Release Date: 28th April 2017
Age Rating: 18+
Length: ~5 Hours
Links: Official Site, VNDB
The setting of the story is the town of Shiromistukawa, which was a pretty boring place until it ended up being the setting of an action anime known as Mebius Ring. Shortly after an event at a local shrine that was designed to attract tourists to the town, strange events start happening. A gate to another world supposedly opens, people start to gain mysterious powers through strange objects called “Artifacts” & there have even been rumours that people are being turned into stone statues. Just what on earth is going on in this small town?
Niimi Kakeru (CV Teratake Jun)
Kakeru is the protagonist of the game & considers himself to be a pretty average guy. He currently lives in an apartment by himself after being lowkey kicked out of his family home. He’s not a great cook so often frequents the cafe where Miyako works. Kakeru can be blunt at times (especially to his younger sister Sora) but is normally quite a reliable, even kind person. His hobby is building plastic models. Kakeru is supposedly an artifact user but is unaware of what his ability is.
Kujou Miyako (CV Sawata Natsu)
Miyako is a classmate of Kakeru & is the sole heroine of the game. Her family are actually super rich & own an extensive business empire but are all very frugal with money. Miyako actually works part-time as a waitress in her family’s restraunt but refuses to spend her money, maybe treating herself to one fast food meal a month. She’s a kind girl with a strong sense of justice who asks Kakeru for his help in solving the mysteries around the town. Miyako’s Artifact ability allows her to take ownership of an item, to the extent that the original owner forgets that it was ever in their possession.
The main artwork & character designs for this game were handled by Izumi Tsubasu, whom is probably best known for her work on some of Palette’s other games – Mashifoni & SakuSaku, she also worked on Summer Pockets.
The SD artwork for this game was done by Pero – whom normally works on Unisonshift titles but has been providing SD illustrations for varying other games.
Opening: ReAliZe – Yonekura Chihiro
Ending: Futari – Yonekura Chihiro
The game’s BGM was composed by Abukawa Osamu, whom has mainly worked on Purple Software titles previously.
The system is pretty standard but, given that this is a single heroine game with few endings, there aren’t many choices so you won’t need a walkthrough for this one. The title screen does change at certain points in the story (which is a super nice touch!) but the game lets you swap between them by clicking the numbers on the top right.
Another unusual add-in is the sprite viewer, which allows you to change the background, add effects & even your own dialogue boxes. This was quite fun to mess around with~
Wow, is this an eroge review on my pure and innocent blog? Yes, yes it is. I’ve been intrigued by the 9 series for a while & with the fourth (& final?) game coming out in April I figured it was finally time to dive into this series!
I should probably mention here that I bought & played the original Japanese edition of the game, mainly because I didn’t actually realise that there was an English release until after I finished playing so I obviously can’t comment on any translations or such, the English release is probably cheaper though so definitely do your research!
Another thing is that if you buy this game from DMM like me, just be aware that for some reason they make you download their “DMM game player” to actually play this & the second game in the series. For some reason Haruka’s game is the usual method of downloading from the “Your Library” page on the DMM website? It wasn’t a huge hassle but I will say that the “Play Time” section is totally broken & I just find it weird that the occasional game requires this – out of my ~80 purchases, only 4 games so it seems a bit redundant.
Anyways, onto the actual game itself & I’m actually in two minds about this game overall. Like, the first half of this game is unarguably pretty good – it sets up the story & characters super well. There’s actually a really good balance of comedy & drama with enjoyable character interactions. I don’t want to spoil anything but the way the game is designed in regards to the first ending is very well done also.
However, the second ending which is supposed to be the game’s “true” ending feels a little rushed and a little unsatisfying at the end. However, I do appreciate that this is the first in a series and the idea is that this game draws the reader into the world which it truly does a great job at. Therefore, I’m conflicted. I just feel as though by being the first heroine in this series, that Miyako has gotten a raw deal – I know the series isn’t over yet but I do hope that there’s a fandisc!
Because I never actually do any research before buying games, I didn’t actually realise that Kakeru is voiced. It was a really nice touch – his voice actor is actually Abe Atsushi whom is also fairly prolific in Otome Games so that’s definitely a reason to play. I thought overall that Kakeru was a pretty decent protagonist, fairly proactive and could be quite funny at times.
Miyako is also a pretty great heroine – it was really nice to see an “ojou-sama” type presented in this refreshing way! She’s super cute and you can really tell that she cares a lot for the town where they live. I also appreciated that the Artifact ability she had was really interesting/unusual as opposed to something like something generic like super speed.
The game doesn’t have a huge cast of sub-characters, in fact, most of them are actually heroines for the remaining games of the series. It’s actually a good way to slowly introduce world-building & I found them all likable (especially Sora because she’s downright hilarious!). Also a special shoutout to the token stupid friend Yoichi (whom I’m 90% sure is voiced by Yamamoto Kazutomi despite the alias).
One thing that really stands out about this game are its incredibly high production values – from the artwork, to the music, voice acting, movies & even the system. Like there was absolutely nothing that I could fault in any of these areas.
Izumi Tsubasu’s artwork is probably what draws most people (myself included!) into playing this game & it was absolutely gorgeous. There were actually quite a few CGs, especially once you include the adorable SD CGs!
The music was again very good, many of the BGM tracks were fitting but not particularly memorable. However, both vocal tracks are honestly top-tier and I’d buy the CD if it were actually in stock…
Since I actually played the original version of this game, I supposed I should quickly go over the H-Scenes. There’s 3 in total which was a fair amount for a story-based game of this length. I’m sure many of you will be relieved to know that Kakeru is not voiced during these (but I was mildly disappointed, haha).
Update 10/9/20 – It turns out that Kakeru can be voiced during H-Scenes but it’s not the default setting in the game. It definitely improves the H-Scenes in my opinion. Thank you kind commenter for pointing this out!
The scenes are actually animated – not like “proper” animation but that Live2D loop stuff. I personally found the scenes okay – they weren’t too dragged out but they didn’t really add much to the story so I’d imagine you won’t really miss anything by playing the all-ages version if you so choose.
My Score: 7/10
Overall, I found this game to have excellent production values and a really intriguing story. I found the second part of the game to be a little rushed, with the ending being inconclusive but, looking at this game as an introductory chapter to a series, it does a good job of capturing the reader’s attention and making them want to read the other parts. It is pretty short but is priced appropriately as a single heroine game. There’s also a good balance of comedy, action and drama.
If you’re looking for something short but with a more action-centric story then I would recommend this game. If you’re looking for something very fluffy and cute then this probably isn’t the series for you, but pretty much every other single heroine game should cater to your needs.
I have actually finished Sora’s game so will review that at some point in the near future. I have Haruka’s game installed & intend to play it in March so that I’m ready for Yuki’s game at the end of April!
Thanks for reading!
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Weird that you mention that Kakeru isn’t voiced in H-scenes, because he actually is voiced- it’s just by default, the 9nine games default to him not being voiced. If you check the voice settings, the game should give you an option to enable Kakeru’s voice in H-scenes, which should be done- it’s absolutely a blast to be able to hear the interaction between Kakeru and the heroine.
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Wow, thank you for this. I just had a look and it’s really kind of hidden away (weird that it’s not the default setting). I must admit that I don’t normally look at all the setting screens unless I need to change something but I definitely agree that after re-reading some scenes having Kakeru voiced improves them greatly so thanks again! 🙂