Friday, December 27, 2013

Frozen Essence

(Free - From unbrokenhours)

A young girl has been imprisoned in a crystal for hundreds of years and, when she awakens, she has no memory. She finds herself in a realm that she's told she created, surrounded by three bodyguards and a person known simply as the Oracle. What is her past? What will her future be?

This was a pretty interesting game. Mina (the main character's default name) is almost a blank slate when the game starts and, depending on the path you decide to follow, her personality changes. That was nice, even if I didn't care for some of the personality traits she developed on certain paths.

There's five total guys you can romance. My favorite of them was the unlockable character. I had been hoping that's who it would be after playing through a few other paths. Of the other guys, I think my favorite would probably be Caius. There was another guy I liked a lot - especially on the 'True Path' but on his own path, he and Mina had a very uncomfortable relationship. She was just way to subservient to him. The remaining two guys were both likable - one of them I really liked a lot.

The story was somewhat unique and it takes a play through of each path before you understand the full story. Each path tends to add a little more to the story until everything comes together. There is one path known as the 'True Path' - but even it doesn't answer all the questions. It is a rather bittersweet path and I'm not sure if I recommend playing it first or last. Or halfway through like I did…

This game is quite long. Even on only one play through. There is an obvious point in the game where whose path you're on will be locked in - but that's only about halfway through. If you want to get all the endings, it will take quite awhile. I would also like to note that this is a game that could really use an editor because some of the conversations were too complicated and sometimes letters were mixed up or the wrong word used. Not often, but I don't usually run across this even in free games.

Official Website

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Magical Diary - Horse Hall

($20 - Free Demo - From Hanako Games)

The main character - whose name you can choose - discovered that she had magic when she was thirteen. Given the 'Choice' she decided to go to a magic academy. At sixteen she leaves her normal life and joins a group of other magical students. Once at the academy she discovers magic, friendship and romance.

This was a really fun game. The only thing I wish was that you had more opportunities to use the magic spells that you learn in class. Basically the only time you get to use them freely is during the dungeon exams. You do have options at other times to use specific spells that the game deems might be useful - but, more often than not, you'd be better off not using them.

There's a total of five romances to the game and, as the Headmistress notes during one of her classes, gender and age make little difference in the magic world. The romance-able characters include a demon, a professor and two girls. And Donald. (Sorry. Couldn't resist. While I liked all the paths, I think Donald's was my personal favorite.)

As I said, I really liked all the paths and ultimately, all the characters too. Each of them were different than the next but all will seem kind of familiar to fans of the Harry Potter story. Except for maybe one of them - not sure who she was supposed to be an expy of.

But none of that detracted from the story and what a story it was. On your first play through, you might hear little things or experience random events that seem to have no part in the story. And then, the next path you play, you will realize that several of those tidbits become whole events if you're playing a different path. This is one game that I highly recommend playing all the paths for. They were all a lot of fun and so totally worth it.

There is an upcoming sequel to this game, about a guy in wolf hall (I think).

Official Website

Monday, December 23, 2013

Summer Found Me


Iris, a recent high school graduate has finally made up her mind. This summer, before the start of college, she's going to confess her love to her longtime crush Alden. While she says she has no expectations of a romance, what will happen? Will Iris gather up her courage and confess her true feelings? Will she get her heart broken in the process? Will she fall in love with someone else?

Loved this game. There are three guys you can romance and a total of ten different endings. (I don't mind admitting, I only finished about six of them.) The wonderful thing is that each of the guys were completely different than the others with his own personality and way of talking.

There was a nice amount of humor in the game, mostly of the dry and snarky variety - which left me laughing my head off. The characters were all so interesting. Well…I didn't much like Alden. He was just one of those 'too perfect' types of people. The other characters: the romance-able guys in best friend Seth and bad-boy Devlin; best gal-pal Cherri and Iris herself were all so great.

The witty dialogue was what completely sold me on the game though. Everyone has such awesome remarks to make and you really get a feel for how their relationship truly is by the way they talk to each other.

Favorite guy? Seth for his witty remarks. Devlin was a very close second. Ultimately I just adored both of them.

This was a very entertaining game and I do truly intend to get all the endings someday. Though I will say, it is a bit longer than most of the free games that I am used to. While that was nice, it will take me longer to get all the endings because of that.

Official Website
Lemma Soft Forum Page

Friday, December 20, 2013

School Festival


With the school festival just around the corner, the main character finds herself thinking about love and romance. Probably because her best friend has a boyfriend that she keeps talking about. At the end of the school festival is a dance. The couples must traditionally trade his tie for her ribbon. It is also traditionally said that the couples that pair off for the dance will become boyfriend and girlfriend after the dance. Will the main character find romance? Or will she work herself to the bone for the sake of her class project?

This was a cute little game. While it was kind of predictable, the characters were still all likable and I found myself looking forward to getting all the endings. And there were a lot because, besides the three guys that we all know about, there were two unlockable characters.

I liked the art, it was all very nice looking and the settings were atmospheric. The characters were easy to get interested in and, of all five characters, there was only one that did nothing for me. All the others were easy for me to like and moderately easy for me to imagine dating. At least in theory. I also like how you didn't always have to pick the obvious, always agreeable answer to get the guy. In fact, there were several moments when the choice that was needed was openly antagonistic to the guy you were romancing. (My favorite guy was Ichizaki Tetsuya, for anyone that was wondering.)

While all this was good and the writing was rather cute, my absolute favorite thing about this game was the choice that you are presented with every morning after the first day. When you wake up, a question comes up as to where you should go today and then a little map shows up with five different locations - and a little chibi head telling you who is at that location today. This choice reminded me of a merging between a straight up visual novel (which is what this actually is) and a stat raising game (which this certainly is not).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


($25 - Free Demo)

Step into the shoes of Cinders as she tries to make a better life for herself. Will she find romance? Will she become cold-hearted? Relying on many player choices, this is a new take on an old fairytale. What will your Cinders be?

I should not have bought this game. I played the free demo and was kind of disinterested - but I was swayed by all the other people talking about what an amazing game this was. How it was just beautifully illustrated (it does kinda remind me of an old book) and how the choices you get to make are so important to the story.

Really though, I just should have went with my original idea and not wasted my time or money. The art was nice, but I seldom pay that much attention to the art in games I play. A good story and good characters are much more important to me. As far as the choices are concerned… I will admit that there were a lot - but they really varied in importance. In fact, there was only one choice that really seemed to effect your ending, all the rest were more like which guy you would wind up with.

The story was pretty typical Cinderella fairytale stuff with a few nice twists thrown in that made it interesting to play the first time. However, after the first playthrough, things seemed very unchanging as a whole. The only changes I noticed was what guy you ended up with and the outcome of your… life, I guess.

So, the endings were effect by your answers and so were the guys (ie: which one you romanced) but the story follows a straight path. At least as far as I could tell. I will admit that I didn't playthrough to get each ending. I believe I got three then gave up when I didn't like the corner they had painted me into.

I was really disappointed in the endings too. I felt as though they should have had better closure. After all, I made it through the game and I didn't really feel as though the endings were satisfying. Also it upset me that I made friends with the 'evil-stepsisters' in nearly every game I played and yet you still don't keep in touch with them. In fact, for most endings they kind of are back to hating you. This was a real shame especially considering how insipid the romances were. Really, for characters, the date-able guys were the least interesting of all.

Official Site (I think)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

(P)lanets - the life of normalcy has ended!


Marin was a normal girl, until one day she fell down the staircase at school. She had a concussion, and when she awoke in the nurse's room, something had changed. She could hear the thoughts of everyone around her! What was going on...? It was then a mysterious boy appeared before her. “Come with me, where there are others like you.” Like that, Marin's days at Planets began.  Perhaps she will find love through the chaos of a new and strange school.

Honestly, while I found the concept behind this really cool - and very X-MEN like - it wasn't handled as well as I would have like it to be. It was a nice story, but through the majority of it it felt more like just a normal, average high school.

While the guys did have powers, the MC's powers were not a major story point. In fact, many times the more powerful/experienced psychics can block her from reading their mind. That was necessary for drama and plot development but it seemed to not have been thought out very well.

I did like it and I did like the story, but it was really difficult to get involved with the plot itself. Luckily enough, the guys were everything but difficult to get involved with. I adored them. Seriously, all three of them were just so interesting and fun. Once again though, certain parts of the writing/plotting for the character arcs lacked a little. That didn't detract from my enjoyment, but with slightly tighter plotting and writing the story would have just been amazing.

I really do not have a favorite guy, I loved each of their stories and each of them.

It really is a shame that the creator was going to make and new and improved version of the game - with all new love interests and the lack of psychic classes would have been addressed - but she lost interest in it. I really sounded as though it would be awesome - but I completely understand being unable to work on something that you don't really care about.

Info and Download here


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Flower Shop: Winter in Fairbrook

($20 - Free Demo - from Winter Wolves)

The otome version sequel to The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook. Natalie, desperate for money, takes a job at the Fairbrook flower shop over her college winter break. Once there, however, she finds the work more difficult than she first imagined. While working hard and making new friends will she come across romance?

I must admit that, after downloading the demo, I almost didn't buy the game. For me, Natalie's personality was just way to abrasive and completely different from mine. However, I was charmed by the idea. I mean seriously, a dating sim crossed with a farming sim? It's gotta be original anyway.

So, when Winter Wolves had their sale… I still was interested in the game - even if I wasn't quite willing to shell out twenty bucks for it.

Honestly, it probably would have been worth twenty. As a character, Natalie grew. Yeah, she was still a little immature - but I realized that that was part of her charm. Depending on the guy she romanced, also, her personality changes slightly. This was one of the things about this game that surprised me the most. Usually the leading lady character development is ignored in favor of the romance-able character's development so it was really nice to see Natalie change a bit.

Now, the guys… I actually liked all four of them. Unusual for me. I can normally find at least one that I felt little to nothing for - but given half a chance I'd love to date any of these guys. My favorite was (without a doubt) Trent. Not the guy I thought I would be, but I was just charmed by him. It would be next to impossible, though, for me to list the other three in order of favorites - so let's just pretend they are all tied for second favorite.

Anyways, I do recommend this game - especially if you're looking for a extremely cute, fluffy diversion. Which this was in spades. (Considering some of the stuff I've been playing/reading lately, that was actually kinda nice...)

Official Website Here

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chrono Days Sim Date

After a bit of a hiatus (hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving) I'm back. I'm currently knee-deep in five various games plus trying to get all the endings - or at least all the romances before reviewing on another - so I thought I review a few of the games I've finished some time back. Up first is...

Chrono Days
(Free, Online, by Pacthesis)

A strange hole has appeared in the sky above the technologically advanced city Reton. Saige (the main character, who is re-nameable) finds herself transported through the 'wormhole' by a strange device created in the lab of a scientist. The town that she arrive in is the same - but a hundred years in the past.

Okay, this is one of my favorite dating sims by Pacthesis and that's mostly for two (okay, okay, three) reasons. Steampunk. Sci-Fi. Two of my three favorite genre's ever. (The other's Fantasy.) Oh. The third reason that I really wasn't supposed to admit to? One of the guys. I simply adored him. Quite possibly my favorite character from any of Pacthesis' games.

Let's see... There's really not much else to say. I really enjoyed the game. LOVED Saige's outfit when she went to the past. Also loved the clothes one of the guys in the past wears. Like most of these games, you get to work and make money to buy gifts for the character you're romancing and it was kinda cool that not all the chosen gifts were from their time period. (I'm purposefully being gender ambiguous as there is an unlockable girl you can romance.)

Favorite characters: Landon, Nathan, Oz and Bianca. Not really thinking I had a least favorite, because I did like all the stories and characters.

Play Here!