logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Visual-Novel
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-19 05:27
Visual novel review - Who is Mike?

 

 

Who is Mike? is a short free mystery/thriller visual novel available for download here and on Steam. Gameplay is “choose your own adventure” style - you occasionally have the option of choosing between one of two responses. The Save slots are helpful, as is the “skip” feature.

You play as Mike. You wake up in your own home with an aching head and missing glasses. You’re confronted by someone who, once you find your glasses, turns out to be you. Or at least someone who looks exactly like you. Which one of you is the imposter and which one of you is the real Mike? What’s going on?

According to Steam I’ve played this for 1.3 hours. There are 9 endings and I’ve come across 7 of them. Even with the help of the official walkthroughs (which are really more advice than actual walkthroughs), I haven’t been able to get endings #7 and #8. I’m okay with that, though, and have decided to consider myself done with this visual novel. I at least managed to make it to the “good” (true?) ending.

Almost all of the endings are bad ones. You die, or Sarah, your girlfriend, kills the person who looks like you and you convince her that she’s done the right thing, or you manage to kill the other person but it’s not entirely clear whether you’ve made the right choice. Which ending you get depends largely on whether you opt to stay at the house or not and how often you tell Sarah the truth or lie to her during her efforts to figure out which of you is the real Mike. There are other things that come into play if you manage to make it to the route that has a chance of getting you to the one “good” ending.

I was able to easily achieve endings 4, 5, 6, and 9. These endings tell you almost nothing about what’s really going on, other than that it’s bad to leave the house. Sometimes you’re the real Mike, and sometimes you’re not. The thing that bugged me was how easily Mike managed to convince Sarah, a police officer, that they’d get past the events of the game and act like none of it ever happened. Even if Sarah was broken up about what she’d had to do and wasn't thinking straight at that particular moment, she’d used her gun, there was a body in the house that needed to be dealt with, and there were no explanations for why there had been two Mikes in the house. None of that stuff was just going to magically go away. Also, assuming that the facts presented in the “true” route applied to some of the other routes as well, even the best of the “you survive” endings would have turned out badly in a week or less.

I had to check the Steam discussions for hints on how to get to the story path that would take me to endings 1, 2, and 3. This was the path with actual info about what was going on. It was interesting, although a bit unsatisfying. Maybe the author was leaving room for a sequel? At any rate, I liked that the path to the “best” ending relied on both Sarah and Mike being observant and remembering details about each other.

The artwork was occasionally a bit sketchier than I prefer, but it worked okay for this. The music was okay and helped add to the mood. The sound effects could have used some work - the same sound was used whether Mike was hemorrhaging or suffering from a broken rib.

All in all, this freebie grabbed my attention enough for me to want to make it to the “best” ending, but the story was so-so overall and character reactions/responses didn’t always make sense. I didn’t have the willpower to try, one more time, to get endings 7 and 8, but I did resort to watching a Youtube playthrough of those endings, just to make sure I hadn’t missed out on any important details. Ending 7 provided a little extra info, while ending 8 was pretty worthless.

 

Rating Note:

 

I had a tough time rating this. I don't think it's a bad visual novel, and the fact that it's free is definitely a point in its favor. However, the overall package was a bit unsatisfying, and most of the endings didn't really add anything to the story. Although there were technically 9 endings, in terms of what they add to the game I feel like there were only really 4.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-04 03:07
Visual novel review - Fault - Milestone One

 

Fault - Milestone One stars Selphine and Ritona. Selphine is the kind-natured Princess of Rughzenhaide, while Ritona is her bodyguard. Rughzenhaide is a country whose people use mana to do everything from learning languages to crafting weapons. Mana-powered telepathy is considered perfectly normal and helps with everything from communicating a restaurant’s entire menu to its customers to long-distance communication. In fact, communication via mana is an integral part of the country’s monarchy. Rughzenhaide’s monarchs can use something called the Path-down to directly transmit their memories and knowledge to their heirs.

The Path-down must not be interrupted. When the palace is invaded and most of its inhabitants are killed, Ritona uses a special teleportation technique she’s spent years developing and escapes with Selphine at her side. Unfortunately, they end up someplace completely different from where Ritona planned: the Outer-Pole. The Outer-Pole is best known for its lack of mana. People from the Outer-Pole can’t travel to mana-rich areas without developing mana-sickness and dying, while people from mana-rich areas only have three to five days in the Outer-Pole before mana-sickness either robs them of their ability to use mana or kills them.

Selphine and Ritona have to get away from the Outer-Pole and back to Rughzenhaide. Before they leave, however, they want to help Rune, the first friend they made after arriving at the Outer-Pole. Although everyone keeps insisting that slavery has long since been abolished and that Rune is definitely not a slave, that’s certainly what she seems to be. In an effort to free and protect her, Selphine and Ritona learn more about life in the Outer-Pole, Rune, and the terrible history of the Zhevitz family.

First, a few things. Although I’ll be referring to this as a game, it’s really not - it’s kind of like a book with visuals and music, that comes in software form. All the other visual novels I’ve reviewed allowed you to make choices at various points in the narrative. Fault - Milestone One asks you to make a choice once during the entire thing, and the only difference your decision makes is a few lines of text right after the choice. I had the whole game play on Auto Skip just to make sure the other choice didn’t change the ending slightly or something. Two, this thing ends on a cliffhanger. I didn’t know that going in. I expected another hour or two of story and got “hey, this character’s personality has suddenly drastically changed, The End!” I finished the whole thing in maybe four and a half hours.

If this had been an actual novel, I couldn’t recommend it. The writing was terrible. The main reason it usually didn’t bug me was because I was zipping through it pretty quickly (my preferred method: keyboard on my lap and hand constantly on the Enter key). I did take the time to jot down some of the more painful sentences, though. For example:

“Concerned for Rune, our mother forced her frail, weak body as she tried to bring Rune to a hospital on the outskirts of town.”

Also:

“However, luckily, due to her weak body, her body had rejected the mana before her body had taken a lethal amount.”

I understood the text, but it definitely needed better editing. It bugged me that the author (or translator) couldn’t seem to keep their verb tenses straight. I also didn’t like the way the POV kept changing - usually first-person from Ritona’s POV, except when it was necessary to show scenes Ritona couldn’t be part of, at which time there either was no clear POV (just dialogue) or the story changed to first-person POV from another character’s perspective. Since the story was mostly dialogue, I honestly didn’t think that first-person POV contributed anything. Third-person POV throughout would have made things less confusing.

Gameplay-wise, I’m not sure why players (readers?) were asked to make only one choice throughout the entire game. Either there should have been more choices, or none. Also, the controls weren’t entirely intuitive. I had to google how to use the regular save spots - the only obvious options were Autosave and Quicksave. A note for other confused players: right-click on the screen while you’re reading and you’ll get an extra menu option, regular saves.

I haven’t said anything good about Fault - Milestone One yet, and you might have gotten the impression that I disliked it. You’d be wrong. It took me until Chapter 3 (maybe an hour and a half?) to really get sucked in, but from that point on I was hooked. I will say, however, that I’m glad I got it while Steam had it on sale for 66% off. The full price would have been a bit high considering how quickly I finished it. (FYI - the sale has two more days to go.)

The things that kept me reading until the story finally grabbed me were the artwork and the music. The game’s visuals were lovely, and I liked the way the camera occasionally zoomed in or out, adding movement. I loved almost all of the character sprites, and they all had a great range of emotions. The music was wonderful and usually helped enhance the mood of settings and scenes. I can only recall one scene where the music seemed very inappropriate, a character’s bouncy theme song that continued playing as that character met another character who was clearly near death.

The story was slow to get going and prone to massive infodumps (be prepared for occasional walls of text), but once I reached some of the bigger revelations I couldn’t stop reading. The world-building had some issues, but I enjoyed reading about the way the people at the Outer-Pole had adjusted to their mana limitations. While the mana-rich areas had access to something that was basically magic, the Outer-Pole had to rely on science. I was surprised when the story went from something I expected would be 100% fantasy to something with a little alternate history sci-fi (sort of) mixed in.

Rune’s story brought me to tears. I was glad that Selphine and Ritona were there to speak up for her, and I was glad that everything worked out in the end, but… I don’t know. This was one of those stories that would be a prime candidate for fix fic. Everything was resolved too easily for my tastes, especially considering how badly many of these characters had hurt each other, and how many years they’d been doing it. It should have taken more than a few words, some tears, and a hug to fix everything. And I kept thinking about that boy who got stabbed in the eye, and who had to continue living in the town and make nice with the family of the person who did it. I also had questions about whether Past Rune and Present Rune could still be considered to be the same person.

Although I had issues with the story, I enjoyed it overall (except for that cliffhanger, darn it). Also, like I said, the music and visuals were wonderful. I definitely plan on reading the next installment, Fault - Milestone Two Side: Above.

Extras:

There’s a gallery that allows you to access all of the game’s movie clips and event CGs once you’ve finished. There’s also an audio gallery where you can listen to the game’s music. While you’re reading the story, you have access to an encyclopedia explaining in-world terminology and concepts.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
video 2017-06-03 04:21

I picked up fault milestone one on sale. I think it's called a "kinetic novel." I'm at about 2 hours worth of reading time so far and I've only encountered one choice, and it had absolutely no effect on the story. Definitely more of a story with visuals, movement, and music than a game.

 

So far I think I like it. The artwork and music are great, and the story really started to grow on me once I got to Chapter 3. Unfortunately, the writing sucks. If it weren't for other factors, I doubt I'd enjoy the overall package nearly as much. An example from the part I stopped at for the night:

"However, luckily, due to her weak body, her body had rejected the mana before her body had taken a lethal amount."

Editors are important.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-22 06:23
Visual novel review - Hitogotchi

 

In this visual novel (downloadable for free here), you play as a monster who’s just gotten a new caretaker, a human named Nadine. You can ask Nadine to talk to you, play with you, feed you, or help you get to sleep - similar to the things required to take care of a Tamagotchi, which, according to the description, was part of the basis of this game. However, unlike a Tamagotchi pet, you have a real-world physical form, and there are serious consequences if Nadine doesn’t take good care of you.

Warning: everything on the screen moves a bit, even the choice buttons. I eventually decided that I liked the way this contributed to the game’s overall unsteady mood/atmosphere, but I wish there had been an option to turn this movement off. I was a little worried that focusing on constantly moving text might activate my motion sickness.

This was another one of my freebie visual novel downloads. It’s very, very short. The download page doesn’t say how many endings there are, but it looks like there are probably three, and I managed to play the game through enough times to reach them all in less than half an hour. Gameplay is simple. Each day you can do 1-2 activities with Nadine, and you get to choose which ones: eat, sleep, play, or talk. During each activity, you must choose between 2 responses, although sometimes there’s a bit of internal struggle or an extra conversation with Nadine that requires you to choose between 4 options (sort of). There are no “save” or “back” buttons.

I didn’t realize this going in, but this is more of a horror game than a romance, even if you do your best to choose the nicest sounding responses in every instance. (Note: Sometimes seemingly “bad” responses have better results than you'd expect, I suppose because Nadine didn't know exactly what was going on in her monster's head.)

You can opt to have the monster behave rudely and/or frighteningly towards Nadine, or you can try to make friends with her. All the while, you’ll

struggle against carnivorous urges - so definitely make sure Nadine keeps you well fed, ha.

(spoiler show)

At any rate, two of the three endings are bad ones. The third ending is technically good and even includes a cute final image, but when you take into account the urges the monster was struggling with throughout the entire game, it’s still kind of disturbing.

All in all, this was so-so. Nadine’s reactions to some of the monster’s responses were a little weird, and the game was too short for the “good” ending to truly feel natural. Still, the premise was interesting and I enjoyed most of the artwork. Nadine, in particular, looked cute.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-27 04:54
Visual novel review - Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups

 

Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups is a free/pay-what-you-want visual novel, available here. I don't know that it really matters much, but I'd probably recommend playing Robo-Tea: 1 Cup first, just to get a bit more information about the setting and a brief glimpse of Cors (who, in that game, is a minor character who briefly appears at the end of one of the routes).



I decided I could use a bit of cute robot time, so I debated between my remaining Robo-Tea games and decided on Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups. According to the description, its events happen at the same time as Robo-Tea: 2ndServing (which is currently only available in demo form, although the full game is supposed to be out sometime soon).

In Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups, you are Mitra (the blue robot). You’re in a band called Misten, which is going to be performing at MusiFest 59 soon. You’re in a happy polyamorous relationship with your two other bandmates, Alren (the red robot, pronouns: he/him) and Twinst (the green robot, pronouns: she/her). One thing the three of you would really like to do while you’re visiting the planet Verdande is see your crush, Cors (pronouns: xe/xir), for the first time in a little over a century and give xir a gift.

I’ll start this off with a warning: Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups is even less like a game than Robo-Tea: 1 Cup. There’s only one point where you’re asked to make a choice, and your decision has no real effect on the game (although I prefer the “accessory store” choice to the “latest tech” choice). There is only one possible ending. Also, the story ends before Mitra, Alren, and Twinst get a chance to meet Cors and give xir their gift. That last bit probably bugged me more than the lack of choices - I really wanted to see the meeting and how Cors would react. I suppose that will have to wait for Robo-Tea: 2ndServing.

This felt like a sweet and simple picture book in software form. It had the same bright colors and appealing artwork and music as Robo-Tea: 1 Cup, although it somehow managed to feel even fluffier than that game. There were no mentions of anything even vaguely distressing - the worst the characters had to worry about was whether they’d all wake up in time to go shopping, and whether they’d be able to find something suitable.

Mitra, Alren, and Twinst seemed to have a fairly solid relationship. All three had a crush on Cors, and jealousy did not play a part in the story. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time for character development. Although Mitra was the POV character, I felt like I knew more about Alren by the end. He was a book lover and also seemed to be the most assertive one of the three.

The storytelling could have been a little clearer. It took me a bit longer than I liked to match the names up to the characters, and I noticed one small typo. I also felt that Robo-Tea: 1 Cup was more interesting overall. Still, this entry in the series was nice, and I'm looking forward to Robo-Tea: 2ndServing.

If you enjoyed Robo-Tea: 1 Cup’s gentleness and sweetness, you’ll probably like this entry in the series. Just be aware that it’s shorter and simpler, like getting one part of a larger story (which I think is probably what it is).

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?