[review] Nowhere Safe 2

Nowhere Safe 2
Nowhere Safe 2 screenshot
genre drama
creator Red Panda Games
summary It has been several years and Kimiko now not only has to handle her own issues, but also those of her daughter.

You may want to read my Nowhere Safe 1 review first.

Story

Kento is kind of a dick sometimes.

Kento is kind of a dick sometimes.

Last time on Nowhere Safe — Kimiko is being stalked by a crazy hooded man who was wrongfully released from prison. His sister, Kimiko’s therapist, stole her mail and committed perjury in order to get the robed lunatic out of a life sentence. The VN ends just as crazy dude throws a small rock through a decorative glass pane in Kimiko’s front door.

The sequel appears to continue at the exact point we left off last time, but (surprise!) it’s only a dream sequence and the rest of the VN takes place years later. In her nightmare at least, captain loon shatters her solid wooden door into glass shards and just walks right on in. I’m assuming that’s not actually what happened in reality, but it indicates he somehow got in by force. How the fuck did he manage that? The rest of what happened is kept for some quarter-assed attempt at a plot twist later.

Back in the real world, seven years have passed and Kimiko is still living together with Kento. She has reverted back to being a shut-in after receiving a large monetary settlement… yet again. Not from her crazy therapist whose criminal acts enabled the traumatic event leading to her regression. No, the money is from the police for their supposed incompetence. Adding to the hilarity, Kimiko didn’t even fire her therapist after all that happened. She didn’t want to change therapists again. WTF?!

Not a disguise, Kento's gay twin is a real person.

Not a disguise, Kento’s gay twin is a real person.

The focus this time lies less on Kimiko and more on her spawn. She has a daughter now: Kazumi. It’s the little girl’s first day at school when they discover she refuses to speak around anyone outside her direct family. That might’ve been discovered earlier, but her parents never sent her to kindergarten, nor did they ever make any attempt to let her socialize with other kids her age… whoops. Within the first week of school, Kimiko gets a call from the teacher implying Kazumi used ESP to knock a kid off the slide, somehow cut another one with safety scissors and gave several others diarrhea. WTF?!

Besides the new madness are several returning characters. Kimiko’s only friend Aya shows up briefly to announce her (temporary) emigration to Australia. Unable to serve her role as Kimiko’s handmaiden, she sends a replacement — Kento’s never-before-mentioned identical gay twin Naoki. Now you might think it’s obviously just Kento wearing a disguise, but nope, Kento really does have a twin brother who also just so happens to be friends with Aya. The twins don’t exactly get along. One reason is Kento got beat up a lot in school, being mistaken for his outwardly gay brother. Naoki apparently also sort of tried to rape him at one point. WTF?!

What in the actual fuck?!

What the fuck?!

The first Nowhere Safe had choices, but only one ending. The sequel does have different endings, they just don’t follow logically from the choices made. Only a tiny fraction of the choices seem to matter — you can choose to do horrible things to Kazumi, but none of it seems to matter aside from a single choice near the very end. Don’t keep your hopes up for a good ending either. Every single one ends in misery, insanity and/or death. Even when things seem to be going well, the epilogue just bends it back to a massive failure.

The one point where Nowhere Safe 2 really goes for the full 1.21 jiggaWHATs is the final reveal of what happened all those years ago when señor stalker forced himself into Kimiko’s apartment. Crazy robe guy got through the front door somehow and raped her. She got pregnant. Crazy guy’s mental illness is hereditary. Kimiko decides to have her rapist’s child regardless. Kimiko is fool. Kento randomly comes over in the middle of the night, knocking robe guy on the head with a bottle of champagne, killing him. That would’ve been useful information to know going in.

The first Nowhere Safe had unlikeable characters and dubious plot developments. In retrospect, at least it didn’t gleefully torture its characters. Adding a kid into the mix makes everything even more unpleasant.

Presentation

( | ________ | X )

( | ________ | X )

Call me old fashioned, but I think a 60MB flash file is too big to reasonably embed in a web page. For comparison, the first Nowhere Safe was ‘only’ 34MB and already took a million years to load.

No animated transitions aside from sprites skateboarding in/out of scenes. The sprites are the same as the first Nowhere Safe and still not that great. Some new backgrounds have been added, but since Kimiko is still a shut-in living in the same house there’s not a whole lot of room for variety. The laughably inappropriate font makes a triumphant comeback.

You’re still forced to occasionally click on the front door to open it, but at least there’s no random dressup minigame this time. A save feature has been added, but it’s limited to a measly 3 slots and you can only load from the title screen. The new skip mode works reasonably well, but the accompanying rollback function is crap. You can’t roll back through scene changes and it annoyingly also doesn’t work during choices. One other feature I’m still sorely missing: where the fuck is my keyboard control?!

Conclusion

Nowhere Safe from how awful this VN is.

25 thoughts on “[review] Nowhere Safe 2

  1. Thanks for reviewing my game. I know that you didn’t like it, but it is highly rated on Newgrounds and it did win an award for being in the top 5 games. I’ve also had hundreds of people e-mail me with their own personal stories that this game really resonated with.

    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/617620

    The original version, Nowhere Safe 1, is also up to 4 stars at this point.

    There are no transitions in the Flash version, but the premium version does have some transitions between scenes.

    The whole idea behind the choices was to show that even with the best of intentions, Kimiko always seemed to fall into bad luck.

    And yes! 60MB is obnoxious, but that was after everything was compressed, so there wasn’t much I could do about that. I really couldn’t find a way around it without taking out backgrounds and reducing the number of songs in the soundtrack.

    Often times as game designers, we make something, hoping that people will experience something, but they often experience completely different things than what we initially intended. I was hoping to give people a window into mental illness and show how others with mental illness are often drawn to each other, and end up having even more complex issues.

    And the reason she didn’t get rid of the doctor is because that’s actually part of Kimiko’s problem. She often finds doctors that are nuttier than she is, and also feels anxious about inviting new people that she doesn’t know into her house.

    Anyway, thanks for reviewing my game!

    • Twilight has four movies, four books, a spin off novella, is a billion dollar franchise, and has four star rating on Good Reads.

      That doesn’t mean it’s a great series. That doesn’t mean it’s actually GOOD.

      It means it had a great number of people that found it enjoyable despite it being pretty BAD.

      Your games? Are exactly the same. Enjoyable for some but objectively bad.

      Stop trying to explain away legitimate criticism with “well, people elsewhere like it and that’s more important”. It’s important but it’s not more important than HONEST CRITISCIM YOU COULD BE USING TO MAKE YOUR GAMES GOOD AS WELL AS ENJOYABLE.

      By the way? Here’s some crit of mine: if you have to explain key elements in your story in a reply to a player? Not minor elements but large ccharacter or plot related ones? You didn’t write your story very well.

      Sorry anonl, this has been pissing me off for MONTHS. I had to say something to them eventually and your review (one of the few I agree ccompletely with) just happened to be what brought the trigger.

      • You’re right and you’re wrong. I think this work is poor. However, it’s not really fair for me to claim that I’m totally right and the work is “objectively” bad if lots of other people like it and think that it’s good.

        On the other hand, “other people like it” is absolutely no reason why I should like it. Other people can be idiots, or have priorities and tastes totally unlike mine.

        • My reply to this is at the end of this website. I mistyped the captcha, typed it again and this website decided to put it as a completely new reply at the end of this page.
          .________________.

    • I don’t really care what Newgrounds thinks.

      >[…] show how others with mental illness are often drawn to each other, and end up having even more complex issues.
      The only one drawn to anyone is Robey the Rapist.

    • Ignore this website and it’s reviews. The person who reviews everyones games is full of hate and loves to chat alot of shit.

      • That’s weird. Every other game creator who reacts to these is apparently THANKFUL his rreviews point out their glaring flaws that players ignore. I guess it’s best to just ignore someone’s opinion because it’s different from yours, right?

      • Translation: anonl has an opinion i dont like therefore they are a stupid dumb head h8r and their reviews are worthless

    • >> “Often times as game designers, we make something, hoping that people will experience something, but they often experience completely different things than what we initially intended. I was hoping to give people a window into mental illness and show how others with mental illness are often drawn to each other, and end up having even more complex issues.”

      I’m sorry, but are you really taking your own game seriously? Good game designers/artists have controll over their work. You are just like a painter throwing random, flashy colors on canvas… at best.
      You don’t deliver any philosophical background in your story, it’s just about crazy shit happening, that somehow got popular among the lower-class internet users.

      Watch the movie “Silver Linings”, that’s a good example how to present mental illness and not some whacky, semiemotional, bullcrap story where you just slap in the most uncommon mental diseases with non-relatable characters and WTF-logic. Seems to me like a failed attempt at mind screw.

      Oh, and:

      >>”I know that you didn’t like it, but it is highly rated on Newgrounds and it did win an award for being in the top 5 games. I’ve also had hundreds of people e-mail me with their own personal stories that this game really resonated with.”

      If it’s so awesome, why are you even wasting your time here responding to this review, if you seemingly think, that theisreview accusses you wrongfully of having made a bad VN?

      If you are any good at taking any critique into account, than you should listen to him. You can argue with (serious) critics, you can justify some points like they are, for example your data size… But then there is stuff, which is just bad from the beginning without any excuses. For example the (already mentioned) font. This font… This fucking font… And the pink textbox. This is eye cancer in its purest form.

      Whatever. I’m probably talking to the Stephenie Meyer of VNs…

          • Not really. He has some fans because he’s actually released products (which is more than most of /evn/ can say) and worked to get people to look at them. He doesn’t have an overwhelmingly huge one, or one full of rabid screaming enthusiasts mugging people at stage doors.

            … As far as I know.

    • Everything gets high scores at Newgrounds. You have to intentionally make something terrible to get a low score at Newgrounds.

    • Dont take it to heart, this website that reviews games is full of hate, they will tear your games limb from limb. Weeabo.NL should be called “Your Games Are Shit. NL” & Anything that isn’t from Japan is a Weeabo!

      Well Weeabo.NL you are not Japanese you are Americans so STFU! In this day and age Visual Novels are now worldwide so let people create and tone down your reviews, you are like trolls… or bullys. Leave this man alone, his work wasn’t that bad.

  2. But there are objective standards. His work is dissonant. (huge clash of presentation style vs. topics dealt with vs. narration and language usage) His language is vulgar when it’s not the right time for it and his narrating erratic. His storyline is not very credible and it’s hard to believe, that the character’s acting is justified. That is objective criticism, that makes his VN (or story) less enjoyable. People usually act rational, people’s emotions have sources, they justify their actions by that and a reasonable and logical story conveys them to the reader, so that the reader can feel empathy for the characters. This doesn’t seem to be the case here and therefore you may declare it as rather bad work.
    I think, these problems have nothing to do with fan base, because your average person doesn’t have the required cognitive skill (abstract thinking) to deconstruct a work of an author. (Which is why I love this blog. He can do it and he will do it in the most ruthless way.)

  3. I truly loved this game but i got a bad ending and it made me all depressed for a day and i still feel pretty sad about my ending and i’m to scared to play it again thinking that i’m goning to gat a worst ending than what i got but it’s just a game and i’ll cheer up! =D but overall i loved this game because any game that can make you want to cry or any emotions is a great game!

    • So your logic is seriously ‘any game that can make you feel something is a great game?’ Duke Nukem Forever inspired blind murderous rage. So therefore it’s a great game? Are you seriously prepared to take that leap?

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