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Just Deserts: More about girls than the game | review

Posted on August 12, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Most of the time with a VN you get a great story, a set of cute characters that fit in to a single archetype. Usually you will have the various dere girls, the cute nerd, and at least one more type, sometimes shes the clumsy one, sometimes shes the super hot one. Doesn’t really matter, point is that you get a set of girls, usually introduced right away and yourself the player character who is trying to woo them. This is done via a fairly simple set of interactions that raise how much a girl likes you over time eventually leading to dates, and then the end game. Just deserts take a much less direct approach to this, for you see aliens have invaded.

The game begins with you pulled on to an unknown military base, shown to the bases commander Cornelia (who has pink hair) and briefed out on the fact that the facility you are at is in fact a secret forward operating base that’s fighting aliens. Not your standard opening to a VN, but I guess its more plausible then finding two cat girls in a box (if you don’t get that go play Nekopara). The rest of the game features 4 other girls, with hair colored Blonde(Ceceile), Black(yumi), White(Eve), and red (Jennifer) plus the commander we already met. You will spend most of the game getting small quests for these girls, and fighting turn based battles against aliens.

The Full Cast

The Full Cast

Because this is a VN im going to be talking a lot about art, and voices, and not as much about the game part itself. If you really want a gaming experience I cannot in good conscious recommend that you play a VN. Go play Overwatch or something instead. That out of the way the V part of this VN is really stellar. It features a soft art style that’s full 2D instead of the sudo 3D that many VN’s opt for.  There is no character movement in the sprites so don’t expect something like the boobs slider you get in Neko Para to make an appearance.  Backgrounds are beautifully penned, but they really do look like paintings because they are static. Everything has a soft glow that makes it sort of resemble an oil painting which feels a bit out of place in a VN about alien invasion.

The girls themselves all have different body types and styles. Each on can be dressed in a variety of different outfits that are purchasable with in game money.  You can have each on wear these clothes in various poses which you also purchase. The games CG screens (a must in any VN) are well drawn, but basic, this is also an all ages VN so don’t expect any nudity here. The game is voiced but not fully, instead you get kind of bits and pieces of what the characters are saying, which is a nice feature but id almost prefer the fully voiced Japanese standard that comes with most VN’s.

I really like the games flat UI its one the best I have ever played.

I really like the games flat UI its one the best I have ever played.

The story is the most basic of VN stories, your dropped in to a (future) harem of girls as the clueless MC, and expected to start doing things to woo these girls. Story is honestly the worst aspect of this otherwise fun VN. I know that sounds sort of backwards since the second letter literally stands for novel, but I really don’t feel like not having a story takes much away here. Bascially you’re the typical super MC who can save the world, but also there are some girls you have to woo, it’s shallow on the level of Honey pop but with less matching and more shooting aliens. As to the earlier mentioned aliens, we never find out more about them than they are invading. They simply serve as faceless antagonists to keep the game moving. The most plot we really get comes at the end of our month of time (yes this is a time limited game) where we go to the alien ship to destroy it.

This is what combat looks like

This is what combat looks like

But you didn’t really come here for the story did you? I mean I didn’t, I saw cute girls and was like lets do that! Each of the 5 girls featured has a purpose, a skill if you will in the upcoming battle with the alien menace. The relationship aspect of this game is that the more you woo a girl, the better her weapons to fight the aliens will get.  In each play through you will have 30 days to get to know each girl as much as possible , unlock all of their weapons, and go attack the alien spaceship. The game is pretty kind about those days, and there are only a few planned events during the 30 day period.

The scenes in between the combat are nice enough, you get to interact with the various girls, who slide on and off screen in a cut out sprite style. Since you have 5 different characters to woo, you can expect plenty of time will be spent choosing which one you want to “power up”. These are basically the games different routes, and you won’t be able to do all 5 in one go, so there is at least some replayability here.


Your time is most difficult resource to manage here. Training or wooing or fighting all take time. You also have very limited money, and will need to get more to buy gifts for the girls to get them to like you better.  I don’t have much nice to say about the combat in this game, its pretty basic. I never felt like I was going to lose up until the last boss which took a major curve on difficulty in a scary way.

The battle system it self is turn based and most resembles something like an early JRPG. You attack, use items, or special abilities. Enemies are only encountered while on patrol , and on each patrol you can bring one girl, who can also use a special ability. , you can buy new weapons (which all have limited use) and armor, as well as training to increase stats and to increase attack or survivability. This is basically all it is in a nutshell, with just a few more mechanics that I haven’t touched on.

Combat suffer from being almost too simple, but really it’s a VN im here for the cute, not the combat, so I cant fault the game too much. I do have one complaint, enemy diversity is basically 0. Here is the enemy list: a cube,  a fire cube, an acid cube, a grass cube, a hexagon, a diamond, and a sun. That’s it. The other “game” part of this is of course the dating sim, which is pretty good actually. The UI is fantastic, I really liked how slick and modern it looked.  Just like most VN’s you will be spending your time here buying things for girls, wooing girls, giving them things, and talking to them. Each thing you do will earn you love points, and as those grow you will eventually go on a date.  After you complete a set number of dates, you fall in love, and well win.

Overall I really enjoyed Just Deserts. It mixes up the usual VN formula of just dates with just enough combat. The combat is boring after a while sure, but its still way better than it would be if you just didnt have any at all. With the tiny price tag its totally worth it.


Do you Love VN’s? Now you can make your own with VN Maker!

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

If you know me, you know I am no stranger to Visual Novels (VN’s). I write news about them. I review them. My steam is full of them! So obviously I love VN’s.  I am obviously not the only one who is an admirer of the medium. Degica has decided to bring the experience of creating Visual Novels to Steam this summer.



The Makers

Degica is no stranger to maker games, being responsible for the massive RPG maker series so loved by amateur game programmers. So i makes sense that they would publish a similar tool for Visual Novels. Degica describes the new game as “their latest installment to the ‘Maker’ series of game development tools”. Now as far as I know this is one of only two of their tools, but hopefully its a step in a direction towards a world where Degica has a ton of maker tools. I would love to see FPS maker 2016, or similar things.  Now this Tokyo-based publisher specializing in localizing Japanese games for the global market is expanding to allow you to make your own!


The tool

Visual Novel Maker is Degica’s answer to the new, exploding demand for VN content from the US. According to Degica, it features:

  • Beautiful, free to use assets to get you started.
  • Dynamic creation tools aimed for artists and writers.
  • Scripting and Extension for user-integrated functionality.
  • Live2D and voice sync support.
  • Multiple resolution support.
  • Multiple exporting options.
  • Easy Game Localization tool.

The game will launch this Autumn on Steam, and fans can expect it to cost around 20USD$.

I hope that this tool is as easy to use as RPG maker, ill be reaching out to Degica in the coming weeks to see if we can get our hands on a review copy, which I am sure I will want to play with extensively, and then bring you a review!


KARAKARA Now Available on Steam

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Sekai Project, in partnership with calme, has today announced that the heartwarming visual novel, KARAKARA is now available on Steam for Windows PC. This one is one that I have been looking forward to for some time. Bishi VN’s are fairly rare. As they tend to be marketed to the much smaller gay male, and female fan bases. So this one is a pretty great find to have coming to Steam.

Developed by calme, KARAKARA is a Bishoujo visual novel set in an alternate, dystopian world where the comfortable and quaint life of Leon and Lucia, two hardworking diner owners, takes an interesting turn of fate when they discover an unconscious young woman passed out on the side of the highway. Together, the three will take a courageous step forward to forge a new life in a world reborn.

Sekai decribes KARAKARA as:
“KARAKARA. It is the sound of aridity. It is the sound of dry asphalt and sandy winds. It is the sound of relentless sunshine, as well as the sound of a withering race.”
The VN gakes place in the  “Age of Dusk.” It is a time of senescence for the human species, during which hybrids known as the “Others”—those who are human, yet not—exist in great numbers.

On the windswept barrens of a land without moisture, a small gathering of people make their living in a world they no longer know. Down a stretch of highway and far from the heart of the town are two such people who run a small diner. To them, the circumstances that reshaped their world is of far less concern than the number of lunch boxes they can load into their delivery vehicle. After all, leaving customers hungry is not good for business, and business keeps them fed. Day after day, they occupy themselves with the endless work of their diner. However, the comfortable monotony of their daily lives is turned on its head when they discover a large suitcase by the roadside on their way home from deliveries. Lying on the suitcase, unmoving, is a young girl with pink hair…

Though parched, they keep each other company, and while once hollow, they fill each other’s voids. So shall they live on this land so arid.

Sounds pretty intresting! KARAKARA is now available on Steam for $9.99 with a 20% off discount for the first week. A demo for KARAKARA is also available on Steam.


Sekai Project Heats Things Up With Steam Summer Sale

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Steams summer sale is upon us! Each year in the summer Steam teams up with all the bets developers including our own beloved Sekai, to bring all the best in games, for the lowest prices. Seaki’s entire catalog is basically on sale! I can recommend my beloved Nekopara, as well Clannad from exepreience! Titles prices range from 10% off all the way up to 85% off! Now is your chance to grab all of those games on your wishlist. From visual novels and kinetic novels to platformers and puzzlers…there’s something for everyone! The sale even covers the newest set of releases, The Orchard of Stray Sheep, My Little Kitties, and The Labyrinth of Grisaia.

So whats a VN anyways?

If you have never played a Visual Novel (vn) before ill give you a few tips and a basic overview! Most visual novel are a story that is read out loud in English or Japanese. Along with this reading are images that show the story progressing! Some also contain minigames, or other story mechanics to progress the story!

I personally recommend Nekopara, it is a visual novel about adorable cat girls who work at a bakery! Its rated M an has some very adult content. If thats not what you want Clannad is is a sweet story about love. If you are more in to the action world you can check out ReversexReverse a game full of action and adventure!

I am really excited to be able to pick up and play some of these VN’s! Which ones will you be playing? tell us on Twitter or Facebook!


STEINS;GATE 0 coming to Europe and North America in 2016

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

As a massive fan of Steins;Gate both in its anime and Visual Novel (VN) formats my heart skipped a beat when this mail arrived in our PR box today. For those not familiar with the anime or its primogeniture the visual novel just titled Steins;Gate it’s a story of love, and time travel, and a particular computer, or something. The real meat of the game is spoilers to the game itself so I wont spend many words on it and will just say its a really fantastic game, and an even better show so go watch it.


STEINS;GATE 0 is the sequel to Steins;Gate and will feature the same returning cast of characters, on a new adventure. Depicting an alternative world line unseen in the original STEINS;GATE STEINS;GATE 0 sees Okabe and the Future Gadget Lab members return once again in a story  centered around Artificial Intelligence and the creation of ‘Amadeus’  a means of interacting with the stored memories of a fellow human being.

Stiens;Gate had some of the best story I have ever read period, and presented it in a beautiful Visual format for deeper immersion in the world. With its twists and world lines, and time travel and good and evil, I found myself wrapped up in the world and unable to stop playing for hours on end when I first played it. Even now years later, the anime is still one of my all time favorites, and I go back and play the VN at least once a year. If STEINS;GATE 0 keeps up the amazing writing and stories from the first installment I have no doubt that it will be my favorite VN this year.


Root Double -Before Crime * After Days-. Review! VN GO!

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

A  VN Review by: Szko

Trapped in an underground facility with no exit, in a race against time as radiation levels threaten to kill you, and far too many people to save. This is the premise of Root Double -Before Crime * After Days-.

Root Double is a Visual Novel created by Regista and Yeti and released in Japan back in 2012. Thanks to Sekai Project the Xtend Edition of the game received a worldwide re-release in 2016. For those that don’t know a Visual Novel or VN is basically a book with pictures. Text appears on the screen and you either click the mouse or hit the enter button until it goes away. If you actually want to enjoy the game you’re going to have to read it though as that is where the content resides. The bulk of the gameplay for a visual novel consists of hitting the enter button. However, a lot of visual novels have a system where there are multiple routes or possible stories and story endings. It is like a choose your own adventure book you occasionally are given a choice to make which affects the outcome of the story if you get a bad end or a good end.


Read More


We Know The Devil

Posted on November 5, 2015 by Broken Joysticks

We Know the Devil?

Well, let’s start off with some warnings. This game hurts. It might not for you, but it hurt for me. You’ll probably look at one of the characters and before they even talk about themselves, think something about them. It’s very short, and plays in your browser. It’s a VN, more than anything else. I finished all three endings in a day, and it tore me apart.

This game is gonna make you feel things, if you let any of those characters be something you look at, and think “that’s me.” There are three “main characters” and your choices dictate the ending. As such, I had to play it through multiple times to be satisfied. On to agency, the game has a notably small amount of player agency; the only choices you make are which two characters are going to interact at each point in the game. You learn a lot about the characters that you choose to make interact, and it can be very heartwarming. It has queer characters.

I’m trying very hard to be vague, to avoid spoilers, because there’s a lot to be spoiled. This game hits hard, and then leaves you be to decide if you want another round. It has multiple endings, is fairly short, and immensely satisfying to finish. I’m at a loss as to what else can really be said about this game. It’s amazing. It’s got an engaging story, lovable characters, which are simultaneously hate-able. They’re real. They feel human. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators sat down and wrote characters based on each other, because they feel so incredibly real.

Not going to play? Time to spoil it for you.Read More


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