I almost exclusively play visual novels. If you'd like to start getting acquainted with them, a good resource is VNDb.org, where you can create an account to easily keep track of the VNs you own, have completed, or want to buy.
I'm not going to go back to how I was ('gotta read EVERYTHING!!') and maybe that means I'll never complete my backlog, but that's okay. Life is short, do you want to spend your free time reading subpar visual novels? Marie Kondo is my muse.
Oops, I should have posted this review six months ago. I managed to get sick again immediately after last time and after that I got a job (the most unbelievable news). I've been so busy, I just hoped I could have my beloved free time back.
And then a freaking pandemic happened, be careful what you wish for! The situation here in Italy is horrible. We're in lockdown, all at home. We haven't reached the worst of it yet and I'm saddened to see other countries so slow in following us in lockdown. Stay at home and play some games, this is a trainwreck.
Flowers - Le volume sur été - is the sequel that picks up after the previous visual novel Flowers - Le volume sur printemps -. This time instead of Suoh, we have the girl in the wheelchair as the main character—Yaegaki (I'm calling her with her surname because her given name is a spoiler for Printemps). Despite the similarities with Suoh—both are fans of books and movies and quote them often throughout the games—Yaegaki is a more cynical person with a sarcastic humour. She's a loner not because she's timid, but by choice. I found her to be refreshing and a much more enjoyable character than Suoh in the protagonist's role.
Her main love interest turns out to be Chidori Takasaki, a new transfer student and prodigious ballet dancer. Their first encounter starts off on the wrong foot but not much later they're forced to spend time together because they find out they're supposed to be Amitié partners. Chidori is haughty and gets mad too easily at stuff; her story gets thoroughly explained later but I still couldn't care for her in the end.
Été, like its prequel, has another character's route which gives an additional alternative non-canon ending.
Surprisingly enough, if you pick the correct choices you can manage to make Yaegaki have a BIG gay crush on no other than Sister Dalia, the nun and teacher of the school (*gay gasp*). It's not a spoiler to say that this love is not meant to be, so yeah, nothing indecorous happens. And yet? I freaking loved this. If someone had told me that I would cheer and fangirl on such a thing, I would have never believed it—but this story proved me wrong.
I think I need holy water now.
This time around some of the misteries are a little easier to solve, but many solutions still seem pulled out of nowhere to me.
The translation is a lot better than the first title but it would have been difficult to do worse!
A short extra story from Suoh's point of view gets unlocked after you complete the true ending. It's quite interesting to see despite its shortness and it got me excited for the sequel! Which did not get released in time by the end of 2019... but at least JAST USA is taking pre-orders now.
The story occurs soon after the events of Flowers -Le volume sur printemps-, the first game in the series in which Yaegaki is only a side character.
Chidori Takasaki, a well-known ballet dancer, arrives at Saint Angraecum Academy, disrupting Yaegaki’s solitary lifestyle. To say that the two of them get off on the wrong foot would be an understatement, but our protagonist soon learns there’s more to Chidori than meets the eye. Can friendship blossom between a sharp-tongued misanthrope and the haughty class diva?
A much belated review! I finished reading this more than a month ago but then I procrastinated on writing my review, and then when I wanted to another heatwave happened, and when it was over it was my health that ended up getting in the way of me writing this. I guess this is my punishment for procrastinating again.
This is actually the second time I read Flowers -Le Volume sur Printemps-. The first time I did I only wrote a mere two sentence post here on BLAEO, so I am posting now a proper review.
I reread this so that I could have fresh memories of it before reading the second title in the series, which I recently won in a giveaway.
If you were to ask me which is the prettiest yuri visual novel I know, I'd definitely reply with the Flowers series. Aesthetically speaking, it's really hard to top this. The game knows this and it starts with the sentence “Please forget your troubles and enjoy this beautiful yuri world.”
Flowers is a four-part series exploring the lives of some students at a Christian all-girls boarding school (your usual clichéd setting in many yuri stories).
Up so far, only the first two titles have been localized into English, and the third one has a tentative release plan set by the end of the year.
The protagonist of the first title is Suoh Shirahane, a timid girl who suffers from social anxiety. She has been homeschooled up until now and because of this she never had a proper friend. Suoh is an extremely shy protagonist, lover of books and movies, and tries to do her best to make everyone happy. She decided to join Saint Angraecum Academy because she hopes to fulfill her most important wish, that is to have friends. As a matter of fact, this particular school is known for its Amitié program in which the students are paired up and are expected to live together and help one another throughout the school years.
It all heavily reminds me of Maria-sama ga Miteru.
It's thanks to the Amitié system that she has the opportunity to become friends with her roommates: Mayuri Kohsaka, a social but hard-working girl that Suoh admires since their first meeting, and Rikka Hanabishi, the serious and responsible girl who becomes class president.
Obviously, this being a yuri title, Suoh may end up in a relationship with either of the two. The game features an indicator (thanks to the use of different colours and a budding lily) that shows whether the choice you picked may be helpful in advancing towards your preferred route.
Unfortunately, only one of the two routes is canon and is considered to be the true end. It's from this (I daresay also, open) ending that the story continues in the following games. The other girl's route is an additional alternative non-canon ending, and it's only unlocked after completing the true end.
Despite being able to relate to Suoh's social struggles, I can say that personally I didn't care much for her in the end as I should have with her being the main character and that is a pity. In this regard, I ended up liking much more the protagonist of Été—the following title.
Though, I did end up liking a lot this coming-of-age story and its approach to sexuality. The game is all ages and does not objectify women, unlike other stuff in this genre. The fan service is kept to such a minimum it does not even seem to exist.
The story manages to tastefully deal with romance between women and the struggles they could have but only up to a certain point. I'm under the impression that the latter titles may be less lighthearted on this topic.
The visual novel consists of a slice-of-life story with episodic chapters. Some of them have mysteries that the protagonist will have to solve to be able to advance further in the story. It may be impossible to deduct the solution for many of them as a Western reader, may it be because of the reader's lack of knowledge of the translation of certain book titles into Japanese, or because of inconsistencies between the solution and what has been said earlier in the plot: this time probably due to the writer's lack of knowledge of foreign cultures. Just make sure to save at every ‘investigation segment’ so that you won't get a game over because of these silly issues.
The art by Sugina Miki is beautiful, the colours used are so soft, there are tons of CGs where great attention was put into details. I feel sad having to choose which screenshots to share in this review!! However, I don't know why but I was less of a fan of the text box. The Steam version may also have trouble installing the proper font for English language, so make sure you actually got it before starting the game!
The soundtrack mostly consists of piano and violin classical music. The opening video is so pretty I feel blessed to live in such a time; I shared it in the screenshots tab. The songs are very calming and I liked them, but I read that many got annoyed by their repetitiveness.
The volume of the Japanese voice acting is a little inconsistent between the characters, especially with Suoh's quiet voice being drowned out by the music. Thankfully, their volume can be individually adjusted in the settings.
Now, the only thing left to talk about is the translation... the weak point of this localization. Dammit JAST USA, you had ONE job. People were expecting MangaGamer to get this series since they published the developer's (Innocent Grey) other titles, so when it turned out that it was JAST USA that licensed this it was pretty surprising.
Unfortunately at first, they didn't pay justice to this title at all. The first demo they prepared was such a trainwreck full of mistranslations, mistakes and typos; it caused such a ruckus! And thankfully that it did, because in the end Meru (the translator) ended up working on fixing this. She couldn't do a new translation from scratch but only fixing what they already got, so the translation is still not perfect but passing. There is still a fair amount of typos in the text, especially in the last part. It's like an editor didn't even check this. During this reread I found the very same typos I noticed three years ago that I had pointed out to the publisher, but it looks like nobody from JAST could even spare the time to release a patch to fix them. It's a little disheartening, this title does not deserve this.
Even sadder than that, this localized version does not even come with the original Japanese text for those who know it, so you have to make do with this English translation.
I'm hoping that when all four games will be translated, they will be able to properly fix the text once and for all.
In the middle of a forest isolated from the rest of the world lies Saint Angraecum Academy, an all-girls school. This is where Suoh Shirahane, a painfully shy girl with a mysterious past, will begin her first year of high school. Follow her as she navigates new friendships within the academy’s special “Amitié” partner program and attempts to unravel the many mysteries at the academy, including occult rituals and the mysterious disappearance of fellow students, all while trying to pass her classes.
Within the halls of Saint Angraecum Academy, spring warms into summer, as does Suoh's friendships until they too blossom into something much more.
I'm two years late to the party but at least I finally got here. Everyone and their mother know by now of the existence of this dad dating simulator game which became a hit since the day of its release.
Dream Daddy is a visual novel where you play as the main character, a single and widower dad who just moved into a cul-de-sac in Maple Bay with her daughter Amanda.
Conveniently and strangely enough, there are lots of single and romanceable dads that live in your very same cul-de-sac.
If I have to read the word cul-de-sac again, please drown me into mineral oil instead.
Beware! It starts with a character creator, so I obviously had to spend a whole half an hour on it before the story even started. I couldn't even decide on a name so I ended up being Dad McDad.
There are seven (!!) romanceable dads and all come with their own (sort of) story arc. The relationships are sweet and fluffy. The dads are not perfect and can have their flaws (I mean, Robert likes pineapple on pizza, so don't talk to me ever again, Robert).
All dads being gay (or bi, I guess) in game is not a source of drama, in fact I don't think that being gay is even really mentioned, it is just wholly accepted. It reminds me a lot of the Yuri on Ice anime universe and there's no bigotry based on sexual orientation or gender identity or races. For once, you don't have to worry at all about other people's reactions during your dates and this makes for a great escapist game.
The art style is really colorful and pretty with a top-notch character design (unfortunately, your protagonist made with the character creator is more stylized), the backgrounds look good too.
It is partially voiced and by that I mean there are some voice clips like gasps, laughs or small sentences used to provide audible feedback during conversations and they're used so often I felt like I was in Japan and after twenty minutes of it I wanted to give up on my earphones.
The engine used is Unity which is not bad since there are many minigames. Some are better than others but we could have done without them. There's not a skip read function, so you gotta fast-forward text on your own hoping not to miss new sentences.
And here comes the juicy part: no, there is no 18+ content, I didn't mean that!
When this game was released, people found out inside the game files traces of a mysterious secret
It is very short but it is my favourite part of the game. It ties together some details you learn during Joseph and Robert's routes. The developers said that this story is not-canon, but I find the game's whole plot to be 100% more interesting by thinking of it as canon. I mean, there is a reason why almost all their spouses are dead and it is not a coincidence??? Sign me up on this. Joseph suddenly becomes the most interesting character. I'd pay for any official sequel or prequel to this cult ending.
Overall, the quality of this title is too good for the price I paid when this ended up in a bundle!
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. You and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay only to discover that everyone in your neighborhood is a single, dateable Dad!
Will you go out with Teacher Dad? Goth Dad? Bad Dad? Or any of the other cool Dads in this game?
Are you ready? Hi ready, I'm Dad.
One year later from its release, here I am playing Lake of Voices, a free visual novel by GB Patch Games.
The premise of this story is simple: a group of people find themselves on the banks of a lake they need to cross in order to quickly reach a village on the other side. But the lake is cursed and is home to monsters that like to drown the humans attempting to pass the maze of bridges. A nameless guide is the only person able to help them through this journey, and he makes it clear from the very beginning that anyone can be saved but not everyone will be.
The quality of this visual novel is too good to be free, so I am happy of having taken the time to play this at last.
The story has a high level of replayability and by that I mean that you have to play multiple times in order to discover all secrets hidden in the plot. There are many timed choices that play up the tension of these life-or-death decisions, along with non-timed ones that determine any eventual romantic interest or route choice.
Art style is good with a fog-like text box, appropriate to the atmosphere.
In addition, this vn is fully voice-acted in English and in my opinion with pretty good actors by standards.
I don't have any particular criticism against this title apart from the fact that I noticed that part of the music (or all?) was reused from the devs' previous title A Foretold Affair since I was able to recognize at least one track. On the other hand, I played that game over a year ago, so I am really surprised that I was somehow able to remember its music.
Kikka the Steadfast works as an official guard for one of the many tiny villages in the region. Her most recent assignment is to travel with fellow guard Bemelle to an allied town that’s been under siege by raiders.
With an ever-present sense of urgency, the two find themselves on the shore of Sinnlos, a cursed lake of black water that is home to the Nixi; twisted creatures who take joy in drowning humans. The two need the assistance of a nameless guide to even attempt to cross the maze of bridges spanning the dark waters. But they are not the only ones seeking passage that night. The guide agrees to lead them all, whilst also giving a warning that a group this large has no chance of making it across whole.
The other day I played Paths Taken, a visual novel in which the protagonist is a young noble and the childhood friend of the kingdom's prince. One day you find out that the prince has been engaged off to a princess of another country, and yadda yadda yadda.
This is your average plot in which you can romance royal or servants characters, either male or female.
You can pick the protagonist's gender at the start of the game, but this choice is of no importance and doesn't end up changing anything storywise.
The most annoying thing happens when more than two or three characters need to appear on screen. They make their appearance on screen through a quick transition from the right, replacing the previous sprite that was there. There's no fade-in or immediate replacement. During conversations, the characters get replaced with this quick transition at any line they have. This makes a good recipe for a headache since it happens multiple times throughout the game.
There's also only one CG.
Overall, the plot and romances were too short for me to care for them. I'd suggest playing Hanako's The Confines of the Crown instead, which has a more interesting story and is better done.
Emory is an 18 year old noble of Sharan, a wealthy kingdom made even wealthier by Emory's father, an entrepreneur and prolific business man who's been the king's aid for all things finance for years. As such, Emory is best friends with the king's only child, Cordelian, a 19 year old boy who's being prepped to take over the kingdom. Along with Cordelian, Emory spends their days with Lisia, their personal maid, and Marco, Cordelian's butler.
However, Emory's daily, carefree life gets a small wrench in it when he finally meets the princess of a neighboring, rival country, and finds out that Cordelian and her are engaged...
Very short visual novel made in Unity by an indie Swedish group. It's obviously about cats and set in Paris.
The protagonist has a roommate which seems to be depressed and overworked by school. Your goal is to try to help your friend heal thanks to your common interest—cats!
Throughout the story you meet and can approach three different stray cats and it's up to you to figure how to befriend them. The more you befriend, the better the ending you get.
This is such a pretty game with pretty art and a good enough story despite being short. Children can safely play this with no issues.
The downside of this title is the engine: there is no skip function (very annoying when you have to go through the same text at least three times), you cannot save when you want and can rely on autosave only, so I'd suggest to try and complete it all in one sitting.
Set in Paris, Cateau is a visual novel that takes the idea of friendship and investigates it through a particular lens–what it might take to actually be a friend in more than concept alone.
As the protagonist, you come to understand that your friend and roommate Roselle is unwell. You take it upon yourself to try and rekindle that spark of life that seems to have gone out by engaging in one of her former interests, cats. While sauntering up and down the cozy streets of the City of Lights, whether it be to get to work, run errands, or simply enjoy the town, you will come to encounter three distinctly different cats. Their personalities being fundamentally unlike one another, it's up to you to enter unfamiliar waters, figuring them out as you attempt to bring your friend back. The multiple, varied endings give each choice, big or small, tangible consequence.
=( News came that the sequel game in the The Waters Above series got cancelled, so that's going to remain a standalone title. It's rare for me to find a project that catches my interest in a such way that one did. Just my luck! =(((
It's been sooo long since I last played a yaoi game, I never thought I'd say this. I feel as if I had been neglecting my origin story! Yaoi has made me and yaoi will unmake me.
This time we have another vn from Spain. Opposed to last time's Spanish One Thousand Lies, A Hand in the Darkness chooses to take a classical approach to the medium instead of trying to subvert it, and it just works.
I'm gonna scream if anyone sends me a 'It just works' rtx meme.
Despite being a clichéd story trope (same-sex boarding schools make a perfect recipe for gay stories: you are gay, ALL your roommates are gay and romanceable... that's quite convenient), the story didn't manage to bore me. And maybe it's because it's too short to do so or maybe it's because the romanceable guys are not perfect. Honestly, I have no idea which guy I disliked more. I lied, I know which one I hated more: it's Monty, the redhead.
The current 1280x720 resolution of the Steam release has been upscaled from the 800x600 original one, and unfortunately it shows in some places. The art quality is uneven: some CGs are pretty good while others look bad. There's one CG in which the protagonist looks like a whole different person compared to the rest of the game!
The story follows Alex White, the youngest member of a large family and hence always rather overprotected, into his new stage in life moving to an exclusive boarding school, St. Michaels, during the Edwardian era.
There he will meet some friends: the always cheerful and helpful Monty, the shy and clever Rick, the snob and troublemaker Damian. But he will also face an unexpected danger.
And perhaps, who knows? He will even find true love. It's up to you to decide if Alex will reach a happy ending or will leave St. Michaels with a broken heart… or maybe even worse.
Even shorter than A Hand in the Darkness, there's Your Dry Delight. Damn Steam and their new "Profile Features Limited" bullshit, these changes in the Steam API have caused my games list on BLAEO to be out of date. Only vndb can save me now. I hope that a workaround can be invented one day to show these games on BLAEO.
I ended up liking this game a lot, more than A Hand in the Darkness. Too short for me to talk about the plot, the technical side (jazz music, simple art, atmosphere) was good.
The game wants you to play a third time after having completed the two routes and WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CANNOT SEE ANY THREESOME
I WANT MY MONEY BACK
I wish there was a continuation! But yeah, I now want to see the devs other games.
Richter and his boss, Leslie, are private detectives hired to help enforce Prohibition in Cleveland, Ohio.
However, when Richter catches the eye of a charismatic mob boss, a different story falls into place...
Blue has challenged me to play it this month and, OH GOD after finishing this I wish I had never added it to my account ;D
This is a (Spanish!!) kinetic novel and it actually turns out this is the first vn I own from Spain.
Anyway, this is a 7-hour long kinetic novel about the lives of a group of high school friends and their shenanigans. As the title suggests (not really a spoiler) from early on you're supposed to take with a pinch of salt what is actually happening.
This kn bored me—and it didn't bore me because they were seven hours without choices, that doesn't matter to me—it bored me because I didn't care about the characters and their everyday lives, what pranks or challenges they were having.
I kept thinking 'soon there's gonna be this big reveal that will change my opinion of this game and I will understand why it has so many positive ratings!'; that didn't happen to me.
Yes, during the ending things do catch up to you so that at least most things are clarified. The author explains the story, but I still felt like the plot amounted almost to a big nothing. It's been two days since I finished it and I'm already forgetting the original and positive traits that characterised the epilogue.
Moreover, there was this weird behaviour that I noticed was happening with the utilized text font, some words or part of words seemed to be randomly more bolded. I'm still not sure if this ACTUALLY happened because it's not clear in the screenshots I took. Maybe I was imagining it.
Or maybe it was real and it was intended, or it accidentally happened because of the text box transparency, or the font was fucked up because of the original Spanish characters; but most probably it was a graphical bug on my computer end.
Another technical aspect that annoyed me was the lack of an instant text speed option.
To summarise, this is a no from me.
There is no one who is more sincere with their words... than the greatest liar of them all.
Based on a story that should be true, One Thousand Lies tells the tale of Ciarán Endyein, a liar writing the fable of a wolf longing to reach the Sun.
One day, Ciarán starts receiving enigmatic emails from a mysterious sender, turning his everyday life into a mess of a romantic comedy with psychological themes mixed in. What lies beyond the mystery he's been presented with? In the words of Harry H.: "If you want to know the truth, go find it".
あああああああああああ！ This is the prequel of a vn that is still in the works and I'm so glad I tried this now instead of succumbing to my usual habit of waiting. It consists of four very short stories which are hella cute and yuri. It's made by the people behind Heart of the Woods and the writer for Highway Blossoms. Despite the cuteness overload, the story still manages to get dark.
The art style is mostly colorful and bright and you can choose whether to have standard ADV text or floating textboxes, which I have a fondness for. It reminds me a lot of Littlewitch's games style which I'll always love.
The only flaws I found were a couple of textboxes going too fast, forgetting to stay put in place for me to read—I'm hoping the next game won't have such a bug; and if I'm not wrong, a character's name never happens to be used during conversations in the whole game, so the only way to know it is by enabling ADV mode. Anyway, to avoid future confusion, the star is called Apple, you're welcome.
A giant dome called the Vault of Heaven covers the earth, separating it from the vast ocean of the heavens. In this world, sea nymphs care for the stars in the sky, dedicating their lives to it.
However, magic is fading, the stars are dying, and no one knows why. No one even speaks of it, carrying on like they have for tens of thousands of years, as if nothing has changed.
In these circumstances, three sea nymphs and the living embodiment of a star struggle to find meaning in their lives and their fading world.
read from left to right!
even the GUI is on point
Played this at the start of the year. Made by the same people behind Sound of Drop - fall into poison -, this is yet another visual novel with a life-or-death situation. Despite the similar themes, I still had the impression this was an improvement from their previous title.
While Sound of Drop suffered for a good part of the game of two-choice selections where one of those always led to death—and therefore causing a shit-ton of unnecessary instant bad endings—there's none of these shenanigans in this game.
The story is sorta separated into episodic story arcs, which you may or may not find annoying. This was ideal to me since back then I was attempting to slowly get back into vns after an almost one-year pause. If I were to marathon this game now in a couple of days, I would probably get tired of this pacing.
When this vn first came out, I had made the decision to steer away from it! I was very much afraid of queerbaiting and Dead Lesbian Syndrome, two bad things that are still affecting entertainment nowadays. A friend decided to act as the test subject and gave me the all-clear.
Please be advised that the protagonist does suffer from Stupid Protagonist Syndrome and her general obliviousness is frustrating to the reader and a let-down to the story for me. Why must this still happen in 2018? We'll never know.
Shishimai Rinka is a high schooler who lost her life during a tragic accident on a train. She has now somehow become a participant in Divine Selection, a ritual carried out over twelve weeks by twelve people, which allowed them to compete in order to undo their deaths.
In order to survive Divine Selection, all the other participants must be eliminated by being "elected".
I'm back. I have always actually been here lurking but been unable to write any sort of update about my backlog—especially when there was almost to none!
I had a come-to-Jesus realization and have been too disheartened about the (lack of) quality of most vns on Steam (come on, let's be real, the majority of it is shovelware for achievements or crappy amateur first-time projects on renpy). I finally was able to put two and two together and accept that I am the only one who curates my library and the media I consume. If I activated crappy vns I knew I wouldn't enjoy from cheap bundles in the past just to have a +1 then it's my fault. I'm not going to go back to how I was ('gotta read EVERYTHING!!') and maybe that means I'll never complete my backlog, but that's okay. I'll have to change my profile description here.
More on my thoughts on this and also on Steam behaving badly towards vns can be found in this post. Can I manage to go back to my reviews after all this? We'll see!
PS: I changed my Steam username to Morgana, but I am using here my Steamgifts name which is currently GiseIIe (Gise capital i capital i e lmao) just to let people know in case they type giselle somewhere and can't find me anymore.
We're lucky to live in a world where Hatoful Boyfriend exists, but if that doesn't satisfy your daily dose of birds visual novels, then Aviary Attorney comes to your rescue.
This is the game whose developers have been lost in the woods and never to be heard of again. Such a shame! When it was released, this vn was incomplete and missing one of its three endings and what's worse, the game wasn't tagged as early-access—causing customers to be rightfully upset. That's actually the reason I didn't buy it at launch. That ending was luckily added later, but developers had also promised a bonus episode to their Kickstarter backers which never came. I have been unable to contact these people anywhere in the past years, they don't even seem to reply to press requests! Goodbye Sketchy Logic devs, your career was very short-lived but promising.
The art for this game is actually by 19th century French caricaturist J.J. Grandville and music is by composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Reusing this stuff worked better than I thought and I did enjoy playing this, although not being able to have normal save slots was upsetting to me. Also, despite liking the art a lot, I had major issues with it while playing because there was too much whitish (yellow for me—I use color-temperature adjustment software) which I find too blinding to have to look on a monitor for long period of times. I think that maybe a reddish hue would have helped more, but I have no idea and don't want to try this, because guess what? It's not my job to come out with ideas to fix this.
The year is 1848. Paris is on the brink of yet another revolution, and the prisons are overflowing with guilty and innocent alike. One bird stands for justice amid society's chaos.
Play the role of Monsieur Jayjay Falcon, a bird of prey with a good heart and questionable lawyering expertise. Join him and his witty apprentice, Sparrowson, as the two take on clients, interview witnesses, collect evidence, and deliver justice to the guilty.