This game saved my life.
I am 27.
My ex-wife and I have a daughter together, and adopted our son together. They are now both 4 years old.
When we were going through our separation, I found myself lost and miserable. I was self destructive. I got so mad one day from everything spiraling out of my control that I punched some concrete in a moment of overwhelming emotion. That caused me to break my 5th metacarpal in my right hand… my working hand… my games hand.. the hand that I held and carried my children to bed with.. The hand I desperately needed to make sure I could continue to provide.
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CLANNAD Side Stories
So I sign into steam and much to my surprise I see Clannad Hikari Mimamoru Sakamichi de (Clannad Side Stories) on the store page, and after a brief moment of incomparable excitement and a small amount of time to recompose myself I bought the game, now if you have seen my original review of Clannad you will most likely know I have a great deal of passion for this subject matter…..
so I guess I’ll preface this review the same way I did with the original Clannad VN, and this is by saying I maybe a tad bit bias in this as I absolutely love Clannad, I have the Manga, the Blurays, the 10th anniversary art book, so yeah just keep that in mind while reading this review, and try to forgive me ;)
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CLANNAD Side Stories Official English Release, Published onto steam by Sekai Project and Developed by Key, who has also developed visual novels like Kanon, Air and Little Busters just to name a few. CLANNAD Side Stories is known as ＣＬＡＮＮＡＤ -クラナド- 光見守る坂道で in Japanese. It is originally released on PlayStation®Portable in 2010, it combined the text of the respective novel published in 2005 and audio from the drama CD’s published in 2007. Each story centers around a specific character from CLANNAD, from Nagisa to Yoshino, even including Kyou’s pet, Botan. [Botan is pretty cute but not my favorite of the bunch] Each short story adds rewarding depth to the world of CLANNAD and its cast. A small note before I proceed this review will be slightly different from the other reviews as there will not be any score given. Relavent links can be found at the bottom of this review.
Knights And Bikes
Knights and Bikes!
I LOVED this game! I had never heard of Foam Sword prior to this game, but when I heard that Double Fine Presents was publishing it, I was immediately excited. At no point playing Knights and Bikes was I ever bored. The game had me enthralled from start to finish. Playing this game reminded me what it was like to be a kid at that awkward stage where you still believe in magic and fairy stories, but aren’t content to just read them anymore. You desperately want your own adventure. Running around in your bare feet, splashing in puddles on rainy days, and hanging out with your friends until the street lights came on. After completing the game, I felt wistful, joyous, and strangely– a little sad. It’s been awhile since a game has made me feel so many emotions.
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Knights and Bikes is one of the most magical, wonderful experiences I’ve had with a video game in a long time. It’s a beautiful, stunning masterpiece filled with puzzles, charm and heart. It’s a perfect game for anyone of almost any age - accessible without being basic, intuitive to play. It’s a fantastic game in co-op or solo, and the fact it works so well solo despite being clearly designed around co-op is a real achievement by itself.
It’s the kind of game I’m hesitant to say too much about, because a lot of the joy comes from the constantly surprising innovation on display. Demelza and Nessa are two of the most endearing protagonists I’ve encountered, and the game’s just filled with beautiful nostalgia for anyone who was ever a child at any point, which is like 99.4% of people. It’s also really quaint and quirky without being annoyingly twee; whereas in the wrong hands the plot could’ve been saccharine cringe, here it’s tonally spot on at every turn.
Arcana Heart 3 LOVEMAX SIXSTARS!!!!!! XTEND
Warning: The netcode is delay based and current population of regulars is maybe 10 people max (including myself) who are pretty chill but kinda insular, who also happen to have solid connections with each other (mostly). The patch notes for Xtend are available, but the Mizuumi section for Xtend is largely barren. The game is also apparently tied to your monitor refresh and needs to be capped through external methods. The training is lackluster and does not not natively have a input display.
Turn back now if these factors are a turn off, or just plain inconvenient - which is entirely reasonable.
This has probably been my favorite surprise-release of 2017, at least in the fighting game genre, since I had no idea this game existed, let alone was going to be released.
Now, despite the fact that I am a big fan of games like Nitro+, UNIEL, Aquapazza, Melty, etc, I never really got into AH3LM. The main reason was likely because, at the time I picked it up on Steam, barely anyone played, and those who did would body someone like me before I could even confirm anything. The other problem was, while I could get my friends interested enough to try out BlazBlue, or UNIEL, or even Nitro+, for some reason, no one would give AH3LM a try for some reason. So, since I was limited to continual training for the off chance of an online match, or single player modes, I had pretty much dropped the game, except for the occasional itch for something different.
This is a plaintext version of the full GameCynic review (with gallery)
Supported in part by a successful Indiegogo funding campaign earlier in 2016, Japanese developer Calme’s debut title is a short visual novel centered around the daily life of Leon, who struggles to keep his café open in a post-disaster era.
Visual novels — games which are essentially watching anime at your own pace, with little to no actual gameplay — are often a difficult genre to do well. Their simplicity means that storyline often makes or breaks a game, and a market saturated by home made, amateur titles can often overwhelm new developers. Luckily for KARAKARA, this isn’t a problem, thanks to strong personalities for the main characters.
If I had to describe KARAKARA in one sentence, I’d say “It’s Fallout meets NEKOPARA, but not as competent as either one”. Now if that intrigues you, please read on.
KARAKARA is a fully kinetic visual novel. That means there’s no plot choices, no dating sim elements, not even a petting button or localized earthquakes. It functions like a standard visual novel, with static backgrounds and slightly animated character sprites. I really like the visual style, particularly with how colors are balanced. If I had to complain about anything, I’d say everything is just a bit too bright, but it’s not bad. As for audio, the music isn’t exactly remarkable, but it makes for a good background. There’s also sound effects that get the job done similarly, and the voice acting was at least good enough that I didn’t mute it.
Hoshizora no Memoria -Wish upon a Shooting Star-
Hoshizora no Memoria is almost a perfect visual novel game. It has a hilarious and very relatable plot which will get you instantly hooked. The game has a lot of comedy in it; the common route provides you with running gags, while the character routes freshen up the game with new comedy elements. When I first read the beginning of the secret heroine’s route I was pretty much crying with laughter. The game does also play with your emotions as well, however.
The translation of the game is pretty good, although there are many errors and goofs, such as spelling and grammar errors, a small number of untranslated lines (there’s only about five or six of them, however, so not that many) and other general mistakes, such as “Hisakaki” instead of “Hibarigasaki”. Apparently these errors will be fixed and reworked in the upcoming package release.
Highly recommended! I thoroughly enjoyed this VN. It was quite lengthy, (therefore a great value for the money), has excellent character development, beautiful character design, entertaining sci-fi elements, and one of the heroines is obviously the designated comic relief. (She doesn’t disappoint!) I will also warn you right now that there will be a lot of real life people standing next to you chopping up an endless supply of onions while you play this game, especially during the last 2 unlockable routes.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero
Shantae: Half Genie Hero is the latest installment of the Shantae series, after being successfully Kickstarted back in 2013 and easily surpassing its $400,000 goal. I believe they used this money well to improve the game both visually and audibly. I have not ever played Pirates Curse, and so this will not be a comparison between the two.
Half Genie Hero got a serious visual update compared to other Shantae games, and it really pays off. With smooth 60 FPS animation, the game is stunning to behold and has detailed backgrounds often with many things going on in them as well (If you wait long enough in Mermaid Falls Factory, Bolo passes by on a hook with a fish attached to his head). This visual improvement ensures that people who are deterred from older pixelated graphics won’t miss out on the classic Shantae character and platforming appeal.
A great addition to the Shantae line of games that have become big favorites of mine. To start off, 2D animation amongst 3D shaded backgrounds looks sharp! I was a little surprised at first, because I had played Shantae so much in it’s pixel art form, but this new style WayForward has adopted for the series is fantastic and I got used to it fairly quickly. That also including the control scheme which is very snappy and responsive! Shantae has become a living realtime cartoon and it is a major factor that I’m so glad the series now has.
Once upon a time, in a Far Away Land, an Evil Dragon took prisoner every royal heir he could meet. Lots of worthy suitors of every kingdom tried to face the beast, without success. Now it’s your turn! You’ll have to do your best to beat the dungeon, defeat the dragon, and manage the most perfect date!
Every run is a unique adventure
A fresh gameplay combination of 3D platforming & roguelite. Choose your knight, invite the princess and take them to the Castle full of procedurally generated dungeons and traps!
Choose the weapon that suits your playing style!
Take a sharp and mighty sword or a long rifle that allows you to fight from a distance and upgrade it with extra abilities!
Cheerful & light-hearted atmosphere
Dive into the cheerful atmosphere full of encouragement and support. You don’t have to be a perfect knight to succeed!
Let not the charming visual style trick you!
The game is inspired by the classic adventure games, 3D platformers and the Dark Souls series and not as casual as it may look at a first glance!
Yooka-Laylee notably became famous before it was even released, since it broke a crowdfunding record, and this accomplishment, due to context, was glorious on its own. This is common knowledge to many readers, but just in case, a recap: A bit over 20 years ago Rareware made a series called Banjo-Kazooie that became possibly the most beloved 3D platformers of all time. A third game was announced but due to Rare getting sold to Microsoft, delayed a while, and what people ended up getting was a fairly unrelated vehicle-building game with the Banjo license grafted on; worse still, it’s publicity and script constantly lambasted the original formula as outmoded. The game bombed, many staff left Rare, and this was already karmic, but then the rogues went on to twist the knife by forming Playtonic, launched a Kickstarter promising a new game that brought back the old BK style, and made nearly 2 million pounds in under an hour. As such a huge middle finger to those in Rare who betrayed old fans, Playtonic deserves great applause. By now, though, Kickstarter has become infamous for how making profits from appealing concepts alone allows developers to skimp on their execution, and though not without its good points, Yooka-Laylee continues that trend.
Huge, empty worlds that are gorgeous and exciting to explore for the first time, but are painfully tedious to scour for the last few collectables?
Only 5 worlds and a hub, but they’re all unnecessarily massive?
A bunch of annoying physics puzzles, racing challenges, and timers?
Hidden bonus challenges that make you want to tear your hair out?
Wait a minute, this isn’t Banjo-Kazooie. This is Super Mario Sunshine!
Seriously, Yooka-Laylee makes more sense when you look at it as a successor to Sunshine, a game that got just about as much hate as it got love. Like Sunshine, I feel that Yooka-Laylee simultaneously deserves all the love it gets, but also all the hate it gets. I haven’t felt so perfectly ambivalent over a game in a very long time. I had a lot of fun with this game, hence the thumbs-up, but I can perfectly understand why some people don’t like it. If you had a love/hate relationship with Sunshine, you can probably expect to feel exactly the same about Yooka-Laylee.
A Clockwork Ley-Line: The Borderline of Dusk
A Clockwork Ley-Line is an awesome VN but with serious technical issues!
The story and setting are really interesting, especially for someone like me who plays mostly slice of life-ish VNs. Once you have started with reading you don‘t want to stop.
Each time a new Mist appears, means that something funny will happen.
Concerning the playtime, one guy states in his review that he needed only 3h to complete his first playthrough. I can only absolutely disagree to this, since I cleared the true end after around 20h.
I love this game. Kind of obsessed with it, really. It has good, dynamic characters, and a solid plot without plot holes (with the exception of a small, but still present, plot device at the end).
My only complaint is that Steam registers the launcher as playing the game, and the launcher closes after the game launches, so Steam doesn’t accurately display your total play time. While you can get around this my renaming the actual start app to the launcher app, it comes at the cost of font modifiers and punctuations (quotation marks and dashes, specifically) displaying as the game’s coding markers (specifically, ・ followed by a character)