Sunday, July 21, 2013

HOMEWORD ONE STORY


"This wasn't my home," thought Riku Saionji as he walked into his new house. After ten years of moving around the world with his father, he has returned to Japan, the place of his birth. After having lived in so many different places, he has lost all conception of what it means to have a home.

What does a home mean?

[LemmaSoft forums description]

Developers(s): Love in Space
Rating: 16+

~*~Click Here For Download~*~
(CAUTION; Be sure to download the "All Ages" version if you do not want to see adult content!)

{I, the reviewer, give Homeward One Story, 7 out of 10!}


COMMENTS

Homeward One Story is a Kinetic version of the original, 18+ novel simply titled "Homeward". This version only contains the Nonami Arc, and has all adult content REMOVED (well, most of it anyway). I thought it was a well chosen arc for this version, as Nonami is a character who is easily very loveable with her antics and energy. Plus, I'm a sucker for childhood romances, as Nonami is the "childhood friend" out of the three obtainable girls.

We start at a flashback of Riku as a child, who just so happened to follow a butterfly that is being carried aimlessly upon the wind. That is where he meets Nonami...all by chance. If he hadn't of followed that butterfly, the two may have never crossed paths, despite how small the town was.

Riku has lived all his life moving, and Nonami was the only "real" friend he actually had. Upon returning back to his land of birth, the two meet again...and Nonami hasn't forgotten him. He also meets Haruka, a classmate and friend of Nonami. And, his younger sister he barely knew, Sora, will be staying with him and his father while their mother recovers.

This story absolutely blew me away. It's a slice of life, but that doesn't mean nothing is going on. The amount of emotions you will feel spiraling together, accompanied by the amazing choice of soundtrack makes for a quite breath-taking, a replayable Kinetic story. Some parts of this story seriously brought tears to my eyes where appropriate, and some parts made me laugh and smile where appropriate. At some parts, I did feel a little weird as a girl, reading something originally intended toward guys, but I felt it was neat to see through a guy's perspective (even when he didn't always have the purest of thoughts, heh). Nonami was automatically my favorite character, and she and Riku due make an adorable couple. I also liked the brother sister relationship between Riku and Sora, and wish I could of seen more of that. With Haruka, sometimes I like her, but near the end I didn't really like her anymore, but she can be a very supportive friend despite some things.

Another thing I loved about this, besides how well written it was, is the fact it has this authentic visual novel feel. It almost feels like you're reading something originally in Japanese, but translated to English, but in fact this really is an OELVN. The character sprites are very well done, and don't just change expression but pose, too! The backgrounds are filtered backgrounds that the creator, Samu-kun, took himself while in Japan (most of the photos, anyway). Also, this is one of those rare free visual novels that actually has AN OPENING VIDEO!!! With a Japanese song, too, a lovely song called "First Love" by Ment@i. But most of all...THE MUSIC!!! These may be tracks that are free to download and use themselves, but the soundtrack was just amazing! He really knew what tracks to lay down and where to really envoke what to feel in the story!

To be honest, I had been putting off downloading this, knowing it used to be an H-Game. However, considering this was the "All Ages" version I thought I should give it a go, and the arc chosen seemed like something I'd enjoy reading through. And even though I'm more of a fan of interactive visual novels, I do like a good Kinetic once in awhile. I am SO GLAD I decided to download and play this. Once the game started, I was totally swept away by the prologue and intro. Such brilliant writing, full of feeling. Nevermind that this used to be 18+, this story had heart to it. In fact, if it were made into an anime, I'd probably watch it I loved it so much. While some parts made me feel uncomfortable, the true heart in this story well made up for that. And even that one scene near the end that seriously kind of pissed me off in a sense still had a purpose in it, with Riku wondering what was he doing and was it because...? And all that (and I won't say for the sake of spoilers).

Overall, this was a beautiful story that I enjoyed reading. I've even found time to play it again, and it still gets me all emotional. I seriously feel like I'm watching a slice of life anime series rather than reading a story, but that means the VN is doing its job! My only reason for the bit of low rating is due to certain scenes, and sometimes useless perverted stuff (like when Riku and Haruka were partnered in a race, and the events that took place I felt weren't really nesscessary). But despite that, I still love this game and will keep reading it from time to time. The story was a lot of fun, as well as sometimes deep. Definitely worth a look!

RECOMMENDED?
Yes, it's a story that has a lot of heart in to it, despite what you may initially think.

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
Oh...my...gosh! Be sure to have your sound on when you play, because the music was well chosen! Most of them elegant and emotional piano pieces that enhances the emotions needed to be conveyed in certain scenes. It was absolutely gorgeous.

[ARTWORK]:
The art was pretty good! It really felt like an authentic visual novel from Japan, and the filter photos added a nice, realistically touch without looking so out of place.

[INTERACTION]:
This is a Kinetic version of the original Homeward, with all adult content removed, so there is no longer any interaction.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Nothing harsh. Just some "d" and "h" mainly.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None that I remember.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
There's a scene where Riku and Haruka are in a tied leg race, and her bra begins to loosen. There's even a CG showing that see-through. When he and the girls are up on a tower, and a huge gust blows, Haruka's skirt blows up (and it is mentioned he could see her underwear, and polka dots are shown to represent that). There's a few innuendo here and there. Also, when Riku is rubbing lotion on his little sister, Sora, even though it is his sister, has a few odd descriptions in his narrative thoughts. Though not shown, when Haruka is clumsy, she accidently grabs him in the crouch (so it seems). ~SPOILER!!!!~ Though the Sora arc is not present in this version, there does seem to be some hinting Sora likes Riku a little more beyond just a brother. It seems to be later implied Riku and Nonami have slept with each other when Sora acts "What's it like to do it with Nonami?" Also, there is a pretty much sex scene between Riku and Haruka after Riku and Nonami go through a fight and Haruka reveals how much she loves Riku to him. There's some description of holding her breasts and gasping, but no nudity is shown and it doesn't go too far (in fact, whether they went all the way or not almost seems left up to the reader).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
~SPOILER~ When Riku shows defiance towards his father about moving again, he does hit him to the ground.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
They visit a shrine, and the girls buy love fortunes. 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

GRINNING HEART: THE MEETING

This is a simple short Kinetic Comedy Novel about a vampire and a lost traveller.
It's about how they're in love each other No, I won't make it that cliche. It's about how's vampire tricked the lost traveller.
The story begins with a bored Vampire who stayed in the castle over thousands years, and he wants something new in his life.
And Suddenly, a traveller with unexpected circumstance, come to his life.
The traveller true self was a famous handsome-man hunter, person who go around the world to take handsome-man's photographs. And the vampire is her next prey.
While she was acting cool, she didn't know that the Vampire can read her mind.
[Lemmasoft description]

Developers(s): ngareci
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give Grinning Heart: The Meeting,  9 out of 10!}
~*~Download The Game Here~*~

COMMENTS

Vampire love stories are quite common these days. However, despite what you might get from the title, this story may have a vampire...but there's zero romance to be found here! No, no, no...as the writer said, she's not gonna make it that cliche!

Grinning Heart, sub title "The Meeting" is the first installment of this comedic short Kinetic series. We follow a bored vampire who finally gets a little entertainment when a lost traveller, a handsome-man-hunter lady who's looking to take a photograph of yet another handsome man for her collection, asks to stay the night at his castle.

The most entertaining part is probably their thoughts. The vampire can read lost traveler's mind, and it's amazing how her polite manner of speech differs from her actual thoughts! What's also cute is whenever either one is thinking, a chibi in a thought bubble shows up with its own varying expressions.

Now, is there anything to nitpick at? Minor grammar errors, but it's very, very few. The art is a little rough, yet very eye-pleasing in design and coloring. It's pretty close to a professional standard. Also, I really liked the backgrounds.

Do I have any major complaints? Yeah, but only one; IT WAS TOO SHORT!!!!! You begin, and soon it ends! However, despite how short it was, the writer did a good job at delivering a solid, entertaining story in only 1,000+ words...but still! I would of loved more. There could of been so much more antics and funny situations to be seen! Luckily, the creator is making a prequel, with sub title "The Voyage" on another handsome-man hunt of hers, so be on the lookout!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this short, but sweet visual novel.

RECOMMENDED?
YES! It's very cute and will make you smile~

I certify this *VISUAL NOVEL NEWCOMER WORTHY* as it's a simple, Kinetic story, and no anime terms are needed and such.

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
The music fit the game pretty well. I especially like the beginning song at the start of the visual novel; gives a classic, creepy feel...though may be a little cheesy, sounds really good.

[ARTWORK]:
The artwork is not bad! A little rough around the edges, but the coloring is very nice that pops out, with lovely character design. And I think the backgrounds were drawn by the artist herself, too!

[INTERACTION]:
This is a Kinetic novel, so there is zero interaction.


[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
About for uses of the "d" word, and a couple OMG (and then lots of literally written OMG).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None. Lost traveller just rants in her head about how hot he is.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
~SPOILER!!!~ Vampire tries to bite her, but it ends up not working due to her tough skin.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
The Vampire wishes not to be bored, and says to God he'll do anything not to be bored. 

UNTOLD MYTH 1ST TALE: EARTHBREAKING FLIGHT

Belle, a Chimera living on Lycia region was enjoying her usual peaceful life. Until one day, she met a Harpy from outside of Lycia. The Harpy asked Belle to help her to find the source of unnatural earthquakes that affected the world outside. Little did Belle know that this meeting was going to change her peaceful life into a chaotic one.
[renpy.org description]

Developers(s): EVE Project
Rating: 16+

{I, the reviewer, give Untold Myth 1st Tale: Earthbreaking Flight, 8 out of 10!)
~*~Click Here For Download~*~

COMMENTS

For a Kinetic novel, I was highly impressed with it. Because you don't feel like you're playing a visual story, but that you are almost watching an anime. Why? Animations! I was thoroughly impressed with all the transitions and movements of the sprites. They didn't just stand there, occasionally changes expression like VN sprites usually do, but they were actually moving! They would bounce up and down, look like they were walking...that's a lot of custom move statements, and as a Ren'Py user myself, I could tell a lot of work was put into that, because to do all those animations to static sprites is very tedious! I also liked the comic book expressions, such as question marks, popping vein, sweatdrops, etc. that would also show up. 

Now, aside from the brilliance in the animation to the sprites, let's get into the actual story! We begin with Belle. a young Chimera who is just waking up at the start of a brand new morning. She's hungry and goes to hunt for some food. Unfortunately, for her, the birds are too smart for her and drop a rock on her head...ouch. Then she goes for a rabbit, but sadly, has the kill stolen by a Harpy....who stuffs the kill in her skirt?!

This odd meeting is how these two, a Harpy and a Chimera, go on a little adventure together! The Harpy, Aello, is here to investigate Lycia's (the mountain region which Belle dwells) earthquakes, which are very unusual. She drags Belle to come along with her, and a lot of comedy ensues. They even meet a sleeping nomad on the way, who evidently swallowed a spoon....okay, weird. 

I seriously can't stress this enough; it was like watching an anime! I admired the work put into those animations, and the chibi CGs were cute and made it all the more hilarious. However, my major pet peeve with this story would probably be the grammar. Spelling seemed alright, but a lot of the grammar was awkward and would probably need some more proofreading. However, since the creator's first language is most likely not English, I'm not getting on this too harshly either because it's not so bad where you have no idea what is going on. But particularly, that was the only major flaw I could find. Also, while the writing itself is pretty good, I also felt some parts kinda dragged, but for the most part it was a pretty good flow. 

Of course, the story isn't over yet for the strange duo. Being the 1st tale, obviously there should be more episodes on the way. The game is rated 16+ for a reason, and that is mainly due to Aello's way of storing food (in her skirt) and a quite fanservice-y CG where a character is practically naked (almost...anyway). But aside from all that, it's a fairly enjoyable story, and I'd be interested to see it develope further as our two heroines explore more and get into other interesting situations. 

RECOMMENDED?
Yes! This Kinetic novel had a lot of work put into it, as you will see by the animations. I advise DO NOT CLICK SO FAST! That way you can enjoy the animations (clicking cancels and skips it). 

PLAYER'S COMFORT

[MUSIC]:
The music was very fitting for the game's atmosphere. Some pieces sounded quite nice. 

[ARTWORK]:
The artwork was pretty good! The character sprites are pretty well drawn out, and some of the rare CGs look quite eye-pleasing. Then you have the cute, comical chibi CGs that display humerous scenes. 

[INTERACTION]:
This is a Kinetic, so there is zero interaction.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Other than "crap", seems clear of this. 

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Belle is trying to catch a rabbit for lunch, Aello kills it then stores it in her skirt. Later when they have lunch, it is mentioned how she stored that in her skirt as well. When they meet a nomad, building herself a house and almost collapsing a cave, they stop her but end up ripping her clothes (the detailed parts of her breasts are covered with tatters). 

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Mostly cartoonish violence and blood, like getting hit with a rock, being kicked, and hurled to the ground with some blood. 

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
This deals with fantasy creatures like chimera, harpies, etc. and some powers are mentioned,but mainly powers of incredible strength are displayed.