Written by: Cassie
Developers: TeaCup Productions
Platforms: PC, Mac and Linux
Genre: Slice of life, Fantasy, Otome
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Critique: it sounds like such a harsh word sometimes. As reviewers it is our job to point out both what we believe to be good and bad in a game. Therefore, critique will almost always be part of a review. It can help people progress, can help them learn. However, if you’re too brutally honest and harsh, it may seem more like you’re tearing someone down instead of helping them. Criticism can hurt, if it just seems like you’re analyzing every little detail, just searching for something to complain about. It can come across as just plain meanness, if you’re just being negative without giving any constructive commentary. On the other hand, sugar-coating something isn't the way to go either. Believing some aspects of you’re work are good, because no one has pointed out your mistakes, will only stunt your growth as a creator. It’s a delicate balance.
So, why all this navel gazing? Mostly because I felt a bit uncomfortable writing this review. Which is also one of the reasons it took me so long. You see, the creator of this game has had some trouble with overly harsh criticism. She even stopped creating visual novels. I’m not going to claim that this negative commentary is the cause, tough. I honestly don’t know her reasons.
Anyway, where does that leave me? Am I going to be harsh? Well, I’m not trying to be. Am I going to sugar-coat anything? I’m not planning to do that either. I’m just going to be honest, because I still think that that is primordial in a review
A little warning before you play this game: the beginning is probably the worst part. But please, don’t stop playing before you reach the main story, because it does get better. My main problem with the first part of the story is the fact that is stretches my willing suspension of disbelieve a bit too far. And yes, that’s even possible in a game where the main characters have psychic powers. Apparently falling down the stairs can give you these powers. Just like that! No spider bite, magical artifact or secrets heritage needed! Not even a radioactive chip placed in her brain. (Cookies if you get that reference to a really obscure children’s book series).
The concept of the game is interesting, but isn't really explored further. The heroine’s powers feel more as a gimmick than anything. They also don’t really serve any real use in the overall story. She just has them, and she loses them again at the end of the game without any real reason to it. I have the feeling that the writer really didn't care about the mechanism behind the psychic power, she just wanted an excuse to get Marin to the school. Luckily, the guys powers do have a larger impact on the story
This game is mostly character-driven and not story-driven, so don’t expect an epic tale. The plot is probably the weakest point in the writing. There are many inconsistencies in this game. This is because there are common scenes that appear in every play-trough no matter witch guy’s plot you chose. Unfortunately, these scenes just don’t make any logical sense anymore if you saw certain scenes from the guy’s individual paths before.
The writer might not be that good with plot but she’s excellent with dialogues. They don’t sound strange or awkward at all. She also had a talent for creating both incredibly funny and very cute moments. I laughed when Haruhi proved to the other guys that he really is a boy and when Marin asked Kaius for a kiss, but he thinks that she was asking about…something else.
The pacing of the game is also excellent. It’s just long enough, nothing feels rushed or dragged out.
Now on to one of the most important parts of any otome game: the guys. To be honest, they are quite stereotypical, but stereotypes done right. Every one of their routes is interesting to play.
Let’s start with Kaius, our red haired loner. At first I really dreaded playing his route. Mostly because he reminded me of a certain sparkly vampire from a god-awful series of tween novels. I mostly had this feeling because he is a emo guy who doesn't’ want the heroine to get too close to him because he’s DANGEROUS. He even gets to save her from some would-be rapists. He does manage to score major brownie points with this, because he’s the only guy who notices she’s missing and runs to save her. In the other guys routes it’s Oginuma, the principal, who rescues her. Can I just say that I kind of didn't like this scene as a whole, though. I have some issues with scenes like these, but I'm not going to detail them right now. This is a review, not a rant. Well, back to Kaius. Luckily this route turned out to be much more enjoyable than the-book-that-must-not-be-named. Kaius is really quite adorable and his route has, to me, the highest number of cute scenes
Lucan is the school prince and the nice guy. I know that some people found his route boring, but I quite liked it. That’s maybe because I have a soft spot for nice guys, especially if they’re good at baking. I also really liked the ending of this route. I thought that the twist was both well foreshadowed and still surprising. Oh, and remember that he’s also the only character that has a bad ending. One thing that I did notice though, is that game takes place in Japan and all the characters are supposed to be Japanese, but both Kaius and Lucan don’t really have Japanese names.
Ryuu made less of an impression on me than the other guys. I liked his cheerful nature and playful personality, but the twist in his story is a really common one. Overall, a nice route, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Haruhi, is the heroine’s childhood friend and resident wholesome crossdresser. He gets his own mini-route. Unfortunately, because I liked him, it’s quite short in comparison with the other guys routes. His ending, where he got a really sudden grow spurt and became a ‘real boy ‘, does feel a bit unrealistic, but I still really enjoyed his route.
The side characters were also really fun. The principal is just crazy awesome. Ruiko, Marin’s roommate is such an adorable weirdo and quite funny. I felt sorry for the poor girl sometimes.
Lastly, I should probably mention one more important thing about this game: it’s simply fun! It managed the entertain me for a few hours, without boring me even once . And for me that’s still one of the most important things about a game.
Presentation and Gameplay
In my previous review I mentioned that I don’t really care if music is free source or original and that didn’t really change. I really liked the soundtrack of this game. It was upbeat and cheery most of the time. The background tracks really fitted the different scenes and the atmosphere of the game. Overall, the music was pleasant to listen to throughout the entire game.
The gameplay was typical for a visual novel game. You make a choice and these choices lead you to different endings. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I would really have liked some feature that allowed you to use Marin’s psychic powers in the game, some kind of mini-game or something. Oh well, maybe I’m too demanding.
Finally, the interface is easy to use with save and load functions added in the game screen itself, as well as a configuration button.
+ It has both really funny and really cute moments
+ The art is nice
- There are many inconsistencies in the plot
-There isn’t really a overarching plot