Where We Lay Our Scene – Review

Where We Lay Our Scene

Where We Lay Our Scene is the latest visual novel by Cyanide Tea and was a project for NaNoRenO 2016. With four character routes and 13 different endings, it was an ambitious project, but you can tell from the very beginning that it was worth the effort. I want to highlight some things I really liked about WWLOS here:

All of the characters find themselves at some kind of crossroads in their lives and have to deal with certain issues concerning for example identity, profession, or a mixture of both. I’m sure many players will be able to identify with at least one of the characters, because the cast is extremely diverse. Not only do all of the characters have unique personalities, they also develop throughout the game and become realistic and palpable persons. Furthermore, the game features characters of different nationalities, sexualities, and body types.

The CGs fit to the tone of the respective character’s route perfectly and although I wish there were more CGs, I feel like they summarize the essence of the depicted relationship. Speaking of art: I just knew Auro wouldn’t disappoint! The art is top-notch; the sprites and backgrounds are detailed and we get to see the cast in many different outfits and poses, while the GUI looks nice and clean, making the game look very polished.

Where We Lay Our Scene Screenshot

It was very easy for me to fall in love with Christian, Oliver, Sacha and Viola, because they all showed certain features I find in myself, and although Rainier’s route wasn’t as engrossing for me as the other routes, it only proves that the game offers something for every taste. Personally, I liked that the game tackles important topics while being fun and engaging – I think it’s great for people who have to deal with similar problems in their lives, that they can identify with fictional characters and can take away something for their personal real life. There’s no better way to learn something new, to become a better, more open-minded person while experiencing something in a fun way, because like Oscar Wilde already knew, “life imitates art”.

Christian Marino has become a household name, what with his face and body always visible when you open a magazine or look out your subway train window. But now famous model Christian Marino finds himself at a crossroads. What will he do with his life once his well-known and much-cherished looks fade? Is there even anything more to him below the surface that everyone else sees? As he considers these issues of future and identity, he’s suddenly cast as the lead role in a film based on a bestselling novel. With fresh new challenges to face in an unfamiliar environment, this just might be the solution Christian was looking for—to more problems than one.

Do yourself a favor and play the demo of the game! With its $4.99 price tag it has a more than fair price. Also stay tuned for the upcoming Greenlight campaign, so the game can eventually be released on Steam.

Where We Lay Our Scene on itch.io

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Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ – Preview

You like games with post-apocalyptic themes? With authentic characters and a compelling story? Games like Ace Attorney and Zero Escape? Then Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~ is THE visual novel for you! With high definition art and animations, over 150,000 words and a lot of puzzles, the game outshines every visual novel that is available in German.

It’s 2069. Yudai Sayashi’s ragtag club of “treasure hunters” (referred to as looters by those who know them), Durchhalten, was closer to real treasure than they’d ever been before. Overly eager, Yu’s sister Miho ran carelessly towards the vault, triggering a trap that killed her. Two years later, Yu comes across a startling discovery. The mythical Noah’s Ark, borne of legend by those who believe the Old World can be restored, turns out to be a real thing.

With the help of the kid genius Toshio, Yu learns about the existence of the Lazarus Protocol inside Noah’s Ark – a system that can recreate anything from the past – a machination developed during the time when humanity’s survival was uncertain. Using the Ark, Yu believes Miho can be brought back to life.

Before setting out to find the Ark, however, Yu wants to reunite the now defunct Durchhalten. The group had disbanded after the tragic incident two years ago, and he wants everyone to be there when Miho opens her eyes once more.

The game is being funded through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. If you’d like to have a German translation, please tell all of your friends about it, so that enough money will be raised to cover all the costs. The game is set to be released in December 2014, and will have full voice acting (in English). It’ll work on several platforms; including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and others when the stretch goals are reached, for example PSVita, iOS, and Android. There is a demo available on the Kickstarter page. I’d be glad if you’d support this ambitious project.

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Blue Rose – Review

Blue Rose

Blue Rose by White Cat is a fantasy visual novel and otome game. It is the first commercial release by this group and way released on August 17, 2013 in English. A German translation will follow soon. Here is the official game description:

“Deep in the mountains, away from prying eyes
is a refuge unknown to anyone else.
Born of hope
cradled in shadows
this place that only looks forward
is where I found my heart.”

Lena is a Templar of the Blue Rose, living her life to fight and protect what is most important. But what is truly important to her is only just about to reveal itself. Pulled away from the frontlines of the war, Lena finds herself trapped in a secluded, unknown village in the mountains. For the first time she will make her own decisions – and face the consequences.

Blue Rose impresses clearly with its wonderful atmosphere; the graphics and the music go very well together. But what really convinced me in the end were the characters. At first glance, they seem to be quite similar – three of the four boys even have almost the same hair color – but after the first few days in-game at the latest it becomes clear: the characters have all different personalities but don’t become typical cliché characters thereby. For instance, we have the somewhat grumpy Tobias who always backtracks when it gets risky. Or the daredevil Gavin who’s also new in town. It’s also interesting that apart from the four boys (Tobias, Gavin, Simon, and Aran) you also have to option to date Erin who has the dream to turn her small inn into a great restaurant.

All things considered, Blue Rose offers an interesting story full of dragons, templars, and romance. The player has also enough room to do something; you can make important decisions in conversations, which is usual for these kind of games, but you can also decide where the protagonist should go over the day. However, the characters won’t repeat standard phrases but you’ll always get to see a nice, new scene. I think Blue Rose is a surprise hit and I hope we’ll get to see more of these superb visual novels by White Cat in the future!

You can buy the game here for $19,99, there’s also a free demo version to download. The game is for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Kako no Koi

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Kako no Koi is an upcoming original German visual novel by Yume Creations.

“The protagonist Naoya Kiriyama is really depressed after his little sister Nagi killed herself. But he was encouraged by his friends especially by his childhood friend Chizuru Futami. They’re really good friends and do almost everything together. He also got help from Chizuru’s friend Tsukasa Hanamiya. Time went on and he fell in love with Tsukasa, but she turned down his confession. But he didn’t give up and finally she became his girlfriend. But the happiness didn’t last long because Tsukasa got in an accident and died. What will happen to Naoya? Will he see Tsukasa and Nagi again?”

Kako no Koi is a drama/mystery/romance visual novel. The game features character art by Deji and is supposed to be funded with crowdfunding. There is a short pre-alpha demo available in German and a English translation thereof by me. For more information and download links, take a look at the crowdfunding page on Indigogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kako-no-koi

The Royal Trap – Review

The Royal Trap

The Royal Trap is the latest visual novel by Hanako Games.

“Madeleine Valois is a prince’s companion. Her job is to guide and advise him, to make him look good so that he can land a royal bride. It is her responsibility to keep him out of trouble – not to let him walk blindly into a political minefield, not to let him get arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and definitely not to let him fall in love with her. Unfortunately, events are not going according to plan

The game is a mix between action, romance, and intrigue. While the first four chapters are similar for every path, the game divides into four completely different plots in chapter five. Playing as Madeleine, the player can decide which character to pursue. Madeleine’s prince Oscar, the moody prince of Gwellinor Callum, the mysterious Nazagi, and the strange prince Gaston.

But be warned! The game is called The Royal TRAP for a reason. It is full of plot twists and surprising events! The Royal Trap is available at a price of $ 19.95 and can be played with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. A demo, containing the prologue and the first chapter, can be downloaded for free on the official site.

Official Site

Primordia

Primordia is the latest point-and-click-Adventure by Wadjet Eye Games and Wormwood Studios. It is a futuristic, post-apocalyptic game with robots and everything what makes a good sci-fi game. It will bereleased on December 5, 2012. Here is the official description of the game:

Ages have passed since legendary Man walked the planet. Now, in the desolate wastelands beyond the city of Metropol, a solitary robot named Horatio jealously guards his freedom and independence. All that is taken away from him when a marauding foe steals his power source, forcing him to leave the safety of his home and set out on a perilous journey into the wastes – and into his own mysterious past.

I helped with the beta test and I was able take a look beforehand. Primordia is lovely designed and reminds you of the old adventure classics. The hand drawn graphics in retro style are nice to look at and the professional voice acting gives an exceptional depth to the characters and brings them to live even though they are robots.

You can pre-order the game as a digital download or as a DVD here:
http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/primordia.html

Vampires Dawn: The Crimson Realm

Vampires Dawn: The Crimson Realm

Something for RPG fans this time. In Germany well-known and hopefully soon international; a new title of the Vampires Dawn series by Marlex. Vampires Dawn: Reign of Blood and Vampires Dawn II: Ancient Blood were only released in German, but the game for mobiles Vampires Dawn: Deceit of Heretics (short: DoH) was released in English as well. Vampires Dawn: The Crimson Realm (short: TCR) is not yet released but it is supposed to bring the story of the mobile game to an end and link it to Vampires Dawn: Reign of Blood. The game will be released in German and English.

DoH was about the vampire Vince Neras, who had to face the vampire hunter Vincent Weynard and his priestess Ayrene Molana Trevos in the Holy Crusade. He got active support from both of his skeleton servants Romus and Manok, as well as from the only recent changed Lara Vynus. TCR will finalize this story and will partly run parallel to the story of the first game Reign of Blood. You can look forward to a reunion with old friends but also new characters. TCR will be told from different perspectives, which are supposed to cast a different light on the events. Of course, there are a lot of spells, secrets, and monsters, as becomes a good RPG.

For all those who got confused with all these titles; this is the chronological order of the storyline:
Vampires Dawn: Deceit of Heretics (2007)
Vampires Dawn: The Crimson Realm (TBA)
Vampires Dawn: Reign of Blood (2001)
Vampires Dawn II: Ancient Blood (2005)

Vampires Dawn: The Crimson Realm is supposed to be the first commercial title of the series and will be funded with Crowdfunding. Therefore, to realize this project the team will raise money until February 28, 2013. The first screenshots and pieces of music are promising and Vampires Dawn stands for quality since 2001 in the matter of story and technique. After the hopefully successful Crowdfunding project, we can look forward to a new vampire adventure soon. More information and how you can help with the project under: http://www.vampiresdawn.eu/

To The Moon

To The Moon is a commercial indie game created with the RPG-Maker XP by Freebird Games. Well, it’s not really a “game” as such; it’s more an interactive story. Here is a description of the game from the official site:

“There exists a technology that allows doctors to weave artificial memories, such that a patient can request attempts to alter their mind, and wake up with memories of things that didn’t actually happen. However, since these new memories are permanent, the conflict between them and the existing authentic memories clash in such a way that it ceases the person’s ability to properly function. Thus, the operation is only done to people on their deathbeds, to fulfill what they wish they had done with their lives… but didn’t.

The technology requires the doctors to step into the memories of the patient, which are reconstructed as interactive scenes. The doctors then gradually traverse backwards through memories of the patient’s life until they reach childhood — at which point, the wish of the patient in present time would be transferred over. Along with the doctors’ influence, the patient (as a child) could then lead an entire different life inside their head, working toward and fulfilling their dying wish themselves. And if all goes well, they would wake up, having lived the dream life they never had, and embrace a brief moment of blissful fulfillment. Shortly after, they’d draw their last breath.

This particular story follows Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts’ attempt to fulfill the dream of the dying elderly man, Johnny. In their mission to do so, they traverse backwards through the man’s memories, unfolding his curious life story before their eyes.

With each step back in time, a new fragment of Johnny’s past is revealed. And as the two doctors piece together the puzzled events that spanned a life time, they seek to find out just why the frail old man chose his dying wish to be what it is.”

The game uses art in retro style and has its own composed soundtrack. The music is perfect! It’s so emotional and every track fits perfectly to the scenes. Just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean. The soundtrack is available on Bandcamp and 50% of the profit goes toward charities for autism. However, the best thing about the game is the story of course. I have to say that I was never so emotionally touched by a game before. It is funny, sad, heartbreaking, and thrilling at the same time. The characters are full of life and the setting is impressing.

To The Moon was released on November 1, 2011 in English. On March 28, 2012, the game was officially translated and released in German. Unfortunately, this time I was not involved in the German translation but I’ll try to help with the second installment once it’s out. There are a lot of other translations in the works. I only played the English version so far but based on what I’ve seen, the German translation seems to be very well done.

If you love interactive heartbreaking stories, you definitely have to give this a try! There’s also a free demo on the website. Here’s the link to the official website: www.freebirdgames.com/to_the_moon

News

The German Review for June is here: The Elevator by Cyanide Tea.
Enjoy!

Furthermore, I have some news. At the moment I’m pretty busy with a lot of projects.

Translations:
Currently, I’m working on three translations; RE:Alistair++, Ristorante Amore and Heartful Chance~!. The translations of The Elevator and Legend of the Piper Girl are finished, the developer only have to put them together and release them.

Visual Novel:
My visual novel project makes progress, although slowly. The art is pretty good, all the main characters are finished and there are only the emotions and the blinking animations missing. The backgrounds are coming bit by bit, a huge thanks to Nathaniel-Aoife. The majority of the story is thought-out, but I only implemented about 5,000 words in the script.

New novel:
Those who were able to read my German article in the newspaper know that I’m writing a new book. This time I’m moving away from Japan, since it takes place in the US, to be exact in a little village where a serial killer strike terror into people’s hearts. It is a crime novel for adults. The story is told from different views, although, the characters are all involved in the case somehow and there a lot of unexpected turns. Title and release date is TBA, however, a rough draft is finished and a lot is written already. I cannot say if there will be an English translation yet.

Preview of the BGs

Preview of the BGs