October 2012 Eroge Releases

October 1, 2012 at 12:01 am 18 comments

Being an eroge protagonist is suffering. You get kicked out of the house for not having a girlfriend, inherit an enormous debt that is impossible to pay off, and are forced to cross-dress by your imouto. At least, you don’t have to worry about getting a bride since arranged marriages are the central theme in Marmalade’s Koiiro Marriage and Studio Ryokucha’s Shukufuku no Kane no Ne wa, Sakurairo no Kaze to Tomo ni. Lump of Sugar’s Hanairo Heptagram has a magic flair, while Navel’s Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou marks the return of Suzuhira Hiro. Just what I wished for after a couple bland months!

Being an eroge protagonist is glorious. You get entire plots and stories to revolve around not just you, but the situation needed to make you a protagonist. There are girls fawning over you for minor nonsense and everything in your surroundings exists just so you can succeed with whatever girl you chose. In a month filled with rich kids, wishes, and cross dressing, the games are surprisingly bland in terms of what is average for eroge these days. While many of them aren’t terrible they also lack something to stand out as more than just different combination for your typical color by numbers eroge kit. Rather than just using similar themes many aren’t even trying to be different and just relying on some cute visuals for the character appeal as that is enough to sell anymore it would seem.



Chu→ninG Lover

Company: シュガーハウス (Sugar House)
Game site: Chu→ninG Lover
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
This is the first game by Sugar House. You missed the first school term of his second year at Shibagami Gakuen due to an accident during spring break. To avoid being forced to drop out due to attendance, he ended up joining 2-C, the class of problem children. All the other students were chuuni in their own way: a delinquent that claims to be the school’s hero, a cloaked ‘eternal dark end magician’, a rich girl who acts like a ruler, and her android maid.

It’s so chuuni it hurts. Sugar House is comprised of a group of young people who all new to the eroge scene and it’s obvious that this is their first work because it is terribly disjointed. It’s just a parade of anime references (toothbrushing), exaggerated faces (ahegao, doyagao) and typical chuuni actions (lots of yelling, magic talk), yet somehow it isn’t funny. There was a lot of nonsensical chuuni dialogue where I questioned if the characters (or more importantly the reader) would enjoy this sort of thing. I sure didn’t. The class set-up is similar to BakaTest with the top students being in S class and the worst being in C. I can’t believe that the trial was so short considering it was almost 1.5GB. And it was boring too. Pass.

Sugar House is trying too hard, trying to be your “Bro” by showing they are hip and know what you want. Problem is, they got it wrong by trying to fit everything in without really making it well… good? Throw in all the Chuuni and it feels like something a weeaboo trying to be an otaku would come up with. To carry a game like this to success you need some kind of amazing character, like a tsundere blonde twintails, something no one else has and no one can get enough of! Really what could save it are unique characters or at least underused but popular characters, maybe a yandere assuming they can make good use of the archetype. As much as myself and even Micchi at times complain about the bland nature of many opening games this would be an example of the opposite extreme when trying to carve out a niche in a saturated market.

Anata no Koto o Suki to Iwasete

Company: プラリネ (Praline)
Game site: あなたの事を好きと言わせて
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Kousuke is the only son of the noble Wakamiya family and has lived a life with no worries. His wish for an ordinary school life was shattered when his grandfather suddenly appeared, displeased that Kousuke didn’t have a girlfriend and threw him out of the mansion until he learned how to be dependable to girls. Now living alone in a single detached house with only the bare necessities, he was at a loss at how to fulfill his grandfather’s requirement. He asked his friends at school for their help and their only suggestion was for him to get a girlfriend and naturally he would become more dependable. However, Kousuke did not have any dating experience, so he thought that this would be an impossible task. That’s when the school idol Yukino, having overheard his conversation, asked him if he would like to become pretend-lovers with her.

This is a gokko-ge, where you pretend to be lovers, masters (in the training sense), siblings or newlyweds. Most likely it’ll start off as pretend-lovers, but by the end they’ll be true lovers. Similarly, pretend-siblings will become true siblings (What? You say it doesn’t work that way?). The trial only showcased Yukino and Nao (who I prefer more between the two). What I didn’t get was why Yukino would want to be his pretend-lover other than just for fun. Also, Kousuke is a little too perfect – maybe that’s why their affection for him are high from the beginning. Other than that, I guess it was OK, although you’re likely to only play for whoever interests you. I wanted to see more of the shy kouhai Shione. Her story is overcoming her fear of guys since her mother is getting remarried and she’ll have a new older brother. I’ll be your oniichan, Shione-chan!

Why is it that all the noble families in eroge are so eager to force their kids into relationships? I’m sure in the worst case they could just afford a Russian bride, so it can’t be all that big a deal. Would it be so hard to just make it his decision to lets say enroll in a high school away from his home where his lineage would not taint peoples relationships with him? The use of a grandparent manipulating the setting such that it forces the protagonist to seduce girls, then coupled with the random “School idol” type girl going along with him out of the blue is too easy. Can’t expect much from the plot, a shame really as if they managed to take the pretend theme and I dunno, emphasize the protagonists and therefore the readers own confusion about the bounds of the current relationship there would have been potential for an entertaining read. Of course its a little more difficult to mislead the reader and not give things away blatantly as most games do, I suppose some writing that isn’t completely half assed is a little much to expect these days, especially when most of the fanbase doesn’t care, oh well. Come to think of it eroge heroines would be terrible at poker, they can be read like a book beginning to end. If the heroines expressing contempt towards the protagonist actually meant more than covering up embarrassment the character may have been more memorable than tsundere heroine number 2,791.

Gotta watch out for them meddling grandparents…

That does seem to be the moral of this months eroge…

OTA-MA! ~Otaku Nakama wa Chikkoi Mania~

Company: ユニゾンシフト・アクセント (UnisonShift Accent)
Game site: おたマ!~おたく仲間はちっこいマニア~
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Hiroaki is an almighty otaku, well versed in everything from anime and manga to games and special effects, and is called ‘sensei‘ by his online friends. One day, they gathered together for an off-kai and he was surprised that most of them were cute little girls! Even though he is good at taking care of others, he doesn’t do so well with girls. But they all adore him and drag him from one otaku shop to another. Will he be able to satisfy their otaku and ero curiosities?

All four heroines are under 145cm and under 73A! This is THE loli-ge (at least until Naisho no Naisho!), which mainly is an otaku-themed nukige, which isn’t too surprising coming from UnisonShift Accent. It has a lot of otaku references and jokes. Of course it’s natural that I’d like his imouto Momiji, but game meister Mami is also at the top for me. She loves eroge and her common sense has been tainted by too much eroge (I know this feeling…). Momiji’s voice kinda sounds like Mashifoni‘s Miu, which makes me very confused. I guess I can get used to it. The girls are so cute, why wouldn’t you want to play this?

Fun sized heroines in time for Halloween trick or treating eh? Nothing like using quantity to make up for quality, I never did like the idea of shrinking a full sized candy bar into an inconsequential bite sized teaser. Maybe if UnisonShift didn’t skimp on the heroines, and gave us full sized delicious morsels like that one awesome house in every neighborhood, I would have dressed up as an almighty otaku protagonist this year. As is though, the bland, tasteless, uninteresting, and standard heroine fare Unisonshift has deigned to provide us hardly inspire my appetite, I would rather a healthy apple from a creepy old lady than these mass produced candy corns.

I’d give you a whole box of treats if you dress up.

I’ll dress up as a macho hobomoto just for you.

Kono Sekai no Mukou de

Company: オレンジエール (ORANGE YELL)
Game site: この世界の向こうで
Release date: October 26, 2012 Delayed to November 30, 2012
Comments:
This is the debut title for ORANGE YELL. Asobu was burdened with a huge debt after his parents fled. Feeling the irrationality in the world and having lost his belief that one day something good will happen, he decided to end his life. On his way to do so, a shop called Koukaidou appeared before him. The owner Suzu told him her shop is located between life and death and offered him a happy future in exchange for a single request: to ‘save’ a girl Kazari who has an incurable disease and only has 3 months left to live.

Both the OP and the trial make me have high expectations for a good story, but I have some doubts as to if the writer Harukane Kakeru (SisKoiHaramiko) will be able to pull it off. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a touching game about the purpose of life. Kazari knows she doesn’t have long to live and accepts that reality, maybe Asobu will be able to learn something from her that brings hope and purpose to his life. I really hope the story ends up being OK since the art is likely not what you’re playing this game for. One thing I found a bit annoying was that you can’t change the volume for individual characters; Kazari’s voice seems to always be louder than the others.

Infamous start to a series made famous by Hayate where the protagonist is put in a bad position, gives up, and is saved by circumstances. The setup and setting here could have been better, there is no need to for the shop to appear, no need for Suzu to exist for this story. By choosing to include these elements into their story I am inclined to believe there won’t be much worth reading here, as the writer has chosen an easy setting manipulation over character development. I think the real question becomes will they try to go the fake tragedy route by killing her off in the end, or will they pull in some random love conquers all to save her with a happy end. Either way though I would suggest avoiding this game till others pave the way through this minefield for you.

Personally I’m hoping for a bittersweet end where Asobu learns to value his life more and accept everything that comes his way, whether it be good or bad.

Seems kind of likely but, also feels too easy to see coming. Not much point if you can see the ending from the beginning.

Sanarara R

Company: ねこねこソフト (NekoNekoSoft)
Game site: サナララR
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
This is a renewal version of NekoNekoSoft’s 2005 heartwarming naki-ge title Sanarara, adding routes for subchars as well a new heroine. It is a collection of stories with a common theme: a navigator tasked with granting a target person a once-in-a-lifetime wish. The wish must be made within one week of their meeting and the navigator must stay with them until the wish is granted. Afterwards, the navigator will forget their time together and their target becomes the new navigator. The graphics and voices were fixed-up, short stories from the fandisks were added, as well as some new songs. It may be a seven year old title, but now it’s a good time to try an oldie and goodie. Anything with wishes is definitely on my list!

Exactly the type of story I am inclined to hate with a passion, cheap wishes for cheap characters, to cover cheap development costs required to remake a game.

Pajama-san Konnichiwa

Company: EMU
Game site: パジャマさんこんにちは
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
New release date after being pushed back from September. This is EMU’s first game since 2005, inspired by their previous work Kimi ni Tomoru Hi. As a result of a request from a distant relative, Masato became the manager of the orphanage Yuriorien. He didn’t know that it was located in a remote part in the mountains and began to regret his decision, but he was soon taken in by the warm hospitality of the people in the orphanage. Thinking that it wouldn’t be bad to work in a job where you were needed by others, he began to live with the girls who all had their own peculiarities. At that time, the girls still had not realized the dark side which lied within their hearts.

Don’t be fooled by the cute old-school art: all the heroines in this game are mentally ill and one wrong move could spell a bad end for you. I wouldn’t expect a well-constructed story given the shoddy record for this small doujin-like company. I’d suggest skipping this.

Somewhat interesting idea with the heroines and their issues that lead to potential bad ends makes me wish a better company had put together a similar idea.

Yet another game of Russian roulette with the people presumably “Making” this game. Will this month be yet another empty chamber? Oh the excitement! I can’t wait to find out! Of course chances are the waiting game to ponder on this potential release is probably infinitely more fun than the game itself, so perhaps out of consideration of their fanbase they are trying to give us some enjoyment here.

Himitsu no Otome ~Boku ga Onna no Ko ni Natta Wake~

Company: エトワルズ (ETOILES)
Game site: ヒミツのオトメ ~ボクが女の子になった理由(わけ)~
Release date: October 26, 2012 Delayed to November 30, 2012
Comments:
Kazuki is the heir to the Kurachi dojo. One day while dressed up as a girl thanks to his imouto Satsuki, he ended up saving a hostage during a bank robbery. The girl he saved, Kanon, asked him to be her bodyguard. Moreover, she fully believed that he was a girl and he ended up transferring to a girl’s school to be with her. When the do-S Ageha sees through his disguise and Miyabi, who is allergic to guys, begins to suspect him as well, will he be able to protect the ‘natural troublemaker’ Kanon while keeping his true gender a secret at the school where romance is forbidden?

The lesson here is not to eat your imouto’s pudding without permission lest you will be subjected to a life of dressing up as a girl. But all’s well that ends well since we ended up meeting Kanon, who’s curious about everything and naturally gets herself into all sorts of trouble. It’s interesting that this is written by Harukane Kakeru, who also wrote ORANGE YELL’s Kono Sekai no Mukou de above. This one’s definitely more comedic. When you’re cross-dressing as a girl and are asked to cross-dress as a guy, would that still be cross-dressing?

Again a rather forcible start, I can’t imagine most siblings just going along with the demands of a little sister to dress up like a girl, which by the way is also completely nonsensical as a punishment. But let’s go with our lazy setup for the sake of getting our bruce lee wannabe protagonist into a girls school as a guard for some girl who seems to be completely not worth protecting. The rest of the game is going to be well… standard crossdressing fare, giving us the oh so played out hijinks that lead to his identity almost being discovered only to be avoided by a hair’s breadth. If you simply must have a transvestite protagonist this month I guess you will have to make do, otherwise there are much better games in this genre with better comedy and story to be had. And yes, crossdressing back as a boy counts as cross dressing, especially since it almost always happens at some point in these games.

Mirai Sekai no Planeta

Company: りぷる (Libre)
Game site: ミライセカイのプラネッタ
Release date: October 26, 2012 Delayed to December 21, 2012
Comments:
In the near future, technology has progressed to a point where people can live both in reality and the internet world, Planeta. Satoru came to Planeta to enjoy a school life in the virtual world. But he was recruited to work for the detective team Sprites after meeting their leader Ayaka. At the same time, there was a terrorist attack in Planeta, caused by a hacker who went by Irurihito.

Never really liked Libre’s games much, but this is written by first-timer Umino Sachi, so maybe it’ll turn out differently. However, this month is quite loaded, so this one isn’t that appealing unless you like sci-fi stuff.

Best ending for this game? The girl you meet and have H scenes with is a guy in real life, with the ending being you meeting them in a dark alley in complete hard gay attire. Now that would be a realistic near future where you can live in both reality and the internet. In the interests of making things differently you could even have each heroine turn into a completely different type of guy in real life, one could be a fat, balding old man, another the stereotypical salary man, and yet another your typical mahou shoujo fan dressed up like sailor moon or madoka. Man I’m a genius I should totally write these games myself. I suppose in the interests of being a little serious I should point out the fact that while the idea does have some potential, its unlikely to be realized as there is little to nothing here that suggests anything beyond your average attempt at a near future sci fi.

PV

Hanairo Heptagram

Company: Lump of Sugar
Game site: 花色ヘプタグラム
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Hisaya had been living in Tokyo since leaving his hometown of Goshiki-mura when he was in elementary school. Lately in his dreams, he often saw a young girl who seemed to want him to return to the town. So, he headed back to his hometown since he felt that he was more suited to the rural lifestyle. After reuniting with his childhood friend Tamami, enrolling in the local school and settling into a ryokan managed by Tamami’s parents, he was ready to resume his small town life.

There’s a legend that the local onsen grants special powers to people. One day, he saw a naked Tamami in the onsen, her whole body glowing in a strange light. Then a strange cat being convinced him to sign a contract and he was led to broadcasting room at the school. The school principal Mao explained that this was actually the secret club Heptagram gathered. Lately, there have been many mysterious incidents (arch) happening around town and it was up to the Heptagram members to use their anti-arch powers to solve them. Of course, because he found out about Tamami’s secret, he was recruited into Heptagram to assist the girls.

My first thought was that it was similar to Leyline with the solving of mysterious incidents that are related to other-worldly beings. It’s also similar to Kamigakari Cross Heart! since the heroines have special abilities. Of course all the female characters are cute as they’re drawn by Moekibara Fumitake, especially the god of the Goshikigawa Onsen, Miyuri! She’s so playful and innocent, and dotes on you. Maybe she’s the true heroine… (Hey who knows, she has a sample HCG and a dakimakura on the way already) Not too sure if the story will be a light story or go more the way of HGB. Probably will be your standard Lump of Sugar moe-ge.

Lump of Sugar is hit and miss generally, and this one is pretty much a miss. Whether you like the characters aside the setup is just so downright lame and lazy, a hot spring for powers with a cat to give contracts like any magical girl would since that would be all you need to appeal to the crowd that actually likes silly little girl shows such as Madoka. So to cash in on this newest magical girl phase Lump of Sugar decided to sell out like everyone else, but to cover it up try to keep some of the core principals yet mix it up just enough that it will probably go unnoticed. Cashing in on the craze for terrible shows about jail bait is fine, I have no problems with taking advantage of peoples ignorance, but as just about every company that has been capable of actually making good games has been going down this route of late I can only hope some of the new companies manage to take their place in the market.

Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou

Company: Navel
Game site: 月に寄りそう乙女の作法
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Coming from a prestigious family in the financial world, Yuusei had been home-schooled strictly and sheltered all his life. Even though he excelled at everything, it was his dream to live a life of a commoner. One day his chance came and he changed his identity to Asahi and entered Fairy Girl’s School, which specializes in female fashion for the rich. As part of his plan, he became the maid of his classmate Runa and worked at her home Sakura-yashiki. Also living there were a proud exchange student from Switzerland, Ursule, a Yamato Nadeshiko, Mizuho, and his childhood Minato, who had feelings for him and was also the only one who knew his true identity. With her help, will he be able to manage his double life in the school and his new home?

This title marks the return of Suzuhira Hiro to Navel since the Shuffle series and Ou Jackson’s first work since Oretsuba. The cross-dressing plot seems simple enough and I’d choose this one over Himitsu no Otome if I were to pick one from this month. Once again, the protagonist’s imouto is in on the hijinks, with Risona helping out her dear oniichan oneechan Asahi.

Yes I am sure it is every wealthy person’s desire to live the life of an average person, it’s why everyone aspires to be normal throughout the course of their lives. Add on to that the random nonsensical life change from rich boy to maid as a plot device just to get him into cross dressing in an all girls school. Navel isn’t really known for their stories as, well I cannot think of a single game of theirs where the story was the focal point or even just something better than average, mostly they are poorly disguised charage. Although every game should stand on its own regardless of who makes it for all intents and purposes this looks to be more of the same from Navel, I’ll pass since I am not too fond of being put to sleep by boring stories.

I’m not worried about the story being boring as much as the art being cringe-worthy. Look at her hands! The heroines should be forbidden to hold objects in their hands until the artists can draw that pose properly.

Well by this point, Navel has a reputation for some really bad artwork thanks to a certain artist. Only the blind could appreciate her art, yet does little to stop people from praising her or Navel for it. I suppose its just the visual version of how people react to stories, no matter how bad it may be, people who do not really love the medium won’t care.

Shukufuku no Kane no Ne wa, Sakurairo no Kaze to Tomo ni

Company: すたじお緑茶 (Studio Ryokucha)
Game site: 祝福の鐘の音は、桜色の風と共に
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Shuuji lived with his musician father Yuuhei, but the family debt had gotten to the point where it was impossible for them to pay it off. They had prepared themselves to run away at a moment’s notice, but one day Shuuji’s grandfather Genzou appeared and wanted him to succeed the Ootori family line. Since the Ootori is a famous family which has great influence in many places, their debt would be fully paid off should he agree to Genzou’s request. Shuuji consented to it, but that was not the end of it. As a successor to the Ootori household, he must have a wife, so it was arranged that he be married to his cousin Maria. Of course, both of them opposed the engagement. Genzou told him that he should find himself a wife instead, but he only has one year to do so, otherwise the engagement will continue as planned. So begins Shuuji’s search for a bride at Minami-Sakuragaoka Gakuen.

WHO IS WIFE? They all are cuz they’re so cute! It’s not Ruchie art this time, but rather Anapom, however all the chars are omochikaeri-worthy just the same. I’m also happy that Hirose Madoka is back in charge of the SDs. I hope there’s more animated ones like in Koisora. I would be perfectly fine with Maria, but his classmate Urara (who’s decked out in frills) is also definitely bride-material. She even calls him ‘darling’ already after falling in love with him at first sight. Hau~ omochikaeri~!

Yes nothing like a rich grandfather to arbitrarily appear in order to bail you out and get you a fiance to boot. So the whole story is a standard high school romance plot where the protagonist is after a wife and for some reason limited to those around him in this school. Got it, but then I suppose that means all this amounts to is picking a girl, skimming some likely boring and cliche text, and some H scenes. Not what exactly the type of game that is groundbreaking nor especially worth reading unless you have some special attachment to these characters for a reason I certainly cannot fathom.

At least this grandfather doesn’t kick you out of the house.

Yeah this one is doing the opposite, kicking him IN the house.

Maou to Odore! CODE:ARCANA

Company: catwalk
Game site: 魔王と踊れ! CODE:ARCANA
Release date: October 26, 2012 Delayed to November 22, 2012
Comments:
This is the final game in catwalk’s Maou to Odore! RPG series. There once was a maou who led the demons into a war, but he was defeated, had his powers taken away and sealed. However, it was prophesied that he will return a thousand years later. As the time passed, so too did the rumours of the maou’s resurrection. The suspected new maou was the prince of the small kingdom of Libfarl, Alec. One day, his childhood friend and the princess Tiana came to visit him at the prison and that was the beginning of a dramatic plot which engulfed the continent.

This game boasts greater freedom in the RPG system and also makes it so that it’s not just all about leveling up and mashing buttons to clear the game. It’s composed of a series of missions, each of which have different requirements (i.e. defeating monsters or protecting items). The first trial was just a quick rundown of the system and it felt like it had potential, so this may be a good pickup if you’re in the mood for some adventuring.

One of those games where the people interested already know, and the people uninterested also already know, not my cup of tea though.

Play video

Ryuusei no Arcadia

Company: だんでらいおん (Dandelion)
Game site: 流星のアーカディア
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
New release date after being pushed back from September. Due to repeated mis-governance, the central government lost its power and it was instead transferred completely to the hands of the regional schools. This in turn led to a struggle for power among the schools, with the government sending spies to each school with the intention of re-obtaining some of its lost power. There was a particular school which did not strive for power and was on good terms with the government, however it was hiding a large secret. It had the ability to destroy the world. The government found out about this and plotted to take the ‘school’s treasure’. What exactly is this treasure and who is the mysterious transfer student?

Power corrupts everything, so it doesn’t really matter who’s in power. The setting is just a way to give purpose to the students battling. If you hadn’t guessed already, this is yet another chuuni game. There’s a haraguro loli that will do anything for money. I’m not really sure why the OP is Western-themed. Watch the ‘school’s treasure’ be like eternal friendship or something. Actually, I wouldn’t mind that too much, but I can hear Zen cringing over there already. 

Why would people trust random idiotic kids with government? Such an act of mental retardation would make socialism or even communism look appealing by contrast. When a game has a plot this stupid I find myself at a complete loss of words and just wondering how many hits to the head with a bat it took to come up with this, and how many more it would take to enjoy reading it.

Koiiro Marriage

Company: ま~まれぇど (Marmalade)
Game site: 恋色マリアージュ
Release date: October 26, 2012
Comments:
Nao works at the Kotoshiro ryokan, which is managed by his grandmother after his parents’ deaths. It’s not a profitable business, but one day he got a loan from the Morikawa group…. and also a bride!? Sure, his fiancée Mihono is extremely cute, but both of them are still students. They knew little about love, much less marriage. Their personalities don’t seem to be a good fit and their time together was strained from the start. Under the eyes of his classmates and the ryokan’s staff and guests, will they understand the true meaning of love and marriage?

Very nice art (there’s a lot of them this month), but I’m a bit apprehensive about the story since Mikkadou and Yoshikawa Yoshie both worked on Love 2 Quad. Hopefully it won’t just be a pretty nukige. The cute characters deserve more than that, especially Mihono and Nekoko! They’re mine. All mine.

Sorry Micchi, that is exactly what this will end up being, at best I’d expect some extra dialogue and reading but still pretty much the same.

Micchi’s Top 5 for This Month

  1. Koiiro Marriage
  2. Shukufuku no Kane no Ne wa, Sakurairo no Kaze to Tomo ni
  3. Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou
  4. Sanarara R
  5. Kono Sekai no Mukou de

Zen’s Top 3 for This Month

  1. I, Zen
  2. Do not
  3. Want any
  4. Except Otama

I see imoutos in my dreams. This must be a sign.

Yes, yes it is, a sign you need some professional mental assistance.

Entry filed under: Monthly Releases. Tags: , , , .

Who Didn’t See This Coming? Lemon-Flavoured Candy

18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ヒーロー? (@ShinJiwon)  |  October 1, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Will probably try out Heptagram. Hope it doesn’t disappoint! :0

    Reply
  • 2. IceD  |  October 1, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Is it only me and Zen, or does every single new month as of late make me really believe we’re slowly reaching a certain downfall of visual novel industry? There’s even not a single title I would really appreciate; everything’s either way too cliched, naive or dumb, oversaturated and toppled with incredible ammounts of sugar. Is this really the kind of “entertainment”, average japanese consumer yearns for?

    Right now I have more respect towards UnisonShift than other softhouses, because they’re at least preety much straightforward in this case with their OTA-MA!, but it makes me doubt whether this genre will ever become something more than a niche for die-hard anime fans.

    Reply
    • 3. Amoirsp  |  October 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      I heard the industry is kind of stagnant right now. Sticking to fail-safe usual stuff instead of risking something new. Economy and all, among other things.

      Reply
      • 4. IceD  |  October 2, 2012 at 5:14 am

        I really wonder if it’s just a temporary issue caused by the worldwide crisis, or something much more deeper, since that particular stagnation has been slowly building up at least from the few last years. It might be one of the very few possibilities for the softhouses to stay afloat, but in the same time they start to oversaturate their market with very similiar works.

        If you add the fact most of the devs are relatively young and really aren’t able to write and create anything well beyond the scope of school-themed stories, this coupled with the usual japanese persistence might lead them to very drastic situation. A lot of softhouses had already quit the business and more will have to, soon… that is, if they won’t be able to adapt and continue with their trends, which simply seem to fail in most cases.

        Reply
        • 5. Asheld  |  October 2, 2012 at 8:17 am

          I have some free time on my hands so bear with me if it becomes a little wordy.

          I… don’t actually see any significant difference between the VNs now and before. If anything they might’ve even improved on average when speaking of system and art (but that’s only natural).

          To me it’s much better if you pick up things with caution, as there’s plenty of landmines to be had for VNs. That isn’t really so bad though, since you can mock it, laugh it off and move on to the next story. There’s also the matter of not really putting up an overly high expectation bar for the stories and settings. If you don’t hold much expectations for the stories, you may get some pleasant surprises. Meanwhile if you set your expectation bar up high, I would imagine that there’s a good rate of VNs which fail to meet those expectations. I don’t think VNs, or rather the entire medium in general, is particularly well known for having great writers left and right of it. A good chunk of it consists of simply enjoying cute girls doing cute things and a story with flaws you should probably turn a blind eye to, for your own enjoyment.

          Whether or that meets the fancy of the people who are seeking other stuff is another story.

          Hence, exactly what kind of expectations you hold of the stories is fairly important in how you will view the story at the end of the day. At least it applies for me, I don’t know about others.

          Moving on, it’s true that there’s plenty of VNs that seemingly take the same setting and recycle it, the same can honestly be said for the rest of the related industry (LNs, anime, manga). Which also brings me to the point of how there seems to be a crowd going on about anime is dying and being saturated with moe after the success of K-on! or even before that. While I won’t bother trying to argue about how true that statement is, I believe that there’s only so many different and original settings to be had. Especially so when a broad genre like moe is used, it usually means a lot of things can fall into that category.

          Notably I would say that just because settings (or similar settings for that matter) have been done before, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a rip off and will automatically be worse than… than… whatever the “original” is supposed to be.

          And then there’s the case of series like Madoka where some people treat it like the epitome of originality but let’s return to the topic.

          Perhaps in the end what I want to say is simply… each to their own with opinions. Some people just want cute girls, for cute girls are justice personified. Others want a chuuni story of DARKNESS and then there’s the group that wants a DEEP philosophical story.

          Sales is another story. From a business stand point it’s only natural that they’d cater to the majority, I don’t think there are much companies out there that will produce VNs while knowing the fanbase is niche and it’ll end up being unprofitable. Pretty much like all ages against 18+ actually, we all know how well Supipara played out. And I think Tokyo Babel didn’t sell spectacularly well either, though I didn’t bother checking sources myself.

        • 6. Zen  |  October 18, 2012 at 11:51 pm

          @ IceD : While it is obvious as I have said it enough I do agree about the industry as a whole becoming stagnant. Personally I think the reason for it comes down to a few factors, economy is one as Amoirsp mentioned but I don’t think it is a primary cause of the current lack of ingenuity. More of an issue to me are two factors, one being the greater propagation of the medium among a more casual fanbase. The second major reason is simply business interfering with an artistic medium, the two simply do not mesh well.

          First of all the fanbase for these games used to be more of a niche, both in Japan and especially abroad where they were largely unknown. With the expansion of the market for the games as a product we have more casual less informed consumers along with those who simply don’t care making up a larger and larger percentage of those who dictate the market demands. One needs only look at the current crop of western weeaboos to understand what I mean with their bandwagon approach to what is good or bad along with a rigid adherence to certain writers or studios. By turning away from the traditional approach of trying to stand out in a highly competitive market where quality is the determining factor, most have focused their efforts on appealing to this wider consumer base many of whom have little to no knowledge of the industry outside their own tiny niche of genres or titles. When a fanbase starts to focus more on some kind of ego inflation war over who can repeat the most facts from a wiki article on the subject instead of simply enjoying it the entire process becomes more formulaic. What it all boils down to is how the games that defined the industry from seven to ten years ago by acting as the model by which games today were made and judged have been largely forgotten as to what made them good. All people see both those making the games and those buying games these days are the figures and pictures, leading many to mistakenly believe that a cute looking character is all it takes to achieve that kind of market share and success. By omitting the extra costs involved with a well written story with compelling character interaction and focusing on the visuals and H scenes they are able to quickly churn out cheaper games in the name of profit as people don’t have to select as carefully from a narrow pool of games anymore. This is also why you don’t see modern game characters reaching anywhere near the popularity of the older games, they are generally forgotten after a week or month to be replaced by the next one. We no longer see things like figures being made and actually selling years after releases.

          Now I’m not saying companies should not try to make money don’t get me wrong here, but they focus too much on what is successful for others. It is also not due to the lull in economy as this is a process that has been ongoing since the start of the industry and happens to almost every single artistic industry in the world. Look at Hollywood as an example, one successful superhero movie has spawned how many new imitations? By turning a businesslike approach to things that are generally defined by creativity, we end up trying to repeat past success instead of creating new success. It is a bad habit that sort of makes business sense when you don’t understand the medium you are working with. The problem is that rehashing drives away a lot of the loyal fanbase because they have seen it done before and done better before. As this leads to newer fans less aware of the previous level of quality the issue becomes more and more moot as things still manage to sell. Of course the risk is relative to reward so from a business standpoint churning out lots of cheap games that have low risk and low reward is more stable and preferable to risking everything on one make or break product. Of course it is easy to say they should take such risks but harder to do when you are the one taking the risk. However the real issue in all of this is that new companies are not taking these risks. Traditionally there would be a first game that was good and established a company, a second game that was their peak and then a falling off. Most of the older companies have fallen into this pattern and have degraded into a corporate average instead of something uniquely special. When we no longer have new companies trying to innovate and redefine the genre by instead taking the safe approach which usually ends in failure. They can’t compete with larger companies by taking a safe approach and the industry as a whole becomes stagnant when the cycle of new replacing old stops. This is where both Micchi and I comment about new companies not standing out enough with their first games, if they cannot make an impact that earns them a niche all that remains is destitution as they fade out amidst the background noise of the industry.

          @ Asheld : Ignoring taste differences the problem as i see it is that quality in general decreases as it used to be about having your cake and eating it too while now you have to pick one of the other pretty often. There is no reason why a game that has cute characters to appeal to people who like that stuff cannot have a good story and character development. Plenty of games in the past have managed it and they are what has defined the current generation. Sure preconceptions play a role in everything, but it is not going to make you say a game is good or bad at the end just because it was different than you thought it would be. Especially when most of the games don’t vary far from preconceptions and have become very very cookie cutter even for games of a similar genre and setting.

          Which is the second major issue, settings don’t need to always be unique. It is very feasible to have reused settings and yet interesting stories and characters beyond a few cute CGs. Of course it is nice to see unique settings, and there really is no limit there, as we are limited only by our own imaginations and how far we are willing to let them go. But whether a setting is unique or right next door there is the potential for it to be either good or bad. A lot of this comes down to the writing, but also the background, the way the setting meshes with the characters and the story it supports. Trying too hard to create a unique setting would backfire as it clashes with the other elements of the game. While by the same token a bland boring everyday setting can bring a game together so completely and satisfyingly that it feels special despite the normality of it all.

          I am pretty much fine with people liking whatever they like, I like what i like and dislike what I don’t the same as everyone else. What gets to me are the bandwagon hoppers and people who get upset when you don’t agree because their set of weeaboo friends have reached a consensus during their last circle jerk. Liking something doesn’t mean you have to be in denial about its flaws, quite the contrary you should be more expressive about them to show you like and care about the work itself. A “Fan” who just blindly follows the crowd who says something is good without expressing what they do or don’t like is more detrimental to the industry than someone who genuinely likes something and hopes to help make it even better with open discussion. When developers see nothing on forums but “Cookie cutter loli heroine number 3 billion is so cute! <3333333" of course they will think that is all people care about and start tossing away other parts that appear to be needless. If by the same token the fanbase were to say "This character is cute, because of how she interacts with the protagonist and how her background and personality develop over the course of the story" they would know this was the focus of what made her a good character, not just her sprite. Saying what is bad about a game or well anything is fine, and is what helps the developers refine their products to their audiences needs, this is why they have polls for fandisks that ask which characters the readers enjoyed most. As long as an opinion is expressed in a mature, logical, and constructive fashion it doesn't matter if it is positive or negative, it is still good for the game and industry. Nothing is worse for the industry however than all the people who go "Omg you don't agree with me on so and so, you're opinion is shit, because I read the wiki and the close group of sheep I surround myself with all agree." who are all over the place these days.

          As a side note sales are unreliable to use as a means to judge a single game directly. They are affected by many unrelated factors not the least of which is how well received the company's previous game was. Other things such as marketing and hype factor in as well, as a company that can afford to market a shitty game by pasting signs every 2 meters is going to sell better than a genuinely good game from a less known company without said resources.

    • 7. Metaler  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      >> Is it only me and Zen, or does every single new month as of late make me really believe we’re slowly reaching a certain downfall of visual novel industry? There’s even not a single title I would really appreciate; everything’s either way too cliched, naive or dumb, oversaturated and toppled with incredible ammounts of sugar. Is this really the kind of “entertainment”, average japanese consumer yearns for?

      If you want my honest opinion, I’d say this is time for you to stop. That’s what I’d do, anyways. No point in going down the river if you don’t like where it’s leading you. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the ride. Life’s great.

      Reply
      • 8. IceD  |  October 3, 2012 at 4:54 am

        Don’t mind me; I’m just a grumpy, old man. My rambling does not necesarilly mean I don’t like anything at all; most of those games look beautiful in terms of art direction, I’d only wish they would be less shallow and more constructive story-wise… but that’s just wishful thinking simply because most of them were never meant to become such stories in the first place – they’re simple entertainment targeted at specific audience; nothing more, nothing less. Though, real gems happen to appear from time to time :)

        Reply
  • 9. Moriken  |  October 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Great, finally a month where there is NOTHING I’m even remotely interested in. Joy :)

    Reply
  • 10. Aaeru  |  October 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Micchi lump of sugar game didn’t make your list?

    why this month is pretty amazing. I even spot a hau omochikaeri.

    i want to at least play the studio ryokucha game. bit worried the Navel game will be too hard to read for me

    Reply
  • 11. Asheld  |  October 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Eh well some of the games have potential. Nothing immediately jumps out as a must read for me at the moment though. Will have to wait and see for this month.

    Reply
  • 12. Metaler  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Not-really-important Question: is Zen incapable of writing without sounding so… self-important? Maybe it’s just because of how bitter he is, but everytime I look at his writing it just pisses me off. It’s different from that one time when I complained and made an idiot of myself but… Yeah. And I’ve been trying to be a calm dude lately… Okay, now that I got that off my chest…

    Not many interesting titles this month. Well, I’ve been pretty busy lately anyway, so it’s not like I’d have the time to play anything, save for weekends (and even then I still can’t play for very long).

    Now, I remember trying to give Sanarara a shot a few months ago, but never managed to complete it. I finished Nozomi’s story and that was it. It’s not a fantastic game, but it has its charm. It has a very relaxing atmosphere, which really fits with Ume Aoki’s artwork. I think it’s a game people should at least give the first few minutes a try. It’s gives off such an easy-going, care-free feeling that, at least for me, it’s like having a walk on a beautiful summer afternoon, with a joint if you’re into that kind of thing (though most of the time I enjoy my walks while sober). So, give it a try. Don’t try to over analyze it. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. In fact, I usually try to enjoy all the games I play in a similar manner, but Sanarara was specifcally made for that.

    Reply
    • 13. Metaler  |  October 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

      That first paragraph was very uncool of me. Disregard that.

      Reply
  • 14. lichway  |  October 8, 2012 at 3:13 am

    guess this my list for october.

    – Kono Sekai no Mukou de
    – Pajama-san Konnichiwa
    – OTA-MA! ~Otaku Nakama wa Chikkoi Mania~
    – Maou to Odore! CODE:ARCANA
    – Ryuusei no Arcadia

    :)

    Reply
  • 15. Anonymous  |  October 10, 2012 at 4:10 am

    OTA-MA didn’t look particulary loli to me. So it’s not “THE lolige” because it’s not one. Just looking at the h-scene most of the girls don’t give any loli vibe.

    Reply
  • 16. Micchi  |  October 13, 2012 at 12:59 am

    @Aaeru: Nothing from the trial really wowed me, although now that I’ve played Koimari‘s trial, I’d ranked Hanairo in the top5 now.

    @Anonymous: Well, depends on your definition of loli. Their physical size is small enough for me to categorize them as lolis, just otaku ones. Note that Koyori isn’t a heroine, so she doesn’t count. If you want something more loli, maybe wait for next month’s Naisho no Naisho!.

    Reply
  • 17. Theref  |  October 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Now, I can only drooling at this spectacle. Dozens of eroge released each month, but I still can’t play those treasures because of my poor japanese. Been studying japanese informally for almost a year but it still not enough for me. Been using ATLAS;AGTH;ITH;ChiiTrans; and those fancy stuffs, those mechanic translations are ugly as this face -> ლ(ಠ_ಠლ) The only hope lies in the hand of translators, and that would take approx 4 years for a title to be released! Damn f*#* Please don’t end this world this December, I can’t die yet before I conquer those girls!

    Reply
  • 18. Kai  |  October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I might be interested in playing the Maou to Odore series. VNs with gameplays tend to take quite a long time to play though so I’ll have to see if I can find some time to play :D

    Reply

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