Written By: JP
Platforms: PC, Mac and Linux
Release Date: October 13, 2013
Yes people. THIS IS HOW WE ARE STARTING 2014!
Honestly, the reason it took me so long to get to this game is because there is basically nothing online about it. I can't find it on Lemmasoft and it was only put out in one post on Tumblr. And even in that post spoilers are closely guarded with only the warning that this was a 'cautionary tale'.
And, to be fair to the game itself, that scene at the top is about as spoiler-y as I going to get. Why? Because no matter what anyone thinks on how said scene came to be; I can guarantee you that it is literally the tip of the iceberg of one of the most insane games I've played in 2013.
At this very hour, I am in my offices here at the HQ finish the final reviews for 2013. Originally I thought I had a much longer list, but after playing through a bulk of them, the backlog has been successfully whittled down to a handful that I can complete by tomorrow. And while I am happy I can have some closure to the games of 2013, I also leave behind the year with a hell of a lot unfinished.
I suppose many people feel the same way. Even after all of the promises and work to not end the year like we ended 2012, there are still plenty of things we regret not finishing or, even worse, not starting. It is typical of the current culture to try and publicly toss these things aside en masse and declare a fresh start at the beginning of a new year, but being who I am that something I could never quite accomplish it. Whether we like it or not, the short-comings of life are as defining as our victories mainly because you can't get anywhere without coming short a few times. The film Moneyball portrays this perfectly when Boston Red Sox's owner John W. Henry told Billy Beane that, 'The first one through the wall will always get bloody'. It is the reality of trying something different: you will fall short. But hopefully, whether it be a project you wanted to do or a feature I wanted to do, we have learned from our trips through the wall of life and will emerge in 2014 with a few less pints of life juice, but a little wiser.
That isn't to say 2013 for VNs Now was a let down: far from it. This has been an amazing year for this genre and I am humbled to have been here. We have grown in ways I didn't seem coming (thank you again Will and Cassie for what you do) and will continue to grow as this site opens up to other visual novel enthusiasts. The reviews and features will get better because the games are getting better. And, most importantly, in the coming days and months, I hope to announce projects and expansions to this very site that will entertain you as well shine a clearer light on everyone who plays a role in the development of these games: from the musicians to the writers and so much more.
And on the spats that happened this year that I found myself in the middle of...I will say if I could repeat it and choose my words a bit more careful, I probably wouldn't. Many days I wish I could put a camera behind my eyes so that many of you who spend weeks and months on end developing a visual novel could see what I see in you. All of that passion and determination is what the West has been longing for. It is why The Walking Dead game by Telltale has been such a phenomenal hit. It is why a visual novel, an ENGLISH visual novel at that, won an artistic competition in Europe: making history in it's wake. And it is why, and I believe this to my core, we will see a boom of talent next year that will not be tethered to this small corner of the Internet. So many of you are destined for greatness, a type of greatness you can barely imagine, and I am happy to be here chronicling your early days and doing what I can to prepare the way.
So as I get my Southern ass back to work and the final minutes of 2013 tick down, I want to say one more time, for the records: thank you. VNs Now is what it is because of your support and we will always be your source for honest reviews, in-depth features, unique voices, unabashed Christopher Nolan fanboyism, RWBY take downs, irreverent thoughts, funny walks and everything in between.
Thank you again and we'll see you in 2014,
So I walked away from that with my face looking like a tomato BUT also with a new genre of gaming to investigate. I decided to try something decidedly less erotic and was even willing to put up the $15 necessary to play it because I’m a sucker for mystery games. Again, most of you probably figured it out but for the new readers of the site that game was SakeVisual’s Jisei. The rest, as they say, is history.
Considering that history, it was probably inevitable that Master and Acolyte would one day reunite, but the circumstances are extraordinary. From my understanding, Morgan Hawke AKA OokamiKasumi has stuck mostly to her erotica: which isn’t exactly in my range of reviews. However, recently she has delved into some less…er…tantalizing works which makes this reunion possible. So what does The Adventures of Prince Ivan have in store for us? Let’s all find out!
We are rapidly approaching the end of the year and it has been a busy time for many. Reviews, games, and holiday sales galore! WinterWolves just started their Christmas Sale, everything 50% off. Steam’s Holiday Sale has also started, expect 33-75% off on EVNs there. Do not forget to take some time to slow down, enjoy the last of 2013, and reflect on the year’s events. Having said that, go and blow all your money on cool EVNs during the holiday sales! Want to spread your love of EVNs to others? Maybe some digital gift giving is in order. Of course, you have already spread those free titles around right? No? Well hop to it!
Moving on! Friendly reminder that the Hanako Games Elodie Receives a Gift! contest is still going for the next two days. Better hurry if you want to get your submission in, details can be found here. In other news the visual novel team of Sylenth and Ai-lo have been working on a project titled Resonance. It was planned for Russian and English languages, but the English portion has been put on hiatus. They are looking for a Russian/English translator to get that back on track:
If anyone is capable and willing to help them out, drop them a line on their contact page. The Russian language demo is available for anyone who wants to give that a spin; download it here.
With that sort of pedigree, 2013 looked to be very promising. However, while I don't receive regular financial reports from Celso Riva, critically the chain of sequels we got from the group hasn't exactly been memorable. While I am still deciding whether or not to review Heileen 3 on this website, I did take on Bionic Heart 2. Now the group is looking forward to 2014 with a new slate of releases being led by the sequel to Loren, but before they do we have one more Winter Wolves project to dig through.
Nicole has a good amount of ambition behind it. An original IP, it looks to marry otome and mystery story-telling. A DLC pack, featuring lesbian romances, was announced before release to be written by none other than Hope Chapman AKA JesuOtaku. So with that said, how is the game itself?
Well, there's only one way to find out! And for those absolutely dead set on getting this game, there are mild spoilers below so consider yourself warned.
…My Little Pony…
I suppose it was inevitable, really. It really was only a matter of time before the MLP fandom began to encroach on visual novel territory. And to be fair, I don’t necessarily hate the show or the fandom around it. I am not necessarily a feminist (I prefer to call myself an Equalist), but I can recognize the outright aversion mass media has to treating young girls as anything but fodder for the next lifeless teen romance they can pump out. I’ll touch more on the subject whenever I discuss DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network’s continued drive to be crowned King of Douches, but for now just know that while I will never care for the show enough to invest an afternoon’s worth of time to watch, I am glad that young girls are getting the quality of writing and animation I used to get when I was a young boy.
This brings me to ‘Bronies’.
Let’s just start small here; can someone NOT a part of a franchise’s target audience still enjoy that franchise? Yes. Talent shouldn’t be confined to one specific gender, sexuality, race, ideology or culture: if I thought any other way, this very site would not exist. But for my money, that isn’t the question surrounding the Brony subculture. The question is should THESE particular people be fans of the THIS particular show? The increasing accepted answer to that question is No and it is No because ‘Bronies’ tend to take things too goddamn far.
“JP! What are you talking about?!” I’m talking about the topic for the epic return of YOU ASKED FOR IT: Starswirl Academy. Simply put if you want to know everything that can go wrong with a fandom, ANY fandom, all you have to do is play the demo of this game. From the deification of the cast, to the more…uncomfortable moments that we will discuss, I can tell you all this is one of the tougher projects I’ve had to sit through. And, really, it was only thirty minutes...I may still have to sit through the rest of this game if it is completed.
SO, let's get the legal mumbo jumbo out of the way. For those of you who are unaware, this is You Asked For It: a feature on the site where I try to be as frank and honest as possible about an EVN demo in the hopes that the finished project doesn't crash and burn. So if you thought I had a big mouth before now...well you haven't seen anything just yet. And while I was open about my own understandings of the fandom and My Little Pony franchise, I want to be clear that my opinions of the game are just that: an opinion on the game. But while YAFI: Jacob's Island was a little blunt, but ultimately with good intentions, this probably will be Blunt with a side order of 'This Doesn't Need To Exist'.
Don't worry fanboys. I'll make my case.
Hey everyone, Will here, bringing you some news, some of which may fill you with holiday cheer! Did you know that VNs Now! is starting a newsletter? You do now, and you can sign up for it by entering your email address into that subscription box on the right side of the page. Cast your gaze and cursor stage left; you know you want to!
Time for more of that holiday cheer I promised. How about a contest? Hanako Games, has started the “Elodie Receives A Gift!” contest. You have until the 22nd of December to write a short story between 500 and 1500 words about Princess Elodie from Long Live the Queen receiving a gift. A free game giveaway is certain, other prizes and number of winners will be based on the number of entrants. The details for the contest are found here.
If a contest about presents is not your cup of holiday cider, how about a sale? Moacube’s December sale returns! Everything is on sale, with Cinders at 50% off and even Solstice Pre-Order for 30% off! It also has that handy reminder that you can purchase games as gifts, which is an awesome way to spread some love, cheer, and Perrault’s belts.
Only ONE MAN Is Crazy Enough To Review This Series. Follow the RWBY Reviews on Tumblr!
Volume 1 COMPLETE!