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 clichéed story genre (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!
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.
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.
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 (=we must all die in fiction), two bad things that still affect us 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.
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.
Seduce me is a visual novel that's 'advertised' as an otome. To tell the truth it does not only have male romantic interests, but also female ones, which I personally think were better dealt with in the story.
The plot is pretty simple and it's easy to get into it. Unfortunately, I felt that the overall route length was too short to start caring more about the characters and their stories.
Moreover, the single routes were lacking in variety and by that I mean that many of them had the same copy-pasted dialogues over and over again, with just the names changed.
The art style is nice enough but my problem lies within the textbox: sentences are up to two lines long so the whole majority of the textbox is always empty. The font used looks weird to me with odd spaces between letters, but maybe this is an issue I'm having with my computer and it may look better elsewhere.
For who's interested there are at least 10 (ten!!) free short spin-offs on the author's itch.io page, and a commercial sequel that is already out. While I am a little interested in the sequel's story, I don't think I'm willing to pay full price for it.
I've finally played Everlasting Summer after putting it off for so long. It's one of those stories where you have to experience many if not all routes to get closer to the core of the mystery.
I can say I've enjoyed the story, even though I was a little bored during some of the routes. I also thought that some explanations during the ending felt almost random.
The background images are beautiful, but unfortunately the art style quality gets dragged down by the ugly character sprites. Overall this ended up being a good project to be free.
You won't miss anything important if you don't have the 18+ patch because it's useless: the shoehorned sex scenes consist in only two images with no description.
This is the sequel to Serafina's Saga. This series is by Woodsy Studio, the same people who made Quantum Conscience, which I did not like at all because of the too complicated game mechanics. Surprisingly, the Serafina's series was to my liking because of the neat world-building.
You have to play the prequel first, otherwise you will miss past happenings established in the lore that will make it difficult to fully understand the plot and family trees. The first title which is free and not on Steam is a pure visual novel and is just acceptable in my opinion. The sequel somehow manages to make a jump in quality also in its presentation.
Unfortunately, this is not a pure visual novel but has a mini-game which seems complicated at first (it gets easier later). I just wish that these devs would stop adding such overtly elaborated mechanics in their games because they often feel unnecessary and getting all the endings becomes too grindy—its total length would only be short (2 - 10 hours) otherwise.
It's interesting to note that in this second title Serafina is not the protagonist anymore and gets relegated to a main character.
No spoilers, don't worry! I'm not talking about the story but about the rest. This episode felt more bearable than the past one because it had ten little dots on the bottom side of the UI that indicate how far into the story you are.
Unfortunately, episode 2 has different names for the characters and that's because it was translated by a different company than the first one. Serrault is now Cerrow, Lisa becomes Risa, Hal becomes Haru. I'm now copy-pasting someone's message: "Jack Lunny (Barton's alias) is now Jack Rani. Mister Troche is Mister Lozenges (different word, same meaning) the company Platina Smith is now Platinum Smith, the company Hallard Bros. is now Harald Broth, and of course Earth is Terra and there may be more I haven't seen." To put it shortly, it's a mess. To me it's completely unacceptable for Sekai Project to have titles that belong in a same series with different romanization for the characters' names. Also, the new more sounding Japanese names clash with specific plot points.
And now a little bit of news: Sekai Project is planning to port (again) this series to a new engine and have it in HD at an higher resolution (2560×1440). The first episode should be ready this month, while the second and the third after a few months. I sure do hope that they plan to fix the translations' inconsistencies once and for all with this porting, but we'll have to wait and see.
To new readers: I have no idea whether to suggest waiting one year to read this series with the future HD edition, or not. I most certainly am not waiting for it, since they took more than 3 years to wait to fix it. There's a chance it's gonna suck and that the translation will not be corrected.