Visual Novel Cafe

Hello folks, are everyone well?

Had to replace my PC due to a rogue power surge last December. Didn't read much VN since then. This and the next few months look pretty exciting though (Doukyuusei, GIKEI, Yubisaki Connection, Kyonyuu Fantasy 4, etc.).
It's nice to see you back! Sorry to hear about your hardware troubles but thankfully (?) the last few months have been sparse in quality VN so I doubt you missed out on much.

Speaking of 同級生、I've played a bit of it (easy mode, Miho/Hiromi/Reiko) but I can't help but feel the game is from another era entirely, the script being almost 30 years old.
Even though the remake's description mentioned editing some of the more questionable content, I still found myself puzzled more that a few times by the mentality and actions of the cast of characters at large. That sudden groping in the cinema was a big no-no, as well as the various impulsive kisses, and the game's stance is clearly that there should be no apologies for this kind of conduct (usually not even an option, but sometimes actually a bad choice). On the other hand there are some actually interesting relationship discussions here and there that make it worth the read, just not the one with the protagonist. As the game's executable and nickname suggests this is very much a nanpa game, in which you approach many different women at once (mandatory to progress in any route) and avoid any commitment as long as possible until the end of summer comes. This is not really my style but thanks to the remake event-jump system it's bearable enough, I can't imagine having to go through the 30 days multiple times with no hints given how intertwined some of the routes are. Unlike the game's title though, most of these women are older, with only a few actual doukyuusei, I wonder where the name originally comes from. In typical elf fashion NTR/cheating themes are very present which is something to be aware of. Lastly, this is really not a nukige, in fact the H-scenes have been a waste of art for the most part as you get a mix of "creepily click randomly on the heroine's body to progress" and extremely quick actual intercourse description. It didn't help that heroines fall in tears of regret after the act and start avoiding the protagonist in all the cases I've seen so far, with no possibility to improve the situation until the final choice which somehow makes all things better.
 
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Any recommendations of games similar artstyle, with realisitc older women like Studio Pork´s? Or VNs with "stairway to heaven" where theres a couple of lewd CGs before actual sex, to build tension? Thanks!
MILFs? Sounds like something ORCSOFT would have. Can't vouch for the plots, though:


Other than those, I'd say:

It's nice to see you back! Sorry to hear about your hardware troubles but thankfully (?) the last few months have been sparse in quality VN so I doubt you missed out on much.

Speaking of 同級生、I've played a bit of it (easy mode, Miho/Hiromi/Reiko) but I can't help but feel the game is from another era entirely, the script being almost 30 years old.
Even though the remake's description mentioned editing some of the more questionable content, I still found myself puzzled more that a few times by the mentality and actions of the cast of characters at large. That sudden groping in the cinema was a big no-no, as well as the various impulsive kisses, and the game's stance is clearly that there should be no apologies for this kind of conduct (usually not even an option, but sometimes actually a bad choice). On the other hand there are some actually interesting relationship discussions here and there that make it worth the read, just not the one with the protagonist. As the game's executable and nickname suggests this is very much a nanpa game, in which you approach many different women at once (mandatory to progress in any route) and avoid any commitment as long as possible until the end of summer comes. This is not really my style but thanks to the remake event-jump system it's bearable enough, I can't imagine having to go through the 30 days multiple times with no hints given how intertwined some of the routes are. Unlike the game's title though, most of these women are older, with only a few actual doukyuusei, I wonder where the name originally comes from. In typical elf fashion NTR/cheating themes are very present which is something to be aware of. Lastly, this is really not a nukige, in fact the H-scenes have been a waste of art for the most part as you get a mix of "creepily click randomly on the heroine's body to progress" and extremely quick actual intercourse description. It didn't help that heroines fall in tears of regret after the act and start avoiding the protagonist in all the cases I've seen so far, with no possibility to improve the situation until the final choice which somehow makes all things better.
Yeah, it really is a throwback to the 90s especially the awkward, unforgiving controls. Event jump is buggy as hell, it's recommended to use the location jump instead then trigger the event manually.
It likely refers to the main heroine, Mai. While looking for a guide, I read somewhere that the game is about the regrets of youth, so I'm not surprised with all that development. It's rather fun reading those silly, 90s jokes though.
Also, apparently it's been picked up by Shiravune for English release. There goes any hope for uncensored CGs...
 
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Yeah, it really is a throwback to the 90s especially the awkward, unforgiving controls. Event jump is buggy as hell, it's recommended to use the location jump instead then trigger the event manually.
I haven't had too many issues with the even jump system, if only that you sometimes need to exit/reenter a location for the proper event to trigger. This is especially true as random events with minor characters can sometime stack up and prevent a character's icon from showing up on the map, despite the event being available. My biggest issue with location jump is that it doesn't actually advance time, which can take a while manually even if just sleeping all day at home. I actually got stuck in the school on the first day and didn't want to pay the old man on the rooftop, that was a fun night... Anyway I can safely say that it's mostly thanks to the event jump system that I actually got all the way to some of the endings, which are short but pretty nice. Browsing through the CG and event gallery it does look like only following event flags makes you miss out on some of the content (not only random encounters but actual story development), but there's a handy unlock function after clearing a character's route to fill up any blanks.

Somehow apart from the rare interesting relationship counseling session from an otherwise supreme jerk protagonist, I think I enjoyed hunting the mini-events that unlock through the quizzes the most throughout my time with the game so far. Mai may be main heroine but ... with even bigger jerk Kenji most likely playing a central role and all ... yeah no.
 
I haven't had too many issues with the even jump system, if only that you sometimes need to exit/reenter a location for the proper event to trigger. This is especially true as random events with minor characters can sometime stack up and prevent a character's icon from showing up on the map, despite the event being available. My biggest issue with location jump is that it doesn't actually advance time, which can take a while manually even if just sleeping all day at home. I actually got stuck in the school on the first day and didn't want to pay the old man on the rooftop, that was a fun night... Anyway I can safely say that it's mostly thanks to the event jump system that I actually got all the way to some of the endings, which are short but pretty nice. Browsing through the CG and event gallery it does look like only following event flags makes you miss out on some of the content (not only random encounters but actual story development), but there's a handy unlock function after clearing a character's route to fill up any blanks.

Somehow apart from the rare interesting relationship counseling session from an otherwise supreme jerk protagonist, I think I enjoyed hunting the mini-events that unlock through the quizzes the most throughout my time with the game so far. Mai may be main heroine but ... with even bigger jerk Kenji most likely playing a central role and all ... yeah no.
Regarding the event jump... the Cat's Eye and the missed last train debacle is pretty traumatic in my case. Location jump only advances about 10-15 mins each time, which is helpful especially when there are so many events to trigger. After some trial and errors, I feel that the game mechanic actually encourages you to go and trigger as many event as you can in one day instead of focusing on one heroine. At the very least, it massively improves the playing experience doing it that way.

Most of the male characters in the game are jerks, including the roughly drawn ones in the background. The protagonist is more a rascal than a jerk, IMO.
 
Thanks dude! I appreciate it
On second thought, you can scratch out Doukyuusei Remake. While it has mainly enjoyable story, top notch artwork, and spot on voice acting, the sex scenes aren't really up to today's standard.
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Doukyuusei Remake review:

There were so many things to love about it. The gorgeous graphic, the excellent voice acting, the playful but mostly rock-solid writing, the thoughtfully done retro-style BGMs, etc.. The way all these stuff was put together in the novel part of the game was an exemplary director work.

Things sadly weren't as polished in the gameplay department. Classic mode should have been renamed as Masochist mode. It would have bamboozled even veterans since some of the choices they'd been making in the older versions would have been the wrong ones in the remake. The pathfinding could have also been better given the heavy emphasis on character movement and timekeeping. Even a simple point to point navigation (imagine Pacman where you can navigate by clicking the dots) would do. Money... was ultimately a red herring. The 50k you start with was more than enough to complete all the routes provided you stick to the event calendar.

The sex scenes... I kind of expected it, but oh dear. I've long crossed over to the darkside I no longer believe that sex scenes could make or break a vanilla-ish eroge, but... In a game where libido was the protagonist's main driving force, a game where most of the dialogues revolved around sex, a game with an actual, interactive sex scenes...

Have we become spoiled by the amount and quality of sex scenes in today's eroges? Had the focus been on something such as the protagonist's coming of age, I would have given it a 8.5/10. As it happened, though...

6/10
 
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Doukyuusei Remake review:
Thanks for the review, while I haven't played any of 同級生 since my last writing about it, it pretty much confirms what I thought of it. Since we can't really speak of routes as the game is about doing as many of the heroines at once as possible, did any of the heroine's circumstances and development particular stand out from the rest? The few I played remained relatively shallow as far as romantic development (I'm just lonely, I always loved you, I fell in love at first sight, you were a dick to my friend but helped me out, I just want to have fun、I was just dumped) which fits the theme of casual sex and one night stand but isn't my cup of tea. I suppose any more involvement would trigger some degree of guilt (or satisfaction I guess, depending on one's fetish) for dumping the girls after a quick fuck.

Have we become spoiled by the amount and quality of sex scenes in today's eroges?
I don't know about spoiled, but things are certainly different now. Remember that in 1992 there was basically no internet, and many young children (including myself) would satisfy our curiosity with late night softcore porn movies hiding away from parents and magazines passed around in secret between friends. Much more was left to the imagination which explains why this game focuses a lot on the softcore aspects (peeking at panties, kissing/touching) while leaving the actual intercourse mostly to the reader's appreciation.
 
Thanks for the review, while I haven't played any of 同級生 since my last writing about it, it pretty much confirms what I thought of it. Since we can't really speak of routes as the game is about doing as many of the heroines at once as possible, did any of the heroine's circumstances and development particular stand out from the rest? The few I played remained relatively shallow as far as romantic development (I'm just lonely, I always loved you, I fell in love at first sight, you were a dick to my friend but helped me out, I just want to have fun、I was just dumped) which fits the theme of casual sex and one night stand but isn't my cup of tea. I suppose any more involvement would trigger some degree of guilt (or satisfaction I guess, depending on one's fetish) for dumping the girls after a quick fuck.
Hmm, the most memorable part of a heroine's route is mainly something in the epilogue, since as you mentioned, the reasons to become a couple are mostly superficial.
  • The silly fluctuation of the protagonist's strength (he beat up rapists, handily won a fight against a group of thugs, but ran out of breath carrying a thin girl on his back)

  • All the male characters with sprites are sexual offenders, psychos, or both.

  • Mai's epilogue. Too beautiful to put into words. If you haven't read it but still have the game installed, I suggest you download the 100% save then replay the scene. It was a gem.

  • Misa's epilogue. She decided to attend a sport academy and leave the protagonist for a year. It was hard for both but their commitment to each other was apparent. Sending his lover off with hug and kiss on the platform, the protagonist stared at the departing train, uttering: "Sayonara, Misa.". What the hell!?

  • Reiko's epilogue. Reiko divorced her husband and married the protagonist. They went on to open a small eatery. Joking with a customer, the protagonist said that when his time comes, he'd hold his wife's hands and tell her that he was happy. Many years later, in bed with an illness, the protagonist grabbed his wife's hand and muttered something. Feeling ominous, Reiko told him that she didn't catch that, over and over again. Oh, hang on, I forgot that you had read Reiko's route.

I don't know about spoiled, but things are certainly different now. Remember that in 1992 there was basically no internet, and many young children (including myself) would satisfy our curiosity with late night softcore porn movies hiding away from parents and magazines passed around in secret between friends. Much more was left to the imagination which explains why this game focuses a lot on the softcore aspects (peeking at panties, kissing/touching) while leaving the actual intercourse mostly to the reader's appreciation.
You put it better than I could. I was going to write about how adult materials are more accessible than ever today, but couldn't word it without sounding too harsh. I was going to write how people who played this game back in 90's would by now have kids and probably wouldn't have time to play it; are they even still interested in eroges; to whom does this cater really; etc., etc.... Yeah, way too harsh.
 
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I don't know about spoiled, but things are certainly different now. Remember that in 1992 there was basically no internet, and many young children (including myself) would satisfy our curiosity with late night softcore porn movies hiding away from parents and magazines passed around in secret between friends. Much more was left to the imagination which explains why this game focuses a lot on the softcore aspects (peeking at panties, kissing/touching) while leaving the actual intercourse mostly to the reader's appreciation.

I havent been playing VNs for that long but ive played both older and newer titles, and ive noticed a complete overcorrection from what you say to straight up inmediate sex, which sucks IMO. Now, you boot a game and within 5 minutes the MC´s inside of someone. I think the balance for good H-Content lies within the middle, with enough softcore to create tension and anticipation and enough explicit sex to bring climax and closure. VNs now seem to focus on the latter. Western porn game seem to apply that balance more now, so thats why ive been playing more western renpy VNs than japanese. The downside with western games is that 99% are made with 3D Daz models, and sometimes its pretty generic. Although japanese VN art also seems to be going thru a homogenization since now they all look the same too. Its hard to find VNs with distinct interesting artstyles.
 
I havent been playing VNs for that long but ive played both older and newer titles, and ive noticed a complete overcorrection from what you say to straight up inmediate sex, which sucks IMO. Now, you boot a game and within 5 minutes the MC´s inside of someone. I think the balance for good H-Content lies within the middle, with enough softcore to create tension and anticipation and enough explicit sex to bring climax and closure. VNs now seem to focus on the latter.
You're talking about nukige (literally: a game to rub one off). They typically focus on sexually suggestive topics and contain a high amount of sex scenes. More than half of eroge title released by Japanese eroge companies each month are nukiges. Popular self-published titles (such as those by Studio Pork) are nearly always nukiges. Well, there's always light novels (though every LN (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) I've read so far sucks).

Western porn game seem to apply that balance more now, so thats why ive been playing more western renpy VNs than japanese. The downside with western games is that 99% are made with 3D Daz models, and sometimes its pretty generic.
Any western eroge recommendation?
 
You're talking about nukige (literally: a game to rub one off). They typically focus on sexually suggestive topics and contain a high amount of sex scenes. More than half of eroge title released by Japanese eroge companies each month are nukiges. Popular self-published titles (such as those by Studio Pork) are nearly always nukiges. Well, there's always light novels (though every LN (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) I've read so far sucks).

You´re 100% right, i should´ve made the distinction, sorry. Nukige mostly sucks now IMO, but there are good eroge coming out.

Any western eroge recommendation?

Of course! They vary from plot centric to sex centric, to somewhere in the middle.

When it comes to plot centric i would recommend:

- Acting Lessos by DrPinkCake - (https://vndb.org/v24865) This ones got a lot of choices and routes. Its also finished. A concurrent topic with western eroge, its that they more often that not unfinished and a work in progress.
- City of Broken Dreamers by Philly Games - (https://vndb.org/v25342) This one is a work in progress but the plot is legit and you´ve got a lot of choices and good h content. This is Philly´s second game, hes got a finished one called Depraved Awakening which is good too much the art is not as good.

Games that have balance between plot and h content:

- Summertime Saga by DarkCookie - This one isnt a full VN since its got some gameplay elements, also its very famous so you probably know of it. Its got a lot of content and a must play IMO. You can find it on his website https://summertimesaga.com/.
- Waifu Academy by Irphaeus - (https://vndb.org/v22589) - This games plot is quite interesting and the h content is hot AF. It takes pretty long to update but they are worth it. Its a WIP and you can find it on his patreon or f95zone.com.
- Taffy Tales by Uberpie - (https://vndb.org/v23645) - This one is like a darkes Summertime Saga with more fetishes, its pretty good and an update should be droppig soon. Its a WIP. You can find it on his patreon or f95zone.com.

Sex centric games:

- Max Life´s by Kuggazer. This one´s got a shit ton of H content and its pretty fun and hot. Require very little grind and has cheats. Not much too say about this one, just pure sex and fun. You cand find it on his patreon or or f95zone.com.
- Milfy City by ICstor. This is an awesome game but the dev is quite scummy to his patreons since he keeps charging money but hasn´t updated the game in a lot time. Its still got a lot of content and its reallly good. You can find it on f95zone.com.
- Flirty F by Oppai Comics. Its pretty hot and its got good animations, but calling it a game is kinda misleading. Its more of a free roaming slideshow. The H content its really good.

Hope you can try them out! If you´ve got any doubts, i can help.
 
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Thanks a lot for the recommendations. That was truly a broadening one's horizons' stuff. I haven't really read any of it as I was busy looking at the CGs (old habit dies hard). Lol'd at how the 3D sculpted girls look like either celebrities or porn stars. Very impressive, in any case, especially the Cyberpunk look alike.

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I guess the most crucial step in reading a RenPy novel is to map your mouse wheel down to left click. Thank you, the maker(s) of AutoHotKey!
 
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Ooh! Windmill Oasis doing a remaster of "Shukufuku no Campanella", calling it "Plus Stories".
I wonder what the differences between original game except x2 resolution graphics. New opening movie?

Also, new Campanella game also coming soon.
According to https://windmill.suki.jp/product/campanella_ps/pstory.html, it'll add at least three new scenarios to the main game. It feels kinda strange to resurrect a "series" left forgotten for more than 10 years, both with a remake of the old game and a new game in the same setting (kinda, since the new game takes place apparently 100 years after the first, so probably few returning characters). I haven't played the old one, was it any good? Looks like a typical fantasy setting VN to me, albeit without any RPG/tactics gameplay that make Eushully or similar games bearable. I don't think I'd want to play such a game just for the story, but maybe I'm missing something. If anything 悠久のカンパネラ would be the occasion to hear Kitami Rikka in a main heroine role for once.

Speaking of Kitami Rikka, toneworks is remaking 星織ユメミライ with a perfect edition that will include, on top of the usual HD upscaling, the extra scenarios included in the console versions. While I'm glad to see one of my favorite games making a comeback, I'm also somewhat disappointed that even toneworks is starting to rely on remakes, and that they haven't announced a new project since Tsukikana (SSR being a fandisk doesn't count).
 
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tonework's always seem desperate for cash when they're not announcing a new title (concerts, limited-time themed cafes, merchandises, etc.) This is just a new way to get cash (presumably for their new, big budget title) since covid put a stop to most of these efforts. I'd kill for a Hatsukoi 1/1 remake though.

Aside from that, I really don't get tonework's preoccupation with the length of their scripts. To refer to a famous quote: "perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".
 
About "Shukufuku no Campanella"... (also, I didn't know it has anime series!!!).
I think it's remaster. not remake, because the art is old back to 2009, just upscaled x2 (1600x1200 resolution).
Also, I don't know if additional stories will include new CG art in same style, would be interesting to see.

But seeing Ko-cha's art now and then... I think 2009 art also have some nice charm, I find it really attractive.
Also, some guy even translated the original game until the opening movie, wow. I think I need at least to try it...
 
But seeing Ko-cha's art now and then... I think 2009 art also have some nice charm, I find it really attractive.
Also, some guy even translated the original game until the opening movie, wow. I think I need at least to try it...
Agreed, Windmill has that one artist which artstyle look really nice and solid (by solid, it means that the artist could draw a character from any angle and it would look right). I remember wanting to try Witches's Garden & Campanella for the longest time, but somehow there's always something which prevented that (more appealing titles, lack of free space, just busy with real life, etc.). Maybe it's the art after all, which, as nice looking as it is, stands right on the borderline between loli and not loli to me.
 
Time for some more comments on newly or not so newly released VNs! This will be a short one because I didn't have time to play much in the past month.

日向千尋は仕事が続かない : This had all the ingredients to make a game I would enjoy : a writer whose work I appreciated a lot, adult romance, single heroine format so no distracting common route and harem atmosphere, a story focused almost exclusively on the heroine and with a mostly serious protagonist, old-SMEE's brand of humor that doesn't go too over the top with shimoneta, good art, and developed by Smile who made a few games I liked. And yet, all I can say after finishing it is that is was okay. Maybe I've grown old, maybe Hayase Yuu has lost his touch (probably the former), but this game never came close to generating the kind of feelings I had when playing say Fureraba. The game kinda continues in drama format but I don't think I'll listen to them, I've never been a fan of audio-only works anyway.

One of the big reasons behind my mixed feelings about the game is that the relationship never really felt on equal terms. While the game does begin with the heroine suddenly inviting the protagonist over, what follows is lead almost exclusively by the protagonist, and pretty quickly the theme shifts from "almost lovers" to "fixing the heroine". It doesn't help that while Chihiro grows a lot thanks to the protagonist's careful observation and useful advice, the protagonist... doesn't really grow up at all. Of course you have the typical faint-from-overwork event that is almost inevitable in adult style romance VNs (Japan does love overwork), but it is treated so lightly and without a hint of self-reflection that I can't say it counts. For the most part, rather that building a life together, it felt like the protagonist was simply taking over Chihiro's life, telling her how to handle human relationships, going as far as suggesting her a job conveniently close to him so he can keep a eye on her and "support" and "guide" her whenever she needs help. I suppose this is kinda like that thing amaimono mentioned about Amakano 2 with the subtle manipulation, that prevented me from genuinely enjoying the game even as the heroine's situation improves. As far as the romance is concerned, it's pretty obvious and indeed, it turns out that both where in love with each other from the start (actually before that, from their high school days) but never garnered enough courage to confess. It's fine, but as an adult romance it's somewhat of a missed opportunity to rely on such a classic trope. Ecchi scenes weren't that good, at least I didn't really enjoy any of them, mostly because they reflect the domination aspect even further due to Chihiro's sexual preference (M), because situations lack variety, and because for most of these scenes, rather that love-making and communication, they're more about consoling each other and forgetting one's trouble for a time. Which is fine, I just don't find that very exciting.

恋する彼女の不器用な舞台 (Mayuu) : Maybe I shouldn't have gone for the main heroine first, because going for any other in retrospect feels really bad for her given the length she will go for the protagonist. Once past the initial harem situations it was actually pretty good, and the drama more focused on the couple's relationship than theater and plays. I can't say I'm too happy about the final solution the game chooses (basically Mayuu, exclusively for the protagonist's sake, agrees to do something she otherwise hates), but this came as a result of her wanting more involvement in the protagonist's life and dream, and was probably the most immediate way to achieve that. As far as making a life out of this situation, I don't know...
 
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Things get really busy these past few weeks. I tried some of jczs97's recommendations (and some other ones), but Western eroges are really choice intensive compared to their Eastern counterpart. I skipped those which look like a time sink.

City of Broken Dreamers: The gorgeous renders in this managed to put me off hand drawn art for a while. Unfortunately, it's not that good once I get around to read it. The writing is rather crude, like something out of a teen fiction. When put right next to the top notch visual, the difference is startling. The animation choice is strange on ocassions, but it's really the writing which bring it down.

Melody: There are a few heroines, but only the titular character gets a proper route. The plot twists are frequently too good to be true and the protagonist tends to be too passive (despite the bucketful of choice he has to make all the time). Faithfulness is scarce in the land of milk and honey, but the sex scenes, short as they are, often manage to get things right. Worth reading even if it's just for the scenes.

Milfy City: Nice looking with a lot of humor. The gameplay is rough, as you're practically thrown out in the wilderness with no objectives. The writing is nothing special, but the lighthearted vibe mitigates a lot of its shortcoming.

Summertime Saga: Not really a fan of the art. I bailed out when the anthropomorphic cow girl appeared.
 
More comments on recently read stuff :

ユキイロサイン (Miku, Kako) : Coming into this with zero experience from previous Wonder Fool games, only because I remember liking Aonatsu Line from the same writer. This one is actually quite similar in a lots of ways to Aonatsu Line, especially in Miku's route that follows a very similar structure to the one route I read of it. As I said I liked Aonatsu Line (Kotorii Yuuka voicing the main heroine helped a lot) so that's not a bad thing to take from it, but I can't say I enjoyed Yuki Iro Sign nearly as much. There are problems with the writing, such as the very frequent and abrupt perspective changes, which are not necessarily bad but are used almost exclusively for the one thing I disliked the most about the game : overly explaining the situation and everyone's feelings. Imagine you have a situation in a couple, and before its resolution the scene shifts to the sub-cast explaining to each other what each feels and why at length, and debating what they should or should not do. This completely disconnected me emotionally from the current predicaments, which is a shame as said problems are rather interesting otherwise. Story-wise, I think this is the first time I actually disliked the countryside environment, as it emphasizes all the things I hate about it : excessive meddling, instant rumors, no privacy, close-knit community that shares everything. That last one is really apparent as whenever anything happens to one of the members of the group of friends, the rest are instantly in the know as random classmates and adults alike will contact them immediately. Anyway, the one thing the game has got for it is actually, quite like Aonatsu Line, the rare but very intense arguments and quarrels it presents. While not quite on the level of that one fight scene in Aonatsu Line, at least in Miku, and to a lesser degree in Kako's route there were some memorable lines. Again it's a shame that most of the tension these fights generate is deflated in long-winded explanation sessions. I'm not sure it's worth recommending the game just for that, but it's something to keep in mind.

Air (PSP version, all routes but Kanna) : Lately I've been having troubles feeling much while playing VNs, and starting to wonder if I had really become a bitter old man. What better way to test the theory than go through one of Key's early works. The result was beyond my expectations, I don't remember actually shedding tears so much in a long long time. The now well-known Key nakige formulae (get the reader attached with light hearted comedy before hitting them with the drama hammer) is in full effect, but despite seeing the setup play out from a mile away I still couldn't help myself but fall for it all over again. Of course, the game is not perfect, and some routes are definitely better than others. Everything surrounding Misuzu was extremely emotional, especially the ending of it, which managed to make me shed tears of both sadness and happiness at the same time, quite the unique experience! Kano's route was pretty good, probably the most "normal" route and arguably the one with the happiest ending of all. Minagi's route was enjoyable too but I think the ending segment dragged on a little too much and the game missed a few good stopping points along the way. I skipped Kanna's route because I had an initial rejection reaction to its protagonist, and let's be honest I was just incredibly eager to return to Misuzu, ever since I finished her Dream segment from the beginning. I may, or may not, come back to Kanna, as it seems it may explain some stuff. Definitely recommended, especially in its console version as the voice acting otherwise absent in the PC version is really good.
 
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Holiday sale crushed my money.
Some game are too cheap, for example softhouse-seal 100 in. 1 is about 5 dollars!
Now I’m crawling to buy Harem night package released in April 30...:ninja:
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DLsite coupon will expire at 5/6. So if I cant find this until this day, I buy it!
 
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Holiday sale crushed my money.
Some game are too cheap, for example softhouse-seal 100 in. 1 is about 5 dollars!
Now I’m crawling to buy Harem night package released in April 30...:ninja:
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DLsite coupon will expire at 5/6. So if I cant find this until this day, I buy it!
Anything good from that softhouse-seal package or DLSite? Somehow I've associated both with cheap nukiges but maybe I'm generalizing too much.


I've played a bit of Hooksoft's ゆびさきコネクション, more specifically Natsuho's route in its entirety and bits and pieces of the common route for the other three (as well as all the random encounters). As far as the "message app" gimmick is concerned, I'm rather underwhelmed so far. It's at best a little extension of what Hooksoft already did with smartphone messages in Lovely Quest for example, but somehow less cute. The topic choice is a simple affair of picking the top choice or failing miserably, and the subsequent answers amount to either being a yes-man to anything the heroine says or being a rude-spoilsport, with little nuance in between. Maybe the other heroines are more involved in this (doubtful as Natsuho would seem like the most adept at this type of communication) but I have yet to even get their contact info halfway through the common route, I don't expect there to be too much to munch on.

Anyway other than that particular sell-point disappointment, the game is pretty okay. There's barely any common route and in fact you can finish a playthrough without even meeting half the cast. There weren't any heroine-heroine interactions in Natsuho's route and I don't expect there to be for the other three, as they all seem to have no knowledge of each other at all, let alone friendship. While I generally appreciate when protagonist are honest about their desires to get a girlfriend, I find this one to be a bit too blunt about it, as we are constantly reminded of how much our protagonist wants one. It's like he has nothing else in his life, his work is barely mentioned (we don't even know what he actually does) but doesn't seem particularly rewarding, he has no hobby, no passion, and only games a little, just enough to throw the occasional random complaint about mobages. As usual with Hooksoft the humor is rather tame, and only in the random encounters in the city do we see the SMEE influence make its way into the game. These can be pretty funny and are worth pursuing through, just beware that reaching the normal end will somehow overwrite your save n°1. During the prologue, we get a ton of advice on how to get into a relationship, perhaps focusing too much on physical appearance and first impression but that's apparently where the protagonist is lacking the most since he has no issues speaking to strangers or quickly getting on friendly terms.

Natsuho's route was, to be blunt, passable to okay. Hooksoft's previous game had a "fake" gyaru, but this time we get the real deal with typical obsession over makeup, appearances and of course, social media presence. I can't say I enjoyed the talks about fashion all that much, but they are not that overbearing either. The romance itself develops relatively fast, and for a old acquaintance heroine, surprisingly little is said about their common past. In fact, I have trouble seeing where the connection between the two was made at all, as their age is far enough apart that they really can't have attended the same school at any point (protagonist graduated university and worked for a few years, while Natsuho is still in high-school). Once the common route is over after a series of mini-events and night time messaging, things develops pretty quickly and are pretty unbalanced : the route is divided in 9 chapters, the sex begins already at chapter 2 all the way to 6, then we move on to a small amount of plot development with chapter 7, a date for chapter 8, then plot resolution for chapter 9, and we're done. This is in contrast to other Hooksoft games that generally took the time to develop the relationship at least a little bit before first ecchi, and I can't help but feel that the whole thing was rushed to some degree, and that some room was made to fit the 5 (plus one bonus) sex scenes per heroines which is 50% more than usual. I don't think Hooksoft's strength lies in its 18+ content, and that's certainly not the reason I play their game, so it's a bit weird to see them focus so much on it to the detriment of what made their games appealing in the first place. I can't say I had a bad time playing the game, but I can't say I had any "キュン" moments either, like I had in Lovely Quest or Melty Moment. Maybe the fact that the writing staff is mostly recent Hooksoft/SMEE games and noone of the old guard plays a big role in this.

I've also played bits of the common route for the other three heroines but I can't say I feel motivated to play more of any of them at this point.


搾精病棟 ~性格最悪のナースしかいない病院で射精管理生活~ : I generally don't comment on nukiges but this one was kinda special, in that of the reportedly worst personalities presented, I think the most appalling was none other that the protagonist. As a nukige the game failed utterly barely triggering any reaction, but I appreciated that the game didn't end in a harem paradise for the spineless protagonist, and I kinda liked Kurokawa in a twisted kind of way.


I've recently played through both Kanon and Clannad from Key, and they were certainly enjoyable, but I understand better now the parallels that were drawn between them and the more recent Summer Pockets. Since I played them in reverse chronological order, it turns out that these early games had their impact significantly lowered by my familiarity with Key's storytelling techniques and themes, especially in Clannad's main route. I still enjoyed reading them a lot, I am fond of Key's early game avalanche of choices, and Kanon's Nayuki and Clannad's Fuuko and suprisingly, Kyou routes really grasped me. Kanon in general I feel relies a bit too much on the paranormal and the protagonist's selective amnesia, but I really appreciated the lack of any kind of route lock or gimmick that Key embraced in its later titles. Clannad was a very fun read in its early parts, but I didn't like some of the routes (Kotomi, Tomoyo) and the protagonist's behavior in the true route was sometimes absolutely disgusting (especially with his dad and Ushio) that I don't know if he'll ever redeem himself in my heart. From Key's early titles, I think my favorite remains Air, for the impact it left on me, and for being the only with the guts to
not forcelly deus-ex machina a happy ending

Also recently played, Pia♥キャロットへようこそ!! 3. The only thing I knew about the Pia Carrot franchise was from a manga I read a long time ago, that I stopped reading after the first volume as it was generic harem love-com all other again. Surprisingly this one has much more drama than I would have expected, especially in Sayaka's route but also in others, and presented characters with generally far more complex lives and experience that your typical moege (Miharu, wow...). While I expected a cheap cafe simulation, it turns out this simulation aspect barely matters (except in one particular basketball case) and I found myself growing fond of its characters more than I thought I would.
 

I've played a bit of Hooksoft's ゆびさきコネクション, more specifically Natsuho's route in its entirety and bits and pieces of the common route for the other three (as well as all the random encounters). As far as the "message app" gimmick is concerned, I'm rather underwhelmed so far. It's at best a little extension of what Hooksoft already did with smartphone messages in Lovely Quest for example, but somehow less cute. The topic choice is a simple affair of picking the top choice or failing miserably, and the subsequent answers amount to either being a yes-man to anything the heroine says or being a rude-spoilsport, with little nuance in between. Maybe the other heroines are more involved in this (doubtful as Natsuho would seem like the most adept at this type of communication) but I have yet to even get their contact info halfway through the common route, I don't expect there to be too much to munch on.

Anyway other than that particular sell-point disappointment, the game is pretty okay. There's barely any common route and in fact you can finish a playthrough without even meeting half the cast. There weren't any heroine-heroine interactions in Natsuho's route and I don't expect there to be for the other three, as they all seem to have no knowledge of each other at all, let alone friendship. While I generally appreciate when protagonist are honest about their desires to get a girlfriend, I find this one to be a bit too blunt about it, as we are constantly reminded of how much our protagonist wants one. It's like he has nothing else in his life, his work is barely mentioned (we don't even know what he actually does) but doesn't seem particularly rewarding, he has no hobby, no passion, and only games a little, just enough to throw the occasional random complaint about mobages. As usual with Hooksoft the humor is rather tame, and only in the random encounters in the city do we see the SMEE influence make its way into the game. These can be pretty funny and are worth pursuing through, just beware that reaching the normal end will somehow overwrite your save n°1. During the prologue, we get a ton of advice on how to get into a relationship, perhaps focusing too much on physical appearance and first impression but that's apparently where the protagonist is lacking the most since he has no issues speaking to strangers or quickly getting on friendly terms.

Natsuho's route was, to be blunt, passable to okay. Hooksoft's previous game had a "fake" gyaru, but this time we get the real deal with typical obsession over makeup, appearances and of course, social media presence. I can't say I enjoyed the talks about fashion all that much, but they are not that overbearing either. The romance itself develops relatively fast, and for a old acquaintance heroine, surprisingly little is said about their common past. In fact, I have trouble seeing where the connection between the two was made at all, as their age is far enough apart that they really can't have attended the same school at any point (protagonist graduated university and worked for a few years, while Natsuho is still in high-school). Once the common route is over after a series of mini-events and night time messaging, things develops pretty quickly and are pretty unbalanced : the route is divided in 9 chapters, the sex begins already at chapter 2 all the way to 6, then we move on to a small amount of plot development with chapter 7, a date for chapter 8, then plot resolution for chapter 9, and we're done. This is in contrast to other Hooksoft games that generally took the time to develop the relationship at least a little bit before first ecchi, and I can't help but feel that the whole thing was rushed to some degree, and that some room was made to fit the 5 (plus one bonus) sex scenes per heroines which is 50% more than usual. I don't think Hooksoft's strength lies in its 18+ content, and that's certainly not the reason I play their game, so it's a bit weird to see them focus so much on it to the detriment of what made their games appealing in the first place. I can't say I had a bad time playing the game, but I can't say I had any "キュン" moments either, like I had in Lovely Quest or Melty Moment. Maybe the fact that the writing staff is mostly recent Hooksoft/SMEE games and noone of the old guard plays a big role in this.

I've also played bits of the common route for the other three heroines but I can't say I feel motivated to play more of any of them at this point.

What I get from Yubisaki Connection so far (going after Natusho too) is just how much of a bitter old coot I had become lol. She goes against everything I stand for, to be blunt, but I'll forge ahead anyway...will come back later on this.

That, and how it totally contrasts Houkago Cinderalla in the sense that it cuts all the crap of meaningless socialization and gets straight to picking during common.

Don't you always have to do the yes man in most cases in things like this...but this one does come across more blatantly than others, indeed.

I kinda like the 18+ to be there...the cases that no 18+ is worth it for me tend to be in something that is already 18+ to begin with...like Otoboku 2 Portable's Hatsune route that isn't there in the regular, 18+ version because she's interesting to begin with and even then I wish for 18+... I should try revisiting ToHeart 1 PSE (no 18+ ver) sometime...

Protagonists' hobby hunh... StrawberryNauts's an epic cook that keeps the girls' dorm fed for the year's time in exchange for a private quarters (not really, but it worked out to that effect), Lovely Quest does bonsai (although it doesn't really come to forefront, that's something), PriministAr's does handicraft and heads that club, IxSheTell's got some BBQ skillz, and ISuki is an amateur fisher...yeah, blank slates in this regard seems more norms than exceptions here [Hooksoft]...or they exist in an equal measure, I can't remember all...maybe if we include SugirlyWish's tendency to layeth the smackth down on his sister...
 
What I get from Yubisaki Connection so far (going after Natusho too) is just how much of a bitter old coot I had become lol. She goes against everything I stand for, to be blunt, but I'll forge ahead anyway...will come back later on this.

That, and how it totally contrasts Houkago Cinderalla in the sense that it cuts all the crap of meaningless socialization and gets straight to picking during common.

Don't you always have to do the yes man in most cases in things like this...but this one does come across more blatantly than others, indeed.

I kinda like the 18+ to be there...the cases that no 18+ is worth it for me tend to be in something that is already 18+ to begin with...like Otoboku 2 Portable's Hatsune route that isn't there in the regular, 18+ version because she's interesting to begin with and even then I wish for 18+... I should try revisiting ToHeart 1 PSE (no 18+ ver) sometime...

Protagonists' hobby hunh... StrawberryNauts's an epic cook that keeps the girls' dorm fed for the year's time in exchange for a private quarters (not really, but it worked out to that effect), Lovely Quest does bonsai (although it doesn't really come to forefront, that's something), PriministAr's does handicraft and heads that club, IxSheTell's got some BBQ skillz, and ISuki is an amateur fisher...yeah, blank slates in this regard seems more norms than exceptions here [Hooksoft]...or they exist in an equal measure, I can't remember all...maybe if we include SugirlyWish's tendency to layeth the smackth down on his sister...
I remember you had serious issues with Houkago Cinderella's gyaru, I'm surprised you went for Natsuho first in this one considering she is in some way worse in all aspects. It gets better as the route goes on but never really goes away so... yeah, my inner bitter old coot here too wasn't particularly amused by all of this, and many times I was actually thinking to myself how much high maintenance a girlfriend like her would be, both in terms of time and money.

I'm not against a short common route, but in this one even the most basic act of meeting two of the four heroines requires you to pick them. I would actually be okay if that translated into an actual proactive action from the protagonist to get to know them, but most of the time this just triggers a random encounter with said heroine without any particular protagonist intent, something that could have easily fitted into a common route format, at least for the first two or three episodes.

I agree about the yes-man thing in communication, especially on a shallow level so as to not make too many waves and risk stepping on a landmine topic. What I meant was that the choices offered here are so obviously divided between right and wrong (hint: top one is the way to go, always) that there's really no opportunity to feel the "thrill of romance via the latest means of communication". Instant messaging was already around during my own youth (not smartphones though), and Line apps have been in eroge for more than 10 years now, so this is hardly anything new. Moreover, there's not really any point in seeing wrong topics get shot down in one line (if even), or anger the heroine by being a spoilsport as she talks about her interests. To give a recent example, when talking about Hokkaido's specialties, rather than just agreeing or bluntly dismissing the topic, having the opportunity to choose between seafood or dairy products, and triggering short comments on either and maybe discovering a hidden trait (allergy) would be much more engaging. Kinda like Fureraba did it in its communication phase. I much prefer the way previous Hooksoft games made timed choices influence the intent and outcome of any particular line or action, and made worth it the time invested into seeing all the variations. Even in the limited message sequences in Lovely Quest and the like, while the protagonist wrote essentially the same thing, he could be either super blunt or teasing, triggering some variation of the same reply, something that isn't really available here.

I didn't mean to say that no 18+ content was the way to go, although some of my favorite heroines are indeed from games without any adult content. Maybe I'm also influenced by my recent playthrough of Key games with notoriously bad H content (Kanon's especially was really awkward, and I enjoyed the innuendo in Clannad much more). What I meant to say was that Hooksoft didn't build its brand by making nukiges, and shifting the ratio of content more towards H scenes isn't the way to make their games better or more memorable, especially if it's just to stick it all in the middle of the route without any plot development in between. A more interspersed, standard 4 scenes per heroine would have been much better in my opinion.

You're right that Hooksoft protagonist generally don't have much dedication to any particular hobby or passion. But it would help to have a little something to flesh out the character, even if it's just mentioned one or two times. In this game this absence is especially painful as there are no group of friends (or even any friend, the superior gets a sprite but doesn't even get a name...) or common route events to help flesh out the protagonist's personality. Again maybe I'm spoiled by Key and their actually fleshed-out protagonists (in good and bad ways).
 
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Anything good from that softhouse-seal package or DLSite? Somehow I've associated both with cheap nukiges but maybe I'm generalizing too much.
I bought it from DLsite, cause I had 18% off coupon.

I'm playing Renai Royal and Kimagure Temptation now.
I cheer Mari and Shione, they have mood of "Loser" ;)
I like Mari's funny face

hengao.png

and Shione's Crazy love:)
 

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fartass wrote on Shine's profile.
is it possible to re-up version 24.02 update from this ?
this link should have the correct update https://ci-en.dlsite.com/creator/10022/article/1103527

sorry for the complicated request
dolaemongoxz wrote on Shine's profile.
Hi Shine,
Could you please re-upload RJ438225 Part 4 on Mexa? Thank you.
sikany wrote on Otokonoko's profile.
Hi Could you upload additional illustrations for RJ01174340?
vnimlove wrote on Otokonoko's profile.
reup please *click*