Deathless: The City’s Thirst Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Deathless The City's Thirst

Basic Premise: Negotiate contracts to slake a city’s thirst.

Positives

  • The game occupies the same interesting universe as Choice of the Deathless (one of my more replayed titles).
  • The new characters kept me amused.
  • The last choices in a list often made me giggle.

Negatives

  • I never felt a connection to my character and many others’ enormous home city, Dresediel Lex. It didn’t inspire awe or responsibility which made me politely ignore half the choices related to its welfare.

Bottom Line: Recommended. While Choice of the Deathless is still my favored of Max Gladstone‘s two titles, this one’s humor and new characters won me over.

Choice of Games’ Deathless: The City’s Thirst is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Steam.

Impressions and review based on a provided code.

Kiss Me On Clover Hill’s Shokichi Kuramoto Season of Love Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: The MC starts college and slowly builds a romance with one of her fellow students.

Positives

  • I perked up every time Sho’s friend Daisuke appeared. He’s not the most interesting character ever written, but he had focus and goals.
  • A few of the situations felt believable.

Negatives

  • Some of the secondary character’s faces are really bad.
  • Bored. SO BORED. I didn’t dislike the two leads. They and the story are just as bland as these:

unsalted saltines

Bottom Line: I don’t hate it, but I recommend Dreamy Days in West Tokyo‘s 3 Years Later routes over this particular one.

Voltage’s Kiss Me on Clover Hill is available on iOS and Android.

Serendipity Next Door His POV Impressions – Spoiler Free

Unlike the In Your Arms Tonight‘s POVs, the Serendipity Next Door‘s POVs contain no choices, no MC sprite options, and fewer chapters. As much as I enjoyed some of the stories for the insight into the secondary characters and how well the male lead’s voice came through, these are decidedly short stories rather than games with paths to puzzle out.

Individual Routes

  • Izumi POV: It’s cute and sweet, but I wanted to edit out a few lines that didn’t seem to click with the main route.
  • Jinpachi POV: It’s funny and believable and makes the main story both much sweeter and much creepier at the same time.
  • Keiichi POV: It won’t change your opinion of him or the relationship. He’s definitely consistent with the main story.
  • Masaomi POV: The shorter format makes Masaomi’s story work better, and Masaomi’s internal dialogue and nearly complete uninterest in those around him are really entertaining.

Bottom Line: Good content with a high price tag. Unless you absolutely adore a character wait for a sale.

Voltage’s Serendipity Next Door is available on iOS and Android.

Serendipity Next Door: Jinpachi Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: Two neighbors get to know one another while dealing with every-day life.

IMG_0161Well, I don’t necessarily want him, but I do want this story.

I cannot fully recommend it to everyone, but what this story gets right, it really gets right.

  • Stock elements are used. The main character’s often naive and acts before reflecting, the leading man must physically rescue her more than once, and convenient set-ups are utilized. Yet how all the characters react and speak are unique and consistent while still evolving.
  • The difference in personalities, experience levels, and ages all come through in all the characters without smacking the reader over the head.
  • The word choice and humor just work for me. Several times I faintly noted that intellectually something should bother me, but I was too busy snickering to actually care…

IMG_0154

IMG_0155Hee.

Bottom Line: Recommended to those who wish to see basic ideas become unique through good writing and localization.  Or to those who just need a good laugh.

Voltage’s Serendipity Next Door is available on iOS and Android.

Be My Princess 2 Ivan Review – Spoiler Free

Basic Premise: Get smacked with a prince’s bouquet as you’re trying to sneak out of a ballroom. Find out that’s the precursor to a marriage interview:

IMG_0092Ack!

On the main character: She’s kind and intelligent with a slightly goofy sense of humor. Her third option choices made me laugh out loud at times. I had to wade through the first few chapters of her being rail-roaded for the plot, but once that’s over she’s great.

IMG_0121Thank you, Sieg.

On Ivan: He’s just the right balance of commanding, blunt, considerate, and focused. He’s a heroic, flawed person whom I wanted to see victorious. Unless he’s wearing this.  This is just bad:

IMG_0097Yes. I need to stop giggling at that robe, but I can’t.

On the main relationship: The pacing is so nicely done, and these two work together well as team. The only time they have a misunderstanding in service to the plot it feels off; know that feeling lasts about half a chapter and you’ll get back to the awesomeness soon.

IMG_0105The MC is sweet, believable, and just perfect in this section.  Love it.

Bottom Line: Highly Recommended. While this route and Ivan certainly have flaws, the pacing and central relationship more than make up for it.

Voltage’s Be My Princess 2 is available on iOS and Android.

Queen’s Gambit Senator Lindsay Tom Walker V Impressions and Review – Spoilers

Tom All the AnswersOh, my dear MC, you have no idea.

—-

If you’re looking for my thoughts on the game in general, please read the first section of my Joao Morais review.

The Good

The MC gets to operate almost completely on her own in this particular spy plot. It’s pretty cool.

Several characters from To Love & Protect are weaved into the story.

I like Tom. He’s not as subtly written as I wanted, and his simplistic views made me sigh at times, but he’s fun to challenge. And the route usually lets the MC do that.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two leads when the MC isn’t being inconsistent. They’re equals intellectually and professionally, and it shows.

The rookie ending made me laugh SO HARD after playing Emmett’s route:

Emily Meets TrainSeriously?  That’s all it took?  HA!

The Bad

  • The MC says she won’t sleep with Tom.
  • The MC and Tom are fighting. She gives no indication that she is attracted to him.
  • The MC jumps him in Chapter 3 without any option for me to stop her.
  • Me, yelling at the screen: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GAME? He just KILLED somebody for the first time, and I don’t even like him yet! STOP IT!”

It doesn’t go with the story, it’s particularly jarring after Joao’s and Emmett’s routes, and I wanted a CHOICE not to jump Tom. I wanted to see a bad-ass, professional spy, not somebody who would take advantage of their charge. Blargh.

The Ugly

Tom Voltage PoliticsIf only the writer had done the same…

Nobody who comments upon the subjects has views on politics, government, bureaucracies, cabals, PMCs, America’s two party system, media, social issues, or businesses has nuanced or consistent opinions. Not the MC, not Tom, not the President…

It made my brain hurt every time it’s brought up. Swapping “democrat” and “republican” in the conversations wouldn’t help the story either (third parties aren’t mentioned at all). I’m baffled as to where the grayness of the setting and room for different opinions present in Joao’s route went.

And then having Tom and the MC go on like they’ve got it ALL FIGURED OUT with no options for the reader to express their opinion.

And then they’re not even consistent.

It’s rough, guys.

Oh, wait. I nearly forgot Emily. She’s consistent – completely bitter, but consistent. I cheered her speech near the end when she starts calling everyone on their crap:

Emily speech 1

Emily speech 2At this point in the story I was actually okay with the worst ending in which Emily wins.  Yeesh.

Bottom Line: If you can ignore the lack of nuance in the political/world view sections, this is a fun read. Try Act 1 next time it’s on sale and go from there.

Voltage Entertainment USA’s Queen’s Gambit is available on iOS and Android.

Finally, in Love Again Kazuki Epilogue, Sequel, and Sequel Epilogue Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Remember how I wrote Kazuki isn’t my favorite character, but untangling the relationship and the writing kept pulling me back to the story in the main route? I’ve played it again at least twice without taking notes for a review (quite a rarity).

Well, Kazuki’s sequels don’t have any of that untangling or tensions. The translation and pacing are still nicely done, but all three stories feel like they’re treading water. I’ve come to expect that in epilogues but was disappointed to find no real character development or relationship progress in the sequel…

…unless you count EVERYBODY EXCEPT THE NEWLY INTRODUCED FEMALE CHARACTER TRYING TO CHEER UP THE MC THE ENTIRE GAME AND HER ALWAYS COMPARING HERSELF TO OTHERS AND LOOKING TO OTHERS FOR MOTIVATION AND AFFIRMATION AS PROGRESS. Get it together, MC. I don’t dislike you, but you’re over 30, and you said it yourself:

IMG_0004

You didn’t feel like this in the main route.  You’ve regressed.  And it’s frustrating.

Bottom Line: I wasn’t annoyed that I spent the money, but the sequels do not live up to the high standards set by the main route.

Voltage’s Finally, in Love Again is available on iOS and Android.

Taking Inventory and Inviting Requests

What I learned after the illness blur and the Voltage sale:

  1. Never let me on the app store while I’m on good pain killers.
  2. It’s a blessing I’m usually so frugal. Once I came out of the medicine haze and tallied everything up I had enough mad money to cover it.
  3. Still. Yikes.

Anyway, if you have an impressions or review request from the following list, let me know.

  • Be My Princess 2: Ivan Main
  • Be My Princess 2: Ivan Sequel
  • Be My Princess 2: Ivan’s POV
  • Be My Princess 2: Max Main
  • Be My Princess 2: Max Sequel
  • Be My Princess 2: Oliver Main
  • Be My Princess 2: Oliver’s POV

  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: School Festival Romance Part 1 & 2
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Time Capsule
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Summer Camp Love
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Let’s Make a Toast
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Sports Day Kiss
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Black Ship Halloween
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Steamy Days in Hot Springs
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Sweeter than Chocolate
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: A Gift from the Heart
  • Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: A Ski Trip to Remember

  • Finally, in Love Again: Sosuke Main Story
  • Finally, in Love Again: Yoh Main Story
  • Finally, in Love Again: Kazuki Epilogue
  • Finally, in Love Again: Kazuki’s Sequel
  • Finally, in Love Again: His PoV: Aki
  • Finally, in Love Again: His PoV: Momoi
  • Finally, in Love Again: His PoV: Sosuke
  • Finally, in Love Again: His PoV: Yoh

  • First Love Diaries: Mitsure Sanada
  • First Love Diaries: Mitsure Sanada – Senior Year
  • First Love Diaries: Sota Yamamoto Main

  • In Your Arms Tonight: His POV Genji
  • In Your Arms Tonight: His POV Shohei
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Ginnosuke Epilogue
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Kippei Wedding vows
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Kippei POV
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Kippei Epilogue
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Koichi Epilogue
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Kiyoto Epilogue
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Ritsu Epilogue
  • In Your Arms Tonight: For My Future Wife
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Cherry Blossoms
  • In Your Arms Tonight: Hokkaido

  • Kiss of Revenge: Junpei Another Story
  • Kiss of Revenge: Kyosuke Another Story
  • Kiss of Revenge: Soichiro Epilogue 1
  • Kiss of Revenge: Our First Winter

  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Mamoru Drowning in your Kiss
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Mamoru Jealousy
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Mamoru Sequel
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Mamoru Living Together
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Soryu His POV
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Soryu His Weakness
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: Soryu Living Together

  • Love Letter from Thief X: Atsumu Main Story
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Atsumu Sequel
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Atsumu The Proposal
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Atsumu License to Wed
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Kenshi The Proposal
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Kenshi License to Wed
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Taiga Main
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Taiga Sequel
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Tatsuro Main
  • Love Letter from Thief X: Tsumugu Main Story
  • Love Letter from Thief X: The Origin of the Black Foxes

  • Metro PD: Eiki Main
  • Metro PD: Eiki Sequel
  • Metro PD: Eiki Armed & Engaged
  • Metro PD: Kimura Sequel
  • Metro PD: Kirisawa Epilogue
  • Metro PD: Kirisawa Sequel
  • Metro PD: Nomura Epilogue
  • Metro PD: Monura Armed & Engaged
  • Metro PD: Tennoji Sequel
  • Metro PD: Tennoji Armed & Engaged
  • Metro PD: Night Duty Part 2
  • Metro PD: 2nd Unit Breaks the Code

  • My Sweet Bodyguard: Kurosawa Main

  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Akiyoshi The Proposal
  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Shusei The Proposal
  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Shusei Love in Manhattan
  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Shusei His POV
  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Tsumugu His POV
  • Our Two Bedroom Story: Our First Anniversary Story

  • Serendipity Next Door: Izumi POV
  • Serendipity Next Door: Jinpachi Main
  • Serendipity Next Door: Jinpachi POV
  • Serendipity Next Door: Keiichi POV
  • Serendipity Next Door: Masaomi POV

  • True Love, Sweet Lies: Nozomu Main

I also want to dive deep into Regency Love‘s Mr. Graham update, but a coding issue destroys the flow of an otherwise beautifully written game. I hope Tea for Three will soon patch it so I recommend it fully. :/

Metro PD: Close to You Yutaka Tennoji Sequel Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Okay, this review will need a bit of context. While I always enjoyed Tennoji in all the other Metro PD routes I played, his unprofessional and disrespectful attitude in his own route’s first three chapters kept me from purchasing it. I therefore may have missed some references.

Basic Premise: The MC and Tennoji track a criminal to New York City and attempt to prevent another murder.

Positives

  • The translation, pacing, word choice, and comedic timing work beautifully.
  • The grayness of the world creates real tension during the mystery and suspense plot. I really didn’t know how it would resolve, and there are no perfect “makes it easy” answers.
  • The MC is funny, intelligent, and fair without being perfect.
  • Tennoji is driven, rash, and funny with just the right balance of sincerity and dismissiveness.
  • The banter between these two made me laugh every chapter. Have a quote:

  • Tennoji and the MC are good detectives, good friends, and such good romantic partners while still being believable. I didn’t even play the main route, and I want to see these two married and in their sixties and still kickin’ butt professionally and teasing their grandchildren during Japanese holiday get-togethers. I would say “send help,” but I’m enjoying these two too much.

Negatives

  • I wish more of the secondary characters had sprites.

Everything Else

  • A couple of “well, isn’t that convenient” moments happen in service to the plot but are so nimbly executed that I can’t mark it as a negative.

Bottom Line: Highly recommended. I love these two.

Voltage’s Metro PD: Close to You is available on iOS and Android.

Sword Daughter Impressions and Review

“Well, I enjoyed Hanako’s Long Live the Queen and The Royal Trap. I’ll give Sword Daughter a chance.”

Positives

  • Kim Sokol’s and Iacocca Khen’s art has a soft, oil-painting quality that fits the setting and is easily the best Hanako has used. I hope they continue to illustrate future titles.
  • The music fits.

Main Negative (or Positive of a Different Sort)

  • The base plot concept is sound: The protagonist’s traveling party is attacked by orcs, her father dies, and her fellow travelers are abducted. She’s found by the male lead and now must decide how to proceed.
  • Unfortunately the execution is so bad that at first I felt insulted. Her dad’s still fresh corpse is a yard away and the two leads are arguing – yet the protagonist is focused on how cute the elf is.  What is this?
  • Then I nearly started crying from laughing when the perfectly beautiful, eerily intelligent white horse shows up and somehow magically gives the protagonist the power to win a footrace.
  • Then I started crying from laughing in earnest when I spent the next playthrough doing my best to make the two leads hate each other (and they do express frustration without attraction) only to have them turn right around and snog each other and talk about how concerned they were.
  • The best part of all, however, came during one of the possible endings in which the fellow travelers have been rescued, the male lead has been jarringly mushy, then wanders off. Female lead: “Maybe I’ll see you at the warrior games some time?” Male lead: indifferent shrug.
  • The entire thing is both terrible and glorious.

Bottom Line: This is not a good story, but for $6.95 I definitely got my money’s worth. If you enjoy picking apart books or games MST3K-style, give it a try. It’s now on Steam so you might nab it at a good discount in the future.

Hanako Games, Hanabira, and Rhondi Vilott’s Sword Daughter is available on PC, Mac, and Linux from Hanako Games’ official site and Steam.