Tag: Game Reviews

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 Sentô’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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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→ Real World Ending → Kagiha → Hikage → Yamato → Monshiro → Karasuba → Summer Camp Ending
  • Similar Games: 7’scarlet, Re: Birthday Song, Bad Apple Wars

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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 (2020)
  • Gameplay Lengh: 5-7 hours first play through/ 30-50 hours Total
  • Cost: $34.99
  • 5 male romance options
    • Suggested Play Order: Mineo → Takeru → Kei → Shiraishi → Yanagi
  • Similar Games: 7’scarlet, Steam Prison 

Continue reading “Collar x Malice Otome Review – How Do You Define Justice?”

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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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 – 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 – 30 minutes per playthrough
  • Cost: Free

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