This is where I talk about VNs (and the occasional dating sim)

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VN Talk

01/06/24

This world is a game: let's talk about YOU and ME and HER


Something about this VN felt targeted to me specifically. I love weird girls who transmit waves from rooftops, after all. Even though I went in somewhat knowing about the twist, it still managed to surprise me. The atmosphere was simply incredible all the way—some scenes were like, genuinely upsetting, and I don't mean the violent ones—there was a sort of tension buildup that it nailed very well. The soundtrack was also very good (my favorite song was End of Eternity—so haunting...) Most of all, the UI gimmicks were very clever—I'm still riding the high from figuring out that final puzzle by myself. It's a fun game!

It's been almost a week, and I'm still thinking about that final choice. I thought it would be easy—I had a favorite character since the very beginning, after all—but it being a one-and-done deal affected me so much, it's kind of funny. I initially quite disliked Miyuki, but I guess she grew on me more than I realized... I could always sate my curiosity and look up the other ending, but I'm going to keep true to my word. I think it's more fun that way.

As for who I picked...it's pretty obvious, isn't it? ;)

27/03/24

Loneliness and explosions in a city of ghosts: let's talk about Ghostpia


Right off the bat, Ghostpia's presentation is amazing. The beautiful, crayon-like art, the CRT effects(that can be turned off in the menu, if they're too eyestrain-y for you) and the lovely soundtrack make for a stunning combination.

From my friends' posts about it, I figured it was some comedy detective story with some yuri themes, so seeing all the guns and explosions and robots was very surprising...

The story—going back and forth from slice-of-life adventures to straight-up insane action flicks—follows Sayoko, an outsider in a secluded town inhabited by ghosts that only wake up at night. Both the town itself and the people in it are full of mysteries, but everyone still goes on about their life—if you can call it that—and we get to follow along with her messy efforts to put herself out there and connect with the people around her, both her old friends and the newcomer who brings them together.

This is just part one, so a lot of mysteries are still lurking beneath the surface—I can't wait to find out how the story continues from here on!

14/02/24

There's another me in the sky: let's talk about AIR


Growing up, I remember seeing many pictures of anime girls whenever I went online. They all had big, sparkling eyes, and my favorite ones stood against blue skies and wore white dresses that floated against a breeze. Many years later, I got into anime, and subsequently visual novels, wanting to experience stories that felt the same as those pictures I used to browse through.

When I booted up AIR and saw the story about the girl in the sky, along with the cg of Misuzu opening her arms to feel the wind, I felt a deep sense of nostalgia. That was the story I had been looking for all this time.

This was also my first Key VN. I knew about them from watching the Clannad anime back in highschool(one of my fondest memories from that time) so I went in expecting a lot of drama, and boy, they delivered. I love stories like this. I'm a noted crybaby, but it had been a while since something made me cry that much. It's genuinely heartbreaking. They don't call it a nakige for nothing, I guess...

So, what can I say about Air? I'll admit that at first, the artstyle was a bit jarring, but it really grew on me after a while, and now I love it to bits. The soundtrack was very nice—I ended up just leaving the game on for hours on the background while chilling to the music, oops. The characters' stories were engaging—the main girls were all very lovely. All in all, it had a deep sense of magic. It's truly a memorable game.

18/11/23

The delusion I wished for: let's talk about Chaos;Head NOAH


Many years ago, my friend tried to describe the plot of an anime whose name he’d forgotten. To me, it seemed like he was rambling incoherently: suicides, government conspiracies, Tokyo being completely destroyed in some sort of catastrophe—just what could this show be? A few months later, he found the anime’s name: Chaos;Head. Being a fan of the Steins;Gate anime and manga adaptations, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar to me. By that time, I was already into VNs, so I decided I’d read it when it got officially translated. That was around five years ago…

This August, I finally installed C;HN, along with the Committee of Zero patch, after letting it sit for months in my Steam Library. This November, I finally finished reading it.

Except for the vague disconnected plot points described by that friend, I went in completely blind. The protagonist, Takumi, is a very unpleasant person, though far from the worst VN protagonist I’ve encountered. Like all reclusive otaku protagonists, he ended up being relatable to me in some aspects—and he’s got quite the amazing figure collection.

The story presents insane, impossible murders, one after the other, all while Takumi tries to go about his life as reality and delusions meld together. The Delusion Trigger was a pretty interesting mechanic—some delusions are iffy, some are violent, and some are funny—at the start I couldn’t resist pressing the big red denpa button at every opportunity, hah.

The pacing in the common route ran a bit slow at times, but I liked going about Takumi’s days, so it didn’t bother me too much. The story is filled to the brim with crazy plot twists, and it really picks up in the later chapters. It can get very dark and graphic—I’m a bit of a wimp, so sometimes I’d just leave the computer and take some fresh air while going, “what the FUCK was that, dude” and come back just to get my mind blown again.

As for the character’s routes, Nanami’s was kind of whatever; Yua’s was… interesting; Ayase’s was incredible; Kozue’s was incredibly violent; Sena’s was very, very good; and Rimi’s was very sweet. The ending was very cool—I live for epic final battles and repetitions— and also very satisfying after some 120 odd hours of playtime (a normal person would definitely take way less than that, I’m just a slow reader).

It's definitely not a VN for everyone, but if it’s your thing, you’ll love it. I sure did.

17/10/23

In our little town of Phada: let’s talk about Soundless: a modern Salem in a remote era


I’ve had my eye on milk+’s Soundless for a little while now and was just waiting for the art update to be completed before reading it.

Right out of the bat, the UI reminded me a lot of some 2000’s vns, mainly Higurashi (I also toggled on the old art to compare it with the new one at times, much like I did when I read Higurashi).

The story hooked me in immediately; the beginning builds up the setting and doesn’t hesitate to jump straight into violence—interspersing it with sweet, heartfelt bonding moments—and keeps a general air of mystery and suspense before descending into the chaotic madness of the latter half of the story.

The ending, although very fitting and impactful, leaves several questions unanswered, most of which are explained through the computer logs in the epilogue. I enjoyed reading through them, even if they felt a bit detached from the main story.

After the epilogue, there’s an extra chapter, Adiaphoron. Everything in the main story goes down pretty quickly after a certain point, so the slow pace was a welcome change, giving the characters a chance to talk to each other and make themselves known to the audience— specially Nina, who proved herself a delightful character once she was given the spotlight. It leaves the story in a much cheerier and more hopeful place than the main story, and even though I loved that ending, I think the overall product is better for Adiaphoron’s inclusion.

Overall, it's a very nice read, and definitely one of my favorite OELvns ever. I can’t wait to reread it some years from now.

11/09/23

Enter the Maid: let's talk about The House in Fata Morgana


Fatamoru was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Much of the experience was carried by the gorgeous, dream-like soundtrack that's become a staple of my playlists, but the overall execution had some pitfalls that took me out of it. The writing tended to be very unsubtle; the scenes where the characters are being tortured just go on for way too long and end up losing whatever effect they might've had.

That said, it wasn't all bad! The art was very beautiful, and combined with the soundtrack it made for some truly memorable moments along the way.

The soundtrack is sung in a sort of broken, european-sounding portuguese(with occasional latin and italian?),making the songs seem like something my grandma would listen to on an old record player, a half-remembered song that you'd listen to inside a dream.

Door 2 has some issues(the way they chose to write Yukimasa as just. Ontologically evil was kinda weird) but it was my favorite, story wise. Making it seem like Yukimasa was killed by the beast was pretty clever, and Delphinas is one of the prettiest songs ever. It also didn't get overused like other songs(cough cough Cicio)

Life got in the way a lot so I took a long time to read this VN, and had fun theorizing about the plot and characters for a few months(and being right about some of them!). The conclusion was satisfying enough, even if the pacing was a bit off.

I wouldn't consider it a waste of time—I still liked it quite a bit—but I couldn't bring myself to truly love it, even if some of the characters really resonated with me.

©repth
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