Tsukihime Visual Novel Review and Details about the Remake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Platform: PC

Release Date: 2001 (Japan only)

Developer: Type-Moon

Genre: Visual Novel

Geeky: 2/5 

Sweetie: 2/5 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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