Standard Review: Silenced: The House (PC)

Silenced: The House | Title screen

CW: Gore and violent imagery, murder, death, misogyny, ableism.

Welcome to another edition of “obscure indie visual novels that only eight people on planet earth have heard of and only three including me care about.” I am your host Annie Gallagher and today we are taking a look at Silenced: The House on Steam and Itch.io. I actually may have never even heard of this game myself if it were not for the fact that this game’s developer followed me on Twitter and this game came up in conversation. I was initially planning to ask for a review copy, but after seeing that the game was only $2.00 at full price AND on sale since it just launched I figured I wouldn’t be losing that much by doing so. In hindsight this was a bit of a mistake on my part since

Gotcha!

This game is actually pretty damn good.
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Nekopara Vol. 3 (PC): A Step Up in Story, a Step Down in Sexiness (Detailed Review) (NSFW)

Nekopara Vol. 3 | Maymon on stage

It’s been a few years since I reviewed the first Nekopara title. For those reading this immediately after the ones for the previous three games in the series (counting Vol. 0) then I feel I should note for disclosure’s sake that some of my perspectives have changed in the last few years. Namely I am referring to my newly found radical feminist beliefs. While I am still FAR from sex negative, I tend to be far more critical with erotica than I used to be.

Namely the issue I have is that I enjoy hentai, but I enjoy it for different reasons than most. Eroge tends to have FAR more emotion and genuine artistic expression involved then 99% of western pornography and thus I am able to become more engaged with it. Unfortunately I have very different sexual standards than most do when it comes to porn, and by that I mean I have standards. Read more

Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 (PS3): Easier to Play, Easier to get Attached to (Detailed Review)

Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 | Japanese cover art

While the original Hyperdimension Neptunia did draw a lot of interest from those that knew of its existence and sold generally well despite being a niche title, it is hard to ignore the many glaring issues it had. At the same time, however, it was a game that was quite unusual in both its premise and execution, so it would only make sense that the sequel would make some changes. Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 can be seen as more of a complete overhaul of the first game’s premise. Despite the fact that they may look similar to some, there is a vast difference in how Neptunia Mk2 is executed and it is much more noticeable. Read more

Fangame Review: Doki Doki Literature Club!!! Our Final Heartbeat

Doki Doki Literature Club! | Just Monika

CW: Mentions of Suicide, child abuse, and images of self harm/cutting.

Given that I specifically mentioned and linked this mod in my review of Doki Doki Literature Club, I think it’s safe to assume that this review was obligatory.

I think I heard that there was a fan mod that DID serve as just that; expanding upon the base game’s story and characters while making it into a finished visual novel that is unlocked after the good ending…

I was half right about this mod. Doki Doki Literature Club!!! Our Final Heartbeat, originally titled as just Doki Doki Literature Club!!! but with three explanation points instead of one, did expand on the base story and provide a more satisfying ending than the original game. However, this mod does NOT turn Doki Doki Literature Club! into a typical dating sim that continues the rest of the in game plotline.

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Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3): Not the Best, Not the Worst, but Definitely One of the Most Interesting (Detailed Review)

Hyperdimension Neptunia | Limited Edition Box Art

The first Hyperdimension Neptunia was definitely an interesting game. Technically the entire series is an interesting subject when it comes to games but the first game is especially so. Despite receiving mostly poor reviews from critics and a lot of gamers themselves, its unique premise and ideas helped it put Idea Factory on the map. Shortly after its release, demand was so high that prices for a new copy of the game that it went for up to $120 new on Amazon. I remember when I first found out about this game, I was incredibly fascinated by it due to its premise alone. I have looked up as much as I could about the game and was almost decided to get the game used for $80 despite it looking far from a well designed game. There were easily a lot of noticeable issues with gameplay and presentation, but its personality was so intriguing that I wanted to play it anyway. In fact, I was so interested in the game that It was what prompted me to get a PS3.

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Yume Nikki (PC): Abstract Surrealism, but Not Much Else

Yume Nikki | Seizure Trigger

CW: Suicide

There are certain games that I hear mentioned a lot as being “inspired by Earthbound/Mother.” Among these include games like Undertale, Off, LISA, Contact, Opoona, and the subject of this review; Yume Nikki. I have had a bit of an on again off again relationship with this game kinda like those ones in bad sitcoms where they try to pad out the drama across multiple seasons. Needless to say, I just didn’t get it at first. However, I decided to finally finish it up recently and I still don’t get it. Okay technically, I kinda understand why people like this game, but it didn’t do much for me personally.

Yume Nikki has often been described as Eraserhead in RPG Maker. For those that don’t know what Eraserhead is, it is an art house film directed by David Lynch that is known for being highly disturbing and also difficult to understand. It tends to be a case of “you either get it or you don’t” Read more

Standard Review: Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel (DS)

Inuyasha: Secret of the Divine Jewel | Box

My feelings on the Inuyasha anime have been fairly mixed over the years. When I saw it as a child, It had me hooked and I was seriously drawn into it, but over time I started to notice more and more problems with it. The series has some very strong and powerful moments, but there are two problems. The first of these is repetitive nature of the plot that is paced like a bad JRPG where every arc ends when Inuyasha almost kills Naraku but he gets away due to some bullshit reason. Additionally the fight scenes also seem to be based on turn based RPG logic because it they always seem to end when Inuyasha remembers to use that super powerful move he just learned 40 episodes ago to destroy the enemy. And the second reason was just how cringeworthy our central characters are. Inuyasha is an overconfident dumb ass with a massive ego and Kagome is your typical Mary Sue only with bitchy anime girl disorder, and I would know since most of my Twitter followers also have this disorder.

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Senran Kagura Burst (3DS): Like the Shinobi Itself, you Cannot Always See Everything There is to Know About Senran Kagura at First Glance

Senran Kagura Burst | Uk Box

To start things off, I will say that I did not have much to expect going into Senran Kagura Burst. In fact, I do not even really remember what prompted me to buy it. I do enjoy a lot of the lesser known niche titles and I probably just decided to support this one due to no one else bothering, but normally I tend to prefer JRPGs and Visual Novels as opposed to action games. That being said, Senran Kagura Burst is absolutely superb. Senran Kagura is a game that at first looks like a rather simplistic Beat-em- up with a silly fan-service driven plot, and technically it still is. It should be known however, that Senran Kagura Burst is more then it appears.

What seals the deal for Senran Kagura Burst is the fact that it is actually two great games instead of just one. One of the two separate storylines you choose at the start of the game is actually the entirety of the first Senran Kagura game, while the second storyline is an all new adventure. Senran Kagura Skirting Shadows alone would have been worth the thirty dollar price tag in terms of both quality and content, but the fact that you have a whole other game of even higher quality is what really brings this package up. While I probably would be exaggerating if I said that the total package was worth sixty dollars, I still would have felt as though I got my money’s worth if I paid that much. Read more

Amber Breaker (PC): The Horrific Finale of the Jewel Star Hentai Trilogy (NSFW)

Amber Breaker | Title screen

TW: Grotesque rape and sexual imagery. Yes, this game is disturbing enough that I need to use red font. Reader discretion is strongly advised! Images are blurred but I’m unsure if that’s enough.

The fact that I found Ruby Striker enjoyable does somewhat surprise me given that it is pretty much has no plot other than a girl being viciously raped. Aren’t I a feminist or something? We’re kinda not supposed to like that shit. Additionally, it is not like there is any deeper meanings such as in Euphoria, so what is it that made Ruby Striker, and to a lesser extent Lapis Gunner, so enjoyable?

Well, the best way to illustrate why would be through this overdue review of the third game in the trilogy; Amber Breaker. I am not quite sure how to feel about Amber Breaker. The disclaimer at the start probably already gives away what my feelings are. This is not the first time I have covered a game with notably disturbing content. Ruby Striker was about a girl being raped, tortured, and degraded by a demonic tentacle demon in a hellish landscape, and I enjoyed this… let that sink in.

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Gone Home (PS4/XONE/PC): Go Home, Gone Home, You’re Drunk! (Detailed Review)

Gone Home | Pirate flag

I honestly did not think that I would ever be reviewing a game that I hated this much that also happened to be well received by the gaming community. Honestly I do not see how this game got any attention whatsoever, let alone being hailed as a key point in the evolution of gaming. If this is the direction that games are going to be heading then I may just start reading books instead. Gone Home is something that is so basic and primitive that it can barely even count as a game, yet it does not come close to having the artistic merit to be considered a movie or book. The story that the game is trying to tell is padded out across a four hour “game” that has no form of engaging gameplay and the four hours I spent with this game felt like the longest four hours of my life. There is genuinely nothing good I can think of saying as a serious praise. Gone Home is just a complete incomprehensible mess.

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