Visual Novels - because insomnia builds character.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Blogginess - Merry Christmas from Sleepless Nights!

Merry Christmas from us both! (Drawing by Jon :3)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Like phoenix, the final review is here! al|together 2008 round 6/6!
A piece similar in style to Yume Miru Kusuri ( review 1, 2) and certainly a shining star among free visual novels. Also notable as the first 18+ al|together release.

Graphics - The graphics are impressive for a free game. Quite a few event CGs are used, both H and not. The character art is consistent and detailed. The backgrounds hint at the games free status as they are stock photographs with a cutout-style filter. This filter works quite well with the drawn backgrounds used for event CG. Most of the CG are well framed, except the H-CG but I think that of most eroge (the exceedingly common "invisible manhood" comes in to play here). The creators commentary says this is the artists first visual novel and is a quite impressive first try. Another common complaint of mine is not showing the protagonists eyes, again here they are not shown (but are referenced). While I understand the idea that it is to help the reader fill his footsteps, in a case like this where the character is developed as an atypical persona a face would be beneficial. These are minor qualms found in most of the genre and should not prevent one from trying this game. 9/10

Music/SFX - The music may be stock (nothing inherently wrong with this) but it fits the game quite well. Sound effects are fine and used when needed but the volume control button doesn't seem to do anything for me (could be a simple error in the download/extraction). I wouldn't consider this very detrimental as I have not tried to press it except for the sake of this review; the initial levels are balanced so I have only needed to adjust system volume (the buttons on the task tray/keyboard). While everything is well chosen there is nothing outstanding about the music, but nothing out of place either. 8/10

Story - The story is not for everyone due to adult content of every sense. Drugs, sex, violence; this game has it all. However, this is no grand theft auto, nothing is glorified. LEAVEs is gritty and true to life. I said earlier this game is similar to YMK but that is not entirely fair. Being a linear piece, LEAVEs defies any expectations one may have of a "dating simulation" (as this genre is often called). This is a romantic story, but it is most certainly NOT a date-sim. The story is quick-paced with many twists along the way; most of them are turns for the worst. For those who prefer to control-skip through H-scenes, please don't: the sexual content is crucial to the story. My only complaints would be that some parts were a bit difficult to follow and that the style used for the epilogue was very awkward and I feel a different method of emphasis would work better. However I do not know what effect the translator was trying to recreate as I have not played the original; as such I am unsure which side is to fault. 9/10

System/Extras - The system is ONScripter, with the usual Windows and Mac builds. Using a pre-existing Linux build may be tricky because the secondary-click menu is customized, but source code is available under the GPL from the Insani page listed above. A multitude of options are included in the secondary-click menu, the interface is very polished. Extras include a CG mode and creator commentary hidden in that mode (CGs : (row, colum) 3,4 1,2 and 2,4) I have had a few non-crucial bugs with the system, the volume control panel will not load and I froze the entire game once (both of these only happened during reviewing not during game play.) No jukebox mode is included (possibily because of music licensing restrictions but this is completely my own conjecture). 4/5

Overall - This is an outstanding work despite minor flaws. If you have time to invest, LEAVEs won't dissapoint.

Score - 30/35 - 86% - Good

Thank you for following my AT2008 updates! I have a couple commercial games to review before Extended Phase so please check back often!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blogginess - sorry this ones gonna be later than the rest

LEAVEs review en short :" its coming later but I reccomend you just go play it"

Kay, since my schedule for AT games is "get it out before the next game comes out" I'm not late >:D Until extended phase but I'll have it before then.

But yeah my piracy project is morphing in ways I don't understand so I am dead tired of multimedia right now. Somehow my innocently lazy idea to use Leopard's text2speech system to voice narration became a full out musical with all our favorite OS X voices. I'll be sure to post it when I'm done in my other blog. Even though I don't have to record any real sound, making those stupid voices sing evenly is harder than one thinks.

But May Sky is done at least and will be up any moment now on Oh and I have to study for a huge test this weekend XP

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

May Sky

Almost done! al|together 2008 round 5/6!
Originally released by chapter in Flash, this story is that of a young man and a teenage girl who, though not friends, develop trust in one another.

Graphics - The artwork is remarkably polished and lively. Many of the event CG are well framed and colored to the level of a professional work. The backgrounds are filtered photographs both stock and taken by the circle. For event CG the backgrounds are drawn but they stay consistent with the photographs. 9/10

Music/SFX - The music primarily piano and it is very pleasant. Since much of the story revolves around a piano player it is well fit and many tracks are used. Unfortunately neither it nor the sound effects match the text. We hear piano long before and long after the protagonist does. In the festival scene music is mentioned but we do not hear it at all. The sound effects are often short loops such as rain, the sounds of a festival, or a train but they are much to short and don't match the descriptions. One most noticeable part where the narrator states "I could hear nothing but the rain" we cannot even hear the rain... the loop was called to stop a couple lines before. These problems with loops and descriptions pull down the auditory aspect of the work 7/10

Story - The story is touching but it is exceedingly familiar. While May Sky has excellent characterization, the story is slow for the first several chapters. The side-story intermission was much more entertaining than the two chapters that came before it. Fortunately chapters 4 and 5 make up for the first two. Unfortunately the epilogue, chapter 6 is more repetitive than insightful. I suggest one plays this chapter by chapter over a long while rather than all at once because I quickly grew weary of their antics. 7/10

System - The system is the standard ONScripter with an adv style interface (see screen shots above). Their are no text speed adjustments sadly and the text was too slow for my liking. To compensate however Music and CG modes are included as well as an extra story. 5/5

Overall - A decent game but plagued by small discrepancies and slow pacing. Still, May Sky is a respectable work and a fun diversion.

Score - 28/35 - 80% - Good

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Let's keep chugging along! al|together 2008 round 4/6!
A touching bittersweet story of tolerance and the transience of even the most important parts of our lives.

Graphics - The character artwork is simply beautiful and the pale delicate colors match the heroine. The background are nothing exceptional but they are certainly not bad. Most fit perfectly in the work and the use of cherry blossoms to enforce the pieces themes is brilliant. Only Mai receives any character artwork as she is the main focus but I would have liked to have seen the protagonist's sister. 9/10

Music/SFX - The music is also exceptional. The authors produced a vocal song for this game and it is a beautiful piece. The rest of the music is from various sources and quite a few tracks are used : 17 in total. Six different groups have music featured in the piece including an artist I have mentioned on my non-review blog : SAM . The authors also assigned "image titles" to generically named tracks to shed light on how it was used. Sound effects fit in perfectly as well and a detailed volume pane is supplied to adjust the levels to one's individual liking. 10/10

Voice Acting - Yes, this free software is voiced! Certainly a welcome addition to any game the voice acting is well executed and has minimal recording issues. The actress was well chosen and seemed to have a true grasp on her part. The VA is partial however, as side characters and the protagonist are not voiced. The singing was also integrated into the voice acting and worked very well. 9/10

Story - The story for Moonshine is very typical and fairly predictable but in this case that is not a bad thing. Mai is immediately entrancing and I long to know more of her story but that is not the story the authors chose to tell and I do not fault that choice for the one they told is much more unique. Moonshine is a simple story but it will stay with you. As a warning (because I've been trained to do so*) this game does grapple with the idea of trans-sexuality. I applaud the author for this but I know it is not everyone's cup of tea. This is not your typical discrimination story though, it is about much more. 10/10

System/Extras - This game uses ONScripter, meaning it is available for both Windows and Mac with a high chance of working on Linux (if supplied with a binary). This is a specialized build and the effort shines. As previously mentioned, there is a volume pane for sound but two other option panes are available as well. All normal ONScripter features are in place but with a jazzed up GUI including a small menu at the bottom of the screen. The extras include the standard jukebox and CG viewing mode. I have not mentioned this in my other reviews but Insani also supplies a wealth of essays about the al|together 2008 projects and the writings for this project are particularly insightful. 5/5

Overall - A great peice that no doubt will offend some for some unfathomable reason. Then again, that is more reason to read it. I finished the piece in less than two hours and do not regret a second of it.

Score - 43/45 - 96% - Exceptional

*I mean no offense to anyone by this and I certainly could care less if someone was offended by this work. But some parents think anime rooms are babysitting services (until they walk in during FAKE) so I've been trained to warn for almost anything. Honestly, if transsexuals are distasteful to you that's more reason to read this.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Letter

We're halfway there! al|together 2008 round 3/6!
Sometimes you stumble upon a game that from the start strives to be more than a diversion, a way to spend an evening. This is one of those titles. A story about family, memories and all that lies ahead.

Graphics - Nothing special here. The backgrounds are all stock photograhs with filters and there is no character art. The art for the extras screens (not the menu) is nice but that doesn't count for much. 7/10
Music/SFX - The music is stock but it was chosen well with one glaring exception. The song "Boss Battle 03" (as the name might suggest) is much to action themed to fit the story. The intent is there but its too much (that scene as a whole I felt was somewhat unnecessary). My first thought is "where did I hear this before?" I'm still not sure where, but some variant of the underlying beat was used in another game (possibly the Boss Battle 01 or 02 tracks?). This is one danger of stock music as this track is awkward at best and distracting at worst. The other songs fit very well, I particularly enjoyed "Wherever She Goes" and "My Dear" as they fit the introspective mood quite well. Transitions were sometimes abrupt though not unreasonably, and sound effects were properly implemented. The rain in particular stood out as there was both an outside and an inside version. 7.5/10

Story - The story develops slowly and the writing is almost poetic. While we are not given great amounts of background information, the interaction with Takahiro's family is easy to follow but not diluted. The writing is very delicate and authentic, I frequently found myself drawing connections to my own family life. My only significant complaint is the scene where "Boss Battle 03" plays, it felt unnecessary and over dramatic as the result of his "struggle" was likely already known to the reader. 9.5/10

System - This is an ONScripter release for Windows and Mac OS X. As usual no errors or problems; the author's note suggest that he chose this platform (Nscripter) due to complaints about the original release. The extras included are a jukebox mode and the aforementioned author's note. Obviously, a gallery is not needed as only backgrounds are used. 5/5

Overall - A touching story with a good score. Al|togther titles often show that games can be much more than fantastical diversions and this title is an excellent representive of the depth in storytelling that can be achieved.

Score - 29/35 - 83% - Good

Friday, November 28, 2008


Can't give up now! al|togther 2008 2/6~!
OMGWTFOTL's angst-y sister... Prepare to genuflect!

Graphics - Monochrome MS Paint drawings. Yeeep, the art style is simplistic and focuses on red, the color of rage and a natural fit with the story. The scheme lends to a very raw, angry feel especially since the entire game features a jittery effect. I don't think any other style would have worked as well. The translation team also went to great lengths to make localized text and graphics fit in with the game. 10/10

Music/SFX - There are two tracks of music, the title track and the in game track. I really do like both, the dramatic in-game track and the somewhat wistful piano opener. Because of the TIMER in the corner of the game, I had not noticed the loop and had to replay the game just to check the track count. Maybe a track for the true end would have been nice. 8/10

Story - Maybe, OMGWTFOTL was too zany for you? But the luxurious pacing of school sims makes you cry? This game strikes a happy medium. Never a dull moment but there is (some) reason in the flow and the protagonist's actions.While the timer makes it tempting to speed through without reading... it is worth it. The writing is polished and makes you keep at those many, many, replays it will take to get to the end. Even Itoko's rambling monologue keeps its self fresh. 10/10

System/Extras - This game runs on Windows only, however this is justified by the intense level of specialization used in the system. From the rage bar to the jitters to the font color and style, the system is carefully molded to the style of the art and the story. No extras but the system doesn't lend it's self to such, no event CG to collect and the music is easy to reach to replay if you desire. 5/5

Overall - This is a great piece though it is very difficult to clear. (If you are truely stuck I can email you some pointers.) The amount of thought and effort in this seemingly short and simple piece is amazing.

Score - 33/35 - 94% - Exceptional

Thursday, November 27, 2008

From the Bottom of the Heart

The Sleepless Nights team is aiming for timely reviews of all al|together 2008 releases this year. Lets get this party started! This is round 1/6.

This is the first work of al|together 2008. A bit of an appetizer, short but sweet.
Graphics - This game is approximately five minutes long. There are two standing dolls in the work, both well detailed and polished. All of the backgrounds are grayscale stock images with one exception used for artistic effect. A CG for his flashback or a few more variations on the standing CG would be nice but ultimately are not needed. 8/10

Music/SFX - The music comprises of classical pieces mostly piano. No sound effects are present and none are needed. The loops were each very short but the transistions were well timed Unfortunately, the sound transitions were rather abrupt . 9/10

Story - The story is very original and well-written. It has that melancholy charm to it that is reminiscent of Makoto Shinkai (think Voices of a Distant Star and 5 centimeters per second). The prologue was nice and set the scene well, but the overall story was extremely short and could have used a better paced lead in to the main plot. Still a very sweet and short love story, well worth the 5 minutes. 9/10

System/Extras - This is an ONScripter release with offical builds for Windows and Mac OS X (I suspect there is no offical "Linux" build because of the varying nature of Linux). Both versions run quickly and cleanly. Since the game comprised of a few short music loops and no event CGs, no extras modes are supplied or really needed. 4/5

Overall - It's five minutes long, Vista can take that long to boot up. You probably spend twice that on YouTube every day; What do you have to lose?

Score - 30/35 - 86% -Good

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Explicit Proposal (Updated Version)

This review was produced for and can be viewed here.Review copies of both editions were provided by Kuroi Games.
  • Title - Explicit Proposal
  • Author - Kuroi Games
  • Style - Linear Visual Novel (non-interactive)
  • Rating - Not for sale to minors, 18+
  • Trial - Yes
  • Engine - Ren'Py (DRM status uncertain)
  • Price - 10 USD (1995 yen for censored Windows version)
  • Website - (18+)
  • Get - (18+)

This is Kuroi Games first release, they are an independent American visual novel company. This is a sex-focused download-able visual novel.

Graphics -
This game uses only 3D models. Every image is an event CG, though only sex scenes are animated. Not everyone will like this style as it tiptoes into the uncanny valley but I enjoyed it more than the typical 3D models I see. One advantage given by models is that characters stayed physically consistent between scenes. The addition of animation really sparked up the "important parts". 8/10

Music/SFX - Unlike the initial release, this re-release has a soundtrack. While it is nothing complex, it accurately reflects the mood of the scenes and is unobtrusive. Several pieces are used and I did not tire of any. There are still no sound effects (which is slightly awkward if you have been playing squishy Japanese games) but not too detrimental as the music fills the silence. 7/10

Voice Acting - The voices start in Japanese that is clearly that of a non-native speaker. Luckily, Rei leaves Japan quickly (the game takes place in Fiji) and the rest is in fluent English. The voice acting is fine but nothing amazing. The new soundtrack masks most recording deficiencies. 8/10

Story - This is a simple, standard porn story. While uncreative, that is not a bad thing. The reason these stories abound is because they are fun. I enjoyed reading about Rei's plans and didn't just forward to the sex scenes. EP has some witty dialogue and decent sex talk unlike certain yaoi games and writing quality is higher than what I've seen in professional games such as "Come See Me Tonight". The re-release is priced approximately the same as a book of manga and packs quite a bit of entertainment in to that price. 9/10

System/Extras - This game uses Ren'Py and is available for Windows and Macintosh. There are no extras but the game available both censored and not. . Since, the game is so short, a CG gallery would have been somewhat superfluous. 4/5

Overall - Explicit Proposal is a splurge game for when you want a short but decent sex fix without 50 choice menus between the girl and you. The price is very economical as it is about the price of a manga volume (or cheaper in some cases) and you receive much more content.

Score - 36/45 - 80% - Good


Note: This review has been updated to reflect a new version released by Kuroi and exclusively for purchase from their website. The version on DLsite is different.

I always giggle at the squishy sounds Japanese games use (If you squish scrambled eggs between your fingers while choking it will sound like a professional eroge) but maybe they add something? Post your comments here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blogginess - Anime Reviews

I have decided to add bishojo game related anime reviews to this blog because of two reasons. 1) there are many bishojo games where the anime adaptation is the only form of media available in English and 2) its better to have more reviews than less ne?

Graphics and sound will be merged for anime reviews because they are much more connected than in visual novels where one can stop to listen to a song or look at a picture. Furthermore let me note I use nothing more than a laptop computer to watch most of my anime so if you want a super technical review, AnimeonDVD is there for you. The fact is most people's setups probably resemble mine.

SHUFFLE! (Anime Version)

  • Title - SHUFFLE!
  • Original Story - Navel
  • Style - Harem Comedy/Drama
  • Length - 24 episodes; 600 minutes
  • R1 licensor - Funimation
  • Rating - TV-MA
  • Price - $30 per disc; $40 for volume 6 with ender box and panties

This title surprised me. I like harem comedies. I like naki-ge drama a lot more. Shuffle! has both.

Audio/Visual- The animation team transitioned Navel's excellent art to the TV very well. Character designs are lively and small details minded well. The animation is very smooth and background music is appropriate for every scene but not outstanding. The opening and ending songs are pleasant, I particularly liked the opening song, YOU. Japanese voice actors preformed quite well as to be expected from the experienced cast (Yuko Goto, Tomokazu Sugita, etc.). No complaints from the visual side but nothing amazing either. Alas, this is not the work of Miyazaki or even Shinkai, this is a harem show so it meets all expectations. The last episode seemed to shift style occasionally but it worked well and looked particularly polished. 9/10

Story - Shuffle! exceeded all expectations. Funimation's campaign of "Which girl would you choose?" may have been dumb but you do need to like harem moe stories to enjoy Shuffle! so it is a great fit. Shuffle! is not content to be just a comedy for 6 discs however, and around the midpoint the story takes a darker turn. No it is not realistic, but it is certainly the most entertaining anime I have watched in a long long time. Even when you believe it to be wrapping up, another twist will be thrown at you. Not completely randomly, the production team planned the series well, the twists will be unexpected but fit, explaining some odd comment or camera shot from earlier in the series. Unlike some adaptations of multi-path games Shuffle! does not feel formulaic going through the five girls stories, the pacing is better than any other game adaptation I have seen. 10/10

DVD - (This review refers to the Funimation region 1 NTSC DVDS; other regions discs will vary.) The DVDs are region 1 discs with 4 episodes per disc and run with out a glitch. Neither VHS nor Blu-ray editions are offered. The menu, disc, and box art is all from Navel and is superb. The menus are clean and work well on both set-top players and PC. Advertisements at the beginning of the disc can be skipped. Each disc is well packaged with art from the orginal game on the front, and a landscape layout on the back, incorporating the arrow motif from the logo. The keep cases are clear and a collage is printed on the back of the cover. Each disc comes with a poster. The ender box is especially well designed, the brightness seems adjusted slightly to give the box a very warm look that complements the spine art. I am fond of ender boxes much more than starter because they let you try the first disc out with out committing to a box. (ADVs vol.2 boxes are also excellent in this regard) Funimation out did themselves with the packaging and layout design. 5/5

Overall - Amazing show and considering the niche genre, the region 1 treatment could not be better. If you must, there will probably be a boxset eventually, but I recommend singles if you can still snag the ender box. Will not change your life, but does everything have to be serious?

Score - 24/25 - 96% - Exceptional

Ender Box Bonus : GOD Panties

For some odd reason, the ender box includes a pair of purple panties with the word GOD on them in gold (Sia wears these in disc five). A different bonus would have been preferable (though this beats a mini-pencil board... what do people do with those?) but the price is the same as the usual artbox price. Unlike the normal-looking pair on the box, these are low cut bikini-type (all but a thong) panties with a lace-like trim. Additionally they are a bit small, but if you can fit them (I am fairly petite) they are comfortable. The material chosen was 100% cotton. As a girl, I find this extra a lot more useful that a XL men's T-shirt (which seems to be a popular bundle in for anime) but since Shuffle! is aimed for guys I am a bit confused what they could do with these. Any sugesstions?

Pros - Fancier than any other panties I own, good material, cute.
Cons - Small, they look better on Sia ; what can guys do with these?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blogginess : Two Requests

If any of you use Blogger please follow me with the new feature :3

Secondly, Please post comments with the names of games you would like reviewed in the comments section of this post.

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu. m(_)m

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The So-So games sitting on my Hard Drive

Okay, I have played a lot of doujin-soft games from al|together both years. Some were good. Some were really bad. And some just sit on my hard-drive forgotten and un-reviewed. Those games are these. These all have a niche fan-base I'm sure they just didn't stand out to me personally so I shall talk about them each here. All of these are rated : Average

I Too, Saw Dreams Through Air
Releasing a set of two short works is a novel idea (in more ways than one) but it has been done better. (The World to Reverse) The Caged Vagrant was the stronger of these two stories (despite having to go through the main menu much too much) but both had their boring parts despite having clearly noble goals in story telling. Plumerai took too long to build up to it's point as interesting as a point it tried to be.

Shooting Star Hill
Cute character based love story with a obvious twist but still very average art and story. Left a feeling of "So What?"

io [christmas eve]
Started strong and ended with a punch but the middle was almost painfully slow-paced. The art is really cute, however.

Sumer, Cicadas, and the Girl
First of all this is one of the better in this lot. It is good but... very short with out a feeling of satisfaction when you do get the location correct (this game has a word entry system). The "secret ending" is very cute also. If it had a bit more fleshing out I would rate this one "good" (We are looking at like a 78% here)

This game tried really hard to be a serious visual novel but... the long wind up and simplistic characters just didn't click for me and it seemed dissapointing.

Yeah, someone ought to give these games a proper review especially if they liked one of them. Then link it here :3 I won't review any of these games further but JonFawkes may so you might see theses titles again. Sorry this isn't a real review but I wanna uninstall these already XP True Remembrance will be reviewed soon I promise!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Happy Valentine

The side story taking place after "40 days and 40 nights of Rain" (review here). It's a special day, and Kyrie is trying to celebrate this special day for Yuu.

Graphics - All of the graphics from the last game (40 days and 40 nights of Rain) were reused for this game, with maybe one new picture. Like the last game, no sprites were used, but full setting images were used instead. In this game, only a few settings were used, mostly the bright ones to give the game a more warm atmosphere. Still full of detail and setting the mood effectively, the graphics are good, but, once again, everything was just recycled for this game. 7/10

Music/SFX - It sounds like the creators reused the music from the last game too. The music is gentle and calm, and doesn't take away from the warm feeling of the story. The music maintains a very gentle atmosphere throughout the game, and doesn't get boring. Sound effects this time, while very scarce and few, were appropriate to the story. The sound effects were placed well, and weren't distracting, while still adding to the feeling of being in the story. No disruptive sound effects this time around. 8/10

Story - The story is extremely short, but also extremely sweet. While it was a little simple and repetitive, it flowed well. The dialogue was a little confusing at points, since it wasn't easy to tell who was talking. The plot is sweet and simple, and the overall story has a solid beginning, middle, and end. Unlike the last game, maybe this story could have been a little longer, but it still satisfies. 9/10

System/Extras - Once again, a very generic game when it comes to the system and the extras. Standard load, save, and backlog that comes with any ONScripter. And, just like the last game, there are no extras to unlock. The art is the same as the last game, so you can find them on the site for the old game here. Not a lot more to talk about in this area. 2/5

Score - 26/35 - 74% - Average

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Air Art Works : a brief review

This is not my usual style of review so bear with me ne? ^^;

I went to the brand new San Diego branch of BookOff, a large chain (in Japan) of used book/CD/DVD/game stores. After leaving a large pile of very old manga with the store attendant (to trade in for cash) I was left to browse around until called. When looking through their shelves of "anime illustrations" I found this rather oddly sized artbook for 15 dollars. The slip case is dirty but the rest is quite fine:
Air artbook cover slip

artbook inside

As you can see from the reference stick of gum, the book is quite generously sized. Both the "poster" and slipcase are textured paper. The book (blue) has it's own dust jacket. My white slipcase is rather worn and dirty but that's the cost of buying used.

The layout of the book is equally generous, most CG's take a entire page with rough sketches and variants filling the adjacent page along with brief notes. In addition to the CG sections (2/3rds of the book) there are song lyrics and a "materials" section with backgrounds, tachi-e (paper doll) galleries and the promotional art (and rough sketches for all) as well as a walk through for the dream route. The entire book is full color on glossy paper.

Overall, if you like Key's art or Air you will not be disappointed with this book. An excellent buy if you can find it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blogginess - New Blog: Wakeless Days

For all of you who just can't get enough of me, I have a new rants, thoughts and etc blog called Wakeless Days. Yes it will have visual novel related stuff. In fact there is a post about Nanatsuiro Drops DS up right now.

No, this won't slow my posting here at all :3 Unfortunately it won't speed it up either....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tea Society of a Witch

Firstly I apologize greatly on how long it has taken me to get off my lazy butt and write this review. This is an all-ages DVD port of FrontWing's 魔女のお茶会 but without the extra character added to the Dreamcast version of the game or even the full original cast. Even so, its quite worth 20$ I think.

Graphics - Very stylized "chibi"-esque character designs for all the "adult" characters. I found the art slightly disturbing/jarring at first but quickly adapted to it. The colors are clean and lively so this depends greatly on personal taste. The backgrounds don't really stand out. Sometimes the game will have a small overlayed 3D scene appeared the resolution compare-able to a Game Boy Advance. Pleasantly, there are a lot of lovely CGs throughout the game not just all concentrated to the endgame. 9/10

Music/SFX - The music is decent but not memorable, same for the vocal songs. There is a vocal song for each ending. Plenty of appropriate sound effects. 8/10

Voice Acting - Everyone but the protagonist is voiced. The voices are appropriate to character but not splendid. 8/10

Story - This is basically a romantic comedy. There is no grand plot connecting all the routes. TSoaW has a very typical dating-sim flow : get to know girl, go on date with girl, fix the girl's problems, confess love to girl, and finally end up going steady with the girl. It's fun, its cute, you'll smile, but don't expect it to move your heart. Unfortunately, two of the endings from the PC version were cut out. 7/10

System/Extras - Works on my JVC DVD player, Windows Media Player VLC (however OP movie will not play)and, my favorite, WinDVD (unlike other Hirameki games). I have not tested it with other programs besides the above but this is by far the most compatible AnimePlay game I have. Most people hate this format. I don't mind it. The pace of the DVD is set for luxurious reading time which may be too slow for most people (myself included). The game is simple enough you can remember passwords in your head unlike Hourglass of Summer or Phantom of Inferno. The DVD comes with a grayscale artbooklet but thats it for extras, no music mode or CG mode. 3/5

Overall - As long as you know what you are buying you will enjoy this game. If you want a serious literary masterpiece you are in the wrong place but if you can put up with AnimePlay and just want a fun love story or three go buy it.

Score - 35/45 - 78% - average