Aero-ge review: Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~

Hey all! Sorry for how dead the place has been lately. I for one have been super busy with lots of random crap like university and getting my second time application for the JET programme ready. Don’t really know what the others are up to…especially Aedes >_____>. Seriously, does that guy even play eroge anymore? Rest assured that I’m still a hardcore ero-gamer and have finished the following games over the last few months:

Fureraba
Majikoi A-2
Hatsuyuki Sakura
Kanojo to Ore to Koibito to.
Papa Doki! ~Papa ga Daisuki Dakedo, Kazoku Dakara Mondai Nai yo ne!~
Girls Be Ambitious!
To~mei Heaven!
Tsujidou-san no Virgin Road

I finished Fureraba quite a while back and had written like 50% of the review. But somewhere along the way I lost interest and it’s been half done in my drafts folder. Anyway, hope you don’t mind a review on something that’ s a little old ^^

Cover

Company: SMEE
Game site: フレラバ
Release date: June 28, 2013
Links:
It’s spring once again and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It’s the season of the beginning of a new life. The protagonist has lots of fun being with his guy friends, but he wishes for something more: a girlfriend! It’s not only him that has these kind of feelings; the girls around him also feel the same way. He aggressively pursues those close to him since love won’t come to those who wait.

[From Micchi’s blog]

Opening

This song is a nice change from the normal Jpop that I usually listen to ^^.

Introduction

Micchi’s summary pretty much explains the whole game; the protag wants a girlfriend. The common route gives a brief introduction for 3 of 4 the heroines before moving onto the gameplay component of the game. The last heroine is pretty much isolated to her own route.

Characters

Minahara Himari

The protag’s childhood friend. The two lose contact with each other for several years and this causes their reunion as classmates to be a bit awkward. She gives off a calming aura, but has an unexpected stubborn side.

Mochizuki Rina

The protag and Rina have been classmates for a number of years straight leading to an inseparable, but undesirable relationship between the two. Though she has a number of boyish hobbies and even participates in dirty jokes, she has very strong pride for her girlish side.

Hiiragi Yuzuyu

The protag’s classmate who has a blunt and fierce attitude, with a tendency to violent outbursts when annoyed. She has a lone wolf personality and stays away from others. She is a member of the school swim team and her ability is at national level.

Sawatari Misaki

The protag’s senpai. She’s considered something of like the school’s idol and is admired by just about everyone because of her grades and good looks. Many baseless rumours are formed due to overwhelming popularity and it makes her quite unapproachable. She is a slow speaker by nature and has a very passive personality.

 

 

Gameplay

On each school day you’ll be given two opportunities to meet up and engage in small talk with a heroine of your choice. Within each small talk scene you select a topic (such as school life, holidays, etc), then you choose a specific thing to talk about within that topic (such as “What do you normally do on holidays”, “Do you sometimes go to sports centers”, “It’s quite expensive to go places during holidays isn’t it”, etc). Further again, within the dialogue you are sometimes required to give a response to the heroine.

Within a single small talk scene you select 2 specific things to talk about. So the above process usually will be repeated 4 times in a single day.

After engaging in enough small talk with a heroine, you’ll see an encounter an event with that heroine. These events are really what we want because they show us “real” development in the relationship between the two. As you see more of these events for a given heroine, she’ll start showing subtle changes in behaviour when you engage in small talk.

After seeing all the available events for a heroine, you’re given the option to confess to her.

Something that I didn’t like about this game

The main downside of this game is that the transition from friend to lover feels rushed. This is because the small talk sessions don’t feel very significant to the actually relationship. The small talk isn’t funny, interesting or memorable. Also how you respond doesn’t seem to have any negative effect, which makes the whole process rather pointless. I would not be surprised if half the players out there held the ctrl button during these scenes.

So what we’re left with is a lot of development needed to be covered over a small number of heroine specific events. Don’t get me wrong; the events themselves are very nice ^^.  However the amount of small talk is quite overwhelming in comparison.

 

Routes

Not really much to say here except that you should be prepared to see a load of romantic comedy =3. Unlike the build-up to the relationship, there is no pace issue after the confession scene.

Something I found absolutely fantastic is that the game holds its light and carefree atmosphere from start to finish. Sure things get a little heated sometimes to develop the story, but things never get too serious.

Overall I found each route to be quite satisfying. However I would say that an important element of Misaki’s route was a bit too forced.

Miscellaneous stuff (graphics, sound, etc.)

The graphics for this game aren’t anything spectacular, but they get the job done. Personally I feel that the character sprites are a tad better than the game’s CGs.

The BGMs really help contribute to the funny/stupid slice of life feeling that the game is clearly going for. I enjoyed the voice acting, but some part of me still disagrees with Misaki’s “slowness”.

Another thing worth mentioning is that you’re able to do some minor customization with each heroine; in most cases it’ll be their hair. Your choice will affect the heroine’s character sprite and some of their CGs. The CGs for all customization options are automatically unlocked, so there’s no need to play again for CG collection.


Final Words

Gameplay: 5/10
Romance: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Comedy: 8.5/10
Graphics, sound and other miscellaneous stuff: 8/10

Overall: 80/100

Despite the small talk system causing things to feel rushed, this was a very nice game. All the heroines are very likable and the relationship part of the game shows very nice romance scenes. The comedy scenes were very entertaining and were also decent in number. Overall a very solid slice of life game which I highly recommend.

Atm the review I’m writing for “Tsujidou-san no Virgin road” is around 40% completed and some other post I started writing is at around 60%. I’m also considering writing a piece for “Girl’s Be Ambitious”, but we’ll see how busy I am.

45 thoughts on “Aero-ge review: Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~

  1. Just so you know, I’m still alive. :D

    I’ve played a few games recently:
    カルマルカ*サークル
    ギャングスタ・リパブリカ
    1番じゃなきゃダメですかっ?
    天色*アイルノーツ
    and maybe a couple more nukiges not really worth mentioning.

    They all sucked in one way or another, except maybe 天色*アイルノーツ. I suppose I can write a short rant about them…

    • Wow that’s a pretty nice list. LOL, makes me wonder why you haven’t written anything yet.

      I’m playing カルマルカ atm, and it SUCKS >______>. Seriously, I wanna drop it, but my sense of commitment is always too strong. Should finish it in a couple of days, so if you’re up for it, we could do a joint thing?

      • Like I’ve said, they all sucked in some way so wasn’t really motivated to write about them.

        I know, the prologue was alright. But when it comes to the routes…I basically only enjoyed Shin’s route. Probably because that’s much closer to how a girl IRL talk like imo and 清水愛 did an excellent job voicing her. I wished somebody would just kill me when I was playing Nicole’s route. The true route was alright though and wrapped things up nicely.

        Sure, I’m up for that. You want to start it or shall I?

        • I think the only one from your list I hated was ギャングスタ・リパブリカ.But this was no regular hate, It was one of the Eroges that I hated most, for many reasons…

          • If you’ve ever played Nekonade Distortion, they’re from the same writer. I don’t know which is worse. But I do know I did not enjoy either of them, at all. I would rather run my head into a wall than playing them.

        • Love shin’s voice actor and her character as well. Her route wasn’t bad I guess…except for the end. And yeah; Nicole’s route was god awful.

          You can start it. It’ll still take me a couple of days to finish it.

          • Even though the route’s not too bad, I couldn’t care less about Shin’s route really; her character and voice makes all that irrelevant. Nicole’s is the only route that stood out for me, for all the wrong reasons. The rest isn’t that bad(not saying much lol), but not that great either. I had trouble connecting/emphasizing with the characters who aren’t Shin; they’re just a bit…too far out there. Especially that math head loli and the ‘philanthropist’ girl.

            It’ll take me a couple of days to start too, or perhaps more. :P…Just kidding. I’ll get it done these few days.

        • Nekonade… Nekonade…. huh… the only thing I liked about that game is the OST and Gizumo… yes I know fucking a cat/cat girl maid is bad… but… from the cast shes the PURRFECT one heck she has the proportionally correct CGs from the cast and the game was a nightmare to read

  2. Dang! I was planning to write a review on this one.
    What I really like from this game is its 主人公 though, for some reason I find him better than most eroge mc out there.

    My Favourite heroine is Rina, really like her amaenbo+possessive+playfulness but that system…too much work.

    • Haha sorry for stealing your thunder. Didn’t even know you played this game.

      I liked Rina a lot as well, but it’s hard for me to pinpoint who my fave was. Which is why I didn’t add in a route ranking this time.

      • Dont worry, luckily I just plan on writing but I havent start writing. Yea, this game is surprisingly decent game, compare to say….Karuma >.> oh well, lets not bash another game.

        Hmmm…then I need to decide on what to write next…but even before that I need to finish what I am writing now XD.

          • Did I say that? I completely forget about it since I was so busy at the time with my preparation to go to Japan. Maybe what I meant I is Grisaia joint review with you since both of us dont have many common games. Fureraba is a surprise, nvr thought you will play this.

            I usually review more obscure games that is not famous. I mean grisaia is famous already and without me writing the review on it, many people will probably still try it anyway.

        • lol, I guess it is お互い様 then, coz believe it or not, I have also played some of these games. I mean, I played their previous game loverable and loverable dokyusei. I also play games from their sister company, hooksoft.

          I play charage like this, what I dont play though is soft nukige. If you know…um, something like games made my C:Drive, Clockup, Apricot Cherry,etc

  3. It’s funny how there are some stuffs that work for some people but not for everyone. You gave 9 points of 10 for the characters, I remember I got frustrated with the girls abuse and how lame the protagonist was right in the beginning of the game and stopped playing with less than 2 hours of gameplay. Those type of characters and their comedy style really were not my thing…

    • I personally find the main chara is pretty cool. When you say about girls abuse you mean girl abusing the MC I presume? Then I really have no problem with that in this game since I feel he is doing very well in deflecting all the abuse and even in return abusing some of the girls, particularly Yuzuyu.

      • Well, I understand that I am a bit weird with my tastes for heroines or MCs in Galges. I like the MCs being much more active and smarter. Like, for example: Let’s say it’s the MC that gets to find embarrassing material in one of the girls room. Or maybe he could set a trap in his room that makes any girl who tries to get his H-book to end up tied upside-down…I know it’s weird and it’s rare to find protagonists like that, but I think it’s awesome when there is anything that gets even close to this.

  4. I never played an eroge before but I always wanted to try =3
    Which one do you recommend?
    I speak Japanese, I’m a otome gamer actually =P
    These girls are so cute that I always wanted to try and after watching Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai XD

      • lol utsuges from the get go… hmm how bout my first utsuge… Purely 〜その狭い青空を見上げて〜 from the now dead and defunct? RUNE and then typically we get ef from minori, theres also december without an angel from Leaf
        for brain trips we have subahibi from keroq and itsusora from Lump of Sugar, errr…. nekonade? (though in all seriousness I SHOULDNT BY ANYMEANS RECOMMEND YOU THAT GAME but for a snazzy brain trip to ambiguity i’d suggest it)
        chara-ges and moe-ges which i think haganai falls under… well we have plenty of that nothing in particular to recommend but all routes from KonoSora is one of such
        otome-ge’s however… I’m familiar with a few titles Starry sky series being one of them
        in no particular genre 遥かに仰ぎ、麗しの from Pulltop (you just have to live with the length but overall its good but some routes are just draggy)
        happymaher from PURPLE software some people say its good but I can’t say have’nt played it myself personally so is asukimi

        • I forgot to add Garden from Cuffs and Natsu no Ame but be warned because it has its share of good and bad routes from CUBE,Clover Point from the defunct Meteor Yaya… YAYA!!!!! cant ask for more of her…

        • Ah, yes, Starry Sky is a very nice game ^-^
          Uta no Prince-sama too, has awesome songs. And Hakuouki Shinsengumi is awesome too =3 I know many otoges titles XD

        • You’re welcome.

          Btw, you should try Natsuyume Nagisa too. Well, though maybe it looks like charage, it isn’t charage. I still don’t play Natsuyume Nagisa, but I really want to play it too because I heard it got really good reception from people.

          • There’re a lot of eroges too =o like otome games
            Thanks for all these recommendations!! *-*
            I think I’ll start with Fureraba then. If I like I’ll continue to play others ;3
            Thank you!!

    • An otome gamer huh…and judging by your name, you’re also a fujoshi? Sorry if I’m wrong.

      As the other two suggested, Hatsuyuki Sakura is an awesome game. Keep in mind that it has a very emotional story, so you will not be getting much in the way of romance. If you want something more slice of life, I would recommend “fureraba” (this post =D).

    • I almost forgot about this.

      If you want to try RPG or SLG Visual Novel, then I recommend you to play Visual Novel that made by Eushully (Especially Kamidori Alchemy Meister, Soukoku no Arterial, and maybe their newest Visual Novel, Madou Koukaku. Well, I don’t play but I really want to try Madou Koukaku because it looks great to me) because they’re the best developer for RPG and SLG Visual Novel. Baldr series is possible too.

        • Madou Koukaku has the worst gameplay since it is the first time Eushully try SLG gameplay system. However the story of true route is more than make-up but the drama is pretty heavy and it end in bittersweet ending. (Still nothing if you compare to battle goddess series. Celica has one of the darkest and worst experience in all eroge I played so far)
          Tenbin no La DEA is also interesting remake of battle goddess. If you love Eushully but never play Battle goddess series, you still have so much more to learn. One of the greatest eroge I ever played when come to heavy drama with solid characters and fun gameplay.

    • Sorry I can’t help you on otome games. But other than that, I generally like games by Alcot and Alcot Honeycomb. Feel free to let me know if you want a more extensive list.

  5. I’m nearly to the end of this game and I love it aha~ Great review man. I do agree with you on the fact the relationship from friend to lover is preeetty quick. The comedy alone however does it for me!

  6. Pingback: Các Visual Novel bạn đang đọc [Nơi tự sướng cùng nhau] - Trang 142

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s