Developer: Saga Planets & Entergram
Release Date: 29th June 2017
Age Rating: 15+
Length: ~20 Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
One day on his way home from Seikai Accademy, our protagonist Kaito stops to save a turtle being bullied by some kids. The turtle’s owner, an underclassman by the name of Nicole, immediatle takes a shine to Kaito, proclaiming him to be the “Ruler of this World” and invites him to join the Star-Crossing Circle at the accademy.
Kaito is pretty skeptical at first but attends the club to find out that all its members have strange curses tied to the seven deadly sins. In order to free them of their curses, they must gather all seven curse holders and perform a special ceremony on the night of Tanabata. Despite his reservations, Kaito is keen to be freed from his curse and so joins the group’s efforts but will they pay off?
Kaito recently moved back to town after living in Tokyo for a while, and now stays with his older brother. He wanted to keep a low profile at Seikai Accademy and avoid getting involved with others but is actually a kind guy beneath his cold exterior. He is cursed with “Wrath” and has gain inhuman physical strength when enraged but loses control of his actions.
Amagase Natsuki (CV Sawada Natsu)
Natsuki is a second year student at Seikai Accademy and classmate of Keito, although she doesn’t exactly get along with him. She lives with her grandfather and her family are quite wealthy. Natsuki is the last member to join the Star-Crossing Circle and is cursed with “Pride”. Her curse only activates infront of Kaito & causes her to get all hot and bothered around him for a short while.
Asahina Shin (CV Florian)
Shin is a fellow second year student & classmate of Kaito whom is known for her dislike of men. Due to family circumstances, she moved out of the school dorms and now lives in a tent in a wooded area. Shin is an exceptionally hard-worker and has many part-time jobs just to make ends meet, which can lead to her skipping class. She is cursed with “Gluttony” & has an endless appetite but since she doesn’t put any weight on it doesn’t bother her all that much.
Otone Nicole (CV Uehara Aoi)
Nicole is the first year student who invited Keito to the Star-Crossing Circle. She’s a bright & cheerful girl who came to study at Seikai Accademy from overseas. She has a pet turtle whom she takes everywhere with her. Nicole’s curse is “Lust” which makes her extremely irrestistable to people of the same gender only, meaning that she has a huge hoard of fangirls.
Natsume Koyomi (CV Natsuno Koori)
Koyomi is the head of the Star-Crossing Circle and the Student Council President. She’s also an honour student and incredibly intelligent with an unbelievably fast reading speed. She’s pretty serious and is trying her best to find a way to help rid everyone of their curses. Her one weakness is her addiction to ramen & she eats it every day. Koyomi’s curse is “Sloth” and it causes her to fall into a deep sleep whenever it activates.
Kousaka Yukiha (CV Kitami Rikka)
Yukiha is the vice-president of the Student Council & the Star-Crossing Circle, and is a good friend of Koyomi. Her curse is “Greed” which makes her go on a shopping spree whenever it activates but, luckily for her, Yukiha comes from an incredibly wealthy family so money is no object. She tends to donate the stuff she buys during these sprees to a local orphanage.
For some ungodly reason this game has not one but seven artists. Why??
First OP: Floating Up – Kotoko
Second OP: Find a Piece – Larval Stage Planing
Ending: I Wish – White Lips
BGM for this game was composed by Mizutsuki Ryou & Higuchi Hideki. I’m personally more familiar with the former who has worked on some soundtracks I’ve really enjoyed (Flyable Heart & Hatsuyuki Sakura).
The system in this game is pretty much exactly the same as the port of Hatsuyuki Sakura, complete with map movement.
Given that I enjoyed the previous Saga Planet game that I played (Hatsuyuki Sakura) & the summery atmosphere of Karumaruka Circle looked enticing it’s no real surprise that I picked this up. It was also one of those games that the catchy opening really caught my eye so was this game as upbeat and fun as it suggested?
One thing that I’ve found consistent with Saga Planets games is that they have charming and eccentric heroines. All of them are memorable and the group interactions were generally pretty fun, with a decent dose of comedy.
Looking at them individually, I can’t really pick a favourite – they were all cute! I was kind of sad to find that Yukiha only got a “side route” which was considerably shorter than the others but I guess that as a reader I should be thankful that a side heroine had any sort of route at all.
Unfortunately, the actual overarching plot of Karumaruka Circle was a little on the weaker side. It first stems from the curses themselves – there’s a sense of imbalance with regard to the severity of the side-effects which I found stupid. For example, Kaito and (especially) Koyomi’s curses have major effects on their lives and futures, whereas, Natsuki’s curse is best described as a minor inconvenience. I just thought this removed the sense of need/urgency to remove the curses for most of the characters.
In terms of heroine routes, the majority of them were decent and slowly reveal aspects related to the true route. My only real complaint would be Nicole’s route, which was probably the weakest (and most random).
Once you finish the heroine routes, you get to the true route, which puts together everything you’ve previously learned. The actual content of the route wasn’t too bad but my problem with this route is that it felt like it was about the wrong heroine which was the weirdest thing.
Whilst the artwork could be inconsistent at times due to the ridiculous amount of artists working on this title, the quality of the artwork itself was generally pretty nice. The SD CGs in particular were cute & there was a good number of CGs overall.
BGM was good but not particularly memorable & I really enjoyed the vocal songs in this game, which again seems to be an area Saga Planets puts a lot of effort.
The port ran fine except it was a pain to take screenshots & leaves a black border for some reason. Hatsuyuki Sakura had this problem too so maybe it’s a problem with the porting the engine Saga Planets uses?
Final Thoughts: 7/10
With likable heroines and a nice, summery setting, Karumaruka Circle is overall a pretty decent game. It does fall a little short when it comes to the true route in particular but is probably still worth your time if any of the heroines take your fancy.
I actually hope to get through the rest of Saga Planet’s Four Season series this year so will be playing ComingxHumming soon. I enjoy their style of games so hopefully their older titles retain the same feeling.
Thanks for reading!