Review Index Total: 23
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One line summary: Spunky girl, cursed into a weremongoose, hangs out with catboy insurance salesman

What would you do if you got turned into a weremongoose? Collect insurance of course. That's what Susan tries to do, but it doesn't go as smoothly as planned. And then there's the whole weremongoose thing to take care of...

I rather liked the writing in this VN. The character interactions are fun and the dialogue is snappy. The mediocre graphics and music don't really do it justice. The sprites did grow on me in the end -- they're simple but surprisingly expressive. Candace's sprite is glorious.

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One line summary: City girl visits caribbean granny, meets emo water element guardian boy

Desireã (or Desireå, both are used) visits her grandmother on a tropical island. Everyone's in preparation for some kind of festival. She meets an odd looking boy by the sea and hangs out with him for a bit.

Apparently he's some type of water guardian. None of the locals bother to warn Desireã about the emotionally unstable magic user. At one point he threatens to kill everyone in the village, but he doesn't actually do it so no-one cares (huh?) and it's never brought up again...

The art is quite nice (too bad there's only one sprite). The GUI by comparison look like shit, and the white text shadow lowers readability. There are also quite a few typos in the text.

GeneDNC
[thread]
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One line summary: Office talk, asshole boss, die of hypothermia in the storage room, go to hell

First thing you notice is the title screen being obnoxious by only displaying the names of the menu options on mouse-over. Shortly after pressing start you're greeted by the worlds tallest woman. The top of the door only reaches up to her shoulder.

Office banter - the visual novel. At one point, your asshole boss asks you for a hundred (pounds? dollars? euros?). You aren't allow to refuse for some reason. A lot of the other choices are about your tea-drinking habits and other such earth shattering dilemmas.

The endings make no sense, random stuff just happens. The best ending is the one where you die from hypothermia within two hours, dry and fully dressed, indoors. The story actually continues for a while after you die...

The sprites look nice. Unfortunately the thin lineart almost entirely disappears when viewing at non-native res. The backgrounds are adequate, but high POV doesn't match the sprites making them look extremely tall.

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One line summary: Boy meets fiend

Lost boy wanders into the ruins of a town and meets a fiend there. She's trapped inside a small circle due to magic.

Juniper's Knot is very polished, especially considering the short devolpment time. It even has a gallery and a music room in the extras. Overshooting their deadline by two weeks probably helped with that.

The story itself is setup in a very minimalist way; two characters, one location. Camera pans (with a parallax effect) and cut-ins are used to break up the inherent monotony of the dialogue-heavy story. Sprites make small hops to indicate sudden movement.

The text is displayed centered in a faux text balloon. The font is clean and readable, but feels too normal compared to the extensive styling of everything else. The text is also centered, which causes some unfortunate looking line wrapping when only a single word is on the second line.

SusanTheCat
[thread]
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One line summary: Super-simplistic stat raiser turn based battle game (not a VN)

Cat battling dayplanning stat grinder flash-game-level strategy game. There's a tutorial squirrel in the beginning that explains every game mechanic in a giant info dump. You're supposed to have memorized everything immediately after that. There really should be tooltips or some other form of in-game help.

No backgrounds, the white is so bright it causes physical discomfort when viewed full screen at night. The fuzzy textbox look awful.

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One line summary: Ultra-generic slice-of-life love story with bland characters and cliché tweest

Special mailman Tegami (the Japanese word for letter, how clever) is in a bind. He needs to deliver his super special mail, but hilariously the recipient refuses to accept the letter and runs out the door. He doesn't just put the mail in the mailbox, but instead chaces the girl down the street in an amazing CG. Maybe he's training for the rape olympics?

Turns out the girl is his childhood friend. Nothing happens for a while until she reveals the letter was about her moe-AIDS. Oh man, what a tweest. I totally didn't see that one coming.

There's a lot of boring in this. Boring people doing boring things, or sometimes just talking about doing boring things. It's okay to show the daily lives of people, just make sure they're interesting people...

One for the "you cannot unsee" category: At one point Tegami goes out to buy soy sauce, but he's clearly inside a toy store.

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One line summary: Oversimplistic marijuana propaganda

The always extremely trustworthy Uncle Mugen talks about the historical reasons for outlawing cannabis. He makes no attempt at a balanced discussion of the pros and cons, but that doesn't have anything to do with visual novels so whatever. Length is around 5-10 minutes.

CheeryMoya, Omnificent, Hijiri, Dollywitch, DragoonHP
[thread]
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One line summary: Yandere AI acts like a teenage weeaboo

A great email reading simulator. Huh what, It's supposed to be a visual novel?

You are some type of scientist whose daily life mostly consists of answering emails and getting chatted up by his emotionally unstable AI. No need to install a killswitch though, all she does is toggle the visibility of the Ren'Py window. This tricks you into clicking on whatever's behind the window on your computer.

The skip key doesn't seem to work which makes replaying great fun. Rollback also doesn't work and there's no replacement text log.

The music sounds like someone farting through an 8-bit electronic organ. The sprite has coloring going outside the lineart. And every transition in the VN uses a pixellate effect. Every. single. one.

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One line summary: MMORPG character becomes sentient, cuteness ensues

Holy fuck this is adorable. ¢hμ« is an MMORPG character who came to life after a well-timed lightning strike during character creation. He now wanders the MMO world not knowing he's in a game (;_; why is everyone mean to the bunny monsters? ;_; why won't tutorial girl accept my present?).

There are three routes. In the first one, you team up with an archer to go fight a cute witch. The second is about ¢hμ« and the tutorial girl. The third route, which I won't spoil, has a surprising amount of depth and a satisfying ending (especially compared to the rather sudden endings of the other two routes).

I love me sum 1920x1080 resolution, it makes the GUI and sprites look very crisp. The interface is very polished -- the skill buttons and such are all clickable and the lifebars etc. change based on what happens in the story. The sprites are small, but have a large number of different poses and expressions. The backgrounds look rushed, as do some of the special effects (the emotes popping out of the sprites are regularly misaligned). The music is minimalist, but not distractingly bad or anything.

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One line summary: Space humans overhear NASA radio transmission from the past, they marry, end

A human? boy on a planet far away from earth intercepts a NASA radio transmission. He asks his childhood friend (Loren) and someone else about it until they're interrupted by some weird guy in a suit claiming to be a special agent. He's there to arrest you (oh no) for receiving the 'dangerous' transmissions. How the fuck does he know that? And why is there no option to deny the allegations?

There are two 'routes' from there. Route A: Your comically evil mother shows up, and after some arguing things end up preposterously well. You'll marry Loren and the transmissions are never spoken off again. Route B: You taunt the agent who rolls over like a puppy and takes you to SkynetStarNet. One plot exposition dump later, and StarNet forces you to marry Loren. End.

The artwork isn't terrible. Loren is freakishly tall, most other sprites also have some anatomical sillyness going on. The parents of the main character look more like the psychic kids from Akira than adult humans. The backgrounds are mostly rendered from a 3D model, but the lighting is cell-shaded and low-quality.

The whole VN is pretty short and the WTF/minute rate is very high. Entertainingly bad.

azureXtwilight
[thread]
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One line summary: Girl and boy fight 7 sins, this episode: Greed

It's episode 2, but you don't really need to have read the first episode to understand what's going on.

Girl and boy are on a quest to fight the seven deadly sins. It starts to rain and they find shelter at a nearby mansion. The people there are acting suspicious...

The teenagers talk like real teenagers (reminding me why I don't like talking to teenagers anymore). The point of view switches around a lot, it requires some effort to keep track of who's speaking. By far the worst part of the story is this sentence (when talking about a hidden clause in a contract): "We wrote it... in letters so small they look like dots"...

This thing actually has an opening movie (looks like an AMV made by a 13 year old though).

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One line summary: Fakes being an otome game, what a twist it's really generic slife of life + space magic

You play as Lily (name changeable), an impossibly clumsy girl working in her uncle's restaurant. The world operates on otome-game logic and the men working at the restaurant takes turns trying to be dashing. Then, after about 30 minutes, the prologue ends.

In the post-prologue (their name, not mine. just call it main story ffs), you suddenly see events from the viewpoint of Pierre. After Pierre almost beats a customer to death -- no he doesn't have a good reason, and it's never spoken of again -- there's a big reveal that Lily was a 'player' and everyone else was acting in a live-action otome game.. It gets better though. They're actually from an earth-like planet from a parallel dimension. Their sun burnt out, but they discovered the planet could be powered by love. After inventing interdimensional energy transfer (a trivial matter), they're now harvesting love from earth by broadcasting live video pretending to be an otome game. That explanation has more holes than a donut factory and basically doesn't make a lick of sense. Good thing it's almost entirely superfluous to the actual story. Let's just say the characters are part-time restaurant workers with an acting hobby. That'll work.

The post-prologue splits into 9 endings. I haven't bothered to catch'em all, but they're (as you would expect) pretty short. Nothing of any interest happens, and the big plot twist didn't matter in any of the endings I got. The post-prologue routes feel like a prologue, just to a different story.

Lily's sprite scares me. She doesn't look quite human, more like some type of owl. Her hair is twice as wide as her skull. She also doesn't appear to have any arms. The male characters are rocking some 80's shoujo big chin (never understood the appeal).

The characters only have a single pose. Whether they're fighting or sleeping, their bodies stay the same. It makes the characters feel like bad actors (isn't it ironic). The costume changes and blinking animation only help to accentuate the staticness. I wouldn't normally expect multiple poses from a NaNoRenO title, but when it has 4+ hours of content...

There's some tinting of the sprites in the night scenes, but it just makes them look gray. The textbox is also tinted during the night scenes for some reason.

The interface looks very spiffy, but there are some GUI bloopers. The preference screen (which can only be accessed in-game by using a keyboard shortcut) has some sliders masquerading as buttons (the arrows that look like +/- buttons are non-functional).

When visiting the preferences/bonus screens for the first time in a session, it can take a second or so after clicking the preferences/bonus buttons before the corresponding screen shows up. The buttons sometimes don't work either. During that time you don't know if your click was even registered (the buttons have no pressed image). The return buttons for sub-screens are hidden away as small white text in the title bar.

Maelstrom-Fenrir
[thread]
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One line summary: Mr. perfect meets abuse victim girl dressed like a wizard

Our extremely smart and well-liked main character Ryo meets a girl on a bridge. She's dressed like a fucking wizard so he naturally assumes she's homeless. Turns out she's actually a victim of domestic abuse (hilarious). Tell her to kill herself to reach the good ending.

The interface could really use a good slap of anti-aliasing. The black text outline is too thick, and the textbox background is too busy. A minor nitpick, but I don't think every reader will know what white day is.

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One line summary: Legless boyz in da hidden object horror

This game is 1600x1200, if you can display it at full resolution -- you are the 5%.

Anyway, this is a horror visual novel. You bring a friend (Haru) over to work on a school assignment when suddenly the power goes out.

Then after a while, the textbox suddenly disappears. Without any warning or explanation you're now playing a hidden object game. Oh man, I love hidden object games so much. Especially the ones with no visual feedback on what's clickable. There are a number of endings you can get from there; I stopped caring after getting two. Ending 1: You are suddenly eaten by a Grue (sort of). Ending 2: You jump out the window and die from exposure because you're too stupid to land without completely incapacitating yourself.

What made the game considerably less scary for me is the observation that Haru has no legs. Or at least, that's what it looks like when his upper body is so low on the screen.

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One line summary: Youngsters caught in a shopping complex after a tsunami hits

Some people get caught in a shopping center after a quake and tsunami. end of demo.

The perspective alternates between a female (Ratana) and a male (Satria) protagonist. The titlescreen implies they'll meet later in the story, but I don't think you should rely on the titlescreen for foreshadowing. Ratana is a game geek, Satria is an inconsiderate asshole (he starts taking photographs in a fancy restaurant). In the final scene of the demo, Ratana is asked to save a drowning man. Why it has to be her is not satisfyingly explained.

Some decisions lead to 'troll' endings. Bad endings with a trollface CG. Ending up at one of these isn't necessarily your fault, some choices are just unfair.

The side sprite is gigantic. When there are other sprites on the screen it looks like the side sprite is a regular sprite of someone in a wheelchair. The textbox is strangely high up on the screen (perhaps because the side image is so tall). The text doesn't have any outline or shadow and can sometimes becomes hard to read at non-native resolutions.

The graphics are nice (high-res too, at 1280x960). There are even some CGs. An underwater scene near the end inexplicably doesn't get a CG (maybe we'll get one in the full version?).

The in-game menu looks like a lot of work went into it. Too bad it often gets in your way. For some reason, it activates when you click in the black border on the right side of the screen.

LordShiranai
[thread]
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One line summary: Calls itself a parody, but forgets to make parody jokes (or any other jokes)

Awful parody seemingly made by aliens who've heard of humor, but don't quite understand it yet. The sprites are nightmarishly drawn with white fringes on their outlines. The backgrounds are 3DCG with impossible lighting.

It doesn't really parody otome games either, most of the 'jokes' are unrelated to the genre. The arrow-to-the-knee joke made me question my faith in mankind.

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One line summary: Man draws goofy stories based on his relationship and proposes to girlfriend

Looks like shit.

The story is about a guy telling a story with drawings on index cards so there's some justification for shitty art, but... At least use good photos of shitty art! There's no reason for the photos to be shitty as well.

You get to pick a genre for each story, which is fun. But the stories told aren't anything special.

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One line summary: It's as if a 4-year old made a VN

Kiwi is a bit of a thicko.

About 5-10 minutes long, kindergartner-level art. Lots of misspellings, the most amusing of which is NaNoRenO as Nanorino (sounds like a pokeyman).

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One line summary: Monster princess wakes up with amnesia after surviving assassination

Monster princess Os wakes up mute with a knife in her neck after a failed assassination attempt. Bird... thing Corvus acts as her interpreter as she tries to find out who stabbed her.

I liked the writing -- the world described is interesting and the character interactions are fun. The choices are a bit mechanical at times (the go to X/Y/Z type) and side characters have a tendency to always stay in the same place.

Getting the good endings is really hard. Make a single mistake (even on an apparently unrelated decision) and you're dead. Use the walkthrough if you value your time (the slowness of the skip function in Ren'Py doesn't help either).

Pretty sprites, good backgrounds and even some event CG. This is definitely one of the best looking NaNoRenO titles. It even has some two frame animations and some bonus content after clearing the final route.

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One line summary: Stock art, stereotypical old Japan otome game with naïve protagonist

Stock art, stock art everywhere. But hey, at least it's good stock art.

This VN feels like a stereotypical otome game set in historical Japan. You meet extremely suspicious man (ESM) while looking for your missing father. ESM tells you your father died. You don't question how or why and immediately move in with ESM and his bishounen brigade.

The protagonist is dumb and the love interests take turns being dicks. That's kind of standard fare for otome games, so whatever. There are a bit too many choice points for my taste; navigating the mansion through choices can be especially annoying. Oh, and the demo stops right before anything interesting happens.

It's generic, but a well made generic.

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One line summary: Childhood friends, boy wants to move to countryside and does so, girl mopes

Hum has a burning passion... for living in the countryside. WTF. You, his female childhood friend have seven days before he leaves. The rest of the game follows the daily lives of no-personality girl and bland boy. They spend in inordinate amount of time reminiscing about shared memories we don't care about and don't get to see on-screen.

Do not be deceived by the title screen, that's not what the in-game graphics look like. Hum looks like a muppet and the backgrounds are not-particularly-well edited photographs.

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One line summary: Split personality girl stabs boy, talks with crazy dead sister, deletes memory

The ending tells you to read "Soul and Heart" if you don't fully understand the story. It would have been nice to get that information before starting.

In fact, it is hard to understand what's going on. The protagonist appears to be insane, she keeps talking to her crazy cut-murdering sister. This is solved by walking into a completely unguarded military memory deleter.

There's also some mention of "musica syndrome" a condition that causes magical knowledge of world history (holy misnomer, Batman). Still, my favorite part of the story was the justification of the use of random Japanese words and honorifics.

Most of the graphics are grayscale which fits the mood of the game. The backgrounds are exceptionally shitty: completely black, gradients, ugly edited photos...

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One line summary: More an art meme than a visual novel

The text is pre-written and the displayed images change at predifined points in the story. The idea is to draw different images that change the (deliberately vaguely written) story.