, if you’re stressed, you can lower your stress by eating snacks, but if you do this too much, you will gain weight. There are numerous snacks available and you can minimize your weight gain by choosing highly filling foods with lower calories. (Also just like in real life, eating healthy costs more money. Oh and also the food expires and you have to buy new food.) When you do go off your diet by overeating you can correct it by working out harder and eating better the next day(s)

d. You have to keep your studies up and also devote time to developing relationships so you have to be “well rounded” not just “smoking hot”

4.) This game is hard as balls. I have yet, either this time, or years ago, to ever get a guy’s ending!!! I have all of the stats at the right level (circle within a circle in the “dear sister” report and “You make my heart throb” when asking what they think of me… but they have NEVER once asked me out on Christmas OR accepted my Valentines Day chocolate. FOREVER ALONE LOL. I think I failed to go on enough dates with them. But to be fair a lot of times when I asked, they turned me down or were busy, and UNLIKE Tokimeki Memorial, the times they will turn you down are RANDOM in Girlish Love Revolution. Where in Tokimeki you’ll only get turned down if they have club or work and you can memorize their schedules to maximize use of your time. In Girlish Love Revo, if they turn you down it’s just pure coincidence. They recommend that you save before you ask the guy out and reload until he says yes. I’m too lazy to save/reload that often though.

5.) There’s a “good ending” in which you can fail to get any of the guys but just decide that you’re happy with yourself and decide to focus on your career instead of dating. I like this ending because it sorta addresses my main complaint with the game having a rather negative message for young girls.

6.) The game is actually pretty fun. But not as good in terms of story and character development as some other Otome games out there, but perhaps more fun than them in terms of gameplay and variety of things to do within the game.

With my thoughts on this game out of the way, let’s move on to the review!

Title: Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!! (Girlish Love Revolution)

Genre: Otome Stat Raising Sim with Visual Novel and Dating Sim elements

Publisher: Idea Factory

Release Date: January 2006 (Japan only)

Platform: Nintendo DS (It was also later ported to windows PCs but there’s no english translation patch for that version)

Where to Buy$8 bucks on Amazon at time of this review. Click here to Buy on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Otometeki-Kakumei-DS-Japan-Import-Nintendo/dp/B0013D98Q0

Geeky: geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: 

Overall: 53 / 80 66% D. Average Game for Girls.

Concept: 7/10 The concept of the game rubs me the wrong way a bit, as mentioned; most of the guys are assholes and only treat you like an actual human being when you begin to lose weight. However, despite the sort of “bad message” that this sends to girls, this is still an entertaining, fun, and very unique concept with cute anime art and quirky characters. The game is basically a weight loss “simulation”. You have to juggle losing weight with studying, and dating boys, and keep your stress low. It uses realistic workouts which target different muscle groups and offers a large variety of things to do including mini-games, dating the guys, studying, shopping, and working out.

Gameplay 10/10: Gameplay is actually really fun in this game. You can workout at home, or go to the sports center, beauty salon, or buy new equipment to help with your workouts. In addition to working out, you can go play mini games in the arcade to win really helpful premium items and break up some of the gameplay a bit with games like whack a mole and concentration. There are certain events that occur such as sports festivals and field trips or holidays, in which you need to have your stats at a certain amount to trigger certain scenes. And of course, there’s dating. Lots and lots of dating. There are numerous dateable guys (most of which I don’t think I’ve unlocked yet, cuz why are there all these empty apartment rooms?) which means of course, high replay value to get all the different endings. I will say, that I miss the skinship and dressup type of elements found in similar games such as Konami’s Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side series. But I understand this is a different game by a different publisher, Idea Factory, and so I’m not going to deduct any points for that. Plus it makes up for what it lacks by what new elements it brings to the table, such as the weight loss and work outs. :)

Story: 3/10 There just isn’t much story here. To be fair, similar games such as Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side, also don’t have much story. HOWEVER…. TMGS presents the story in a more “compelling” way… The downfall here in Girlish Love Revo is that there’s only one or two “scenes” for each date spot; and not many questions to ask when walking guys home, and only one answer, and no new questions unlock etc as you grow closer to the guys. The events and scenes within the game also seem fewer and far-er in between compared to TMGS. For example, the club scenes, field trips, etc, all feel flat. I had a spirit of 99 in the drama club and they still put me backstage?! Is there even a scene in which I get a role in the play? I dunno, haven’t found it. Doubt that 1 point of spirit would have made a difference. In TMGS by contrast (it’s so hard not to compare because the games are so damn similar), there’s a lot of different scenes and events you can unlock during the festivals and trips. It’s not always “the same every time” like it is in Love Revo. There’s more to discover about each guy in TMGS, and it feels more natural through the conversations, and also, the fact that there’s more dating spots and more questions etc in TMGS. Love Revo gets VERY boring on dates. And as I mentioned above, the fact that if a guy accepts your date or not, is totally random, this also makes it hard to even get dates in the first place, and its ultimately not very rewarding. I still don’t feel like I really know the characters, even though, some things are revealed about them, etc, it just still feels like they’re not very well fleshed out. The story is just lacking. It makes up for it in Gameplay, but I would have liked to have seen more effort go into this with more scenes and more choices on the dates, and an actual schedule that made sense for when the guys worked or had club meetings.

Characters: 3/10 I covered a lot of this above under story, about the guys feeling kinda flat and robotic. There are only 2 or 3 different “scenes” at each date spot and so you hear the same things over, and over, and over. This doesn’t make the characters very likable to me. Also the fact that most of the guys are assholes (which I know I keep saying over and over) is really a huge turn off to me. The only one I liked was Souta-kun. He was nice right from the beginning. I also like Toru and Oniichan who accept me (the playable character) no matter how large she is. Each of the characters do have their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses, from clumsy characters, to elegant “princes”, to athletic stars, to lonely and childlike characters. But none of the characters are terribly original; we’ve seen them all before in other otome games, and in games where they spend more time making the characters feel “alive”.

Graphics: 8/10 I really like the graphics in this game, they are very colorful, and cute. The main character looks like she weighs 500 lbs instead of 220, but well, it’s anime, and anime has a tendency to over exaggerate these sorts of things. There are a number of different graphics that are used while training and studying and they are quite cute, especially when her workouts don’t go quite so well. The guys are cute too. hehe. I will say, for some reason, the character art doesn’t feel as “clean” to me as it should. It feels almost pixelated at times? Or not as detailed as I’d like it to be, especially their faces. However, this is only for the “standees” or “standing character art” not sure what you call it, I call it a “sprite” but I don’t think that’s right. Anyways, the special event scenes, and other artwork, are very nicely detailed which show better character art than the normal “portrait” type art when speaking to the guys in the game. But the sometimes “pixelly” looking artwork is still a distraction when other Otome games also on the Nintendo DS have very crisp “clean” art at all times.

Music: 7/10 I like the soundtrack to this game, especially the ending theme. The other tracks aren’t too memorable, but they do provide some nice background noise when focusing on repetitive tasks such as planning your schedule.

Replay Value 9/10: It lacks any kind of skip function for previously read text, however, like all otome visual novel styled games, the multiple endings and branching plot make replay value very high and rewarding.

Overall: 53 / 80 66% D. Average Game for Girls.

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Girlish Love Revolution | Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!! | Nintendo DS | Love Revo | Girlish Love Revo | Weight Loss | Anime | Dating Sim | Review | Editorial | English Translation was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Review Shira Oka 2nd Chances Indie Visual Novel

Update: It’s been a few weeks without an update to my blog. I’ve been very busy with work, including traveling out of state for work and I haven’t had time lately to write any new reviews. But I’m back. Today I’m reviewing Shira Oka 2nd Chances. I played this game last year and really enjoyed it. Let’s take a look at it together below!

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Title: Shira Oka 2nd Chances

Publisher: Okashi Studios

Genre: Visual Novel with Dating Sim and Stat Raising Elements

Platform: PC

Where to Buy: http://www.okashistudios.com/

Geeky: geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: 

Overall: 62/80 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Story: 10/10 Note: One really cool thing about this game is all the stuff it teaches you about Japan there’s even a library where you can read about the different cultural terms that you encounter. It explains many of the holidays, traditions, beliefs, and cultural issues in the game. I thought this was really cool. It adds educational value to the game for younger players, or for anyone who wants to learn about Japan.

The story begins by showing that you have wasted your life and have amounted to nothing. Then an angel appears to you in a dream, a nightmare, you’re trapped in hell, but when you wake up, this angel is real and standing in your bedroom. She explains that you are being given a 2nd chance to make up for your mistakes in life. She says you’re being sent back to highschool and must help the other students in order to escape your miserable fate. Some of the students are deeply troubled while others are merely trying to follow their dreams. But whatever they’re going through, they need your help. The story is told through multiple play throughs where by you select a different student to help each time. After helping all of the students, you will unlock Kasumi’s route. If you try to get onto Kasumi’s route before completing the others, you will always reach a bad end – something I learned the hard way, and only discovered when I contacted the company for support. Which is a shame because Kasumi is my favorite character :) Most of the routes and characters are really refreshing, with both touching moments, and comedy thrown in as well. The only route I really didn’t care for was Aya’s.

Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay combines both visual novel and stat raising gameplay. You attend highschool and as your stats increase, there are new events and opportunities to get closer to the other students. You may find you fail at certain events in the beginning but are able to overcome them on subsequent playthroughs. You can also consult the angel or call a student on the phone to get tips on what you should do next if you ever get stuck. Calling the girls, taking them out on dates, or correctly responding to the dialogue choices through the game will determine which character’s route you “get on”. If you don’t get on any route you’ll be sent back to the beginning to try and try again.

The only thing I will criticize is lack of a skip function. That drove me completely mad. I don’t know if the game has since been patched to include one or not. But really being able to skip seen text is a MUST in these types of games arghhh……. and “Auto Play” is not the same as skip, because its still at a slow pace.

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Now with the bad out of the way, let’s talk about the good, because there’s a TON of good going on in the gameplay. Things that make Shira Oka truly unique in the industry of visual novels. It’s almost ALWAYS a different game every time you play. There’s hundreds of random events which may or may not happen on a play through. I was in my 10th or even later play through before I saw certain events. Also new classes and subjects to train will open up as you advance.

Even if you get a bad ending (or a good ending for that matter), it’s not game over; you’re sent back with your enhanced stats and new dialogue choices open up, and it’s just a really refreshing and unique experience. It makes multiple play throughs amazingly fun.

There are tons of opportunities for player choice and interaction. It’s a very engaging visual novel. You don’t have to read too much before reaching another opportunity to interact which I really love about this game.

I’m deducting 2 points for the lack of a skip function. If it had that, It’d be a flawless 10/10 experience.

Characters: 10/10 I loved most of the characters in this novel. My favorite is poor Kasumi. After that, probably Yui. I also really liked Alice and Naoko. I can’t really get too much into describing the characters without spoiling too much of the game. Here is a VERY brief rundown.

Alice is a foreign exchange student who loves music.

Naoko is a very mature motherly figure who takes care of her little brother while her parents are working overseas. She loves to cook.

Aya is an obnoxious brat who loves anime and has a carefree outlook on life.

Rena is alot like the harry potter character, luna lovegood. She is very kind, quiet, and kinda strange. She loves the occult, and is very superstitious.

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Suzu is a strange young girl who loves building and repairing things and running experiments

Kazuki is Naoko’s little brother and Suzu’s best friend. He has trouble making friends and is rather shy.

Hiroshi is a guy in your class that all the girls love and guys envy. He is both a friend and rival for you throughout the game. He’s also Rena’s brother.

Yui is a very sad and lonely girl without many friends. She gets very nervous talking to anyone so she avoids most of the other students. She loves flowers and cute things such as stuffed animals.

Kiku is an exemplary student with high grades, perfect manners, and active in many different clubs and sports. She’s a popular girl, but she also suffers from pressure and the high expectations that everyone puts on her.

Graphics: 6/10 – Let’s be real, the graphics are not great. This is an American made visual novel and it shows. American’s can “imitate” anime artwork, but they can’t quite get it right. However, the art work is charming in it’s own way. There are different sprites for different expressions and events. There are also a fairly large number of CG events with more detailed artwork. The art and background environments are brightly colored and the chibi sprites when training look cute and seem to take inspiration from games such as Tokimeki Memorial.

Voice Acting: 2/10 – This is my main complaint with this game; my god…. the voice acting is beyond annoying. It is truly truly awful. Horrendous….. It grates on my nerves so much that I almost wish it had no voice acting at all. I do give it 2 points because there are some vocal songs that are pretty. But nearly every single character’s speaking voice is cringe worthy.

Music: 10/10 The music in Shira Oka is really pretty and each of the characters sing their own song and the opening theme is catchy too. I enjoyed the sound track to this game quite a bit.

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Replay Value: 10/10 You have to play all routes to unlock Kasumi’s route. The way the game sends you back with your stats in tact and the way the random events unfold and new activities appear on multiple playthroughs makes replaying this game a blast. The only small flaw is the lack of ability to skip previously read text. Which does admittedly get annoying. However, the fun things on each play through make this game worth playing over and over. You will see new things almost every time even if you’ve played the game a dozen or more times already. I think that’s really unique. I’ve not seen another novel that does that.

Overall: 62/80 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Review Shira Oka 2nd Chances Indie Visual Novel was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Review Shira Oka 2nd Chances Indie Visual Novel

Update: It’s been a few weeks without an update to my blog. I’ve been very busy with work, including traveling out of state for work and I haven’t had time lately to write any new reviews. But I’m back. Today I’m reviewing Shira Oka 2nd Chances. I played this game last year and really enjoyed it. Let’s take a look at it together below!

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Title: Shira Oka 2nd Chances

Publisher: Okashi Studios

Genre: Visual Novel with Dating Sim and Stat Raising Elements

Platform: PC

Where to Buy: http://www.okashistudios.com/

Geeky: geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: 

Overall: 62/80 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Story: 10/10 Note: One really cool thing about this game is all the stuff it teaches you about Japan; there’s even a library where you can read about the different cultural terms that you encounter. It explains many of the holidays, traditions, beliefs, and cultural issues in the game. I thought this was really cool. It adds educational value to the game for younger players, or for anyone who wants to learn about Japan.

The story begins by showing that you have wasted your life and have amounted to nothing. Then an angel appears to you in a dream, a nightmare, you’re trapped in hell, but when you wake up, this angel is real and standing in your bedroom. She explains that you are being given a 2nd chance to make up for your mistakes in life. She says you’re being sent back to highschool and must help the other students in order to escape your miserable fate. Some of the students are deeply troubled while others are merely trying to follow their dreams. But whatever they’re going through, they need your help. The story is told through multiple play throughs where by you select a different student to help each time. After helping all of the students, you will unlock Kasumi’s route. If you try to get onto Kasumi’s route before completing the others, you will always reach a bad end – something I learned the hard way, and only discovered when I contacted the company for support. Which is a shame because Kasumi is my favorite character :) Most of the routes and characters are really refreshing, with both touching moments, and comedy thrown in as well. The only route I really didn’t care for was Aya’s.

Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay combines both visual novel and stat raising gameplay. You attend highschool and as your stats increase, there are new events and opportunities to get closer to the other students. You may find you fail at certain events in the beginning but are able to overcome them on subsequent playthroughs. You can also consult the angel or call a student on the phone to get tips on what you should do next if you ever get stuck. Calling the girls, taking them out on dates, or correctly responding to the dialogue choices through the game will determine which character’s route you “get on”. If you don’t get on any route you’ll be sent back to the beginning to try and try again.

The only thing I will criticize is lack of a skip function. That drove me completely mad. I don’t know if the game has since been patched to include one or not. But really being able to skip seen text is a MUST in these types of games arghhh……. and “Auto Play” is not the same as skip, because its still at a slow pace.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js // < ![CDATA[
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Now with the bad out of the way, let’s talk about the good, because there’s a TON of good going on in the gameplay. Things that make Shira Oka truly unique in the industry of visual novels. It’s almost ALWAYS a different game every time you play. There’s hundreds of random events which may or may not happen on a play through. I was in my 10th or even later play through before I saw certain events. Also new classes and subjects to train will open up as you advance.

Even if you get a bad ending (or a good ending for that matter), it’s not game over; you’re sent back with your enhanced stats and new dialogue choices open up, and it’s just a really refreshing and unique experience. It makes multiple play throughs amazingly fun.

There are tons of opportunities for player choice and interaction. It’s a very engaging visual novel. You don’t have to read too much before reaching another opportunity to interact which I really love about this game.

I’m deducting 2 points for the lack of a skip function. If it had that, It’d be a flawless 10/10 experience.

Characters: 10/10 I loved most of the characters in this novel. My favorite is poor Kasumi. After that, probably Yui. I also really liked Alice and Naoko. I can’t really get too much into describing the characters without spoiling too much of the game. Here is a VERY brief rundown.

Alice is a foreign exchange student who loves music.

Naoko is a very mature motherly figure who takes care of her little brother while her parents are working overseas. She loves to cook.

Aya is an obnoxious brat who loves anime and has a carefree outlook on life.

Rena is alot like the harry potter character, luna lovegood. She is very kind, quiet, and kinda strange. She loves the occult, and is very superstitious.

KB-728x90_pink

Suzu is a strange young girl who loves building and repairing things and running experiments

Kazuki is Naoko’s little brother and Suzu’s best friend. He has trouble making friends and is rather shy.

Hiroshi is a guy in your class that all the girls love and guys envy. He is both a friend and rival for you throughout the game. He’s also Rena’s brother.

Yui is a very sad and lonely girl without many friends. She gets very nervous talking to anyone so she avoids most of the other students. She loves flowers and cute things such as stuffed animals.

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Kiku is an exemplary student with high grades, perfect manners, and active in many different clubs and sports. She’s a popular girl, but she also suffers from pressure and the high expectations that everyone puts on her.

Graphics: 6/10 – Let’s be real, the graphics are not great. This is an American made visual novel and it shows. Americans can “imitate” anime artwork, but they can’t quite get it right. However, the artwork is charming in it’s own way. There are different sprites for different expressions and events. There are also a fairly large number of CG events with more detailed artwork. The art and background environments are brightly colored and the chibi sprites when training look cute and seem to take inspiration from games such as Tokimeki Memorial.

Voice Acting: 2/10 – This is my main complaint with this game; my god…. the voice acting is beyond annoying. It is truly, truly awful. Horrendous….. It grates on my nerves so much that I almost wish it had no voice acting at all. I do give it 2 points because there are some vocal songs that are pretty. But nearly every single character’s speaking voice is cringe worthy.

Music: 10/10 The music in Shira Oka is really pretty and each of the characters sing their own song and the opening theme is catchy too. I enjoyed the sound track to this game quite a bit.

Replay Value: 10/10 You have to play all routes to unlock Kasumi’s route. The way the game sends you back with your stats in tact and the way the random events unfold and new activities appear on multiple playthroughs makes replaying this game a blast. The only small flaw is the lack of ability to skip previously read text. Which does admittedly get annoying. However, the fun things on each play through make this game worth playing over and over. You will see new things almost every time even if you’ve played the game a dozen or more times already. I think that’s really unique. I’ve not seen another novel that does that.

Overall: 62/80 78% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Review Shira Oka 2nd Chances Indie Visual Novel was originally published on Geeky Sweetie