Author Archives

pokeninja90

I'm a recent grad who just so happens to love anime, manga, and games (especially Pokemon and Otoge).

Sexy Mermen, Political Intrigue, and Magic – Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure – Game Review

Originally developed by Seven Submarines in 2018 for the annual game jam NaNoRenO, Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure is a short fantasy visual novel that takes us on a journey into the deep. Gabrielle Freedman embarks on a journey into the sea to find Nauticus, Crown Prince of Atlas in hopes of securing his aid in an ongoing political struggle on the surface. Unbeknownst to her, Nauticus has his hands full with an ongoing civil war over control of the throne. Exiled alongside his royal guard, Zeppelin, Nauticus is desperate to reclaim his throne and reluctantly agrees to a tenuous alliance with Gabrielle. Together the trio devise a plan that could be mutually beneficial to both their causes, but, it involves confronting an evil sea witch. With everything on the line Gabrielle, Nauticus, and Zeppelin gear up for fight that will determine the fate of their very different worlds.

Game Details

  • Genre: Adventure, Romance
  • Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)
  • 7 Endings
  • Gameplay Lengh: ≈45 mins – 1 hr
  • Cost: Free
  • Partial Voice Acting
  • RPG Style Battle System
  • Similar Games: The Blind Griffin, A Foretold Affair 

Continue reading “Sexy Mermen, Political Intrigue, and Magic – Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure – Game Review”

Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #25

 

Hello all you wonderful Heroes and Travelers, it’s Thrifty Thursday and that means another Thrifty Gaming post, the weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels for gamers on a budget. Whatever your financial situation, I’m here to bring you affordable games that won’t break the bank!! All of the games on this list are $10 or less (does not include limited time offers and sale items), so no more weepy wallets!

shut_up_and_take_my_money

This week’s post will include links to the games and a brief synopsis, but let me stress that these are not reviews, but recommendations… so your mileage may vary! Now that that’s out of the way lets get on to this week’s list!!

Continue reading “Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #25”

Let’s Show Our Support for The Divine Speaker!!

Hey hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, here we are with another Kickstarter support post! For those of you new, here, Let’s Show Our Support posts highlight current crowdfunding campaigns for indie games (usually VNs and OELVNs). I give you guys the basic rundown of the game and the perks of supporting the game’s campaign, as well as links to all the relevant game related pages and sites.

This time around, I’m covering Two and a Half Studio’s upcoming fantasy BL visual novel The Divine Speaker! We’ve been getting quite a few BL games in recent years and this debut title from Two and a Half Studios checks off quite a few boxes for me. With its gorgeous visuals and unique fantasy premise, The Divine Speaker promises to be a fun addition to the genre.

Continue reading “Let’s Show Our Support for The Divine Speaker!!”

[Melanin Monday] Diversity in Otome Games

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! I know its been awhile since my last Melanin Monday post (I’ve been slacking off), but, for those of you just joining the party, here’s a little refresher. Melanin Monday is a bi-weekly post series that I started for Black History Month, where I talk about Black and Brown skinned characters in anime, manga, video games, etc., but you guys loved it so much I decided to continue it! This week, I’m looking at diversity in otome games!

Otome games promise a player driven gaming experience, giving players the opportunity to romance a diverse group of characters. But, really how diverse are otome games? Sure they feature characters from a wide range of character archetypes, but when it comes to their appearance, they all seem to fall into the same generic bishounen category. What’s more, mainstream otome games tend to have a distinct lack of racial diversity among their romance options. Western otome games have been more successful at integrating more diverse romance options in their games, with characters from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicity, but, Japanese otome games are much more restrictive in the types of romance options they offer. But, given that otome games are created with a Japanese audience in mind, this is not wholly unexpected.

However, with an increasing number of Western gamers playing otome games, this lack of diversity could alienate individuals looking for games featuring characters that share similar characteristics to themselves. In recent years, Western otome games and Original English Language Visual Novels (OELVNs) have stepped up to provide a solution by offering games with more diverse romance options that are more reflective of their target audiences. As a woman of color, I appreciate the efforts of Western developers to incorporate diverse characters into their narratives, because it creates an opportunity for representation that may have otherwise not existed.

Continue reading “[Melanin Monday] Diversity in Otome Games”

[OWLS Blog Tour] Real Men Spread Love: Masculinity in Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s April and with it comes another OWLS Blog Tour! Last month during our Feminine Blog Tour we looked at the meaning of the term while also celebrating the amazing accomplishments of women. This month we’re looking at the other end of the spectrum with our April Masculinity Blog Tour!

Last month, we explored the meanings behind the terms, “feminine” and “feminism.” This month the OWLS bloggers will explore the concept of masculinity. We each have our own definition of what it means to be masculine and we will explore our definitions using “masculine” characters from various pop culture fandoms. We will discuss how these characters are “masculine” or show signs of a masculine persona. We will also share our personal stories about the amazing men that supported us in our lives as well as sharing some of our experiences growing up as a man or knowing men who struggled with the masculine identity.

April 2019 Blog Tour Prompt

Websters defines masculinity as ‘having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man’, but what does it mean to be “a man”? Is it physical strength? Fortitude? Having the anatomy of a man? With shifting gender norms, it’s difficult to ascribe a one size fits all definition to terms like masculinity and femininity, because there is no singular way to embody these terms. Roles that were traditionally held exclusively by men are now being taken up by women and visa versa. There simply isn’t a case for traditional masculinity or femininity in today’s evolving world, because what it means to be a man or a woman has changed. But, as a society we still adhere to a ridged gender coded system. Items associated with women and girls tend to have a pink, purple, or pastel color scheme, while items intended for men and boys tend to favor a darker color pallet. We have been conditioned to see associate masculinity with dominance, power, and strength, and femininity with beauty, grace, and poise.

The same exists in anime, shounen series like My Hero Academia, Black Clover, and Dragonball Z, with their action heavy storylines and characters, focus on more “masculine” topics, like overcoming adversity or proving one’s worth (usually through brute strength). Relationships are forged through combat or intense training, and feelings when featured are merely used to bolster a character’s drive to complete some predetermined goal. Shounen anime tend to focus on a character (or group of characters) striving to be the best at whatever it is they do, either through brute strength, dogged determination, or just plain old dumb luck. On the other side of things, you have shojo anime which tends to focus on more traditionally “feminine” topics, like romance and friendship. There usually isn’t a predetermined goal or even a “bad guy”, with the majority of these stories tackling more internal conflicts like self-doubt, finding love, or fostering relationships (romantic/platonic) with others.

But, even within these clearly gender specific genres, there is some crossover. There are plenty of shounen anime that focus on romance and dealing with more internal personal conflicts, just like there are shoujo anime that feature action and adventure storylines. These series challenge the status quo, giving us more relatable stories that speak to who we are as individuals and not so much what we are expected to be. So for this month’s Blog Tour, I went with a series that subverts the idea of masculinity, by parodying a traditionally ‘feminine’ magical girl anime genre. This time around, I’m looking at the magical boy anime, Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! and how despite it’s adherence to traditional magical girl anime tropes and overtly “feminine” themes, helps define a “new” masculine ideal.


Continue reading “[OWLS Blog Tour] Real Men Spread Love: Masculinity in Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!”

Big Hair and Even Bigger Cases: Ghosts of Miami – Game Review

Pillow Fight adds a truly outrageous detective visual novel to their portfolio, big hair and even bigger cases will keep you captivated in Ghosts of Miami. I covered the demo back in the early stages of production and now that the full game is out, I just had to sit down and give this title a spin and it did not disappoint! Follow Chelo, an up and coming private investigator as she explores the beaches and back alleys of sunny Miami. Her stomping grounds, Dade County, is ground zero for the drug cartels and scores of undocumented immigrants all looking for a place to call home. With so much activity, it’s easy for a few lost souls to slip through the cracks… and when they do, you can count on Chelo to find the ghosts of Miami.

Game Details

  • Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Detective, Romance
  • Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux) and Steam
  • 5 love interests (2 female, 1 non-binary, and 2 male)
  • Gameplay Lengh: ≈30 hours
  • Cost: $14.99
  • Similar Games: Ace Attorney, Love Ritual, and The Blind Griffin 

Continue reading “Big Hair and Even Bigger Cases: Ghosts of Miami – Game Review”

Knights of Alanoc Volume 1- Bara Comic Review

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, last year comic artist Aero Zero reached out to me about their poly positive fantasy bara comic, MEN+MONSTERS and I absolutely loved the gorgeous, vibrant art and unique premise. Well, Aero Zero hit me up again about another one of their Bara comics, Knights of Alanoc, a prequel to their action-adventure bara comic ACE OF BEASTS. I really enjoyed my first excursion into the MEN+MONSTERS/ACE OF BEASTS world, and I was excited to get my hand on this delightful standalone.

Knights of Alanoc Full

KNIGHTS OF ALANOC Volume 1 by Aero Zero

Title: KNIGHTS OF ALANOC Volume 1
Author / Artist: Aero Zero
Publisher: MEN PLUS MONSTERS
Genre: Bara / Fantasy / Mature / Graphic Novel
Released: 2018 (online), JAN 2019 (print)
Length: 60 pages

Summary: A ruthless lieutenant gives up on pursuing love… until a swordsman from a faraway land enters his life! Slow-burn romance SFW prequel to ACE OF BEASTS, with a NSFW epilogue.

Anyone that is familiar with Aero Zero’s works will recognize both Osric and Xerxes as main characters in their other long running series, ACE OF BEASTS. While this is a prequel series, you don’t need to have read BEASTS to understand what’s going on in KNIGHTS. However, this comic does provide some neat background on Osric and Xerxes and the origins of their relationship.

KNIGHTS OF ALANOC follows the exploits of Osric, a jaded lieutenant fresh off a recent break-up and Xerxes, a wandering swordsman who wants to train to become a knight. Though the pair are initially at odds, they soon strike up a friendship that quickly turns romantic. A slow-burn romance between two burly knights, unfolds against a beautiful fantasy backdrop. While this is a much more laid back Bara offering, the slow-burn romance and expressive characters make for a rather enjoyable read.


Continue reading “Knights of Alanoc Volume 1- Bara Comic Review”

Love Ritual – English Otome Game Review

Last week, Xand Arts released their debut title, Love Ritual, a richly imaginative detective fantasy that blends together the team’s seductive characters and designs with an immersive investigative narrative. Love Ritual follows Riilai, a young Ritualist hired on as a consultant for a local police investigation tasked with uncovering the truth behind an illegal summoning ritual. The police currently have two suspects in custody, a Necromancer and a Druid, both of whom have retained counsel to help prove their innocents. The two delegates, a suave Necromancer named Kalaseth, and a naïve good-natured Druid named Shanrae will do anything to get their clients off the hook. But, the deeper Riilai delves into the case the less black and white things become, and with two handsome advocates working so closely Riilai has a rough road ahead.

Xand Arts markets Love Ritual as an adult otome, and it’s easy to see why, with its captivating mystery adventure narrative and seductive character designs, Love Ritual delivers a sophisticated gaming experience.

Game Details

  • Genre: Mystery, Adult Content, Romance, GxB
  • Available for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) and Steam
  • 2 male love interests
  • Gameplay Length: ≈15 hours
  • Cost: $11.99
  • Similar Games: Mystic Destines: Serendipity of Aeons, Changeling

Continue reading “Love Ritual – English Otome Game Review”

Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet: Character & Route Thoughts (Part 2)

Originally this was a part of the main review, but the more I kept writing the more my thoughts on the characters kind of took on a life of their own. So, I’m trying something new and separating out my thoughts on the characters and their routes from the main review. I don’t know if I’ll do this again, but, I had some pretty strong feelings about some of the characters/routes and it just didn’t gel well with the rest of the review.

7 scarlet chara

If you want a general review of 7’scarlet check out my previous post, Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?! – 7’Scarlet Review (Part 1)If you’ve already given that a gander and you just want to know how I felt about the love interests and routes, you’re in the right place. A word of caution though, there are spoilers here, so if you haven’t finished the game perhaps you might want to hold off on reading this post until you do.

Continue reading “Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet: Character & Route Thoughts (Part 2)”

Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet Otome Game Review (Part 1)

7’scarlet is a mystery otome game and one of the most recent localizations to make its way Stateside. The game follows Ichiko Hanamaki, a college student whose brother disappeared a year prior to the start of the game while visiting the town of Okunezato. While investigating the town, Ichiko and her childhood friend Hino stumble upon a strange website detailing several mysteries surrounding the town and decide to participate in an online meetup hosted by a few of the site’s members. Once in Okunezato, Ichiko and Hino meet the rest of the Okunezato Supernatural Club and begin investigating the strange goings on in the town. But, when a series of mysterious deaths began to take place, the town’s dark past is slowly revealed.

7-scarlet

When I picked up 7’scarlet, I wasn’t expecting to stick with it as long as I did, let alone finish the damn thing. I fully intended on just playing one route and tucking the game safely back into my backlog. Sadly, the route I was most interested in playing is the second to last route in the game (I’m not including the True End or the Secret Route). Pro tip: A sure fire way to get me to play all the way through a game is to stick the megane routes at the end of the game. So, I powered through all the routes until I could finally romance the bespectacled hottie of my dreams and by that point I figured why not just go balls out and finish the game. Now that I have that coveted PSN 7’scarlet Completion trophy, I’m ready to give my thoughts on the game.

Game Details

  • Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Romance, GxB
  • Available for PS Vita and Steam
  • 6 pursuable love interests (5 main, 1 secret)
  • 25 unique endings
  • Gameplay Length: ≈30 hours
  • Cost: $39.99
  • Similar Games: Code Realize, Psychadelica series

Continue reading “Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet Otome Game Review (Part 1)”

Backlog Crusader

Comprehensive player reviews, video game backlog slaying, and thoughts on video game culture.

Pinkie's Pokémon

Me talking about Pokémon and making my own stories.

Anketsu

Partecipa alla community ⛩️ Let your imagination fly

Little Mochii

everything otome and adorable

pumpkincrash

BL recommendations, K-POP stuff & TV and movie mania!!

Otome, Adventure, and Mystery

Reviews and retrospectives

Destiny Senpai

A blend of Anime & Black Girl Magic