VN of the Month February 2003 - Routes

Routes is the only masterpiece of the month. By inertia i'm choosing BM0 from FlyingShine for review this month.

1. Cannonball ~Neko Neko Machine Mou Race!~ CANNONBALL ~ねこねこマシン猛レース!~ [030207] Liar-soft 1 2 3 4 
There is a big race event in space called Cannonball!
People living in the harsh space environment enter this huge interstellar event with big dreams and excitement in their hearts. The winner gets a huge reward, or at least that's what has been promised... 
Fifteen riders are qualified to enter this race that will take on various courses...
Game is localized and has English reviews.

2. Mamanyonyo ままにょにょ [030207] Alice Soft 1 2 3
Nanus, the prince of Mamatoto has created a machine that is able to summon heroes from other universes. With their help he intends to explore an infinitely deep cave.
An SRPG game featuring a large cast from various Alice Soft and Alice Blue games
Game is localized and has enough information in English.

3. Niji no Kanata ni 虹の彼方に [030207] DreamSoft
Protagonist's school is going to undergo renovation. In order not to lose school festival that falls on renovation time, it's decided to hold festival before renovation starts. Many of protagonist's acquaintances are chosen as executive committee members.
Game is a result of F&C fanclub survey about ideal game fans desired. And just as every such attempt like Ayumi-chan Monogatari from Alice Soft, such fan-based games are destined to turn into nukige. Basically main game is a kinetic novel, then it's time for heroine episodes. And there's such huge number of heroines (over 10) that any individuality gets blurred. Producers boast of over 10mb script size with millions of characters written. It's what's called a combine work with very narrow dark fantasy purposes.

4. Stay ~Anata no Tonari ni~ Stay~あなたのとなりに~ [030207] Ocarina
Main character leads a quiet life until the room of the apartment he lives in gets blown up. People around him aren't able to remember him. Protagonist finds a place to live next to a wonderful girl who seems to know him, but he does not have recollections of her. There are two more girls around like that. Protagonist is a bullied nerd, but is treated like a very popular student who is good with sports. He realizes that he is in the parallel dimension and needs to adjust to this absurd state somehow. At the same time a lot of dangerous incidents start to happen  around him.
Game is so absurd that it gives headache. There are so many loopholes and inconsistencies that it's impossible to take anything happening on the screen seriously. But even if we give it a blind eye, there's also absolutely identical heroine routes with only a few lines changed. Absolutely shameful.

5. Cafe Little Wish Cafe・LittleWish [030214] Patissier
An unknown and starving young man enters in a small restaurant called “Cafe Little Wish.” After gorging on everything without knowing he doesn’t have any money, he tries to escape but is thwarted by the strength of the waitresses. It’s later revealed he’s an amnesiac who doesn’t even know his own name. In a gesture of pity and generosity, the owner hires him to work off his debt. The story begins with our protagonist known furthermore as “Leon” and his life in Cafe Little Wish.
One playthrough can be finished in just one hour. Scenario is difficult to empathize with, because it's written from 3rd person viewpoint. One of the heroines is a real cat-girl with a tail. Quite a normal moege.

6. Danger Angel ~Ijou Shinka~ Danger Angel~異常進化~ [030214] Mink 1
Danger Angel is a sequel to Dangel. Hundred years have passed since Anduke and his companions defeated the demons and saved the Human Tribe. But now, the demons have broken free and are attacking the humans again. Julisse, a young woman from the Heavenly Tribe, asks the king Zeus to stop the massacre, but Zeus refuses. Against the orders of her superiors, Julisse descends onto the Earth, and frees Anduke, who had been imprisoned in a rock all this time. Since Anduke is the only one on the earth with blood of Heavenly Tribe in him, Julisse needs him for a magical ritual that involves finding four mysterious women, and which will ultimately save the humans...
Danger Angel plays similarly to its predecessor, being a traditional Japanese-style RPG with random enemies, turn-based battles, party management (the party can contain up to six people), weapons and armor, etc. The battles are viewed from an isometric perspective. Instead of navigating the characters on an open world map, the player selects locations by simply clicking on them. The game utilizes high-resolution 2D graphics for locations and characters. There is voice acting for important dialogues, and cut scenes include, beside the usual anime-style images, pre-rendered 3D animations.
Story is of good pace and is single road. Fights and maps difficulty is easy (ofc, since hero is self-proclaimed strongest person in the world). Mink is quite famous for HCG, but at the same time for too short H scenes.

7. BM0 Zankoku na Yoru ni Kanojo no Sakebi wa Dare ni mo Kikoenai. BM0 残酷な夜に彼女の叫びは誰にも聞こえない。 [030221] FlyingShine
Main character grows up in an orphanage in a mafia sub-district of Tokyo together with several girls. The orphanage gets burned down, and children get to live in a private family. However, family members die, and protagonist urgently needs money to pay for girl Rina's surgery. He agrees to take up a job of district black market's sweeper. He is in charge of disposal of "products" which is a code word for human traffic. His reality is colored with invisible desires and dead bodies.
I know DoNoR was bad... but I'm ready to step on the same rakes over and over if it's about girls with guns made by FlyingShine.

8. Usamimi Deliveries!! うさみみデリバリーズ!! [030221] Studio Miris
There is a city on a floating island. It's forbidden to construct high buildings there, so all the construction moves underground creating a vast automated infrastructure network. 
Main character works for a courier company there. But one day rival courier appears stealing all the customers. Suddenly protagonist gets an offer to work for this new company with amazing rabbit girls that serve as the main attraction of the company. He can't really say "no" to such offer. 
Orthodox slapstick comedy. Story remains the same, but there are a lot of events for each character, so it does not get boring. Atmosphere is bright and tempo is great, so it feels like anime or manga at times. A great healing game to play after such heavy titles as BM0.

9. Guardian Angel ガーディアンエンギェル [030227] Vridge Inc. 1
Protagonist Eric will have to borrow the mysterious power from an angel to protect his beloved one.
A strange PS2 exclusive about playing a guardian angel (read: a ghost) and solving the mystery by jumping over time and space. If you like the premise, it may be a game for you, but I really can't stand such "mysteries". It's a cheap price game. 

10. Iris Iris -イリス- [030227] KID 1
KID continues their streak of romantic interaction games with one which transpires in a junior high school where first love blossoms among classmates. From the spring semester to winter, the player has 3/4 of a year to find a soul mate from six potential girls ranging from the willowy Mido Shinonome to the lanky Kuwasaka Natsumi.
Atmosphere is bright, and heroines behave childish despite being in high school. Still routes look very much alike, and there is no true route after capturing six heroines.

11. Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo おとぎストーリー 天使のしっぽ [030227] Kids Station
The protagonist is tasked with raising a newbie guardian angel, who will treat them as her father.
Another raising SIM

12. Chikyuu no Heiwa o Mamoru tame!! 地っ球の平和をま~もるためっ!! [030228] C's Ware
Main character's father who works as a researcher of the Earth Defense Force, writes a letter declaring his intent to remarry. Protagonist suddenly has to take care of two young girls.
The next letter father sends is an appeal to prepare for aliens invasion. What the hell is going on here? 
Each of 4 volumes contains 4 episodes making story complete after 16 episodes. Contents is mostly a parody for old special effects movies about robots battles etc. Drawing is uniquely charming, but there's not much in the scenario department apart of over-extended robot battles and constant flow of gags. Each volume is sold for half price, but all four volumes make it an expensive and doubtful purchase. 

13. Daia no Yakusoku ~Aitakute~ ダイアの約束~逢いたくて~ [030228] Jewelry
Main character is busy working at a famous toy making company. One night he receives a letter from home together with his favorite phone toy from the childhood. Suddenly toy phone starts to ring even though it has no batteries. Girl voice from the other reality says that promise must be kept and that she's going to be protagonist's wife. The next day his childhood friend visits his room, but the hidden reason for this visit becomes clear much later...
It's difficult to describe genre here. It's not pure love/comedy/horror ... it's more like... ghost love story? Main heroine is not a real human, but rather a shell embodied with emotions such as greed or jealousy. There is also a comedy route with pretty absurdist development. Variety of routes is the biggest attraction point of the game. Result is surprisingly solid.

14. Demiourgos no Musume ~Hitomi no Naka no Miko Hime~ デミウルゴスの娘~瞳の中の巫女姫~ [030228] Catwalk
The main character got involved in a traffic accident six months ago and he is still unconscious.... One night, a miko appears in his dream and says, "Please keep this." What she hands him is a sword. "If you lose it, your country will be in trouble...." She says so and disappears.... On the next day, he regains his consciousness and finds himself holding the sword. A while later, he leaves the hospital and comes back to his house. However, the miko appears again. Her name is Tamayorihime. It seems she lost all her memories. Also, only he can see and touch her. He is happy to live with her, but some evil people appear around him and he is pursued by a mysterious sister and several men in black suits. At the same time, he gets a power that can cut people's hearts through the Tamayorihime's sword. What is the power of Demiourgos? Will he be able to protect his family and important people...?
Don't be fooled by sword and knife fights, with two shrine maidens and one imouto among four heroines, this game is a charage or at least a blend of genres. Battle between traditional mythology guardians and science impostors is in the center of narration. Still a nice candidate for extra review in the end-of-the-year poll.

15. Hoshitoki no Kanata 星刻のかなた [030228] TerraLunar
Main character is an ordinary student who belongs to the Astronomy Club. Together with his club friends he enjoys night start observation. One day he witnesses a strangely shining meteor. "UFO?" "Human soul?" 
The next day new transfer student Asuka comes to class. She behaves differently from other students, and things start to break around her. When she meets protagonist eye-to-eye, she quietly says "Your time is about to end".
Rocket no Natsu was a success, so why not make game like that about stars and aliens AGAIN? Actually, this time game is more about time travel since Asuka is such traveler who invites protagonist to make a time jump to fix present time. Not bad intention, but with such beaten plot move quality is what matters the most. Do it right and get Steins;Gate, do it wrong and get ... Hoshitoki no Kanata. Here protagonist is donkan, gags aren't funny, and volume is small. But the biggest downside is the True End scenario which is the worst.

16. Muv-Luv マブラヴ [030228] Age 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
This game consists of two parts: Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited. Unlimited is unlocked after you get the endings of the two main heroines (Sumika and Meiya) in Extra.
Muv-Luv Extra:
Shirogane Takeru is a typical high school student with a lazy attitude and a love for the virtual reality mecha battle game Valgern-on. Even though he didn't really want it, he is popular in school mainly due to his daily fights with his osananajimi (Sumika) attracting too much attention. His life takes an unexpected turn when he finds a girl (Meiya) he doesn't remember ever meeting in his bed one morning. That girl is later revealed to be the heiress of one of the biggest zaibatsu. She immediately moves to his house and starts changing his life for the good with her one-track-mind and unlimited resources...
Muv-Luv Extra, the main part of Muv-Luv, takes place in the same world (and general area) as Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu. The Sky Temple family restaurant is mentioned and visited, and Suzumiya Akane makes an appearance.
Muv-Luv Unlimited:
One day Takeru wakes up late, wondering why Sumika or Meiya didn't wake him up this morning. Not seeing any signs of them he gets a bit worried and goes out of his house only to see the town he lived in all his life in ruins. After getting past the initial shock he decides that this must be a dream and decides to enjoy it as much as he can...
Game is localized and has many English reviews.

17. Natsuiro Komachi 夏色小町 [030228] Purple Software 1
You play as a key player in your school's swim club. Your two childhood friends are part of the archery club, and your sister-in-law is trying her best to swim as well as you. You and your friends are considered the best of your small town, but during this certain summer you begun receiving national attention. A TV news report has made feature on one of your archery friend's recent slew of victories. Now you are becoming notorious through her celebrity as well. You all begin training like crazy, and you soon discover the hidden feelings you have with the women around you. How will everyone put up with this sudden rise to fame?
Story and characters are so generic that it makes me shiver. There are too few events, and text lacks excitement. Even main drama event fails to produce any special feeling.

18. Patissier na Nyanko パティシエなにゃんこ [030228] Pajamas Soft
Shouichi spent most of his life living and working in his father's bakery. Like many young men, he left home for college upon graduating from high school. However, Shouichi's father has fallen ill, and now Shouichi must return home to manage the shop. In doing so he'll be reunited with beloved friends and forced to confront long standing family problems.
On his first night back home, a magical catgirl named Mio mistakenly curses Shouichi to turn into a cat at night! It's not all that bad though, as the girls just love holding cats. Some will even bring him into the bath with them!
Game becomes a marker work of Pajamas Soft influencing company further development. It's pretty much a moege with the process being much more important than the result. A lot of cute girls doing cute things, and sometimes those things look funny. Tempo is good. If you like things like "cake that makes people happy", game might be just for you.

19. Routes [030228] Leaf 1 2
The story takes place in 21st Century Japan (approximately at the end of April 2010). The main character Nasu Souichi is a perfectly ordinary high school student, who tries to do as little as possible everyday, and sleeps though most of his classes, only ever to be woken up by his friend Yuasa Satsuki. They believe they are living in a peaceful time, where no large wars are occurring.
However, these peaceful days are destroyed, when a number of large ships disappear at sea, almost instantly, and with no explanation as to why. A strange woman named Lisa=Vixen suddenly appears and attacks Souichi... however Souichi also has his share of secrets.
There is an English review, so I'd better choose BM0 that no one ever is going to review instead. Maybe if Routes is saved by the end of the year extra review poll...

20. Stay ever... ~Yakusoku Nante Dekinai~ Stay ever… ~約束なんてできない~ [030228] Ga-Bang
Protagonist has a less than lover more than friend Naho, and their parents get remarried making them siblings-in-law. Girl suddenly falls ill and starts to gradually lose memory. She confesses to protagonist in the end, but the scene is seen by the mother that forces protagonist to move out. 
A year later protagonist receives a call from his father saying that Naho died. Time that stopped a year ago starts to move again.
It's been a while we saw a nakige. Text is not bad here, and each individual route feels ok, but pretty much in every route something bad happens. Those illnesses and deaths accumulate to such a point that you start to wonder whether it's impossible for writers to squeeze a tear in any other way.

21. The Black Box [030228] spiel
Main character is a police officer who lives alone in Tokyo. At the request of mother-in-law he goes to the countryside to visit his married sister-in-law that he himself has feelings for. However, strange things happen in this mansion...
It's mansion exploration and making decisions at key points. Of course, a great number of bad endings is triggered on the way. Good old-fashioned game, but don't expect a scenario here.


1. Gomenne Fukukaichou ごめんね副会長 [030201] Ringerbell
A private uniform contest is held every year. From this year the number of contestants is tripled. The winner school uniform is going to be longed for the whole year. However, the contents of the contest is known only to participating students ...

2. Custom Reido 2 カスタム隷奴II [030207] Kiss
Main character receives requests coming by mail to train designated girls as sex slaves. The promised reward makes him consider proposal.

3. Itazura BBQ ~Mukitate Lacrossekko Kuihoudai~ いたずらBBQ~剥きたてラクロスっ娘喰い放題 [030207] Tomato
Main character is a salary man who originally works at a technology company and chases after the same girl. But after an incident he loses his job and social status. He is picked up by the owner of a pension house, but has to help about the house in return. This summer Lacrosse club gets boarded in the pension. He recognizes the girl who made him lose his job and the girl he chased after among its members. The sweet feeling of revenge starts to fill him.

4. Tayumi. たゆみ。 [030208] Pawn
Lonely boy meets a lonely girl. The find something in common - they both like talking about math.

5. Aian Maid ~Koi no Gohoushi Daisakusen~ あいあん・めいど~恋のご奉仕大作戦~ [030214] Touchable
Main character comes from a rich family. After graduation he has some time to live alone. His father arranges for five maids to keep him company.

6. Dokidoki Sister Paradise ドキドキしすたぁパラダイス [030214] light
Main character's parents go overseas leaving him alone. During vacation he decides to stay at his cousin's place full of pretty girls to help around the family restaurant "Corretto". The four sisters are eager to give all their passion every night, but which one will protagonist prefer?

7. Gibo Shimai 犠母姉妹 [030214] Selen
The owner of the ryoukan inn at a hot spring resort dies and his widow inherits the establishment. Five years later protagonist Keichi shows up at the ryoukan with the will of old master saying about transferring all the property to Keichi. The the different motives in mind they come to a deal to leave things as they are for now in exchange for widow body. Daughters of the widow start to have doubts about this relationship...

8. Itazura A La Mode いたずらア・ラ・モード [030214] Bell-Da
Makoto Ayase, the protagonist, is a young man unemployed. 
One day, he is invited by Mayumi, his former girlfriend during highschool days, to work at the restaurant she is working as a waitress.
Going there, he meets many beautiful girls.

9. Kyouka Suigetsu 鏡花水月 [030214] Gaia
Main character confesses to his childhood friend. His feelings are accepted, but relations hardly progress at all, and things get uneasy. At summer roughly a year later childhood friend suddenly gets missing. Protagonist begins his own investigation and finds out that his lover is sucked into an ancient mirror by the magic of the summer festival. He starts to look into the mirror, and dreams about insult start to come to him.

10. Omegane Teacher Valentine Plan おめがねティーチャー Valentine Plan [030214] Studio Miris
Main character lives alone with his sister while parents transfer overseas. As graduation approaches, he gets a call from female teacher Saya inviting him to receive chocolate on a Valentine Day. That's as good as direct confession! Protagonist's sister is willing to protect her brother from the poison of other women, so she invents a plan to sabotage the meeting.

11. Sweet Devil ~Negaigoto, Kanaemasuu~ sweetでびる ~願いゴト、叶えますぅ~ [030214] TinkerBell
Main character is a shy introvert with his life passing by uneventfully. One day he finds an old book in the library that triggers his meeting with a devil girl. The girl is ready to fulfill any wish, but says that protagonist only has 10 days to live, and it can't be changed. Protagonist does not want to die, but if it's inevitable, he desires to have as much sex with cute girls over these 10 days as possible.

12. Toon [030214] Teatime
Main character has to take supplementary lessons alone during summer vacation as a result of traffic accident. However, childhood friend comes to visit him secretly feeling partial guild for the traffic accident. With a cute teacher and a childhood friend like that summer may still bring joy.

13. Pokopoko Imouto 3 ぽこぽこ妹3 [030215] Soft Circle Courreges
Protagonist unexpectedly has to spend 10 days of spring break together with his sister.
Doujin nukige

14. Augustic etc. オーガスティック・エトセトラ [030217] August
Short stories and fun scenarios with the characters of Binary Pot and Princess Holiday.
Originally published with the Tech Gian magazine.

15. Bara no Ki ni Bara no Hanasaku 薔薇ノ木ニ薔薇ノ花咲ク [030221] Cyc Rosé
It is the early Showa era, during the early stages of World War II. In Japan many prestigious boys' boarding schools exist, where students study mathematics, science, philosophy, and German language, hoping to make a future for themselves, while indulging in women and alcohol in their free time.
Hyuuga Kaname works as a handyman at such a school, Riotsu. One day he is cleaning up under the large rose tree in the garden of the school and visiting with Amano Junya, a first year student who is friendly with him, when he discovers the corpse of a dead bird. He tells Junya that he will return later that night to bury the bird beneath the rose tree. That night when Kaname returns, he finds the bird corpse missing; suddenly his nostrils are filled with a medicinal smell and he faints. He regains consciousness to find himself tied up and blindfolded, and he is raped beneath the rose tree.
The next day, Kaname is delivering the mail to the teachers at the school, and stops in to see Tsukimura Mikihiko, one of the professors on campus who is his closest association. One of the letters sent to Tsukimura is addressed from "Hanakuihidori," and when Tsukimura opens the letter, inside is a photo of Kaname sprawled out under the rose tree, unconscious and covered in semen from the brutal rape. Kaname is horrified, and Tsukimura advises him to investigate around campus to discover who the "Hanakuihidori" is that has committed this crime against him.
Taking Tsukimura's advice, Kaname notices that the attitudes of several of the students around campus have changed towards him suddenly after the event, and his friend Junya suddenly disappears. How many people have witnessed the violation under the rose tree, and what will it take to keep them from leaking this information? What has happened to Junya? And just who is the Hanakuihidori, the mysterious man that raped Kaname that night under the rose tree?
Boys Love

16. Chokotto☆Rhapsody ちょこっと☆RHAPSODY [030221] West Vision
Main character suddenly starts to live with cousins seeking to take advantage of him. However, at the first day of co-habitation he dies. Two girls - angel and devil - appear before him saying sorry to have cut his soul thread by mistake. As a way to correct their mistake they get to live together with protagonist till his soul becomes stable. How will battle between cousins and celestial beings thread?

17. Imouto Rental 妹・恋タル [030221] Chiffon
Main character wants so bad to be called "Onii-chan". He also wants to find a girl who would life only for him. He finds "Sister rental" service that promises to make all his sister dreams come true. Organization is somewhat suspicious, but offer is too good not to take.

18. Onnanoko no Himitsu 女の子のヒミツ [030221] Yamikumo-Communications
Main character has a distinctive female face. He is invited to drink tea an advisor to science department, and meeting passes without any surprise. However, overnight his body turns into a female body! It turns out that tea contained powerful drug, and antidote can be used only in a month's time. This month is going to be the time for peculiar explorations and unexpected meetings.

19. Shisho-san to Issho 司書さんといっしょ☆ [030221] Trabulance
Main character is an ordinary student during last year of school study. He is in charge of library committee that noone cares about. But one day a goddess comes to the library!

20. PRIMROSE [030225] Studio-Sakura
This is a hentai ADV game about the rape of Card**ptor Sa**ra. Please make sure you give Sakura-chan lots of love in the various situations you will encounter!
Doujin Lolicon

21. Eien to Natta Rusuban ~Papa wa Kaeranai~ 永遠となった留守番~パパは帰らない~ [030228] Touchy
Ogata Seishirou gets interested in girl Kazama Kotoko who he meets in town. He was a colleague with girl's father during work at the high school used as a cover. Kotoko's Father needs to take care of immobile grandfather who got into an accident. It was not too difficult for Seishirou to gain this good man's trust and take care of Kotoko temporarily until things settle down.

22. Hi-mi-tsu ひ・み・つ [030228] Guts!
Girls becoming of age have many secrets which are worse than death to many of them. Why don't you peek at these embarrassing secrets that rarely get known to the public?

23. Love Unfair [030228] Easy Mode
Main character is a chain restaurant manager. His father makes huge debts with the chain president and dies. Protagonist struggles with repaying the debt, but is unable to do it in time. President says that he can forgive the whole debt if protagonist's sister can satisfy president in one night. He can choose to train and sacrifice his sister or some other girl that is ready to stand in her place.

24. Nikutai Ten'i 肉体転移 [030228] Silky's
Kenichi and several of his friends stay after school to look at a new archaeological find, a bizarre looking mirror. Suddenly, the entire building is transported to an alternate dimension and a magic field surrounds it to prevent them from escaping. Also, their minds have switched to other people's bodies. The only way to switch bodies is when their sexual emotions are high. Kenichi must find a way to return everything back to normal until the dimension falls apart.

25. Yuukyou Gangu 遊狂玩具 [030228] Nigred
Main character works at a company, but secretly has dreams of girls trained as dogs. One day he goes to catch women and realize his dream.

26. Kami no Mizo Shiru 神のみぞ知る [0302] ThunderSonia
Main character Geo is an angel born with black feathers. He is avoided by other angel, but he has a best friend Rubis who is going to be the next God. One and a half year passes since Rubis shelters Geo, but one day Geo is sentenced to death in a week suddenly. Geo wants to spend this week so that he has no regrets. Rubis attends Geo each day, and they have long talks. What will happen to Geo in a week's time?

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