Have some crappy reviews of the last few titles I've read in the last.... 1/2 year I guess....
Hoshizora no Memoria (Memoria of the Starry Sky)
Hoshizora no Memoria -Wish Upon a Shooting Star-, is generally considered as a "moege", a moe-game or character based game. Like typical moeges, it comes with a lot of slice-of-life and character interaction. Unlike typical moeges, it also comes with storylines that are actually decent. Recurring themes of this VN are the stars and wishes, and while not always so, the overall tone of this story is a happy and heartwarming one. It also has some science fiction elements in it, which to be honest is pretty much all fiction and no science, but that shouldn't really bother you too much because it's obviously not the point of this VN.
- I usually always find prolonged periods of slice of life (with nothing really happening plotwise) to be boring, but surprisingly, I don't remember getting bored much here, even though 3/4 of this is said slice of life. This must mean the slice of life here is better than most of the other slice of life I've encountered in VNs, although I do believe the common route dragged on for longer than necessary. This game also packs a large amount of emotional, heartwarming or otherwise just awesome scenes which sets it's apart from the other 9001 crappy moeges out there. The only real complaint I have is the incest and stuff in Chinami's route. I understand it needs to be there because the company needs horny Japanese otaku to give them money by buying this s
hit, but seriously, Chinami and the protag has about as much chemistry between them as a dog and a piano...
I think for a character based moege, this is about as good as it gets, though is obviously going to vary from person to person. Parfait is probably better but that's slated to begin translation after Baldr Sky, and by then you wouldn't care about any moe games, because you'll have BALDR MOTHERF
- The soundtrack is decent but not amazing with a few outstanding tracks, however, BGM usage in the game is very well done. The opening and ending songs are good, especially the one that plays at the end of the true route, which shares the same name as the game.
- The artwork is very good, it's better to see artwork for yourself rather than listen to me describe it, so have some examples (1
). Despite the game being in 800x600, all the CGs are done in 1600x1200 full HD resolution. I would have rated this higher, but I found a couple of CGs where some girl has 4 fingers or something, which I find quite unacceptable for a professional artist doing paid work, so loose a point for that. Another complaint is that the character portraits, though having a lot of different expressions, only have 2 different poses for every character, which is somewhat insufficient.
Ero - 3/10
. Meh, just your crappy standard fair for pure-love VNs. I guess Kosame's 2nd was pretty hot, but that's all.
Fluffiness (happiness and good ends) rating - 8.
Length - Long. ~50hrs.
Recommended route order - Asuho » Komomo » Kosame/Isuzu » Chinami » Yume (true) » Mare (bonus).
Overall - 8.5/10
Katawa Shoujo (Disability Girls)
This pretty well done considering it's a free doujin (and that means fan made) work, and it can be seen that a significant amount of effort went into it. You can say I'm pleasantly surprised, I went in expecting something slightly better than the average OELVN (Original English Language VN, OELVNs especially doujin ones are usually on the same quality level as s
hitty Final Fantasy fanfic written by a 13yo girls, with artwork also around that level), and came out with something that's actually not bad.
Text - 7/10
- The story is the main selling point of this VN, if you haven't figured out already.
Emi - No comment, most ordinary and average route. The derp faces during the h-scenes made me laugh more than I should have.
Rin - As someone who thinks and acts based on logic, I can't say I completely understand Rin's
(actually, that's incorrect, I very much doubt Rin's the norm for the average artist). Because of that, Rin's route felt very messy to me.
Hanako - Hanako was pretty cute I guess. The route itself is nice-ish in a fluffy way.
Lily - Best girl and best route. Oh yeah, this route also has the best artwork.
Shizune - This route was pretty bad.
Side note: all these peope on the internet who write rave reviews of KS saying it has a godly story that makes you cry a river and is the second coming of Jesus, to put it bluntly, they aren't qualified to review stuff at all, so don't listen to them. It's like picking up some average FPS from your local game shop and thinking it's the best s
hit ever because it's the very first FPS you ever played - it's fine to think that if it's really the 1st thing you've played, but please don't go writing reviews until you play at least 20 more games and get some sort of idea of what you're talking about.
Art - 4.5/10
. Lets be honest, the art is very amateurish (well it's actually drawn by amateurs so whatever), and is also very inconsistent due to having many different artists (or just lack of skill). Example 1
, the skirts, they're like different (both in terms of drawing/shading style and fold width) for every single girl. Example 2
, even for the same girl, the portraits aren't very consistent, skinny in one and fat in the other. Now onto the CGs, they vary in quality, there is this CG
which is beautiful, but unfortunately most CGs are more like this
instead, not nearly as good. The backgrounds are photography with a few filters thrown on.
But I'd also like to point out that KS has like over 100 totally different CGs (ie. not counting stuff like the same CG with different facial expressions). That's about as many CGs as Japanese full price commercial works, similar to what Hoshimemo (above) had, and twice as many as Symphonic Rain (below). Being a totally free fan made work, that's commendable.
Music - 5/10
. It's ok I guess, but a bit on the simple side, and not very memorable. Again I'd like to point out that there's like around 40 tracks, which is comparable to commercial works.
Ero - lol/10
. Totally not erotic, doesn't even try to be.... pretty much as expected (actually I would be scared otherwise). The ero scenes actually aren't too bad, in that they are short (so I didn't have to sit through too much c
rap), and they are in most cases not too awkwardly positioned. I'd much rather have the short un-erotic h-scenes of KS than the wannabe-erotic-but-failed and totally awkwardly placed h-scenes of Tears to Tiara, as an example.
Fluffiness (happiness and good ends) rating - 6.
Recommended route order - Do whatever you want, doesn't matter.
Length - Medium. ~30hrs.
Overall - 6.5/10.
An all-ages VN with a simple rhythm game built into it. Not going to provide a plot introduction because you can get that from VNDB (http://vndb.org/v38)
or wikipedia. Basically, Symphonic Rain is a story about music, love and lies, with some pretty mind blowing twists and revelations.
Looking at the cutesy artwork, you would expect this to be like K-On the VN, but that's pretty much completely off the mark. It's far more drama filled than K-On and it's overall tone is one of sadness, though the game does end on a positive tone in the final route. Unfortunately, I found the middle bits of the story (when not much is happening) a bit boring.
- From now on I'll call this "text" instead of "story", because it's rating the text overall and not just the storyline.
- Yes it's cute and lovable, but it's very simplistic
, and the art in some CGs looks pretty amateurish
. CG quantity is also a bit lacking. The background art is decent.
- The BGM is of decent quality, but poor quantity (19 tracks), even moreso considering the fact that most of the tracks are simply BGM versions of the insert songs, and in some cases, different versions of the same tune (eg. piano version, music box version). The good thing is you get TEN insert songs, which are all pretty good, and they all can be played in the integrated rhythm game. To be fair, those 10 insert songs probably cost way more money than a standard BGM set (~50 tracks) would.
Other comments - Lines get cut off after a certain length in the backlog and when you load saves, which is very annoying, but that's not the game's fault. It's probably some hard coded fixed variable in the code which works with the original Japanese but falls over really when narrower width English letters gets hacked into the game, so it's pretty much noone's fault.
Fluffiness (happiness and good ends) rating - 4.
Recommended route order - Lise » Fal » Torta » Al Fine » Phorni.
Length - Medium (~30hrs). It took me ages because I like waiting for the voices to finish before progressing to the next line, and the voices are sort of slow in this. Some (more modern?) VN engines won't cut off the voice after progressing to a new line that's unvoiced (eg. Hoshimemo), and that sort of makes it so you can listen to the voice and read at a decent speed, but unfortunately this engine doesn't do that.
Oh yeah, be a man and at least play the rhythm game on normal or hard, easy mode is for 13yo girls.
Overall - 8/10