Starlight Stage A Pop Idol Card Game By Japanime Games

I recently received Starlight Stage A Pop Idol Card Game from RightStuf. RightStuf is one of the oldest and largest distributors of Otaku merchandise in the US. Check out their website at www.RightStuf.com for everything from anime, manga, action figures, Japanese candy, games, and more.

I decided to purchase Starlight Stage because I’m a fan of mobile idol games and idol anime such as Love Live, Utapri, Bang Dream, Ensemble Stars, and yes, Idol M@ster.

I do not know for sure if this board game is based on Idol M@ster but I suspect it is, since one of the early and most popular Idol M@ster mobile games is titled Idol M@ster Starlight Stage. For whatever reason though, if it is in fact at all related, they stripped it of the Idol M@ster title and just dubbed it Starlight Stage. Either way, related or not, if you love the mobile games or anime idol games, you’ll love Starlight Stage Card Game by Japanime Games. read more

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Nintendo Mobile Game Review for IOS and Android

Title: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

Developer: Nintendo

Genre: Simulation

Release Date:

Price: Free with optional in-game purchases

Where to Get:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/…

Android: https://play.google.com/…

Overall: 56/70 80% “B-” Very Good Game for Girls!

Geeky: 5/5 – Animal Crossing has a huge cult following because of its unique and strange gameplay and quirky cute characters. There is so much to do and see and it all takes place in an ever evolving changing persistent world that keeps you playing for hundreds or thousands of gaming hours.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Very few games come close to being as cute as animal crossing with its chibi anthropomorphic citizens and bright colors. This game is full of charm and wonder.

Gameplay: 8/10 – Animal Crossing is finally on mobile, which quite frankly is where this franchise has always belonged. It just makes sense as a mobile game given the style of gameplay which it innovated back in 2005. Now almost 12 years later, technology has evolved to where mobile makes the most sense for these types of games, having it with us in our pockets and purses, playing it on commutes, or while waiting in line at a busy store, or while at an appointment, or those few moments before sleeping or getting out of bed.

Animal Crossing is best enjoyed in these little breaks and little moments. It’s also best enjoyed when played often as things change and happen in a living breathing world inside of your game. There are holidays and special events and animals come and go in and out of your areas. Having it on your phone puts it always at your finger tips.

If you’ve never heard of Animal Crossing before (which is highly unlikely but just in case lol), Animal Crossing’s gameplay consists of quiet, calming activities, and cute, and quirky characters, who are, as you have probably guessed by now, animals.

These animals may ask you to complete quests for them and in exchange give you random furniture and clothing. You can also craft your own furniture and clothing as well. Certain games in the series even score you and award you more items and points for decorating your home such as Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer.

In fact, collecting these things and dressing up and designing has always been a big draw to the series. But it’s not the only thing that players love. Many players love to spend hours fishing, gardening, or catching bugs in the game. You can use them as items to trade with NPCs to complete quests or give them to other players or display them in your home or the museum, or sell them for bells (the game’s currency) to buy new items.

Buying new items is addictive too, every day you turn on your game, you will see new items to purchase. Only available for that one day, and completely unique to just you. Not that the same items won’t appear again for you, or for other players, but this particular “collection” of items is unique to you. You may have on one day, a boom box, kitchen sink, and pink sofa, while your friend may have a dining room table, expensive rug, and statue of Link from Zelda. – Of course some items are more rare than others, and since friends can visit your home, you can show off all your rare items and score bragging rights.

Nearly everything about these games are customizeable, from your character’s gender, name, appearance (initially determined by answers to questions presented when first starting the game), to your home, to your world around you. This also is another big draw to these types of games.

New animals will appear and disappear from time to time in your world. This also increases incentive to stay active and stay in touch with your favorite NPCs. After an NPC leaves (in the traditional versions of this game, not sure about mobile), they will send letters to you and sometimes give you gifts.

The games also feature night and day and weather cycles which add more variety to each play through. What you do on any given day is up to you! There is no objective, no goal, no ending, no progression it’s just a sandbox, a living breathing world for you to explore and interact with each day.

This sounds like a huge plus – and in many ways it is, but it can also be a drawback as there is very little urgency or pressure or nothing really compelling you to keep pushing forward. Many times my love for these games starts strong, but 3 or 4 months in and I find I’m barely logging in, but without fail always 6 months later I’m back to being addicted and wanting to play daily. My interest in these types of games goes through spurts like that. I think I burn out from the casual nature, but then find myself wanting to relax and enjoy a cute game and gravitating right back to it, for the same reason that I left it in the first place. It’s almost a double edged sword.

Anyways now that I’ve given you the basics of the franchise, let’s talk about what Animal Crossing Pocket Camp does differently than the other games in the series. For starters, as the name suggests, the entire game takes place in the great outdoors. You’re given a campsite you can decorate. And you have a camper trailer that you can decorate both inside and out. You travel and visit other animals (or visit your friends) and you can take quests, craft, shop, and do all the good basic animal crossing stuff.

Some areas will be blocked from exploring initially. You need to either pay leaf tickets (special in game currency obtainable with real money (but quite often also given for free as quest rewards), or get the help of friends to enter these new areas.

New areas open sometimes for special events like right now there’s a Christmas area where you can get more candy canes to help craft the time limited Christmas themed items which you need 5 friends to help you unlock.

You can link the account to your nintendo account or link your facebook and twitter to find more friends! 🙂 Playing animal crossing with your friends is now easier than ever.

So those are a few of the positive features.

On the downside, they’ve removed the actual houses, so that’s a bit disappointing for those of us who liked modeling our homes.

Also my biggest gripe is too much is just “handed” to us. In previous games, we each had a random fruit. In this game, when I get to the tutorial, I’m given tons of different fruits I can hoarde to plant back at my own campsite. Making the need to work with friends less important in this game.

I also don’t know / haven’t tested how inviting a friend over to your campsite works and how or if you can communicate with them and what activities you can do together. I feel like it may be more limited than in the other games, but maybe I’m wrong.

Other than that, the game offers a feeling of playing the console and handheld Animal Crossing games right on your mobile phone.

Story: 4/10 – Story has never ever been Animal Crossing’s strong suit, and I think for me personally, that’s why I get bored of the games so fast and have an on/off love/hate relationships with them. I play games primarily for story above anything else. So lack of really much to offer here makes it a bit dull to me.

Characters: 10/10 – The characters are charming and cute and have always been the best part of the animal crossing games.

Graphics: 10/10 These graphics look just as good as any Animal Crossing game I have ever played, and it’s a free mobile game, now that’s impressive!

Music: 5/10 Music is just sort of average. Nothing to write home about. Sometimes it can be cute and catchy, other times repetitive and annoying. Depends on my mood and the song in question.

Replay Value: 9/10 – The very nature of Animal Crossing as a franchise is a slow and steady journey meant to be enjoyed through several (often times daily) small playing sessions. Animal Crossing offers much to do, from fishing, bug catching, gardening, to crafting, to shopping, to collecting, to decorating your home and dressing up your avatar. However, it does get repetitive because of the slow and lackadaisical gameplay style. – Which don’t get me wrong, that gameplay style has also always been the game’s strong suit and its unique charm, and what makes it so much fun. There also are time limited goals, time limited items, and time limited quests to complete which will keep you logging back in. However, it’s also the type of game you can play for 10 hours a day for 6 months straight and then feel bored of. It’s much better to enjoy it about an hour a day, as if you immerse yourself too long, you will burn out quickly. But kept in small doses, you will be playing this, or any other animal crossing title for years to come. Now that animal crossing is on our mobile phones we are all doomed to be playing it religiously for the foreseeable future. And future updates will make this even more enticing.

Overall: 56/70 80% “B-” Very Good Game for Girls!

Other Games You May Like:

Castaway Paradise – pretty much an animal crossing clone. It was fun, but ain’t no animal crossing. Now that animal crossing is on mobile, I see no reason to play this.

Animal Days by Gree  Sadly this is no longer around, but probably one of my all time favorite mobile games, you should check it out since there’s still a wealth of images and info available online with a quick Google search; it’s interesting to read about just because of how unique and fun it was. It had the cute animals, moving in and out of your village, and most excitingly, you could BREED your animal villagers to create new villagers. There were time limited release villagers, and all kinds of really cute things to decorate your home, and a cute story too. I was sad when it closed. I heard they underestimated how popular it was going to become and couldn’t manage well with the production schedule for new releases and updates. I wish someone would buy the code from them and revive this project, but it’s been dead for 5 years now, so it’s not likely to happen. I would rather play Animal Days by Gree over even the best Animal Crossing game, because the breeding and randomized aspects make me so excited.

Happy Street – “sort of” a clone of animal crossing, but completely different gameplay, still, animals at random move into your village, and you fish and mine and craft and so on. but yeah, just it’s different, it’s more like mobile clicker type gameplay, but it has the same charm and theme as animal crossing and is a fun and different enough game that you should play both! 🙂 — There’s also a version of this put out by Line Play, and the name is escaping me right now. Same game / user interface, but different graphic assets and run by different companies. It still has cute animals moving in and out of your village and same gameplay mechanics. I think Happy Street was marketed more and took off more rapidly, and thus the Line Play “clone version” is a lot less widely known – might be worth checking out for you if you love Animal Crossing or Happy Street though!

Seabeard – This has a huge massive open sandbox world and captures some of the unique gameplay aspects of animal crossing.

Line Play – for the fishing and dressing up and decorating and kawaii style.

Stardew Valley Review

As mentioned in another post here, I spent much of this past weekend playing Stardew Valley on the PC. Stardew Valley is a game that harkens back memories of popular retro games such as Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. The game is fun and relaxing… however, like most games in this genre, the gameplay can get tedious and repetitive at times. Stardew Valley also suffers significant development delays and setbacks, which is not surprising considering the entire game, from the graphics, to music, to programming, was all made by just one person. It doesn’t get anymore “indie” than that. Despite these few small flaws, the game is one of the highest rated Steam games of all time with nearly 50,000 Overwhelmingly Positives since its release in February 2016. If you’re still wondering if Stardew Valley is worth playing, read my Stardew Valley Review below.

Title: Stardew Valley

Developer: ConcernedApe

Publisher: Chucklefish

Platform: PC (also recently released for Xbox One, PS4, and soon to be released for Nintendo Switch)

Genre: Farming Simulation

Where to Buy: PC Version on Steam Here.

Release Date: February 2016

Geeky: 2/5  –  This is a low budget indie game, so you won’t see triple A graphics here. And given the genre and nature of farming simulation games there isn’t much action going on. I also feel the controls and UI are clunky, to the point of detracting from the gameplay (read more about that later in this review). However, given that 1 man made everything in this game, that’s pretty impressive and worth an extra star at least for effort!

Sweetie: 4/5  – Everything about this game exudes charm and cuteness. However, the characters feel impersonal and the story a bit lacking, costing it to lose 1 heart for “sweetie” factor.

Overall: 60/80 75% D- “Average Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 It’s hard to believe this game has been out for less than a year; it’s so wildly popular and became an instant fan classic, that even games by fully staffed development teams have not made nearly as successful games or seen as many sales or positive reviews in years worth of time. And day by day new fans come to experience Stardew Valley for their very first time and fall in love, and continue to share their experiences. I was somewhat late to join the party, starting back in maybe July of 2016.

At that time, people were growing restless with lack of progress made on features that had been promised such as multiplayer. Here we are another 6 months later, and there’s still no word on when multiplayer will be added, just simply that it is in the works. The game has received several updates and improvements, including finishing “routes” for “new” characters (The characters were already present, but now you can date more of them).

And that’s important because really… the game of Stardew Valley is like the game of your life. Stardew Valley’s open sandbox environment and multiple choices and decisions that you will make, all shape what will happen. Will you get married? have kids? Choose a life of adventure exploring dungeons, fishing all day, or focus on rebuilding your grandfather’s farm? Or maybe just sit at the tavern, playing games, and wasting your virtual life – the choice is yours.

Although the game starts slow, once it picks up, there will be numerous choices you must make (which you’ll start to notice around maybe Fall of the first year or so)… Things such as deciding if you want to let fruit bats live in the cave near your farm or if you want to use the cave to grow mushrooms. Hopefully by Fall of the first year you’ve had time and resources to upgrade your house or add new buildings that let you craft new recipes and add new gameplay elements such as making pickled vegetables, fruit preserves, wine, cooking meals from your crops in your new kitchen, etc. Characters at times may also ask you questions which may impact the game or change their friendship towards you, such as asking you what types of books you like to read, etc. Lil bit by lil bit you will begin to see how YOUR farm in Stardew Valley differs from that of your friends’ farms. (Or how it will differ for you on subsequent playthroughs).

There are also numerous in-game events held throughout each season such as festivals, cooking contests, dance parties, and more. If you’ve been working on your social skills in the game and making friends, or even romances, these special events will be even more special, having someone to share them with.

You start with little in way of resources to begin the game and with little to do. When I first started playing, it was tedious. It felt like work, like real life. It was made somewhat worse by bad controls and UI… However now, as my first year in Stardew Valley draws to a close, the game has me firmly hooked. I couldn’t believe I stayed up until 1am playing it lastnight, and I want nothing more than to go home and play it again as soon as possible. — Soon you will be able to take Stardew Valley with you everywhere you go with the Nintendo Switch! For many, this means starting all over from scratch though and replaying through these tedious first few hours of gameplay as I seriously doubt it will sync your game saves — though it would be awesome if it did!

Stardew Valley is slow paced, and definitely not for everyone. There is some combat; however, at least on the PC, the combat is simple and basic at best, and involves no strategy, and just mindless clicking. The controls also make any actions, from combat, to fishing, to farming, a real pain at times. However, despite these flaws, Stardew Valley shines because of the charming retro vibe and relaxing gameplay mechanics. It’s one of the best casual games around and guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy. It is just simply a “Feel Good Kind of Game”.

Gameplay: 6/10 If you’ve ever played a Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game then you will be right at home in Stardew Valley. The basics of gameplay include planting, watering, and harvesting crops, conversing with townsfolk, dating/marrying a townsfolk, upgrading/decorating your home, exploring dungeons, collecting and crafting items, and joining in various events. — It was also marketed as an “Online or Multiplayer” farming game (which drew many fans who have long dreamed of an Online Harvest Moon — however, that feature, which arguably is the game’s MAIN feature, is still no where to be seen and with no estimated release date a year later.

I’m critiquing the gameplay for the PC version right now since it’s the only version I have played as of time of review. While the features of the gameplay would get high marks here in terms of the vast amount of things to see, do, choices and consequences, and customization, the score ultimately suffers due to terrible controls and UI. Please note for this review I play on a laptop and do not use a mouse. I am a keyboard only user. As such, there are some things that just DON’T work. Period.

Like for example, I read that to put bait on a fishing pole you left click the bait then right click the fishing pole, but nothing happens when I do this. Luckily, you can fish without bait, but with some tools you aren’t so lucky. I assume that loading the slingshot with stones also works in the same fashion but can’t figure out how to load it with ammunition either which makes it completely useless to me. At the fall grange faire, the controls for fishing were different than fishing on the main map too! In the main map I can use my button shortcode which is C as opposed to mouse clicking, — this for some reason does not work at the fall grange faire and you have to use the mouse (in my case keep in mind, I’m using my laptop’s “touchpad” which you can click/scroll/operate like a mouse.) —

I have read that PS4 controllers will now work in Steam so I may have to try that and hope they are supported in Stardew Valley. I also do have a usb mouse – but given that I play largely from my bed, it makes finding a place to put the mouse a challenge. I am surprised because quite simply, this is a casual game. If I were expecting to smoothly play a triple A title without a mouse, from my bed, well that would be my own fault for having unreasonable expectations… but the truth is, there’s nothing here that should require finesse or skill.

And it’s not just a little bit cumbersome, it’s that things completely don’t work in some cases as illustrated above at worst. At best, I find myself constantly turning away from my target while fighting in the dungeon, or watering an empty square next to the plant I’m trying to water. Or I’ll forget I have an axe equipped and accidentally kill a crop I’m trying to work with (OK so that last one is my fault 🙂 lol).

The gameworld is not that large, but you walk really slow, which makes it seem a bit larger (Please note for this review, I’m critiquing the default map, not the new ones added in after release). You will also find that you get weak from exhaust and/or injuries easily when you first begin playing, and that even adding new weapons, armor, and accessories, doesn’t seem to speed up combat as much as you might hope.

Despite these weaknesses, the gameplay is actually fun and enjoyable with a wide variety of things to do and see. In fact, there’s often not enough in-game hours in a day to do everything. I love rainy days in the game so I can go fishing or explore the dungeons without wasting half a day tending to my crops. I also love that as you continue to do something in game, such as fish or fight monsters, you gain levels of proficiency with different skills and at certain levels, these skills branch off and force you to choose a path, with different pros and cons, which further customizes your experience from that of your friends – and also greatly adds to replay value.

There could be some other features added that would further enhance gameplay, difficulty and challenge, such as making certain foods expire – would also create need to use the preserve machine — or making for example icecream melt after so many in-game hours. As it stands right now you could buy or grow an item in year one, and eat it 5 years later without risk of getting sick, etc. They could even add a temporary debuff “Food Poisoning” that would wear off after so many in game hours.

Story: 6/10 – Well the story is that you write your own story. You decide exactly what you want to do, who you want to be with, and shape your own virtual life. It offers a ton of customization and the story does branch and reveal different routes based on who you date and other decisions you make within the game, but largely, by the end of the first year, the story has felt weak and bare bones at best. The in-game events do help to spice things up however, I suspect that after the first year they will be less exciting since you’ve already seen them. — However, it makes up for this in the amount of customization, freedom, and exploration that these open world sandbox games are best known for. Watching slowly as your farm takes shape and beginning to set a path for yourself and discover how to make your farm uniquely your own is truly the best aspect of this game, and that will become even more of a big selling point once multi-player finally gets implemented so you can visit friends’ farms.

Characters: 6/10 – Well, there’s a lot of them, but none of them are terribly interesting… They will recycle through the same dialog over and over. In the beginning, as to be expected, many of the characters are distrustful of you (You’re a stranger afterall!), and so they do not talk about anything meaningful or overly deep. Getting close to people, just like in real life, takes time. Relationships take work, and Stardew Valley is no exception to that rule… I have yet to see if the characters, or story for that matter, get more interesting past the first year, but with well over 30 hours of real life put into the game, that’s more time than one should be expected to “wait and see” if things improve.

Right now my highest relationship, according to the fortune teller at the fall grange fair, is with Shane, one of the newly added routes in a recent update. He is sorta the Tsundere type. Rough on the outside. He often plays guitar in the tavern. He likes Hot Peppers, Spaghetti, and Pizza for presents, and he is a cold unfeeling jerk lol. At least initially. I think there may be more to him, which is why I was curious to pursue him. I think his route shows the most promise for “character development” if written correctly. It will be nice to see him warm up and hopefully be less of a jerk over time lol.

Other characters seem to pay homage to various Harvest Moon games, there’s a guy named Linus (not dateable) living in a tent who reminds me of Gustafa from Harvest Moon on the Gamecube. There’s Harvey who is a doctor, Demetrius a scientist (who at time of this review is not dateable), Sebastian who is a stereotypical Emo/Goth guy, Alex a fitness nut,  a Magician (I don’t believe he’s dateable either), Clint who is a Blacksmith, and Elderly couple. The tavern workers, a Museum worker, a Carpenter (female), Goth girl, Librarian (female), and a handful of others.

Despite not having much “depth” to the characters (at least after almost a whole year of time passing in game), the characters themselves are charming, and always busy and on the move. They breathe life into the game and keep it feeling active and bustling year round. Not only these human characters, but the animals on your farm, the monsters in the dungeon, and even just little touches like birds and butterflies randomly flying or a squirrel quickly climbing a tree, or a rabbit running through the bushes, they all make the game seem… living. It seems as if every character has a mind of their own and a life of their own. This is a big plus and part of the game’s unique charm.

Graphics: 8/10 – Keep in mind, this is an indie game that wanted to go for a retro-vibe. If you’re not a fan of “outdated” graphics, RPG Maker style games, and Isometric Top-Down view style games, then this is not the game for you. — That said, Stardew Valley is for you if you grew up with the 16 bit Harvest Moon games, don’t mind “indie-retro” games, like to customize the appearance of your character, and like “cute” bright graphics.

Everything about Stardew Valley is exceptionally charming. And there is a lot of work that went into everything from the tile sets used in town or your farm, to the dungeons, character portraits, or animations. As mentioned above, the environment really feels almost like it’s alive somehow, with so many small details and little touches, falling leaves, wind, rain, animals, and background animations that really add to the charm and little extra love that was poured into this game.

I’d like to see maybe a tad more detail on the character sprites, and even more options added for character customization and more interior decorating items, or more various monster designs and not just recolors – but that’s just a wishlist, already, the artwork is pretty great if you’re a fan of pixel style games.

I did take off a few points for the following:

  • It gets pretty hard to see where I’m going at night. I dunno if it’s my monitor settings – and I am well aware you can craft items like torches and etc to brighten things up, but I get pretty lost.
  • Also some items can be hard to see if they’re behind trees, or other tall graphic items, and this too, can at times cause you to feel “stuck”.
  • Lastly, back to the UI again, it is just a lil bit clunky and could use some refinement.
  • read more

    Princess Maker 2 Refine – Now Available in English on Steam

    I reviewed Princess Maker 2 awhile back, one of my all-time favorite games. You can check out my review of Princess Maker 2, here.

    In that review, you will see that I say the game was never released in English – because at time of my writing that review, that was true – although the game was fully translated and a leaked copy could be found online — with age and technology, it became increasingly difficult for some people to get that old dos copy of the game to run on their newer machines…

    It seemed Princess Maker 2 was destined to just fall into obscurity – although many similar games (typically by English speaking fans) both indie and commercial have come out in recent years… Princess Maker 2 never saw the light of day…. Nor did any of the sequels….

    Until this happened…. It appears while no one was looking, somehow Princess Maker 2 has had a commercial release in English at last!! It is now available for $19.99 on Steam. – You can also get the soundtrack for $9.99 if you feel so inclined. Here is how to get the game or soundtrack on the steam store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/523000/

    Being out for just shy of 5 weeks now, the game has overwhelmingly positive reviews from hundreds of gamers.

    I believe the gameplay to be left largely unchanged – however, the game has been “enhanced” with new graphics – while the overall designs of the characters have been left more or less unchanged, the artwork has been made more clean and crisp — In this (and the old 90s PM 2) game, the daughter has frizzy brown curly hair — much like myself in real life. I always mused that if I were an anime character, that’s pretty much how I would look lol. Still not a big fan of that look – compared to newer versions of the Princess Maker games — but none the less — perhaps this long awaited gem will usher in the following sequels in the series which have never before had an English translation.

    Future is looking a lil bit brighter for gamer girls and otome fans.

    Romantic Diary Anime Otome Dressup Game Dating Sim with Cooking and Crafting

    I just discovered, Romantic Diary, an anime Otome Dating Sim which is part Dressup Game, part Visual Novel, part Cooking Game, and has an extensive crafting system. At the core, this game looks quite similar to Hello Nikki! Which I reviewed here. However, it seems to have more robust features, and a heavier emphasis on story telling and dating elements. It’s also a “Stat-Raising” game similar to Princess Maker (which I reviewed here) or Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here).

    Are you thinking about playing this game? If so please use my friend code (input it later after the tutorial at the “friend” screen). We’ll both get free stuff! <3 Use Invite Code: 82477180 read more

    Princess Maker 2 Review | Retro PC Game | Simulation Game | Life Sim | Anime Game

    IMPORTANT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU CAN NOW LEGALLY BUY AND PLAY THIS GAME ON STEAM. RE-Released with new art work as “Princess Maker 2 Refine” You can grab the game, and learn more about the release on my news article here: Princess Maker 2 Refine Now Available in English on Steam for the PC.

    Princess Maker 2 is part of the Princess Maker Franchise – Note – none of these games were ever released in English. Princess Maker 2’s translation was mostly complete – 99.99999% when their licensing agreement fell through and also the game met tough criticism (by American media and press outlets) from people that viewed it as too pedophiliac in nature despite there being absolutely no sex scenes in this game. The (western) world was just not ready for Princess Maker 2 (and may never be ready either).

    There are many websites which offer Princess Maker 2 (in English) as “abandonware” however; it is the wish of the creators and those involved in the (failed) localization that you never download or play this game (you can google about that too, there’s copies of letters from people involved in the project all over the internet, in which they remind us that this is NOT abandonware and to not “pirate” the game. — So Take that as you will. It’s a little bit different from a “Fan Translation” in which you can still support the creators by buying the original game and “patching” it with the english translation – in order to play Princess Maker 2 (in a language you can understand), you’re going to have to pirate it – I’m not putting a link here, I’m not condoning it, I’m not promoting it – I’m just telling you, it’s out there, if you search for it and if you care to play it. And that that is the only way to play this game in a language that you can read and understand.

    There are many similar, but ultimately inferior, games which have been developed by English speaking fans, drawing inspiration from the Princess Maker franchise. These games include but are not limited to Cutie Knight Deluxe, Prince Maker, Long Live the Queen, and Spirited Heart Deluxe. I recommend checking them out, they’re still great games, but I found myself constantly comparing them to Princess Maker, and found them to be inferior to it in every way (art, story, number of activities, number of endings, variety of things to do, etc.) – That is not to say they are bad games – I own them all and love them – but they are no Princess Maker.

    Anyways, Princess Maker 2 is a great game – as are all the other games in the series which I have supported and purchased despite not being able to understand them. There’s even a (relatively) new mobile game – in Korean language which I play on Bluestacks (an android simulator). As far as I know there’s no plans to bring those games to an English audience any time soon. The same people who fan translated Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side (which I reviewed here by the way) – had indicated interest in Princess Maker 4 or 5 translation – however, to my knowledge that translation has not even begun yet. Many other translations have begun, but never gotten further than intro or menu translations for any of these games. I sincerely hope, maybe someone in the fan translation community might visit my little blog one day and see that there is a “need” to translate these games which have no hope of ever being commercially released outside of Asian territories.

    With all of that out of the way, here’s my review of Princess Maker 2:

    Title: Princess Maker 2

    Publisher: Gainax

    Genre: Life Sim / Raising Sim / Dating Sim / RPG

    Release Date: 1993 Japan Only

    Platform: (all different kinds, but the one I’m reviewing is the PC version) (It was also on Sega Saturn, PS2, and more consoles)

    Geeky: 1 star 

    Sweetie: 5 hearts 

    Overall: 77/100 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

    Concept: 10/10 You raise a daughter from the age of 8 to 18. You see her grow and change as you manage her schedule in different ways, and you also battle in turn based rpg fights and dungeon crawling elements (I think that feature is unique to Princess Maker 2 – I know some of the other games don’t include the battling / dungeoneering elements.) You lead her to her destiny in dozens of different endings. Her sprite will change to reflect her mood, her condition, and her age as time goes on.

    Gameplay: 10/10 You set your girl’s schedule choosing different tasks for her such as cooking, magical battle, dancing, etiquette, visiting the palace, reading, etc, etc. There’s probably about 20 different options to choose from. You can also choose to give her a break by giving her some allowance to go shopping in town, or splurging and taking her on a vacation. She’ll randomly encounter different people, sometimes they will attack her, other times sell or give her items, or sometimes just chat with her all of which may effect her stats. You can also choose to explore dungeons for treasure, items, and more which greatly alter her stats. There’s also a dressup element to the game and what you have her wear also effects her stats. All of these stats and her relationships with all of the other characters are taken into account when deciding what ending you will receive.

    Storyline: 7/10 You are a war hero who defeats a demon – the gods are so thankful to you that they grant your lifelong wish for a family – you are all alone, and unmarried. Now you become a single father to a very young cute girl who needs your guidance. The plot is up to you! Will she become a powerful fierce wizard, a war general just like daddy, or a princess in the palace, or maybe she’ll even fall in love with you and become your wife! (which is why the game was so opposed in America lol – dunno why they couldn’t just remove that one ending and release the game still – but whatever, I’m not in the game industry so I dunno all the details, just what I’ve read online. Seems like such a waste to have completed all that work and spent money localizing this game and then cave to media pressure and pull the plug at the 11th hour.) It’s a very loose gloss-over type of plot, that doesn’t get very deep while playing the game, but that branches into dozens and dozens of endings and hidden scenes and lets you chart out your own destiny.

    Characters: 6/10 read more

    Sonicomi Communication English Preorders Begin. Game Release Date Scheduled for Summer 2016

    Sonicomi English Preorder is now live on JLIST. Up til now, the game has only been available in Asian regions. This new English release is the original Sonicomi Game from 2011 for the PC; however, JLIST has licensed the visuals from the much improved 2014 PS3 version.

    Preorder Sonicomi Communication – and use Coupon Code: MOE-22Y-E8BNV5 to get 5% off!

    Gameplay puts you in the role of a professional cameraman as you photograph a “Gravure Idol” (which loosely translates to Magazine Model), the busty, pink haired, Sonico. You get scores and combos for taking better photos. Outside of the photography element, you interact with the model in visual novel fashion.

    The game features a ton of customization with well over 100 items to dressup in.

    The replay value is also very high, because depending on your advice, Sonico’s career is at stake and she will evolve to reach one of 18 different endings, including a special ending where she falls in love with you.

    Unlike most visual novels, this one is fully animated and in 3D.

    In all, from the descriptions, Gameplay reminds me of a very perverse, echi style “Pokemon Snap” X Princess Maker 2 Crossover lol.

    Super Sonico is Nitro+ special mascot and makes cameo appearances in many other games, and even has her own anime series.

    There are 2 editions available for preorder. The standard edition includes preorder bonuses of an action figure, steam key (for when the game is later released on steam), and art cards. The special “collector’s edition” includes a “full body” mouse pad which is “2 times larger than other moe mouse pads” and they said the mousepad has never been sold before anywhere, not even in Japan, and features brand new artwork by the designer of the game, just for the US English release and once preorders end this Mousepad will no longer be available. $100 bucks seems Crazy to me for a Mousepad – but if you’re really into this character, I guess some people may be interested in it. Meanwhile, the standard edition will run $55 – which yes, is a lot for a visual novel. Clannad recently released with a $50 price tag too. Now that visual novels are gaining popularity in the west it seems we can expect typical “new release” prices on par with other genres of gaming. I plan to preorder the standard edition when I get paid this week.

    Preorder Sonicomi Communication

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    D4 Dark Dreams Don’t Die Game Review

    Title: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

    Genre: Sandbox Game with elements from Simulation Games, Dressup Games, Point n Click Games, Visual Novels, Adventure Games, and “TellTales Style” Games.

    Developer: Access Games

    Publisher: Microsoft Studios (Xbone) and Playism (PC)

    Release Date: September 2014 (Xbone) June 2015 (PC)

    Platforms: Xbone and PC

    Where to Buy: If you’re lucky, the humble bundle sale may still be going on which includes the entire first season of D4 and a buncha other games for $10. You can check here to see what the weekly humble bundle currently is. Otherwise, you will need to purchase either a season pass, or buy the episodes individually (if that’s even possible everywhere I look appears to be selling “Season 1” for $14.99 (or less with steam holiday sale). You can check steam for the PC version here or Xbox Store for the Xbone version here.

    Geeky

    Sweetie:

    Overall: 70 / 80 88% B+ Very Good Game for Girls

    Concept: 10/10 I picked this up in the weekly humble bundle – I’ve had my eye on it for awhile now but wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not enough to pay full price. I cannot stop playing it. I was up well past my self imposed bedtime lastnight lol. It’s a fun little sandbox style game with a really interesting story that plays similar to telltale’s games with “QTE Quick Time Events”

    Story: 10/10 In the game, you play as a retired police officer, who left the force when his wife’s murder remained unsolved. He has amnesia surrounding the events about his wife’s murder, and a nasty scar that he received as well. Before his wife died, while in the hospital, she told him to “Find D”. The nasty scar left him with a super power of sorts, he can “dive” into the past if he has a memento (a personal belonging) from the suspect and he has been researching and eliminating potential suspects trying to find who murdered his wife – I have a pretty good feeling who it was, because of the cat hissing at him in the prologue, but I could be way off too as I’m only on the 2nd episode right now lol. So this isn’t a spoiler, just my speculation. “Diving” into the past is not without consequence though; similar to Life is Strange, which I’ve reviewed here, our main character gets bad nose bleeds and begins to experience some weird things as a result of using his powers.

    Characters: 8/10 There’s definitely a lot of interesting characters. Your cat turns human, your wife appears as a ghost, there’s drug lords, henchmen, a crazy looking doctor, a paranoid crazy woman, a really quirky fashion designer, and lots of other oddities. The characters are all over the top and a lil crazy, but highly original and entertaining.

    Gameplay: 7/10 It’s really fun to play. The controls are kinda “wonky” on the pc version though. I wish I could just walk around with W A S D and explore freely like in most adventure games; instead it’s kinda like walking around in IMVU, because you just click on one spot after another, and you can look left/right or down as well as turn around in the spot you’re standing to explore further. The combat is fun, and simple, you make swiping movements and it feels a lot more fluid and interactive than telltales games even though its a similar concept. I think the adrenaline pumping music as well as the wild animations and fun things that the characters use in their fights help keep it feeling a lot more fluid. There’s also multiple dialog choices when interacting with people. Interestingly enough, there’s also a ton of customization in this game; you can find outfits and accessories everywhere. Some give bonuses to your stats, but most are just cosmetic. Not only do you get to dress your main character, but also a plethora of other characters that you meet as well. You also need to eat to keep up your energy which slowly depletes itself as you are exploring, interacting, or talking to other characters. You also have a life bar, which will take a dip when you mess up in the quick time events. You can purchase or find first aid kits and bandages to restore your life bar. As for the food, it’s fun finding new foods to eat, they’ve made it into a sort of collection type game where it shows you how many different types of food you’ve eaten, how many calories, etc. Really neat. Loses quite a few points from me for the controls, but the gameplay itself is actually one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in gaming.

    Voice Acting: 8/10 The Boston accents annoy me – sorry to anyone from Boston here. lol. But no, to be honest, the voice acting is actually pretty darn good. There’s a lot of emotion into the script and the entire thing is fully voiced by a wide range of different characters with different voices and nuances.

    Music: 10/10 The music is really unusual, sometimes heavy metal, other times, almost angelic or gospel sounding. But always fitting with the theme and in a way, the music itself is used to help tell the story. The metal music is used in fight scenes or action scenes, while more mysterious and soft music is used at home or when exploring.

    Graphics: 9/10 The game is cel-shaded, but with a sorta grungy film-noir effect. I really like the character designs, they’re rather “anime-ish” looking in a way, despite how they are colored in a more western fashion. The environments are also very nice with lots of things to explore and collect. a lot of detail went into designing each of the levels. I would have preferred it to be a more clean cel-shading similar to Catherine, which I’ve reviewed right here, but overall, I really like how this game looks.

    Overall: 70 / 80 88% B+ Very Good Game for Girls

    If You Liked This Game You’d Also Like: Wolf Among Us, Heavy Rain, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, and Sam n Max Hit the Road.

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    Graduation 95: Retro PC Game Review | JRPG | Anime | School Simulator

    Title: Graduation 95

    System: PC

    Publisher: Mixx Entertainment

    Genre: Simulation – Life Sim, School Sim, Dating Sim, Raising Sim, Stat Raising Sim

    Where to Buy: Damned if I know. I spent a half hour just now trying to google it and came up empty. Maybe ebay? Although I just searched there and the only thing coming up is the Japanese import version. Glad I still have my English copy by Mixx Entertainment.

    Geeky:

    Sweetie:

    Overall: 69 / 90 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

    Concept: 10/10 You play as a teacher to a class full of lovely young ladies who need your help and guidance in order to graduate. The gameplay is quite similar to Princess Maker in a way, but with all the things teachers do, such as making up lesson plans, assigning homework, detention duties, seating arrangements, tutoring, visiting the students’ homes, or chaperoning trips and vacations, and since it’s a Japanese game, it has the iconic anime themes we know and love such as sports festivals, school festivals in which you choose what your class will do such as host a coffee shop, haunted house, or school play, etc. I love this game; but sadly, it was a commercial failure which almost bankrupt Mixx (now known as Tokyopop). Mixx Games, one and only game, was a critical failure, but still one of my favorite PC games of all time. I last played it about a year ago and would be playing it right now, but misplaced my CD (though I seen it recently, so I will soon play again).

    Gameplay: 9/10 I explained a lot of this above; but basically you choose different subjects to teach each week. How successful your students are depends on their strengths and weaknesses (some are better at English, while others are better at math for example). If you focus too strongly on one subject, the students who dislike or struggle in those subjects will begin to complain and criticize your teaching ability. So you need to come up with a well balanced lesson plan. You can also help your students improve by selecting their weekend activities for them (It’s been awhile, I think you can only select weekend courses for one student per week). You then decide where you will be that weekend as well. If you encounter the girls on the weekend, you can chat with them which can have both positive and negative effects on your relationship with the girls as well as with their studies.

    Also as to be expected, girls will be catty with one another. If the girls are not getting along and causing drama, their studies will suffer. You have to step in as the adult and encourage the girls to make up. If they are being too stubborn you can change their seating; however, some students perform better in the back or front row depending on their learning style; and just like a real school, if friends are sitting too close they will goof off and not study as hard as they should.

    There are many different ailments which can effect the students too; they can become sick, runaway from home, take part time jobs, move in with boyfriends, or become stuck up, all of which effect their studies and attitudes towards you and the other girls.

    If you catch your students behaving improperly you can try to convince them to change their ways; but almost no matter what you do, the students will be angry and also their GPA will drop.

    The students must obey rules and also keep their GPA high enough to graduate by the end of the game; and this is no easy task at all!!!! Upon Graduation, they can become many different things, including your bride, similar once again to the myriad of endings in Princess Maker games.

    This game is good (or excellent even) in small doses; and I am super addicted to it; I keep playing it over the years; for 20 years now I’ve been playing this game and it’s still just as fun as ever!! That alone speaks volumes for the gameplay. HOWEVER, the one caveat and the one point I deducted is because, like most simulation games, the gameplay is very repetitive. To make matters worse, Graduation is a LONNNNNNG game. I dunno how long; but it feels really long and slow; much slower than other similar games. Although, to once again give credit where credit’s due; I can’t think of a single other game (at least not one available in English) that is this much of a “teaching simulator” One where you perform such roles as a teacher, the seating arrangement, the lesson plan, lecturing and providing advice and guidance to your students, supervising trips and club activities, seeing the students evolve from one semester to the next, etc. It’s a very original and unique gaming experience and that alone makes it incredibly fun. But yes, the game does suffer from repetitive and sometimes uninteresting gameplay. But it’s the type of game, that is best enjoyed one or two days a week, and give yourself a break from it for awhile and return to find it fresh and exciting again.

    Story: 3/10 – There’s really not much of a story. You’re a new teacher in a new school. You teach and advise your students. You can play as a playboy pervert, a strict professor, or want the students to like you and be buddy buddy. But ultimately, the main character is left very blank and not very visible in the game. As a result, the only story is really just a high overview of explaining the role you play, and the rest is left strung together by random encounters, events, and multiple endings.

    Characters 8/10: While the player’s character is left blank, the other students are well fleshed out; and although they can be stereotypical at times; they still endear themselves to you and make you worry about them and make you want to help them graduate. There’s Mina, the sick and shy student who doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s missed so much school; there’s Cindy, an airhead “valley girl” who’s popular, pretty, but not very “bright”; there’s a Tsundere with glasses who the other girls dislike because of her “teacher pet” personality; a lolita girl who acts very childish but is also very cute and innocent, and a very rough tomboy girl who loves drinking, eating, gambling, and fighting. I found it a bit hard to like the characters ultimately due to the horrible voice acting in this game. But I’m only deducting 2 points for that, since I’m going to score voice acting separately down below; but it was bad enough that it really did effect my attachment to the characters.

    Voice Acting: 3/10 As mentioned above; the voice acting is so over dramatic, and so cliche that it makes me sick. They used a typical valley girl accent for the blonde girl; and the lolita girl is NOT CUTE SOUNDING AT ALL. She’s probably the worst, sounds like a mouth full of mush or someone with a permanent sinus infection, and her voice is too deep / too old sounding to be cute. The loli girl would have been my favorite but I found her incredibly hard to tolerate because of the voice acting. The tomboy girl has a very thick new york or new jersey accent; and the tsundere and sick girl both have mediocre at best, to sometimes overdramatic deliverance of their lines as well. There’s not one single voice actress in this game that I would consider “good” – So why did I give it 3 out of 10 stars? Because, one, it is fully voiced. two, this is the 90s typical shit dub quality stuff here not making an excuse for it to be shitty; just when I compare it objectively to stuff in the same time frame, yeah its about equally as bad, and lastly, and largely, because the vocal opening song by the original Japanese cast was left in tact, and it is catchy as hell. Which brings us to the music…

    Music: 8/10 The music in the game is all very peppy and fun and light hearted. The music also changes each semester which is a nice touch. I’d also say the music is fairly memorable, especially the opening theme which I can still hear in my head today.

    Graphics 10/10 : Graphically, the game is dated and older of course; however, it was one of the first anime games to come to PC (in the USA) as opposed to console. And the character designs are cute and attractive for the most part (once again keep in mind, this was the style back then in the 90s for anime). There are numerous changes that the girls undergo which are visible with different sprites being used in the game, the chibi sprites are adorable and pretty highly detailed. The anime “standees” or “profile pictures” of the girls when interacting with them are also quite good; and once again reflect the girl’s moods. Hint, when she likes you, she looks much more sexy. There are also scenes such as at the beach, shrine, or other areas where you see the girls in different outfits, hairstyles, or cute poses. There’s also the option to view all of the art on the disc to see any sprites you may have missed. I loved the new years ones the best.  All and all; the art is bright, vibrant, and varried enough to keep your interest; like any good game in the visual novel / sim genre; it is full of special cg and event scenes which reward you with new artwork as well.

    Replay Value: 10/10 This game is hard as balls, chances are you will be playing multiple times. I recommend save often, in multiple different save files. Even if you do beat the game with “good” endings the first time; you might want to replay it because there are different career paths and endings for each girl (and you get to see all of the girls’ endings each play through which is unique to this game too; where as most visual novels focus on unlocking one girl’s route/ending at a time; this game puts you in control of a classroom and lets you see how things turn out for each of your students.) In addition, there are some choices you will make which close off other scenes from you; such as if you choose to put on a school play you’ll miss the coffee house or haunted house festival scenes. These scenes also change based on who you assign to each role and the girl’s relationships with eachother and their stats. Also because this game is so unusual and so unique; if you’re like me, you won’t be able to resist replaying it at least every few years. It’s just a novel and fun concept that has not made it’s way back overseas since this game’s release. Nothing like it before, or since, in 20 years time. I hope someday to see other similar games. In fact, I found a kickstarter for a similar game here that you should check out.

    Note: There’s an Otome version of this game called Graduation M where you raise male students and play as a female teacher; but as of this writing, it has never been translated; neither officially nor fan translated so it is unplayable unless you know how to speak and read Japanese.

    Overall: 69 / 90 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

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    Sometimes Always Monsters Preview Sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters

    While trying to promote my recent review of Always Sometimes Monsters over here I came across exciting news on destructoid that a direct sequel is in the works titled Sometimes Always Monsters. As a little aside, that title drives me crazy. I always forget if the first game is titled Sometimes Always Monsters or Always Sometimes Monsters. The only way I can keep it straight now is by reminding myself that A is the “first” letter in the alphabet “Always” and S is the first letter of “Second” or “Sequel”.

    Anyways, it aims to preserve the continuity of the first game and be a “direct” sequel. You can import your saved data from Always Sometimes Monsters and your decisions, ending, etc all carry over to the new game.

    The main gist of the story appears to follow the “good end” of the first game, in which you win back your love and publish a novel about your crazy journey. You’re now a successful author and you’re going on a book tour to meet your fans. As you travel from city to city, lots of things happen. Some people are jealous of your success, while others adore you and invite you into their lives. Along the way there’s many moral dilemmas and they claim only you can choose the right path. (though in their first game there were some choices which were clearly better choices and imperative to getting certain endings). Like the first game, it will deal with controversial real world issues and ask the player to make some very difficult decisions. The game’s art style seems very reminiscent of the first title as well. From the trailer below, the gameplay seems similar to the first game as well in a sort of “combatless rpg” or “visual novel” in which you can explore the world around you, but won’t find yourself in combat or leveling up or collecting loot. Instead, it aims to be an artistic story and put you on an emotional rollercoaster with very “real” feeling characters and their very “real” feeling problems.

    You can pre-order the game already, but they warn there’s still no estimated release date and that it might be a long wait. It is a little pricier than the previous game, going for $15 on Vagabond Dog’s website here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/store/sam

    Also, Vagabond Dog is asking you to email them your save files from the first game, and they say that as they work on the sequel they will analyze and incorporate many player’s decisions into the sequel and also exhibit player data at PAX and other game conventions. You can submit your saved game file right here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/blog/continuity

    I am floored and excited by the announcement of a sequel. I loved the first game. If you’ve never played it, check out my review for Always Sometimes Monsters

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    Always Sometimes Monsters Review

    geeky

    This game is one that you either love, or you hate. I love it; but there are a lot of people who give this game low and negative reviews. Your mileage may vary. It is not a happy sunshiney game. And since it is a visual novel, you’re not going to do much besides read, play a few mini games, and make some choices to reach a few different endings. It’s a very personal game, and you come to care a lot about the characters, which makes some (most) of the endings pretty gut-wrenching which enrages a lot of people.

    The one thing I would like to point out, 99% of the negative reviews on steam, mention the scene where you’re moving boxes from conveyor belts and into a truck. YOU CAN STOP AT ANY TIME. People get bored here, and never play the game any further, or they bitch about this one particular scene (there are a few other similar scenes) and ignore the other more emotionally engaging scenes when writing their review. The game is only as “boring” and “repetitive” as you want to make it lol.

    Title: Always Sometimes Monsters

    Platform: PC

    Publisher: Vagabond Dog

    Genre: Visual Novel (I guess? or RPG without any combat. Visual Novel’s probably the closest description, but you get to wander around rpg-maker style maps and play a lot of minigames.) (Actually it played kinda similar to To the Moon; but is more about making choices, instead of just reading one story. There’s several stories within this story.)

    Where to Buy: Steam for the PC version $9.99.

    And apparently there are cheaper IOS and Android versions? Interesting.

    Pick up the Android version on amazon here: $4.99 http://www.amazon.com/Devolver-Digital-Always-Sometimes-Monsters/dp/B00QXF3B7A

    Pick up the IOS version here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/always-sometimes-monsters/id968827222?mt=8 also $4.99

    Geeky: 

    Sweetie: 

    Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

    Concept: 10/10 This is a game with a lot of personalization and customization. It allows you to select the gender, appearance, and name of your main character (as well as your significant other) and then throughout the game, you are presented with moral dilemmas which impact the ending you receive.

    Story 10/10: I won’t spoil much here. But the main overarching story is that your ex invites you accidentally to their wedding. This makes you realize that you still love them and that you intend to go to the wedding to confess your love or try to stop the couple from getting married. You have no job, no car, no money, and you need to get half way across the country. In order to do this, you do favors for people and little by little get rides in return that help you reach your destination. Often you have to sleep outside, eat out of garbage cans, and wonder if you’re making the right decisions. There are numerous setbacks and lots of plot twists as well. As mentioned, because it is a visual novel styled game, your story will be slightly different from any one else’s, and you can replay it to get different outcomes.

    Characters 10/10: The script is written in a very “down to earth” way; and it makes the characters seem very real. There are some really strong emotions in this game. From anger, jealousy, resentment, fear, sadness, guilt, empathy, forgiveness, redemption, etc. Most all of the characters have flaws, from stealing, to infidelity, to jealousy, selfishness, indulgence, even addictions (gambling, drugs, sex, etc). This makes the cast very real and really helps with immersion.

    Gameplay: 8/10 As mentioned, it plays a lot like To the Moon, an RPG-maker style game in which you do have free reign to explore the map and environment, but in which there is no combat. It also features numerous choices and decision points with branching plots and multiple endings, similar to a visual novel game. There are also numerous Mini-Games sprinkled in which help to break up the sometimes slow gameplay.

    The game is often criticized for only giving the illusion of choice, but actually there are different outcomes in the end. Most of the endings are “imperfect” with some part of the game, some character, or some circumstance, always being unhappy in the end. This is also often criticized; but that’s the point of the game, which it tries to stress. Humans become victims of the choices they make.

    For me, the ending I got was quite satisfactory. I won back my love, and the person that had done wrong to me over and over, the person that had been just moments ago in a position to redeem themselves but had chosen to continue to be a “bad person” well karma kicked their ass – one way or another, there’s a couple of different endings and ways in which they can be punished. I found it immensely satisfying that the tables had been turned so to speak.

    The one caveat in the gameplay, and the reason I can’t in good faith give it a perfect 10, is that there are some (or at least one for sure) choices that if you don’t pick the “right” answer, you get a pretty shitty ending. I picked the “correct” choice because I wanted to “be the better person”. Despite what this other person had done to me, I wasn’t going to be a “monster” to them. There’s a lot of weight on this one choice at the very end of the game, which then it kinda makes me feel like the other choices in the game do not matter. No matter how good or bad you are up until then, it feels like if you do or don’t do this one thing, which then leads to another similar do or don’t do this one thing, then you get or don’t get the good ending. I don’t like that one choice being so weighted. But such is the nature of visual novel games; it is totally possible to get on/off of a certain branch in the plot just from one bad/good choice. Therefore, its not necessarily a fault of Always Sometimes Monsters, but perhaps a fault of this genre of games in general.

    There are also SOME moments which are slow and bogged down in this game. Such as the box moving scenario which I mentioned at the beginning of my review. Some people exaggerate this element though. As I prefaced my review by saying, the gameplay is only as boring as YOU make it. You can quit these scenes at any time; you might not realize it at first, but it’s all about “free choice”. Move 10 boxes, or 100, or 1,000. Your call. But yeah, I will agree, some parts of the game are not terribly interesting; but, no where NEAR as bad as the negative reviews make this seem.

    The other odd thing in gameplay is, does eating have any impact on the game? I don’t think it does, yet you have a hunger gage and you have in game currency and must eat and buy food. They say if you don’t eat and try to go to bed something bad might happen? Does anything bad really happen if you don’t eat? I don’t know.

    Music 6/10: The music had a fun and funky retro vibe to it, which I really enjoyed. Ultimately though, it’s not very memorable. Just kinda average. It’s been about a year since I played the game now, and I can’t really recall any specific tracks from the game.

    Graphics 7/10: The graphics also went for a retro feeling. I like RPG-Maker games and 16 bit games, so this is fine with me. But a lot of gamers may not really dig the retro style. I gotta give high marks for allowing you to customize your and your ex’s appearance and I feel the character art/portraits are quite good. The sprites themselves and the tile sets used in the world are sorta reminiscent of games such as pokemon, earthbound, or other 90s era RPGs. The sprites have a cutesy feel with big heads and very large eyes. The game environment is nice and colorful too. The area in which I feel it loses some points is that there are no what I call “CG” or “Event” scenes. Which are pretty common in almost all visual novels. These scenes are usually high quality still or panning camera shots, which show key moments with a more detailed and stylistic art style to help highlight certain scenes and events. This game doesn’t have any of those.

    Customization 8/10: This game allows you to have same sex relationships if you would like. It also allows you to choose your race and gender and appearance of yourself, and your ex. Most of all, it gives you freedom to play the game the way you want, and make the choices you want to make; you just might have to live with the consequences of those choices later on.

    Replay Value 5/10: This is a long, and sometimes slowly paced game, and the only time the plot branches significantly is at the end. This makes replaying not as much fun if you’ve already reached a satisfactory ending. However, I enjoyed this game and would say, it’s a title I could see myself replaying at some point, just because, I had fun. I mean, I have replayed completely linnear games with only one ending before lots of times too if I like the game. And Always Sometimes Monsters is a game I like.

    Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

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    This Magical School Anime JRPG Simulator is Everything – and it needs your help!

    I just discovered =&0=& which according to the developer,=&1=&is an action-packed magical =&2=&. You play the principal of an academy, tasked with training your students to save the world, all while finding missing cats, delivering love letters, and helping elderly ladies to cross the road… oh and fighting monsters.”

    Features:

    • School-simulation JRPG
    • Unique 2.5D graphics
    • Real-time battle system
    • Manage and build your school
    • Recruit and train your students
    • Promote your students into various class levels
    • Multiple endings
    • For Pc, Mac, and Linux, Available on Steam and DRM Free
    • Job Class System similar to FF5
    • Crafting System

    The gameplay is 2 fold, focusing on managing your students so that they graduate, and then selecting a job class for them similar to Final Fantasy 5. Your students then go out and battle monster with a real-time active combat system.

    Also, if you back the kickstarter, you get access to kickstarter exclusive backer reward “Night Mode” In which you may be surprised by your students’ behaviors after hours. Such things, remind me fondly of Graduation 95 by Mixx.

    Kickstarter page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/agatestudio/valthirian-arc-red-covenant

    It’s also being compared to Harry Potter.

    The bad news is… they only have 2 weeks left to reach their funding goal! OH NOES. We need to #MakeItHappen

    Go go throw money at your screens. We NEED this game!

    The game has already been Greenlit on Steam. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=526696289 – though I’m getting an error when I try to access this page right now.

    Also, you can play the previous Valthirian Arc games to understand its gameplay.

    Valthirian Arc 1: agate.id/playva1
    Valthirian Arc 2: agate.id/playva2

     

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    Girlish Love Revolution | Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!! | Nintendo DS | Love Revo | Girlish Love Revo | Weight Loss | Anime | Dating Sim | Review | Editorial | English Translation

    This review and editorial is for Girlish Love Revo (Otometeki Koi Kakumei * Love Revo!!), a dating sim, otome, and weight loss management simulation game on the Nintendo DS.

    Note: This game has never been released “officially” in English, but it has been fan translated. You can grab the fan translation patch AND the handy walkthru from this site here: https://sites.google.com/site/loverevoguide/translation-project/download They also tell you how to patch your copy of the game.

    The game can be purchased from sites like Yes! Asia or Play Asia or occasionally found on Amazon It’s currently only $8 bucks on amazon with 34 copies available, so that’s the one I recommend buying from (at time of this review).

    For $8 bucks PLEASE help support the industry and send a message LOUD AND CLEAR that English speaking gamers WANT otome games like this by choosing to BUY the game instead of downloading a rom of it online. (You know, especially since Idea Factory right now IS listening to us American fans and bringing us many of their Otome games, because, this is in fact, also an Idea Factory game too! So chances are good, if they hear us say we want it, they’ll release an official English version.)

    Here’s the linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Otometeki-Kakumei-DS-Japan-Import-Nintendo/dp/B0013D98Q0

    So the past few days I’ve been playing this game again. I had tried to play the game a few years ago when the fan translation came out. But it kinda offended me. I’m overweight myself. And the message that it sends to young girls just sucks to be honest. The main problem I have is that all of the characters except for one of them, treat the girl (that’s you by the way) like sheer crap. Like she’s less than human. But the main character is so dumb that she wants their love and affection anyways and so she decides to lose weight to impress these assholes. Okay, fine, if you want to lose weight, that’s cool. I want to lose weight too; but you know, for the right reasons, like not getting diabetes, and being able to keep up with more fit friends and family when they want to go outdoors and be active and well to look and feel better for myself. I mean fuck everyone else. My weight has never been an issue for any of the guys I dated, except for one, and he was an abusive asshole and not worth all the time and effort I put into things. BUT enough about me — Let’s get back to discussing Love Revo.

    I began again, because, man there’s a lot of people online who LOVE this game…. I think I must be missing something here…. and I kinda was…. I think when I first played it a few years ago I was confused about how large the girl actually was. The measurements are in Kilograms. I’m like what the fuck she’s only 100 lbs. But no, actually she’s 220 lbs because she’s 100 KG when the game starts, about the same or close to my weight, so yeah, my bad. She is obese. (and so am I) And actually… once you get your weight down to 89 KG or less, the guys begin to be nice to you… which is still PRETTY DAMN BIG…. ESPECIALLY… considering the fact that this game is ONLY available for sale in asian markets — 89 KG is 196 lbs…. Which is HUGE for an asian. Now before you get all mad and butthurt, I’m not trying to stereotype (or body shame anyone for that matter), I’m just saying that over there, with body shaming and stuff, and the peer pressure to fit in, o they would typically be a laughing stock at that weight because you know, that’s just how their society rolls over there. That’s all. Everyone is like a size 2. And if you aren’t a size 2, you’re ostracized by your students, peers, and even your family. SOOOOOO On that note…. Well this game isn’t that bad. Hell. 196 lbs is still Obese by a doctor’s definition, even in America, land of the fat. But it’s a lot healthier than 220 lbs. I’d like to lose 30 lbs like that too LOL. So on that note… This game is not REALLY about body shaming, but about just being healthier. But it’s STILL about losing weight for the WRONG reasons. which upsets me. 🙁

    That said, as I continued to play the game, I began to think about losing weight myself. I hate exercise, like most geeky gamer girls probably out there. And I already don’t eat much and eat clean and healthy, lots of veg, etc, so I know for me, the whole obstacle, is I need to exercise dammit. I’m sedentary at work and in my leisure time. Playing this game made me feel like I should start exercising, and that exercising might be fun, and that wow look at her weight drop off, I want to lose weight like that too! I got kinda motivated by it I guess is what I’m trying to say. There are better games out there, that actually you know, help you to burn calories, such as “Walk it Off” or “Dance Dance Revolution” or “Just Dance!”; but still, any game that can make a fat girl want to exercise, has some merit I guess.

    There’s also a new recently released, unrelated but similar Otome IOS Iphone Ipad game that helps you work out. I think I might download it (and review it at some point). Which is called, Burn your fat with me girls! which you can grab here for IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/burn-your-fat-me!!-for-girls/id657192163?mt=8 and here for android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.funsolution.nensho_eng&hl=en

    Actually the news of the release of the above Otome weight loss IOS app is what prompted me to want to replay Love Revo.

    I spent 3 days with Love Revo this week and this is what I discovered:

    1.) It’s not as “bad” as I thought in terms of body shaming and making the character “throw herself” at these men.

    2.) Not all of the characters are assholes. (Though some of them are and I still don’t like that they only get “nicer” when you lose weight.)

    3.) It’s actually really educational and fairly accurate

    a. It focuses on weight loss from different core muscle groups such as arms, legs, abs, face, whole body, etc.

    b. There are a huge number of different exercises that target the different muscle groups and you get better results by mixing up your workout routine read more