Guilty ~The SiN~ Review

Title: Guilty ~The SiN~ (罪囚-The SiN-)
Alias: Zaishuu -The SiN-
Release date: 2003-09-26 (2011-03-14 in English)
Developer: Tactics
English publisher: MangaGamer

Ah, Zaishuu -The SiN-, a visual novel from Tactics that promised to take us to the darker side of an eroge world. Considering that I'm a fan of everything that is horror, fantasy or sci-fi, I was more than eager to get my hands onto it, expecting to experience another "Bible Black". The title left me with very mixed feelings, but I suppose that is the point of this review. So, let's proceed by diving straight into the underworld of Akatsuki City.


Sugar's Delight Review

Title: Sugar's Delight
Release date: 2011-12-03
Developer: Neko-Soft
Publisher: Neko-Soft

The cake is not a lie!

It's an OELVN. It's a nukige. It's yuri. If you wonder how those components can blend together, even though they never did before, read on.


Rise & Fall Review

Title: Rise & Fall
Release date: 2011-11-05 (Chapter 1)
Developer: POPloids
Publisher: POPloids

For a change let's review an OELVN here or at least the first chapter of one, as "Rise & Fall" is an ongoing project and only the first chapter of this kinetic novel has been released. By creators' own admission the game has been highly influenced by "07th Expansion" and the game bears an undeniable similarity to Umineko series. At the same time it a sort of fan-fiction, as the majority of the characters are taken from UTAU (not that I know or care what that is; something to do with vocaloids). Not knowing a lick about UTAU didn't hinder my experience with the game in the least.


Hatoful Boyfriend Review

Title: Hatoful Boyfriend (はーとふる彼氏〜希望の学園と白い翼〜)
Release date: 2011-07-31 (2011-11-22 in English)
Developer: Hato-King
English publisher: S. Nazerine Zarib & Hato-King (as a patch)

o_O ................ >_> ................ -.-' ..................... OTL .........................................
Yeah, let me introduce to you a BL (bird love) visual novel named "Hatoful Boyfriend" or "Heartful Kareshi" where you are a female character that can romance various birds... 'Hatoful' here is a joint word of 'heartful' and 'hato' (bird). THIS  IS FUCKED UP, I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE!!! Why are the doors locked and... oi, what are you doing with that cleaver and how the fuck are you holding it with no opposite thumbs?! Oi... Splat...


Kara no Shoujo Review

Title: Kara no Shoujo
Original title: 殻ノ少女
Alias: Girl in the Shell
Release date: 2008-07-04
English release date: 2011-06-29 (voiceless)
                                  2013-10-04 (voiced)
                                  2013-12-09 (Limited Physical Edition)
Developer: Innocent Grey
Publisher: MangaGamer & TLWiki

This time let's review something on a darker and grittier side of a visual novel world. How about a serial murder story set in a post-WWII Japan that doesn't pull any punches when it comes down to displaying the darkest abyss into which a human psyche can sink? Yes, that is a perfect description for "Kara no Shoujo" a.k.a. "Girl in the Shell" - a visual novel heavily influenced by the writings of Edogawa Rampo. Even the chapters in the novel are named based on the titles by this author.


Conquering the Queen Review

Title: Conquering the Queen (魔将の贄)
Release date: 2004-07-23 (2011-10-28 in English)
Developer: Liquid
Publisher: MangaGamer

Maybe it's unusual, but I do not differentiate between subgenres of eroge. I like them plot based and I also like nukiges. Frankly, it all depend on the mood what kind of game I want to play. And this time I wanted to play a new sexfest from MangaGamer "Mashou no Nie" (retitled "Conquering the Queen" for the Western market). The game was previously known as "The Queen and Princess as Your Rewards", when it was supposed to be released a few years ago and was suddenly pulled to be completely retranslated.


Planet Stronghold Review

Title: Planet Stronghold
Release date: 2011-02-27
Developer: Winter Wolves
Publisher: Winter Wolves
Genre: Indie Western JRPG

Let's temporarily switch our gazes from the far east to the west and review an RPG by Italian developer Riva Celso - the guy behind "Winter Wolves" and "Tycoon Games". Why he needs two different labels to publish his games is an eternal mystery and WW and TG releases have always been hit or miss with me. They ranged from incredibly shitty (Heileen series) to really good (Bionic Heart and Vera Blanc series). So let's disassemble "Planet Stronghold" and see if it is a good game.


Umineko no Naku Koro ni Review

Title: Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に)
Release date: 2008-12-29 (2009-06-07 in English)
Developer: 07th Expansion
English publisher: Witch Hunt (as a fan-patch)

"Umineko no Naku Koro ni" or "When the Seagulls Cry" is the second visual novel in eight chapters (this game contains four of them) created by Ryuukishi07 of "07th Expansion" fame (counting Higurashi saga as a single work). Both Higurashi and Umineko have garnered huge following both in Japan and in the other countries and despite being made by a doujin group have already become franchise names with manga, anime, live movies and other crazy shit based on them ruling the wallets of impressionable masses. Can I say "Moooo"? I have already reviewed the Higurashi series earlier on this blog and can honestly say those were some of the best VNs I have ever played. Can Umineko hold up to that achievement? One way or the other, comparisons to Higurashi are unavoidable.


Monster Girl Quest Review

Title: Monster Girl Quest
Original title: もんむす・くえすと!前章 ~負ければ妖女に犯される~
Alias: Monmusu Quest! Origins -Assaulted by the Vamp-
Release date: 2011-03-09
English release date: 2011-07-23 (Rogue Translator)
2015-04-13 (DLsite)
Developer: Torotoro Resistance
English publisher: Rogue Translator (as a fan-patch)

So, it's finally time to review a JRPG, where we are a spiky haired boy with a GAS (Giant Ass Sword), a bad attitude and a penchant to save the world from the big bad Monster Lord terrorizing weak and helpless humans... not. "Monster Girl Quest" is a wonderful deconstruction of many of the prevalent JRPG clichés while being an engaging JRPG/VN hybrid in its own right.


Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo review

Title: Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo (車輪の国、向日葵の少女)
Release date: 2005-10-21 (2009-11-04 in English)
Developer: Akabei Soft2
English publisher: TLWiki (as a fan-patch)

Err... so, "Sharin no Kuni" - a work that is considered a "Citizen Kane" of visual novel world. If VNDB is to be believed, Sharin is one of the most critically well received adult games together with FSN, MLA and FDA (well, probably not this one). Translated as "Wheel Country, Sunflower Girl" (I still think that Gear Country sounds better, but.. oh, well) it's a dystopian sci-fi political and social commentary cross-dressing as a romantic adventure game.


Yukkuri Panic: Escalation Review

Title: Yukkuri Panic: Escalation (エスカレーション~狂愛のフーガ~ & ゆーくりパニック エスカレーション)
Release date: 2007-08-31 & 2008-06-07 (2011-06-30 in English)
Developer: Rolling Star
English publisher: Peach Princess

If years of watching porn movies have taught me anything it's that a visit to the hospital will include a mandatory blowjob from a big breasted blond nurse, police precincts are actually pleasure dens for the sadomasochistic clientele and all-girl Catholic schools are obviously places for the purest lesbian love to blossom.


Deus Machina Demonbane review

Title: Deus Machina Demonbane (斬魔大聖デモンベイン)
Release date: 2003-04-25 (2011-05-13 in English)
Developer: Nitroplus
English publisher: JAST USA

At long last! The time has come to review "Duke Nukem Forever"! I will fire up this game that has been so damn long in the making and proceed to kick alien ass and bask in the masculine glory of Duke himself. Even the fact that I don't even have the fucking game won't stop me as I have the next best thing - "Deus Machina Demonbane" - a visual novel that has been stuck so long in the publishing hell, that some people even lost hope to ever see it in English. Contrary to the detractors the game was released (well, about three years late, but that's not the point; is it?).

When the great master H. P. Lovecraft penned his imaginings about horrors from beyond time, space and human understanding, he created vivid and frightening pieces of literature, but he made a huge oversight that diminished the appeal of those works quite a bit. Two of those oversights to be precise: his works lacked giant ass robots and scantly clad lolitas. Japanese being the most advanced nation in the ethereal realm, took it upon themselves to fix it.


Nitro Powah!

So, today JAST USA provided us an announcement of their future releases, which predictably involves lots of Nitroplus power. After the successful sales of Demonbane (damn, I'm only 1/3rd through it - the thing is looong) we are getting "Saya no Uta", "Kikokugai", "Hanachirasu", "Sumaga" and "Django". Despite the fact I've already played the first two, I'm definitely getting them all.

Also predictably we are getting the sequel to "Aselia the Eternal" called "Seinarukana". The last announcement in the lineup was somewhat unexpected. I happily reaffirmed myself to be a massive perv, as upon the announcement of "Starless" I cheered. I has lots of crazy shit and that is exactly what I expect from my nukiges.

With the coming of "Kara no Shoujo", "Aselia the Eternal", "EF", "School Days", "Yumina" and more I foresee those few years to be very interesting :-D


Remember11: The Age of Infinity Review

Title: Remember11 -the age of infinity-
Release date: 2004-03-18 (2010-10-11 in English)
Developer: KID
English publisher: TLWiki (as a fan-patch)

Of trolls and trollops...

If I was Ben Croshaw, I would already be preparing a hate filled rant about Remember11. Thus I consider it the game's luck I'm not him as the game itself is a huge troll - the sort you find under the Golden Gates Bridge or visiting 4chan. It appears, the main message the writer of Remember11 wanted to convey us was: "LOL pwned U". And despite it I consider it quite a good game. But let's talk about everything from the very beginning.


The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Review

Title: The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
Release date: 2007-10-24 (2008-09-16 for Enhanced Edition)
Developer: CD Project RED
Publisher: CD Project & Atari


"The Witcher" is not a visual novel by any stretch of imagination, but considering I feel that this is one of the best games in the last decade, I decided to publicly review it. And with the release of its sequel (which I will probably review some time later) its even more relevant.


Power, sex. Sex, Power. They both come down to one thing - fucking others.
Geralt of Rivia, witcher

The first time I heard about Witcher has been a long ass fuckin' time ago. I saw a concept art in a magazine and dismissed it as another generic "special one" saving the world full of generic shit like elves and dwarves. Fast forward to 2007 and I somehow decided to try the game, despite my misgivings. All in all, that cost me quite a lot of money. Not the game itself, mind you, as at that time I pirated it. However, after finishing it I went to the bookstore and bought all the Witcher books. I think that says a lot about the game inducing you to go and buy a lengthy book series.


Sinkha series review

Titles: Sinkha
           Sinkha: Hyleyn
           Sinkha: Atmosphere/Planet of the Clouds
Release dates: 1995 (Sinkha) / 2008 (the remake)
                        2002 (Hyleyn)
                        2007 (Atmosphere/Planet of the Clouds)
Developer: Marco Patrito
Publisher: Virtual Views


And here's the god succumbing to the madness of the eyes and the mind.

The journey of Sinkha was a long one. Marco Patrito - an Italian writer and illustrator created the concept for the game in 1991. The creation of the game itself stalled again and again as due to the advances of technology Marco had to scrap the project and restart it with different tools in order to keep up. Also the project was way too ambitious both due to the funds available to Patrito & Co and the insuficient technology. Finally in 1995 "Sinkha" saw the light of the day in Italian, English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. It was labeled a multimedia novel. Practically it was a visual novel as the genre is known today, with a few differences: it was done entirely in computer graphics with character models rendered in 3D software and it had much more animations than any Japanese VN until ten years later.


Who needs post boxes anymore?

Guess what? I come home from work, enter the balcony and find a friggin' package with my copy of Demonbane in it. Seriously? Postman (woman?) didn't find me at home and instead of leaving a notice in my post box just thrown it into the balcony. Who needs those post boxes anymore, they are sooo yesterday...
At least I finally got my copy. In fact, I had to pester JAST twice about it as they apparently somehow managed to loose me from the database O_o
Also JAST needed to use cases with sturdier pins. My disk was loose in the case and reading online many people have that problem. It has some light scratches, but installed fine. And no, I'm not gonna play it now. I still have "The Witcher: Enhanced Edition" to finish.... What? I'm a patient man.


Chaos;Head Review

Title: Chaos;Head
Release date: 2008-03-21 (2008-12-31 in English)
Developer: Nitroplus & 5pb.
English publisher: TLWiki (as a fan-patch)


Whose eyes are those eyes?

Nitroplus is a Japanese VN company that is best known for their quality titles mainly involving sci-fi, fantasy and horror themes. So I suppose, when this title was patched into English, my expectations were kind of high (especially as I previously played Saya no Uta). However, the thing is, C;H is much more of a 5pb. title than Nitroplus one (or at least I want to believe that other N+ titles do not fall so short).

So, the protagonist of the story is Nishijou Takumi, a nice and outgoing fellow, who was just minding his own business, when all his life went to hell (if you managed to read that sentence with a straight face, mad props for you).


Higurashi series Review

Titles: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (in English as Higurashi: When They Cry)
            Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (in English as Higurashi: When They Cry Kai)
            Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
Release dates: The 4th arc in 2004-08-13 (2009-12-15 in English)
                          The 8th arc in 2006-08-13 (2010-07-15 in English)
                          Rei in 2006-12-31 (2009-03-27 Saikoroshi arc in English)
Developer: 07th Expansion
English publisher: MangaGamer (Saikoroshi translated by some dude at Animesuki forums)


What do you think, when you hear the word "horror"? Stephen King, Clive Barker, H. P. Lovecraft, "Dragon's Balls"? I say: "Screw them" (Lovecraft literally if I ever get to reviewing Saya no Uta or Demonbane). After playing Higurashi I can say that I can't remember the last time I have read such intense and chilling piece of work.
So, what is Higurashi..? A series of visual/kinetic/sound (however you may call them) novels set in a (semi) fictional Japanese town of Hinamizawa.


Kira Kira Curtain Call Review

Title: Kira☆Kira Curtain Call (キラ☆キラ カーテンコール)
Release date: 2008-08-14 (2010-04-30 in English)
Developer: Overdrive
English publisher: MangaGamer


So, in my previous review I stated, that I bought "Kira Kira" bundle with its sequel/fandisc "Kira Kira Curtain Call" in it. Now it's time to review the damn game and take it off my shoulders.

"Kira Kira CC" is basically composed of two different stories: Souta's desire to become a "sun" and Marakami's struggle with not knowing what to do with his life. So, let's get it out of the system - Curtain Call is no much worse than Kira Kira, but sadly it's no better either. Let's start with the very beginning.


Kira Kira Review

Title: Kira☆Kira (キラ☆キラ)
Release date: 2007-11-22 (2009-06-24 in English)
Developer: Overdrive
English publisher: MangaGamer


Well, here is my first review of a pretty well known visual novel "Kira Kira". Since MangaGamer has released the novel back in 2009 it was hard to surf the net without someone gushing about how this game is the best thing since sliced bread and how it's an ideal first visual novel for those wanting to try this subgenre of games hailing from Japan. Considering this is one of the highest rated VNs on VNDB, I thought I might as well buy it - after all, you can't go wrong with something everyone likes... right? Right?

Kira Kira has many incarnations in the English market: first there is the original download edition of the erotic game, an all-ages download edition with the ero content removed, a physical edition of the all-ages version and the port of this version to iOS. Not knowing who would want to play this game without ero (as ero is so punk rock), I downloaded the original version in a bundle with its sequel/fandisc "Kira Kira Curtain Call" which I'll probably review later.

So, what is this VN about? The short answer is punk rock or at least that is what it wants to believe. Meet Maejima Shikanosuke, a slacker, who at the beginning of the game gets dumped by his long time girlfriend. Sucks to be him, but his moping due to a heartbreak doesn't last long if any and soon our non-hero gets dragged into forming of a punk rock band with 3 girls.

One, two, three, start...

So. Ehem, this is my first post and I sort of don't know what to say. I created this blog on a whim really. And the reason that made me create it was simply "rage" at money misspent.
I'm a big fan of the subgenre of games known as visual novels. However, there is very little reliable info about those and many people rely on the written "word of mouth" so to say. Enter "Kira Kira" - a visual novel that everyone on the net praised and I hated furiously, hence money misspent. Thus I decided that we need more opinions on the VNs and this blog was born.
I am a lazy person and can not promise that I will post regularly, but I will honestly try not to abandon this blog. Now, the only trouble is to get readers. Well, time will tell.