Neutral Drow reviews: A Drug That Makes You Dream

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Drugs, bullying, and interpersonal relationships

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Kouhei Kagami is a high school student, living with an adoptive family and coasting through life. His relationship with his father, mother, and younger sister is...cordial at best, and he's never been particularly close to them. He works a part-time job and is a reputed honor student at school, simply because it's the easy thing to do. He's an utterly transparent person and knows it very well, and the sheer monotony of his life is expressed through his frequent auditory hallucination of a train, endlessly rolling down a track.

But not for long.

One after the other, three people enter his life. Aeka Shiraki, the omega in the classroom hierarchy and a frequent victim of bullies. Mizuki Kirimiya, the talented student council president and an all-around slacker. And Cat Sidhe Nekoko, a strange girl come seemingly out of nowhere and a self-proclaimed seeker of the "fairy homeland." Each seems to exist apart from the empty reality Kouhei lives in, but each has problems of their own to deal with.

Can Kouhei reach out to these three girls...and in return find his own salvation?
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Yume Miru Kusuri

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one. Sure, the concept had been lingering in the back of my mind ever since I bought it, but ultimately, I just knew that this was the other game I knew very little about...specifically, I knew about three glowing reviews on GameFAQs and the recommendation of the guy working the J-List booth. Still, after that horrible VN I last reviewed, I was willing to settle for just about anything.

And holy crap, is this game is like settling for a cheeseburger and receiving filet mignon, instead. Let's get started.

Gameplay

Once again, a visual novel (specifically, an eroge visual novel). You read the story, and occasional choices pop up. Said choices affect your relationship with other characters and influence the direction of the story, leading ultimately to one of seven endings.

Because of the comparatively little exposition that isn't already woven into the narrative (and almost total lack of possible death), this particular eroge is closer to the dating sim variety than the CyoA format (like, say, the TYPE-MOON games), though it also lacks the stat system and mutability of a true dating sim. In particular, the relationship points gained in the first half of the game determine who's scenario you're on (if anyone's), but the second half is governed by making the right decisions.

Except that one of these can get you laid...on the right route.
Early decision. Not an earth-shaking one.

The game also surprised me with its difficulty. Granted, it's not as hard as, say, Fate/Stay Night (where a single misstep can kill you and everyone you ever loved), but getting the happy endings in this game is made more difficult by the fact that, with one exception, there are no premature game overs, so you won't know you got a given heroine's bad ending until the end of the game. Further, each scenario has some exacting requirements for the good endings; Mizuki's route in particular has a lot of choices to make, some of which aren't obvious. Nekoko's has two decisions in particular that absolutely have to be made correctly. And even Aeka's scenario has a single decision that's very easy to trip over!

Did I mention the game's handy quicksave feature?
For the love of all that's good and holy, don't go outside!

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Story

The story in this game is very good. That sentence is the result of five hours of careful thought. I'm so eloquent.

Each of the game's three routes provide an interesting dichotomy. The story is rather lighthearted in tone, to begin with, and I was surprised that it could get pretty funny at times...which makes the contrast to the later parts all the more stark. Make no mistake, this game is dark, sometimes astoundingly so. Much as I'm not fond of the game's subtitle, I will admit that it hints very strongly towards the ultimate themes of social ostracism, suicidal depression, existential despair, and desperate escapism. Not to mention the game's sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, always highly critical stance on conformity...

Despite that, I'd be lying if I claimed this was a straight-up angstfest. Indeed, even in Aeka's route, the darkest and most emotional of the game's scenarios, focused as it is on the victim of Japanese bullying*, there wasn't as much angst as I might have expected. Mizuki's and Nekoko's routes (the "interpersonal" and "drugs" scenarios), on the other hand, are almost totally devoid. Not to say the game lacks emotional response, though, far from it. The response just varies.

i can haz cheezburger?
Character establishing shot: mooching off of Kouhei

Note, however, that all bets are off when it comes to the endings. There are seven possible endings in the game, including happy and unhappy endings for each of the three main girls. Eloquent as it sounds, the happy endings tend to very much so (and, despite Tolstoy's insistence, happy families, and endings, are not all alike), and the unhappy endings tend to be massive downers...with one possible bittersweet exception, which is open to interpretation...


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Characters

First, a note on White Knight syndrome: the perfect or near-perfect protagonist who "rescues" girls from their problems, which is a staple of many genres of eroge. When done right, this can give a game a clear sense of direction while not adversely affecting the plot. Done poorly, however, and it comes off as condescending and trite, and seriously harms the story. Either way, it's difficult putting meaningful characterization on a character who is too blatantly a player avatar (in the case of dating sims, though, I guess this doesn't matter).

Kouhei is a rather unusual protagonist, especially for this game's premise, in that he doesn't really fit that staple. While he's decently intelligent and bland by his own admission (most of which is unfounded self-deprecation), he's hardly an exemplar of well-adjustedness. In fact, this leads to one of the more effective aspects of his character; while he certainly does "save" Nekoko, Aeka, or Mizuki, it's not his strength of character but his flaws that draw him to the similarly-troubled girls and allow him to identify and fall in love with them. Nor are the relationships one-sided affairs; as Kouhei affects, so is he strongly affected by the love and actions of the girl he ends up with...even if she has to haul him bodily out of his complacency*. In fact, Kouhei is easily matched in characterization by the game's heroines. Aeka's sweet and spacey attitude, Mizuki's lazy capriciousness, and Nekoko's sheer energy, while they aren't really facades, do bely the hidden depths of their characters.

Two members of the supporting cast deserve full mention, as well, but since my creativity is once more running low, I'll just give them passing mention. Aya, Kouhei's adopted younger sister, is a surprisingly likable and important character. Now, if you're familiar with Japanese eroge at all, your head is probably still ringing with alarm bells at the phrase "adopted younger sister." There certainly are hints (Aya's got a rather tsundere attitude towards Kouhei, and he's initiated...semi-inappropriate situations) that that she could have been a love interest, but the game actually goes the realistic route. Instead, the hints simply serve to highlight Kouhei's disconnection from reality and Aya's worry and desire to be closer to him (but as family, not lovers). Then there's Tsubaki Hirofumi, Kouhei's sempai at work, who serves alternately as friend, reliable source of advice, and flirtatious annoyance (he's gay, just not stereotypically so). Since he's also a huge fan of eroge, his advice tends to be sound and humorously self-aware.

Of course, not every character has to be likable to be effective. Aeka's scenario, dealing as it is with bullying, is the only route with true antagonists (no, the yakuza Nekoko tends to piss off don't count), and they certainly succeed at being antagonizing. Kyoka Nanjou, the popular girl for whom Aeka is a favorite whipping girl and stress relief, is especially successful in this role, but I don't want to get too into particulars. Not because they're spoilers or anything (though some are), but simply because thinking about the particulars makes me sick.

EVERY CELL OF MY BEING SCREAMS IN DEFIANCE OF YOU, SHE-DEVIL OF THE BLACKEST ABYSS!
Evil. (artist's rendition)

Incidentally, that alt text is outdated, written when I was 1/3 of the way through the game. Eventually, even the English language simply runs out of words to describe pure loathing.

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Technical

This is a "text box at bottom of the screen" style visual novel, contrasting the full screen style of Tsukihime. I think both styles have different names in Japanese (one is technically "adventure game" style), but I can't recall which is which. There's some occasional typos, but nothing too widespread (and I think there's a patch for those).

The game's art quality is pretty good. Backgrounds in particular are easy on the eyes, and the CG gallery is fun to browse. I did find something...off, with the character design. Well, the character sprites, at least (the CGs were fine). Still, I'm not sure what it was, and whatever it was wasn't distracting for too long, so a passing grade nonetheless.

Side note: For an H-game protagonist, Kouhei's actually in a lot of these CGs.
Maybe it's her hair.

The English translation of the game retains the Japanese voiceovers, which is great, since the voice acting is superb. The seiyuu for the game's heroines in particular pull off wonderfully characteristic performances, whether it be Aeka's soft-spoken fragility, Mizuki's coy, often deadpan delivery, or Nekoko's forthright, almost manic nature; this is besides those instances of extra character depth, whether Aeka's anger, Mizuki's worried contrition, or Nekoko's...well, don't want to give too much away. Aya's and Tsubaki's voices fit their characters particularly well, too, and Kyoka's voice was delightfully unendearing. Most other voices besides Kouhei's parents (especially male voices) tend to be exaggerated for effect, whether humor or tragedy. Gaito in particular speaks with such an over-the-top drawl, it's almost comical...if he weren't every bit the violent thug his voice implies.

As a side note, Kouhei himself is the only unvoiced character in the game. It seems to be the game's only concession towards making him a player character...and it actually works pretty well.

The soundtrack is a similarly well-done affair, mostly in piano, acoustic guitar, and synth. In particular, the ambiance tracks have a light jazz feel to them, and the unique themes (the deeply emotional On the Moonlit Rooftop, the light and airy Girls Are Made of Frosting Cake, and the swinging The Catgirl Stomped) add even more character to their respective storylines.

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Ero

Yes, since this is an eroge, that means sex. And boy howdy is there a lot of it in this game. It was actually astounding how much they packed in. Aeka's route has the lowest amount, consisting of four scenes (all involving intercourse), which is a bit on the high side for a plot-heavy game like this. Mizuki's route has the highest, consisting of eight scenes (six involving intercourse), more than in the entirety of Fate/Stay Night!

Sad to say, this does work against the game a bit. The scenes during Nekoko's scenario (six total, five involving intercourse) in particular tended to feel really out-of-place. Only one or two could be considered important to the story, though to be fair, most of the others at least had some humor value in the leadup. Aeka fares slightly better, with two definitely important scenes, one arguably important scene, and one totally unnecessary scene. As for the almost insatiably horny Mizuki...oddly enough, I'd actually say all of her sex scenes are important in a way. Weird, I know, but trust me, it actually winds up making sense.

As for the quality of the scenes themselves...I'm a notoriously uncritical judge. Basically, as long it's not fetishistic, non-consensual, or lacking in pathos, I generally won't mind any given scene, and none of the ones in this game broke those rules in any appreciable way (though again, Nekoko came close). Hell, one or two even had me in tears.

Side note: if you're not used listening to Japanese hentai voiceovers, these scenes might sound kind of strange. Just a warning. In any case, if sex is a deterrent, then that's what the game's handy fast-forward feature is for. And if it's not a deterrent at all, that's what the auto-play feature is for.

I wouldn't recommend skipping past the drunken sex in the student council office, though. Mostly because it's disturbingly amusing. Just remember, when the choice pops up, effort on your part is appreciated. Just some advice.

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Verdict

Well, we're here. I've struggled to keep my sentimentality in check and myself objective...but really, I figured there was something wrong when I felt relief that there was something in the game I could complain about, just so people could take me seriously. Therefore, the review is essentially finished, so I'm going to officially abandon objectivity from here on out.

I love this game.

I seriously have not played anything else that provoked the sheer amount and variety of emotional responses that this game produced in me, including a few I don't have names for. Creeping dread, crushing despair, tearful relief, savage joy, bitter depression, awestruck wonder, loving empathy, inarticulate rage and utter hatred (see: Kyoka), deep shock, bittersweet satisfaction, growing suspicion, calm contentment, hell, even fatherly pride (of Kouhei) at one point...and three different shades of pure happiness.

Aeka's route in particular was spectacularly written, its resolution both horrifying and satisfying in a way I found slightly shocking, and its ending the happy memory that allowed me to move on to the other routes without feeling like a monster for ignoring her.

Mizuki's unhappy ending (which I did stumble onto) hit like a punch in the gut and lingered like a stab wound the more I thought of it...but her happy ending is the most heartwarming thing I've ever read. I actually walked around distracted most of the next day, so touched was I.

In a way, Nekoko's arc felt like the weakest...which didn't dent it much. Nekoko is still pretty entertaining, herself. I was particularly enamored after the twist most of the way through, which I totally did not see coming, but which ultimately made me love her along with the others. As well, her happy ending went with a cute sort of happiness that I found delightful.

The only thing preventing this game from overtaking Tsukihime and/or Fate/Stay Night as my new favorite visual novel is my love of supernatural elements, nostalgic bonds, and the sheer volume of the Nasuverse and its characters. As is, I'm rambling, so I'll cut off here.
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EDIT: Shoot, I forgot to mention availability. I'm still not sure where to physically buy copies of games like these, but since this is an officially translated (not fan-translated) game, it's available online. Peach Princess has it available for download or shipping, and I've seen copies up on Amazon, too.

Next Review:

TYPE-MOON reviews: Kagetsu Tohya
Tsukihime's sorta-sequel and fun-filled canon romp.

Thats a fine review, and it sounds like an interesting game.
too bad it's eroge, otherwise I'd consider looking into it... even though it has fast foward.
I wouldn't want to give people ideas about me, so I'll have to miss it.
I do like multiple choice games though. seem quite fun to see where you can end up.

Hmmm. Going to have to hunt this down. Nice job on the review!

Awesome review. I always wonder where people buy these games though. I think I have to check Demonoid right now...

I bookmarked this last night to re read again. Im going to be upfront and say this really isnt my type of game and i probably wont play it. I just had to throw some appreciation on this review, its very well done. Great job!

I have to say that this review is really good, with a nice picture-to-text ratio. I'm sorta confused as to why you don't center the other pictures (I suppose I'm just a massive fan of centering in general :D.)

I like the sound of this game: I'll add it to the list of stuff I have to buy once I run out of other stuff to play.

A funny thing is that riht now in college I'm taking a class in Interactive Narrative: and one of the options for the class project was to make a visual novel game. Alas, neither me nor my partner have any art skills, so we're going to make a MUD instead (think the Escapist's own Phantom of the Arcade.)

Greyfox105:
Thats a fine review, and it sounds like an interesting game.
too bad it's eroge, otherwise I'd consider looking into it... even though it has fast foward.
I wouldn't want to give people ideas about me, so I'll have to miss it.
I do like multiple choice games though. seem quite fun to see where you can end up.

I'll keep that in mind. Eventually, I'm going to get to a non-ero visual novel called Hourglass of Summer...

Zeon_1992:
Hmmm. Going to have to hunt this down. Nice job on the review!

Emphraim:
Awesome review. I always wonder where people buy these games though. I think I have to check Demonoid right now...

*smacks self* Gah, I can't believe I forgot about that!

Well, I bought this game from the guys working the J-List booth at San Diego Comic Con. I'd send you to their website, but frankly, their site freaks me the hell out. Unless you're going the torrent route (can't help you there), I'd recommend either just using Amazon, or going directly to Peach Princess' site (it's available as physical copy or download). The site is a little NSFW, but at least it only has bishoujo games, not...other things. >_>

xmetatr0nx:
I bookmarked this last night to re read again. Im going to be upfront and say this really isnt my type of game and i probably wont play it. I just had to throw some appreciation on this review, its very well done. Great job!

It's definitely a niche appeal, especially outside Japan. Still, it's gratifying to know I wrote a successful review even in light of that. Thanks!

scotth266:
I have to say that this review is really good, with a nice picture-to-text ratio. I'm sorta confused as to why you don't center the other pictures (I suppose I'm just a massive fan of centering in general :D.)

Oh good. I was actually worried about cluttering, since there were others I'd been planning to use. Size was also a weird point; I wanted to keep the text readable, but the image captures felt too large at first...

As for centering...I'm not really sure. I like centering the opening image, since using that with the inline caption seems to make it fit better. Centering the body images makes me feel like I'm leaving too much open space, especially with the bolded caption (can't use the inline captions, either, since that seems to interfere with the alt text...).

A funny thing is that riht now in college I'm taking a class in Interactive Narrative: and one of the options for the class project was to make a visual novel game. Alas, neither me nor my partner have any art skills, so we're going to make a MUD instead (think the Escapist's own Phantom of the Arcade.)

More creative than me. I'd probably resort to poorly-done stick figures and try to pass it off as irony!

what the hell?!I thought you were reviewing sleeping pills!

I'm outta here.

Well damn, a couple weeks after I finish the game I stumble on this review. Nice and thorough, but I feel the need to nitpick one thing: the songs you attached to two of the characters. It's true that on the Moonlit Rooftop and Where is Fairyland are exclusive to Aeka and Nekoko's routes respectively, but those aren't the songs that come to mind as being those girls' "themes." In fact both of them play only once during specific events, rather than on a consistent basis like Girls are made of Frosting and Cake did during Mizuki's route. The Catgirl Stomped plays constantly when Nekoko is around, and the title makes it pretty clear it's a song for Nekoko. It's less straightforward with Aeka, but given how often Heretics and Dreamers played during that route compared to the other two it might as well be her song.

Pumpkin_Eater:
Well damn, a couple weeks after I finish the game I stumble on this review. Nice and thorough, but I feel the need to nitpick one thing: the songs you attached to two of the characters. It's true that on the Moonlit Rooftop and Where is Fairyland are exclusive to Aeka and Nekoko's routes respectively, but those aren't the songs that come to mind as being those girls' "themes." In fact both of them play only once during specific events, rather than on a consistent basis like Girls are made of Frosting and Cake did during Mizuki's route. The Catgirl Stomped plays constantly when Nekoko is around, and the title makes it pretty clear it's a song for Nekoko. It's less straightforward with Aeka, but given how often Heretics and Dreamers played during that route compared to the other two it might as well be her song.

I didn't mention "Where is the Fairyland" at all. Nekoko's arc was the last one I finished, so it was the last BGM I collected. Considering that was only after listening to "The Catgirl Stomped" for who knows how long, I knew which one was more iconic of her.

But thanks for catching me on "Heretics and Dreamers." I love that theme, but I couldn't for the life of me remember how often it showed up, and for who...and I think I may have written that part of the review after playing the "Aeka: Cry From the Heart" event for the second time.

Can't blame me for having "On the Moonlit Rooftop" at the front of my mind in that case, right...?

It only shows up once, but since it does seem pretty iconic of the route as a whole, I think I'll leave that as part of the review. Still, I really should upload Heretics to youtube, too.

EDIT: Done.

I'm actually quite surprised how easy to read this review was, given the somewhat daunting length. I've never heard of/played any of these "eroge" games and generally have very little interest in them, but stuck with it since the occasional first person voice really kept the review flowing smoothly.

Also...

The story in this game is very good. That sentence is the result of five hours of careful thought. I'm so eloquent.

I'm stealing that line whenever I spend more than ten minutes trying to describe a movie's plot in my review.

Hope you don't mind. :)

Maet:
I'm actually quite surprised how easy to read this review was, given the somewhat daunting length. I've never heard of/played any of these "eroge" games and generally have very little interest in them, but stuck with it since the occasional first person voice really kept the review flowing smoothly.

It's hard being one's own editor, sometimes. Considering how long it took to write (I've been working on this review for a few days) due to writer's block, I'm actually surprised it turned out as long as it did.

Also...

The story in this game is very good. That sentence is the result of five hours of careful thought. I'm so eloquent.

I'm stealing that line whenever I spend more than ten minutes trying to describe a movie's plot in my review.

Hope you don't mind. :)

I would be simultaneously amused and honored.

NeutralDrow:

It only shows up once, but since it does seem pretty iconic of the route as a whole, I think I'll leave that as part of the review. Still, I really should upload Heretics to youtube, too.

EDIT: Done.

Right on, that song is god-tier BGM.

Say, was it just me or did you feel like the game tries to push players into the Aeka route? I got that impression because most of the early choices are along the lines of "hey, Aeka could use a hand here" "want to eat lunch on the roof with Aeka?" "Hey, Aeka's over there, you should go talk to her."

Pumpkin_Eater:
Say, was it just me or did you feel like the game tries to push players into the Aeka route? I got that impression because most of the early choices are along the lines of "hey, Aeka could use a hand here" "want to eat lunch on the roof with Aeka?" "Hey, Aeka's over there, you should go talk to her."

It didn't really feel like that to me, no. There's the standard "heroine introduction" choices (Aeka's lunch order, Mizuki's council business, and feeding Nekoko) and the follow-up choices (giving Aeka a hand, helping Mizuki in the council room on Sunday, feeding Nekoko again). Beyond that, though, there's a bunch of "either or" choices that affect a certain girl over another; not going up to the roof means you wind up eating in the cafeteria with Mizuki, not going shopping with Aeka means you wind up running from yakuza alongside Nekoko, etc., at least until it's certain you're on a given girl's scenario.

I think it might seem like the game forces you because the choices affecting her are the most obvious ones (besides all the "go to the student council room" choices). That particular Nekoko one (and the one if you go out with Bitch Que--um...Kyoka) caught me totally off-guard.

Well...that, and it's really obvious right off the bat that Aeka is suffering a lot. Seriously, I felt like a monster the first time I didn't help her to her feet. And I think the game realizes just how affecting that is; did you notice how hers is the only route to receive closure if you're not on it? Felt to me like the game was saying "okay, you can stop feeling guilty and move on, now."

This review was so awesome that I'm thinking about buying the game. I'll get a few odd looks but f*ck them, right?

Jester Lord:
This review was so awesome that I'm thinking about buying the game. I'll get a few odd looks but f*ck them, right?

Bah, this game won't get you odd looks.

Now this game would get you odd looks. Primarily from me.

NeutralDrow:

Jester Lord:
This review was so awesome that I'm thinking about buying the game. I'll get a few odd looks but f*ck them, right?

Bah, this game won't get you odd looks.

Now this game would get you odd looks. Primarily from me.

Why do you tease me with broken links?

Jester Lord:

NeutralDrow:

Jester Lord:
This review was so awesome that I'm thinking about buying the game. I'll get a few odd looks but f*ck them, right?

Bah, this game won't get you odd looks.

Now this game would get you odd looks. Primarily from me.

Why do you tease me with broken links?

Sorry. Worked for me. Here.

NeutralDrow:

Jester Lord:

NeutralDrow:

Bah, this game won't get you odd looks.

Now this game would get you odd looks. Primarily from me.

Why do you tease me with broken links?

Sorry. Worked for me. Here.

Why do you judge one game by its sequel? Come on, at least give it a chance.

Actually seems interesting. Good review, and even though I'll never play it ever I actually think this game looks cool from what you've played of it.

Jester Lord:

NeutralDrow:

Jester Lord:
Why do you tease me with broken links?

Sorry. Worked for me. Here.

Why do you judge one game by its sequel? Come on, at least give it a chance.

I guess, though I've also heard the second game is essentially the same as the first, just with different women. I do have to admit, the ones in the first game do look cuter and better proportioned (i.e. smaller chests), and GameFAQS seems to say that it's a lot better...which wouldn't matter if the plot is generic. I might look at the first game at some point, but I don't expect much...

Gah. It's gonna be hard enough reviewing Little My Maid and Casual Romance Club when I get to them; at least those are supposed to have noticeable plots. I already know the Escapist has a pretty small group of visual novel players. I'd imagine dating sim fans would be even fewer.

NeutralDrow:
*words*

I don't know about the rest of the escapist but I like most to all video game genres and reading long reviews so please continue. And why would it be hard to review those games?

Jester Lord:

NeutralDrow:
*words*

I don't know about the rest of the escapist but I like most to all video game genres and reading long reviews so please continue. And why would it be hard to review those games?

Partly because I'm certain there's even less of an audience for them than the things I usually get to (this fear is gradually disappearing, mostly due to responses in this thread). Partly incipient buyer's remorse (though not nearly as much as Xchange). Partly because I'm as yet unsure of how to review them; there's a bit of a leap between an adventure visual novel and a pure dating sim, and I've still only written three reviews ever.

Still, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I've reached into my bag of games and pulled out a new one. It's looking more of a crapshoot, and all I know is that it will be worse than this thread's game (not that that narrows it down).

NeutralDrow:
*more words*

Well, at least the review will be interesting to read. And the game must have some kind of entertainment in it.

NeutralDrow:
And I think the game realizes just how affecting that is; did you notice how hers is the only route to receive closure if you're not on it? Felt to me like the game was saying "okay, you can stop feeling guilty and move on, now."

I interpreted that as the game telling "you should have picked Aeka you jerk." You don't really see the other two during her route, but she gets to crash theirs long enough to spoil the mood.

Pumpkin_Eater:

NeutralDrow:
And I think the game realizes just how affecting that is; did you notice how hers is the only route to receive closure if you're not on it? Felt to me like the game was saying "okay, you can stop feeling guilty and move on, now."

I interpreted that as the game telling "you should have picked Aeka you jerk." You don't really see the other two during her route, but she gets to crash theirs long enough to spoil the mood.

I guess that's another way of looking at it, though I still think the Kyoka resolution (insufficient though it was) kinda supports my view.

But really, it's kind of inevitable if you think about it. After all, Aeka is Kouhei's actual classmate; it's natural she'd be the one he'd encounter (and think about) most often. Mizuki is an upperclassman and Nekoko isn't around the school (heh...irony), so until their scenarios begin in earnest, they kinda have to be sought out.

Great review!I've also played through 2 of the 3 routes(Long haired upperclassman and Loli on medication) and also recommend this to anyone that's willing to get into the whole click to read thing.
Personally I found the Nekoko most relate-able,but then again I never really get where the inspiration for Mizuki's route came from.

Again great review and keep up the good work! :)

How do you have sex without intercourse? I do not grok.

lodo_bear:
How do you have sex without intercourse? I do not grok.

Nekoko's route has one (absolutely hilarious) handjob scene[1], Mizuki's has handjob and footjob scenes. No full-on sex, but they're still H scenes.

[1] "I found Kouhei's magic mushroom!"

NeutralDrow:

lodo_bear:
How do you have sex without intercourse? I do not grok.

Nekoko's route has one (absolutely hilarious) handjob scene[1], Mizuki's has handjob and footjob scenes. No full-on sex, but they're still H scenes.

Okay, I get it now. Highly NSFW, but not the traditional in-out.

[1] "I found Kouhei's magic mushroom!"

I have to say i never thought this was my type of game but now i can say for sure this is the first VN im going to play. also after i stumbled this review i found some of your other reviews and i must say great job i really want to get into VN's now since i love stories and mainly play rpgs. keep up the great reviews coming :)

This bump was approved by Something Awful.

lordlee:
This bump was approved by Something Awful.

And I'm oddly grateful to them for that.

I'm also amused and gratified by the realization that they had to cherry-pick those images from

A) The one game I gave an unambiguously positive response to.
B) The only parts of the review that make me look bad.

I'm serious, that second part is hilarious.

*opening irony*

*visual novel description*

*compliments to story and themes*

------ Screenshot -------------
*cultural note*
------ End Screenshot ---------

*explanation of effective characterization*

*mild compliments to artwork, gushing over music, voice acting, and other technical quality*

------- Screenshot -----------
*Ero section, compliments and complaints*

*expression of love for game*
---- End Screenshot ----------

*reiteration of game's superb writing*

*total listing of game's emotional response*

*wholehearted recommendation*

really nice :)

Sounds really... interesting. I would look into it more, were it not for the sex stuff. I thoroughly enjoy studies of humans through games/movies/music, but sex is where I draw the line. I only tolerate it in games if it's fitting for the plot (i.e Mass Effect)

It would be cool if they released a sexless version of the game, and just replace it with SFW scenes that still retain the charm (which would probably be lost without the sex, judging by your description).

At least Japan can experiment with their games...

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