This is my second visual novel review done on the blog (and in total). I don't normally like to write reviews but there just isn't any figures I'm buying... So this will have to do. This visual novel is called Wanko to Kurasou by Ivory. For the full review, read on.
First of all, this visual novel was not like KiraKira which was a commercially translated game. This means that a bunch of people who has an understanding of Japan, sat together using their free time and translated the game for us to enjoy. So let us be grateful for their efforts. Big clap of hands for Yandere Translations.
We'll start with a quick synopsis of the game similar to that I did for KiraKira, except this will be MUCH shorter.
You star as a male college student who had a rough upbringing. However you live a normal life operating a cram school (which happens to be in your home). You also do solo tutoring. Your name is Yusa Yuichi. You live alone and does not see a problem with that, however, a meeting with a "human dog" named Mikan soon changed you forever. The story goes on about your life after this encounter and how you adapt to such changes. The story is filled with moments of laughter and sorrow to maximize your enjoyment.
There are also two characters who don't seem to have their portrait at the site I gathered the other pictures from. They are Seika and Kaie. Seika is another student of the cram school and Kaie is her dog.
See? Its alot shorter !
Actually I found this visual novel to be shorter in general than KiraKira. Also I don't want to spoil anything.
If you played the game and read the synopsis, could you tell me if I did alright? Thanks!
Here are the notes I wrote down while playing the game to help me write my blog post. But I'll most likely mention it again somewhere in the rating section in a bit more organized manner. So feel free to skip it.
- Lots of laughs (Great dialogue)
- Great art (The art looks severely underaged though)
- Alot of choices, alot more than with KiraKira (I hope the early choices doesn't affect the ending)
- The GUI isn't as great
- Game startup time is terrible (But maybe its an OS problem, I'm running Window 7 afterall)
- Interesting (There is a mention of people have smell, for example a virgin gives off a different smell from ones who are not)
- Main character is great character material, hes mature and dependable. He is good at reading atmospheres and says things that matter too! We need more animes which don't have a failure protagonist.
- Talks about the idea of love, "Love is like blaming each other for debts without a contract. Each person insists on what they believe is love and pushes that idea onto the other. It's just an exchange of selfishness."
- Story is very deep, lots of tear jerking moments
- There is sufficiently more explicit scenes than KiraKira, especially after like halfway.
- Great ending, I love it when things from the beginning of the game shows another appearance at the end. I had the "Our lives without Mikan" ending.
- In this game, alot of choices does not seem to matter except to unlock either additional cg or for a different dialogue, but final result doesn't seem to matter. I experimented with a few choices, and I ended up with the same ending. I later looked at a walkthrough and saw that theres only 2 endings to the game. Since I don't like to use walkthrough, I didn't pay much attention. I am somewhat disappointed that there are so few choices ! I thought there were more endings!! When my save game became "Our lives without Mikan" instead of the date, I thought maybe there would be an "Our lives without (insert name here)". Sadly, not happening.
Plot: I greatly enjoyed the story, I only got to finish the game once and got Mikan's ending so I won't speak for the other ending(s). I had originally planned to get Silvianna's because she looks so adorable!! So after I cleared the game, I checked a walkthrough, apparantely, theres only Mikan's ending and Nadeshiko's! WHAT?! I would have thought there were more... oh well. The game has many moments that makes you laugh, and some moments where you would cry because of how emotionally touching it was. There are also moments where you would agree and moments where you would not. There were things I learned from this visual novel... although I shouldn't say learned because this is still a game, so it is difficult to apply the logic and the way minds work to everyday life. But it was still an interesting thought of mind. I greatly enjoyed Yuichi's analogy of love. It was funny because I could see it as being true. But on the other hand, it made it sound like love was a terrible thing. Truly amazing play of words. Since the plot involved animals who were humanoids, it doesn't seem like a realistic story, however the events which takes place can be related to one's life. So I found it a good learning experience.
This story seemed to have an emphasis on themes of scent (or smell) and love. It may be because nearly half of the cast are dogs and they have a good nose to pick up their owner's scents and etc. It was definitely very interesting information that was being discussed. Another emphasis would be on the notion of "making love". In the first half of the game, it plays very safe, there are nothing wrong for even an elementary school student to read except one scene. But after the half way point, there was pretty much a H-scene every day that the game passed.
The game allows for alot more choices than KiraKira, however, in my experience, most of the choices did not affect the ending. The walkthrough stated that I should pick specific dialogue to say, however I tried different ones and still got the same ending. The different choices only seem to unlock extra CGs.
All in all, I think the plot deserve 5/5. But I am still disappointed at the lack of many endings.
Characters: The characters are all unique and I don't see any reason to hate any of them. They're all lovable and didn't annoy me (unlike animes nowadays). If there were something I didn't like it would be their voices. I love Silvie's voice, not so much Risa's and Mikan's. Kotarou's voice was somewhat strange to me also. The rest were normal to me.
Translation: I didn't find much problems while going over the game. It felt natural, there probably were some lines that could be translated better but I don't recall any.
CG/HCG: If you bought this game for its H-content, congratulation, you've made a good purchase. There are rougly __ H-scenes and __ CGs for each character or set of characters.
The CG is somewhat inconsistent, there are nice pictures and some others looks somewhat distorted or incorrectly proportioned. The characters are all drawn like little children, should that be a good or bad thing. I personally like that style. Although not always the case when characters are drawn to imply a younger age, their eyes tend to be bigger and their faces tend to be better proportioned. I can't really explain, I just like it that way.
User experience: I decided to include this in the review, this will be to talk about how the actual game ran and the experience I had. The reason why I added this here instead of at KiraKira was because this game receives a 1/5 in this portion. I don't know if it wasn't meant to be compatible with Window 7 or not. It was made in 2006/04/14. However the truth is, I am running Windows 7, and that is what I must review based on.
First things first. The game start up time is terrible. Absolutely terrible. I don't know if its some code problem, or maybe some incompatibility. It just hangs forever either at a black screen or at the Ivory company logo. Or anywhere in between. Sometimes it would load for 10 minutes then get to the title page then its free to work from then on. Other times, you gotta restart it like 10 times before it finally works after waiting another 10 minutes. In other words, its a hassle to get this program to run.
After it runs its pretty smooth sailing. I do seldom get lag where the text appears in batches instead of continuously (kind of like if you were playing a FPS, instead of walking forward, you warp forward a distance). That didn't happen with KiraKira so I assume its another incompatibility like startup.
Lastly, the GUI for this game lacks compared to KiraKira. It looks like a generic window taken straight from windows 95.
Other than technical flaws, the content of the game is superb.
Overall: Great game. Maybe I just don't have enough experience to say if the game is good or not. But certainly after playing it, I must say I found it both very interesting to have read and very enjoyable while doing it. I also think this is a shorter read than KiraKira which makes it a better choice for people who don't have alot of time. Although I mentioned the program flaws, it is not that big of a deal once the game starts running. Please do try to bear this in mind when first running the game. It might take a few more attempts. Do not lose hope and try again. Patience will be rewarded.
Links: Translation, Image Source [NSFW].