WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC

WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC

Join Narumi Kouki, a hardworking manga author who is still a student as he tries to juggle work and studies. To complicate matters for Kouki, he is pressured into joining the student council where he finds himself with more responsibilities as well as the only guy among a group of beautiful girls. Wagamama High Spec is a typical slice of life visual novel with a school setting, but the charming characters, humor and different routes make it stand it from the competition. There’s nothing really new here for people who are tired of the setting or tropes, but the writing is good and the visuals very polished.

Gameplay: Not a lot of choices, but they do lead to four very different story paths.

Graphics: Beautiful illustrations, tons of CGs and some nice backgrounds.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting along with plenty of great tunes

Bullet Soul Infinite Burst

Bullet Soul Infinite Burst

Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst is an upgrade of the original game that adds a couple of new features to an already enjoyable title. The Combination Burst mode really does open up a whole new style of play and even the existing modes have been re-balanced and improved with new enemy patterns. While it is not going to change the minds of those who are not fans of the genre, Infinite Burst is surprisingly newcomer friendly and offers an enjoyable experience with plenty of game modes.

Gameplay: No new levels compared to the original Bullet Soul, but the new modes are definitely worthwhile.

Graphics: Showing its age, but still looks decent enough for the genre.

Sound: The soundtrack is great, but the sound effects are a little feeble

Tokyo Dark

Tokyo Dark

Explore the sinister side of Toyko in this compelling point & click adventure / visual novel hybrid. When detective Ayami Itō is confronted by a seemingly supernatural opponent she must put her job and her sanity on the line to figure out what is going. Tokyo Dark features an engrossing storyline and a unique system where every choice and action has an influence on your sanity, professionalism, investigation and investigation. You also have the option to be as professional or reckless as you would like to be, which can alter the story and lead to more than ten different endings. While the game has some minor flaws, these do not detract from the overall experience and Tokyo Dark definitely lives up to expectations.

Gameplay: The storyline is compelling and the game has buckets of replay value.

Graphics: Interesting characters and locations.

Sound: Full voice acting would have been great, but the music and sound effects are great

West-First Japanese Visual Novel Launching Soon Courtesy Of MangaGamer And Circus

West-First Japanese Visual Novel Launching Soon Courtesy Of MangaGamer And Circus

Thanks to the efforts of companies like MangaGamer, there has never been a better time to be a fan of visual novels. MangaGamer, the world’s first legal download site for English translated visual novels, have been tireless in their efforts to bring these titles to the Western Market. This has resulted in numerous Japanese titles getting translated and exposed to a larger audience and more Japanese developers realizing the potential of selling their products to English audiences. One such developer is Circus, a long time partner of MangaGamer, and creators of the Da Capo and Dal Segno series. However, Circus and MangaGamer are now taking things one step further by partnering for the launch of Space Live. What makes this such a noteworthy event is the fact that Space Live will be a Japanese visual novel that is developed primarily for the Western Market

Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True

Princess Maker 3: Fairy Tales Come True

The third installment in the popular Princess Maker series is finally available, but unfortunately not in refined form like its predecessors. The game is a lot more streamlined, but with sixty different endings, it still has more than enough content to keep players busy for ages. It is a pity that the game has had such a rocky launch and issues with the translation along with other technical problems continue to plague it, but underneath it all there is still a very addictive game waiting to be played.

Gameplay: Schedule your daughter’s activities and raise her to become a princes.

Graphics: This game dates back to the nineties, so don’t expect too much, but the pixel art animations are really nice.

Sound: The music is decent enough, but can become repetitive, although the voice acting is still good

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly In The District of Dreams doesn’t quite live up to its mysterious premise, but as far as visual novels goes it still has a lot to offer. The pace of the story is very slow and relaxing, which is great for players in search of a calming experience. It is refreshing to play a title that doesn’t rely on fan service as a crutch, but due to the slow pace it is also a title that some players will find a little boring. With three main heroines, each with multiple routes and different endings, this visual novel is definitely not lacking in content.

Gameplay: The pace is fairly slow, but the slice of life drama still manages to be captivating once you get hooked.

Graphics: Beautiful character sprites, but the backgrounds are fairly limited.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and a great soundtrack

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness is based on the popular anime series of the same name, but this engrossing visual novel isn’t afraid to carve out its own path. It features a very memorable setting, interesting characters and plenty of content to explore. The story is a little darker than most visual novels on Steam, which is a good thing and familiarity with the anime series isn’t required to enjoy this title. Any fans of the genre looking for something that will keep them busy for a while should definitely add PSYCHO-PASS to their collection.

Gameplay: Features an engrossing storyline, two protagonists, a branching storyline and plenty of different endings.

Graphics: Great character designs and backgrounds, but not much in the way of animations.

Sound: Full voice acting for all the characters and some nice background music too

NEKO-NIN exHeart

NEKO-NIN exHeart

Join Haruki, the protagonist of NEKO-NIN exHeart, as he suddenly finds himself with two catgirls on his doorstep claiming that he is their new master. Haruki is understandably dubious about the whole situation and not entirely keen to accept responsibility for the two ninjas, but eventually warm up to their cuteness. This visual novel is a lighthearted affair with beautiful artwork, but the story isn’t’ exactly memorable and it is all over without much really happening along the way. Fans of cat girls will definitely enjoy it, but everyone else should probably try the free demo first.

Gameplay: Only two choices in the entire game and not much in the way of character development, but still enjoyable.

Graphics: The artwork is beautiful and the moving cat ears are as adorable as advertised.

Sound: Nice Japanese voice acting for all the girls, but the music isn’t exactly memorable

Sakura Space

Sakura Space

The Sakura series heads into space for a yuri adventure with this release by Winged Cloud. Players get to experience what happens when Captain Shika and her crew of mercenaries stumbles across the bounty of a lifetime. Although it might look like you have choices in the game, it plays out more like a kinetic novel, but offers some entertainment nonetheless. We would recommend sticking to the uncensored version though, as it offers a bit more content.

Gameplay: There are some interesting story elements, but the focus is mostly on the ecchi escapades of the girls.

Graphics: The artwork by Inma is gorgeous as always, but the cast is small and the locations limited.

Sound: No voice acting and decent, but unremarkable music

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura Estival Versus offers an impressive amount of fanservice mixed up with some solid hack and slash combat. The game does have its fair share of questionable elements, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There is a meaty story mode to complete, along with plenty of side missions, while the money you earn can be spent on clothing and accessories for the girls. Like most hack and slash games it can get a little repetitive, but despite the large cast none of the girls feel alike in personality or fighting style. If you are a fan of the series or enjoy fighting games, this comes highly recommended, as long as you realize you are going to get bombarded by fanservice around every turn.

Gameplay: Features plenty of content and a learning curve that eases you into the various combos and attacks you can pull off.

Graphics: Looks great on PC and the detail as well as animations are impressive.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for all the girls and a funky soundtrack that complements the action nicely