Rakugaki Over Heart Review
Rakugaki Over Heart is the 5th game by Chien and is a school life love comedy ADV that revolves around the graffiti investigation club. The stories are about budding secret love relationships.
Sakakibara Yui does a great job singing this upbeat song. It’s cute and introduces the characters nicely. The title of the song ナ・イ・ショの恋 fits the theme of the game.
Ichihara Aoya returns to his hometown after being away for a few years due to his father’s job. He planned to enter Kurafutei Gakuen and live a peaceful school life just like when he was younger. However, he is visited by an old childhood friend in the morning, accidentally kisses a cute kouhai and ends up seeing a senpai’s panties… all in his first day of school. Furthermore, he is forced by an acquaintance to join the otoshigaki tansaku koukai (graffiti investigation club) and all 3 of those girls also end up in the club.
No one knows why, but there’s a small shrine near the school. Aoya ends up making a wish that he can understand what others are feeling. To his surprise, he hears bells chime and a voice saying that his wish will be granted.
Soon after, during club activity, he starts seeing the graffiti come alive and talking about the true feelings of the people who drew them. This is the difference between rakugaki (落書), those with no meaning, and otoshigaki (落書き), those with meaning. Aoya becomes interested in this and finds the club activity fun, especially being around such cute girls. However, there’s one rule that club members must abide by: no intra-club love relationship! What will Aoya’s normal school life become now?
There are 3 routes in Rakugaki and they are independent of each other. Choices are during the first three days, so the common route is relatively short. In addition, there is a mini route that you end up on if you screw up and don’t end up choosing a heroine by the end of the 3rd day. A common theme among all 3 routes is that they have to keep their relationship a secret for various reasons.
Searching for otoshigaki is a common activity for all routes (about 10 sessions). While most of it is just a ‘sidegame’, sometimes the otoshigaki contribute to the plot. However, I wish that the whole idea was better explained. I felt that it was best used in Miyuki’s route. The pacing of the routes was decent, although it ended with too many H scenes.
I thought Ai’s route was extremely sweet, just like a plot out of a shoujo manga. An accidental encounter and kiss leading to love…. Awwwww! It’s very fitting for a cute character like Ai-chan. Miyuki’s route was probably the deepest, but it was a bit unrealistic too. I wanted to like Midori’s route, but the interruptions really got on my nerves. I thought Aoya’s confession to Midori was nicely done though. Since there’s only 3 heroines, their routes were all quite different. They are a bit cliched; I could guess what would happen most of the time. However, they were enjoyable.
Micchi’s route rankings:
Ai, Miyuki, Midori
Returning to his hometown after moving away due to his father’s job, Aoya wished for a normal time at Kafutei Gakuen. He isn’t that interested in joining any clubs. Midori used to play with him when they were kids and he is related to Yukari, their homeroom teacher. Not a person with high initiative.
Aoya is damedame even by normal eroge protagonist standards. I find myself annoyed by his actions every now and then.
One year lower than Aoya, Ai is an earnest girl who gets along with everyone. However, she is faint-hearted and easily embarrassed, to the point where she sometimes panics too much and passes out. Likes small cute things a lot and is a great cook. Everyone loves the tea she prepares, so she gladly makes tea for everyone during club meetings.
Ai is absolutely adorable. >w<b Hau~ omochikaeri~! Even though she’s so easily embarrassed, she still tries her best. Awwwww!!! I want a kawaii kouhai like her!
Midori is Aoya’s childhood friend and calls him Sou-chan because Souya sounds cooler than Aoya. She’s really energetic and active. Because she is great at physical activity, lots of clubs want her to join, however she doesn’t want to. Since she lives next door to Aoya, she crawls in through the window to wake him up and visits him at night also. Bad at studying. Although she looks strong, she always wants to be with others. Known as crybaby Midori when they were kids.
What a great osananajimi! She’s a true friend who helps him out both in keeping secrets and for relationship advice. I especially like the crawling in through the window. It’s pretty hard to do that here where the houses aren’t that close.
Some people might consider Miyuki as a tsundere, but I think she’s more of a kuudere. She is Aoya’s senpai and the leader of the graffiti investigation club. A very calm and rational person, she doesn’t like to talk much unless there’s a reason to. Abides by schedules and conscious of her health.
Miyuki reminds me of Flyable Heart‘s Mayuri a lot. Even their names are very similar. I have to admit her dere side is pretty cute, even from someone who doesn’t like this character type that much. I think Zen will like her.
As usual, there is the perverted friend Takamasa who is actually sometimes good-hearted and helpful. It was amusing seeing him get shot down so many times. Yukari is Aoya’s cousin and also his homeroom teacher. She also abuses him and doesn’t like seeing public displays of love. Miyuki’s friend Touka is a harapeko loli who doesn’t talk much except about food. Suzuko is Midori’s friend and is really kind, but also scheming (in a good way). I really want a route for her. >w<
Overall, I had no problems with the heroines. There’s not that many characters in this game and they all had decent amount of screentime (aside from Touka) and were used well in the scenarios. Personally, I found Yukari annoying though.
Micchi’s character rankings:
Ai, Midori, Miyuki
The graphics in the game are quite inconsistent. There are some really pretty CGs, then there are others where it looks really awkward or the perspective is wrong (i.e. cups that look about 5cm tall). Luckily, most of Ai’s CGs were great. Backgrounds are not anything special. I felt that some of the side-view tachi-e looked off.
In addition to normal CGs, there were 2 types of SDs: those that come up during normal dialogue and those that show up during club activity (otoshigaki). There are 89 different otoshigaki to collect during club activity. Most of the SDs were cute, but some were a bit simplisitic and could be better.
The interface and options are standard for an eroge. Normally the top bar is hidden unless you hold your mouse over it (or you can fix it with the ‘Sys’ function). The ‘Dic’ function shows you all the otoshigaki you have found, although I don’t really see a point to it. The color of the text changes if you have read the dialogue before. Sometimes, the text box will change when someone is shouting or talking from off screen. People talking off screen will have a text bubble along the top third of the screen, which I found annoying when Aoya starts having a conversation as the text flips back and forth from top to bottom. Date and time changes are shown as text across the screen instead of a cutscene. There are also some text glitches in the game, although it’s not anything major.
There are 90 save slots plus 10 auto saves. The game auto saves when you reach a map select during club activity. During club activity, you will have between 3 and 7 places to choose among 9 locations. Usually it is just a yellow triangle that you click on, but occasionally there’s a pink heart, which means it has dialogue pertaining to your route. Otherwise, where you choose to go doesn’t matter aside from collecting rakugaki for 100% completion. Along the way, you’ll come upon official messages from Chien showing a download link for a secret picture (which is currently my wallpaper ^^).
Completing a route will open the CG gallery (doesn’t include some SDs), replay mode, music gallery and rakugaki gallery. Finishing the whole game and collecting all rakugaki will unlock a special gallery, which is a collection of staff comments and seiyuu voice comments.
There are 23 BGM tracks accessible from the music gallery. The OP isn’t included in the list, although you can listen to it in the special gallery. I was disappointed that there’s no ED. When I first started playing, I didn’t like the music much. Some themes are ok though, such as Ai’s theme 桜の微笑み and tender theme 想いを伝えて. The seiyuus did a great job and that’s no surprise since they’re all experienced. I’m actually quite fond of Suzuko’s voice. Most of the otoshigaki talk at double speed and is annoying.
There are 5 H scenes for each of the 3 heroines. Length is short with 1-2 positions per scene. Since all the H scenes are bunched towards the end of each route, it’s almost like they’re like rabbits. However, they’re so short that you can almost count them as 3 H scenes instead since some lead directly into the next H scene. Decent variety of positions and situations. I thought it was a great idea to use a scrolling fog effect in the ofuro.
I love Ai’s expression in the HCG below (as much as she loves ice cream cones).
All of Micchi’s reviews will be rated by assigning scores out of 10 to each of the following categories: Scenario, characters, graphics, system, sound, and H scenes. Half marks may be given. The scoring is as follows:
- 10 – Absolutely satisfied
- 9 – Among the best, only minor improvements
- 8 – Good overall
- 7 – Average, a mix of good and bad
- 6 – Below average, slightly disappointing
- <5 – Very disappointed
The overall score is a weighted sum (3x Scenario + 2x Characters + 2x Graphics + 1x System + 1x Sound + 1x H scenes) for a total out of 100.
- Scenario: 7
- Characters: 8
- Graphics: 7
- System: 6.5
- Sound: 7
- H Scenes: 7
- Overall: 71.5
I originally didn’t intend to play this game, but ended up doing so instead of Majisuki. With short, sweet and simple storylines, Rakugaki is an entertaining pick-up. Ai’s route was very satisfying, but I did wish there was more of a connection to the otoshigaki searching. For those that enjoy pure romance stories, Rakugaki is one you might want to consider.