NEWS: Support Visual Novel Reviews on Patreon

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PATREON : https://www.patreon.com/visualnovelreviews

If you have been following my website for a while, then you will have noticed that I often add new additions, upgrades, and aesthetic improvements over time. For example: my biggest change was when I did a complete website overhaul and the server was down for the entire day.

This was due to more funding from my own pocket in order to access more tools to improve the site and increased server capacity for my website to stay up and running. If you regularly visit my website, you will also notice that I did add a patreon section to my side panel a while back—however, I have never formally announced it until today.

The reason is because I personally had reservations about starting one, and I didn’t want people to feel obligated to donate to the website. However, after much deliberation I finally decided to officially make a post about it and why I have decided to use patreon.

WHO AM I?

Hello, I’m Cherry and I’m the writer behind the website Visual Novel Reviews. I initially began this website out of passion to write down my thoughts, opinions, rants or raves on the Visual Novels that I played. I thought it would be a great way to interact with, inform and expand the Visual Novel/Otome Game community. I never would have expected that in less than a year, my website would have grown so much and developed such an amazing following from it.

I cannot thank you enough for the support and it’s the wonderful feedback that I read from my readers that inspires me to keep writing. I read every single comment, and they never fail to make me smile or make my day. It makes me feel like all my hard work is recognised, and I’ve had amazing opportunities to work with companies such as Aksys Games, Idea Factory International, MangaGamer and NISA America with reviewing their new game releases. These companies continually localise games that I have been a fan of since the very beginnings of my endeavors into the genre of Visual Novels.

WHY DO I NEED YOUR HELP?

Unfortunately as much as I would like to devote more time to writing, it really isn’t feasible with the amount of funding and schedule that I currently have. I am currently a fourth-year university student, aspiring to be a clinical psychologist specialising in child psychology. As my masters program has a high GPA requisite and my course is very demanding; I spend four days a week at university and the bulk of my time at home is spent studying. Whatever time I have left over, I am working at university as a tutor.

Currently how I fund my website is through advertisements on my side panels and affiliate links, however this pays for only 30% of my monthly website cost. The other 70% is completely out of my own pocket to keep the website up and running, and to purchase games to review.

WHAT KIND OF WORK DO I DO?

Despite how it looks, behind the scenes a review takes me hours to write. I only want to post quality content for my readers, and I continue to work on them until it is to a standard that I believe people will enjoy reading. My average review count is 5000-8000 words, although some of my reviews such as ‘Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare‘ totaled 13000 words.

As you can imagine, this takes me anywhere between 10-20hrs to write. This does not include the time spent afterwards proofreading, formatting and editing. My website itself I have spent well over 30 hours coding and learning how to design and format. Prior to this, I had absolutely no idea how to use CSS or HTML.

WHAT IS MY GOAL WITH PATREON?

I am currently making no profit whatsoever from my website, despite the time, effort, money and work that I place into it. The hours I spend on it does not translate into profit, and as a result it will only be a hobby at best in my current predicament. It is something I am personally funding out of genuine enjoyment as part of the Visual Novel & Otome community. My aim with Patreon is not to make it a full-time job, but to be able to self-fund the website without having to constantly dig into my own expenses every month.

In the worst case scenario (which I would want to avoid) is for the website to shut down, if in the situation that I am unable to personally fund the website anymore.

Every single bit helps, and I am forever thankful to each and everyone of you that continue to support me and help me in continuing to do what I love. 

If you have read up until this point, thank you so much for taking the time to read it until the end! I want to stress that there is no obligation whatsoever to donate, and just your understanding as to why I have decided to open up a patreon is more than enough for me.

Your continual support in visiting my website, reading my content, and expressing how much you enjoy my work in the comment section always inspires me to keep going with the website. Just things like sharing my patreon/website on social media or turning off ad-block when browsing the website helps immensely as well. You can do this via entering visualnovelreviews.com → clicking ad block → select ‘don’t run on this page’ and ‘don’t run on pages on this site’.

And finally, thank you so much to Milkteababy for being my first patron!

EDIT: Over 50% of my monthly website hosting cost has been reached! Every dollar would help so much in order for me to self-sustain the website and keep it up and running!

EDIT 2: 90% of my monthly website hosting cost has been reached! Thank you so much for the support, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as passionate about writing if it wasn’t for all my readers!

EDIT 3: 100% of my monthly website hosting cost has been reached! I cannot believe I was able to finally achieve this goal, and it makes me so immensely happy as it helps me out so much every month. It means ‘visualnovelreviews.com‘ is here to stay for good.

I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon, as writing is something I truly enjoy and has always been a passionate hobby of mine. Especially with the feedback/comments I receive on social media and the website itself. I would feel like I’m letting you guys down, when so many people look forward to reviews/updates on the website.

I wouldn’t be here without you, my readers. I cannot thank you enough for supporting me. I do have other stretch goals implemented, and ANY contribution thereafter (whether big or small!) will assist me in improving the website as a whole. Even something like $1 from many people makes a huge difference. For the stretch goals, it will enable me to: produce more regular content, try out more games, potentially have future giveaways, QOL/technical/design improvements to the website etc.

Love Always,
Cherry

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NEWS: MangaGamer White Day Sale

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MangaGamer recently announced some decent otome games that are on an amazing sale for the next five days. If you haven’t played these two titles yet, then I do recommend checking them out whilst they’re at a discounted price. Hopefully with more successful sales, it will encourage them to pick up an even greater number of otome titles in the future!

OZMAFIA!!!


DIGITAL EDITION (45% OFF)http://bit.ly/ozmafiadigital
LIMITED EDITION (25% OFF)http://bit.ly/ozmafiaphysical

Although I have yet to review this game (which I will get around to writing eventually), I did play it when it first got localized in english years ago. To this day, I believe it hasn’t aged poorly at all and still remains a solid contender against the newer otome localizations in recent years. The artwork, backgrounds, music, voice acting and character designs are absolutely gorgeous and you’ll be hard pressed to find many other english otome titles that mirrors OZMAFIA!!! in all these departments.

Unfortunately, the storyline, writing and character development definitely were not the strong points of this Visual Novel. However, regardless of the obvious flaws and weaknesses of the game—I still really enjoyed playing OZMAFIA!!! overall. Whilst I was very critical of the overarching storyline and the pacing/events of some routes, the beautiful artwork, music and characters were enough to win me over. If you’re a fan of fantasy and the Wizard of Oz setting, then you’ll absolutely love this title.

FASHIONING LITTLE MISS LONESOME


DIGITAL EDITION (20% OFF): http://bit.ly/flmldigital
PHYSICAL EDITION (PRE-ORDER)http://bit.ly/flmlphysical

If you would like to read my in-depth review on Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome, then you can read it here. As a warning, then this game does have two versions: all-ages and an R-18+ version.

This title is by no means one with an immersive storyline, complex characters or a universe/setting that you would become totally invested in. It’s a light-hearted, fun school-life comedy that is hilarious and absolutely ridiculous in almost every aspect imaginable. It’s meant to be the kind of otome game that you mindlessly read after a long day, something that doesn’t require a lot of time to play but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

I really enjoyed this game because I appreciated the satirical humor and it received a very good english localisation that really appeals to a western audience. It’s one of the very few otome games aimed at a adults, and I do recommend checking it out if you’re looking for something more mature and less vanilla than the current english otome titles on the market.

However, if you’re sensitive to body image jokes and borderline fat-shaming towards women—then this may not be the type of game for you. Although at its core, Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is not meant to be taken seriously at all; I can definitely understand how uncomfortable it can make some people feel.

So long as you’re able to separate the distinction between a game setting not being a direct reflection of reality, then Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is another fun pick up to try if you haven’t played it already!

Summary of 2017 & 1 Year Website Anniversary

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I know that I am very late to the party, but I hope that everyone has had a great start to 2018 so far and a wonderful New Year! I have been on hiatus the past few months due to final examinations at university and spending time with family and friends over the holiday break. I needed a rest from all the stress, late nights and constant pouring over a textbook. It was nice to finally have some time to myself, and before I knew it — university has nearly started up again for the new semester!

One of my resolutions for the new year was to become more active at university, as I’m only there for a very small fraction of my life. I have never been one to truly step out of my comfort zone, as I am quite a shy and introverted person especially when it comes to trying out new things and meeting new people. However, it has turned out to be a surprisingly rewarding experience.

Becoming a mentor at university, joining new committees/societies and making new friends has been immensely satisfying as I personally never imagined putting myself out there before. If you have ever been in the same position as I am or felt the same way, I definitely encourage you to take that step forward and try something new. You will never know how much you may have missed out on, or all the great friendships and people you may have never met!

Life update aside, despite all my new extracurricular activities alongside my studies this year — I do not intend to stop blogging or writing reviews. I have had many lovely messages wondering where I have been or whether or not I have abandoned my website. Whilst unfortunately I may not be posting as regularly as I did in 2017, writing is something I enjoy with a passion and genuinely love spending my free time doing.

I will still be reviewing and playing the major game releases this year, however I may not be able to play as many smaller or indie titles compared to 2017. Without further ado, here are the significant milestones that my website has been able to accomplish in the past year that I am extremely happy with!

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General

  • My website anniversary was on January 17th, 2017 and when I started blogging I honestly didn’t think many would be interested in reading or hearing about my thoughts on games at all. It was a fun hobby at best, as I had never created my own website before and was a complete coding novice.
  • It took hours and hours for me to start up the website initially, even though I was using a default template that WordPress offered for all it’s users. If you’re an old subscriber/reader, you’ve probably forgotten as to how my website originally looked at the beginning!
  • Fast-forward six months later, I was able to proficiently code more advanced features for my website, adjust formatting/layouts in a fraction of the time it took me initially and complete redesign my template into the site you see today.
  • Considering when I started blogging I had never once understood or even looked at a line of code before, I am very happy with my progress and what I have learnt in the past year. Google was essentially my best friend!
  • I remember when I first started writing, I would be so excited if I received even one new visitor on my page! I used to only receive 1-10 visitors a day and in a whole month only accumulated 100 views! It was only by the third month that this turned into several hundred views, and in the fourth month into several thousand views.
  • Lesson learnt here is: don’t be discouraged if you’re a fellow blogger, and keep writing! It takes time, effort and a lot of patience — if you genuinely believe your content is good, others will soon discover it and recognise your hard work.

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  • In the first four months, I was so immensely happy with the milestone of over 20000+ views and 6000+ unique viewers. Now after one year, I have well over 200000+ views, 74000+ unique viewers and 1000+ subscribers. Never could I have imagined such growth in a short span of time and I am truly humbled by how many people view my website and read my work on the daily. I read and reply to pretty much all my comments, as they always make my day (if I miss out on yours, it’s usually because I haven’t checked in a while or I accidentally skipped over it!)

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Content

  • Despite my inactivity towards the latter half of the year, I managed to publish 53 posts in 2017! That averages out to more or less a consistent post every week.
  • I reviewed 13 unique visual novels in total. This genuinely surprised me, as I had played more games than I initially thought over the course of the year. This averages out to about one visual novel per month.
  • I published 5 unique walkthroughs. This comes as no surprise as I usually publish walkthroughs if no one has posted any yet. When I am late to playing a game and there are already existing walkthroughs, I choose not to publish my own.
  • My total word count for 2017 was 95 899 words and an average of 1809 words per post. My reviews tend to be quite lengthy as I always have plenty of thoughts on the overall game, so this comes as no surprise. My general average word count per review is usually between 5000-8000 words!

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  • What review first propelled my website’s publicity?
    Surprisingly enough, it was my ‘Amnesia: Memories Review‘. I remember waking up and having my jaw drop because of the flood of notifications and views that I was receiving. The Idea Factory twitter account had retweeted my review, and I remember just completely fangirling over it because I never thought any company would ever read my writing or notice my website. It gave my website a lot of traction and publicity, and it was only up from there.

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Best of 2017

  • Most Popular Reviews?
    My top five most viewed reviews are: 1. Nightshade, 2. Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~, 3. The Charming Empire, 4. Irresistible Mistakes, and 5. Black Wolves Saga  — Bloody Nightmare — .
  • Why is Nightshade by far my most popular review?
    Initially I could never have imagined the amount of popularity and publicity my review/walkthroughs of this game would bring about, and for a while I was somewhat stumped as to why this was my standout post of 2017.

    I guess it came down to a multitude of reasons such as: 1. I posted my review much sooner than others, as I was not as busy during its release and was able to binge play the game, 2. It is definitely one of the top contenders in best/most popular english otome releases for 2017, 3. The game left a profound impression on me afterwards, and I suppose these strong emotions and thoughts were conveyed in my review.

  • Favourite review or post to write?
    My favourite post that I wrote in 2017 was ‘The Differences between the Original Hakuoki Series and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds‘. I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both Idea Factory and the community on it, and I personally enjoyed writing the piece very much.

    My initial aim behind it was to be informative for new and returning players to the franchise/series, if I were to put myself in the position of someone who was on the fence about the game.

    Since then, it has been consistently reblogged, linked and referred to in so many Hakuoki-related posts as a useful guide to the different games in the series. It makes me very happy to see that people found it to be both informative, helpful and spoiler-free!

  • Favourite game(s) of 2017?
    My favourite otome games of 2017 were definitely Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — and Collar x Malice (PS Vita). As you can see by the trend, I do love darker themed games with immersive storylines and complex characters. I am a sucker for angst and mystery, and it will always be my bias that I can never get enough of.

    In terms of overall game, then my two choices are Persona 5 and The Last of Us. I was a huge fan of Persona 4: Golden, so Persona 5 was essentially everything I wanted and more. If you’re a fan of anime, RPGs, immersive storyline and lengthy gameplay — I cannot recommend it enough. Although late to the bandwagon and hype, The Last of Us definitely lives up to all the critical acclaim it has received and was a roller coaster of emotions from beginning to end.

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Worst of 2017

  • Least favourite review or post to write?
    Due to the length of my reviews, I do have a tendency to experience writer’s block and feel lacking in inspiration every now and then. To my own surprise, it’s not the terrible games that I have trouble writing my thoughts on. In fact, the more strongly I feel about something whether both negative or positive — the words just flow with ease and the reviews seamlessly write themselves. It’s the ‘in-between/mediocre’ games where I find myself struggling the most, as they’re not good… but they’re not bad either. Striking a balance between the two I find is the most difficult aspect of writing reviews in the past year.

    The review I’m awarding this title to is ‘Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds‘ | PS Vita & Limited Edition (NA/EU). I’m sure you’ll be surprised by this, as if you have read my review you’ll know that I definitely enjoyed it and view it to be superior to the predecessors. However, in terms of writing my review and thoughts — this one was an absolute pain as there were simply so many characters to write about. In comparison to the average 5-6 bachelors, this title encompassed 12. Yes, 12.

    It was definitely a struggle to condense my review in terms of detail without losing touch with my usual writing style, and I felt so uninspired every time I sat down to write it due to the sheer daunting amount of how much I had left to cover.The game itself took me much longer than usual to complete due to how lengthy and repetitive it was, and the review took even longer to write. I believe it took me around a month to clock, in comparison to the standard 1-2 weeks for majority of Visual Novels.

  • Least favourite game(s) of 2017?
    My least favourite otome games of 2017 were definitely Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ (PS Vita) and Norn9 ~ Norn + Nonette~ (PS Vita). Despite my favourable score of Period: Cube in my review, this was mainly due to the impressive budget, music, graphics, voice acting and system of the game. In other aspects such as the character development and storyline, it fell extremely flat of its potential.

    I just had so many criticisms and issues with the game which I went into detail with in my review, and it ended up being a title that I didn’t truly enjoy. It definitely became a drag after several routes, and I did mainly complete it for the sake of giving a ‘wholesome review’ after seeing everything it had to offer.

    That being said, it’s not entirely all bad (such as the factors I mentioned above) so it could still be very enjoyable and your cup of tea if it’s your type of game.

    Although Norn9 is my second choice, I do admit it is a slightly unfair mention as I have only played the prologue of the game. However, it was the only title this year that didn’t immediately reel me in and left me with little to no interest to continue playing.

    The premise is quite confusing and weak in terms of impact, and the writing seems to be quite scattered and all over the place. That being said, I do intend to finish the game and write a review eventually so it may potentially change my initial thoughts on it. However, I am skeptical based on what I have seen so far and the feedback I have read.

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Collaborations

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Support

  • Without each and everyone of you, my website wouldn’t be what it is today. Thank you so much for the support, I appreciate every view and comment from all my readers!
  • Special thank you to Melli and Laura who helped donate to the website upkeep this year, I truly appreciate your kindness and every little bit helps!
  • I started up a patreon and ko-fi link to assist with the website server costs. These are purely optional and I would never want anyone to feel obligated to donate. However, it would greatly assist me in my review writing and enable me to produce more content every month with your support.
  • You can also directly donate to me via paypal.
  • If you’re unable to donate, just turning off ad-block when browsing my website helps me out so much. I receive a very small amount from wordpress every time someone views an ad on my website, and all of this goes back into the monthly website server costs. The ads are not intrusive or pop-ups, and they appear at the bottom of my blog posts or on the side banners.
  • Special shout out to Ame who has posted the most comments on my website.
  • Special thank you to Hayurika who always mentions my reviews/posts in her monthly updates and on twitter. Hayurika is also a fellow visual novel/otome/game blogger that I read regularly, and you can check out her website here.
  • If you would like to support/follow me on other social media, I do have a facebook page, twitter and tumblr. I always post updates and news on upcoming reviews and games!

That wraps it up for my 2017 summary, and here is to hoping that 2018 will be an even better year than the last!

Love Always,
Cherry 

NEWS: New Website Layout & Update

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Hello everyone,

I have been very inactive the past three months due to major assessments being due and having final examinations for the semester at university right afterwards. Talk about not being able to catch a break. It’s been a very stressful past couple of months, but on the bright side they’re finally over! I essentially went into hibernation mode afterwards, and spent my time catching up with friends whom I hadn’t seen at all during the study period.

Unfortunately, that only lasted a blissful two weeks before being back at university again for second semester (laughs). Although I didn’t have much time to devote to Visual Novels/Otome Games the past few months or to sit down and write a review—I did take the time to update my website layout! If you’re new, then you obviously won’t notice any differences.

But to my old followers, then it was a complete site overhaul. Considering I was a complete coding novice when I started creating my website, I’m very happy with how it turned out. It’s been half a year already since I started blogging and I figured it was time for a change. I find it’s a lot cleaner and easier to read than before, which was what I was definitely aiming for!

On yet another positive note, I do have plans for upcoming reviews! Although they won’t be as frequent as my prior uploads, I will try to fit them in when I’m not being swamped with studying! I plan to cover games such as RE: Birthday Song, Norn9, Fashioning Miss Lonesome and Collar x Malice!

I will be posting my review of Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds today as well, which was written in collaboration with Idea Factory International. Thank you so much to all the readers who continue to comment on my work with your kind words, and those who have been wondering where I’ve been. Thank you so much also to my first two donators: Melli and Laura! It is you guys that keep me writing, and active in the community. I also cannot believe that I have already hit 100k+ views. That is insane to me, and I never would have thought I’d hit this milestone so soon.

If you would like to receive instant updates of when I post, you can follow me on my social media below or subscribe via email in the side box on the right!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/visualnovelreviews/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vnreviewer
Tumblr: https://vnreviews.tumblr.com/
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/visualnovelreviews

NEWS: New Facebook Page

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Hi everyone,

I have received some requests from you guys to also have a facebook page for the website, as facebook notifications are a lot more convenient. I know that not everyone has a wordpress account to follow the blog, or would prefer to not have continual email updates about new posts. People also tend to use facebook more so than other social media as well nowadays. I sat down and made the facebook page today, so yes you can also now like/follow ‘Visual Novel Reviews’ on facebook!

You can see the facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/visualnovelreviews/

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I usually check my social media/website everyday, so if you do comment/post things I will try to respond within the day! For more prompt responses or casual conversation about visual novels/otome games, I am the most active on twitter @vnreviewer.

NEWS: Visual Novel and Otome Games Reddit

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What is Reddit? 

In a nutshell, it’s a social news media sharing and discussion website. You can subscribe to any forum of your interest, and scroll through a newsfeed (similar to Facebook and Twitter). It consists of thousands of other people posting news or interesting and funny links on your subscribed ‘subreddits’ of interest.

I am fairly active on reddit mostly as a lurker under /r/iTotoro, and usually I do check it every day. It’s my go-to resource for visual novel and otome game news. I also love reading the discussions on various games, and seeing what other people’s opinions are. I highly recommend checking out /r/visualnovels, and /r/otomegames! Both subreddits are very active and receive new content everyday from users.

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I decided to post about reddit today because in spite of how popular it is, there are still a lot of people who don’t know what exactly the website is about or use it.

Yesterday night for good fun, I made a post on /r/otomegames where you name specific otome games and other users comment on who the ‘best guy’ is from that game. I did not expect the post to literally blow up over night, and when I hopped on this morning it had over 150+ comments of so many different games and favourite characters.

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I highly recommend checking the post out here, since some of the comments are actually really funny and hilarious. It was interesting seeing who everyone viewed as best boy and there was mostly a lot of contentions between the first and second best guy in every game. If you haven’t signed up for reddit yet, come join in on the fun! Everyone there is really nice, and passionate about both visual novels and otome games.


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Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

NEWS: The Charming Empire Release Announcement


For more information, check out the steam store page.


Recently, Dogenzaka Lab announced two new games to be localised in english on steam: The Charming Empire and Campus Nightlife. This is super exciting, cause as I mentioned before in my anticipated english visual novel releases for 2017; this year will indeed be very stacked in terms of english localisations! It is great and promising news for Visual Novel fans in the western world, as more and more publishers/companies are recognising that there is a viable target market and fans of the genre. With the newfound momentum we’re seeing in 2017, I won’t be surprised at all if 2018 turns out to be even better.

Of course, that is still a while away and as fans we’ll just have to continue keeping our fingers crossed! I will be covering The Charming Empire out of the two games, since from the premise I found it to be more interesting out of the two. If you would like more information about Campus Nightlife, you can read about it on the steam store page.

Initial Impressions

From first impressions alone, The Charming Empire has some pretty impressive art for a game originally on the mobile platform. Truly, the mobile platform has come so far in improving the past couple of years. I’m sure that it’ll look even better on the PC screen, judging from the screenshot previews that they’ve shown of the game so far. I can already see that Dogenzaka Lab have addressed some of the shortcomings I mentioned from reviewing their two previous (and most popular) releases for mobile and steam: Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya and Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya.

Other than the clear art improvements, they’ve finally decided to incorporate voice acting in their ports! As I mentioned in my criticisms of their previous games, the recent steam release visual novels have all included full voice acting. In order to compete with the rapidly growing and competitive market, having non-voiced games really isn’t going to cut it anymore. Not only that, but some of these games are fully voiced and significantly lower in terms of price threshold. Voice acting just adds so much to a game, and can turn poor/average writing into an engaging story due to the expressions of the VAs.

Overall, in terms of first impressions it is quite positive and I am personally looking forward to the game’s release.

Storyline

-The Story-

Our heroine, Amane Kosaka, was living a simple yet happy life in the countryside until one day she was suddenly taken away to live in the empire, summoned by her brother Soji Amazaki — the current ruler. Though she was unaware of the underlying circumstances, she finds herself brought to this lively and palpable central city.

Living in the immaculate royal palace, our heroine comes to learn that the empire might not be as joyful as it seems.
Her brother is no longer the gentle man she once knew…
A corrupt organization secretly runs things behind the scenes…
The heroine’s fate guides her down the path of love.

The story seems interesting enough, and I do like that it is a more traditional and historical setting rather than one set in Modern Japan. Dogenzaka Lab’s Men of Yoshiwara series is their most popular and successful for a reason, as they definitely do much better with the concept in comparison to their other game genres. However, I’m still slightly apprehensive of the game’s writing due to past experiences with the company’s titles. They’re not exactly known for their stellar writing, interesting protagonists or bachelor personalities.

Their previous games have been riddled with poor writing, and littered with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It’s as though it was translated by someone unfamiliar with the english language, and judging from the game script it honestly felt like the final copy wasn’t properly proofread at all. However, as it is a newer release by the company I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now and I sincerely hope that the writing is much better this time around.

Character Introductions

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Toki Tanba  |  丹葉桐己  |  CV: Tetsuya Kakihara  |  柿原徹也

The flirtatious cafe owner

Toki owns a cafe in the city that serves tea and various confections. He is particularly kind to women and loved by all of his customers. But behind that kind smile, however…

“Sorry for the wait. This here is the pride of the cafe, our signature baumkuchen.”

Oh my, it’s the VA for Shin from Amnesia: Memories and Viktor Frankenstein from Code Realize: ~Guardian of Rebirth~. I knew his voice sounded familiar the moment I heard it! He seems to be one of the two the main bachelors judging from the art and trailer released so far. I find it quite amusing that in this game he plays a flirtatious character, whereas his previous roles in the above two very popular otome games were the complete opposite.

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Kei Yoshimine  |  吉峯螢  |  CV: Toshiki Masuda  |  増田俊樹

The captive former prince

Kei is the heroine’s private tutor.
The prince of a fallen country, he is now a captive of the empire.
Perhaps because of those circumstances, he treats the heroine harshly.

“My name is Kei Yoshimine. Starting today I’ll be teaching you foreign language and dance. Any questions?”

Kei seems like your typical major-closet tsundere; where he’s cold to you initially but becomes increasingly embarrassed and shy as he develops feelings for the heroine. I do really like his character design, as I have a soft spot for dark-haired male leads.

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Koichiro Sera  |  世良皇一朗  |  CV: Takuya Eguchi  |  江口拓也

The reticent bodyguard

Sera is the heroine’s unsociable bodyguard.
Not a minute goes buy where Sera isn’t devoted to his duties, and he also has a stubborn side.
He bares distrust towards Lord Soji’s dictatorship.

“Stay close to me.”

The same VA as Sonosuke Izayoi from the Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School. Ironically they both play a similar character role in both that anime and this game.

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Kagemitsu Togawa  |  渡川景光  |  CV: Toshiyuki Toyonaga  |  豊永利行

The mild-mannered aide

Kagemitsu is Lord Soji’s right hand man.
He is a childhood friend of both our heroine and Soji.
Kagemitsu worries about the future under Lord Soji’s dictatorship.

“You’re so kind…just how I remember you.”

The role of the kind childhood friend who usually is very supportive of the heroine and her endeavours in every route despite also being in love with her. I’ve learnt to distrust this type of character trope as recently, companies have enjoyed placing dark twists on their character to make their inherently bland stories more interesting. Although I don’t think that is the case in this game, you never know until you actually play through his story route.

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Soji Amazaki  |  天崎奏嗣  |  CV: Kenjiro Tsuda  |  津田健次郎

The aloof lord

Soji holds the most powerful seat in all the empire.
Only trusting himself, he rejects the opinions of others as he continues his dictatorship agenda — breeding animosity amongst the people.
He’s a cold man who sees even his own sister as a political tool.

“I see you’ve arrived safely. From now forth, you’ll be living here.”

The moment I heard that voice, I knew exactly who it was before even checking the name. It’s the same VA for Seto Kaiba from the Yu-Gi-Oh series, and of course Chikage Kazama from the Hakuoki series. The VA for Chikage Kazama is my all-time favourite performance for a male character out of any otome game that I’ve played. Now that I know he’ll be voice acting in this game, I am a lot more hyped and excited than I was initially. With Chikage Kazama’s voice, I can imagine exactly what character and role Soji will play in this game.

Final Thoughts

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The Charming Empire is actually looking very promising now that I’ve looked over all the information that they’ve released so far. They definitely stepped up their budget and voice acting, with their two main characters being voiced by very popular and prominent VAs. I’m looking forward to playing Toki and Soji’s routes the most as not only are they voiced by some of my favourite VAs, they’re also the main characters of the game. Generally speaking, the main bachelors/poster men do have the better routes, greater screen time and more prominent roles in the overarching storyline.

I am especially interested in Soji as I am admittedly biased and love that he’s essentially emulating Chikage Kazama’s voice V2 in this game. But, I am also intrigued by his character as I do like his design best out of all the bachelors. He is the reason as to why the MC was brought to the palace capital in the first place, leading into the events of the game. You can just tell that he has a significant role within the storyline, due to his actions in the premise and his clearly questionable hidden agendas concerning the protagonist.

The art in the game is gorgeous and I do love the designs for all the characters. Normally I usually do have several characters I lean towards more than others and the rest I play to complete the game. For ‘The Charming Empire’ I am looking forward to playing all of them. The game looks to be very solid if the writing has improved from Dogenzaka Lab’s previous games and I sincerely hope that they incorporated better music. Mobile platform games are always prone to thirty second generic tracks that loop horrendously, and it would be a shame considering the prominent VA cast and beautiful art.

I am looking forward to playing this game, and I definitely think it should be a game to look out for as an otome fan!


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Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

NEWS: Irresistible Mistakes Release


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-The Story- 

I should never have done that…
He was a total stranger. I didn’t even know his name.
But we spent the night together…!
It was just a huge mistake. There could never be anything between us!
Or so I thought…

“I want to see you again tonight…”

That simple text from him was just the beginning of an incredible love affair…

The game is out now on both the apple and android store for everyone to play! I’m personally quite interested in Voltage Inc’s new release as I feel it has a more mature theme in comparison to their usual games. It reminds me of ‘In Your Arms Tonight’, which was definitely one of their best titles for an older audience.

I haven’t been too impressed with their recent releases, so I’m hoping that this one will be different. I’ll most likely have a review on the game out in a couple of days after I play through perhaps a route or two depending on which characters I find the most interesting, or whether it leaves a good impression on the first play through.

You can actually play 5 free episodes from one of the selectable bachelors as part of the release campaign. So, if you would like to trial out the story and game without paying for a route I highly recommend downloading and checking it out. 5 Episodes is actually a pretty decent length, since Voltage games tend to be around 10-16 episodes long so you’re essentially getting to see the first half of the story.

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Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

Most Anticipated English Visual Novel Releases of 2017

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Ever wonder what other english releases are going to be released for the year of 2017? Do you want to know what games you should save up for? Are you looking for more games to add to your playlist and backlog? Here is my personal list of games that I am anticipating for 2017, and cannot wait for their release!

2017 is probably the best year so far that I’ve seen in terms of the amount of new titles picked up to be released in english.

1. Collar x Malice

-The Story-

“Who put this collar on me?”

The protagonist is a policewoman who works in Shinjuku, which had become a dangerous city after a series of brutal incidents popularly referred to as the “X-Day Incident”.

She had been busy working in her assigned area everyday in order to keep it safe. But one night, an unknown assailant attacked her and placed a collar built in with poison around her neck.

Amidst the chaos and right before the protagonist’s eyes were men with suspicious backgrounds. They’re all part of an organisation composed of former police officers and have taken it upon themselves to investigate the brutal cases.

Without knowing whether she should trust these men or not, she suddenly became the person who held the key to this massive case.

In order to remove the collar that places her at the edge of death and to liberate Shinjuku from the malice that binds it, she cooperates; beginning to investigate the incidents with the men.

Who holds her life in their hands?
Will Shinjuku ever return to its former glory?

(English translation from official website)

I love the premise, storyline, art, OST, and just everything about Collar x Malice! I am an absolute sucker for mystery x detective themed games. Not to mention the artist is Hanamura Mai (same artist for the Amnesia series) and Manyo as the composer (big fan of his soundtracks and work—composed for Amnesia and Kara no Shoujo series). I just knew the art was familiar when I first saw screenshots of the game. I am extremely excited about the game, and dearly hoping it will be a 2017 release.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Collar X Malice – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Collar x Malice’ Review here.

2. Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~

-The Story-

With the help of your childhood friend, Hiroya, you decide to play the online RPG game “Arcadia” in order to look for clues as to the whereabouts of your missing older brother.

You are suddenly engulfed by a blinding light and lose conscious. When you wake up, you find that the scenery has changed into that of a video game fantasy world.

As you are overwhelmed by the sudden twist of events, you learn a terrible truth: to escape this deadly world, you must clear the game.

In this cruel world, you were selected to become the key to clearing the game – the holy sword. With this, you are the target of everyone!

(English translation from official website

The first out of the four otome titles localised by Aksys Games in 2017, the storyline definitely gives me Sword Art Online vibes. With beautiful art by the artist of Black Wolves Saga, this is quite an interesting fantasy otome with RPG elements. Period Cube actually comes out very soon, with an announced release date on the 28th of April next month!

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase the game here: Period Cube – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Period Cube: ~Shackles of Amadeus~’ Review here.

3. Bad Apple Wars

-The Story-

Congratulations on your DEATH admission!
Welcome to NEVAEH Academy!!

The heroine, who was caught in an accident on the first day that she was to enter high school, suddenly found herself on the premises of an unknown school.

This was NEVAEH Academy, a school for those whose souls were left behind after death.

In this school if you were a good student who followed the rules then, upon GRADUATION, you would be able to return and RESUME YOUR LIFE.

The heroine, having been informed about her death from a suspicious man wearing a RABBIT HEAD and thinking that this was all a dream, followed him to the school entrance ceremony.

Suddenly, a piercing explosion echoed from over there.

What started at the sign of that noise was the school war between those who defy the school’s rules, the DELINQUENT TEAM BAD APPLES, and members of the DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE.

In the middle of that battle, the heroine meets a RED-HAIRED young man.

That young man faced her directly and asked a question.

“– Do you want to live?” (English translation from official website)

The premise reminds me so much of one of my favourite animes, Angel Beats. The art deviates from Idea Factory’s usual style, taking on a more comic-book themed approach (to match the concept that it is a different world, I suppose). Although it was a little strange to look at initially, the art grew on me the more I looked at it. The release date has still yet to be announced, but I do hope it stays with its 2017 expected release date.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase the game here: Bad Apple Wars – PlayStation Vita.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Bad Apple Wars’ Review here.

4. Code: Realize Future Blessings

The fandisc for Code: Realize, featuring after stories for the main cast and new routes for Herlock Sholmes and Finis.

If you haven’t read my review for Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ you should check it out! If you have, then you’ll know I absolutely loved the game and it is one of my all-time favourites. I am looking forward to the new routes with Herlock Sholmes and Finis, as I felt their stories weren’t quite fully delved upon in the original game. The art in the opening looks gorgeous, and of course who doesn’t want to have more stories to read with their favourite bachelor?

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here –
Code: Realize Future Blessings – Play Station Vita | Limited Edition
Code: Realize Bouquet of Rainbows – Play Station 4 | Limited Edition

5. Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome 

-The Story-

Ema Tachibana is a tall, gloomy and unsociable girl with a bad case of resting bitch-face. With all that working against her, she’s never really had any friends. That didn’t really change when she started at a new school. Everyone kept their distance because they were scared of her.

But Ema herself was quite content with that state of affairs. She was all set to spend the rest of her time until graduation invisible as ever.

That is until two men turned her life upside down…

“I’ve finally found you. You are my… my one and only muse!”

Miki Hiraizumi—recently returned to Japan from abroad, he’s loved making clothes ever since he was a little kid. He has a strong desire to help make charming, unusual women shine. (Also a bit of a masochist.)

“Listen, you may be nothing but a little shrew right now, but even you have some potential to shine. I’ll just have to polish you up.”

And Saito Shinjou—he frequently finds himself bored because things have always come easy to him. He wants to find a way to do something so big, it’ll change the world. (He’s also a bit of a sadist.)

These two ambitious and attractive fellows decide to give Ema Tachibana a makeover!

“No… I’m not really interested…”

But Ema has other ideas. (English Official Website)

This is quite an interesting pick up by MangaGamer, as I feel R18+ otome game localisations are very few in comparison to bishoujo games. The summary looks hilarious, and the art is quite good! The VA (Yotsuya Cider) of Shinjou Saito is the same as Kyrie from OZMAFIA!!! Hopefully if the title sells well commercially, we will see more mature-themed otome games released in future.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome R18+ Version.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome [R18]‘ Review here.

6. Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

-The Story-

A remastered retelling of the beloved otome Hakuoki series that focuses on the story set in Kyoto. 

Hakuoki was first developed and released in 2008. New players, as well as players that have grown with the franchise, can discover the beauty and richness of its story with new, innovative features all presented on the Playstation Vita system. 

Never-before-seen episodes and character routes have been added to the original version of the game, introducing more romanceable targets, new minor characters, and plenty of new paths to seek for yourself!

Take a glimpse into the world of Hakuoki, as it was originally intended!

(English Official website

Although I’ve already written a post regarding my mixed feelings on another Hakuoki game, it is still a great title nonetheless for players new to the franchise. It’s essentially an all-in-one release, so if you haven’t gotten around to playing the series—now is the time to play it. It’s release date was announced only a few days ago, and the game is being released on May 16 (NA) and May 19 (EU) for the PSVita!

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here: Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds – PlayStation Vita

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds [Limited Edition]’ Review here.

UPDATE 3: Read my ‘Differences between the Original Hakuoki and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds’ here.

7. Night Shade

-The Story-

Thanks to an age of constant war, the Iga and Kouga had independently achieved an expansion of their respective forces.

Both shinobi forces, owing to that long history of warring, shared an antagonistic relationship of mutual hatred towards one another. However, during the ninth year of the Tenshou era, the Iga forces fell into ruin due to the Tenshou Iga War started by Oda Nobunaga. The few Iga members that had survived were taken in by the Kouga forces.

Seventeen years later, the Sengoku period had ended and lasting peace came to the world.

Dreaming of performing shinobi duties, Ueno Enju (the protagonist), daughter of the Kouga forces’ leader, Ueno Kandou, had been training everyday.

After finally being selected to go on her first mission, a major incident occurs. It not only derails Enju’s fate, but the fate of the village as well…

(English translation from official website)

The storyline, art and theme reminds of the Hakuoki series. I really enjoy historical Visual Novels, and the art in Night Shade is gorgeous. Originally it was actually meant to be released December 15th, 2016 on steam but it got pushed back. I’m assuming it just wasn’t ready yet, and although it is unfortunate—it’s better to wait if it’s going to be a higher quality release. It’s in the steam-release queue with other Visual Novels within March-April release dates, so fingers crossed it will be released sometime soon in 2017!

What I’m looking forward to the most about the game is that Hattori Hanzo is voiced by the same VA as Chikage Kazama from Hakuoki. He is one of my all-time favourite VAs, and it’s ironic the character is named ‘Hanzo’ (after Overwatch, the name is forever ruined for me).

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it on steam here.

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Night Shade/Hyakka Hyakurou’ Review here.

8. Grisaia no Rakuen/The Eden of Grisaia

-The Story-

Our story picks up immediately after the events of Grisaia no Meikyuu, with Kazami Yuuji having been detained for suspected involvement with an international terrorist organization, lead by Heath Oslo, that has managed to enter Japan’s borders with a devastating new weapon of mass destruction in hand. Meanwhile, at Mihama Academy, the remaining students find themselves with time running out – due to financial issues, the school is set to close within the month. Over the past year, though, the girls of Mihama have finally begun to find their own legs, thanks to Yuuji’s involvement – are they really just going to bury their heads in the sand and let the world change around them? And are they really willing to let the man who changed their lives slip away without so much as trying to win him back? As the end of their time at Mihama Academy approaches, Amane, Makina, Sachi, Yumiko, and Michiru find themselves arriving at a single conclusion.

The final chapter in the Grisaia series, featuring Prologue De La Grisaia, a prologue set before Yuuji’s arrival at Mihama; Blanc Aile no Tane, the overarching story’s grand conclusion; a smorgasbord of bonus eroscenes; and an after story to the events of Blanc Aile no Tane. (Excerpt from VNDB

The Grisaia series is one of my all-time favourite visual novels, and it’s great to see that the series trilogy will come to an end in 2017. The Labyrinth of Grisaia (second in the series) was released in January this year. It has a to-be-expected release date of March 2017, and the uncut version sometime during the summer.

I personally am currently still finishing up the first game (The Fruits of Grisaia), and onto my last route which is Makina’s. But, I am taking my time as the series is incredibly long (my current playtime is 85hrs) and I might as well pace myself until the final game is released. No point finishing the games early then suffering the unbearable wait (laughs).

9. Nekopara Volume 3

-The Story-

What’s NEKOPARA? Why, it’s a cat paradise!

Minazuki Kashou, the son of a long line of Japanese confection makers moved out to open his own shop “La Soleil” as a patisserie.

But upon moving out, hidden amongst his things were two of the catgirls (“neko”), Chocola and Vanilla, that the family had been raising. When he tried to send them back, they begged and pleaded until he gave in and now they’ve opened La Soleil together.

With two nekos who really, REALLY love their master trying their very best and occasionally failing — a heartful comedy opens for business!

See the Sayori NEKO WORKs’ mascots Chocola and Vanilla like never before, moving, and in full voice on screen. And now with the E-mote System, the characters smoothly move on screen changing expression and poses in countless ways. (Steam Summary)

Initially I found this game a little weird, not going to lie. It is not for everyone, and I actually found out about it from internet memes (laughs). But, once you give it a try it’s actually a pretty good game and for a very cheap price! They often go on sale in bundles, which is when it’s best to grab them. The art and animation is really good and crisp, and it’s an all-around hilarious game. The cat girls really do grow on you as you play through the visual novel. This is the last in the trilogy, releasing the last two romanceable cat girls. It is set to be released on the 28th of April, 2017.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it on steam here.

10. New Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

-The Story- 

The third Dangan Ronpa game which has been confirmed at the TGS 2015 to be released on both the PS Vita and PS4.

Like the title “New” implies, the game has a completely different storyline, characters and environment than the first three games (the “Hope’s Peak Academy” storyline ends with an anime series), with only the series’ mascot Monokuma returning. The game features a new killing game called the New Killing School Life. The new setting is called Gifted Inmates Academy or the Prison School for the Gifted. The Academy (and hotel) is in a garden surrounded by a cage. It’s implied that the story is set in the future.

The overall theme is mentioned to be “psycho cool”, unlike the “psycho pop” and “psycho tropical” themes of the first two games. The visual style will have a “cool adult-like image” and the Class Trials will have “high-speed reasoning action”. While the storyline and the sixteen new characters are different, the gameplay is similar to the earlier games, including exploration, talking with other characters and the Class Trials. It will have notable additions and improvements, though, like the possibility to use your own lies to defeat opponents during the trials. (Excerpt from VNDB

Did I save my ultimate bias and the best for last? Perhaps. This is my number one favourite visual novel of all-time indisputably. It has an amazing mix of storyline, plot twists, character cast, humour, cuteness and mystery; just everything I love in a game. When I first played the game, I had a phase of obsession for several long weeks/months (which never happens to me over a game, usually I just have a few days of bliss upon completing a game before getting over it). I’m a little sad that the Hope’s Peak Academy arc has ended, and I am very curious as to how they have decided to revamp the series in a brand new release with a completely new cast.

The Danganronpa series is a ‘whodunnit?’ mystery/detective Visual Novel, where you must discover the culprit of the killings and present your findings in a class trial. The stakes are essentially kill or be killed, and you’re faced with uncovering people whom you consider friends as potential murderers. However, it is not what you expect at all coming into the game with an incredibly immersive storyline and great gameplay. It’s one of those games where you just have to try it yourself to understand what it’s truly about. The descriptions will never do the game any justice.

I have heard mixed reception over the new game, but for the most part they were very positive. It has an announced release date on the 26th of September for NA and 29th of September for EU. What I am glad about is the steam port is being released at the same time as the PSVita/Playstation 4 platform. This is great considering for the predecessors, the steam release is usually a year later.

UPDATE: The game has now been released! Purchase it here:
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – PlayStation 4
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – PlayStation Vita | Limited Edition

UPDATE 2: Read my ‘Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony’ Review here.

I hope that you all enjoyed my list, and found some new games to look forward to for 2017!


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Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry