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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Princess Maker 2

Publisher: Gainax

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

Release Date: 1993 Japan Only

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

Geeky: 1 star 

Sweetie: 5 hearts 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tree of Savior Closed Beta First Impressions Archer vs Wizard Levels 1 through 20

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get into Tree of Savior Closed Beta, thanks to a very nice giveaway at treeofsaviorgame.com – Thank you guys so much for the beta key. I will upload some videos soon <3. Although Closed Beta Phase 2 is ending in just a few days, my time with it has been short but enjoyable.

Overall here are a few first impressions of the game itself, then I’ll give some feedback about the early levels of two of the classes that I played.

The game is rather lonely in the early levels – I don’t know if this is because it’s possible to solo then, or because I got into the beta so late and everyone has already formed their little groups. I only had one person “talk” to me, if you could even call it that. I didn’t respond, because I felt it was rude/annoying. He simply typed “Lady” “Lady” “Lady” about 3 or 4 times, each on a different line, within a few seconds of eachother. I don’t know if he wanted to chat, or wanted to tell me to stop attacking “his” mobs. I didn’t even see him on my screen until I took a few steps further, and he came into my view, It wasn’t like I was trying to steal his monsters specifically. I stopped attacking and moved on a little further down the map.

The game is beautiful. If you love retro games, pixel/sprite art, kawaii monsters, and anime styled portraits, this game delivers. I am a former Ragnarok Online player. I played all through Beta, and even continued when it went pay to play until FFXI came out, and then I switched to that game instead. Tree of Savior is highly regarded as a “true” sequel to Ragnarok Online, because fans were so disappointed by RO2. The similarities in art style and creature design are definitely there.

The text is too damn small!!! “RAGEFACE” :( — I literally can not read anything. And there’s no way to adjust it in game!! I’m just playing on a laptop computer 15.6″ monitor set at 1366 X 768 resolution. Playing in fullscreen mode. So I don’t think it’s my resolution or display settings as my laptop is old and there’s many people playing at even higher resolutions. — This is my main complaint with the game.

The server is laggy, at least in the main city. It’s not like unplayable, but I did get disconnected twice, to what I assume was lag, and there is noticeable delay/freezing when navigating in the main city.

Tree of Savior is split up into different channels within different servers, this takes away some of the “massive” out of the MMORPG – It feels empty. I rarely run into other players outside of the main city.

Monsters tend to ignore you unless you attack them in the early levels. This is strange to me, and even if there’s like 30 monsters on a map, and you’re attacking some of the ones nearby, the others will just wiggle around on your screen ignoring you while you slay their friends.

Character customization in the early stages is a bit limited. You can choose hair style, but you cannot choose hair color. Hair colors are unlocked later in the game (through crafting and questing I believe). Once you’ve unlocked a hair color, you can select it at any time. also their faces are not detailed at all, nope. lol. We’re talking like 16 bit Super Nintendo style sprites here. Cute, but when compared to games like Aion, or even Mabinogi, or even the original RO, this game disappoints in character customization. NOTE: there are tons of cute items to equip on your character, which do show up in game, so that’s a plus.

All of the starting zones look relatively the same as one another. (keep in mind, I’m only level 20 and the game goes to level 600+). (and yep that’s not a typo). (not sixty, but six hundred.) Which is cool because, I don’t like end game; the journey is more fun than the destination. And with 600+ levels, I’ll be kept busy for a long time! That’s insane.

Quests and storyline, or lack there of, are not terribly interesting in the early levels. This is true of most MMORPGs though, with only a few exceptions (FFXI and SWOR both come to mind as having a great story).

The game has some unique features that I’ve never seen in other MMORPG, most notably, the Adventurer’s Journal and Ranking System; where you earn not just achievements, but get ranked against other players based on how much you’ve seen / done / explored / killed / quested / etc. It’s different from just a pvp ranking or gear score, etc. It’s an all encompassing record of everything you’ve done in the game. This makes it rewarding to get out there and explore. I love that. It adds a little competitive edge, beyond just rewarding titles, gear, achievements, etc (which it also does reward all those things too). But now you have a way to see how you measure up to everyone else. And if you do make it to the top, everyone else can see how awesome you are.

The music in Tree of Savior is cute and mostly calming/melodic. It’s catchy and fits the kawaii theme of the game perfectly.

With my initial thoughts out of the way… Here’s some experiences I’ve had as a lowly archer and lowly wizard. Once again I’m only level 20ish and If there is a cap, (there may not even be a level cap) the rumor is that it’s level 600+. Therefore my experiences are only “first impression” and in no way am I authoritative as to which class is better etc. I’ve only played up to 3% of each of these class’ full potential so far.

The first character I made was an Archer because pets are cute / awesome, which you don’t get until later. I still don’t have one :(. But Archer itself is pretty fun. Now there’s a lot of discussion with people saying Archer is the lowest DPS and has no AOE attacks. (see for example this post here) (of course there are people that are coming to counter argue the points made too. It’s a pretty good discussion actually.)

I am of the belief that Archer has a lot of benefits over Wizard which was the second character I rolled. The main plus is fast attack. My wizard gets hit and her casting interrupted all the fricken time. I have never died as my archer, but my poor wizard died 3 times going from level 1 to 20. With my archer, I have greater attack range. I can attack while moving (albeit slowly) and I have swift step which lets me race all around the map “kiting” the mobs so they keep the heck away from me lol. With my wizard, she gets surrounded, she can’t run while she’s casting, and my god, her casting time sucks.

The wizard’s cool downs are better though. (I’m not in front of my game right now so forgive me for forgetting skill names) The first fire ball type attack that you learn, you can cast it 3 times before it goes on “cool down” where you must wait to cast it again (VS the Archer’s skills going on cool down each time they’re pressed 1 time). Wizards do have a shield to reflect some of the damage when you get hit (I still died though lol.) and Wizards can sleep and CC mobs left and right.

With Archer, your choices aren’t as many, and you are going to be auto-attacking a lot (due to the cool down of your skills and/or lack of SP). You do have some nice skills though they are VERY SP (spell point) intensive. I burn through mana pots more on my Archer than my wizard. Something is just f–ked up about that! That doesn’t make sense LOL. Alternatively though, I have to spam health pots on my wizard, and my archer almost never gets hit by anything since I kite the mobs around as I attack them.

For me, and my play style, Archer was a lot more fun, and a lot less aggravating than wizard. Wizard is more powerful. Even with me dying three times, I got to level 20 in about half the time that Archer took me. This could be in part since it was my second play through and I was more accustomed to the quest line / chain of progression / controls / game mechanics, etc.

But Wizard felt more annoying. I did not like dying so often. I know wizards are glass cannons in all MMORPG – they would be WAY too over powered if they were anything else! — But just for me, personally, I rather trade the “dps” for some more “durability” and the kiting play style is more “fun” to me than just sitting there spamming my skills, sleeping mobs to keep them away, and hoping to kill them before they reach me (which clearly doesn’t always go in my favor lol).

I just did the advancement quest on my wizard lastnight to go to Pyromancer. I plan to take my Archer on her advancement class quest later tonight. If I’m lucky enough to get to level 40 or 50 before this phase of the closed beta testing ends, I will write up another review. I also really want to check out barbarian who is supposedly really “overpowered” right now, and cleric to a lesser degree (I’ve never really enjoyed healer classes.).

But for me, right now, based on my, all be it VERY limited experiences with both classes, I prefer playing Archer. My view point could change later in the game, but for now, I consider my Archer my “main” and I am enjoying it.

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Tree of Savior Closed Beta First Impressions Archer vs Wizard Levels 1 through 20 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Higurashi Chapter 2 Watanagashi Preorder Now Live. Game Launches Friday the 13th.

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Manga Gamer sent me another email today to let me know that Higurashi Chapter 2 Watanagashi is now accepting Preorders and that the game will be available on Friday, November 13th, 2015 (although their website says the 14th). It costs $7.95, but if you preorder, you can save about 50 cents off that price (not much of a preorder incentive).

Like the original, the new release will also feature exclusive special artwork for the characters that’s only available in this version of the game. You can also play the game in either Japanese or English.

Higurashi is a murder mystery presented through 14 different chapters. It’s also a Kinetic Novel, which means that unlike most visual novels, there is not a branching plot nor multiple endings, and there’s in fact, absolutely no interaction by the player. It’s just a story. A very good story though. So if you like murder mysteries, you might like it!

Since this is chapter 2, you should play chapter 1 first to better enjoy this game. Check out my review of Higurashi Chapter 1 Onikakushi — right here to see if it may be something that you’d like. You can also see the lovely new sprites MangaGamer has developed for this release (and comparisons to the Japanese ones).

You can learn more, and preorder Chapter 2 Watanagashi on Manga Gamer’s Site (and soon also on Steam) at http://www.mangagamer.com/detail.php?goods_type=1&product_code=154

Happy Halloween!

Higurashi Chapter 2 Watanagashi Preorder Now Live. Game Launches Friday the 13th. 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.

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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

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

Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review

Title: Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist

Genre: Visual Novel (with crafting minigame)

Platform: PC

Publisher: Hirameki International

Where to Buy: Sometimes Appears on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Animamundi-Win-Mac/dp/B000EYXDTM or JLIST / JBOX: (no link available) and sometimes available via Playasia: http://www.play-asia.com/animamundi-dark-alchemist/13/701xnb — It’s out of print, and rare, and a highly regarded game so it can be difficult and expensive to find, but I promise you; this one’s worth it!

Release Date: May 31, 2006

Language: English text with Japanese voice acting

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie

Story: 9/10 You play as a young man trying to find a way to save his sister. In the opening of the game, your sister is accused of being a witch and is beheaded and her body burned at the stake; remarkably somehow, her head survives; and her soul/spirit/etc are all in-tact. she’s able to communicate with you, and it’s still your dear sister that you love so much. You hide her head under your cloak and make your way to the palace, where you take on a job as an alchemist, in order to have access to ingredients to perform experiments to create a chimera (a new body) for your sister. However, her head repeatedly rejects all of the transplant attempts. Seeing no other way to save your sister, you head down a dark path, including alchemy, deceit, murder, and intrigue. It’s a very emotionally moving storyline; you’ll feel fear, anger, and sadness right along with the characters. It’s also a fairly unique story for this type of game. The story suffers a couple of typos and some censorship from Hirameki International when it was brought overseas. I deducted 1 point for that; otherwise I’d honestly give this a 10/10 for story; it is a must play if you’re a fan of story rich games. There are a lot of romance options, including several “yaoi” or “boys love” “BL” routes. However; romance is not the main focus of this game; it’s more about horror and death. Where as, most visual novels give romance the center stage, this is a refreshing change of pace and offers something a little more heavy and dark which will keep you up at night thinking about the ethical and emotional questions that are presented within this game.

Gameplay: 8/10  Standard visual novel faire here; you progress through a story, without combat, or much “gameplay” to speak of, by reading and occasionally making choices that determine which parts of the story you will see and ultimately which ending you will reach. If you don’t like this style of game, then this game is not for you obviously. I however, enjoy visual novels, and I find this one to have a nice amount of choices and a plot that branches early on in the game. There are a few mini games along the way which help provide clues as you learn alchemy and uncover more bits of the story. They are pretty simple, but give a nice break from the read and click format of these types of games.

Concept: 10/10 The story is very unique, very dark, very sad, touching, and beautiful. The characters are all interesting, and the minigames are simple but fun. The nature of it being a visual novel, also ensures lots of routes and plot branches which increase the replay value. It’s a very original concept for a visual novel; I’ve not played anything quite like this. It’s executed well and given life by a talented team of voice actors and beautiful anime gothic styled artwork.

Characters: 6/10 The love between the brother and sister and their two characters are very well developed; however, I feel most of the other characters are forgettable and not as well fleshed out as the main characters.

Graphics: 8/10  It has a unique art style, reminds me a bit of Vampire Hunter D. I prefer a more clean / kawaii style; but that obviously would not fit with a game like this which is gothic and dark. The character designs are more european with the longer noses and more stylized lines. The clothing and fashion in the game is very beautiful and reminiscent of the Victorian era. – Loses 2 points for not having anime cut-scenes, but the sprites and backgrounds are still lovely.

Music: 5/10 Nothing special here, it fits the mood of the scene; but I can’t recall any tracks which stood out in my mind. Just “average”

Voice Acting: 10/10 I love the voice acting in this game, I think it really fits the characters and fits the dark mood of the game, they have so much emotion, and really make you feel the characters’ pain and desperation. I really appreciate that they left the Japanese voices in the game, which is what fans of these styles of games want. I wish more companies did this.

Final Scores:

Story: 9/10

Gameplay: 8/10

Concept: 10/10

Characters: 6/10

Graphics: 8/10

Music: 5/10

Voice Acting: 10/10

Geeky: 2/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

 

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Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review

Title: Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist

Genre: Visual Novel (with crafting minigame)

Platform: PC

Publisher: Hirameki International

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Where to Buy: Sometimes Appears on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Animamundi-Win-Mac/dp/B000EYXDTM or JLIST / JBOX: (no link available) and sometimes available via Playasia: http://www.play-asia.com/animamundi-dark-alchemist/13/701xnb — It’s out of print, and rare, and a highly regarded game so it can be difficult and expensive to find, but I promise you; this one’s worth it!

Release Date: May 31, 2006

Language: English text with Japanese voice acting

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie

Story: 9/10 You play as a young man trying to find a way to save his sister. In the opening of the game, your sister is accused of being a witch and is beheaded and her body burned at the stake; remarkably somehow, her head survives; and her soul/spirit/etc are all in-tact. she’s able to communicate with you, and it’s still your dear sister that you love so much. You hide her head under your cloak and make your way to the palace, where you take on a job as an alchemist, in order to have access to ingredients to perform experiments to create a chimera (a new body) for your sister. However, her head repeatedly rejects all of the transplant attempts. Seeing no other way to save your sister, you head down a dark path, including alchemy, deceit, murder, and intrigue. It’s a very emotionally moving storyline; you’ll feel fear, anger, and sadness right along with the characters. It’s also a fairly unique story for this type of game. The story suffers a couple of typos and some censorship from Hirameki International when it was brought overseas. I deducted 1 point for that; otherwise I’d honestly give this a 10/10 for story; it is a must play if you’re a fan of story rich games. There are a lot of romance options, including several “yaoi” or “boys love” “BL” routes. However; romance is not the main focus of this game; it’s more about horror and death. Where as, most visual novels give romance the center stage, this is a refreshing change of pace and offers something a little more heavy and dark which will keep you up at night thinking about the ethical and emotional questions that are presented within this game.

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Gameplay: 8/10  Standard visual novel faire here; you progress through a story, without combat, or much “gameplay” to speak of, by reading and occasionally making choices that determine which parts of the story you will see and ultimately which ending you will reach. If you don’t like this style of game, then this game is not for you obviously. I however, enjoy visual novels, and I find this one to have a nice amount of choices and a plot that branches early on in the game. There are a few mini games along the way which help provide clues as you learn alchemy and uncover more bits of the story. They are pretty simple, but give a nice break from the read and click format of these types of games.

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Concept: 10/10 The story is very unique, very dark, very sad, touching, and beautiful. The characters are all interesting, and the minigames are simple but fun. The nature of it being a visual novel, also ensures lots of routes and plot branches which increase the replay value. It’s a very original concept for a visual novel; I’ve not played anything quite like this. It’s executed well and given life by a talented team of voice actors and beautiful anime gothic styled artwork.

Characters: 6/10 The love between the brother and sister and their two characters are very well developed; however, I feel most of the other characters are forgettable and not as well fleshed out as the main characters.

Graphics: 8/10  It has a unique art style, reminds me a bit of Vampire Hunter D. I prefer a more clean / kawaii style; but that obviously would not fit with a game like this which is gothic and dark. The character designs are more european with the longer noses and more stylized lines. The clothing and fashion in the game is very beautiful and reminiscent of the Victorian era. – Loses 2 points for not having anime cut-scenes, but the sprites and backgrounds are still lovely.

Music: 5/10 Nothing special here, it fits the mood of the scene; but I can’t recall any tracks which stood out in my mind. Just “average”

Voice Acting: 10/10 I love the voice acting in this game, I think it really fits the characters and fits the dark mood of the game, they have so much emotion, and really make you feel the characters’ pain and desperation. I really appreciate that they left the Japanese voices in the game, which is what fans of these styles of games want. I wish more companies did this.

Final Scores:

Story: 9/10

Gameplay: 8/10

Concept: 10/10

Characters: 6/10

Graphics: 8/10

Music: 5/10

Voice Acting: 10/10

Geeky: 2/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Groupees Hosts JASTUSA Bundle : School Days HQ and My Girlfriend Is President Both Confirmed

Edit It has begun! Full contents of bundle as follows:

For a Minimum of $3 You get:

Yojinbo the Body Guards; and The Sagara Family

For a Minimum of $10 you get all of the above PLUS:

Moreo Downhill Night; My Girlfriend is President; and Cosplay Fetish Academy

For a Minimum of $20 you get all of the above PLUS:

School Days HQ

I already preordered my JASTUSA Bundle from Groupee’s website. And you can too! But you have to hurry, because this is limited to just 3,000 bundles worldwide! Just head over to http://groupees.com/vn2 and decide how much you want to spend. $20 (or $18 during the preorder period) will get you all the games in this bundle. But they have smaller packs starting at just $8 for a few games. JASTUSA is one of the leading publishers of visual novel games in English. Their games cost a pretty penny on their website, making this the deal of a lifetime for visual novel fans! You get each game for under $3, while they typically retail for $40+ on JASTUSA site.

School Days HQ and My Girkfriend Is President are both confirmed to be included in this bundle.

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The admin also teased that the Non-hentai game that will be included is either Stein’s Gate or Yojinbo. – I have played both and they are both EXCELLENT games. Everyone in chat on Groupees is complaining about Yojinbo – Because I assume not many of us girls are over there on the site right now — Let me tell you, Yojinbo is an amazing game with a TON of “feels”… It’s a historical period piece — But unlike Hakouki (which I found REALLY fricken boring), Yojinbo spices things up with a lot of magic and fantasy elements too! I like it WAY more than Hakouki and I would not be upset to have a digital copy of it now that my newer PC no longer has a CD Rom drive. Stein’s Gate of course is just all kinds of awesome and I’ve already reviewed it in detail over here: http://geekysweetie.com/steins-gate-review/ (based on the fan translation version)

As to what other items will be included, we will find out in less than 30 minutes when the (non pre-order) sales begin!

Groupees Hosts JASTUSA Bundle : School Days HQ and My Girlfriend Is President Both Confirmed was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

King’s Quest To Get a Sequel King’s Quest IX on July 28th 2015.

I think I recall hearing about this a year or two ago… but it fell to the back of my mind… until a facebook ad told me to like Sierra Games for updates on the “new” king’s quest game.

Upon clicking that ad, I saw the game is about to release on July 28th…. and I SPAZZED OUT. I can barely contain myself to even write this right now…

I own ALL of the games. My favorite is “heir today, gone tomorrow” because it was the first one I played :)

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They are beautifully hand drawn point and click games with charming (Although sometimes cheesey) characters and humor mixed in.

Their last title, was NOT a good move for the company and I assumed would be the death of the series (They made an ultima-ish first person action-rpg) King’s Quest Mask of Eternity was very different and not a hit with fans of the familiar old style gameplay. It also lacked the same quaint charm and sometimes cheesy / blatantly bad humor.

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Anyways… NOW we get back to the ROOTS of the game. It looks so fricken beautiful like a storybook brought to life. PLUS it looks like for the first time ever in the series, it will have a branching plot, like visual novel games, and decisions YOU make will affect what parts of the game you see ! I LOVE that!! That has me even MORE excited!! OMG… Because it says choose which tale you will tell in the trailer. !! I am hyped about that. The replay value will be sky high.

It’s gonna open up all the old games to young kids who never got to experience them (hint you can buy the collector’s edition from GOG.com which has all the old games <3).

If you’re excited like me…. check out the trailer and go see their facebook page or website for more info. http://www.sierra.com/kingsquest/

Also if you preorder the game you get an EXCLUSIVE playable epilogue after the game’s “ending” available only for preorder-ers.

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King’s Quest To Get a Sequel King’s Quest IX on July 28th 2015. was originally published on Geeky Sweetie