Sexy Mermen, Political Intrigue, and Magic – Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure – Game Review

Originally developed by Seven Submarines in 2018 for the annual game jam NaNoRenO, Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure is a short fantasy visual novel that takes us on a journey into the deep. Gabrielle Freedman embarks on a journey into the sea to find Nauticus, Crown Prince of Atlas in hopes of securing his aid in an ongoing political struggle on the surface. Unbeknownst to her, Nauticus has his hands full with an ongoing civil war over control of the throne. Exiled alongside his royal guard, Zeppelin, Nauticus is desperate to reclaim his throne and reluctantly agrees to a tenuous alliance with Gabrielle. Together the trio devise a plan that could be mutually beneficial to both their causes, but, it involves confronting an evil sea witch. With everything on the line Gabrielle, Nauticus, and Zeppelin gear up for fight that will determine the fate of their very different worlds.

Game Details

  • Genre: Adventure, Romance
  • Available for PC (Widows, Mac, Linux)
  • 7 Endings
  • Gameplay Lengh: ≈45 mins – 1 hr
  • Cost: Free
  • Partial Voice Acting
  • RPG Style Battle System
  • Similar Games: The Blind Griffin, A Foretold Affair 

Continue reading “Sexy Mermen, Political Intrigue, and Magic – Ultramarine: A Seapunk Adventure – Game Review”

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Thrifty Gaming: Games That Won’t Blow Your Budget #25

 

Hello all you wonderful Heroes and Travelers, it’s Thrifty Thursday and that means another Thrifty Gaming post, the weekly post series where I spotlight three games/visual novels for gamers on a budget. Whatever your financial situation, I’m here to bring you affordable games that won’t break the bank!! All of the games on this list are $10 or less (does not include limited time offers and sale items), so no more weepy wallets!

shut_up_and_take_my_money

This week’s post will include links to the games and a brief synopsis, but let me stress that these are not reviews, but recommendations… so your mileage may vary! Now that that’s out of the way lets get on to this week’s list!!

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Let’s Show Our Support for The Divine Speaker!!

Hey hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, here we are with another Kickstarter support post! For those of you new, here, Let’s Show Our Support posts highlight current crowdfunding campaigns for indie games (usually VNs and OELVNs). I give you guys the basic rundown of the game and the perks of supporting the game’s campaign, as well as links to all the relevant game related pages and sites.

This time around, I’m covering Two and a Half Studio’s upcoming fantasy BL visual novel The Divine Speaker! We’ve been getting quite a few BL games in recent years and this debut title from Two and a Half Studios checks off quite a few boxes for me. With its gorgeous visuals and unique fantasy premise, The Divine Speaker promises to be a fun addition to the genre.

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[Melanin Monday] Diversity in Otome Games

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! I know its been awhile since my last Melanin Monday post (I’ve been slacking off), but, for those of you just joining the party, here’s a little refresher. Melanin Monday is a bi-weekly post series that I started for Black History Month, where I talk about Black and Brown skinned characters in anime, manga, video games, etc., but you guys loved it so much I decided to continue it! This week, I’m looking at diversity in otome games!

Otome games promise a player driven gaming experience, giving players the opportunity to romance a diverse group of characters. But, really how diverse are otome games? Sure they feature characters from a wide range of character archetypes, but when it comes to their appearance, they all seem to fall into the same generic bishounen category. What’s more, mainstream otome games tend to have a distinct lack of racial diversity among their romance options. Western otome games have been more successful at integrating more diverse romance options in their games, with characters from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicity, but, Japanese otome games are much more restrictive in the types of romance options they offer. But, given that otome games are created with a Japanese audience in mind, this is not wholly unexpected.

However, with an increasing number of Western gamers playing otome games, this lack of diversity could alienate individuals looking for games featuring characters that share similar characteristics to themselves. In recent years, Western otome games and Original English Language Visual Novels (OELVNs) have stepped up to provide a solution by offering games with more diverse romance options that are more reflective of their target audiences. As a woman of color, I appreciate the efforts of Western developers to incorporate diverse characters into their narratives, because it creates an opportunity for representation that may have otherwise not existed.

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Love Ritual – English Otome Game Review

Last week, Xand Arts released their debut title, Love Ritual, a richly imaginative detective fantasy that blends together the team’s seductive characters and designs with an immersive investigative narrative. Love Ritual follows Riilai, a young Ritualist hired on as a consultant for a local police investigation tasked with uncovering the truth behind an illegal summoning ritual. The police currently have two suspects in custody, a Necromancer and a Druid, both of whom have retained counsel to help prove their innocents. The two delegates, a suave Necromancer named Kalaseth, and a naïve good-natured Druid named Shanrae will do anything to get their clients off the hook. But, the deeper Riilai delves into the case the less black and white things become, and with two handsome advocates working so closely Riilai has a rough road ahead.

Xand Arts markets Love Ritual as an adult otome, and it’s easy to see why, with its captivating mystery adventure narrative and seductive character designs, Love Ritual delivers a sophisticated gaming experience.

Game Details

  • Genre: Mystery, Adult Content, Romance, GxB
  • Available for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) and Steam
  • 2 male love interests
  • Gameplay Length: ≈15 hours
  • Cost: $11.99
  • Similar Games: Mystic Destines: Serendipity of Aeons, Changeling

Continue reading “Love Ritual – English Otome Game Review”

Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet: Character & Route Thoughts (Part 2)

Originally this was a part of the main review, but the more I kept writing the more my thoughts on the characters kind of took on a life of their own. So, I’m trying something new and separating out my thoughts on the characters and their routes from the main review. I don’t know if I’ll do this again, but, I had some pretty strong feelings about some of the characters/routes and it just didn’t gel well with the rest of the review.

7 scarlet chara

If you want a general review of 7’scarlet check out my previous post, Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?! – 7’Scarlet Review (Part 1)If you’ve already given that a gander and you just want to know how I felt about the love interests and routes, you’re in the right place. A word of caution though, there are spoilers here, so if you haven’t finished the game perhaps you might want to hold off on reading this post until you do.

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Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet Otome Game Review (Part 1)

7’scarlet is a mystery otome game and one of the most recent localizations to make its way Stateside. The game follows Ichiko Hanamaki, a college student whose brother disappeared a year prior to the start of the game while visiting the town of Okunezato. While investigating the town, Ichiko and her childhood friend Hino stumble upon a strange website detailing several mysteries surrounding the town and decide to participate in an online meetup hosted by a few of the site’s members. Once in Okunezato, Ichiko and Hino meet the rest of the Okunezato Supernatural Club and begin investigating the strange goings on in the town. But, when a series of mysterious deaths began to take place, the town’s dark past is slowly revealed.

7-scarlet

When I picked up 7’scarlet, I wasn’t expecting to stick with it as long as I did, let alone finish the damn thing. I fully intended on just playing one route and tucking the game safely back into my backlog. Sadly, the route I was most interested in playing is the second to last route in the game (I’m not including the True End or the Secret Route). Pro tip: A sure fire way to get me to play all the way through a game is to stick the megane routes at the end of the game. So, I powered through all the routes until I could finally romance the bespectacled hottie of my dreams and by that point I figured why not just go balls out and finish the game. Now that I have that coveted PSN 7’scarlet Completion trophy, I’m ready to give my thoughts on the game.

Game Details

  • Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Romance, GxB
  • Available for PS Vita and Steam
  • 6 pursuable love interests (5 main, 1 secret)
  • 25 unique endings
  • Gameplay Length: ≈30 hours
  • Cost: $39.99
  • Similar Games: Code Realize, Psychadelica series

Continue reading “Mystery, Suspense and Zombies?!- 7’Scarlet Otome Game Review (Part 1)”

Lets Show Our Support for Chromatose!!

Hey hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, here we are with another Kickstarter support post! For those of you new, here, Let’s Show Our Support posts highlight current crowdfunding campaigns for indie games (usually VNs and OELVNs). I give you guys the basic rundown of the game and the perks of supporting the game’s campaign, as well as links to all the relevant game related pages and sites.

This time around, I’m covering Akabaka’s upcoming 2D visual novel/RPG Chromatose! I played the demo a little while ago and I fell head over heels in love with the dynamic cast of colorful characters and immensely addictive mystery storyline. There is just so much more to discover in this delightfully entertaining visual novel, but, Akabaka needs our help!

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Sweet Pool – BL Game Review

Sweet Pool is the third Nitro+Chiral title and by far one of the more surreal titles from their lineup, which really isn’t saying much seeing as this is the same company that gave us Saya no Uta (under their Nitroplus branch) and Togainu no Chi. There is a degree of grotesque body horror in this game that is both unsettling and beautiful, Sweet Pool is Invasion of the Bodysnatchers if it where set in the omegaverse and it is just as twisted as you’re imagining. The game follows Youji Sakiyama a second year high school student after his last stint in the hospital. Youji’s hopes for a normal life are dashed when he is slowly drawn into a nightmare from which there is no escape. Strange symptoms and grotesque hallucinations begin to plague his body and mind, and the only people that may have answers are two classmates who are also harboring dark secrets of their own.

So color me surprised when JAST USA announced that they’d be kicking off their new BL brand, JAST BLUE with English localizations of titles from Nitro+Chiral’s lineup. First up on the docket is 2008’s sweet pool right on time for the series’s 10th anniversary.

Game Details

  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux 
  • 3 pursuable characters (male)
  • 6 unique endings
  • Gameplay Length: ≈30 hours
  • Cost: $20.00 (censored Steam version), $25.00 (uncensored digital)
  • Similar Games: Togainu no Chi and Chaos Child

*There is one NSFW image at the very end of the review, but, it’s one of the more tame CGs in the game. *

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Chromatose Beta Demo Review

Demos are a work in progress, meant to give you a taste of what to expect from the final release of a game. They’re incomplete works, but, if they do their job right, they’re more than enough to drum up interest in an upcoming game… Over the years, I’ve played my fair share of demos, some with fully realized assets, and others with just the barebones of what the developers hope to have in a fully realized version of their project. Now, usually, I’m fairly lenient on demos, because they aren’t full games, so I don’t hold them to the same level of scrutiny, but, every so often I stumble across a demo that completely blows everything else out of the water and that demo is Akabaka’s beta demo for their upcoming 2D visual novel/RPG Chromatose

The game follows Leroy, an EMT that awakens in a strange nightmarish world after taking a fall that should have ended in his death. The dreamworld is populated by a group of amnesiacs who are also trapped within their own unique nightmare worlds due to some flaw or error they committed in the real world. You have 12 hours to help the inhabitants reclaim their memories and escape their nightmares or else you’ll be trapped there forever. However, each world is guarded by strange creatures that will stop at nothing to stop you from reaching your goal.

Game Details

  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • 2+ hours of Gameplay
  • RPG Gameplay: Turn-based Card Battle System
  • Genre: Mystery, RPG, Visual Novel, Fantasy, Supernatural
  • Similar Games: Angels of DeathZero Escape, Persona series, Sweet Fuse, Danganronpa, Catherine

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