Amaterasu Blog

27May/130

Shinjisougeki Carnival Review

This story revolves around several girls on Rokushiki Island, all from families teaching them martial arts, and the vast majority of the emphasis is on the fights that take place between them as the centerpiece of the island's traditional ceremonies.

The main appeal of this VN is the gratuitously badass action, since the very good fight scenes make up at least half of the total text. They all have a steady flow from initial face-off to final blow, plenty of cool CGs, several unrealistic but cool techniques, and badass music that doesn't get old. Plus every fight feels completely different from the others.

The story and setting are pretty cool and entirely coherent, but often predictable and not terribly complicated. The slice of life and comedy are mediocre, but thankfully they're also extremely brief. The exposition and protagonists' thoughts are good enough to set the stage for all the fights though not much more. Most of the characters are also fairly simple, though they fill their roles well, especially the protagonists. For me the final Tomoe/Kaina battle was a notable exception, since I found their conflict compelling enough that the fight was epic instead of just cool.

Overall, this is a perfect example of focusing on exactly one thing, doing it very well, and thereby producing a short, simple and highly enjoyable (though not amazing) experience.

Score: 7.5/10

Polarization: (+0.5/-0.5)

The girls all seem to enjoy beating each other to a pulp more than we might consider healthy, which I found weird in a cool way, but others may find it weird in a bad way. Other than that, if you like lots of badass fights, you should enjoy this.

Routes/Endings Played: Linear

P.S. I read the iOS version of this during a recent plane flight. After talking to someone who read the PC version, it seems safe to assume they're the same.

27May/137

Itsuka, Todoku, Ano Sora Ni Review

At first this is a typical slice-of-life game set in a rather old-fashioned town, then it turns into a fantasy/action story once the routes begin and the powerful family's secrets are revealed.

The slice of life and comedy in the common route has some fairly silly heroines, a quirky yet nuanced writing style, plus a calm yet mystical atmosphere from both the town and the nice fluffy story to occupy time until the genre shift. Somehow it manages to be a highly immersive and relaxing experience that makes you eager to learn more about the town's secrets after the plot kicks in.

Then, sadly and bizarrely, the actual routes are just plain badly written. More often than not twenty pages will say what could easily fit into five sentences. Some fairly lengthy scenes have no discernible purpose, and several that should have one somehow fail to add the slightest detail to what we already knew. Partly as a result, the story varies between being needlessly nebulous (for most or all of each route you have no idea what the conflict is even about), poorly explained (in one dramatic finale a bunch of named characters died and I still don't understand why), inconsistent (the most powerful person in one route is reduced to a red shirt with a totally different power in another), and weird in a bad way (a couple of the twists would've been appropriate for a Doctor Who episode).

Score: 6/10

Polarization: (+2/-2)

Depends how much the common route's quality means to you when the routes are a complete waste of time.

Routes/Endings Played: All three.

P.S. Strangely, the elaborate and unique kanji multi-meanings underlying several of the names are the one part of the story that is coherent and properly explained.