I’ve written about the importance of representation in media quite a few times in the past, I even have a post series dedicated to talking about inclusion and diversity in nerd culture. Most recently, I wrote a post about diversity (or the lack there of) in otome games and after penning the post an indie developer friend of mine reached out to me about the topic. We had an awesome discussion about the depiction of people of color in visual novels and the importance of wholesome representation. She even gave me some insight into the difficulties some content creators have when crafting characters of color in their games, a perspective I hadn’t considered. I’ve seen quite a few polls and surveys floating around about the content of western otome games and visual novels, many of which have sections dedicated to gauging player interests in diverse characters.
I love that there is an open dialogue about diversity in games, especially in romance themed games since there is a noticeable disparity in the number of otome games that feature black and brown characters in major roles. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are a handful of developers that have been saying that they don’t include darker skinned characters in their games because they “look bad” or aren’t as attractive as non black and brown characters. Some people have stated that it’s harder to create characters with darker complexions using the anime art style common in otome games… and hearing that is really heartbreaking. On some level, I feel like this is just a carryover of colorism, and the notion that dark skinned individuals are not as attractive as lighter skinned individuals (which is not the case at all). But, on other levels, it’s less an issue with darker characters looking bad and more a case of an artist needing more experience depicting characters of color.
There is a demand for more diverse games, heck, this past weekend someone used the search term ‘otome games black girl friendly’ to get to my site and I’m gonna be honest with you guys, it made my whole weekend! As more people start playing otome games (and romance visual novels) the demand for more inclusive characters and narratives will only rise and those who stay stuck in their ways are really limiting themselves. So, for the person that searched for black girl friendly otome games and for the folks that think “darker characters look bad” here are a few Melanin Friendly Otome Games and Visual Novels!!
Continue reading “Melanin Friendly Otome Games & Visual Novels”
Newbie developer Steamberry Studios delivers a magical adventure in their debut supernatural fantasy visual novel, Changeling. The game follows Nora, a high school senior who finds herself drawn into the world of the paranormal after moving back to her childhood hometown of Pine Hollow. A community of Cryptics (supernatural beings) operates in the shadows of Pine Hollow, each with their own secrets… After experiencing a number of strange occurrences, Nora discovers that she is also a Cryptic and the revelation sends her world into a tailspin. But, unlike her friends and fellow member of the Supernatural Club, her supernatural origins might be darker than anyone could have anticipated. With danger around every corner, Nora must rely on one of six guys, to uncover the secrets of her past while also helping them deal with their own supernatural issues.
I’ve been following Changeling‘s production for a very long time now, from the kickstarter campaign to tumblr dev updates to the beta testing and I’ve talked with the devs at length about the game on a number of occasions. So, I suppose you could say I am really invested in this game.
Continue reading “Changeling Review – An Imaginative Supernatural Romance VN”
Jaime Scribbles Games just released their newest game, a dystopian life-sim visual novel As We Know It. Set in the distant future, where the world has been plagued by climate shifts that have turned the surface into a veritable wasteland, people have taken refuge in underground sanctuaries. One such subterranean town, Camden offers a safe haven for a those select few lucky enough to secure an invitation to the exclusive oasis. You (default name Ashlynn Phillips) and your mother are given the opportunity to escape the surface for the safety and security of Camden. The mayor, Rick Davidson and the people of the city welcome you with open arms, and the abundance of resources are a welcome change from scarcity of the surface. But, all is not as it seems in Camden, as seeds of descent spread the social order of the city starts to deteriorate and you must decide where your allegiances lie. Do you stand with the Mayor and protect your new home or do you rebel? The choice is yours.
- Genre: Life simulator, Romance, Drama
- Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux) and Steam
- 30 Endings (4 romance routes, 3 potential friendships)
- Gameplay Lengh: 3-5 hours per playthrough
- Cost: $19.99 USD
- Life-Sim Gameplay
- Customizable MC
- Similar Games: Aloners, Who We Are Now
Continue reading “As We Know It Review – A Diverse Post-Apocalyptic Visual Novel”
Originally developed by Seven Submarines in 2018 for the annual game jam NaNoRenO, Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure is a short fantasy visual novel that takes us on a journey into the deep. Gabrielle Freedman embarks on a journey into the sea to find Nauticus, Crown Prince of Atlas in hopes of securing his aid in an ongoing political struggle on the surface. Unbeknownst to her, Nauticus has his hands full with an ongoing civil war over control of the throne. Exiled alongside his royal guard, Zeppelin, Nauticus is desperate to reclaim his throne and reluctantly agrees to a tenuous alliance with Gabrielle. Together the trio devise a plan that could be mutually beneficial to both their causes, but, it involves confronting an evil sea witch. With everything on the line Gabrielle, Nauticus, and Zeppelin gear up for fight that will determine the fate of their very different worlds.
- Genre: Adventure, Romance
- Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)
- 7 Endings
- Gameplay Lengh: ≈45 mins – 1 hr
- Cost: Free
- Partial Voice Acting
- RPG Style Battle System
- Similar Games: The Blind Griffin, A Foretold Affair
Continue reading “Sexy Mermen, Political Intrigue, and Magic – Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure – Game Review”
Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! I know its been awhile since my last Melanin Monday post (I’ve been slacking off), but, for those of you just joining the party, here’s a little refresher. Melanin Monday is a bi-weekly post series that I started for Black History Month, where I talk about Black and Brown skinned characters in anime, manga, video games, etc., but you guys loved it so much I decided to continue it! This week, I’m looking at diversity in otome games!
Otome games promise a player driven gaming experience, giving players the opportunity to romance a diverse group of characters. But, really how diverse are otome games? Sure they feature characters from a wide range of character archetypes, but when it comes to their appearance, they all seem to fall into the same generic bishounen category. What’s more, mainstream otome games tend to have a distinct lack of racial diversity among their romance options. Western otome games have been more successful at integrating more diverse romance options in their games, with characters from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicity, but, Japanese otome games are much more restrictive in the types of romance options they offer. But, given that otome games are created with a Japanese audience in mind, this is not wholly unexpected.
However, with an increasing number of Western gamers playing otome games, this lack of diversity could alienate individuals looking for games featuring characters that share similar characteristics to themselves. In recent years, Western otome games and Original English Language Visual Novels (OELVNs) have stepped up to provide a solution by offering games with more diverse romance options that are more reflective of their target audiences. As a woman of color, I appreciate the efforts of Western developers to incorporate diverse characters into their narratives, because it creates an opportunity for representation that may have otherwise not existed.
Continue reading “[Melanin Monday] Diversity in Otome Games”
Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, I recently discovered this really great demo and I just had to share my thoughts about it! Unlike most of the games I cover here on Nice Job Breaking It, Hero this one isn’t a romance per se, I know, le gasp. This time around I’m covering a visual novel that’s more akin to investigative adventure games, like Ace Attorney and Professor Layton but with the grittiness you’d find in the film noir of the 40’s and 50’s. When the Shutter Stops is an upcoming mystery detective game and the debut title of the up and coming indie developer Remort Studios. The game follows Priscilla “Pri” Vate a former child detective who finds herself being dragged back into the city’s gritty underbelly when the serial killer she put away years ago suddenly has his conviction overturned.
The game is currently on Kickstarter and I strongly suggest throwing your support their way while they work to reach their $10,000 USD funding goal. When the Shutter Stops is a mid-length commercial release, with the final asking price of just $25.00, but, if you support the game during the KS campaign you can snag a copy for just $20.00. This is an alpha demo so there are a few assets that aren’t fully realized yet, but, it does cover a good bit of the expected gameplay, including the investigative and interrogation portions of the game.
- Available for Windows, Linux, Mac
- 4 Paths, 3 Endings per Route
- Commercial (Demo is FREE)
- Demo Length: 30-50 minutes
Continue reading “Murder, Mystery, and Meddlesome Mind – When the Shutter Stops Alpha Demo Review”
Hey hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, I’m back with another crowd funding campaign!! There’s a Kickstarter campaign for an upcoming mystery detective visual novel, When the Shutter Stops that I think you guys should definitely check out! There are less than a month left in the campaign and they need a little help hitting their goal! The campaign ends on October 23rd, 2018!
For those of you new, here, Let’s Show Our Support posts highlight current crowdfunding campaigns for indie games (usually VNs and OELVNs). I give you guys the basic rundown of the game and the perks of supporting the game’s campaign, as well as links to all the relevant game related pages and sites.
I am a sucker for detective and investigative adventure games, and When the Shutter Stops definitely puts me in the mind of adventure games like Cing’s Hotel Dusk series and Capcom’s Ace Attorney franchise. And then the Kickstarter page even compares the game to the classic noir film The Maltese Falcon and one of my all time favorite films Chinatown, so let’s just say I am more than a little hyped to see this project become a reality!
Continue reading “Let’s Show Our Support for When the Shutter Stops!!”
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes in the sci-fi fantasy visual novel, Pairs. Originally submitted for NaNoRenO 2017, Pairs follows the romantic ups and downs of two couples in the midst of an ongoing alien war between Earth and the invading Naian people. However, this game is unique in that it allows players to experience both perspectives of each of the two main pairings. Like most NaNoRenO games, the team had a month to complete the game, so Pairs is a little on the short side.
A visual novel about walking a mile in another man’s shoes. On Earth. During an alien invasion.
An alien with sketchy morals craves a human’s heart.
A young man schemes to get his parents back from death.
A mutant tries to figure out where her heart lies with her childhood friend.
An illusionist struggles with his motivations for becoming a hero.
Four stories. Four people. A chance to understand them all.
Continue reading “Romance Woes Amidst an Alien Invasions – PAIRS Review”
Cute Demon Crashers is a short 18+ sex positive visual novel from English game developers Sugar Script. The game was originally developed back in 2015 for the annual game jam, NaNoRenO, however due to time constraints Sugar Script was only able to complete two character routes (Mirari and Akki) by the time limit. But, the initial release was such a success that fans raised funds to assist Sugar Script with completing the game. Cute Demon Crashers features four romance interests (3 male, 1 female) and while the game does deal with sexual situations, players can choose to filter the “naughty bits” through censored gameplay. In addition to the filter, players can also choose to turn down any and all sexual situations without their choices having any effect on the progression of the story. The main purpose of the game is to promote a safe and open space for players to explore sex without feeling pressured.
If four sex demons offered their services to you, how would you react?
- Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac
- 4 Potential love interest (11 Endings)
- Censored and Uncensored
- Partial Voice Acting
- Cost: FREE
*There will be one NSFW image in this review and it is censored, but you know, warnings…*
Continue reading “A Sex Positive Fling with a Demon – Cute Demon Crashers Review”
Mikomi Games’s That Which Binds Us asks a very simple question: What if the bonds of fate could be severed? What if you could cut off ties with family, friends, a jealous lover? Would you take it? For Evalise, a young woman trapped in a toxic relationship the choice is simple, cut off ties with her no good boyfriend and start over again. So, when a strange (and handsome) bail bondsman offers to erase the memories of her recently incarcerated boyfriend, Evalise reluctantly accepts his offer. With her newfound freedom, Evalise attempts to pick up the pieces of her life and finally start over again, and maybe find love along the way.
All she wanted was to get a bail bond for her troublesome boyfriend. That’s when she met Idris, a very special kind of bondsman. With a flick of a knife, he asked Evalise one confusing question- what if we could make him forget you?
Continue reading “That Which Binds Us Review”