Kissed by the Baddest Bidder Mamoru Kishi Main Route Impressions and Review – Slight Spoilers

Basic Premise and Fair Warning: Voltage really needs a trigger warning on Kissed by the Baddest Bidder. In all the routes, the main character is a victim of human trafficking and falls for her “keeper.” In this particular route she’s also sent to a cult’s compound.  The entire premise creeped me out so much that I waited for both a recommendation from a trusted source AND a half-price sale.  I did enjoy the story, but I would not recommend it to anyone who has been in a remotely similar situation.

Positives

  • The MC, Kishi, and all the other characters have distinct personalities and voices. I even liked the brief interactions with the maids.
  • I adore this MC. She’s funny, focused, respects herself, and takes initiative. She also feels young without being a brat.
  • I like Kishi too. His distinct voice and the writing’s pacing make what could have been tired character tropes and motivations engaging and funny.
  • The pacing of the relationship development makes me believe it. The MC is genuinely miserable and angry at her situation and Kishi for a good portion of the story, and Kishi is annoyed at being saddled with her. I feared it would be Stockholm Syndrome: The Game, but between her attitude and back-talk in the first half and their equal initiative and respect in the second half it works. Quite a feat.
  • The main plot zips along, has no major plot holes, and resolves well. Be sure to play the “good ending” too if you get the “happy ending” first. It contains one of the funniest relationship conversations I’ve read. 🙂

Negatives

  • When the main plot’s culprit is revealed, they’re just let go. They’re responsible for at least one murder and enabling another criminal to keep operating (who has threatened the MC), and we’re just going to make them promise to stop. This ain’t Team Umizoomi; I need a little more reassurance, please.

Bottom line: Recommended to those who can handle the basic premise.  It made my personal replay list.

Voltage’s Kissed by the Baddest Bidder is available on iOS and Android.

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Creatures Such as We Impressions and Reflections

Creatures Such as We Pic

Basic Premise: Guide a gaggle of video game developers during their tourist trip on the moon. Prod your own expectations and beliefs about art, character development, agency, inequality, suffering, personal responsibility, and death.

Positives

  • Lynnea Glasser can write.  The alien yet mundane setting, the lovely symmetry between the “real” events and the “game” events, and the little interactions between characters when they are not in “philosophizing mode” make me happy she’s exploring new projects.
  • The characters feel like believable types of people even if they do not act like believable individuals.
  • The friendship paths are just as viable as the romantic ones.
  • Whether your personal answer appears on the selection screen or not, you must inspect your positions and beliefs on many issues.

Negatives

  • During the first scene, it’s quite possible to select options that makes you miss that your character’s avatar is supposed to be romantically involved with Elegy. I assumed we were friends or relatives. This made Jason’s later conversation and examination of Elegy and a NPC’s ability and right to say “no” feel like it came out of nowhere.
  • While we’re on the issue of NPC consent: that topic, the first conversation focused on art belonging to the artist vs. the audience, and the ones focused on death all left me wishing for more.
  • About NPC consent: I view the MC in a visual novel (such as Speakeasy Tonight) or the PC in a video game (such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout: New Vegas, etc.) as his/her own distinct character – not me. I’m curious to see how their stories and relationships (both platonic and romantic) will play out, but I’m happy to watch it not quite work or crash and burn spectacularly. I cannot express that in game though.  :/
  • About art belonging to the artist vs. the audience: Where’s the “it’s totally the artists’ choice; I just wish they hadn’t chosen to make such a **** ending” option? XD
  • About death: This discussion felt the most restricted. I tried all six character paths and different dialog selections. Never once did the subject of spirituality, an organized philosophy, or religion appear. Particularly after having played Dragon Age: Inquisition, this feels like a huge, gaping hole. :/

Bottom Line: Go play it now. While some of the opinion selections are limited and some characters at times come across as ideological mouthpieces rather than people, Glasser’s focused writing raises interesting, pertinent questions for anyone who creates and/or consumes media.

Choice of Games’ Creatures Such as We is available on iOS, Android, and Kindle.

Find out more about Creatures Such as We and Lynnea Glasser’s other work here.