Review: Sakura Santa

Here’s my officially posted review of Sakura Santa:

Review: Sakura Santa(Boston Bastard Brigade)

Happy holidays!

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Review – Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax

I’ve decided that this blog would become more of a portal for my various reviews across several sites. This should satisfy publishers who give me code with sites with larger reaches than this one has at the moment. This way, I only need to promote this site through social media as a single filter, while also allowing those sites to grow. Everybody wins. In the future, I’ll still do exclusive reviews here, usually of things I’ve bought myself. There will also be previews and editorials as well, so worry not that the blog will be just a posting dump! Without further ao here is a review of Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax on TotallyGN.com!

Review: Beach Bounce

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After the disappointing Sakura Beach, it only felt natural to go to another visual novel released around the same time with similar themes. As it turns out, Beach Bounce is definitely the game that Sakura Beach should have been. Although promising, the game in it’s current state is hard to recommend if it weren’t for the early discount price.

The game is about a young man named Tomoyo, who recently decided to quit college after realizing his chosen course wasn’t for him. At a crossroads in his life, he has decided to take a holiday to rest and get his next plans sorted out. He remembers that his grandmother had a beach resort, so he decides to spend a few weeks over there.
Unfortunately once he gets there, his grandmother gets sick. Wanting to be a good grandson, he decides to work at the resort for his stay. Of course, he meets many young ladies who he can date with. If you buy the adult version on MangaGamer, you’ll also be able to witness sexual content. A word of warning though; is that said sexy content is mostly a POV affair. You can’t see Tomoyo, and the pictures feel more like the aftermath of a certain action than a description of what’s happening. with only some commentary from the female companion. At least it’s a welcome contrast to the way too long scenes from Starless. The level of content is also fairly moderate as well.

One nice thing about the game is that there is a decent number of girls to date, and each has there own personalities which are all fun to see play out in the scenes. The artwork is nicer than Sakura Beach, going for a more realistic look. Music selection is limited but it’s serviceable, and there is no voice acting. The only real problem with the game is there are a boatload of typos. It doesn’t seem like they had any script checking before they pushed it out. In fact, the game is actually a bit unfinished. Even though the steam page states that it’s episodic, the conclusion of Week 1 has a message saying that the developer plans on adding more features in the next two chapters like a CG Gallery. It just feels a might rushed. I would have gladly waited several months for a more complete product worthy of the $25 USD price they likely expect people to pay once Week 3 launches for a complete experience. But if you get it now, it’s $15 USD. What a hook to pull buyers in, right? At the end of the day, Beach Bounce seems like a Visual Novel with some potential, but the incomplete status of game along with the typos make it hard to recommend at this point. Even when you weigh the money you could be saving right now.

Review: Sakura Beach

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You know, Winged cloud must have a factory that churns out these visual novels much like Kemco does with it’s RPG’s. After all, it’s easy to pump out release after release when you’ve got an engine in place. But I just wish that they’d put more effort into their stories. Each title seemed to be making incremental progress with each release, but then Sakura Clicker happened. While that’s a very different type of title, it might be indicative of how little the team cares about the quality of their products. Because as it turns out, Sakura Beach also has taken a small step back in quality.

The story this time is that a high school student named Keiji is spending the last few days of vacation spending time with his two female friends Momoko and Ayumi before burying his nose in studying for his exams. Of course they decide to go to the beach as the title implies. And of course you can expect, there’s going to be that cliched scene of Keiji walking in on the girls while they are still in their underwear, and them throwing something at his face after getting embarrassed. Or the classic beach trope of the girls bikini tops falling off while in the pool or in the ocean. There’s other shenanigans and overdone cliches like that. Nothing too serious, but none of it is either interesting or particularly nice to look at. This is because the artist for this title has changed from the one who hired for the previous entries. And they are not nearly as talented. The few upsides of this change would have to be that we can finally be liberated from the homogeneous design of the other characters the audience has been subjected to. The other upside is that the two heroines do have different body types and chest sizes when compared to the other characters seen to this point as well.
Like most Sakura titles, the runtime is about 2 hours, with most decisions being meaningless, and really only affecting which Ending CG you will get from which Girl you curry more favor with. The writing is boring, the scenes are boring, and the attempts at trying to be sexy or titillating are actually much weaker than they’ve ever been. It’s really a huge letdown. The next title, Sakura Swim Club at least seems to make up for this based on what I’ve seen and heard, with it finally going the eroge route I’ve waited to see from Winged Cloud. But maybe this visual novel’s sequel will be the story that this one should have been. As it stands $7.50 USD is too much for such a small and boring experience. There are much more exciting VN’s out there.

Review code was provided by Sekai Project.

Review: NEKOPARA vol.0

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The original NEKOPARA Vol.1 released on Steam in December 29 of 2014, with the adult version being made available on Denpasoft and DLSite. It was a short visual novel that mixed the cuteness of adorable cat girls with some hentai scenes, if you played the adult version. Well now it appears that there was a fan-disc expansion for the game of sorts. And it’s exactly worth the price it’s asking for. It’s not bad, but it’s far from a full experience.
The story of this brief experience is about how the household of Kashou Minaduki gets by without him for a day. It’s more of a series of vignettes of the cat girls getting into all sorts of misadventures, being super cute and adorable. It’s much like the first volume, but super concentrated. This volume is unlike the previous however in that it’s not only missing Kashou, but it’s an all ages title, meaning there’s no erotic content. This might be an incentive to readers that may not care for such a thing. It’s only an hour and fifteen minutes long, and it’s only three dollars, so that’s a plus. There’s really not much more to say. The game uses recycled music and assets, but it does have a new feature where you can ‘pet’ the heads of the cat girls, and that’s about it. It’s cute, short, and a good value for fans of the first volume. But those wanting a meatier experience should wait for the next release.

Code was provided by Sekai Project.

Review: Ecchi Mery and the Perils of the Cosmic Shrine(PC)

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When people think of RPG Maker games, they don’t usually think of hentai going along side them. And that’s exactly what Ecchi Mery is. And the game promises sexy times, but there are a number of issues with it which betray that promise.
The game is about a young woman named Mery and her attendant, the Super Maid Mary. They are traveling the world looking for rare artifacts. This leads them to the a ruined shrine with a labyrinth underneath, supposedly containing one of these treasures. Despite their training as magic users and warriors, they are instantly bested by a group of thugs. Of course since this is a hentai, Mery gets raped. Strangely Mary is unconscious and the men don’t care enough to ravage her too. I guess even scum have some standards? After recovering from their ordeal, they re-attempt the shrine after Mery learns new magic abilities and Mary gets some money. By being a prostitute at the brothel.

The actual RPG gameplay is simple, but it’s also has a few twists to make things a bit more interesting. The girls don’t level up normally. You get TP for each enemy defeated which you can use at a statue, which is the main way you boost stats. The only time you gain levels is when you fight a boss monster. The enemies are initially very difficult, but after cramming enough points into your defense stat or attack stat, you will have a much easier time with the game. In fact this is one of the bigger problems with the game. You can just boost defense and strength values and ignore magic. Magic skills seem almost unnecessary as you can just brute force anything. There’s also a item synthesis mechanic as well to make the game even easier. It’s likely the only reliable way to earn money, as the enemies don’t drop any. Instead they drop materials and other items.

Of course this game is also a hentai game, so there are sex scenes. While this might turn some people off, there are other things that might turn even more away. The art work for one is of poor quality, so any sexiness that the developer tried to bring might be lost on players. Add to the fact that several scenes involve rape, usually of the bestiality variety. So this game is mostly for people who are more into that kind of thing. But even then they might not care for the quality of the art. Also as a RPG Maker game, it has issues with lack of good gamepad support or resolution options, despite the number of custom scripts that the game uses. As a bar-bones RPG it’s various systems like voice-acting are interesting to see in an RPG Maker game. Ultimately in the end, it’s a less than average experience, and a not exactly a good showing as a hentai game. The only real positive is that it’s cheap and short.

Code was provided by Manga Gamer.

Review – Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden(PC)

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If you had a smartphone and are a even the tiniest bit of a gamer, you may have run across a type of game that are known as ‘Clickers’. The most prominent of these are Cookie Clicker and Clicker Heroes. But Forget Me Not more or less decides to take that concept and turn it on it’s head. It does this by dumping to free to play model and micro-transactions. It does this in an effort to make the game a bit more memorable, and it mostly succeeds.

The game is about a merchant named Irene and her assistant Organa who run a literal organic garden. No seriously, they grow organs, not non-GMO’s. The organs are sold to customers that give you requests with various objectives. After you fulfill enough of these requests, which are simply called quests, The door to Irene’s office opens. This signifies that you can advance the story. And the story itself is what mostly sets itself apart from other clicker games. The story is cute, although some of the customers behave very strangely, making it sometimes unsettling. The reason the game feels like a clicker is that you will be tasked with managing the garden. Trees need to be watered, crops need to be plucked, and your watering can needs to be refilled. And you can get pets to increase how quickly water refills or how fast crops grow. At this point you will find yourself clicking everywhere with your mouse. But the increased activity means that you will actually be engaged with the game as opposed to just mindlessly clicking something with no real reward. And the story segments are amusing at times. The visuals are nicely done as well.

There are only just a few issues I’ve seen with the game. The first would be the default resolution options. Not only are there only a handful of them, but the game’s default graphic settings are abysmally low. I get that the game is optimized enough to let lower end systems to play the game, but they are perhaps a bit too low. The text is also small and hard to read even on high settings, and they are even harder to read on lower ones. There’s also no voice acting to speak of, which might have helped with the small text, but there’s no such luck here. Those are really the only problems that I had with the game. Otherwise Forget Me Not is a pleasant experience. As far as clicker games go, the game is actually a bit more involved, while not being too fast paced. And the story will keep players engaged enough to continue. It might be a bit high at $10 USD on Playism-Games, but considering quality and the lack of micro-transactions, that’s not really so bad.

Code was provided by Playism-Games.

Review: Ame no Marginal – Rain Marginal

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Sekai Project has another visual novel from developer stage-nana and the writer of Narcissu 1st and 2nd. It’s meant to serve as a prologue of sorts to those titles. As such, it’s a short experience. But it’s a pretty good one.

The visual novel is about two characters. While it starts off with a guy that is dealing with his depression, he gets spirited away to a location that is totally barren, with only a single little girl as it’s sole resident. And the sky is constantly raining. The only other objects of note are a small roofed bus stop and bench. While he finds himself seemingly trapped, he learns that he can leave at any time. While not desiring to go back anytime soon, his plans to stay are halted when he learns he only gets a maximum of three days before being ejected from this strange dimension. While he stays, he and the girl get to learn about each other. Of course, the girl is there for similar reasons, and after the initial chapter, you get a choice of how to advance the plot. Each chapter split goes between the two. You learn how the girl got there, and why she’s stayed as long as she had. And the man’s chapters are about the present,and him learning about this dimension that he’s in.

The whole story is a big allegory for how one might feel while dealing with depression. The imagery is desolate, and is beautiful in it’s own way, all with an appropriate soundtrack to go along with the theme. There is voice acting, but as per tradition, the male protagonist is silent. The story is pretty good, and has a hopeful ending, but there were a few things left unanswered. One point in particular is the lack of an explanation for how the girl ended up having a split personality that only shows up in the day. There are some extra contents like the included Narcissu 1st and 2nd, but it’s kind of pointless as those are already on Steam for free, and will soon be getting HD Remakes. It makes the 12$ USD price-tag a bit hard to justify for a short novel lasting only about 4 hours. It’s still worth reading, and it evokes some themes also seen in planetarian, another short novel published by Sekai Project. So maybe a sale would be the best time to check this out.

Code was provided by Sekai Project.

Review: Love at First Sight

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Love at First Sight is a different kind of angle for a romance visual novel. Instead of being an atypical story about romancing a girl, it’s actually an atypical story about romancing a girl, BUT WITH A TWIST. The twist being that the girl has one big eye as the result of how they were born. The story is short but it’s sweet, albeit a bit rough and not as good as it could have been.
The story is of course about how the protagonist falls in love with her at first sight(which is actually a thing that’s in all likelihood a myth), no pun intended. Of course the game will reveal that his real feelings surface with the time that he spends with the girl, Sachi. Of course this is compounded by the fact that Sachi is pretty emotionally weak, which does have to do with her situation, but also more to do with her timid nature in general. So the protagonist has to help Sachi get out of her shell, along with the aid of his friends.
It’s a cute story with a nice message about being sensitive with people that have circumstances that make their lives harder than most people’s. But it’s also about proving to someone that everyone deserves to have friends and be happy. There are problems with the script though, even by the author’s admission. They didn’t have time to make a detailed story, so the scenario seems a bit rushed, and with parts missing. Even their artwork might be proof of this, as the concept art shown in the gallery section explaining this stuff is of higher quality. It’s pretty amateurish, but not bad. It was even confessed that the story was supposed to be a comic, but was made into a game to have something to submit on time for Comitia. The GUI is also not developed all that well. There’s no keyboard shortcut map or drop-down menu, so figuring out how to do certain things is somewhat difficult. Considering that the game is ten bucks, it’s a lot to ask for upfront when you are getting a somewhat rushed product that will last only about four hours. Higurashi is comparatively fifteen hours and cost six dollars. The two genres are different, but the idea is that there are other visual novels on steam for around the same price. So there’s way more value for your dollar. It might be best to wait for a sale. I liked it, but just wish it had more time to be fleshed out.

Code was provided by Sekai Project.