Amaterasu Blog

14Dec/1010

Dra+Koi Review

What the hell was that.

The pacing was faster than anything I've ever read in my life. The first half of the plot never takes itself seriously. The writing can't decide (in a good way) whether it's being deep or silly or stylish or gratuitous. The lion's share of the soundtrack has vocals. And there's no dearth of sprites, cgs or movement thereof despite the game's brevity. So, I found the overall experience quite overwhelming at first. And then it ended before I could stop being overwhelmed.

For the most part, I enjoyed that sensation a lot, but it would definitely have benefited from slowing down just a little (maybe having less sex to cram in would've made that easier?). In the second half where the plot suddenly matters, it does indeed slow down and successfully makes me care. While the game is far too short to do anything truly exceptional, what story was there was unique, interesting, and well-written, despite the obvious ending.

Score: 8.5/10

Polarization: (+0.5/-1)

Short game means very little content to be polarized by, though the abnormality of the content may slightly deter some.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear, All Three Bad Endings

12Dec/1017

Shi’ei no Sona-Nyl ~what a beautiful memories~ Review

All those stylish fantasy elements you (should) love are back yet again, but now with a psychic subway car, shadows that make sandwiches, people reciting poetry during sex, and other interesting differences from the previous installments.

Most of the minor differences can be summed up as a trade-off between world building detail and infodumps for more scenes simply meant to be sad, funny (in both good and dubious ways), or quotably cool. They succeed at making Sona-Nyl not feel too much like any previous WAB, while at the same time not lowering the overall quality at all. The biggest differences worth mentioning are the new thematic emphasis on memories (duh), and two parallel protagonists instead of the usual one or Valusia's many. There's also a slight rise in overall production values, most noticeably in the large number of sprites everyone gets.

One other very welcome change for fans of the series is the copypasta battles being less repetitive and less effortless for the protag than usual, such that it's no longer an objective flaw like it was in the previous three games. In fact, copypasta text in general is very low this time. In exchange, people gain an annoying habit of repeating themselves more than they should, particularly in the endgame. Also, there are many brief instances of a very predictable or irritating trope being used, but these are never plot-critical, they last maybe a minute or so each, and at most they add up to a minor nuisance.

But what really matters to anyone who's read a WAB before is: did the game explain itself at the end, or should I just skip this one? Strangely, the answer is neither. While a very large number of obvious questions are left open (fewer than Sharnoth, but still a lot), the way the ending plays out made everything feel as if it had been explained, and I had hardly any difficulty filling in detailed and satisfying justifications of my own.

Score: 9/10

Polarization: (-1.5/+0.5)

The flaws have, to some extent, shifted away from overuse of some stylistic or narrative technique toward more ordinary concerns of polish, so the average reader is less likely to be rubbed the wrong way compared to previous WABs.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear