Posts Tagged ‘visual novel’

Shuffle! Review

Shuffle! Featured

Shuffle! Boxart

Developer: Navel
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Rin is just your average high school student. He’s no sport star nor is he a straight A student. Despite having nothing special to his name, he finds his world shaken up as two new transfer students appear in his class. According to them, they both met Rin as children and fell in love with him. This love has remained strong all those years so they finally decided to seek him out. Oh, and by the way, they just so happen to be daughters of the Gods of Heaven and Hell.

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Cho Dengeki Stryker Review

Dengeki Stryker Featured

Cho Dengeki Stryker Boxart

Developer: OVERDRIVE
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Dengeki Stryker is a visual novel that tells the story of a young boy named Yuuki Yamato and his unyielding desire to be a hero. Thanks to some extremely strange circumstances, h gets his wish and the superhero Dengeki Stryker comes to life. Cho Dengeki Stryker is the ultimate version of the game as it adds on new chapters to fully flesh out the story. If you’ve never played Dengeki Styrker then check out our review. This review is focused purely on the new content. Interested players can purchase Cho Dengeki Stryker as either a patch or complete game depending on their needs.

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Dengeki Stryker Review

Dengeki Stryker Featured

Dengeki Stryker Logo

Developer: OVERDRIVE
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Like many of my age group, I was in love with the Power Rangers as a child. There was something about these “super sentai” heroes that enigmatic, yet entirely alluring about them. Perhaps it was their total and complete coolness that sucked many children into their world. For a while, I probably even wished to become a Japanese-style superhero. Unlike those who let those dreams fade as they grow, Yuuki Yamato was unwilling to relinquish his dream. One day he comes upon a mysterious Memory Collector who will grant him any wish at the price of every memory he has. Yamato agrees and becomes Stryker Zero and thus begins Dengeki Stryker.

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ef – the latter tale Review

ef - the latter tale Featured

Ef - the latter tale Boxart

Developer: minori
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Playing ef – the first tale was an unexpectedly emotional experience for me. The twenty something hour visual novel was interesting and a far more heartfelt story than most games of the genre ever muster up. As such, I was very excited to see what would follow in ef – the latter tale. If you’ve already played and enjoyed the first, then this one must definitely be played. It somehow manages to surpass its already excellent forebearer.

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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review

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Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation Vita

What the heck is Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc?  Its name doesn’t reveal much, and it’s actually quite misleading. You see, it’s a murder mystery visual novel of sorts with a bunch of various elements from other genres mixed in. Its like the Ace Attorney, Zero Escape, and Persona series had a crazy baby. And this baby is really awesome.

As Danganronpa relies on its story as its primary appeal, I won’t go into it too much lest I spoil anything! I’m sure you’re intrigued about what the basic premise is, though. Basically, incredibly talented “Ultimate” students from various fields are chosen to attend a prestigious school known as Hope’s Peak Academy. Unfortunately for these students, they quickly find out that they’ve actually been trapped in this school and must kill each other if they want to leave. When these killings do happen, you’re forced to take part in class trials in order to figure out who murdered your fellow classmate.

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These class trials are reminiscent of Ace Attorney games, though they’re done quite differently. They are composed of four different parts: Nonstop Debate, Hangman’s Gambit, Bullet Time Battle, and Closing Argument. Nonstop Debate is the main portion of class trials, and it’s where you use “truth bullets” (evidence) that you’ve gathered against contradictions in the arguments being thrown about. There are also times when one remark that is being made during the discussion must be used against the contradiction. The way that the Nonstop Debate mode is laid out is pretty interesting and unique!

Hangman’s Gambit simply involves shooting letters to form a word that is relevant to the trial. Bullet Time Battle is a rhythm minigame that feels extremely unnecessary and is probably my least favorite part of class trials (and I love rhythm games). Lastly, the Closing Argument section is a kind of puzzle where you put the correct image in the blank spots of a comic book in order to retell how the murder went down. It’s kind of annoying how tiny the images are, which makes it difficult to figure out what exactly is going on in it.

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The characters of Danganronpa are definitely what make the game shine. At the very beginning, I honestly couldn’t see myself liking more than one or two of the students. As Dangaronpa progressed, however, I grew to love most, if not all, of them. And to my surprise, the people that I thought I would like the least ended up becoming my favorites! They’re an eccentric, lovable bunch that had me laughing constantly.

Being a game that relies on its “craziness,” Danganronpa is full of twists and shocking moments. The way the murders are carried out can be quite predictable, but you’ll be on edge throughout the whole game that it doesn’t really matter in the end. Like a good book, you’ll want to get through it from start to finish in one sitting and won’t want to put it down.

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It’s hard to keep myself from babbling incoherently about Danganronpa because I enjoyed it so much. I’m in love with the story, characters, music, and mostly everything about it. So I can’t stress enough how much I recommend it for Vita owners. Grab yourself a copy, play it, and savor it. Then you can wait patiently (or impatiently) for the recently announced Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair!


Pink Score: 4.54 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Fading Hearts Review

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Fading Hearts Logo

Developer: Sakura River Interactive
Publisher: Sakura River Interactive
Platform: PC – Direct, Steam

I’ve enjoyed using Steam for years but have always felt disappointed at the lack of visual novels on the platform. Fading Hearts is part of a small group of games from the genre cropping up on the storefront, which leads to quite mixed results. Fading Hearts isn’t a brand new game as it actually launched in 2009. But is it a worthwhile title to play today or should you look to something else?

Well, first it must be said that there’s an incredibly diverse reaction to the game. Some love it and some hate it! I’m in the camp that was pleasantly surprised, although not everything about the experience was wondrous. With that said, let’s get into the review already.

Fading Hearts Screenshot 1

Fading Hearts is a very unique visual novel. You play as a teenager named Ryou who has two best friends – Rina and Claire. As you might expect, there is some romantic triangle stuff going on, but you don’t have to pursue it either. What got me so captivated was realizing that the game wasn’t just a droll cutesy dating sim. Instead, it can take a great many paths, many of which are far more interesting than Fading Hearts initially lets on.

Because there are so many ways the story can twist and change, you’re going to have to beat the game a few times to see everything. With a first playthrough taking 3 to 5 hours, it isn’t a massive time investment to explore a bit more to complete it. Different characters have different stories whcih are revealed if you befriend them, while whole other avenues open up if you make the right series of choices. The game definitely gets weird at times, but I enjoyed it.

Fading Hearts Screenshot 2

Alongside hanging out with friends, you are also trying to unravel strange occurrences going on around you. Beyond this, you also work on improving the stats of your character. Some of this aids with earning more money from part-time work, while others help you gain battle stats, but I won’t say anything more about that…

The negatives that many people appear to harp on are the fact that the story is sometimes silly (Y2K orphans, anyone?), has a few seriously odd twists, utilizes a fairly standard anime-style art, and is overall not a polished experience. These things are true but I don’t at all find them game breaking. Still, players should go in expecting that every once in a while there are typos, the music isn’t particularly endearing, and perhaps some of the plot points will seem too outlandish. With all that said, I had a lot of fun playing through Fading Hearts and will definitely be checking more alternative paths soon!


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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ef – the first tale Review

ef - the first tale Featured

ef - the first tale Boxart

Developer: minori
Publisher: MangaGamer & No Name Losers
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

High school is a tough time for anyone. Not only are you studying like mad to pass classes, you’re also worried about the ever-approaching future. Then there’s the whole issue of romance… Fall for a classmate, realize they don’t love you back, or maybe it all works out. In ef – the first tale, players are presented with perhaps the most honest depiction of love, and all the trouble that comes with it, seen in a visual novel.

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Romance the Printer of Your Dreams in a New Dating Sim

Brother Printer Dating Sim

Why stop at dating women-turned-alpacas, grasshoppers, or high school-aged pigeons? Now you can try your hand at dating a printer!

A new web-based advergame was released by Brother International that lets you do just that. Love! Brother-kun is the game and is available in Japanese. However, if your browser is capable of translating on the fly, you can play the game “in English”!

In any case, the dating sim is set in a high school with you being one of the students. Suddenly, you see him – Brother-kun. You can fall in love with this non-human transfer student (apparently male?) and even watch him play sports. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.

Check it out and take a guess at what weirdness dating sims will come up with next.

Kara no Shojo Review

Kara No Shojo Featured

Kara No Shojo Boxart

Developer: Innocent Grey
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Oftentimes, it is hard to get people to take visual novels seriously. The supposedly average gamer would much rather “play” games than read them. Of course, if they could just sit down with a few then they might realize how silly they were acting. However, even many visual novel fans are bothered or even angered by the presence of eroge. For the most part, I don’t mind. It’s when there is something that appears to have a compelling storyline that my interest is piqued. Kara no Shojo is one such game which is why I chose to give it a shot.

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Long Live the Queen Review

Long Live the Queen Featured

Long Live the Queen Boxart

Developer: Hanako Games
Publisher: Hanako Games
Platform: PC – Direct, GOG*, Steam

Would you love to have the power of a queen or king? With legions of people devoted to you and absolute power, how could anything go wrong? Reality is nothing like such fantasies, of course, and any ruling party has to deal with a range of problems. This is the case for young Elodie who suddenly ascends to the throne after her mother’s death. Can she handle the many stresses of being queen? That’s all up to how the player shapes her fate in Long Live the Queen.

Long Live the Queen Screenshot 1

The game is a strategy/simulation where you choose what Elodie will spend her days learning about. She can become an incredible strategist with tomes of knowledge about foreign and domestic political issues. Or, Elodie can learn how to fight directly and keep her people safe in a much more direct way. She can become a very regal queen, learning about how to present herself as true royalty and taking interest in music. Really, the only constraints on what kind of queen she’ll become are dependent on the configuration of skills the player chooses to pursue.

Much of the fun in Long Live the Queen is seeing how different skills affect events. Some are pretty obvious, such as the fact that you likely won’t win a battle if you know nothing about military strategy and logistics. However, other events are likely to shock – and sometimes be fatal. Somehow, losing is still enjoyable! It just makes you want to jump right back in and try to skew Elodie’s learning in a way that works to resolve the otherwise deadly event. Each event has a number of traits affecting it, so players aren’t shoehorned into doing the same thing every time.

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However, there is another facet to skill learning that makes the game harder. You see, Elodie has a mood meter with a few specific mood types. Her aptitude for learning specific skills changes dependent on her mood. If she’s angry, she’ll do better with weapons and military training. Figuring out what moods suit specific types of learning can be a bit tough, especially when you’re already trying to resolve government and interpersonal conflicts in the main game. It’s also a bit annoying to have to regularly flip between all these screens with no way to compare two at the same time.

Long Live the Queen is far tougher, and darker, than most expect. It’s not just a cutesy little Princess Maker clone. No, this game deals with some serious political intrigue, with other nobles seeking to kill the incumbent queen to increase their own power. Definitely play this game if you’re up for some strategic excitement and see if you can survive through all Elodie’s trials!


Score: 4.5

4 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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