I finally got through the introduction, which admittedly wasn’t that long compared to games like Hakuouki. But that creepy teacher really annoyed me. Apparently Mizuchi can only have one minamo (what? I thought they all had lots??) so Mikoto has to have a hanafuda battle with his current one, who is a total asshole (of course) and totally fixated on him (of course).
At first Mikoto doesn’t want to, but the teacher goads her into trying.
I’m trying out the teacher because he suggested I train. Of course, I save before choosing.
He gives some more detailed info on stats and tournaments. I reload and go to Momose to see what she has to say instead. She mentions that the fifth Light, Utsutsu, disappeared right after he became a light, which is interesting, though I knew that from the magazines. I’m looking forward to his route the most, actually, he seems the least likely to annoy me.
Then I ask about minamo, and here’s where my blood pressure goes up. Minamo have to be virgins; as soon as you lose your virginity you lose your power as a minamo. However, apparently as long as ‘it’s’ still in place it’s ok. Huh??? I guess women who didn’t have one to begin with, or who broke theirs through non-sex methods don’t exist? Or somehow your power knows when you’ve had sex? But apparently it just cares about the hymen (Momose says ‘some girls’ do other stuff but are still minamo), so…anal sex then? Whatever. I give that particular aspect a pass and try to forget about it. Only to be reminded that though sex is bad for minamo, the closer in romantic terms you are with your Light the more powerful you become as a support. So, like, you need to get close, but not too close? (Cause then you’re a no-good ho-bag, amirite??)
ANYWAYS. Let’s move on. She confirms that each Light only has one minamo, except for Kurenai because he hasn’t decided on one yet. She also says that after graduating, the best students in the game go on to work for the emperor, and most end up in government jobs. This makes me wonder, do they still have their minamo there? Are their minamo doomed to be virgins forever if they need their power? Hopefully I’ll know some of the answers by the end of this post.
I finish talking to her and encounter Aoi(meangirl) in the hallway. The teacher comes after and reminds me that if I win, she’ll have to leave the school. Which annoys me again because, if Aoi is a powerful minamo, why wouldn’t another guy want her? Or is she ‘used goods’ and thus not deserving of a spot at this school anymore?
I’m not using a guide, so I kind of jumped randomly around after this. I visited Mizuchi in the 2nd-year hallway but he told me to basically GTFO because 1st and 2nd years aren’t allowed to hang out together at school (odd rule but ok), and he is all about following the rules.
Then I go to the greenhouse where Mizuchi is watering plants (with his power I think) and I fall down and he very reluctantly carries me to the doctor, worrying all the while that he’s ‘dirtying’ me by touching me. Yup.
After I recover from his screaming fangirls, I decide it’s time to level up, so I head over to the teacher’s room and proceed to kick my way through several opponents. This is the fun part – the game is based on an actual game that I’ve only played a korean version of (maybe after this I’ll get better at it?) where there’s a special deck with various pictures on them, that make up various sets. Depending on which sets you end up with in your hand and play, the point value is different. In this game, it affects the attack value. Of course, the special oni card that chose you makes your attacks stronger than others at the same level, so it’s not too hard. The interface looks confusing at first but it’s quite helpful, showing you what potential hands you have and making the decision-making fairly easy. There are lots of practice battles you can do, and once in a while someone challenges you, and if you win you add a card to your deck.
I spent a couple hours doing that (what can I say, I’m an RPG-er at heart), and then continued on. There was an event with Aoi where she’s a jerk to you in front of Mizuchi and he scolds her, which was a bit satisfying. Until he leaves and she says it’s your fault and slaps you as hard as possible, which has a painful-looking CG. Of course the heroine doesn’t do anything, just looks like she’s going to cry, all the other girls blame you, and I turn off the game for the night.
…Actually no, I did manage to get through that scene, which had some redemption at the end. Aoi is obviously the ‘psycho girlfriend’ stereotype that we all know and love, I can’t wait to see how she attacks the heroine.
…(10 minutes later): I was right, she does attack the heroine but she’s possessed by a monster while doing so (encouraged by her weak spirit of course).
So for the first chunk of playtime, I’m not sold on this at all yet, although the card game is a lot of fun. Mizuchi is fine, I hope the heroine gets to know him much better in the next chunk of playtime I do.
Yeah, I suck for not realizing how late it was, I got 5 minutes into Hana Awase and now I have to go to bed!
First things I notice:
Hey everyone! I wrote this two weeks ago and forgot about it, so since I have no time right now to write a post (though I really need to do a news post!!) I’ll put this up. This game is R18 so beware.
Read the rest of this entry »
I’m almost done 24ji no Cinderella (on thw last character, Linus), and I was just checking out online stores to see what I could order, and Ozmafia is scheduled for Dec 21! It always was listed as 2012 but honestly I didn’t think it would be released until next year. Since it’s a PC game, I can only get it through amiami, so I ordered it. And the website has voices up!
Also, CDJapan has a sale on now, a bunch of limited edition games are 30 or 40% off – it makes me want to buy some, like Mahoutsukai PSP and the Miyako fandisk (even though I haven’t even finished one route!)…and FFXIII-2.
Now off to finish 24ji! I’ve been a little distracted by Persona 4 and overtime at work, but I’m definitely doing a post this week on it. And I’m planning on playing Koezaru this weekend for sure!
A couple of you asked for more info on Ozmafia, so I had a look through my mags and the websites. It’s a PC game by the new brand Poni Pachet. The heroine, Fuuka, has amnesia, and is picked up by the Oz Family. In this city(world?) there is also the Grimm Family, the Boots Family, the Heidi Family, the Anderson Family, the Oscar Wilde Brothel, and the Wolfgang…er, gang. Recently the cast was announced, and there are lots of seiyuu I’m not familiar with, very exciting!
One thing you probably noticed is that it’s by the same artist as Diabolik Lovers. It’s very cute, with shiny eyes and multicoloured hair. I think I’ll actually wait for this instead of getting Diabolik Lovers, since it seems a lot more romantic overall – less of the Do-S thing that is kinda annoying me lately.
Fuuka (the heroine): Hanamura Mitsuko
Caramia: The leader of the Oz Family, he’s good at taking care of people. Shingaki Tarusuke – Gunparade Orchestra Nagano Eitarou, Kite Eishirou in New Prince of Tennis (awesome, I loved that character), and Kabrakan in Bloody Call.
Kyrie: the Oz Family’s advisor. He acts nice but has a black heart (or stomach) and is calculating. Okitsu Kazuyuki – Shinobu in Shiki, Ruskinia Harvess in Last Exile, Gill in Will o Wisp, Setsuma in Kanuchi, Medishus in Death Connection, Don Fitch in Desert Kingdom (I wish they’d re-release that for the PSP, I can’t remember that character)
Axel: a leading member of the Oz Family, he doesn’t do much other than what he’s ordered to. He uses a pistol but it lacks accuracy. Kakehashi Atsushi – Susumu in WagaHana, Kinoshita Mahiro in Bara no Ki ni Bara no Hana Saku, and Kenneth in Suikoden IV
Dorian Gray: the owner of the Oscar Wilde brothel. He might have a route, but not an ending (not sure how that will work, but that sucks!). Honda Hiroyuki – Wild Arms Crossfire – Rupert Dandridge
Alfani: the most popular male prostitute at the Oscar Wilde brothel, he’s a masochist. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an ending. Yamaguchi Kazuya – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Manboy (really?? really): the receptionist and jack of all trades for the Oscar Wilde brothel. He doesn’t have an ending. Awazu Takatsugu – nothing I recognize
Pashet: Fujii Kyouko – no Wikipedia entry that I can find. She has a route.
Robin Hood: the doctor who takes care of anyone without any bias. He has a route. Fujinami Satoru – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood): a leading member of the Grimm family, he’s cool, calm, and doesn’t like warfare. He uses a sniper rifle. He has a route. Ichiki Mitsuhiro – was also Haruo in Magikano, Naoya in Maid-sama, Rejetta in Desert Kingdom (yay!! I loved that game, it was really fun even though it was short), and OMG, the teacher in Tokimemo GS 3!! Daihakuryoku!!
Caesar: the leader of *ahem* the WolfGang. He has a route. Kirimoto Takuya – mostly has dubbing roles, although there are several minor anime roles like Iver in Naruto.
Sou: Caesar’s right-hand man. He has a route.Iguchi Yuuichi – Max Aroze in Fairy Tail, Yoshizawa Atsushi in Ookiku Furikabutte ~Summer Slam~, and Oosaka Shouri in Sket Dance
Hansel (Hansel & Gretel): Enomoto ??
Gretel (Hansel & Gretel): Nozuki Masami – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Andy (the little match girl): Uchiyama Yuki – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Aering: Kurumatani Eri – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Merisasu (Oyayubi Gentleman): Okamoto Mitsu – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Heidi (Heidi): Toyojima Muto – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Wow, a lot of names I can’t find in Wikipedia! It will be nice to hear some unfamiliar voices. Check out their webpage for a bunch of nice pics, and check out the theme song on the Special page, it’s an English band! Article One, with “I Love You More”. It’s still supposed to come out in 2012, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s delayed. I haven’t seen anything about the overall plot, just some cute vignettes.
I’ve heard of this but didn’t pay much attention – there are lots of drama CD series around. But Yandere Heaven is coming to the PC this year, so we can all get stalked and potentially killed by the guys who love us just.that.much.
But hey, since I haven’t read up on it, I could be wrong – it could be an exaggeration. So let’s take a look – there’s still only a teaser for the game (which the pic is from), but there are some drama CDs.
So I went to the site, and did some sample listening. The first one features your little stepbrother Kakeru, and your sempai Atsushi.
When you listen to the samples, they seem to be more about getting rid of the other guy rather than blowing up at you.
Because this was the first edition, released two years ago, I thought I should check out a more recent one.
This one is about a girl, her fiancé, and her butler. This one also seems to focus more on the rivalry, although they do sound kinda crazy when insisting that she only care about them.
Although the characters definitely go into creep mode, in a fictional setting it doesn’t seem so bad.
However, the teaser pic for the game…suggests even more serious craziness. I’ll have to see more about the plot before deciding whether to get this or not.
Sangoku Rensenki was originally a PC game, the first ever put out by publisher Daisy². When I first saw some pics for it, I thought it looked cute, but figured it would be one of those quiet releases that mostly get ignored, especially after it was delayed a couple of times.
To my surprise and joy, not only was it released successfully, but it steadily got really good reviews, despite still getting minimal press, and was consistently on the list for most-wanted to be adapted for consoles. It finally was adapted for the PS2, and will soon be released for the PSP as well. I wasn’t able to get a copy until I went to Japan in October, and I’m finally playing it now – I thought I needed to have a good chunk of time to get into it, and I was right.
What’s it about? Well, it’s a time travel story, normal high school girl gets transported to chaotic era with lots of attractive men. Sounds pretty familiar. The specifics are that Hana, the heroine, is working on a history assignment when an old book about the Three Kingdoms (ancient China) sucks her back in time, I think to AD207. She gets picked up by one warlord, Gentoku, but throughout the game is kidnapped by Moutoku, the current most successful warlord, stays with the last major warlord Chuubou, and also goes even further back in time for a bit and sees the origin of the current situation.
The first time through, you can’t “win” anybody, Hana has to go through the story trying to figure out why she’s there and what she wants to do. Unlike many other time-travel/AU stories, Hana isn’t a legendary priestess and her arrival wasn’t foretold; most people don’t even know that she’s from another world, just that she’s foreign. When she first arrives, a voice tells her to go meet Gentoku and tell him that she’s an apprentice of Koumei, a scholar and strategist. That’s how she gets treated as a guest. The book she read comes through with her, and when she tries to read about what’s going to happen, it’s blank. That is, until she figures out what she wants to happen, and then the book will show how that could work.
I think the game is excellent in a few ways that aren’t common – first, Hana not being expected or treated as a “savior” until she proves herself (by using the book to figure out strategies). Even then, she’s just respected as an advisor, she’s not expected to do any magic or anything. Second, I found that her reactions are very relatable – the first time she’s in the field of war and witnesses people dying, partially due to her own strategy, she’s shocked and almost can’t handle it. Afterwards, it takes her a long time to reconcile what she’s doing and come to grips with the deaths that war causes, which is totally realistic for a young teenager who’s never seen violence up close and is totally unused to war. She continues to struggle throughout the game with moral questions like whether it’s right for her to help with strategies that might cause large casualties for the other side. It’s also really nice how the warlords all have their own moral code – for example, Gentoku is very strict, and will never take existing land from a present lord or heir (this agrees with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms apparently). Hana has to try and stop the war while dealing with everyone’s competing principles, which I thought was much more realistic than many other stories where once someone is convinced, they do whatever the hero/heroine suggests.
There’s also a bonus that I adore during the credits of each route – it shows extra scenes around important storylines where you get to see the guy’s side of it. It’s really great, and I’m glad that it’s shown after everything. There are even CGs just for the credits!
While playing through, I kept trying to find exactly what it was that made this game so good (because it’s good, it’s very good). What makes me want to play through again and again, getting different routes, even though I skip through a bunch of the strategy when they talk about tactics and generals and old Chinese place names? I think in the end, it’s the characterization, of Hana and everyone else. Not only do you have interesting romanceable characters, but lots of minor characters get enough details that they’re sympathetic as people and not just cliches or cardboard placeholders. When I first went back in time the second time and realized it was before the main story (so none of the romanceable characters are around), I was annoyed because I thought it was just a distraction from the main story. But the people you meet there are important in some of the routes, and they’re all memorable, and honestly it was really cool how the writers established how different the atmosphere was in the area just 10-20 years before the main story because of the different political situation.
SO, to make a long story short, I hugely recommend Sangoku Rensenki! Now I’ve gotta go, I have a warlord to romance…
The first game I installed and played on my PC once I got home from Japan was Gakuen Tokkyuu Hotokenser. This little gem from TWOFIVE is only $20 for the regular version(although I got the limited edition which Kureha is holding in that pic above), and it has full voice, great visuals, and a very fun story. Plus, if you’re a fan of slightly cheesy J-rock made for hero shows, some great music.
The heroine, Ootori Kureha, is transferred to a new high school on the recommendation of her ‘uncle’, a good family friend who’s the president of Hotoke Gakuen. On the way to school her first day, she encounters the members of the student council, who are all very popular – Kondou Ryuuichi (CV: Akabane Kenji), the student president, Sumeragi Rikuto (CV: Takagi Shun), the secretary, and Doujima Mitsuki (CV: Kimura Ryouhei), the vice-president. They all kind of get on her nerves, however, being respectively rude, overbearing, and just plain confusing.
She’s not too happy when her uncle calls her to his office and announces that she is part of the school’s own masked monster fighting force, Hotokenser (she keeps calling it Hotoken-man, which the other characters are amusingly offended by), which is made up of the student council. Unfortunately she doesn’t get any real information other than this, and when she goes to the student council room after school, no one even shows up. Part of the beginning story is just her trying to figure out how to transform, since her uncle tends to forget explanations.
After the intro, you choose which character route you want to try. This makes each route really different, and I’d recommend saving Roku (the green Hotokenser) for last, because I feel like his has the most ‘real’ ending. For characters, I’m a sucker for a good-natured jock type (i.e. Rikuto), but they’re all good, and each has three endings, none of which are really bad.
I saw a review of this in Japanese that said fans of shoujo manga would like this. At first I thought it was a bit of a strange thing to say, because to me otome games and shoujo manga are already very similar. But after playing, I totally get it. The plots are very much like a Betsuma or Hana to Yume comic, with all the guys indifferent to the heroine in the beginning, and with various plot twists and sudden changes of heart.
It is kind of short, and the romance is not that pronounced, but it’s a lot of fun, and refreshing if you’re tired of heavy or angsty games. Even the monsters (which are very like the monsters of the week in Power Ranger-type shows) all have distinct personalities in addition to being voiced by well-known seiyuu, and there’s a lot of humour throughout the game. The only part I thought was overdone on that was poor Gomukeshi-kun (the eraser); I thought Kureha was pretty hard on him sometimes.
And one other problem – it needs a fandisk! Once you play, you’ll know exactly who should be a ‘hidden’ character, except there’s no route for him! So please Twofive creators, if you’re reading this (I can dream right?), make a fandisk! I want more. Even after listening to both drama CDs I got with it…I still want more.
Was that upfront enough to warn people away? If not, let me make this clear – this is a review of an adult otome game, with graphic sex in it. If you aren’t interested in those games, don’t read this.There’s also some profanity in this review, so be warned if that bothers you.
Alright, now on to the fun part. I was able to play Tsubasa no Oka no Hime (Princess of Wingfield) recently, and it is BY FAR the best R18 game I’ve ever played. I adore this game, I want there to be a fandisk just so I can support it more.
I’ve played quite a few R18 otome games (yes, they’re still otome even if they have sex in them), and some I enjoyed quite a bit, so what makes this one so different? The characters. I don’t know about you guys, but I am so used to Japanese standards of gender roles and sexism by now that I don’t bat an eye when a male character insults the heroine, especially in adult games where often the insults are while they’re having sex – calling the heroine a whore, ignoring her requests to stop, just generally being a total asshole. Even in the games I mostly liked (like Jingi Naki Otome, about a heroine unwillingly becoming the head of a gangster family), have a lot of problematic stuff in them – the aforementioned insults, questionable consent, and just general dickishness. It doesn’t make me give up on the game, but it can get pretty grating when it’s bad, and even when it’s not as obvious, it’s still annoying.
In contrast to all those games, there is the Princess of Wingfield. (Watch out, small spoilers ahead)
The heroine, Vivian, owns an area of land somewhere in Britain (probably Britain), including a village, rules over it intelligently, and every 19 years, has an epic battle with her nemesis and is reborn. She has done this 99 times, and thus has been around for almost 2000 years. She remembers everything, and because of this is extremely knowledgeable and capable. She also has a healthy libido, which she feels no shame about dealing with with whomever she finds attractive (and vice versa). The servants at the manor as well as the villagers not only accept this but still respect her and are fond of her! In most other games, she’d by typecast as the evil villainess/witch, trying to steal away the hero from the innocent heroine. Or she’d be used by the men and hated by the women until some hero comes along and makes an honest woman of her/accepts her horrible past in return for her being penitent/some other stupid crap.
Depending on your choices, you’ll see different aspects of her personality, but in all routes she not only enjoys sex, but is also assertive and enjoys teasing people. Because of her circumstances, she’s the more experienced one in all the loves scenes, yet at no time – NEVER – does anyone call her a whore, slut, or any other sexist insult. Well, actually there is one character who does, but he’s the Bad Guy so I can accept it as an example of his horrible personality.
So what I love about this game is the characters, and I think the story is quite interesting too. It’s fairly involved, as I found when I was trying to explain to people on the fly while playing it last week, so you won’t get the full story on your first playthrough.
Actually, on the first playthrough, you have to go through the novice butler Christopher’s route. It’s not hard, mostly just choosing who to talk to. The story is standard: innocent falls in love with rake/gets toyed with but eventually wins them over type of thing, but the sexes are reversed and Vivian is the rake, Christopher is the innocent. Amazing how something so simple can be so innovative, because I don’t know of any other otome R18 game that does this.
However, there is very little gameplay to speak of. This is a pure visual novel, so if you are looking for minigames or stat building, this isn’t for you. Most of the choices are simply deciding who to talk to, and then some in-scene dialogue choices that affect the endings.
Other things I like about the game – the art is gorgeous, the music is nice, and the seiyuu are excellent. It’s fully voiced, including the heroine, and I like her voice as well – even during the sex scenes I didn’t find her voice to be too high pitched, and unlike many games, both/all characters are obviously enjoying the action – one of my pet peeves is during sex scenes when the female character has way more lines and is way more…uh…vocal than the guys, who are often totally calm and sometimes even seem bored (even during blowjob scenes, I mean how likely is it that the woman is having a better time than the guys there?!). Not here.
SO anyways, if you haven’t tried this game, or have been disappointed with the over-the-top slut-shaming of other R18 games, you MUST try this. I recommend Tees as my favourite character and storyline, though they’re all pretty good (I haven’t finished Dyse yet).
Disclaimer: This is a review of a visual novel game that I was asked to review and I got a review copy free. This is a mystery, not an otome game, but the main character is female and there is a little romance.
Curse of Slate Rock Manor, by Red Panda Games, is set up as a mystery, but most of it is kind of locked room game, where you start out from the same point all the time and try to figure out the correct course of choices to get to the end. You can’t see the end and solve the mystery until you try 25 different paths (I think there are more than that possible, but there’s a minimum number, I believe, to get the ending). There’s a guide on the creator’s website if you get stuck.
Story: During the intro, you, Delilah, get a phone call. It’s from a woman you don’t know who claims to be the girlfriend of your boyfriend, Trent. She asks if you’ve seen Trent lately, because he disappeared after going up to a place called Slate Rock to investigate ghost claims. After Delilah hangs up, she gets worried about Trent (not to mention wondering what’s up with this other woman, since Delilah is actually pregnant with Trent’s baby (!!?)) so she and her other friend Lyle head up to Slate Rock to search for Trent. Delilah’s relationship with Trent is a secret, so Lyle doesn’t know about it – as far as he knows, the three of them are all just friends. Once they get up to Slate Rock, the real story begins where you choose how to go about investigating the creepy Slate Rock Manor, which is supposed to be haunted.
Sound: It’s fully voiced! The voice acting is pretty good for an indie game. The heroine, Delilah, is the best IMO. The music is suitable but nothing stands out. Sound effects are done well. There’s a great extra at the end, where outtakes are played during the ending credits. Quite fun.
Visuals: The avatars are also very attractive, in an anime style. They have different expressions which fit them pretty well. The backgrounds are based on stylized photographs or simple 3D CG, which makes the characters and scenes seem unmatched, but I stopped noticing it after a while.
Characters: The main character Delilah is pretty likable, although I was surprised she didn’t seem that upset by hearing that her babydaddy-to-be was cheating on her. Then again, there were hints of issues from the beginning, and I don’t think Trent was supposed to have known yet. Lyle was alright, but was a little whiny at times – Delilah was definitely the cool head in that partnership.There are two other characters that are in most of the scenes, the maid and a police officer, and they play their parts well. Officer Dooley was great in a put-upon authority figure way who’s tired of all these stupid kids running around way.
Story: The background story to the manor is interesting, but most of it is told through information dumps and not through conversation. Also, the writing is kind of stilted, so a lot of the suspense and mystery is not as intense as it could be. The story that you actually go through is alright, but the gameplay mechanic makes it kind of choppy. You have to go through the same lines quite a few times so I ended up not paying as much attention as I should have to put the pieces together.
Many of the routes end abruptly on bad ends, but are not very realistic (you’re arrested on trespassing charges and are stuck in jail forever? not too likely), but that really didn’t bother me much, as the point of the game is the mystery, not a realistic drama. The real end was also a bit sudden and over-the-top (and there were some ablism issues), but definitely surprised me.
Gameplay: This is where I think the game falls down a bit. There were a few small things that could have been done that would make this a lot easier and fun to play. First, there’s no skip feature. That means that everytime you start at the beginning and decide to go with Lyle or wait for him, you have to start clicking the enter key many times to get through the dialogue and story. To make it worse, choices come up suddenly and it’s easy to mistakenly hit enter again and choose the first option. There’s no back or history key, so if you make a mistake you just have to play through to the end of that chapter.
There’s also no indication of what choices you’ve made before. Already-read text isn’t a different colour, nor are the choices you’ve picked already. So if you leave this game and come back, you’ll have to go by memory as to what routes you’ve done.
There is, at least, a progress bar when you finish a chapter to show you how much you’ve completed (and so roughly how many more routes you need to do to finish). That’s very helpful.
Summary: I don’t think I can fully recommend this game because of the gameplay issues. The story is interesting, and the voices are a definite plus. I would, I think, recommend it with the caveat that you should play through using the guide from the beginning, so you don’t get frustrated by trying to figure out the different routes.