Amaterasu Blog

31May/105

Konata Yori Kanata Made Review

May as well start with the good parts. The writing style is rather nice, providing better description than the average VN and effectively characterizing the protagonist. Everyone else is also well-characterized, by which I mean they're consistent and just complex enough to be interesting. It's almost a certainty that you'll find one of the heroines to be cute. The story even does something clever once in a while.

But that's about it. Most of what happens is rather ordinary, occasionally predictable, and occasionally just random. There are even some cgs feel either unnecessary or underused. Fortunately, a lot of this didn't bother me much since I don't really care about art and I could still enjoy the characters and writing to some degree. Since the plot moved at a perfectly fine pace without dragging on at all, this worked quite well.

Overall, KonaKana has some nice stuff in it, and no fatal flaws, but it's still quite unimpressive.

Score: 7/10

Polarization: (+0.5/-1)

I guess if you like slice of life you'll enjoy it a little more than I did, but given all the little problems with it that didn't quite bother me I think it's more likely you'll dislike it more than I did.

Routes/Endings Played: Kristel's Route

21May/109

Shirotsume Souwa ~Episode of the Clovers~ Review

This game's biggest strength is the presentation. The LittleWitch engine allows for several manga-like panels and speech bubbles to float all around in various patterns, making for a refreshingly active screen. It's actually so fun to watch I not only didn't care that the game is completely unvoiced, but didn't even notice it for a while. The music is very nice and relaxing, sound effects are well-integrated with all the moving sprites, and the sketchy, watercolor art fits well with the lackadaisical mood.

As some of those compliments implied, this overall style works best on the slice-of-life scenes. This is a good thing, because about two thirds of the game is dominated by slice-of-life. While this content is certainly enjoyable, and the heroines are undeniably adorable, the lack of meaningful plot or character development makes it unimpressive. The actual plot isn't bad either, with adequate foreshadowing, a decent number of twists and a reasonably satisfying conclusion to all subplots. However, it has its flaws, and is also nothing exceptional.

The game is very short, so there's nothing left to say at this point.

Score: 7.5/10

Polarization: (+1.5/-0.5)

If stylistic presentation is important to you, or you aren't bothered by slice-of-life crowding out plot, you'll probably like this more than I did.

Routes/Endings Played: Touka's route

18May/1043

Forest Review

A masterpiece of post-modernism, intertextuality and metaphysics.

At first, the game appears to be complete nonsense, and you spend most of your time laughing in awe of how the writers never seem to run out of bizarre things to add to the scene, up to and including bickering narrators, countless voice-only lines and perplexing choices. But the moment you start to see the method behind the madness, your brain will be constantly racing to try and keep up with the barrage of sophisms and symbols that make up both the underlying nature and literal appearance(s) of the forest. Later on, when you finally start to learn the truth, the revelations range from exciting to positively overwhelming.

The numbers of characters, sprites, backgrounds, sound effects and visual effects for a game this size are incredible, and every single one adds to the immersion. Although most of the side characters are lifted from the beloved public domain of children's literature, the core cast is original, expressive, intelligent, sometimes even hilarious, and deep enough to undergo character development right before they risk feeling cliche or repetitive. The art and writing styles also manage to ricochet between mystical and playful on a regular basis. The large number of sex scenes is a bit odd for a game this short, but each one is brief and justified by either plot or character, even if it doesn't seem like it at first.

Unfortunately, the plot is so intricate and compact that I doubt it's humanly possible to catch every single important detail on a single playthrough without outside help. Despite that, if you pay close attention and think very, very hard, it's possible to understand the vast majority of what happened not long after finishing the game. In addition, the ending makes some very deep statements about the nature of fiction, which should leave any reader who can understand them quite satisfied. Thus, the game ekes out this score by the skin of its teeth.

Score: 10/10

Polarization: High (-3)

It's confusing as all hell. Some of you simply will not get it, and others simply will not appreciate the convoluted way information tends to be presented. Or you may simply disagree with me when I say every scene is justified or explicable. Still, this site might help a little.

Routes/Endings Played: Mostly linear, but I tried all of the little branches too.

P.S. No, this 10 will not affect the MuvLuv project in the slightest.

15May/109

Extravaganza ~Mushi Mederu Shoujo~ Review

You know that thing called "morbid curiosity"? Ever wanted to satisfy it once and for all? This is how.

The plot centers around "mushi" (tl note: mushi means bug) which are basically these little half-Pokemon half-tentacle monster type critters who lay their eggs inside human women. Much of the time, surprisingly, this means typical shonen-style action plot. The story is actually quite enjoyable since all of the common pitfalls (plot holes, character breaks, slow pacing, predictability) are consistently avoided in the lion's share of the scenario. Add in the protagonist's unusual and sometimes genuinely touching relationship with her mushi and you have a surprisingly fun page-turner (or mouse-clicker I guess). Unfortunately, the good endings weren't much more satisfying than the bad ones, and one or two reveals right at the end of the game are in fact very predictable.

A big reason why this game works as well as it does is the complex route system, based around a series of charts showing you the paths between different scenes. This allows you to see exactly how much you're missing, and sometimes even get a feel for what happens on the alternate routes. Considering the game is also trying to cater to deviant nukige fans, this feature is a lot more useful than you might think.

Now that part I've been glossing over. This game contains some of the most disturbing sexual content I have ever fathomed, much less actually read. Once in a while it goes so far beyond what you thought the human body was capable of finding sensual that you forget what "disgusting" feels like. As one would expect from Black Cyc, the production values in these scenes are downright exceptional. And strangely, the plot succeeds at justifying all of the unavoidable ones, along with a fair portion of the optional ones. The rest are all firmly entrenched in side routes and bad ends, and thus don't harm the fun of the story at all. Whether they're actually a plus is hard to say, but they're certainly unforgettable.

Score: 7.5

Polarization: (+0.5/-1) Low

Assuming the presence of plot-critical tentacle rape isn't a deal breaker for you--which for many I'm sure it is--then it mostly comes down to whether the best aspects of the story bore or fascinate you.

Routes/Endings Played: 72% overall completion, with at least one ending completed in all eight arcs. According to this walkthrough, I got endingsĀ 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 22, 31, and 32 out of 32.

7May/1012

Project #3 Progress Announcement 2

Full patch for MuvLuv Extra released.

You know this link by now: http://amaterasu.tindabox.net/index.php?page=downloads

6May/1015

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Review

In short, an interactive soap opera. This is a lot better than it might sound.

KimiNozo does in fact deserve most of its fame. All of the characters behave exceedingly human throughout the story, even on what you might initially assume are rather implausible routes. As a result, most branches of the story are exceedingly believable, except possibly the one plot-founding twist you probably already know about. The only thing about this game that does stretch suspension of disbelief in the slightest are the implausibly tight female outfits (and a couple extremely minor characters).

After the very long prologue, most of the game can be divided into rather melancholy slice of life (with copious monologues), some much needed comic relief at protag's part-time job, and then the very well-done dramatic scenes. The balance these three groups maintain is one of the biggest reasons the conflicts feel so real. Most scenes of the third type range from disheartening to potentially tear-jerking, despite the feeling that you might've seen a few of them before.

Although a handful of plot twists can be genuinely surprising, KimiNozo never quite manages to amaze, although it consistently avoids being predictable. There are also a handful of dialogues or monologues that feel a bit pointless or circuitous, and some of the comedy scenes aren't really that funny.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: +0.5/-1.5

Despite the fact that any decent human being would be hard pressed to solve the dilemma KimiNozo's protag is faced with, some readers will inevitably see him as indecisive. In a similar vein, you may also feel the game is significantly longer than it needs to be.

Routes/Endings Played: All Mitsuki, Haruka and Akane endings, plus Manami's yandere ending.