Since it’s been a long time since I last reviewed something anyway.
As much as I would like to do seperate ones for the games I’d cleared during that, it’d probably be fairer to just do a collection here of shorter ones since it’s not like I’d 100% remember everything at this point anyway for detailed ones (as instead there’s links to twitter moments for mid-playthrough stuff instead if available).
”ENIGMA:” by Uzumeya
Plot: ”Follow the adventures of Chester, a man who finds himself washing ashore on the secluded island called Carlyle. Without much else to do, but explore it doesn’t take too long the learn of the misterious forest called Enigma – the place that has the same name as the disease that’s been randomly spreading around the world without a cure that had found Chester himself as the next victim.”
Not really a dating sim but more of a ‘enjoy the setting/story’ type of game that’s also available in english (won’t say anything on how good/bad the translation is since the version I played was the original).
And well…suffice to say, I ended up enjoying it a lot. It was the type of game where after going through the longer demo (that offers 2 of the endings for the 1st character story you’re locked into seeing) I immedialy had to pick up the full game to see how things proceeded from there.
Characters didn’t feel like cases of like/dislike as much either with Chester just being a thing to experience due to the amount of moments I could emphatize.
The lack of voiceacting might seem like an issue but the visual presentation seemed like it made up for that a lot by having the sprites feel more animated (ie switching midsentence/silently flickering between multiple ones as a sequence of reactions to something…so even if the reason wasn’t a lack of funds to hire people due to being more of a hobby circle, the difficulty of programming the voice clips to match the exact timing would have been another giant issue)
The story itself might be one place I could see it being not a thing for everyone since…well. It’s about watching the last moments of a person slowly dying from an incurable disease.
Not exactly the most pleasant type of topics, that.
Would I still recommend people to at least try it out? Yes
The demo for it is not that hard to get since it’s on freem , nico has a playthrough of all the demos (alongside other stuff released by the group) for those that’d rather have someone voice it…and en ver as far as I’m aware offers the full default character route in it’s demo (if some character tones may feel different due to how localizations work and Chester being all about wordplay hijinks that can be very hard to keep)
”Lucky Dog 1 Bad Egg” by Tennenouji (BL)
aka the game that after years and years of delays, almost 10 years after the original, finally got released. Plot itself? What if we had a whole game that’s like a bad end au to the original.
While suffering a replacement for most of the va cast + the intro feeling like a pretty drastic tone change for the bleak so the more people were attached to the original the more iffy they felt at picking it up (even if the actual reason for the change to a bleaker color palette was an attempt to style it to feel like an american comic in contrast to how LD1 was just poking at Mafia movies).
I was part of the people that felt very hesitant. Yet after clearing it? I’m glad I did.
Bakshi went from a character that felt very curious on how he’d even function as a route to being among (if not the most) endearing one and even if the change in va cast initially felt off…it wasn’t actually that bad after getting used to it since it resulted in some neat hijinks (like Gian gaining an accent during certain bits and Bakshi having a lot more range in tones to switch between)
Game itself? For better or worse is more Gian’s story than Bakshi’s and the climb upwards after basically going though an expanded ‘bad end’ au of the Prison chapter. Then 1/3 into Rockwell starts a long reminder of what made the series, and more so Gian himself, stand out so much as a series that is fun to go through.
Rather, in some parts I might like Bad Dog Gian a lot more than the LD1 one since the original, while still easy-to-like, could be route dependant when it comes to the relationship development stuff and the difference could be felt all the more thanks to BE including afterstories of the original game. GD Gian trades all the pacifism CR-5 Gian had to be waay more crude & openly agressive.
And the whole relationship dynamic? …well.
Everything that I was ready for in my expectations on what kind of interactions/ developments would happen in a Bakshi Christensen route was shattered to tiny pieces bit by bit in the most best of ways.
The only actual drawback this game itself has is that it relies on some familiarity of having read the official sidestories before at times (due to unvoiced compilation games of those getting released on an anniversary before probably?) by doing references and nods to things there .
Otherwise I can only hope that when the english release of LD1 is finally done it does well enough to pick up at least this part of the series too so more people can experience the meaning behind why just listing Bakshi’s name&age is enough to make people that cleared this game start laughing (and why there’s a a semi-official remix of his theme that includes cat sounds)
”Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino” by Haccaworks
Plot: ”Yue is this eternally sleepy kid living amongst a bunch of ayakashi at the shrine of the local deity.
Having spent most of his life without ever having contact with the outside world, it’s just that healthy dose of irony when accepting the invitation of his caretaker/babysitter Kurogitsune to sneak out and participate in the local festival includes fateful meetings of 2 people that would be special to Yue…that he’d receive the order of picking one of them as the next feast.”
So a long time I did a review of their 1st work‘Hanakisou’. It took a long long time but then I finally sat down to do their other one.
Thaat ended up in a semi-marathon due to going through the unvoiced pc version first…and it just says a lot that after clearing that I had no qualms about immediately switching to the psp port and going through all of that too.
And I’d be fine with a 3rd run if they ever did another port since going from pc to psp already held a decent chunk of differences by the script to endings that already existed in the original felt very different and overall it was nice as a 3rd general plot/setting game to go through that really improved on the art&presentation (so even if Shikata only did the main song, the soundtrack itself still had some neat tunes too once used to the change in type
and how much the tune that shares the title of the game gets stuck in your head) .
”Re:Quartz” by B-cluster (BL)
Or the title that really suffers from a frustrating game engine as the price for it’s visual hijinks.
Plot: ”Nao is this narcoleptic that recently has more and more trouble differing between dreams and reality.
One day a new teacher called Saiki pops up and tells him a bemused warning to enjoy the last moments before his younger brother dies. Unnerved and unsure if to dismiss the matter as a bad joke, everything falls apart the warning does come true…and suddenly Nao wakes up back at the morning before he met Saiki.
Was it just a bad dream or a premonition?
Nao can only be all the more creeped out when alongside all the events happening as they had in his dream, Saiki is the one exception that instead declares that it’s too much of a bother to fake introductions again as btw how was watching the person dear to you die? ”
I think the game can be best summed up as this blatant trainwreck you know won’t go anywhere good yet you can’t stop yourself from watching.
So learning that the sequel is gonna focus on characters ‘similar’ to the most fun one here, Saiki, already promises fun times ahead.
Would I recommend picking it up? Really depends on which side one stands on due to being a very picky title where sure, personally I liked it.
But then again, I can have peculiar tastes at times.
”Koshotengai no Hashihime” by Adelta (BL)
”Tamamori is a ronin looking to become a writer who at the start of the game had gone for asking assistance in the form of more harsh critique from his childhood friend Kawase after realizing Minakami,the other remaining member of their childhood trio that acted more like a fan, wasn’t gonna help much.
Facing things like getting his manuscript getting burnt as a result, waking up one day to the news of Minakami having died sets in motion some nasty selfrealizations for Tamamori…”
Another game that’s officially available in english too.
I think the only opinion I can give of the game is that it’s an experience tm
The only ‘choices’ is an alternative action popping up during certain moments per character clear that serves as ”switch to this new route y/n?” question so unless replaying an earlier route Hashihime has a set order on how you go through the game where the nsfw tends to only happen near the end so it can take a long time of reading to get there.
And that already earned a lot of points by me, since it was fun sitting through 90& of the game trying to guess what’s the ultimate goal the overall story was going for.
Reaching the answer to it.
Then replaying Kawase’s route one more time because it’s the one I felt most as what I’d point to as a another reason for picking up Hashihime aside from the experience factor (since it’s the type where the ‘romance’ is more like a bonus at the end while you don’t really need to be into the BL genre to enjoy the things before it…I think)
”Nie no Machi” by Zombilica (BL)
Plot: ”Our protagonist of the day is Hisora – a young adult that instead of going for studies picked the working life as a parttimer that juggles so many jobs he never has any time to rest.
One day, when on the way from one shift to the next, a mysterious young man carrying a bouqet of flowers near the crossroad catches his attention.
Running after the person when noticing that they accidentaly dropped&left behind the flowers, Hisora can only face immense regrets as he finds himself in a world with creepy monsters and the notion on how he smells deliciously as their next meal.
All because he’s the one 100% living person in this land that’s like the middlestation for people on the border between life and death ”
Another game I finally picked up after hesitating for a long time due to the content warnings.
Thankfully it wasn’t actually as bad as I had feared.
A lot of the really nasty stuff is limited to bad ends (since those would be a gamble of either being something bittersweet or…stuff like watching Hisora getting eaten alive)
Don’t do those? And the only actually unavoidable iffy part is if you’re on Naruomi’s route
And that just feels fitting since as the route I’d done first it’s the only one I had issues with until the end. So even if I’ve seen a lot of people recommending him for last, I’d rather say the opposite – Koko/Mio felt a lot more like a good way to end the game so going for the added Hisora details learned in Naruomi’s route feels more like the best start so it’d be more Naruomi->Asuku->Koko/Mio as the order I’d rec here (with slight bias of being inclined to leave Mio for last since there’s things that he mirrors from Naruomi’s route)
Generally speaking though, clearing the game explained why the company succeeded in crowdfunding the upcoming fandisk. The characters and their interactions in general were just that fun
”Monochrome Wizard/Empire” by Dusk (R18 Otome)
Plot: MC is a victim of bullying and abuse that finds herself transferred to a whole different world after the newest batch of suffering turns out to be too much.”
So aafter multiple dudemc titles hello the one interlude of doing a short-ish Otome one.
An adult type at that.
So of course I expected dealing with another disaster trainwreck due to what it’s setting in itself is.
What I got? A surprisingly positive & upbeat game that hammers the point home on how mc deserves to be happy and loved while mc herself is like ”??? do I know this person you are speaking of because that clearly can’t be me”
Dream series by Gintou (BL-ish?)
”Ichiya is this nonchalant protag that one day finds himself in front of a weird tower as a man calling himself the wizard tells him he is the hero that has to save the princess that is trapped there.
Problem? Said princess is in a cutoff section that can only be accessed with permission and it’s questionable if she even desires to be saved.”
That generally needs to be purchased yet was offered for free for a limited time.
It’s another picky taste type titles where you either are interested in the plot/characters enough to be fine with reading stuff unvoiced oor you drop it.
By the 1st game I was very iffy about doing the rest of the series until reaching Tadano.
”Ego to Koukai no Dilemma” by JinClip (BL)
Plot: ”Junta is this dude recently suffering boredom while pondering how it may have been a mistake to have picked a dude-only school to study in.
Just…the lack of access to girls for an easy lay, when he’s the type that got internet famous for backtiming 5 people at the same time as one of the ways he’d abused his looks+status as one of the ‘cool kids’ sure ended up a lot more frustrating than he ever expected.
Poking one of his new friends, Anri, for some possible entertainment can only downhill when the introduction on how Otome games could be fun for dudes too results in noticing that the one gloomy classmate looks just like one of the route characters in the game.
So why not have some fun by testing how well echoing the same actions as the game in rl would go? I mean, surely the other would at least appreciate the attention and join in on the laughter about this joke right?”
So after the previous positivity it was time for another attempt at a tranwreck.
And it sure was one, where it’s not exactly a bad game overall. Just kinda mislabeled since while ego &pride can mean similar things, the story was clearly going for the later as what it used for the plot thematic re:Junta
So while it might not be for everyone, it wasn’t the type I’d say I regret going through since I went from actively disliking Junta to understanding how much that was the point there
Other honorable mentions uhh ”Lemures Blue” is a pretty high quality game that’s available for free that was fun to get though (if also something I’ll ignore the official character ages on).
Ah, and ”Mahoutsukai to Tenshi to Akuma” is a pretty straightforward title that starts by picking between either of the characters as who’s route you’ll be going through that put an end to the period where I didn’t feel like playing any visual novels at all. And just for that it deserves a fair bit of points since picking my order as to go Flow => Lobelia worked very well due to how the reverse would have felt a lot meaner while this was going through the more common happy/fluffy story first, then learning what’s the actual deal with ‘belia and why he seemed so stuck on Lucil in the other path.