Publisert: 1. februar
As a word of warning for anyone who sees this, let me be clear. I will present what the game does correctly and what they don't. I will proceed to expand upon it in a short paragraph. If you're looking for a seething review that tells you what you already know - not to buy this - I'm sure you can find it elsewhere.
First off, the story is good. It's not the best, but it's not the worst. It has a lot of potential; the execution is the problem. The only issue I see is a bunch of foreshadowing that's never really wrapped up, which would suggest a sequel, and I really hope this game doesn't get a sequel unless it's done MUCH better.
The mechanics are also relatively good, which is to say, they work. There's nothing astounding about them, but, for the most part, they work. However, the fact that they don't have a "rest" button in the main choice menu and that they don't tell you that the lack of an actual "order" button in the "Order Advertisements and Game Copies" are both major oversights, especially considering how quickly you finish a game.
Now, the character development is mediocre at best and almost nonexistent at worst. The two love interests are there only long enough to make the major decisions and develop the relationships as far as you can, then they leave, and next thing you know you've won the game. As for the main character, Justin, it really doesn't take long to figure out that he's your average prickish main character. Normally, a prickish main character doesn't bother me, as long as they're designed properly. However, it becomes increasingly clear as the game goes on that Justin is just an asshat for no reason, constantly complaining about legitimate problems as if he has it so bad making games in his spare time. They drop the O-bomb (orphan bomb) for no reason about a third of the way into the game. Then, out of the blue, he pulls a complete 180 when he kisses someone so he can "be selfish for once" (pretty direct quote). As for the rest of the characters, they tend to follow a pretty similar development, except for the main love interests, who stay pretty constant throughout the game.
I mentioned earlier that it's really easy to finish a project in this game. I was constantly finishing my projects with 50-60 days left, and wound up paying Cleo and Aki for resting. After the first few games, that wasn't really the problem, but it got awfully annoying having to go back to the riverside to rest for a majority of the game. Way too much clicking for 0 progress.
The writing was poorly constructed most of the time and downright irrecognizable at its worst. Like I said, the story was alright until it started getting foreshadow-y, but not for lack of major confusion at what exactly I was supposed to be reading. I'm not sure if this was translated from another language, but it needs to be looked over by someone who actually understands the English language, regardless.
I really hated the scale of the game. You started in a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ position where spending was frugal, and pretty much doubled your revenue with every release until the end. There was no challenge past not buying too much of something, and it wasn't as if you really had to do much with costs (I got so used to not needing to worry about money that I didn't buy advertising and game copies until roughly a week before a given convention). It goes from selling all of your copies or running out of them early to not having to worry about buying 4,000 copies too many in an instant.
A couple of things about the conventions themselves. First, there are only two advertising options for the entire game, and you can only get up to 0.06 percent attraction rate. Second, you have no way of learning how long a given convention will be. This is what makes me feel, more than anything else, that this game was rushed out before it was finished.
I'm not sure how I feel about the music. It wasn't super annoying, but I turned it off after a while to put something else on in the background.
All in all, this VN feels unfinished. That's all there really is to say. I would not recommend buying it unless it's on sale or the price is lowered by a lot, and you might not want to buy it even then because unless you think you can wade through the mangled English in order to actually find the underlying story, where it exists.
If you want a good VN, look up Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1: Learning to Manage Chaos. It's the best one I've ever played. The story, while episodic, is very self-contained and immersive to boot. The characters are great. I was unable to find a single grammatical error. The music and art style are both stunning (I routinely check up with the artist for new things, and I listen to the soundtrack on a near-daily basis). It's not your typical VN story or feel, but it's definitely the best, from a game design standpoint, I've been able to find, and you can 100% it in an hour or two.