A few weeks ago, Justyna Pustelnik contacted me via Twitter about maybe taking a look at the demo for her upcoming BL visual novel, Sentimental Trickster. However, when I received the request I was wrapping up the 30 Day Anime Challenge (and in need of a break), so I wasn’t able to play the demo right away. But, I was able to talk with Justyna through Twitter and after reviewing the Kickstarter campaign, I was able to bang out a Kickstarter Support post for the game.
I originally planned on getting back to the demo after my Blogging Vacation, but one thing led to another and the demo ended up further down on my To Do List than I would have hoped… forgive me! So, I know this is late, but better late than never… right? So, with the Kickstarter winding down, I figured the time was ripe for a demo review in order to generate more buzz for the game as it nears its final days!
The demo version of Sentimental Trickster only covers the first hour or so of game play, which depending on your playthrough speed, can be cut in half. I think I got through the whole thing in a little under an hour, but for a demo that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In this case, the brevity of the demo definitely works in favor of the game… The plot isn’t overly dramatic, which I found extremely refreshing when compared with some of the other visual novels on the market right now.
The demo starts with the protagonist, Haru, receiving a phone call from his mother who is concerned about his move to the big city. The conversation is short, but it did an excellent job of grounding the game in reality. Even as the story progresses, the demo remains firmly rooted in realism, from his interactions with the other characters to his actions and thoughts.
Ah, the characters, where do I start? The characters are really where this demo shines! I don’t think I have ever seen a more expressive and fun cast of characters like these in a long time! Justyna did an excellent job of presenting the cast of Sentimental Trickster as people and not just characters in a game.
Each character has their own set character traits: Kanae is the Bishounen, Shinya is a cold-blooded vampire, Soichiro is the lovable uncle, and Jin (despite his short screen time) is a bad-boy with a heart of gold. But, somehow the game hints that they are much more than traditional trope characters.
Each of the potential love interests are unique and even after spending so little time with them during the demo, I can tell that they each have a story to tell. Now, I saved the best for last… Haru, our wise cracking, violet haired protagonist with absolutely no filter. You know that little voice in your head that tells you not to piss people off, well I think Haru’s is broken and the results are hilarious!
Haru is a pretty upbeat and friendly guy, but he’s no pushover. In addition to having some colorful internal commentary, Haru has a bit of a mouth on him. He doesn’t mince words, so beware his wicked tongue, he’s not afraid to give someone a verbal beating. But that’s what makes Haru such a great character, there were more than a few times during my playthrough of the demo where I related to Haru on a personal level. Haru is an honest character and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of his interactions with the other characters in the full version of the game.
So far I am impressed by what I’ve seen, Justyna Pustelnik did an amazing job pulling all of this off all by herself! She has since partnered with Yaoi a GoGo and I can’t wait to see the new heights the game reaches as a result of the union.
As far as demos go, Sentimental Trickster does a lot right: the interface is clean and the sprites and backgrounds are stellar! Each character sprite comes with multiple poses and facial expressions and the character designs themselves are gorgeous. Plus, the small visual cues and touches were nice, like the flowers that surround Kanae or the font change when Haru attempts to speak English. The BGM that plays throughout the demo is light and unobtrusive, which works well with such an easy going game. The writing was witty and fun, the character dialogues were clean and free from errors.
Content-wise, my only complaint is that the experience was too short, but it’s a demo so that was to be expected. Since the demo is short, there aren’t many opportunities for players to make too many choices. But, I will commend the demo for doing a lot with such the short amount of gameplay time. I like the way that the characters were introduced and despite not spending too much time with any of them, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from them in the full game. Personally, I’m looking forward to Shinya, my megane bias and Jin, the bad-boy with a soft side.
In the end, I can’t wait to see what the full version of Sentimental Trickster has in store for us when it is released in March 2017! So, if you haven’t already give the demo a play and if you like what you see, make sure to lend your support to the Kickstarter either monetarily or by spreading the word on social media!
Have you checked out the Kickstarter? Are you as hyped for the game as I am? Let me know what you think of Sentimental Trickster and the demo in the comments section. Don’t forget to drop a line on the Kickstarter and let the developer know what you think about the game as well! As always THANK YOU for reading!!!