What games are you playing 2: The revenge

seitora

Well-Known Member
Saku Saku: Love Blooms with the Cherry Blossoms

I did the Ann route. This one was also about 10 hours.

Ann is the president of the student council that the protagonist is eventually browbeaten into joining, and it's through the student council that he gains daily exposure to each of the girls that he can date. Ann is a fun, flirtatious girl. She's even a very strong tease...in the common route and the other three routes. She remains so in her own route, but it's made clear fairly shortly that Ann becomes a blushing wreck if her bluff gets called. Probably once in every three or four of her flirt attempts, the protagonist, Yuma, will actually

In-game, there is no specific route order recommendation. Looking online as I was playing through, I did see a reader one to do Mio - Yuri - Konami - Ann. After having played through the four routes, this actually makes sense. Mio's is generally the weakest, but it's also the least complicated, and helps to further develop characterisation a little bit in each person. Yuri's route doesn't really open up the greater setting much, but has generally stronger writing and more interesting character interaction. Konami's route has very good writing, and it'd be hard to follow that up with the more vanilla routes.

Ann's route opens up the story a lot more, and also has some very strong writing to it.

There are some supernatural elements that are known very early even in the common route, and get a little bit of play in the other three routes. Ann's route completely blows open the more normal parts of the setting. Ann is a daughter of a human and a soul reaper (or shinigami), so she herself is half-human, half-soul reaper. How this ends up playing out is she is literally two different personalities with two different forms inhabiting a single body, with the other girl being Elle. Though it's really properly more a split personality, it's believably written as being two entirely separate identities and egos. They share much of the same memories and development, but only Elle has the soul reaper powers. Soul reapers in this setting are also psychopomps, who take on some of the memories of those they reap, and Ann, despite being the human half, still gets these memories.

How the two separate girls react to the memories they acquire drives a lot of the story, as well as their separation and reconciliation, and both coming to love the protagonist. For example, Elle becomes a little moody since she is the one literally reaping souls. Ann, meanwhile, goes to the protagonist's school and becomes the student council president, since one of the souls Elle reaped was a former student council president at the school, with strong attachments to her alma mater. Since Ann and Elle are still two separate identities, there's also a little bit of a debate over whether it's two girls competing for the same guy or not. But really, the love (tri)angle gets downplayed for the whole joining of the two egos as they learn to truly be comfortable with each other.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
Saku Saku: Love Blooms with the Cherry Blossoms

I did the final route, the Tina route. This one lasted about 8 hours. In turn, this final route does a deep dive into the background lore in the game that was only really previously explored in Ann's route.

The routes definitely do all their own thing for the order of who has their confession first, and how protracted it is for the other person to realise his or her feelings. Some have the girl confess first. Some have the male protagonist confess first. Some have both characters declare their crush just about at the same time. Some have one person declare love first, then the other person takes days to settle out his or her feelings. So hey, diversity in writing. This episode actually mirrors Konami's route too, in that Tina (like Yuma in Konami's route), takes some time to settle her feelings out after the opposite person confesses. There's also a bit of squick like the Konami route. Instead of it being squick because incest, it's more because Tina is really simple-minded. She's not dumb, but she just has very little awareness of societal conventions.

The ending has a bs deus ex machina that...quite literally, it didn't need, because the event leading to the DEM needing to occur was also contrived. Honestly, I feel the writing of Konami's route and Ann's route are the strongest, simply because there's no need for contrived drama to drive the plot forward.

Oh. But they do take a character who's been a complete joke character in the common route and first four routes of the game, and bring it all around full circle in an amazing way.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk

I don't even know how this game fell on my list. Yet another VN of course. All characters are voiced, except for the male protagonist himself.

The setting is a magic academy, with the caveat that even at the academy proper, magic itself is still secret, with only a handful of students in the know. The protagonist stumbles into the secret, then gets drafted into the secret student society that responds to magic incidences. However, the narrative is...a little lacking. The protagonist and a friend of his find out about magic, and then it just about stops at that. There's a tiny bit of infodump, then they're sent on their merry way to help out with magical artifacts.

Further worldbuilding does happen in the rest of the game, but it's still fairly slow. Each chapter involves a magic artifact breaking loose and causing havoc. The story for the artifact-of-the-week plays out a little bit as part slice-of-life, part mystery, and part comedy. Nominally, there's five chapters. However, it's possible to exit off early in chapter 3 or chapter 4 depending on your ending, as there's three different girls to end up with. I assume but don't know for sure yet if there's a fourth neutral ending.

So I accidentally got the Tsubaki route without trying for it. Tsubaki is a part of the Disciplinary Committee (essentially the student hall monitor, but on steroids). While she's typically boisterous, things happen, and the protagonist struggles to break her out of the mild depression Tsubaki falls into on her route. This one was actually a slog to read through, if only because it felt like the same plot points happened like three times in a row: "Hey, Tsubaki is sighing and listless and staring into space, please go talk to her and help cheer her up." The protagonist does so and helps Tsubaki through some of her issues, then a few days later "Hey, Tsubaki is sighing and listless and staring into space, please go talk to her and help cheer her up." Rinse and repeat a third time. Tsubaki also has a hard time reconciling her image of being a Disciplinary Committee member with her more feminine, girly likes and habits that she hides from others to preserve that image. Weirdly enough, on a meta-level, I feel the same. Early in the story, she feels like the cool, suave, collected upperclassman figure. By the end of the game, Tsubaki basically just becomes a cute girl.

Oh yeah. The male protagonist actually has some level of deductive reasoning. Amazing how that's refreshing compared to the norm.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk

I played and finished the Neko route. This would have been the first route I could have gotten, but I missed it and got the Tsubaki route earlier instead. Neko is a pretty fun, comedic character. She is quite possibly the horniest, thirstiest girl I've seen in a VN, and considering the target audience (self-deprecating humour! Self-deprecating humour!), that's saying something. Of course, she gets her touching sentimental moments too. However, Neko is also quite frankly an idiot, which helps to extend the comedy. What really helps is her voice acting, which seems to have that semi-unique Japanese comedy cadence of speaking much faster when flustered.

However, the route then abruptly ends at one point without really addressing one major plot point in the route, which is...anti-climatic.
 
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