Noble Works PictoPost

I’ve decided to try something different this time around, PictoPost™! That is, make an entire post with pictures, lots of pictures, with only few words via captions and mouse-over text to document my thoughts on a game. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps only a couple of sentences in this case, but the idea is the same. Some spoilers will follow, not that there is much to spoil to begin with. By the way, sorry if you don’t know Japanese that well, because it’s all going to be Japanese.

What I thought after playing through Akari's route

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Damn, Those People Are Rich

Let my start off by saying that I don’t pay attention to the who the scenario writers nor the illustrators are. While I would like to say that this gives me a less biased views on games I haven’t played yet, but truth to be told, I’m just lazy and never paid any attention to those matters. My brain can’t handle all that information; I’m merely a player not an analyst. I only look at the gist of a story to decide whether I’ll play it, besides, one can’t tell for certain how good a story is unless it is experienced firsthand. But for illustrators it’s less of an issue. Appealing art is appealing art no matter who drew it, and you can see it easily before begin playing a game by going to that game’s site.

Back on to topic now. I’ve just finished Akari’s route in Noble Works, in which the broke protagonist Takumi essentially trades places with a rich guy to protect him. That was one run of the mill ojousama route. Not many words are needed to describe it – arranged marriage, rich people, damsel in distress. You get the idea, nothing you couldn’t see coming a mile away. Is this route suppose to be the featured route seeing Akari sitting prominently in the middle in that picture up there? If so, it is unfortunate how lackluster this route turned out to be. I would like much more interactions among the classmates after they start going out as the character interactions are what make a game interesting.

After reading this route, I still have a question lurking in my mind. Why would a girl fall in love with a random guy from the street? Because thats pretty much what happened, in a nutshell anyway. Well, I guess I shouldn’t expect things to adhere to common sense in eroges, much weirder stuff than this happens. But it’s not all that bad though, the game still has some merits.

To start with, Akari herself is criminally cute, childlike, and gullible. She even thinks kissing will result in pregnancy. And here I am thinking that holding hands will do the same thing. The good morning chu~ is as adorable as always. I also love it that she “studies” doujinshi in order to please Takumi. Too bad her route is a let down.

First thing I noticed is that I can see the character’s backs! The characters turn to their backs when they’re talking to someone else on screen instead of the protagonist, or whichever point of view you’re in. I much appreciate this feature as this makes them look more realistic as they look like they’re actually talking to each other. However important the protagonist may be, he has to understand that he cannot always be the center of conversation. It also helps in understanding the situation as in who is talking to who.

Two lolis in one game. What a treat for all those lolicons out there. I like Hinata the pink haired kouhai better though. This is all purely personal preference however.

Putting those aside, the best thing about the game without a doubt is the common route. Granted I haven’t played any of the other routes, but I’ll just revise my statement if needed later on after I make myself play through 1 or 2 more routes seeing how disappointing Akari’s route was.

The broke protagonist Takumi masquerading as the heir of a big business brought constant laughter for me. I like this protagonist, who is surprisingly not a totally useless hetare like in most other games. He has a plethora of experiences working in places like restaurant, housing cleaning, cafe, nursing homes, and more. This enables him to do any housework and he made good use of those experiences. He is also not the perfectly nice guy protagonists tend to be; he cracks jokes at other people’s expenses but never harmfully. I loved it when he knocked out Hinata for almost exposing him.

The rest of the characters are delightful as well. The head maid who claims she is the best is a hilarious doS; she carries a stun gun and is not afraid to use it even on her boss. The other maid has the wildest delusions whenever she hears anything that can be remotely connected to anything ecchi. Makoto the red haired girl loves seeing and touching girl’s underwear all in the name of the designer that she is. And those are just some of the examples. This crowd make a entertaining game, in the common route at least.

Let’s hope the power of love will carry me through at least 2 more routes, so I’ll have a chance at doing a more thorough review. Don’t disappoint me again, I beg you!

Amatsu Misora ni! Review

I really want to call this post impression instead. This way, this piece will truly be my opinion entirely and I don’t have to worry about being objective, because I merely want to share my thoughts on games instead of judging them. But for the sake of being consistent, this shall stay as a review in its name, but impression at its heart.

Company: Clochette
Game Site: あまつみそらに!
Release Date: May 28, 2010
Links: Getchu, walkthrough, seiyuu listing

Amatsu Misora ni! is the third eroge coming from developer Clochette (Kamipani!, Suzunone Seven!). The game’s protagonist Takahisa lives on a small island together with a goddess named Kanna. He also has a younger sister, Miyu, an aspiring idol; Chisa, his childhood friend; and Serika, Miyu’s close friend who is in the tennis club. Serika wants to be like Kanna, so she is sometimes jealous of Takahisa since he lives with her. And to complete this harem, a miko (shrine maiden) named Mikage also comes to the island one day. (based on ErogeShop synopsis)

Opening Theme

OP by Sakakihabara Yui. Nothing stands out much.

Scenario

Takahisa is a pretty uninteresting protagonist. He has no goals in his life except living on the island forever, behaves like an old man, and suffers from the usual nice guy protagonist syndrome. Only thing that stands out a bit is his complete inability to use anything electronic, but that only makes him even more of a hetare. The common route consists of their every day lives with absolutely nothing happening. However, it is nevertheless fairly entertaining as the various character’s antics kept me smiling all the way through. Note that I wasn’t expecting much of a plot to begin with, with the heroine’s breasts being this over-sized. Yep, I’m prejudiced against large breasts.

The heroine specific routes have him helping the heroine achieving her dream, whatever that may be. Nothing too dramatic is involved, except maybe in Chisa’s route. They are all mainly comedic with bits of drama, and ecchi, thrown in.

Kanna’s route mainly deals with her duty as a goddess, something she has neglected to do. She wishes nothing more than living as a human. Not much to say here, we see Takahisa finally convincing her to be a proper goddess, although one that commutes to “work” from home. I’m disappointed by this route since she looks like she is the main heroine; her story doesn’t have enough substance fit for a true heroine. I would like to see her be a little bit more goddess-like and use some powers outside of combat, but maybe thats asking for too much since she wishes to be human.

Miyu’s route, sadly, is the most uneventful one. The story seems to be about juggling her career and lust for her oniichan. No one seems to mind the fact they’re blood-related siblings, it is barely mentioned at all. Even when the newspaper reports her going out with Takahisa, she merely waves it off with a nonchalant statement of “He’s only my brother” and the public isn’t suspicious at all. Moreover, the “secret” with her blood makes no sense at all and doesn’t contribute to the story. She gets a brownie point for singing her own ED though. She is also pretty ecchi.

Next comes Serika the genki baka kouhai. The first part is almost exclusively about her love of tennis. It’s one tennis practice after another, something I don’t like since I’m not into sport themed stories. Her conflict seems the most forced. She is somehow inhibited by a monster who makes you extremely nervous on the tennis court, and also make you become a borderline yandere who wishes Takahisa to see no one but her. The story feels too dramatic without proper significance.

Chisa’s route is the route I consider the most well done one. Takahisa first helps her break out her self-isolating shell then supports her as she faces her trauma of losing her little sister. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but I feel this is the most touching story that I can relate to the most. It was heartwarming to see her finally forgiving herself for what she had done, in spite of how predictable the plot is.

Do not be fooled by how majestic the miko Mikage looks; her route is the most ecchi one. It seems to feature ecchi scenes in rapid succession, or was I skipping too much text? Other than that, she also purifies monsters (tentacles!?) by absorbing them into herself, but that is all done by the goddess residing within her. At least the story in this one makes sense. She is a miko that is trying very hard to worship a goddess that wouldn’t let herself be worshiped while persuading her to do her duties. I like the goddess in her as well.

My route rankings:
Chisa, Kanna, Mikage, Miyu, Serika.

Graphics

The only thing of note is the absence of SDCGs. I would also like to mention that there is slightly more HCGs than event ones. I would rather like more event CGs as this many HCGS are extraneous and the event CG are lacking in quantity. Otherwise, the graphic is adequately appealing, besides the exaggerated breasts which are Clochette’s trademark.

System

Not much to say about the standard system.Straight forward title screen with a continue button for quick loading. Easy choices, plenty of save slots, and the backlog are all there. Things to note are a sprite viewer with a number of options. But other than that, the system is nothing special. (Copy and paste from PrismRhythm) 🙂

Music

Standard selection of music. Decent OP and 2 EDs, one for Miyu and one for everyone else. Nothing to see here, moving on~

Overall

A fantasy slice-of-life story with whimsical character interactions but not much of a story, I would recommend this game for people interested in big breasts or people interested in one or more of the characters. I’m somewhat disappointed by this title. One that is average at best.

Story: 6/10
Character: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Music: 6/10

Overall: 70/100 (not a total)

Next up on my list is Noble Works by YuzuSoft, which I picked up looking at Getchu’s 2010 eroge rankings. I’ve already played Tenshin Ranman by the same company which I mostly enjoyed. I hope this one won’t let me down.

Oppai Imbalance

A while ago I heard some mostly good things about Clochette with their charming character interactions, along with over-sized breasts. Thus, I recently began playing Amamiso to see if there is any truth to that statement. So far I’ve finished two routes, Miyu’s and Serika’s, and I have to say both of those statements are correct. First of all, just look at those breasts! It must be difficult carrying those around all day.

Whether this is a mountain of treasure remains subjective.

All of the heroines have a special charm to them; I haven’t thought this hard about which route to begin playing first for some time now. Theres the oneesan-esque imouto Miyu who takes care of the house while also happening to be an idol singer, the easy-going goddess Kanna who acts every bit like a human but can get serious when the need arises, the genki baka kouhai Serika who is obsessed with Kanna and loves tennis, the level-headed Chisa whose family runs an inn, and the benevolent on the outside but devious on the inside miko Mikage who has yet another goddess residing in her body.  But in the end, the imouto Miyu wins as I simply cannot stop myself from going after the first imouto I see in any game.

That aside, their interactions kept me entertained most of the time. Seeing them carry on their everyday lives is a joy on its own. There is rarely a dull moment when they aren’t cracking some jokes or acting downright stupid in a comical way. Kanna and her behavior is what drives this forward, her acting like a little kid moments are delightful. The rich variety in the sprite’s facial expressions are great as well.

However, I have some annoyances regarding this game in the two routes I have played at least. It seems as though they are trying to cram some sort of supernatural elements into the story where none is needed. I understand there will be plenty of that in the goddess’ routes, but it feels forced in Miyu and Serika’s routes. It would be much better, in my opinion, if the supernatural elements are left out of these routes completely.

Regarding the routes, Miyu’s feels rather normal despite the supernatural part not making a lot of sense to me. Also, she is the ecchi-est imouto I’ve ever seen besides Sakura from Sukima Zakura to Uso no Machi. Even getting her picture taken heats her up in the ecchi way. Moreover, thats the most self-serviced ecchi I’ve seen an imouto done to herself.

No, this is not what you think it is.

Serika’s route surprised me; I did not know she had hidden yandere tendencies. On the other hand, all the pats on the head and the hugs feels so sweet! I like her aggressiveness when they are all raburabu together as well; she cares about no one but him. But other than that her route is too much about tennis which I don’t particularity care about, and the whole conflict feels forced. Tennis matches should not involve supernatural beings.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish the other routes.

September 2011 Eroge Impressions

Another first for this blog, the first monthly impression this time, with information taken from Micchi and Zen’s gracious blog, since I lack the patience and knowledge necessary to parse through the Japanese sites looking for relevant news. All the basic information and the story synopsis are already covered there, thanks to them, so I’ll go straight to my impressions hence the title.

Reading through this month’s releases, I seem to find an over abundance of moe-ge on display. But since that is the main genre of the games I play, I don’t mind it. Besides, I’ll never have the time to play through all of them without putting a serious strain on my ctrl key so I won’t have to suffer through their near complete lack of a coherent plot or the gratuitous H scenes. In those sea of mediocrity, however, are a few games to note, for various reasons, and I shall list them below.

Mirai Nostalgia

The premise seems somehow interesting, but I’m really not sure how that’ll play out. I’m merely mentioning this because of some raving about it on the IRC channel, so I’ll probably try it out too. Also, I haven’t played any other game by Purple Software so I’ll finally get a chance to experience the minefield (?) And did I mention there is a rare yandere that I’m definitely conquering?

Sucre ~sweet and charming time for you~

Finally a game that has a setting other than a school. Romantic, heartwarming, mature story delivered by nicely drawn characters, what more can I ask for? It’ll be a nice breath of fresh air for me as I have been playing too much moe-ge set in a school with a thin plot lately. There also seems to be generally positive views towards this game by fellow players, so thats always a plus.

SuGirly Wish

There is only one reason for me to pick up this game, Hina! An imouto that wishes to marry her oniichan? I need no further convincing. And yes, I did overlook everything else, but at least the art looks decent.

your diary

To be honest, I wasn’t very interested in this particular game until I see that it is made by CUBE, the same company which brought us the wonderful Natsu no Ame. I enjoyed Natsu no Ame throughly, so I hope CUBE wouldn’t let me down. And I love goddess bringing happiness, especially cute ones.

Koikishi Purely☆Kiss

I usually am not into weapon wielding women. In fact I’ve only played one game with it, Koisora. But since the fighting aspect of Koisora isn’t too prominent, so I forgive it. This time however, I’m making an exception, two exceptions rather as I generally don’t play games with a medieval setting. As to what caused this exception, you guessed it, it’s the perfect imouto Yuu! Never mind the reason the protagonist is somehow the only guy in a knight training school. All you ever need is an amaenbo imouto.

Naturally I most likely won’t have the time to finish all of those any time soon, but these are my picks for this month anyway. I probably should get back to Amamiso by Clochette now, so I can finally write something up for it.

PrismRhythm Review

PrismRhythm

Now it’s time for the first official review of this blog! I’m somewhat hesitant to call this post a review, since I’m still new to reviewing things, and this post will most likely contain way too much subjective opinion for the review to be objective. But as I’ve stated in the About page, my reviews contain entirely my personal opinion.

By the way, since Algester over here already did a review, I’ll only briefly go over the general information before going into what I think about it. Also, this is the first game I completed entirely in Japanese without the help of some translator program, like AGTH, so I might and probably did miss some details regarding the plot. Anyway, let’s get started!

Company: Lump of Sugar
Game Site: PrismRhythm – プリズムリズム
Release Date: May 28, 2010
Links: Getchu, walkthrough, seiyuu listing

A “tree and water” healing game by Lump of Sugar, PrismRhythm is a pure love ADV that takes place in an exotic land with 7 islands with Spring Snow, the tree that purifies the land, at the middle. Tokitou Kazuki, the protagonist, sneaks off into the sacred forest where Spring Snow is in search of fairies his grandfather was talking about. There, he meets the main heroine Caroline Marigold and talks with her for a bit. Then he sees her awe-inspiring dance, and is inspired to enroll into a prestigious school where the story begins.

Opening Theme

A catchy song by Sakura Saori of ave;new. It fits the theme of the game nicely, and I like it.

Scenario

Kazuki is absolutely fascinated by the fairies his grandfather talked to him about. Hence he decides to enroll into the Beltina school to get closer to Spring Snow, which is where the fairies were said to be found. The Prologue is all about how he got into the school and also introduces the various characters and lets you see glimpses of each of their particular traits, such as Lia’s overflowing energy and Gin’s ability to eat large amounts of food.

Then comes the common route. It consists of the slice-of-life story this genre is known for while setting up each heroine’s story. You get to know how life inside the Beltina school is like with bits of humor thrown in here and there. Not that I like to complain but, this part of the story bored me to sleep, literally once, as I feel asleep right in front of my computer. Maybe it’s because I’m tired after hours of playing, but I like to think it’s because how uninteresting the common route seems to me. The story drags on and on in a never-ending sort of way without getting into any significant plot points,and the jokes just aren’t that funny. But take solace in knowing that you only have to go through the common route once, as there are very few choices, and even less that matters all conveniently located at the end of the common route. Moreover, the trap never ceases to amuse me.

After the common route comes the heroine specific routes. Excluding the extra route which I consider the true route, it is a shame only 1 route, Elsterrier’s, has anything to do with the main faery theme. The other 3 routes focuses purely on the relationship aspect, with little sprinkles of drama.

I felt Lia’s route is the most well done route, and it’s not only because I love her character the most. Although it has little ties to faeries, the route itself was thoroughly entertaining.The route has the right amount of drama as Kazuki helps Lia find her way, and it is hilarious how they to plan to tell each other of their feelings with Lia botching her own plans multiple times but succeeded nevertheless. Lia has the perfect balance of brash and embarrassing sides; she says the most embarrassing phrases with a straight face then blushes the next moment when somebody else points it out.

The other routes in comparison, however, were not so well done. The drama in Els’ route feels slightly forced, perhaps because I don’t fully understand what her conflict was in the first place. Kasumi’s route disappointed me because it did not touch upon the fact they’re blood related, at all. Also, onee-sans aren’t really my type; I much prefer imoutos. Gin’s route feels somewhat lacking in substance. All I see is their raburabu lives together, not that I have any problems with that.

Finally comes the true route, or “extra”, as the game calls it. It is a short route showing pieces of each heroine’s feelings toward the protagonist. But mainly it is the route about Caroline who I consider the main heroine of this game. The truth is revealed and everybody lives happily every after. I feel there is a lack of impact, but again, maybe that is because I don’t get what they’re talking about half the time.

My route rankings:
Lia, Elsterrier, Caroline, Gin, Kasumi.

Graphics

Generally, the CGs in the game are pretty. While I am in no way an expert in the graphics department, I feel the liberal use of colors contributes to the overall cheerful mood of the game. The backgrounds are well done as well with ample variety and colors. The only downside seems to be the body proportions for Kasumi’s CGs. Too bad the ones that demonstrates the point are all H scenes.

System

Not much to say about the standard system.Straight forward title screen with a continue button for quick loading. Easy choices, plenty of save slots, and the backlog are all there. Things to note are a sprite viewer with a number of options. But other than that, the system is nothing special.

Music

Fairly standard selection of music. In spite of that, it conveys the game’s fantasy theme nicely and I would say it is one of the game’s better aspects. There are also 5 separate EDs, one for each route, sung by their respective CVs. They are of different quality, but I guess you can’t blame them for employing the CVs instead of professional singers. The OP, in my opinion, is one of the better ones I’ve heard recently and you can also replay the OP movie in the music viewer.

Overall

A fantasy slice-of-life story designed to give you diabetes in the sweetest way possible with adorable characters but a little lite in the story department, I would recommend this game for people seeking a casual stroll in eroges. This is at best an average eroge, nothing more.

Story: 4/10
Character: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Music: 5/10

Overall: 65/100 (not a total)

Next up on my list is Amamiso by Clochette. I’ll most likely do some kind of write-up on that game sometime in the following week. Now thats one less game on my list!

PrismRhythm – Gin’s Route

PrismRhythm-Gin

It’s time for the first official blog post with actual content, in my eyes at least! As the title of implies, I have just finished Mizune Gin’s route in PrismRhythm. I have to say, it was a mostly enjoyable experience, aside from the common route which I’ll elaborate in a bit. Mind you, major spoilers, and the OP, coming up!

The basic premises of the story that a boy, the protagonist, heard his grandpa talking about seeing fairies, and after seeing the main heroine perform a beautiful dance, decided to enroll into a prestigious school just to see the fairy there. Then the story consists of his daily school life, him helping the heroines’ dance training, and of course his raburabu time with the heroine of his choosing.

While the setting is somewhat colorful, with a giant tree in the middle of the city and 7 islands surrounding it, I feel that it does not add much to the story. It may as well be set in an ordinary dancing school and things would not be much different. That said, inside the fairly standard story are plenty of raburabu times which I enjoy thoroughly. Also there were minimal sad moments. It’s a feel-good story after all.

Now about that common route, which consists of roughly 5 segments in which the protagonist interacts mainly with a particular heroines. They talk to each other, do events together, and more of the heroine’s personality and back story is revealed in the process. Sadly, all of this is delivered in a painfully slow pace during which I almost feel asleep several times. In Gin’s case….oh wait I don’t remember any of it, nor any other part of the common route. It’s just that uninspiring. However, there are some choices in it, but I’m not sure whether they have any effect at all. In fact, I think only 2 out of the 10 choices have any effect, other than miniscule dialog changes.

On the other hand, as previously mentioned, I love the heroine specific routes, Gin’s route so far at least. Gin start out stalking you conspicuously, all the while thinking she is the best stalker there is and shocked when she is found out. Then you take her out to the dining hall and discovers, despite being a loli,  she is a huge eater after she eats an enormous plate of pasta. Just when all is going well, her family is moving to another island. But of course that wouldn’t happen, thanks to the power of love. You persuade her to stay, then it’s all raburabu here on out.

Yes, there isn’t much of a story to speak of. The H scenes are dragged on for a bit too long, though it has sufficient lead in at least for the first scene. The art isn’t magnificent. The voice actor isn’t the best; Gin’s CV annoyed me the most. The music isn’t anything notable, though the OP is quite catchy.

BUT most importantly, I enjoyed every part of it, after the common route that is. I love the part where they go to their secret spot, the flower pad in the forest shown in the picture below, to picnic. The lying down under the sun and the rolling around in the flowers are simply adorable. My heart feels warmer inside every time you give Gin a gentle pat on the head, as well the giyuuuu~~~~ hugs. I feel like I’m almost getting a diabetes from all this sugary goodness. Did I mention the pouts are almost too cute for me to handle? This is moe overkill at its finest. Amaenbo Dane~~~

Next up is Tokitou Kasumi, the protagonist’s blood related older cousin and Gin’s non blood related onee-sama. A shame she isn’t an imouto, but I guess I already got my share of imouto-chara with Gin.Can’t wait to see where the blood-related aspect will go.

All hail happy endings!