No longer on time VNs I’ve read in 2020

It’s pretty late now, I have to update my favorite vn list too.

Most liked:

Baldr Sky(1&2)

What if you really liked godhand’s combat, and what if instead of a dumb fun story, there’s decently written over the top plot. That’s baldr sky.
And boy does it have some issues, but I ignore them because it’s a blast overall, and I’m starting to assume that’s just Giga in general.
In short, if you like mecha combat, combos and want to remember 90s anime, give this a try.
There’s some difficulty spikes that can be annoying.
How they indexed scenes was really annoying(ie. if a new scene in a different route has 90% same lines, the whole scene is still considered unread so you can’t skip the plot). This happens multiple times, but mostly in sky 1. And there’s at least one route where you just hate the girl.
In 2, there’s a mode called reminiscence, which you’re forced to read, and around 70% of that is content from the first one. I’ve heard huge complaints so it kind of curbed my experience, and it honestly wasn’t that bad. But I can see it being a huge pain if you’re not aware.
Some of the characters you’re most likely not going to like, but put it all together and it was a fun ride. If you played Duel Saviors and liked the last 1/5 of it, then you’d like this one too.
Also, some were put off from the 50 dollar price tag when it was released. But it’s two games alongside having extra combat after you finish the plot that can go for quite awhile. It’s kind of cheap when you think about it. Though I guess it might’ve sold better if it was released as two parts of 25 each, who knows.

Totono/You and me and her

I find it a love letter to Liebestraum #3, it’s the title ost after all. It’s well written yet doesn’t feel artsy and smug about it. It’s a love story, but are you the center of it all?
Overall quite fun. I didn’t like the MC, but you’re not really supposed to. I also didn’t like Aoi’s sections much but they still improve Miyuki’s sections(Miyuki’s sections are good on their own as well). Out of all the ones I’ve read this year, I feel this has the most thought put into their tracks.
I actually wrote something about it here

Chaos;Child

It’s a mix of murder mystery and chuuni, I wrote about this one too
A lot of the delusions could have been removed, it took me out of it more often than chaos;head. And there’s an awful transition between 2/3 of the way through the plot. But it’s also something I didn’t have to power through, even though chapter 1 was getting close to it. Overall, I think it’s a pretty well written outside most of the subroutes and a few things that could be a deal breaker for some.

Dissapointed

This is separate from the normal disliked. This is mainly something I was excited for and overall I had mixed feelings for

Bokuten

I wrote about this one too
An angel loses her strings on her guitar that she needs to do her job. The main character begrudgingly helps her out while they find how to fix it.
This is from overdrive, and overdrive is my jam. They made Kira Kira and Dengeki Stryker, alongside some other good titles but I felt were lower than these two. Outside of edelweiss(because I never read it), this one is probably the one I liked the least, and it’s still kind of good. There’s just parts that didn’t make sense to me, alongside a route or two that would do better with a rework alongside some chapters that I felt were better off just removed.
On the other hand, I really like how they handled the ending. The tracks are still topnotch, and the lyrics do more justice than some of the routes themselves. Too bad they only show up in the credits

Majokoi

This one has a couple of pet peeves but the main issue was just that I saw people praising it here and there and I just couldn’t see it. A huge frontloading of porn that then gets reused in later chapters aside, it does handle character endings well but it doesn’t really amount to anything breathtaking. And the true ending is kind of laughable to the point it felt like this one jrpg that if said kind of spoils the mood of this one alongside probably not wanting to read it anymore.

Disliked

I’m not putting in some of the titles because they ended up being either nukige titles or evns that I thought were going to be bad but I was curious. Sometimes they end up being pretty good but not the one this year.

Clannad Side Stories

It’s the most fandisk I’ve seen in awhile where it’s a bunch of side stories of specific characters. And it’s not all that bad, there’s a mix of really good ones and some I question what they were thinking. It’s here solely for the last story where holy shit these two get an award for bad parenting decisions.

Yotsunoha

They tried an idea of going back and forth from the present and their memories years ago but they ultimately failed. It’s just hard to do when you’re also trying to make a branching path. I felt a lot of it was really dumb and the best route was the first one. There’s a strong moment near the end but also fucks it up pretty soon after that. I wrote about this one here

Weird ones out

These are ones that could have hit the most liked but they didn’t impress me enough

Angel Beats First Beat

Adapted from the anime, pretty rare for that to happen. I think it’s better than the anime, but at least the anime ends even if I think is completely rushed in the last two episodes.
This one will most likely never get finished. They also use the route from the anime in here. They had too much ambition and tried to plan out too much. This could have been a two parter but I think it was going to be 6 of them? The amount of choices this vn has is just on the first episode is already daunting. Some of the jokes don’t really land well compared to the anime, but it also has like five times the amount of jokes and most of them are fine. There’s even small side routes for Noda and Hisako, alongside some better world building that Key usually adds in to hint what’s actually going on. But the options, holy shit. Even the guide I was using felt like I was reading an instruction manual to build a laptop.
I was actually writing about it and it never panned out, maybe I’ll try it again one day.

Making Lovers

Just a dude who has a weird standard for love, removes some of the shackles and gets together with one of the girls.
Generally I don’t give much credit to pure moege, because it’s junk food to me. But while it has its moments, the two smee titles I read(it’s 3 now in 2021), they’re more like dumb comedy than anything else. Fureraba kind of lost the comedy aspect once you hit a route, but since ML doesn’t really have a common route, the comedy never really ended. So it wasn’t a vn about cute looking characters that do cute things but just random people do stupid shit to each other with a couple of sweet moments in each route.

Everything else

I have praise for some and indifferent to others, it’s just those that didn’t give a huge response either way

Kami no Rhapsody

A different eushully game. It respects your time a lot more than Kamidori did, but there’s a lot less to do and also a lot more braindead. A lot of the side objectives can and probably should be ignored after awhile. You do get stat bonuses once you complete a whole section but it’s not overly necessary, maybe only for the ng+ boss. The plot isn’t as great as Kamidori, but it still has a vast variety of the characters and they’re interesting more often than not.
I think the largest nitpick I had with it outside of gameplay was that I thought the weapons also being instruments would have a larger point throughout the story and combat instead of just here and there.

Onii-chan Asobo

Some evn, nothing really remarkable in there. It was kind of supposed to be a joke I was doing where I’d read what looks like really dumb vns and it kind of stopped after one. But it wasn’t that it was so terrible that I quit the joke, it just stopped being funny to me.

Senren Banka

Another Yuzusoft title, it’s not my favorite but I liked it more than Sanoba Witch. The common route actually goes somewhere and the side routes are still pretty good. Surprisingly Lena was my favorite route, it had the most plot going on. My favorite design was Mako but it kind of got thrown into the trash when I hit the route.

Real Life Plus

It’s one of those start from childhood to adulthood. It’s not well done, but the weeb route was pretty funny at least.

Location Love 1

It’s a kinetic moege. It’s not bad but it kind of feels like a nukige to me. Frontwing is becoming a really hit or miss company for me. I feel like they have some pretty cool titles they can bring over but maybe only these sell well enough.

Koi ga Saku Koro Sakura Doki

Another moege. It’s kind of middling, I think the art is the best thing about it. It’s pretty cute but a lot of plots are kind of whatever to the point where I found a lot of the side characters to be more interesting. An and Tina were the better of the bunch since it hits back to the main character.

Catgirl & Doggirl Cafe

A nukige title. I try to put in one a year, I didn’t see the developer. I really don’t like Norn, lol. The MC is just a guy that got isekai’d and asked to be a chef.

Majikoi A3

I honestly don’t like Tsubame’s character. I guess a lot of people didn’t(?) because there’s she has two routes where she’s really submissive for some reason.
Stacy and Lee were funny though. I’m kind of looking forward for A4 because of Homura, she and the rest of the 10 warriors were pretty cool in S but not brought up much.

Mamiya: Short vn review (updated 6/05/2021)

So this is a short one because it’s one of those you just kind of have to read it to see if you like it or not. The closest thing that I’d compare it to would be something like chapter 4 in Umineko. Where overall it’s interesting but there’s sections where you wish it would have been shortened but it has a good payoff in the end.

I don’t know much about the writer of this one outside of that they made a boys love vn, and that this one wasn’t one of those. It still felt like one to me, but I guess just having undertones is a good enough pass for people outside of that genre to give it a try. It’s not my first go at one, and honestly it’s now three for three on having interesting plots(though one of them wasn’t really my cup of tea). Though it is the first one I tried expecting something like that.

The soundtrack is all over the place. Which normally sounds like a negative connotation but it wasn’t messily put together, it just had a diverse selection. Sometimes it was a bit too artsy fartsy/on the nose for me, but those are rare occurrences. I appreciate the occasional classical track, and when to switch it up to hype up other scenes. It also understands when to not put a track at all to make specific scenes stronger. I’m honestly surprised they’re not in the extras, or even a soundtrack dlc.
I don’t have much to talk about for the sprite and art work, it’s just not my field. Yeah the boys look pretty, but I don’t know if other titles have are hitting a whole other plateau, but I don’t think there’s anything to complain about. I can say that they do convey the mood correctly, and I always appreciate a continuously changing title screen.

So the plot is split in two parts, Fall Down and Down Fall. Each have a set of routes for the same characters. And that alone can be kind of annoying or repetitive and it did get to me at points but I just went through it because I wanted to see what was next. The routes are kind of meant to be done in order for the first section, so Ryou,Toujou,Mori and then Keito. Mainly because Ryou is the best starting point and he leads to Toujou or Keito well, and Tojou leads to Mori. Though I like the idea of changing Mori and Toujou’s play orders. You lose some novelty to gain something else. Though the only one I really liked was Ryou’s route. Keito technically has some of the more interesting concepts but he’s also kind of annoying, he’s also best to leave last in my opinion.

You get formally introduced to the central character in the end of Fall Down, but everything worthwhile is in Down Fall. The problem with the 2nd set of routes is that a lot of them are pretty toxic and I’ll talk about that later. The 2nd set of routes can be taken in any order. And when given the chance to choose for the third set, pick the second and then the 4th after the first completion. You can do the others if you want but they’re not that interesting by comparison.

This is one of those vns that surprise you more the less you read. It’s still fun to go through and it’s subtle enough to not be blatant but also isn’t pulling anything from their ass, for the most part. And I’m sure there’s at least something that can surprise you. All in all, I gave it a 7+1 if you don’t mind some of the routes like I did. It was a fun read and I’m looking forward to the sequel. Hopefully it cools off from the vocal tracks trying to make you feel something when the scene was written well enough to support itself. The Mamiya sections were my favorite, alongside the protag’s struggle against him. The librarian is pretty cute too.

So for the spoiler section nitpicks.

The initial set routes have an annoying 3 or 4 liner in the end from the spectator. It’s the same in each one, it felt like something I’d read from a Neil Breen movie. That and and the scene that ends Fall Down to DownFall could have been its own small intermission in between the chapters.
It’s done a lot better in the second set of routes. Even though it’s still the same lines, it’s trying to hammer a few points but the most prevalent is just about asking what happens after the happy ending and closing their respecting story.
The toxic relationships in the 2nd set of routes just made me feel like I was reading a young adult’s novel sold primarily to horny women. It was generally just making the protag as an outlet of some sort of abuse to save the other. It’s more of a personal nitpick, I’m just not part of this demographic.
Mori has the least going on, even though it’s a good subject. I felt like maybe he needed a few more pages just to push it over the edge. While Ryou has a lot of shit going on, I feel like he’s the posterboy for this one, even his Mamiya is the most interesting of the bunch.
Both Touma and Nigaki should have more scenes added to them and a better thought out connection between the two groups. I felt it hit hard because I chose Arisuguwa first, and that was a cool reveal and made more sense than the previous two.

This is a future edit. I was thinking about Mamiya again, and I remember not putting in a point because I wasn’t sure but it turns out it was the way I was thinking about it. So a nitpick I didn’t add here before was that it didn’t really feel necessary to have to read all of the routes from 2nd set. Again I’m not in the demographic, other people might’ve liked all the routes, but I mainly enjoyed the spectator sections. If only 2 of any of the 4 routes were required, I might’ve just given it the 8. But this could also be something to akin to all this matters in the end when the plot is actually finished.

Musicus: Visual Novel Review and rambling

So I finished Musicus in April, it’s the final vn from overdrive, and you can feel that. I’ll be mentioning Kira Kira around in a few areas since it’s where it all began. You don’t necessarily need to read Kira Kira first, but there’s a few subtle references while also having a particular important character that originates from there. I’ll bring up Dear Drops as well, but much less so since it doesn’t affect Musicus but you can use it for some points. (There’s also Bokuten/CaS but honestly they’re not important and it’s a different genre).
I gave this an 8, or a 7+1. The overall route quality and themes are much more consistent than Kira Kira yet still manages to be obtuse at points and provides a lot of background info that is somehow less relevant than Kira Kira’s tour. There’s going to be minor spoilers everywhere, I’ll put the heavier stuff with a notation by the end.

Before even going to the plot summary, it’s just easier to say each title has their character in a different starting position. Kira Kira has wishy washy guy that has no knowledge on music, ends up forming/joining a punk band for a school event with the rest of the literature club he was ghosting. They introduce a more pure version of what punk really means, end up doing a summer road trip and playing in venues. But it’s not meant to be a new lifestyle, it’s just to experience something new and then go back into the grind.
Dear Drops has a pro who’s denying that path only to get sucked back in with a different genre and eventually gets closure of what’s ailing him.
Musicus on the other hand has a serious kid that’s more logical and robotic than anything else and continuing the family profession, only for some unfortunate events that gets him kicked out of school and eventually gets him invited to a live performance for a writing piece and that impacts him harder than anything he felt before. Thus causing an inner turmoil between staying on his narrow road or changing his whole career path to becoming a musician.

The overall tone is the heaviest of the three and is more focused on how shitty everything can be, sometimes to the point it’s being hammered in far too long. The art is subjective, it’s not as clean as Dear Drops and not as charming as Kira Kira(if you’ve been reading long enough that that type of art style doesn’t bother you).
The vn is nvl based, and it’s awkward depending on when you started reading these. It’s kind of rare honestly, but there’s been quite a few popular ones that anyone from the late 90s to early 2000s at least read 1 or 2 of them. It’s a dealbreaker to some but I never really cared, and some novels likes this one does benefit from this style.
The music is in the same bag. I gave Dear Drops more or less a cold reception, so it’s the least “good” of the three for me. And whilst Musicus has some bangers I still put it under Kira Kira’s top tracks. But in terms of the bgm I can remember, Musicus has a track called destruction that tops them all to the point I wished it had 3 versions of it and I’ll talk about that later. There’s also Untitled but that’s spoilers everywhere you look so I’ll talk about that later too. And in terms of transitions during band performances, I think it’s the worst of the three but that’s most likely budget constraints. It had one that was pretty decent, one that’s better but also only had one transition, and an emotionally manipulative one near the end, and it’s my favorite of the three and I’ll talk about that later too.

I think the fan favorite track is Gura Gura, and it’s hard to disagree. It has the emotional tie to a few routes that basically puts it as the title’s theme song. But I think people sit on other tracks due to it like “A song to start with” due it’s tie in and that it reflects another path. I feel like it’s the other theme specifically for Kei. There’s others that have a similar force like Pandora and Magic Hour, but they all reflect to a dumb choice near the end of the fourth route. This is just nostalgic bias, but I liked Everlasting the best, but it’s not played in the plot. But if it was something played in the radio, I’d put in Yagihara’s track, it’s the Endou Misaaki track, it’s almost cheating.

The most well written ending is the 3rd one as it connects points from the common and Ozaki routes(and the others too in a different sense that can be applied in reverse) to the point the route should’ve been called something else that I’ll mention later. It’s better to mention that route 3 and 4 come from the last choice and it’s meant as the final split so each can be considered the final route, I’ll talk about it later. The worst route was Meguru, solely because it was the middle of the road route. I would go as far as saying you can remove it and it doesn’t change much. It has something but not enough to do anything with it. The route itself was fine, the track is great and can be pointed in different directions but I could just just use the 4th route for the same thing.

The worst character in terms of personality and screen time is by far Kaneda. While he doesn’t have the worst moments, he has so much screen time that it’s to the point where every one funny moment he’s given, there was another 6 where he was being a tool. He finally becomes a decent person in the 3rd route, which is short lived since he’s back to being a shitty person in Mika’s route. Even with all that, he’s pretty important just as a literary device. I don’t really have a favorite character this time around, there’s some character and personalities I liked but they don’t really affect the plot so it becomes a huge tie. So I guess it defaults to Hanai.

The pacing is pretty bad at times but nothing to the point where I have to power through it, though it’s worse if you’re not into heavy monologues because it keeps on going. It’s kind of the nature of nvl, it’s pretty shit if it was all spaced out. A lot of the nitpicky parts generally get pointed to either lack of budget so they don’t have a sprite for what they’re explaining, or that the narrative is mainly portrayed as Kei talking about it all. You can tell since when other characters are talking, it all sounds less stilted. And eventually you get used to it and don’t even notice it.

Everything after this is going to be spoilers, it’s too much of a pain to dance around it.

Ok so I can actually talk about it now. For the first thing, Ozaki’s route is the “normal” route where Kei keeps on his initial plan of becoming a doctor. But don’t skip it because it’s almost integral to the 3rd ending, and honestly helps every time he’s considering if he should just quit. Ozaki’s route is just a longer version of Kira Kira’s school section without the punk hijinks but also including a huge amount of characters in there. Some of them ended up being my favorites but they’re really not relevant outside of a few sections near the end. The added drama in there isn’t anything new but it was still well done and believable considering Kei’s attitude towards music. Again, it’s just Kira Kira’s first section done differently and longer. There’s a specific character I want to talk about, alongside another character that’s only mentioned, but I’ll leave it till the 3rd and 4th ending. There’s also a little snarky line where Kei says he’ll try being a musician in his next life, leading to the 2nd route.

But before actually getting into Meguru’s route, I should say that while Musicus is technically about Kei and Mika, there’s a huge emphasis on Hanai. I’ll talk more about it later. It’s a just a note to say that Ozaki’s route is where Kei is the most detached from Hanai’s mindset.
Now Meguru’s route is kind of weird, because while she was Hanai’s band member, most of the route doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the themes to me. At most she represents the middle ground where she needs music but isn’t in the whole what is the “ideal of what is good music”. As long as she can play, then it’s good enough for her. But it’s to the point where I would change the plot after her route for my own tastes, and I’ll also talk about that later. Now there is a pretty cool section near the end of the route in Kei’s dreams. It’s not pivotal to the plot, but I also can’t do it right so you’re just going to have to read it. It was pretty interesting and I was surprised it wasn’t addressed again later.

In the third route, or Sumi’s route, Kei tells Mika to pursue an opportunity she was given to become famous.
And now I get to talk about a lot of the crap I kept saying I’d talk about later.

So for the emphasis on Hanai, they point it out quite a few times in the plot itself, where Kei is just the new Hanai. Every route could have been Hanai if he chose a different mindset for each route. And that’s why I don’t really like calling the 3rd route the Sumi route, when it’s more of a “Hanai’s ideas and mentality” route. Where Kei’s mindset morphs to something dangerously close to how Hanai feels while also realizing how much Kei affected him even though he was just trying to help. This also brings back a part in Ozaki’s route where she loved her dad even though he devolved into a useless cog of society and inserted all his energy and soul into his paintings. And whilst Kei was shitting on him in his thoughts for doing that to her family, he becomes the same thing; that Hanai was the same thing. That what Sumi is doing to Kei, is what Kei did to Hanai, and what Ozaki and her mom did to her dad. It’s just to the point where you have to create a line from profession, personal hobbies and life. It’s to the point where actually having Sumi is kind of redundant, technically just placing Ozaki back into his life would do better and cause a better comparison on how fucked up Kei became.
So let’s change gears for a bit; Fuuga is introduced really late, since she replaces Kazaki, the other drummer. Technically she was also replaced in Meguru’s route with someone from Rei’s band. Fuuga is funny, and has a great part but I’d like it more with a different character that had more time. So let’s say we swap Kei’s position in Ozaki’s route from drummer to bassist and put Ogawa as the drummer(though it would kind of affect the 1st route a little since actually having to learn drums is harder than going from guitar to bass). Contrivances aside, I want to replace Fuuga with Ogawa. It’ll make sense if you read Ozaki’s route and the first part of Sumi’s. Fuuga’s breakdown makes sense, but it’d also make sense with Ogawa and I would’ve felt it harder with how bad she was originally and how she depends on music to branch out. So it’d make sense why she was driven to that breaking point in Sumi’s route. This could also put Ozaki back in the picture to replace Sumi. Just so Kei could be there just to fuck her up just as much as her dad did, only for her to support and love him all the more for it and continue his selfish lifestyle.
So anyways, Sumi’s route is probably what everybody will like, it has Setoguchi written all over it. I wish he wrote more frequently. And it’s where the Destruction and Untitled tracks are from. It’s to the point where Kei has surpassed Hanai on how fucked up he can go, that he uses the last of energy to write down his own musical epitome. But instead of a final plead for help, it’s the misery of Kei with mishmash of “A song to start with”, Gura Gura(wobble/loose), siren’s screeching, and the wailing of his kid. There might be more in it, that’s just the ones I hear. It could honestly be all of them.
Another point is Kaneda being the absolute foil for Kei. Everything is swapped. While Kei was responsible hard working one with a band that can be potentially big, Kaneda was being the loser that’s pulling everybody else back. So throughout the plot it was a constant tug and pull of trying to make one relax more and the other to at least practice and get a job. At the end they failed to meet in the middle and did a whole reversal where Kei is an even bigger shit than Kaneda was. Kei has his own band that’s doing well and he even asks Kei to join even though he knows it’d kind of mess it up somewhat financially. He got a job and is taking care of his family. Kei is just mooching off of everybody he knows so he can continue his music and find out the essence of what good music is and create it.

Anyways, Sumi route is done. Mika’s route is kind of boring in comparison outside of a few points. It’s just them finally getting famous. Mika loses her ability to sing due to trauma and lives a more normal life, and Kei accepts it as their finale and they’d just spend their time together. There’s a well done emotionally manipulative scene near the end where Yagihara is finally playing again. Kei and Hanai have a heart to heart talk, leading to the other Hanai ending where he doesn’t drown in his sorrows. Where if he just had his own flower then maybe things would’ve been ok. Where it doesn’t matter that music can be explained scientifically and it’s all bullshit, because they still need it and how those worries don’t really change anything.
And that leads to Mika saying the same thing before Kei can even say what happened. Then for a last stand, tries to incorporate Yagihara’s way of thinking. Of how there’s multiple mindsets to singing, to one, to everybody or maybe just for yourself. So she sings with Kei in mind to prove that she can also make me people cry just as both Hanai and Yagihara did. And then they fuck it up.
So now Mika can sing, doesn’t have to think about Kei anymore, it was just needed as the initial trigger. They’re technically broken up because she feels like she’s cheating on all the fans. The concept of Dr Flower, where it was a joke on the Hanais being the flower and Kei’s chosen profession. Then evolving to maybe Hanai and then Kei looking over Mika and providing everything to see how much she can grow, to finally devolving the symbolism of how the Doctor has no knowledge outside of flowers, so do they have nothing except how to make and perform music. It’s a constant theme of continuously improving the composition, creating new songs to not stagnate all so Mika can grow and perform in larger and larger areas. But no, it’s all about how everybody in the band are doctors of music because they can’t do anything else.

All in all, I had fun. Kira Kira had better highs, but Musicus is a lot more consistent. Try it out, maybe hold off on dropping it until a few hours after Hanai shows up.

Chaos;Child: Visual Novel Review

Actually making a video of this, I just don’t feel motivated to do it, and I got annoyed that this was done for over a month just sitting here and delaying my annual “what I liked” post. I’ll embed it here when I get around to it
This is on Chaos Child, a loose sequel to Chaos Head, something I find gets more hated than it deserves. Maybe some of it is based on the meh anime? You can skip it overall, you’d miss some references that can make this one more enjoyable, but if you tried and disliked it that much, it’s not a deal breaker for this one.

I put it as 7.5 with a -1 if you dislike the genre, and up to 8 if what I’ll nag about isn’t a big deal for you. I honestly don’t like using numbers, but it’s always an easy way out, I think I wrote about it before. But the main point I’d like to convey is that a 7 is a really good score.
Anyways, back on topic. Chaos;Child can be summed up pretty easily. There’s a series of deaths happening that are happening that is similar to the previous title’s Generation of Madness. The lack of evidence or leads have the cops stumped, and our local know-it-all Takuru wants to figure it out with his pack of friends to show that he’s a “right-sider” while also having a scoop that gets views for his club.
It’s quite a fun read, I had an easier time reading it than I did chaos;head whilst sharing a similar mood, it’s part of the point. The character design is average, it’s quite good but there’s also nothing rememberable for the most part. But to be fair, I also find it better than Chaos;Head, and Sasaki did both. You might’ve watched some anime that had him back in the day, but myself;yourself is probably the most recognizable one. The art itself was a highlight for me though, especially the background. It’s pretty funny when someone says Steins;gate, I remember the character art, but for Chaos;child, it’s all about the backgrounds. I’m going to put some examples, all going to be spoilers. So you can look away now, then come back.
The soundtrack is also quite good, if you’re into the more atmospheric approach it takes. And some of the vocal tracks jump in the appropriate times.

But there’s still issues with it; the return of the delusions aspect from chaos;head, a somewhat detective sections where you choose options to continue the plot, the quality of the sub routes and the pace breakers.
I’d find the delusions to be a downgrade overall, not only are there too many in the first chapter, there’s just too many that are based on his libido. And it’s not even that they’re all bad, there’s two later on that I found pretty funny because he was going over the top, to the point where I felt where I was reading some Okabe side skit. I took a look at a guide, there’s 12 delusions in chapter 1, the runner up is 6, and that’s the joke one where he keeps trying to solve the problem and it backfiring. Otherwise they’re 4 delusions and below per chapter. It feels more like stamping out a requirement than trying to make it work. And it could always be the case that chaos;head’s delusions were equally as bad and I just remember the good 6 of the ones I remember.

The detective sections was a good idea, it keeps the readers engaged and is a good recap. But for the most part, the answer was either given to you a line before the options were displayed, or it was really obvious. I got the perfect answer achievement without knowing that existed. I’m not sure if that get 10 or 20 wrong answers is even possible unless you’re purposefully going for it or you want to fail and see what dialogue comes out of it? And this one is a tangent out of this, but some can also be annoyed at the whodunnit in the aspect that you’re not really supposed to figure it out, or it could be that I didn’t notice it. They just foreshadow it a few hours beforehand until it gets brought up in the plot, and that’s done consistently. You can kind of tell who it is just via feeling and gut instinct, but maybe some of twists will get you.

spoilers after

And now that I broke my own pacing I can talk about the plot’s pacing, and this is where all the spoilers start coming in because it pertains to the routes. You see, the prologue in both of these novels start with shit hitting the fan, it’s the classic hook. In this one an earthquake happened a hellscape emerges and presents how everything is fixed and where the characters are placed at. Then flashforward and you see someone die in some horrible way; you know more or less how it happened, but you don’t know who. You’re intrigued, the another case happened, pretty quick succession but cool. And then you’re introduced to the main character, and the first delusion happens, and it’s smoochy central on the childhood friend, why? Then it’s a decent amount of school life and I get it, it’s all exposition, but I want to go back. And honestly it’s harder than in chaos;head, because Takuru does have more initial connections than Takumi, you have to introduce them and they’re all shown fluidly. You see what they’re about and how they interact with the MC, and then it’s smooth sailing for awhile. And my major gripe is that chapter 1 could’ve been split in half, which would then drop that huge delusion counter.

But anyways, back to the routes. You don’t start with a route per se, the common route itself is a full route. You can see it as the bad route, and it is in most perspectives. The other routes have to be read for the true end, and how to get some of them are kind of awkward. Most of them are just about picking good delusions for the route you want, while also bad delusions for the others. But sometimes you need one or two good delusions for them? But the gist of it is they’re awkwardly placed, especially when there was an opportune time to place all of them and remove the choices to begin with, and this would remove you having you to go through the plot and mapping mode 4 times. Worse yet two of them are pretty bad. Hana’s route, while funny due to some chaos;head cameo banter is a waste of time outside of Hana herself. Uki’s was laughable as I’m not sure if the mini mystery was meant to stump anybody(maybe it’s harder in japanese), but the anagram was so basic that I just thought how did no one notice? Hinae’s was pretty ok, but also still weird when it’s mostly SoL right after the climax from the main plot.
And honestly it’d be pretty easy to fix it because there’s a specific spot you can put all these in, and it’s when Takuru’s tortured in the void of 0 senses. Like Serika is keeping him together, trying to give something to do and make him happy, so it’d be easy just to give him these delusions with useful tidbits she got from reading their minds beforehand. Then comes the climax and technically the bad ending. Then Nono’s story(which was quite good and leads pretty well into the final ending), then the somber ending. This goes well with the reveal and gives a high contrast between the common story climax and the real ending.

And the ending is the thing I find most conflicting. Because it’s well done, it fits things into place, it explains why these kids can do what they do, and why Takuru was different. It destroys what Takuru originally wanted to be and fits in all the times the novel places him in the position of distain and pity. It’s the juxtaposition of it all, because in the end what’s best for everyone and what leads to the best outcome is him being a normal person, not a right sider or a hero, just a normal guy that is useful but also needs help from others time to time. He finally became content right after he lost what he always wanted, to be special and have attention from his normal peers. But outside of that, it’s also boring and a somber way to go even if that’s the point. Because there is one final altercation, but it’s so boring and it could’ve been done better. Like, maybe Takuru was off from time to time in the ending, and saying it was nothing and just continues on. Only for Takuru to explain what’s going on to Mio when shit was going down when she was creating the cure. For the main bad to show up just then, and make the deal when everything is going down, and then never seeing him again for the remainder was badly done and honestly boring. Instead of him occasionally trying to screw with Takuru only to see that’s not really fazing him much and he’s keeping his convictions to the end. Would it still be a somber ending, yeah because nothing really changed, but at least it’d have some hidden fight between the two, one of attrition and who gives up first, to see if he can keep up with his character development or will he break soon enough.

Yotsunoha: Visual Novel Review/ramble


So I finished Yotsunoha recently. If you just want to know what I gave it as a rating(there’s going to be spoilers), I gave it a 5 that’s closer to a 6, or like a D+, it has its moments but overall there’s a lot better to choose from. I also took out part of what I wrote because it was more angry ranting so I made it a little more concise(it’s still a little long)

I came in without knowing much, and it’s kind of a mess. It’s similar to those types of movies where they start near the end and then 9/10 of it are showing how it led to where they are now. So the protag’s school was shutdown, you and your friends went to different schools and it’s been a couple of years and you’re having a small reunion for a time capsule, and while you’re looking for clues, it keeps doing flashbacks of stuff that happened in their school life. And that’s not a problem from the getgo, but it is harder to do well, and they didn’t do it well.

So there’s four “routes”, but each route has an A and B divergence. And you only unlock B after A, and B can be considered a more ideal path for the two characters. Coupled with that, you’re forced into a route order. And there’s “some” plot reasons for it, but honestly it could’ve been done in any order outside of one. Each have very 90s harem level of tropes and it does get annoying pretty fast, and the protag is equally if not more so at fault. But the routes are the glaring issue, for me; Because the divergence isn’t based on your actions in the present, but what the protag did in the past during school. But if they really wanted this branching, you might as well just started the plot during school and have the reunion as an afterstory. It’s like if you add a best friend and you spend a lot of time building him up, but then in the 2nd route he has a personality shift. And it just makes it a weird cognitive dissonance thing; Where 1 out of the 8 routes, they’ll act like completely different of what you’re used to.
Outside of that, the main issue with the vn is that the quality is hugely inconsistent. There’s good moments in here, and sometimes it continues for awhile, but other times it just goes back to me wanting to drop it. Like near the end of the vn, there was a pretty good scene(sure it’s technically cliche, but these things exist for a reason and as long as you do it well it’s a great moment), but then there’s a few more hours leading to the end and it’s all anticlimactic.


All in all, they tried a different way of telling a story but it just didn’t work out well this time. The characters are tropey as hell, but some of them are still honestly charming. Sadly my favorite was the first route. There’s randomly good story beats during the flashbacks but ultimately don’t really do much with them.

Visual Novel Review: You and Me and Her: A love story

I was actually planning on talking about Angel Beats for this month but I randomly finished this as well. It’s just going to be referred as Totono for the rest of it because the title is too long.
I’ll talk about spoilers later on and I’ll mark it when it happens.

So the art quality varies from person to person. Some like it really clean and streamlined and it’s perfectly cool and you can see they just tried to put in a quality product. But having some odd art style makes it memorable, like the scenery in Symphonic Rain, or Stein;gate. In this case, most of the cg looks like it was made with some chalk pastel and it might’ve been a pointer of what’s happening but I’ll talk about it in the spoiler part.
The ost is mainly piano pieces and they work to convey what’s happening. The title screen uses Liebestraum #3, Love Dream which is a normal 3 parter that follow pure, passion and the third one is kind of a spoiler. It’s basically spoiling you from the start.
Anyways, outside of the piano themes and the mood setters, the vocal tracks are quite lovely. Well, all but one but honestly the setting was weird so I guess it fits?

The plot is self explanatory just from the title. Your guy is kind of a loser that’s too scared to risk doing anything, there’s an understandably overly strict childhood friend and a mentally off girl that you befriend in time and it eventually develops into a love triangle. And the enjoyment comes from the gradual development and deterioration each character goes through.
And there’s the classic male friend for a palette cleanse, and he’s my favorite character of the bunch.
I’m on the Miyuki side, and I’ll talk about it later.

I’ll put the ranks here and then I’ll have spoilers after the image. And honestly it’s just better not being spoiled, even though you generally expect it from nitroplus.
Common C- until halfway through the first route, then it’s B ~ B+
Aoi: D(with B moments)
Miyuki: A

It’s mainly based on how I look at it. Aoi improves Miyuki’s sections. Miyuki doesn’t improve Aoi’s sections, it makes Miyuki better in Aoi’s sections. Just Miyuki

Spoiler section

So I already said it’d be spoilers before, so don’t blame me if you continue. And I forgot about it for around 2 weeks, lol, and then rewrote a good bit of it still looks off

So the title is referencing the protag and the two girls, but it’s also a pointer to a few other interpretations that get thrown out later.
Like the concept is on protag and user as “me”, and the two girls. But I saw it as Miyuki being the “me”, while the protag and the user being interplaced as “you” giving it a much more vindictive tone on “her”. But all of it gets thrown out in the end where it’s just “you and her” so the “me” was actually the User and Aoi. A part of me would rather have it as “you and her”, and then just “me and her”(or even just me) so the user and the protag finally split in their respective endings. And in terms of endings, Aoi’s felt like one of those outdated woah bro type scenes(maybe I’d like it if I was younger?), but while it’s meant to be sweet, it just can’t unless it’s one of those vns where there’s just one route, otherwise you’re ignoring her for multiple routes and/or getting cucked just for the one route you can be with her(Or she’s all of them at the same time, which wouldn’t make much sense). On the other hand, Miyuki’s ending was really sweet, because now that the user and protag has cut ties, she’s finally hearing the protag’s desires and decisions and knowing everything is going to be ok(more sweet if you believe she kept her memories, ok if she’s wiped). The funny thing is both routes happen at the same time, so you can just be happy(you just won’t know until you did both, and the funnier thing is that makes the final choice not impactful, but it’s the user’s actions that caused it).
The “twist” of it being that some characters understand that their world is a vn is given from the common route, but disregarded due to Aoi being a Chuuni but is confirmed the 2nd time you hit Miyuki’s end.
So now that part is out of the way, that’s why I like the art aesthetic. I saw it as it giving a hint that the scenery wasn’t meant to look plausibly similar to our work, but rather a world in a vn where the characters themselves find that it is the world. And that brings up the theme where the characters, while just data, can try to blur the line and maybe be seen beings with emotions and desires. It’d honestly be funny if the roof cg was the only one that was just a plain photograph they took from atop their building, but it’d also be jarring in the beginning and the characters would end up questioning it.
And honestly, I thought God was just Miyuki fucking around in the 2nd route for the longest time and that headcanon was pretty funny, because even with that I still liked Miyuki more.

So onto the Liebestraum thing, it’s a three parter where it’s based on pure love, changing the theme to passionate love and ending up to love till you die. I’m most likely wrong about it in someway, it’s been over a decade since I was in school. And the story more or less goes on the same beats with each route, and I quite like the subtle nod of what’s to come instead of a carousal stroll in broad daylight that’s something like ddlc did. And I quite liked ddlc as well, just in a different way. You see, ddlc is the better vn in terms of user interaction and technical tricks, but its story is kind of shit. It’s meant to be genre swap/shift, but it tells you before you even start(and honestly I think more people would drop without it because the first act drags a bit). The cues of what’s to come is stapled to your face to the point it becomes a shounen where you know the key plot points but you watch to see what the characters do to achieve them. While Totono is just you watching this character just mentally breaking down and turning into a madman(and it was actually worth doing a 2nd run to do the negative branch because it just kept on lowering her mental state), knowing it’s just a game but to them it’s reality and there’s just this thing wrecking their lives.

Bokuten: Visual Novel Review/rant

So I’ve been kind of lazy and not posting much on this, and I actually had this page up for 4 days straight without any text on it and I’m just getting angry at myself.

I finished Bokuten recently so I’m going to talk about it. It was made by Overdrive, and they’re the shit. They always that one route in each game where you’d feel like the money and time you spent on it was completely worth it(except n/a to edelweiss because I never read it, and I had no idea they made go go nippon, I assumed it was from some meme company like sakuragames), either because it well written or just built with hype with the right tracks.
This one isn’t the case, it came close but it doesn’t have that one high quality route that Kira Kira has, nor the hype of Stryker yet also lacks the route quality control that deardrops displayed even though two of the routes were basically an hour or two.

The art is good, it leans more to a high quality product that others can make, and that’s probably up most people’s alley. I do kind of miss the style they’ve been using for most of their vns, and the others where they’re branching to a more hybrid mix like deardrops. But if I never read any of them, of course I’d go with the newer take.
The tracks are actually pretty good, and there’s a good number of them(there’s 33(there’s a track for the title screen and one for the extras screen), alongside 9 of them having an instrumental and vocal versions(I honestly don’t remember the instrumental ones being played)). But I felt like the majority of the time, it’s playing like 3 tracks. And the track I hate the most is one of them so it was actually a bad time. And on another note, all the vocal tracks barring I think one, are all used for endings is that all the vocal tracks are(for the most part) used for ending credits.

My favorite tracks were Starlit Night, Snow Song and Goodbye Miracle but honestly they all range from decently catchy to just plain good.

Aine is locked until the end. Minamo should be done first, then Yuri only due to slight indications. Naruko leads the best to Aine.

Honestly, the plot quality varies so much that I almost find it interesting because there was only one writer from I’m seeing in vndb. It actually starts out really well in chapter 1, and it kept chugging along decently enough with a dip on 3 and a rise on 4. I felt nothing for chapter 5&6 but 6 isn’t badly written and it does lead well to a few routes.

Yuri’s route is a shitshow where it felt they had nothing to go by outside of that they’re similar just to show how strict and self-punishing Tomoe is. So they’d have to make this contrived plot to make it work.

Minamo’s route is charming yet standard, no complaint on it, and it’s more centered on, stop trying to enforce your self-imposed rules because I’m going to do what I want to. Aine has overall the best of the 4 routes but that’s kind of to be expected.

I’ll talk about Naruko in the spoiler part, and I’ll be spoiling a lot, so I’ll just be putting in scores here

Cast:
Minamo: C+~B-
Yuri: D
Naruko: D~C+
Aine: B~B+

character chapters:
1st&2nd: B
3rd: C
4th: B+
5th&6th: C-

Overall, 6.5~7.5 depending on what bugs you

Spoiler time

So a short stop on Yuri, they wrote it into a corner and had to do something to fix the situation with the little sister, and they picked one of the dumbest ideas where the idea was to force Yuri to be happy by putting herself out of the picture. And that can fit with the melancholy theme it goes with, if there was an ounce of ever caring about that girl. She was a plot tool, and she didn’t even do her job right because Yuri’s out is boring throughout.

So here comes Naruko, the weirdest nosedive in awhile. A lot of her route is melodramatic, but she’s also really cute. Her choice on how to resolve it is pretty dumb, but she’s panicking and doesn’t see a different path, so it’s fine. I actually have no problem with all that.

The kicker is they bring in a new concept with the strings, where anybody that gets a string via angelry(angelery?) is cursed to breakup. Honestly, even that’s fine, especially because they were pointing to that from early on, it shouldn’t be a surprise, but the outcome is extraordinary sideeffects happen just for Naruko. Because the actual point of the curse is that it destroys what you desired. So, Minamo’s “happy” ending, is actually worse off than the other. Yuri will revert back to what she was, except now she’s alone so she’s more of a shell. And again, these are fine to me, it has an utsuge tag, you know what you’re going to get when you bought it if you looked at the tags. But Naruko’s was romance and Tomoe was being by Naruko, so they both kind of work out so the curse should be the basic breakup like the common chapters, where the romance is gone and it’s too weird for them so they stop being around each other. But instead, everybody’s memories about these two ever talking to each other gets wiped off the face of the earth. What kind of contrivance is that? Oh, your parents are moving so we can’t be together(fine), the marriage process didn’t work out(fine), all fine. Basically living in an alternate world where you never met each other, not fine.

I don’t got much to complain about Aine because I’m pretty sure the “twists” were meant to be known by the reader from the start. You’re not going to get surprised that the young girl isn’t Aine. A palindrome of dracula can get some people, an anagram on a 4 letter word, not going to happen. Tomoe changing to an angel is on the title bar. Them swapping positions is also apparent.

But I did enjoy Aine’s route, or at least sections. The song and forgiveness were done really well, the concept that the earth itself has a broken heart and what the shards are were interesting. And it actually ended with a relatively happy ending where it leaves it open-ended so you can do one final choice of yes or no.

And now for final note, I was really expecting Kiyohito to be a dark angel because it does do the necessary steps. For one, Aine is an example that you can be around humans without them noticing she’s an angel. He’s relatively interested in both Tomoe and Naruko from the start, the same as Raios. Put that all alongside his overall personality and how he interacts with other people, I was just expecting a final sup or backslap during the meeting with all of the angels.

Kamidori Alchemy Meister: Visual Novel Review

I was either going to write about this, Nanairo Reincarnation or just shit on Sankaku Renai, and I chose this.
To preface this, I actually took like 2 years to finish this. And it was basically playing for a month, then doing something else for 3 and then finishing Yuela’s route. Then basically a year passed and I got around to the other two routes.
Another note, the srpg isn’t all that hard compared to some other games but if you don’t like it then probably just skip it. Also, if you didn’t like playing any Atelier game, also skip this.

Ok, onto the review itself. Just like most Atelier games, Will’s family(but sometimes it’s a mentor) were alchemists and he’s following their footsteps. Plot points happen along the way but it’s usually centered around him becoming a better alchemist whilst befriending elementals and spiritual beings to help him along the way, and while it’s a no brainer it’s always the case that no one did it before.
So you go into maps, kill monsters, farm for material, create items that you sell. You have to gain more profit than what your rent costs. But not to worry since they give you a cheat area that gets you high experience and sellable item drops. But you’ll be labelled as a deadbeat. Honestly, after 5 chapters I did it, it just speeds up the process.
If that sounds fun, then go for it.

The 3 routes

Now there’s 3 routes in the game, but there’s a lot of other characters inside that’re basically the other people you spend time with. There’s at least one hscene for most of them outside of the NG+ characters.
Personally, I find Emilita to be the easiest of the 3, and Servalwi to be the hardest. The tricky thing is you shouldn’t be doing Yuela’s first since you’re going to miss scenes(she needs to be higher than a specific level and you’re most likely not going to be there). If you wiki what level and just spam deadbeat, then Yuela is the best case for the first route but you’ll find the last few parts a little easier than you should. On the other hand, you can only finish Arena in Emelita’s route, so it’s all up to you.

Emelita has it hard as she’s not great early on, amazing in the middle but lowers by the end of the NG+ stuff, but still great. Her route focuses on why she became a mage instead of an alchemist, her insecurities and centers more on Yuidora and the west.
Servalwi is honestly the worst of the 3 until the end where she spikes up out of nowhere. But until then she’s safety damage and healer. There’s honestly even other support characters that do better than her until you start investing(which is something you can’t do if you’re not one of the 3). Her route focuses on symbiosis of nature and humanity.
Yuela is a beast for most of it until the mid endgame where you have to invest into being an agi dps to dodge, she’s probably going to die otherwise. Her route is based on finding her sister, understanding her past, the east and finding a new home.

All in all

None of the routes are storytelling masterpieces, sometimes even cliche but there’s nothing wrong with that. Emelita had my favorite branching path and while Servalwi’s route wasn’t the most interesting, it did feel like it encompasses Will’s path the most out of the 3. My favorite character is Suina but honestly she drops off on being useful after your first run. And then a 3way tie between Kohakuren, Crayanne and Melodiana but I’d probably lean on the last one

In short, if you like Gust games then you’ll probably like this too. The routes aren’t amazing but serviceable. But the game is stupidly huge, there’s literally around 50~60 hscenes in this, and let’s say each one has around 5 different images of each, that’s still 250~300 out of 1122.

I gave the whole experience an 8, but the story quality is a 6, nothing amazing but completely acceptable when the gameplay is the main focus. But you have to prepare for the grind, especially against some of the new content in NG+ and that actually lead it down to a 7 since I got pissed off at certain points in there.

NG+ content is a beast

The NG content is going to kick your ass. They even give you 4 new characters out of the gate since some of your elementals/spirits are just not going to cut it anymore(two of them are really good).
To be honest, you should probably just ignore most of them instead and just try them in the 3rd run. The ones revolving around Roka can be challenging but they’re a medium level and you can do it.
But the bullshit that is called Lyphia scenario is horrendous. It starts off with a massive slog of something akin to tower defense. Then the 2nd part has a section that has so much charm mob spam with a high end boss and even that doesn’t measure up to whatever they were smoking on the 3rd part. Where the 2 characters are given to you, at a lower than recommended level. The game is over if either of them die, and they will die in 1-2 hits. And the kicker is only those two with their combo skill can kill the boss(where there is like 5 of them mainly bunched together, all with different elemental nukes). So it’s the largest save scum in the game.
Mylen’s section is a godsend in comparison, it’s just a stat/level issue. You’re most likely going to lose in the first NG+.
The final one is pretty cool lorewise and it’s needed to get the final alchemist title, but you basically had to be like level 85 or higher.

Actually on time VNs I’ve read in 2019

Most liked:

Trample on Schatten:

It’s not the most amazing vn; I think I gave it a 7 in vndb since there’s a lot of sex scenes that were not only just jammed in there for marketing, but were also not my taste. Overall it’s just an unapologetic sentai romp and I love it for that. It takes awhile to get there, but the moments are great.

Nanairo Reincarnation:

You’re basically a spirit counselor/detective. You find ghosts who stay on earth and you figure out why and figure out how to make them accept it and ascend.
The side routes are iffy(especially a specific one) but short when you consider a good chunk is the same. The main route is solid though.

Dissapointment/Disliked:

Sankaku Ren’ai: Love Triangle Trouble:

This is a memege, it’s all about the memes. And it succeeds, all the while till the common story ends. Then it’s total shit, the protag just becomes more annoying, sometimes the heroine too. And the thing is, the all ages version might be better, since the most annoying scenes are the porn scenes.

Under One Wing:

This one is the disappointing one. I was expecting a not as good Konosora, but I got a mediocre story and the plane info dump was lackluster to boot. Mimari and Kazusa routes were decent, while Jinno was 90% porn. The art is pretty good though.

The weird ones out:

Dies Irae:

This is edge in vn form, and the fights are pretty cool. But I’m on the fence since the MC is such a huge wet noodle, but then Shirou and Bey are my boys. One of the main villains talks ad nauseam, but I like the other one. The first route is awful, the second route is much better but it’s still far off from what the 3rd and 4th routes provide. And go for the Amentes version, the two epilogues makes it way better than the Acta est Fabula version. One of them actually felt needed to finish the story.

Subarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~ / Wonderful Days ~Discontinuous Existence~ :

Honestly I thought this was going to be one of those “look at me I’m smart” vns, but it was pretty cool. I’m not sure if the Takuji twists are meant to be twists to the reader and I’m assuming it’s not, since Ayana is way more interesting to think about throughout the chapters.
The reason why it’s in here instead of in the most liked is because of the first half of the 3rd chapter and the majority of the 4th chapter. Where I feel like out of the 7 chapters, those two take 1/2 of the vn, and most of it is just the writer having a huge hardon for a specific subject and he keeps going on and on about it to the point where I’m just saying “ok I get it, let’s get on with the story now”. It’s also the two chapters where you experience tonal whiplash and on some level, it’s expected. However, it also felt like the author noticed they focused too much and tried to lighten the mood but it could’ve just been more concise. But if you can get past those two parts then it’s a fun ride till the end. I think I gave it an 8, it would be a 9 or probably even a 10 if those issues I’ve experienced were removed. There’s most likely aspects I just don’t understand since I’m not well-read on philosophy, I’m in the crime and mystery corners.
And now that I see that I wrote this much, it feels like I should probably do a Little Busters and move it to the top even after my grievances, but I feel it’s more interesting this way. I left everything vague since it’s experienced better with a blank slate.

The rest:

In order by what I think was either objectively better or more fun to read

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
This could be on the most liked, and it’s pretty close. But I had a hard time on the first route, Tusugumi is just not interesting and I was assuming there’d be more to her considering she gets the central focus on the covers. Outside of that, it’s generally a fluffy good time. The twists aren’t going to surprise you, but that’s fine since the focus is on the main character. The character I was interested in the most got put as a short side route, but outside of her and the main character, I think I liked Kana’s route the most.
The World’s Most Forbidden Love
Another one that could’ve and probably should be in the most liked. Mainly because it follows an adult with responsibilities, so I can actually relate. The guy is a mess but it didn’t hit my limit, he’s just too much of a good guy for no reason. Some of the routes are iffy but overall it’s a pretty cool vn.
Alchemy Meister
It’s mainly a combo of an easy srpg and an atelier game, and atelier is my jam. The plot isn’t something to write home about, and some of the ng+ levels aren’t tuned well. One of them requires you to not only to use two guest characters to kill 4 bosses(with their own respective element)(they revive if anyone else kills them), they also can’t faint/die at all and the bosses while being in the right level range, will ohko you. But the character interaction is a good time, but it’s a huge timesink if you’re going for 100% cg.
Island
Had potential on being great, but it has tonal whiplash in almost every route. It basically fucks around with the reader, sometimes a concept is presented and talked about for ten minutes and then denied right after by the person who brought it up. It’s the worst near the end of Sarah’s route and has a lot of it in Rinne’s route. The last route that branches into two endings didn’t really need to exist when you can see what the reveal in the first branch of routes. A choice right at the end of Winter that leads to two minor different cg would have sufficed.
If you love me then say so
The choice system is pretty cool in this one. All three characters are annoying in some fashion, but they all have their moments that make them shine. It’s also interesting that once you finish a route, you can go back and get the option to go out with that one earlier leading to more scenes.
Byakko
From the same company as the one above. Some of the characters are better, but there’s also one that pretty much has brain damage. The moments aren’t as good as the one above, but the story is better fleshed out due to it being more linear(I think you can gameover in if you love me).
Fureraba
I came in expecting it’s just a moege, and it completely is, it’s like 100% moe concentrate. But the protag is pretty funny in the stupid kind of way and it was honestly my favorite part of the novel. Hamster girl is my favorite due to a few specific lines near the end. I gave it a 6+2, which means there was nothing really here that surprised or interested me, but it’s great if all you wanted was a moege.
Maitetsu
I saw people that really liked this, but it’s just not for me. The train info dump didn’t get me interested in trains and I’m not into lolis for the most part. The artstyle and music is something worthy to talk about though. I’d say the engine is too, but there’s sections where you can have two characters interact and then it looks off, a cg would’ve been better for those situations. Honestly, get the all ages version. Sometimes it felt like the protage mentally regressed and it was offputting.
Hello,Goodbye
The premise was cool, and there’s good moments in there. But overall it was a lackluster experience. There’s some great tracks in there though, it can pass for persona 4 songs
Love Cube
It’s a porn game, and it does it well. The story while nothing remotely new felt like it had effort considering people would buy it just for the porn.
Chuusotsu: 1st Graduation
It’s not bad but also nothing to write home about. It feels like something I could write.
Minna Daisuki Kozukuri Banchou
Basically a porn game where to take control of all the schools, but all you want to do is make kids so the government will pay you more money. It’s less cool less raunchy rance with different and simpler gameplay.
KuruKuru Fanatic
Yandere the game, it’s basically trolling the reader the whole time. And it’s not down here because of that, I laughed quite a bit but I’d never recommend it unless you’re looking for a kusoge(and I was). The best comparison I can make is like it’s a really bad Drakoi
Tropical Liquor
Basically just a memory minigame with 1 minute scenes. It’s better than Puniyo party at least. But I wasn’t expecting anything anyway.

And that’s my 20 vns for the year. Hurray

Princess Waltz: Short Visual Novel Review


I read Princess Waltz awhile back and I had a good time with it.
Basically you have a couple of princesses duking it out so they can marry the prince. While that’s all happening, the protagonist and the prince are doing their own things.

It has a card battle system that I found in some other VNs but with just more math added to it. Overall it’s still straightforward but the fact that you get more exp the better you do is weird when the fights are limited. If they’re already bad in the easy fights, I’m not sure how they’d manage on the final ones.

The fights are pretty cool and the princess’s abilities are pretty neat, most of them don’t seem overused. On the other hand, the main’s powers are pretty basic in comparison.
The ost is a mixed bag, mainly the battle themes are what you’d remember, but even then they’re not overall remarkable either.

The main drawback is how routes are setup. While they’re there and each character does get their own development(some are minor), it doesn’t really change much of anything in the ending outside of the batch of cgs you get before the finale and the stats. And the reason because of that is because it revolves around the two main characters and the ending technically leaves it open ended to the point where you just make your own headcanon for it. Lun is my favorite, and then probably the loli since she actually stopped being a pain if you picked her.

The vn really feels like Sailor Moon with a dash of fate stay night in there. I gave it a C+ since it was a fun ride for most of it but I can’t say I ever thought about it for a long while.