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.

Voltage Japan Sale PSA

Real life’s still eating all my reviewing time, but I did want to give y’all a heads-up.

This weekend Voltage Japan has discounted main routes, sequel routes, epilogues, and special stories for eighteen routes.

It’s a little overwhelming, quite frankly, but what surprised and pleased me the most is ALL the “Another Story” and “His POV” routes are only $0.99 in the US iOS store.  These routes rarely go on sale, and I’ve never seen them this inexpensive.

The In Your Arms Tonight Another Story routes are just as long as the main stories and some of them are really well done.  Many of the different His POV for different apps really add to the story too so I’d go ahead and give them a try as well.  Check out my review archive if you want more particulars.  🙂

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.

The Last Monster Master Impressions and Review

Monster Master

Basic Premise: As headmaster of a struggling monster academy, you must train and place your newest class as the entire country prepares for battle.

Positives

  • The editing and coding are spot on.
  • The entire premise and setting intrigued me.
  • Once the mystery and political plot starts, I was riveted.
  • The various monster school subjects, pupils’ personalities, career options, and relationship standings matter.

Negatives

  • You must choose which training facilities to repair before knowing what order the monster traits shall be trained. I’m the headmaster of the entire school; unless my Monster Master is an amnesiac I should know what we’ll need fixed up when and plan accordingly.
  • The discipline/compassion meter seems to have really large gains and losses. In a few conversations I was worrying about how far off my perceived personality I was going rather than just role-playing my Monster Master.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

  • Oh good. Apparently I’m a junior high guidance counselor. And, after all my time and effort, a particular character is still grousing at me years later. I already have a toddler and social media; I don’t need more whining in my life.

*Highlight Below for Spoiler*

  • ******No matter how considerate and compassionate your Monster Master, Alumig fights you at the end. He makes fair points too – ones that I wondered about during my first play-through. Why couldn’t y’all team up and work for equal rights for monsters earlier in the story or even be offered a place as a useful tool on Alumig’s road to the complete subjugation of the human race?******

Bottom Line: The Last Monster Master‘s choices impact the story, and the writing is solid. The guidance counselor section bothered me enough that I doubt I’ll replay it, but I will check out whatever Serviss writes next.

Choice of Games’ The Last Monster Master is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Google Chrome.

Find out more about author Ben Serviss.

Impressions and review based on a provided code.

Queen’s Gambit Emmett Impressions and Review – Spoilers after the Jump

IMG_0787

Basic Premise: As a top spy at Destrier, a private security agency, the main character must complete her assignments and protect her team at any cost. (And, if you work really hard, she might get to snog the character who appears in all the lovely stills.)

What Differs from Previous Voltage Entertainment USA Titles

  • = The player no longer receives messages directly to a personal email account. I miss getting content from secondary characters but do not miss having to close the app every chapter to see if a new one had appeared.
  • = Three acts of five chapters each net you more content than previous titles but also cost more at $5.97 total rather than $3.99.
  • + Each character has a unique prolog. It keeps the plot and characters voices consistent.
  • + All four endings unlock upon completing the route, and each ending differs significantly. It’s worth reading them all.
  • + Save slots, a rewind button, and a relationship meter keep the player from having to reread huge batches of text if they make a mistake or miss something.
  • + The sprites have many poses, and the MC’s expressions now appear in her dialog box.
  • + Sound effects and how the text pops onto the screen emphasize the action and mood of a scene well.
  • + As I noted in a previous review, Voltage USA’s gun illustrations up to this point have been terrible. Queen’s Gambit‘s illustrations are a huge improvement.  No sprites hold weapons that I remember – which keeps the description of a particular gun from clashing with the visual – and the few stills that feature guns have them held properly.

Overall I like Emmett better than João, but the main plot is not as strong. Since this comes down to a matter of taste, I’ll give a few general points before digging into more specifics and spoilers after the jump.

I really like Emmett as a character. He’s focused, intelligent, kind, and has a slightly goofy sense of humor. He has issues, but he doesn’t pity himself and has enough perspective to address his problems. He also ties into White Lies & Sweet Nothings (though none of those characters cameo like Speakeasy Tonight‘s Neil does, darn it).

IMG_0745

The two leads may get together as a couple by the end, but for most of the route Emmett and the MC feel and interact like what they are: long-time, close, adult friends. I actually love the slower buildup, hesitation, and having the few little romantic interactions being able to be reasonably brushed off as friendship, but I can see players who expect more mush in their visual novels being frustrated.

The MC mentors Cameron (the team’s rookie) well.

The main plot ties into the MC and Emmett’s history. It starts unraveling towards the end though.

If inaccurate medical details can completely destroy your suspension of disbelief, you may want to skip this story. It reaches Master and Commander levels of unbelievable.

MORE DETAILS, SPOILERS, AND A NSFW STILL AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading

Queen’s Gambit João Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

IMG_0783

Basic Premise: As a top spy at a private security agency the main character must complete her assignments and protect her team at any cost. (And, if you work really hard, she might get to snog the character who appears in all the lovely stills.)

What Differs from Previous Voltage Entertainment USA Titles

  • = The player no longer receives messages directly to a personal email account. I miss getting content from secondary characters but do not miss having to close the app every chapter to see if a new one had appeared.
  • = Three acts of five chapters each net you more content than previous titles but also cost more at $5.97 total rather than $3.99.
  • +Each character has a unique prolog. It keeps the plot and characters voices consistent.
  • + All four endings unlock upon completing the route, and each ending differs significantly. It’s worth reading them all.
  • + Save slots, a rewind button, and a relationship meter keep the player from having to reread huge batches of text if they make a mistake or miss something.
  • + The sprites have many poses, and the MC’s expressions now appear in her dialog box.
  • + Sound effects and how the text pops onto the screen emphasize the action and mood of a scene well.
  • + As I noted in a previous review, Voltage USA’s gun illustrations up to this point have been terrible.  Queen’s Gambit‘s illustrations are a huge improvement.  No sprites hold weapons that I remember – which keeps the description of a particular gun from clashing with the visual – and the few stills that feature guns have them held properly.

IMG_0784

On the MC: I really like this one. She has a definite history and motivations which weave nicely both into the plot and into her attraction to João. She’s fairly intelligent, competent, and has a nice balance of idealism and skepticism. Now, if I could just add a dash of snark, she’d be perfect.

On João Morais, the LI: He’s…kind of a Disney princess, actually. He’s pretty. He cares about family. He needs to be rescued a few times. He cares about the environment. He tries to befriend almost everyone. His naivete is both cute and potentially obnoxious. He’s kept from cloying preciousness by the heroine’s inner commentary, different sides of the political and environmental issues having a bit of nuance, his willingness to work, and his character evolution late in the story.  I still laughed like mad when this popped up though:

IMG_0723Don’t worry, Emmett.  Your route’s next on the list.

On the Romance: I really like that the MC takes a while to switch from a professional attitude to a “crud I really like this guy” attitude. The relationship is built slowly on values and goals the two truly share. Compared to other Voltage USA titles, the story has fewer romantic moments, but I don’t see where more would have fit in the narrative.

On the Main Plot: The spy plot never felt copy-pasted and stayed away from one-liners. As long as you don’t squint too hard at the Client’s motivations (or why top spies do not use burner cell phones) you’ll be fine.

On “Stop Using Your Fictional Characters to Lecture Me Please”: I’ll admit I was apprehensive during the first few chapters of this route. I don’t enjoy seeing one stance on a political or social issue portrayed as THE CORRECT THING AND EVERYONE ELSE MUST BE COMPLETE IDIOTS even if I agree with it. Fortunately, the writer gives both characters representing the issues some flaws, some shading, and no one person or position has a perfect solution at the end of the route.

On the Tone: I was surprised and pleased at how ambiguous the world is. While I respect the two main leads and some of the secondary characters, many of their actions gave me pause. João researches ways to improve the environment, yes, but chooses to do so in an area outside any countries’ jurisdiction in a manner that could potentially be as damaging as the problems he’s trying to correct. The MC lies and kills for an organization that she trusts helps others, but we never get a proper explanation or proof that they are not, in fact, doing terrible things to good people. Read the nightmare ending at least once. My jaw was on the table. I now want to read every route just to see what the nightmare ending is for each one.

On Secondary Characters: This is a fun bunch. My favorite is Cassidy, the MC’s younger sister, but Cameron, the team’s rookie, is close behind her.

IMG_0721I see it’s time to take him into the study and have a heart-to-heart.

Bottom Line: Recommended. While João himself is not my cup of tea, puzzling out the main plot and learning about the MC’s relationships with the secondary characters kept me intrigued. More Cassidy and Tom please!

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