Category: Review

Secret XXX – BL Manga Review

Being stuck at home for what is going on five months has been great for my TBR list (my gaming backlog not so much), so I’ve been on a bit of a manga buying spree. Granted almost all of my new buys have been BL manga, but lets chock that up to the boom in legitimate boys love releases and not on my status as a self-proclaimed fujoshi.

During one of my more recent hauls I snagged a copy of¬†Secret XXX¬†by Meguru Hinohara and I’m going to keep it real with you guys, I have never read anything else by this author. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on buying¬†Secret XXX,¬†the manga I actually wanted to buy was volume 1 of her ongoing series, Therapy Game‚ÄĒwhich I totally bought btw. It was only after I hit the order button that I discovered that Therapy Game is a spin off of Secret XXX,¬†and not wanting to miss out on any details, I placed a second order and I am so glad I did! I wasn’t familiar with Meguru Hinohara’s works before this, so I had no idea what to expect from this one volume story‚ÄĒwhat I got was a cute story that was equal parts sweet and spicy.

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Taisho x Alice Otome Review – A Twisted Fairytale Adventure

As usual I’m behind the rest of the otome games fandom‚ÄĒit’s been about a year since Pencil released their localization of the fairytale inspired otome game¬†Taisho x Alice: Episode I and I’m just getting around to playing it. Now, this isn’t the first time this game has made it’s way stateside. Many of us still remember the now infamous E2Gaming localization fiasco of 2017, that brought “Hiragana Alice” and “Katakana Alice” to prominence. But, it seems that the second time’s the charm for¬†Taisho x Alice,¬†with Molly Lee (known also as Verdelish) taking the reigns in this greatly improved English translation of the game‚ÄĒand fan response has been overwhelmingly positive.¬†So now, with the otome community’s collective stamp of approval I figured now was as good a time as any to give Taisho x Alice¬†a try and boy do I have some thoughts about it.

Taisho Alice Review 1.png

For those of you not familiar with the game‚ÄĒTaisho x Alice¬†is a re-imagining of popular fairytales, but with a twist‚ÄĒeach of the love interests are gender swapped versions of famous characters like Cinderella and Snow White! The game was originally released in Japan in 2015 for PC and was split into four episodes, each with two LIs. The first episode features Cinderella and Red Riding Hood‚Äôs stories; the second‚ÄĒKaguya and Gretel; the third episode‚ÄĒ Snow White and the Wizard; and the fourth and final episode focuses on Alice. In the game you play as an amnesiac young woman who must navigate the mysterious Looking Glass World and save your Prince Charming, guiding him towards his happily ever after.

Game Details


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Castle Mango – Boys Love Manga Review

A love hotel, the adult film industry, and a high school aged uke… sounds like the set up for a really sleazy, cliche boys love series. But don’t let the synopsis fool you, Castle Mango written by Narise Konohara and illustrated by Muku Ogura is a surprisingly heartfelt read. A hidden gem in an otherwise sex heavy genre, Castle Mango is a breath of fresh air! 

The series follows Yorozu Shirosaki, a studious high schooler whose family runs the love hotel, Castle Mango, where for a few hours, couples come to let off some steam. Yorozu sometimes helps run the front desk, but otherwise keeps his family‚Äôs business a secret from the rest of the world. His ‚Äúquiet‚ÄĚ life is interrupted when an adult film director, Togame, decides to use Castle Mango as the set of their next porno shoot and he is mistaken for one of the ‚Äúextras‚ÄĚ in the film. Embarrassed and ticked off, he vows to give the director a wide berth, but when it seems like Togame has his eyes set on his younger brother, Yorozu devises a plan. So, he tricks a drunk Togame into believing they slept together, in hopes of diverting his attention. Yorozu thought it would be enough to scare Togame off, he never imagined Togame would actually ask him to be his BOYFRIEND?!¬†

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In Blood – Demo Review

In Blood is the newest visual novel from indie game developer Jaime Scribbles Games, the creative team behind Pinewood Island and As We Know It. Follow Eleadora, a young woman who finds herself drawn into a world of supernatural horrors, when she unwittingly makes a bargain with an ancient god. In Blood brings together elements of Gothic romance and Lovecraftian horror to create a darker and edgier narrative experience reminiscent of games like Demonheart and Cinders, which are notable for their mature storytelling and characters.

In Blood Demo Review Nyarbalte

So, I had high expectations going into this demo and now that the Kickstarter campaign is live, I figured this was a good time to share my thoughts about the game and the premise. At first glance, In Blood¬†put me in the mind of a CW supernatural drama series, a la¬†Vampire Diaries‚ÄĒa dark and edgy supernatural romance with attractive 20 somethings…and surprise¬†surprise,¬†I am a sucker for these types of stories!

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Chronotopia: Second Skin’

Hey Blerdy Tribe, it‚Äôs Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I‚Äôm spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party‚ÄĒevery Monday I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me‚ÄĒthere are almost no ‚Äúdiverse game‚ÄĚ tags on major game sites‚ÄĒso, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color‚Ķ unless you already know where to look.

Chronotopia Hair Combing Scene

This week, I‚Äôm spotlighting the dark fantasy visual novel, Chronotopia: Second Skin¬†from Tr√§umendes M√§dchen. Unlike some of the previous games in this segment,¬†Chronotopia¬†is still in development, but a beta demo is available for free.¬†Chronotopia¬†is a retelling of the Donkeyskin fairytale and promises to be a more mature take on the tale.¬†Princess Kionna lives a peaceful existence in her castle, enjoying her days with her best friend and confidant, Nahima. That is until her father, gone mad since the death of his beloved, decides he should wed her instead. Kionna has to find a way to escape from this fate, but how? She doesn’t know it yet, but it’s the beginning of a long nightmare that will take her to the edges of madness…

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A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 Game Review – Press Play on this Engaging Retro Yuri Romance

A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986¬†is the debut LGBTQ positive yuri visual novel developed by indie game studio Oracle and Bone.¬†¬†Follow the story of Michelle and Sam, and how their chance meeting evolves into a deeper relationship. Taking us through the various stages of their relationship‚ÄĒfrom their first fateful encounter to the confusion and joy of falling in love. Set in vibrant Hong Kong¬†in the year¬†1986, it is an original story about love, family, and culture. Inspired by Hong Kong cinema and 80’s anime,¬†A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986¬†is loving homage to one of the most memorable periods of time.

A Summer's End Hong Kong 1986 Game Review

Game Details

  • Yuri, Romance, 80’s Inspired, Story-Based
  • Available on¬†Windows, Mac, & Linux¬†|¬†Steam¬†
  • Price: $14.99
  • 5+ hours of gameplay
  • Optional Adult Content Patch

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Without a Voice Yuri Game Review – A Melancholy Fairytale

Without a Voice¬†is a dark fantasy yuri visual novel developed by L3 for Yuri Game Jam 2016. The game borrows elements from fairy tales with some subtle nods to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, but with a darker twist. Without a Voice¬†follows Cassidy, an exhiled princess living alone in a small cottage in the woods. It’s a far cry from her comfortable life in the palace in the kingdom of Veromere, but she has made the best of her circumstances spending her days exploring the forest and reading. One day, while out on a walk she encounters a mysterious woman resting in the shade of an ancient wisteria tree. Captivated by the beautiful woman, Cassidy spends her days getting to know Elowen–but, unbeknownst to her, the wheels of fate have already begun to turn, and the pair will have to fight for their happily ever after.

Without a Voice Review 1

Without a Voice¬†takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to get through and there are 8 unique endings to unlock. It’s available for PC either through itch.io or via the Steam platform. Like most of the older fairy tales,¬†Without a Voice¬†does get pretty dark in some of the bad end which can be triggering to folks sensitive to blood and/or death.

Game Details

  • Yuri, Romance, Fantasy, Story-Based
  • Available on¬†Windows, Mac, & Linux¬†|¬†Steam¬†
  • Price: Free
  • 8 Endings
  • 2-3 hours of gameplay

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What Did You Eat Yesterday? – Volume 1 Manga Review

I am a huge boys love fan, but looking back at some of the series I own, a lot of them aren’t exactly what you’d call “wholesome”. I’m not ashamed of this, I like smutty BL as much as the next fujoshi, but every so often I like to pick up something a bit more tame‚ÄĒso during one of my RightStuf hauls I snagged a few copies of Fumi Yoshinaga’s¬†What Did You Eat Yesterday?¬†I’d run across the series a few years ago in the dealers room at a Con and back then I wasn’t ready to invest in a longer series, especially when each volume is $12.95 a pop. But, when faced with extra time at home, I figured now was a good time to start adding to my manga library and I have not regretted my purchase! What Did You Eat Yesterday?¬†is one of the most wholesome boys love manga I have read in a long time.

A hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food. After long days at work, either in the law firm or the hair salon, Shiro and Kenji will always have down time together by the dinner table, where they can discuss their troubles, hash out their feelings and enjoy delicately prepared home cooked meals!

-Synopsis

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Night in the Woods Game Review – Growing Up is Scary AF

Every so often I switch things up and play a game that¬†isn’t¬†an otome game, sometimes I need a break from the rose colored world of bishies and romance‚ÄĒwhat can I say, variety is the spice of life. Since picking up my Switch I’ve been branching out more and the eShop has been pretty accommodating, it’s a treasure trove of indie titles. On one of my eShop browsing expeditions, I picked up Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods.¬†This wasn’t completely a blind buy, I’d heard a bit about the game before, generally positive feedback, so, I figured it was a safe bet.

Night in the Woods Review 5

In¬†Night in the Woods,¬†you play as Mae, a 20-year old college sophomore, returning to her hometown of Possum Springs after deciding to drop out of school. But, nothing is as she left it‚ÄĒthe town is on the brink of collapse after the closure of the coal mines and her old friends have changed in the two years they’ve been apart. While Mae struggles to reconnect with her friends and family, she is plagued by strange dreams that may be linked to a series of mysterious disappearances and sinister secrets some in the town would rather stay buried.

Game Details 

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A New Life Game Review – How Will You Fill the Pages of Your Story?

Angela He just dropped her newest visual novel,¬†a new life the sequel to her game, missed messages‚ÄĒwhich explores the importance of communication, as we explore the relationship between a young college student and her roommate, May. Despite living together, the two rarely interact and when May begins to distance herself further, you must decide whether or not you will reach out and bridge the gap.¬†missed messages¬†deals with some heavier themes related to self harm and suicide, which can be triggering for some individuals. However, despite that¬†missed messages manages to tell an emotionally driven story that will stay with you long after it reaches its conclusion.

A New Life Review 1

a new life brings back the main characters from the first game, following August and May as they embark on their happily ever after together as a couple. But, sometimes life has other plans‚ÄĒa new life¬†gives us an intimate look at their relationship as they navigate the emotional highs and lows of life and love.¬†Like Angela’s previous visual novels,¬†a new life¬†doesn’t hold back on the emotional punches and there are a few heart-wrenching moments, but ultimately, it is worth the experience.

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Last Day of Spring – Game Review

Last Day of Spring is the sequel to npckc’s LGBTQ positive visual novel,¬†One Night, Hot Springs‚ÄĒwhich followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The game focuses on Haru’s experiences during the trip and the affect they have on her‚ÄĒOne Night, Hot Springs¬†delves into many of the anxieties Haru has over not being treated as the woman she is and while it does have its fair share of heavy moments, the game is ultimately very positive.

Last Day of Spring Review 8

During the trip, Haru meets Manami’s friend Erika and while they have a shaky start, there are opportunities for the two to spend more time together and eventually become friends.¬†Last Day of Spring,¬†picks up a few months after the first game and follows Erika, who at this point has become really good friends with Haru. At the start of the game Erika learns from Manami that it’s Haru’s birthday and decides they should do something to celebrate. So she sets out to plan a special spa day for her, Haru, and Manami.

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘Divilethion’

I originally planned to keep my NaNoRenO 2020 reviews contained to the month of May, but what the hell, I’m having a lot of fun with this‚ÄĒso I’ll keep cranking these bad boys out till I’m satisfied! Next up is the dark comedy fantasy visual novel, Divilethion¬†developed by Nemlei. This is their second NaNoRenO submission, the first being,¬†Jack-in-a-Castle,¬†and like their first title,¬†Divilethion¬†has the same smart writing and a macabre comedic tone that will have you in stitches!

Divilethion Review 1

You play as Lynn, one of the high priests serving the benevolent and illustrious god, Divilethion, the protector of your village. But, Divilethion’s protection comes at a price, a trifle really‚ÄĒthe occasional human sacrifice‚ÄĒno big deal. Lynn has more important things to worry about, like his strained relationship with his younger brother Marrow. But, when you’re the high priest to a high maintenance (and jealous) god like Divilethion, sometimes sacrifices have to be made…

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘Love Rewind: A Magical Time Travel Romance’

Full steam ahead with another NaNoRenO 2020 game, this time around I’m looking at¬†Love Rewind: A Magical Time Travel Romance, a fantasy romance visual novel developed as a collaboration between three game developers‚ÄĒOmelette, Foleso, and Illusia. It’s not uncommon to see devs collaborating on a single game for NaNoRenO and there are a handful of collaborative efforts among this year’s submissions. I covered Foleso’s solo NaNoRenO 2020 submission, Demon Kiss, though the other two devs are relatively unknown to me, but after playing¬†Love Rewind¬†I’m definitely going to have to check out some of their other works soon.

Love Rewind 1

After an accident 10 years ago, Yuki fled civilization to live out the rest of his days as a hermit in the woods. One day, his solitude is broken when he finds a dying cat outside his cabin. Unwilling to let the poor creature die, he takes the cat home in hopes of nursing it back to health. To his surprise, the cat is actually a guardian spirit named Aurelia, and she is duty bound to grant Yuki his deepest desire as gratitude for saving her life. With her powers Aurelia gives Yuki a chance to correct the mistakes of his past…

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Date Warp’

Hey there Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it‚Äôs Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I‚Äôm spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party‚ÄĒevery Monday I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me‚ÄĒthere are almost no ‚Äúdiverse game‚ÄĚ tags on major game sites‚ÄĒso, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color‚Ķ unless you already know where to look.

Date Warp 1

This week, I’m spotlighting the sci-fi mystery romance visual novel, Date Warp,¬†from Hanako Game. This was one of the first English otome games I played when I started out on my journey into otome hell and even 10 years later, this game still stands up!¬†Date Warp¬†follows Janet a college student who left her dorm one night to go on a blind date with one of the most popular guys on campus‚ÄĒand never returned. Was she kidnapped? Murdered? Solve puzzles and piece together clues to uncover the truth… but, be warned the truth might not be as straightforward as you’d hoped…

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘Dream Dilemma!’

This has turned into quite the undertaking and while I’m pretty sure I won’t get through every submission by the end of the month, I have enjoyed the games I’ve played so far. For those of you just joining the party‚ÄĒall month long I’ve been working my way through submissions for the annual one month game jam, NaNoRenO, which is usually held between March and April. There were over 100 submissions for NaNoRenO 2020 created by newbie devs and veterans alike, covering a wide range of genres so I highly recommend checking a few out if you have the chance.

Dream Dilemma 1

Next up on this tour of NaNoRenO games is the short fantasy visual novel,¬†Dream Dilemma¬†from AmesyFlo. This one’s a bit on the short side, taking roughly a half hour to get through, but it has a total of five endings that are each worth exploring.¬†Dream Dilemma¬†follows Jane, a seemingly ordinary girl who has been having strange dreams featuring a handsome boy. While his identity is a mystery she can’t help but feel like they’ve met somewhere before. Unbeknownst to her, there are greater powers at work and Jane and her dream boy are just the unwitting pawns in a life or death riddle game that could spell disaster for the pair should they fail…

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – Flour Hour

It was only a matter of time before I unearthed another boys love title from among the NaNoRenO 2020 submissions. I’ve said this before, but it deserves repeating‚ÄĒboys love games tend to fall into one of two categories‚ÄĒcomedy or angsty drama. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part if you take any given boys love title you can pretty much place it neatly into one of those two categories.

Sayumi101’s boys love visual novel, Flour Hour falls squarely into the latter category‚ÄĒeven the synopsis describes it as a “light-hearted (probably unnecessarily drama-heavy) BL”. And I’m not going to lie, Flour Hour¬†reads like an angsty, drama heavy 90’s boys love manga, touching on just about every cliche in the book and yet I couldn’t help but get invested in story and characters Sayumi and their team created.

Flour Hour 1

The game follows Yuki, a reserved baker who has taken over his ailing grandmother’s flower shop and turned it into a moderately successful bakery. Things are going well for him until a Lawyer informs him that he owes a considerable amount of money and that if he can’t pay, he will have to turn over the property. But, with the shop’s meager earnings, he isn’t sure he will be able to come up with the money in time… to add insult to injury, his ex suddenly bulldozes his way back into his life stirring up feelings Yuki thought he had long since buried.

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Mermaid Splash! Passion Festival’

Hey there Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s Melanin Monday here on Blerdy Otome and that means I’m spotlighting another Melanin Friendly Game! For those of you just joining the party‚ÄĒevery Monday I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with just a bit more representation. As a blerd and a gamer, I am always on the lookout for representation in my games. This is largely a personal project for me‚ÄĒthere are almost no “diverse game” tags on major game sites‚ÄĒso, it can be pretty difficult find games with characters of color… unless you already know where to look.

Mermaid Splash 1

This week, I’m spotlighting the debut visual novel,¬†Mermaid Splash! Passion Festival,¬†from Sofdelux Studio‚ÄĒmade up of NomnomNami, creator of¬†Syrup and Ultimate Sweet¬†and¬†DarkChibiShadow,¬†a comic creator who also makes visual novels on the side.¬†Mermaid Splash! is a short yuri visual novel that follows CiCi, a mermaid who wants to participate in the upcoming Passion Festival. There’s only one hitch… she doesn’t really have anything that she’s passionate in‚ÄĒso it’s up to you to help her hone her skills and focus on a specific hobby for the festival. You have just one month tho help CiCi get her act together and maybe you’ll help her find love in the process!

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – ‘#influenced’

There is such a huge variety of titles among the annual NaNoRenO submissions, that you never truly know what is going to pique your interest. I’m just blindly picking games at random, giving priority to games that I find¬†aesthetically¬†pleasing‚ÄĒit’s shallow, I know, but when there are over 100 games to get through can you blame me for picking game with pretty art first?

So, this is how I found myself playing Pilot_Star’s kinetic novel, #influenced, which I suppose is fitting given it’s focus on the superficial world of internet influencers. With it’s chic character designs and bright coloring, #infuenced is definitely one of the better looking titles in this year’s lineup‚ÄĒbut beneath it’s cute appearance is slow burn horror story that doubles as a surprisingly clever social commentary.

#influenced 1

The game follows Dolly Pearson, an up-and-coming influencer on the social media site Instapix. But, despite visiting all the cutest cafes and taking flawless selfies, she’s frustrated with her meager 5K follower count. Everything changes when she befriends Instapix star Vanessa, who has just made the move from New York to her town. Seeing this as her chance to make it big, Dolly asks her for a few tips and Vanessa is happy to lend her new bestie a helping hand… just so long as Dolly is willing to do whatever it takes…

While I don’t plan on spoiling the game, I feel obligated to note that, #influenced¬†warrants a trigger warning for graphic descriptions of self-harm and suicide.¬†

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – Red-Handed Robin

I’m switching gears a bit from the last NaNoRenO 2020 title and I have to admit I was really looking forward to this release.¬†Mystery, romance, adventure‚ÄĒHitOrMissy’s Red-Handed Robin¬†has everything I love in my visual novels! This is the team’s second game release following Fetch Quest,¬†their submission for NaNoRenO 2019 (which is still on my must play list).

This time around the team brings us a good ol’ fashion crime fiction adventure following Robin, a career thief and her loyal bodyguard, Jay as they attempt to flee the country on the brand new luxury train, the Whirlwind Express. With the spoils of her last heist close at hand, Robin is ready to make a clean break… that is until she runs into her childhood friend turned detective… What’s a gal to do? Can Robin lie her way to freedom or will her cover be blown by the handsome detective? Red-Handed Robin¬†is a two part release, and as of right now only part one is available, so the game does end in a bit of a cliffhanger. But, there is still plenty to explore in this fun first installment.

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Arcade Spirits’

It’s Monday and with it comes another Melanin Friendly game! For those of you just joining the party‚ÄĒevery Monday here on Blerdy Otome I spotlight games that feature black and brown characters for anyone looking for titles with a bit more representation. It started as something I did just for myself, since growing up as a nerdy Black kid in the south, I didn’t really get too many characters that looked like me in the games I played. Things are so much different now, and I want to celebrate each and every “Melanin Friendly” game I find!

Arcade Spirits Characters.jpg

Main Cast L to R: Ashley, Gavin, Naomi, Percy, Queenbee, and Teo

This week, I’m spotlighting¬†Arcade Spirits, an 80’s themed romance visual novel developed by Fiction Factory Games. Set in an alternate timeline where the 1983 video game crash never happened, you play as a new hire at the Funplex game arcade. It’s your job to keep the peace in one of the most popular arcades in the city, while trying to figure out your next step in life. At Funplex, you’ll meet a whole host of unique characters and maybe even find a little romance along the way.

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Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman – Graphic Novel Review

When I was faced with the prospect of weeks/months stuck inside my one bedroom apartment, I began stockpiling things to keep me entertained while I waited out the pandemic raging outside. Among my early purchases were several volumes of manga, some games, and print copies of Alice Oseman’s ongoing webcomic series, Heartstopper.¬†I’d been seeing snippets of this series on Tumblr for ages, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to another ongoing (see: D.N. Angel is the Reason I have Commitment Issues with Ongoing Series). But, with an overabundance of free time on my hand, I figured now was as good a time as any to give the series a try, so I plunked down and ordered not one, but, all three of the available print volumes from Amazon. The series is also available online over on Tapas, but I think there is just something special about holding a physical book in your hands… and I will readily admit that¬†Heartstopper¬†was more than worth the investment!

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between Рfor fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realized.

Heartstopper¬†is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

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Guilty Parade Demo Review – A Quirky Wartime Visual Novel

“One war. Two sides…”¬†This perfectly encapsulates the premise of Nozori Games’s interactive visual novel.¬†Guilty Parade.¬† Experience two sides of a military conflict, by stepping into the shoes of two very different protagonists on either side of the barricades. On one side is Nemo‚ÄĒan amnesiac young man who is taken in by the Commander of an unusual squadron of soldiers. Though he doesn’t remember much about his past, he is thrust headfirst into their cause as he and his new comrades attempt to investigate a mysterious crime. On the other side is Lien‚ÄĒa child of war, desperate to avenge the death of his mothers at the hand of the¬†black apostates.¬†There are always two sides to every conflict and¬†Guilty Parade¬†gives players a chance to experience both as you navigate the complexities of war through the eyes of two characters right there on the front lines.

Guilty Parade is definitely one of the more unusual demos I have played in quite some time. It features an eclectic cast of quirky characters that you’d expect to see in a comedic anime‚ÄĒnot a post apocalyptic wartime visual novel, and yet strangely enough… it works. Guilty Parade‘s unique cast is by far it’s most distinguishing features, giving what normally would have been a grisly story a sense of levity. Though, despite it’s eccentricities,¬†Guilty Parade¬†is a wartime story, and it takes great pains to depict the pros and cons of military conflict.

Game Details 

  • Available on¬†Windows, Mac, & Linux¬†and¬†Steam
  • 3 hours of gameplay
  • Text available in English and –†—É—Ā—Ā–ļ–ł–Ļ

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Errant Kingdom’

I’m re-purposing my¬†Melanin Friendly Games¬†Black History Month project as a weekly game spotlight segment where I hype up visual novels and games that feature Black and Brown characters in prominent roles. As a black woman gamer, representation in the media I love is important and I want to celebrate the games that make the extra effort to include a bit of color in their lineup.

And today‚Äôs Melanin Friendly Game pick is…

Errant Kingdom¬†is a queer, high fantasy visual novel and the sophomore title from Lunaris Games, the developers behind the episodic supernatural fantasy, When the Night Comes. I loved their first game, for it’s immersive supernatural fantasy story and for the inclusion of so many well written Black and Brown characters, both in the main cast and the supporting cast! While they’re relatively new on the indie scene, they have made a name for themselves with their engaging stories and characters and their phenomenal social media presence.

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – Dear Devere

This is such a different type of game from the ones I usually review on this site, I tend to focus on more interactive visual novels and otome games, and occasionally I dabble into the world of platformers and adventure games. So when Katy133 emailed me about her newest visual novel,¬†Dear Devere, I will admit that I was at a bit of a loss, since it wasn’t my usual jam. I’d be more inclined to label Dear Devere as interactive fiction or a kinetic novel than a visual novel, since you don’t really influence the story by making choices or anything like that. Rather, the story unfolds through a series of letters written by two strangers.

Dear Devere

Set in 1935 Dear Devere follows Angela Bard‚ÄĒa quiet, solitary woman living in the Scottish isles. After a disagreement with a woman in her town, Angela decides to write a letter venting her frustrations, which she leaves under a rock at the edge of the nearby forest. She is of course surprised to discover that someone has replied to her letter‚ÄĒthe mysterious Mr. Devere. Who is this Mr. Devere? And how is it that he’s come across Angela’s letters? The truth is something wholly unexpected and yet, worth finding out.

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – Demon Kiss

I’m committing myself to playing through these NaNoRenO 2020 game releases and next up is Demon Kiss,¬†a short indie boys love visual novel from Foleso. This is my first experience with this dev, but the art looked nice so I figured I could give it a go. The game follows Felix Wright, an IT guy, who’d much rather stay at home and play his favorite MMORPG with his online friends. Fed up with his antisocial attitude, his bubbly bestie manages to convince him to be her plus one for a Halloween house party. But what should have been a night full of watered down booze and awkward socializing turns into a night of horror when a hunky demon lord gate crashes!

Demon Kiss 1.png


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Full Service 18+ BL Game Review – Find Your “Happy Ending”

Black Monkey Pro is the gift that just keeps on giving. After their disbandment back in 2015, I thought I was done with the company and their… unique boys love game offerings. But, lo in 2017, a kind reader informed me that BMP had risen from the ashes and re-branded themselves as Herculion, retaining many of the original staff. But, the cherry on top of this delightful revelation is that they were already hard at work on their “first” boys love visual novel,¬†Full Service. Given my less than enthusiastic opinion of BMP’s previous titles, I was wary of anything remotely related to the BMP brand, but I played the first demo for the game and I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it‚ÄĒI found that I was actually looking forward to the official release!

Full Service 1.png

Full Service follows Tomoki Nakamoto,  a workaholic looking for a little excitement in his life. One day, he gets invited to visit the local spa, where he meets a group of hunky masseurs who are more than happy to help him relieve a little excess stress. Suddenly his mundane life is about to get much more exciting.

*There are some uncensored NSFW images towards the end of this review*

Game Details

  • Available for¬†Windows, Mac, Linux, Steam
  • Cost: $39.99
  • 7 pursuable characters (male)
  • Gameplay Length: 60+ hours (15 hrs per route)
  • Partial Voice Acting (English and Japanese)

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NaNoRenO 2020 Review – Enamored Risks

The annual one month game jam, NaNoRenO 2020+ has come and gone bringing with it over 100 new game titles from a wide range of genres from veteran game devs and newbies alike. NaNoRenO is a treasure trove for indie gems and throughout the next month or so I’ll be reviewing quite a few of them. Since these games tend to be on the shorter side, rather than writing the usual long-form reviews, these will be mini reviews.

First up is¬†Enamored Risks¬†developed by Crystal Game Works, the team behind the josei romance visual novel, That Which Binds Us¬†and the supernatural romance,¬†Memories on the Shoreline.¬†This is the third game I’ve played from the team, and I think they’ve finally hit their stride, Enamored Risks¬†is a much more grounded title, than their earlier offerings (at least the ones I tried). The game follows Alex, a recently emancipated nursing student, struggling to find herself now that she is free from her overbearing parents. One day she overhears some classmates discussing a mysterious urban exploration social media account full of photos of ruined buildings, rooftop views, and rooms trapped in time, desperate add a bit of excitement to her life, Alex decides to a little exploring of her own. Along the way she meets three urban explorer who help her uncover sides of herself she never imagined existed.

Enamored Risk 1

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Up Until The End – Game Review

I got this request months ago and while I’d like to say that the reason it took so long to review this game was because I was busy with real life obligations that wouldn’t be entirely true. The truth is, at first glance Up Until the End¬†just didn’t grab my attention‚ÄĒthe premise was definitely unique, but the art really didn’t do it for me, so I pushed it further and further down my list. I am not proud to admit that I judged this game before even playing it, but I am human and while reviewers strive to be impartial, it’s not exactly an easy thing to do.

So, with the prospect of being stuck at home indefinitely due to COVID-19, I decided to revisit Letitia Lambrechts debut visual novel, Up Until the End¬†and I will admit that I owe her an apology for waiting so long to play this game. It’s not perfect, but, I may have been too hasty in judging¬†Up Until the End,¬†it is a rather enjoyable and inventive story that is worth the playthrough!

This was supposed to be an ordinary day, in an ordinary life. But it isn’t.
You were in the town library, reading a good book when‚ĶYou don’t really remember. You know you passed out. When you wake up, you are surrounded by flames !

Will you get out of danger? Will you create bonds with your companions? And maybe, will you find love on the way?

-Synopsis

Game Details

  • Available for¬†Windows, Mac, Linux¬†
  • Price:¬†Pay What You Want
  • 1 optional pursuable male character
  • 15 Unique Endings
  • Gameplay Length: 2-5 hours

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My Burning Heart BL Game Review – A Steamy Arabian Nights Fantasy

My Burning Heart is a story set in a 1001 Nights world.

Our protagonist,¬†Adnan, gets sold as a slave and, instead of being sent to work in the fields, as he expected, he ends up in a Sultan’s harem… Although they try to trick him with good words and promises of being well fed and no physical punishments, he decides to comply with the Sultan’s orders… but only while he plans his escape from the palace.

-Synopsis

As a Black gamer I tend to shy away from games that depict slavery, for obvious reasons‚ÄĒit makes me uncomfortable. Especially when slavery is depicted in romance themed games, since there is a degree of power imbalance that undermines any perceived notion of consent, because lets be real for a second‚ÄĒslaves cannot defy the whims of their masters, and as such are subject to whatever treatment their masters see fit. I take particular offense to games that tend to sexualize the relationship between a master and a slave, because by definition these relationships are inherently non consensual, since slaves don’t have the agency to reject the advances of their masters.

My Burning Heart Rashid 2

So, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma with Ertal Games’s Arabian nights themed visual novel,¬†My Burning Heart‚ÄĒits very premise is built on the dubious consent of a slave/master relationship‚ÄĒthe protagonist, Adnan, is brought to the palace of the sultan to be his new harem slave. Despite the benevolence of his master, Adnan plots to escape his comfortable life in the palace, but in order to do so he will need to give himself over to the Sultan. *internal scream*

Game Details 


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Behind Story – BL Manhwa Review

Like many of you, I’ve spent quite a bit of time confined to my apartment, waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to blow over. And while the bulk of my time spent teleworking during the week, I do need a bit of a break from the monotony of my computer screen. So I’ve taken to buying manga on Amazon and in the two weeks I’ve been social distancing I’ve amassed quite a few new titles. Of course, most of these are boys love¬† (which seems to be pretty much all I buy now), which given my not so secret fujoshi tendencies shouldn’t be a surprise (especially if you follow my Insta).

While I definitely snagged some interesting stuff, the one that I was most interested in starting was the manhwa,¬†Behind Story by Narae Ahn. Now, some backstory‚ÄĒAmazon has been suggesting this to me for WEEKS and while I like manhwa, I kind of find their stories a bit on the soap opera side when it comes to drama. And BL manhwa tends to really crank that shit up with their angsty drama and penchant for tragedy, and… I really need to be in the mood for that. So, I kinda dragged my feet a bit. It’s just 3 volumes long so it’s not as big of an investment as say a longer running shounen or shojo series and it was on sale when I got it, so I figured I could do worse.

Behind Story Manhwa (1).jpg

Behind Story¬†is the debut title of Narae Ahn, so it is a bit rough in places, but despite some flaws I actually really enjoyed reading this story. It’s more on the shounen-ai side of things, with very little in the way of actual sex, BUT, it does deal with some intense themes like: non-consentual sex, drugs, and abuse. There are a few characters that have been the victims of sexual assault and while most boys love media tends to sexualize rape, Narae Ahn makes it very clear from the get go that this is not meant to be taken lightly! These are traumatic experiences and they are handled (for the most part) in a realistic way.

Where to Read: Lezhin (Digital) | Netcomics (Digital) | Amazon (Print)

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[Bite- Sized Review] The Charming Empire was kind of DULL

Hey guys! I know I’ve been kind of silent lately (I’ve been making the best of my extended time at home), but this past weekend I finally got around to playing The Charming Empire¬†and let’s just say it left much to be desired. I’m, no stranger to Dogenzaka Labs and their rather…¬†interesting¬†otome game localizations. I played both Men of Yoshiwara games, and while I find them entertaining, they have many, many flaws. I’ve also played a few of their mobile releases, which are best enjoyed after a few glasses of wine…

For those of you that don’t know, Dogenzaka Labs has been the main localizing company for most of D3 Publisher’s English otome releases and I’m gonna be real with you guys they’re all pretty basic. The Men of Yoshiwara is by and large the best of the bunch, and over the years has garnered quite the fanbase in the west, however, they’re not what I’d call top tier otome. They’re entertaining, sure, but there’s just a little something missing that keeps them from being truly “great”.

Charming Epire 1

Most Dogenzaka Labs games deliver a very surface level otome gaming experience, with characters and stories that while enjoyable, are largely forgettable. If you look at their games on Steam, aside from Yoshiwara,¬†you’ll find that most have pretty mixed reviews from fans. Most fans know to set the bar fairly low before diving into another one of their games, so, I didn’t go into Charming Empire¬†expecting this to be on par with any of the Otomate/Idea Factory releases. However, I was still pleasantly surprised by how completely underwhelming this game was as a whole.

Game Details

  • Available for Steam, Nintendo Switch
  • Price:¬†$29.99 USD
  • 5 pursuable male characters
  • Gameplay Length: 2-10 hours
  • Full Japanese Voice Acting

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘One Thousand and One Days’

Hey Hey! I took an unexpected break this past weekend, I took a blogging break to enjoy my new Switch and do some adulting. I wanna get back into the swing of things with another Melanin Friendly Game pick. This time around I’m covering a game that I’ve covered before, but I don’t see many people talking about, which is a shame because it’s really quite impressive.

For today’s pick I’m covering Asif G.‚Äôs episodic Arabian Nights inspired fantasy visual novel, One Thousand and One Days. The game borrows heavily from ancient Persian mythology and Islamic lore AND features an all ethnic cast that draw inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Mongolian cultures. Like¬†Nusantara,¬†this game focuses on a culture and region you don’t see explored very often in games‚ÄĒsure you get otome games that borrow the aesthetic of Arabian cultures, but you don’t see any one taking the time to really go in depth.¬†One Thousand and One Days,¬†does that and more while also weaving an intriguing fantasy adventure that will keep you captivated through each new chapter.

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘PAIRS’

Thanks to my mom I’m a casual Trekkie, and I have fond memories of watching a handful of episodes with her during marathons when I was younger. I’ve even gone on to watch through the original series on Netflix and Next Generation whenever I can catch a marathon. There is just something about exploring new worlds and interacting with alien life and learning about their cultures that I find fascinating. And¬†Star Trek¬†was one of the first sci-fi series (that I know of) to embrace diversity in a time where seeing folks from different racial and ethnic backgrounds just wasn’t a thing. Nichelle Nichols’s portrayal of Uhura on the original series was and still is one of the most culturally significant Black roles ever! Fast-forward today and it’s not uncommon to see a few characters of color woven in to most mainstream series. Just look at Star Trek: Discovery, Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, the first Black female lead in¬†Star Trek¬†series‚ÄĒwhich is absolutely monumental!

So, when I came across the 2017 NaNoRenO title,¬†PAIRS‚ÄĒa sci-fi romance that not only embraces diversity, but also had not one but TWO Black female leads… I knew I had add it to my game library. PAIRS follows two unique couples‚ÄĒCarmelita and Ricardo, two heroes in training and James, Kitten Pink (Noiya), a human baker and an alien warrior princess‚ÄĒ in the midst of an ongoing alien war between Earth and the invading Naian people.

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘Magical Warrior Diamond Heart’

One of my first experiences with Japanese culture and anime came from watching Sailor Moon after school. Though the American dub of the series was HEAVILY edited, I was enamored with the series and tuned in every day to see Serena (yes, I know Usagi) and the rest of the Sailor Scouts kicking ass and protecting their city from evil… and Tuxedo Mask, he was like my first anime crush! I can STILL remember singing the opening theme at the top of my lungs much to the annoyance of my mom and brothers, but watching Sailor Moon sparked a love affair with anime and the magical girl genre that has lasted years…

I love me some¬†Sailor Moon, but there weren’t exactly any Black sailor scouts (except for Pluto… I’m gonna go ahead and claim her for the culture), not that that stopped me from wanting to be a sailor scout. But, looking back, I would have loved to have seen someone that looked like me fighting along side the rest of the sailor scouts. So when I came across Xeregha Lopez’s magical girl yuri/otome visual novel,¬†Magical Warrior Diamond Heart¬†it set my little magical girl heart all a flutter!!

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Melanin Friendly Games – ‘A Troll’s Fairy Tale’

Hey Hey!! Day 2 of my “mostly” month long shoutout to melanin friendly games!! It’s Black History Month, so for the remainder of the month, I want to write mini reviews spotlighting games that feature Black and Brown characters in prominent roles! As a Black woman and gamer, I am always on the lookout for games that feature characters that look like me and even more so, stories from creators of color. Because there is just something beautiful about creators of color telling their own stories!

And today’s Melanin Friendly Game pick has both!¬†

Y’all may know S-morishita for her delightful webcomic series Catch Me! Fight Me! Love Me!, but did you know she also released a game too?! S-morishita is a triple threat- Artist, Writer, and Game Developer! Back in 2013, she released the fantasy romance visual novel, A Troll’s Fairy Tale, for the one month Game Jam, NaNoRenO. The game follows a 24 year old troll, named Acacia, who despite not being a beautiful dainty princess, wants to have her own fairytale romance just like the ones she’s heard about in stories. But, can a troll really have her own happily ever after? Join Acacia on her quest for the perfect fairytale romance and find out!

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[First Thoughts] Seiyuu Danshi – BL Game Review

I think a disclaimer is in order with this game, since I’ve only really finished one route in Seiyuu Danshi, so this isn’t a “full game review” in the traditional sense. However, I kind of feel like I got a pretty good sense of the game as a whole after my first playthrough and I’d like to share my “experience”.

A large part of the gameplay is dedicated to the stats raising, but with elements of a life simulator thrown in, giving players full control of the game’s protagonist, Haato as he navigates his career as a voice actor and his relationships‚ÄĒboth platonic and romantic‚ÄĒwith the game’s colorful and expansive cast of characters.

When I initially played the demo for Meyaoi Games’s boys love stats raiser Seiyuu Danshi back in 2016, I was excited for all the interesting features, stats raising included. It was a fresh idea at the time and at least in the limited time frame of the demo, the stats raising wasn’t too overbearing and felt much more casual than I expected going in. So, when the final version of the game was released I was eager to see the fruits of the developers’ labors and I’m not gonna lie, Seiyuu Danshi is a pretty impressive game.

Game Details

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux 
  • Price: $32.99 USD
  • 5 pursuable male characters (and 2 Secret Characters)
  • Gameplay Length: 60+ hours
  • Partial Voice Acting

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Bite-Sized Review – Nightshade

Where to Get the Game: Steam

A little while ago I went on a recovery mission into my backlog and I “rescued” a few titles from the depths. One of those titles was¬†Nightshade. When this game was originally released I didn’t have the money to purchase it, so a friend of mine from an otome group I’m in gifted it to me on Steam. Even then, I didn’t immediately play the game, and I have to wonder that if I had played it back then when the entire otome games community was hyped as hell for this game, maybe, just maybe my opinion might have been different. But, I didn’t and I’m gonna be upfront with you guys, I did not enjoy this game and the only reason I even finished the game was out of a moral obligation to the friend who bought it for me the game.

I went in expecting¬†Nightshade¬†to be this epic historical fantasy on par with the much beloved otome darling¬†Hakuoki,¬†but what I got was a bland and largely forgettable gaming experience. Everything was just so meh, it just didn’t WOW me the way I thought it would. The premise was okay, the characters were okay, and the story itself was just… you guessed it,¬†okay.¬†It just didn’t stand out at all. Everything was just so predictable and unoriginal, HELL if you’re looking for a better game with shinobi, I highly recommend the mobile game Destiny Ninja¬†it has its moments, but at least it’s FUN. Nightshade¬†just played it too safe.

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Haikyuu to the Top is Finally Here! – Thoughts on Episode 1 “Introductions”

Haikyuu-To-the-Top-Visual.jpgWe’ve been waiting almost four years for this new season and after watching episode 1 – Introductions, I can honestly say it was worth the wait! The series is back and in full form, the cast is back and everyone gets their fair share of screentime. I missed my Haikyu!! boys so it was nice to kind of get reacquainted with everyone. The first half of the episode was just so nostalgic, everything was just so spot on, from Kageyama and Hinata having one of their usual pissing contests right off the bat to the third years just being so over the younger team member’s shenanigans to Tsukki being so smug about surpassing 190 cm. All my old¬†Haikyu!! just came flooding back full force and this is just the first episode!

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Love Brings You Home – Arata Yuki Main Story Review

With all the flashier titles in their catalog, Love Calls You Home is one of their underrated gems. It doesn’t come with all the gimmicks and angst of some of their more popular Otome Romance titles, so it’s pretty easy to overlook this unassuming slice-of-life romance. An overworked young woman finds herself in close quarters with a handsome and supportive guy, and while the circumstances for their cohabitation differ by route, the romance between the MC and her chosen love interest remains largely grounded in reality. The only “gimmick” is that a majority of the guys are secretly famous or have lucrative careers. I kind of got the impression that this was what Voltage was going for with their older title, Serendipity Next Door, which has a similar premise.

Currently, four out of the five love interests are available‚ÄĒTaiyo, Arata, Liam, and Hazuki. Because, I’m biased towards kuudere and tsundere, I picked Arata’s route as my first conquest of the game.

Also, because folks (myself included) are fussy about spoilers. Here’s your one and only spoiler warning. This review will have minor spoilers for Arata’s route and Love Brings You Home.

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I Finally Finished My First Route in Code Realize ~ Guardians of Rebirth~

I’ve been playing Code Realize ~ Guardians of Rebirth ~ off and on for the past five or so years and despite the overwhelming love for the game I could just never seem to make much headway with it. So in 2019 I made a bit of an unofficial resolution to finish at least one route before the end of the year and at long last I was able to complete my playthrough of Impey’s route! Took me five long years, but I can finally say I’ve at the very least played Code Realize and I’m not gonna lie, I have some mixed feelings about it. This won’t be so much a review as some thoughts I’ve had about the game over the years‚ÄĒand after five years I’ve amassed quite a few.

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Code Realize was one of the first major otome game releases to make its way stateside. Developed by Otomate for the PS Vita in 2014, Code Realize is a steampunk fantasy, featuring a cast of characters based on famous literary and historical figures. The game follows Cardia‚ÄĒa young woman whose body produces a deadly poison that melts anything she touches‚ÄĒspends her days in an abandoned mansion to protect others from her affliction. Labeled as a monster by the locals, Cardia resigns herself to a life of loneliness until Royal Guards break into the mansion and attempt to capture her. She is saved by infamous gentleman thief Ars√®ne Lupin, who promises to help her find her father, the only person who might be able to remove the poison coursing through her veins.

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Fantasy, Mystery, Action, Romance
  • Available for¬†PS Vita¬†|¬†Nintendo Switch (Feb 2020)
  • Full Voiced
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†30-35 hours
  • Cost: $39.99
  • 5 male romance options
  • Similar Games:¬†Steam Prison, London Detective Mysteria

Spoiler Warning

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HoverGirls – Webcomic Review & Interview with Creator Geneva B. (GDBee)

HoverGirls¬†is a webcomic series by artist Geneva B. (GDBee) that combines the kickass crime fighting of superhero comics with the girl power of the Japanese magical girl genre and a heaping handful of #BlackGirlMagic! HoverGirls¬†follows cousins Jalissa and Kim Vasquez as they navigate the ups and downs of their life in the bustling city of Los Aguaceros. By day they’re baristas in at Big Chain Coffee slinging coffee and trying to make ends meet on a minimum wage salary. But, by night the duo masquerades as the monster-fighting duo the Hover Girls! After a freak storm, mysterious fish monsters started wreaking havok on the city and it’s up to Jalissa and Kim to take them down…

The series just entered it’s second arc and you can read it for free over on Webtoons (modified for mobile reading) or directly from the HoverGirls site in a standard comic format. I also included a short interview with the creator of¬†HoverGirls, Geneva B. at the end of the review!

geneva

Geneva B, creator of HoverGirls

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Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk Otome Review

I just finished my first playthrough of¬†Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk¬†and I’d like to get my initial thoughts about the game down before I get any deeper into the story, because my God was this game intense. I played¬†Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly¬†awhile ago and I didn’t really like it all that much, so I went into¬†Ashen Hawk¬†expecting it to be much the same as its predecessor… thankfully I was wrong!¬†Ashen Hawk¬†is a marked improvement over¬†Black Butterfly¬†in almost every way and one has to wonder what the hell happened between the production of the first game and this one to cause such a huge difference in quality… Technically Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk¬†isn’t a sequel to¬†Black Butterfly,¬†though it is set in the same world as the first game, but with a completely different story and characters.

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Now I say that, but there were QUITE A FEW Easter Eggs and callbacks to PBB¬†in Ashen Hawk, that you’ll only truly get if you’ve played through the first game, but it’s not a requirement to enjoy the game. That said, EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED!! I know I literally¬†just said you don’t have to play Black Butterfly¬†before playing¬†Ashen Hawk, but boy does playing the first game pay off in a big way in this one!! It’s no secret that I didn’t particularly care for¬†Black Butterfly, but damnit if¬†Ashen Hawk¬†didn’t make slugging through the mess of the first game worth it. But, what I love most is that the connection between the two games isn’t overly in your face, the reveals work well within the context of their respective stories while also expanding on the preexisting lore of both games.

Game Details

Spoiler Warning

Since folks are really hung up on spoiler warnings, this post will contain some minor spoilers for the game, so if you haven’t played either Ashen Hawk or Black Butterfly, maybe hold off on reading this review.

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Memories on the Shoreline Game Review

I was first introduced to indie developer Mikomi Kisomi through her urban fantasy visual novel, That Which Binds Us. Its been a little over a year since that release and Mikomi Games, now re-branded as Crystal Game Works just released their newest title, Memories on the Shoreline‚ÄĒa supernatural romance. I’m a sucker for supernatural fantasy, and the prospect of dating a hot merman was just too good to pass up, so when Mikomi sent me a review copy of the game… I made time to play it.

Melody wanted a break from her stressful med classes‚ÄĒ so when spring break came around, she dragged her best friend Shion with her to the beach. However, things don’t go quite so smoothly when they meet Brennan, a local fisherman, and Crylis… a mermaid?!

Official Summary

Game Details

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux | Steam
  • 2 pursuable characters (male)
  • 5 Endings
  • Languages: English
  • Cost: $5.99
  • Gameplay Length: 5 hours
Memories on the Shoreline 1.png

First day of vacation, and you’ve already secured a hot tour guide… good on you!

The premise is simple, Melody and her best friend Shion are spending their spring break in sunny Florida, in hopes of getting some much needed down time before falling back into the academic grind. While there Melody meets a handsome fisherman named Brennan, who hints that all is not as it seems in the quiet beach-side town. Later that night, Melody discovers that sirens exist, when she encounters a runaway merman, Crylis. What should have been a normal relaxing vacation is soon made much more exciting with two handsome men vying for Melody’s affections.

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I Hear the Sunspot BL Manga Review

I’ve been on a real boys love kick lately, so I decided to finally read through Yuki Fumino’s I Hear the Sunspot. The series focuses on the relationship between a hearing impaired college student and his cheerful and outspoken classmate. Originally released in 2014 as a stand alone volume, the story was expanded into a second volume, I Hear the Sunspot – Theory of Happiness and then again as the ongoing series I Hear the Sunspot – Limit. The series is currently licensed in English by One Piece Books, I picked up the first two volumes at con and I fell in love with the series, so when I saw them up for pre-order on Amazon, I snapped the rest of them up as well. Unlike most of the series I buy, I Hear the Sunspot is an ongoing series, with only four volumes available in print (as of this writing).

 

Kohei is a hearing-impaired college student who is used to being misunderstood by his peers due to his disability, to the point that he’s resigned himself to a life of loneliness. But, when he meets the outgoing and friendly Taichi, Kohei finds his quiet life of solitude is no longer enough to satisfy him. After sharing their lunch together, the pair strike up an instant friendship that slowly develops into something more than friends, but less than lovers, where will life take these two very different young men…

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We All Need A Hero: Hitorijime My Hero Series Review

Hitorijime My Hero is based on the ongoing manga series of the same name by Memeco Arii. The series follows, Masahiro Setagawa a high school student who has stopped believing in heroes, especially since the world seems to be hellbent on showing him the worst it has to offer. His mother constantly brings her “clients” home forcing Mashahiro to spend his nights wandering the streets, where he’s “adopted” by a group of local thugs. But, his luck changes when the infamous street vigilante, Kousuke Ooshiba, the “Bear Killer” comes to his rescue and decides to make him his underling. What’s more, Kousuke is the older brother of Masahiro’s best friend and his homeroom teacher! Suddenly, Masahiro starts believing that maybe hero’s do exist, but it seems that his feelings for Kousuke are deeper than either realize… and maybe, Kousuke feels the same way too?! There’s also a B-romance plot between Masahiro’s best friend Kensuke, who has recently reunited with his childhood friend, Asaya Hasekura.

  • Episodes: 12
  • Genre: Slice-of-Life, School Life, Shounen-ai
  • Air Date: Summer 2017
  • Studio: Encourage Films (English: Sentai Filmworks)

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[First Thoughts] Love Brings You Home

Voltage Inc. games make up about 45% of my gaming backlog. The company was my first introduction to the world of otome games and over the years I have amassed quite a few stories from each of the many,¬†many¬†Otome Romance titles they produce. Because I have so many stories I tend to have a hard time deciding which routes to play… So, rather than making the agonizing decision on my own, I ran a Twitter poll and let you guys decide for me. Unfortunately, that backfired since the poll ended in a tie between¬†Diary of a Step Sister¬†and¬†Love Brings You Home,¬†so I still had to choose in the end and I went with the latter.

Love Brings You Home¬†is one of the “newer” Otome Romance titles, having been released exclusively on the¬†Love 365¬†app and not as one of the standalone apps (at least here in the west). Given all the fantasy romance games I’ve been playing lately, I was looking forward to diving into something with a slice-of-life vibe and¬†Love Brings You Home¬†was exactly what I was looking for; something grounded in reality (at least for an otome game). If I had to sum this game up in one word, it would be¬†‘wholesome’,¬†no gimmicks just a wholesome romance…

App Details

  • Genre:¬†Slice of Life, Romance
  • 5 Love interests
  • Available:¬†Google Play¬†|¬†App Store¬†|¬†Amazon App Store
  • Cost:¬†Main Story:¬†400 Coin Each ($3.99USD)
    POV Story: 
    300 Coin Each ($2.99USD)
    Special Story: 
    100-200 Coin Each ($.99-$1.99USD)
  • Similar Games: Finally in Love Again, Kiss Me on Clover Hill, Serendipity Next Door

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Uta no Prince Sama Maji Love Kingdom Film Review – Did I Just Fall for an Anime Idol Group?

Uta no Prince Sama or UtaPri as it’s called by fans is a multi media phenomenon, that has been enjoying over 9 years of popularity from its beginnings as an otome game back in 2010 to the newest film, Uta no Prince Sama Maji Love Kingdom. The series has been going strong for years with multiple fandiscs, spin-offs, and sequels. It is a powerhouse of a franchise with fans the world over, so you can bet there was a lot of hype surrounding the release of Maji Love Kingdom! The film debuted on June 14, 2019 in Japan, with the English subtitled version of the film premiering at Anime Expo 2019. But, there was also another pre-screening event here on the East Coast in Washington, DC at Otakon 2019, which is where I saw the film. And while it was a much more humble affair, when compared with the much more publicized Promare premiere, Otakon attendees were eager to see the film before it‚Äôs official theatrical release!!

 

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BJ Alex – BL Manhwa Review

With the prospect of a three day weekend ahead of me, I decided to pick up a new BL webcomic and it was so good, I just had to share my thoughts! I originally planned on reading a few chapters and then moving on to something else, but wound up spending six hours binging the entire series in one sitting. So what pray tell is the name of this series that so captivated me? It’s the Korean webcomic series,¬†BJ Alex¬†by Mingwa. First off, BJ doesn’t stand for ‘blow job’, but rather¬†BJ¬†is short for Broadcast Jockey, which is a term used in Korea to describe online streamers, BJs can stream a lot of content from games to music to live talk shows, but since this a boys love series¬†BJ Alex¬†focuses a streamer that specializes in adult content.

BJ Alex Tissue

Every night at 10PM, college student Dong-Gyun locks himself up in his room, grabs a box of tissues, and tunes into his favorite adult live cam show hosted by BJ Alex. Like many others, Dong-Gyun is captivated by the handsome and charismatic BJ, who night after night delights his fans with tales of his sexual exploits or better yet his perfectly ripped body… For Dong-Gyun and many others, Alex is just a face on a screen, but when Dong-Gyun has a chance encounter with a sexy senior at a school networking event it seems Alex may not as out of reach as he once thought… What’s a boy to do when the object of his affection is close enough to touch?

The series is complete with 83 chapters and can be read over on Lezhin, like most series on the site, the first chapter is free but you’ll need coins to read the rest (3 coins per chapter). But, if you’re still on the fence about the series, check out my thoughts below!

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Our Life: Beginnings & Always Demo Review – How Will Your Life Unfold?

This is yet another late review (I’m slowly working my way through all my game requests), but I’ve been following GB Patch for awhile and I LOVE their games so I was going to get around to playing the demo for their upcoming slice-of-life visual novel, Our Life: Beginnings and Always, eventually. I’ve played a few of their games before and I can honestly say that each of their games is a one of a kind experience, with each new title showing off just how versatile GB Patch is as a studio. They never tell the same story twice, so you can always expect something different from their new releases.

However, Our Life: Beginnings and Always is by far their most ambitious project, spanning several years, following its characters from childhood to adulthood in what promises to be a heartwarming coming of age story. The game is currently on Kickstarter, but the campaign is set to end on November 10th, so definitely check that out! The demo covers the first two stages of the character’s lives (childhood and adolescence), but the full game will cover four different periods of life (childhood, adolescence, teenage, and adulthood). And since Our Life: Beginnings & Always is set in the same world as their earlier game XOXO Droplets expect to see cameos of a few of the boys from that game from time to time. I played through the early demo and I am already in love with this game and its concept!

Demo Details

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Reanimation Scheme Demo Review – Summon Up Some Romance

I’m super late with this review, but I wanted to make sure I gave Wind Chimes Games’s demo for their debut visual novel,¬†Reanimation Scheme,¬†my full and undivided attention. I wanted to have this out before the end of the Kickstarter campaign, and I just managed to make it with a few hours to spare.

Reanimation Scheme¬†is a supernatural fantasy romance visual novel, that is rooted in magic, mysticism, and¬†necromancy.¬†Yes, you read that right,¬†necromancy…¬†most of the supernatural games I’ve played tend to shy away from death magic, preferring to focus on the big three of the supernatural world; Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches. But, I’ve had my fill of the same old fantasy stories, so¬†Reanimation Scheme¬†is a welcome change of pace. With it’s spunky heroine, inventive premise, and gorgeous visuals, Reanimation Scheme¬†is definitely worth checking out! Keep Reading to see my thoughts on the demo, which covers three chapters of the game.

Demo Details

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Chess of Blades BL Game Review – Danger Lurks Around Every Corner

Indie developer Argent Games is known for their inventive BL visual novels. Where most games from the genre focus on getting their characters into the bedroom, Dovah and Gamma, the dynamic duo behind Argent Games, tend to focus on creating games with stories and characters that subvert the usual cliche Boys Love tropes. I’ve been following their works for quite some time, but I will admit that despite having their games recommended to me quite a few times, Chess of Blades is the first of their games I’ve had the chance to play.

Chess of Blades is the studio’s second title and follows Rivian Varrison, the son of a high ranking military strategist, who is attending a celebration at the King’s residence. While there he must navigate the complexities of the aristocracy and the political intrigue of court life. But, the King’s court is full of dangers, and soon Rivian finds himself being drawn into the tangled web of secrets that could prove fatal for not just him but everyone he holds dear. With enemies all around, Rivian will have to be careful, lest he meet a grisly end…

Game Details

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux | Steam¬†| Google Play
  • 4 pursuable characters (male)
  • 9 Endings
  • Full English Voice Acting
  • Languages: English
  • Cost: $24.99
  • Gameplay Length: 12+ hours

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Doki Doki Literature Club Game Review – Horror With a Dash of Moe

There is no way to talk about¬†Doki Doki Literature Club¬†without spoiling it, so if you haven’t already played this game, go do so before reading this review. Trust me, you want to go into this game blind.¬†

Right, so I’ve seen Team Salvato’s Doki Doki Literature Club¬†floating around, but I wrote it off as one of those cutesy anime styled harem romances and let it fade into the dark recesses of my backlog. I probably would have continued on blissfully unaware about the horrors of this game, had it not been for a friend mentioning it to me in passing:

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Calling Doki Doki Literature Club¬†‘crazy’ is the understatement of the century

Game Details

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Escape Journey – BL Manga Review

The boys love genre has always toed the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to romance, usually straying into some pretty questionable territory in how it depicts same sex couples. Either you get an angst filled drama fest or a lot of non-con smut, and every so often you come across a title that manages to give you something genuinely wholesome.¬†Escape Journey¬†is Ogeretsu Tanaka’s English-language BL debut and like many boys love manga before it, struggles to find that balance between wholesome romance and the appropriate amount of “drama”. However, despite its flaws,¬†Escape Journey¬†is a solid boys love title and at only three volumes it delivers a rather savory reading experience.

Escape Journey¬†follow Naoto and Taichi, two guys who went from friends to lovers in high school, but the relationship proved to be too much and the pair split after a huge argument. Even though years have passed, Naoto is still upset (read: pissed off) about how things ended with Taichi and is looking forward to getting a fresh start in college. But, on his first day he discovers that Taichi has also enrolled at his university and interested in being friends again. While Naoto is initially unsure about his feelings for his ex, the two quickly fall back into their old friendship, which eventually evolves into something more… but, old hurts don’t heal easily and the pair finds themselves falling back into the same routine. Will they be able to move on from the past and build something stronger this time around or will Naoto and Taichi continue to hurt one another?

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Lake of Voices Game Review – Who Will You Leave Behind?

Whether it is weathering an on coming zombie horde or fending off malevolent spirit, in most horror stories the ultimate goal is survival. However, even in the most hopeful horror stories, not everyone will make it through alive. Some people are just not going to get a happily ever after, which gives more weight to the narrative and the actions of the characters. Each and every choice matters, and one misstep could be the difference between surviving and dying a horrible death.

Lake of Voices 1

Super reassuring…

GB Patch’s Lake of Voices¬†is built around the idea that ‘anyone can be saved, but not everyone can¬†be’. It’s¬†a story that forces players to accept the fact that there is no perfect solution to every problem and that sometimes, in dire situations, sacrifices must be made.¬†Lake of Voices¬†follows guard for hire, Kikka, and her companion Belleme as they attempt to cross Sinnlos, a lake that’s home to gruesome monsters. The creatures that dwell beneath it’s murky depths have claimed the lives of many unfortunate travelers. In order to complete the journey, Kikka and her companion must rely on mysterious Guide if they have any chance of surviving the treacherous two day journey. However, they are not the only travelers hoping to cross Sinnlos, but with a larger group, the chances of survival are significantly decreased….

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Horror, Suspense, Thriller
  • Fully Voiced in English
  • Available for¬†PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)¬†| Steam
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†4-5 hours
  • Cost:¬†Free

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The Doll Shop Review – A Slow Atmospheric Horror

The horror genre has always been about telling good stories. Made up campfire stories, urban legends, and folk tales… there’s something thrilling about a good scary story. But more often than not it seems like most big budget horror media is more concerned with hashing out the same old played out cliches and tropes, than they are with telling a good story. Jump scares and predictable characters are the norm, to the point that it’s rare to come across anything that feels genuine, let alone telling a good spooky story.

Every so often I come across a¬†good scary story, one that renews my faith in the horror genre and Atelier Sent√ī’s¬†The Doll Shop¬†is one of those hidden horror gems. The Doll Shop¬†is a¬†slow tale that ditches the usual horror cliches in favor of telling a truly unsettling story. In a secluded Japanese village, there lives a quiet doll maker, who is content to spend his days with his dolls. Each one is more beautiful than the last, and so he spends his days in isolation, until his childhood friend, a beautiful young woman from the city arrives. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met before, and suddenly his dolls aren’t enough to fill his lonely existence. But, he has a secret… he’s just waiting for the right person to share it with…

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Horror, Suspense, Thriller
  • Available for¬†PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)¬†
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†2-3 hours
  • Cost:¬†Free
  • 3 Endings

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One Thousand and One Days Game Review – An Enchanting Fantasy VN

For someone that shies away from incomplete series, I’ve been really getting into episodic visual novels. Rather than blazing through a game in one sitting, the plot unfolds over a series of chapters/episodes and because there is usually a bit of a wait between new releases, this gap in new content gives you a chance to really dig down and fully explore the different story elements and scenarios in the interim. It’s a much more comprehensive gaming experience than I’m used to, but one that definitely allows for a much more immersive experience overall.

Recently I had the chance to give Asif G.’s Arabian Nights inspired fantasy visual novel,¬†One Thousand and One Days¬†a try¬†and I was blown away by what I played so far. The game borrows heavily from ancient Persian mythology and Islamic lore AND features an all POC cast that draw inspiration from Middle Eastern, North African, and Mongolian cultures. On top of that, the game is LGBTQ+ friendly, with love interests with differing gender identities and sexual orientation. There are even poly romance options in addition to the standard one on one romances choices.

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Supernatural, Fantasy, Romance
  • Available for¬†PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)¬†
  • 4 Chapters (ongoing)
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†30 mins – 1 hour per chapter
  • Cost:¬†Free
  • 4 Love Interests (Male and Female); Poly Romance Options

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Misadventures of Laura Silver Chapter I Game Review – Silver Bullets Are A Girl’s Best Friend

I am a huge fan of detective/investigative games like the Ace Attorney series and the Hotel Dusk series, they’re the games that sparked my love of visual novels in the first place. With their immersive stories and intriguing mysteries there’s always something new to discover. So, when indie developer Studio Attic Salt emailed me about their supernatural detective mystery visual novel, Misadventures of Laura Silver, I made sure to add the game to the top of my play list!

Set in 1935, Misadventures of Laura Silver follows paranormal detective Laura Silver and her assistant Orewell Cooper as they traverse the globe on a quest to catalog the mythical creatures they encounter. Along the way they come across a series of unexpected events that have them questioning the intentions of their bureau as they find themselves drawn into a web of murder, lies, and corruption.

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Currently, Laura and Cooper are on assignment in Czechoslovakia, in search the Vodnik, a sea beast that has been terrorizing one of the local towns. But, when the agent already on site is found murdered in his hotel room, Laura must determine whether his death was the work of the supernatural or something much more sinister.

Misadventures of Laura Silver is an episodic visual novel, however, as of this writing only Chapter I is available (Chapter II is scheduled for a Summer 2020 release). Chapter one is a bit on the short side with roughly 8-10 hours of gameplay, but with over 100 choices for players to make in addition to the interactive investigative gameplay features, there’s plenty of content to explore in Misadventures of Laura Silver.

  • Where to Play: Windows, Mac, Linux | Steam
  • Genre: Detective, Supernatural, Investigative
  • Gameplay Length: 8 -10 hours total
  • Cost: $7.99 USD

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Chasing the Stars BL Game Review ‚Äď A Cyberpunk Fantasy That‚Äôs Out Of This World

I absolutely loved Ertal Games’s debut BL visual novel,¬†A Hand in the Darkness, so you can bet I was super excited to get my hands on their sophomore title, steampunk sci-fi visual novel,¬†Chasing the Stars.¬†I’ve said this before, but Ertal Games has a knack for storytelling, with their intriguing characters and immersive narratives, each of their games is a rare treat. This time around Ertal Games delivers a rich cyberpunk fantasy that is out of this world!¬†

Follow Tirs Abril a young college student who has always dreamed of going into space and helping usher in a new age of colonization on one of humanities satellite cities. When Alaya, a new planet is discovered and proven to have the right conditions for human colonization, Tirs’s dreams are suddenly much more attainable. After getting dumped by his longtime boyfriend there is nothing holding Tirs back from pursuing his dreams and he decides to take position as a scholarship researcher in the lab of his professor and renowned Environmental Engineer, Marc Rossell, who is currently heading the team working on the Alaya terraforming project. However, Tirs soon discovers that things are much more complicated than he ever imagined forcing him to decide how much he is willing to sacrifice to follow his dreams…

Game Details

  • Available for¬†Windows, Mac, Linux¬†|¬†Steam
  • 3 pursuable characters (male)
  • Partial English Voice Acting
  • Languages:¬†English
  • Cost:¬†$9.99
  • Gameplay Length: 10 hours

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The Seven Districts of Sin: The Tail Makes The Fox Episode 1 Review

Seven Districts of Sin: The Tail Makes the Fox¬†takes us on a journey into the depths of Hell with Lilim (name changeable) an ambitious (and naive) two-tailed gumiho working as an auditor under the most illustrious one, Lucifer. Loyal to a fault, Lilim is over the moon when her exulted leader of hell gives her a special assignment- investigate allegations of soul laundering in the district of Kumonoito. If she does a good job, maybe Lucifer will finally give her the recognition she deserves… But what awaits our naive heroine in the house of Anzu, the governess of Kumonoito will be anything but a cake walk. Will she be survive her mission? Or will she fall prey to the secrets of Anzu’s palace?

The Tail Makes the Fox is the first episode in a series of collaborations between Reine Works and Top Hat Studios (though Episodes 2 and 3 have yet to be released). Each episode is meant to be a self contained story, that follows the same cast of characters.

Game Details

  • Genre: Parody, Comedy, Romance
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux | Steam
  • Gameplay Lengh: 4-6 Hours; 9 Endings
  • Cost: $9.99 USD
  • 2 male and 2 female romance options
  • Full English Voice Acting

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Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly Otome Review – All Aboard the Feels Train

I am super late to the party with this one since¬†Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly¬†was the first game released as part of Aksys Games’s “Summer of Mystery” otome game releases, alongside¬†7’scarlet¬†and¬†Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk.¬†Of the three games¬†Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly¬†was the one that got the most hate and I’m not gonna lie, it’s not my favorite otome game in the world. In fact, like many others have said, the romance aspects of the game is one of the biggest shortcomings of the story and I honestly could have done without it. But, is Black Butterfly¬†really the dumpster fire everyone seems to think it is?

No, not really…¬†Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly¬†has many,¬†many¬†flaws, some of which really bog the story down,¬†however, there was some good in there too. I want to stress that this game isn’t for everyone and if you are looking for a standard by the book otome game, this is¬†definitely not the game for you. But, if you’re looking for a short game with an interesting premise¬†Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly¬†will keep you entertained.

Psychedelica BB 1.jpg

The game follows Beniyuri, a young girl who wakes up in a mysterious mansion with no memory or who she is or how she got there. But, she isn’t alone, gruesome monsters roam the halls attacking anyone they come into contact with… After a run in with said monsters, she is saved by a group of guys who are also in the same predicament as she is, and together they attempt to find a way out of the mansion. Behind the scenes the enigmatic master of the mansion promises to free them from the mansion and return their memories if they collect the missing pieces of a strange kaleidoscope. With no other leads, the group sets out to locate the lost pieces of the kaleidoscope, uncovering the secrets of the mansion and its elusive owner along the way…

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Detective, Mystery, Romance
  • Available for¬†PS Vita | Steam
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†1-2 hours first play through/ 15-20 hours Total
  • Cost:¬†$34.99
  • 5 male romance options
    • Suggested Play Order:¬†Best/Main Ending‚Üí Real World Ending ‚Üí Kagiha ‚Üí Hikage ‚Üí Yamato¬†‚Üí Monshiro ‚Üí Karasuba ‚Üí Summer Camp Ending
  • Similar Games:¬†7‚Äôscarlet, Re: Birthday Song, Bad Apple Wars

Spoiler Warning


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Enchanted in the Moonlight Review – Spirited Away by Ayakashi Hotties

The Japanese mobile otome games company Voltage Inc. is the latest publisher to jump on the Nintendo Switch bandwagon. Earlier this year the company announced that a few of their mobile Otome Romance titles would be made available on the Nintendo Switch and the first game to make the move is their supernatural romance, Enchanted in the Moonlight. Rather than release one game with all of the characters, the Switch version of the game is split into two titles: Enchanted in the Moonlight: Miyabi, Kyoga, & Samon and Enchanted in the Moonlight: Kiryu, Chikage, & Yukinojo and comprises of all the season 1 to season 3 main stories from the mobile app Love 365. 

Enchanted in the Moonlight was released as a standalone mobile app for Android and IOS back in 2014¬† and even after the termination of the app in 2018 has experienced a revival as one of the titles on the new¬†Love 365¬†portal app. In the game you play as a young woman who finds her life turned upside down when she is attacked by malevolent Ayakashi drawn to her unique blood. A group of handsome Ayakashi come to your aid, but there protection comes at a price: they’ll protect you from evil Ayakashi that lust for your blood, but in exchange you must bear their child. With dangerous Ayakashi after your life who will you choose as your defender?


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Collar x Malice Otome Review – How Do You Define Justice?

These last few years have been pretty good to otome games fans, with tons of new English language releases of Japanese otome titles and two upcoming otome anime adaptations. One of the games that has been getting the most attention lately is Idea Factory’s mystery/detective visual novel,¬†Collar x Malice.¬†Within the span of a month fans were treated to an upcoming anime announcement¬†and¬†at Anime Expo 2019, Aksys Games announced that they would be releasing both¬†Collar x Malice¬†and it’s new fandisk,¬†Collar x Malice: Unlimited¬†for the Nintendo Switch in 2020. So, after dragging my feet for two years, I finally carved out some time for the game and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to jump on the¬†Collar x Malice¬†hype train. This is by far my favorite localization release to date!

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Collar x Malice¬†was published in Japan by Idea Factory under their Otomate brand of games in 2016 and release exclusively for the PS Vita handheld. In 2017 Aksys Games released an English language edition of the game. 2017 was a huge year for western otome games fans, with a ton of great titles making their way stateside, but of all of them¬†Collar x Malice¬†stood out the most for me. The game follows a rookie police officer, Ichika Hoshino living in Shinjuku. The city is currently under a mass quarantine after the terrorist organization, Adonis commits a series of violent crimes known collectively as the X-Day Incidents. One night while on patrol, Ichika is kidnapped and fitted with a collar set to dispense a lethal dose of poison into her neck. A voice from the collar instructs her to investigate the X-Day Incidents and uncover the “truth” behind Adonis and their plans for Shinjuku. With her life and the fate of the city on the line, Ichika must rely on the help of five strangers, each with their own reasons for wanting to solve the X-Day cases. Together, they might be able to remove Ichika’s collar and liberate Shinjuku from Adonis’s grip.

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Detective, Mystery, Romance
  • Available for PS Vita | Nintendo Switch
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†5-7¬†hours first play through/ 30-50 hours Total
  • Cost:¬†$34.99
  • 5 male romance options
    • Suggested Play Order:¬†Mineo ‚Üí Takeru ‚Üí Kei ‚Üí Shiraishi ‚Üí Yanagi
  • Similar Games: 7’scarlet, Steam Prison¬†

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Beyond Eden BL Game Review – A Steamy Victorian Revenge VN

Once again I am diving head first into another period drama BL visual novel. I loved Ertal Games’s debut title¬†A Hand in the Darkness,¬†so I was excited to discover that another developer, Studio Pieplus had released a similar title back in 2017.¬†Beyond Eden was just what I needed.¬†The game trades in the posh private school setting for an out of the way country estate of Ashgrove, home to the Baron William Edenic and his sons. But, behind closed doors, the Edenic family is hiding dark secrets that could prove detrimental to the Baron and his family if the public were to learn of their past misdeeds. Alex Wake, the former ward of the Edenic family has been biding his time and amassing wealth of his own and now he is on his way back to Ashgrove in order to exact revenge against the Baron and his family! He has been holding a grudge for 10 long years and he won’t be satisfied until all the Edenics are brought to their knees.

*Moderate NSFW images*

Game Details

  • Available for¬†Steam
  • 5 romantic partners & 1 friendship route
  • 17 unique endings
  • Voice Acting:¬†Korean
  • Cost:¬†$34.99
  • Gameplay Length: 15-25 hours

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Silver:Line – Demo Review

I usually have a hard time writing reviews about demos, since unlike completed games, they don’t always have all the finalized assets that you’d expect from a full blown release. If you’re lucky, a demo will cover the common route or the prologue, which at least gives you a fairly good feel of the game’s concept and characters. But, if you’re not, a demo is more of a teaser trailer of ideas that doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny, which doesn’t allow much for me as a reviewer to write about. So I tend to be very particular about which demos I review.

Recently Code V Productions released a demo for their upcoming fantasy visual novel, Silver:Line and I was impressed not only with the quality, but the execution. A fully realized world with an inventive premise and unique characters, Silver:Line is by far one of the best demos I have played this year!

Recruited as an imperial scholar serving the crown of Lucarene, you lead a peaceful life at the castle, responsible for researching, tracking, and recording everything there is to know about the royal city. Living a life you once thought you could only ever dream of, you wouldn’t change anything for the world. But as fate would have it, you’re thrown into a turmoil of events where you’re pinned as a scapegoat and forced to flee the country, running for your very life. You set off on a journey, featuring a colourful cast and new horizons.

Official Synopsis 

Demo Details


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My Only Sunshine Review – A Romance VN That’s Out Of This World!

I absolutely love NaNoRenO because it gives up and coming developers the opportunity to make their debut in the game development world and bring their own unique ideas to life. These are usually smaller projects put together by a much smaller team, however, I’ve played quite a few NaNoRenO games in the past that are on par (if not better than) some bigger name commercial releases. You never quite know what you’re going to get with a NaNorenO title, but you can always be sure it will be a one of a kind experience.

So, when Yoshibb reached out to me about their NaNoRenO 2019 entry,¬†My Only Sunshine¬†I was more than happy to give the game a look since the premise was quite unlike anything I have ever seen before: A romance fantasy visual novel involving humanoid versions of the planets. I was intrigued. I’ve played otome games where you date representatives of astrological signs, gods and goddess, but never planets.

Once every millennium, Sun holds a huge gathering of the planetary spirits. While Sun has found herself down in the dumps recently — including a relationship with Terra (Earth) that is on the rocks and what she now considers a largely mundane, solitary existence — she hopes that the get together will brighten things up. However, after Terra ruins her event with his reckless behavior, Sun decides it’s time to play the field and chooses a new planetary partner.

-Synopsis

Game Details

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Fangirl Moment: Wistful Summer (Webcomic)

TGIF!! This has been a long time coming, but I’m finally bringing back Fangirl Friday!! I’ve been slowly getting back into my blogging stride and I’m going to be honest, these are my favorite posts to write since I’m really just fangirling about random stuff I’ve come across be they movies, webcomics, anime, books, dramas… I even wrote one about Barack Obama. So, this is one segment I’m excited to bring back from the dead!¬†Since this is the first post in a while, I wanted to make this one really special, so I decided to go with something that combines two of my loves: Boys Love and Webcomics… Don’t believe me? See for yourself, most of my previous Fangirl Moment posts are either BL related, Webcomics, or BL Webcomics… I have my vices and BL is at the top of the list most days.

Wistful Summer.jpeg

So, for this week’s post I wanted to cover MunZi’s ongoing BL webcomic¬†Wistful Summer.¬†It’s a drama filled comic about a guy who spent most of his life crushing on his best friend, but just when he starts to get over his crush a handsome stranger appears. Things only get more complicated when the best friend divorces his wife and starts hinting that maybe he’s been harboring some unrequited feelings of his own… O_O

First. First lie, first kiss, first love. When Henry and Sam first met that summer long ago, Henry learned the power of first love. But…time goes on, people part, summer ends and so too did their blink of a relationship. All but a distant memory now, when Henry and Sam gradually become close again, Henry finds himself feeling those fiery emotions for the first time since that wistful summer.

-Synopsis

The comic was first published online in 2018 by Kakao, a Korean webcomic site, but you can read the comic in English over on Tapas. This is a paid release, but you can read the first couple of chapters for free. In order to read the non-free chapters you’ll need to use Ink, which is just Tapas’s internal currency. Tapas¬†also has weekly free episode rotations, so if you plan accordingly, you can read the whole thing for free. I am not that patient, so I broke down and bought enough Ink to binge the available chapters… and it was worth every damn penny!¬†

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Missed Messages Review – How Will You Spend Your Time?

I’m no stranger to Angela He’s unique brand of games, having played I Woke Up Next to You Again¬†and¬†He Beat Her¬†previously. Unlike most of the games I cover here, Angela’s games focus on more thought provoking themes and subjects, that attempt to replicate some aspect of human nature. Her games are less about the outcome and more about the experience, dropping us head first into narratives that challenge not just our realities, but our perceptions of others. Each of her games is an experience.

Earlier this month Angela He released a brand new title,¬†Missed Messages¬†and she is in full form with this new game. Equally haunting and thought provoking,¬†Missed Messages¬†doesn’t just tell a story, it takes you on a journey.¬†There are four distinct endings with each playthrough taking between 15 ‚Äď 30 minutes. Point and click through environments for clues while also making meaningful in-game choices that help advance the plot. Warning this game contains mentions of suicide and self-harm, which may be triggering for some players.

“goth gf’s iPhone” airdrops you a photo.

Accept or decline?

A romance / horror story about life, death, and memes.

How will you spend time?

–¬†Synopsis (Game Site)

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Psychological, slice-of-life
  • Available for¬†PC (Widows, Mac, Linux) |Steam
  • Gameplay Lengh: 15 ‚Äď 30 minutes per playthrough
  • Cost:¬†Free

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[Pride Month 2019] 10 More LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, ¬†LGBT¬†Pride Month,¬†the annual celebration dedicated to the richly diverse LGBT community!! Last year I celebrated with a list of 10 LGBTQ positive visual novels, I highly recommend giving that list a read, there are some seriously great titles there that definitely warrant a look. Because it’s June once again, I wanted to compile another list with even more LGBTQ positive VNs!

Representation matters, so I did my best to come up with a list of games that gave a positive look at members of the LGBTQ community, whether that meant shedding light on an often overlooked group of people or offering a positive portrayal of members of the LGBTQ community. Like last year, I will include links to each of the games and I’ll even spotlight which aspects of the LGBTQ community is referenced. As always, this is not an end all list, there are plenty of great games out there, so if you have some suggestions definitely feel free to drop them down in the comments section!

So, without further ado, here are 10 More LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels that you should totally check out this Pride Month!


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Steam Prison Review – A Deep and Immersive Steampunk Romance

Steam Prison¬†is the newest otome game localization from MangaGamer, following their release of Poni-Patchet’s OZMAFIA in 2016 and the R18 otome,¬†Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome.¬†There is always a lot of hype surrounding new otome localizations, but,¬†Steam Prison¬†was the first big otome release of 2019,¬†not¬†associated with Idea Factory.¬†Steam Prison, was originally released in 2016 by HuneX for PC as both an all-ages 17+ release (the MangaGamer release of the 17+ version). A Vita port was released in 2017, that added an extra route for the MC’s partner, Finn.

In the game you play as an 18 year old police officer named, Cyrus Tistella, living in the raised utopian city known as the Heights. Everything is coming up roses for our heroine, with a new promotion and her upcoming marriage into the high ranking Evans family. Things take a turn for the worst, when Cyrus is accused of murdering her parents. Unable to prove her innocence, Cyrus is banished to the Depths a place where the most brutal criminals are sent to atone for their crimes. But, when she arrives, Cyrus finds that the Depths is not the primitive wasteland she once believed it to be, she soon learns that all is not as it seems as the things she once held to be true start to fall apart.

Steam Prison Murder

Game Details

  • Genre: Steampunk,¬†Fantasy, Romance
  • Available for¬†PC (Widows, Mac, Linux) |Steam
  • Gameplay Lengh:¬†5-7¬†hours first play through/ 25-30 hours Total
  • Cost:¬†$39.99
  • 5 male romance options
    • Suggested Play Order:¬†Eltcreed ‚Üí Ulrik ‚Üí Adage ‚Üí Ines ‚Üí Yune ‚Üí Grand Ending
  • Similar Games:¬†Code Realize, Cinderella Phenomenon,¬†and¬†Confines of the Crown

Spoiler Warning


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Dangerous Fellows Review – Nothing Says Romance Like A Zombie Apocalypse

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of free to play otome games, but the premise of an otome game set amidst a zombie apocalypse was so bizarre I found myself putting aside my biases about freemium mobile games.¬†Dangerous Fellows¬†is a 2018 mobile otome game published by Korean game developer Lucy Dream.¬†Dangerous Fellows¬†is the first Lucy Dream title that has been made available in English, their second title, Mystic Code¬†was released in May 2019.

A sudden outbreak of an unknown virus has destroyed the entire world.
Most of the people has turned into horrendous, blood-seeking zombies……….

As I was trying to escape from a deadly attack by the zombie,
I was miraculously saved by some strangers-five attractive fellows.

They’ve been concealing themselves safely in a school building with other survivors.

……But, is this place really safe for us?

Can we all survive from this bizarre catastrophe?

Find out the shocking ending of a romance thriller
that you’ve never experienced before!

‚ÄďSynopsis (Game Site)

Game Details

  • Genre:¬†Supernatural, Horror, Romance
  • Available for Android and IOS
  • 25 Chapters and 7 Endings
    • 5 character endings, 1 normal, and 1 alternate ending
  • 5 Male Love interests
    • Suggested Play Order:¬†Normal Ending ‚áí Ethan ‚áí Harry ‚áí Zion ‚áí Eugene ‚áí Lawrence ‚áí Alternate Ending
  • Free¬†(optional micro-transactions)

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