My Strange Visual Novel Addiction

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They say the first step is admitting it …
I have a problem… I got addicted to Danganronpa.

It sounded more dramatic in my head, I swear.

In the past five months, I’ve been obsessed with a certain Visual Novel named Danganronpa and let me just tell you how deeply I got into this world of sci-fi hope vs despair battlefield. Visual novels, according to my logic were glorified dating simulation while I already know I am wrong, it didn’t stop me from solidifying this conclusion in my mind.

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“Hope’s Peak Academy is home to Japan’s best and brightest high school students — the beacons of hope for the future. But that hope suddenly dies when Makoto Naegi and his classmates find themselves imprisoned in the school, cut off from the outside world and subject to the whims of a strange, murderous little bear named Monokuma. He pits the students against each other, promising freedom to anyone who can murder a fellow classmate and get away with it. It’s up to you to find out who Monokuma really is, and why you’ve been taken from the world you once knew. But be careful what you wish for — sometimes there’s nothing more deadly than the truth…”

The first installment of the series is the introduction to the Danganronpa World and the cast “The Ultimates”. Now the characters are an interesting part of the game because their talent is considered an ultimate as if they excel in that field, Ultimate Swimmer, Ultimate Gambler and so on. Those talents give the characters a personality and insecurity as well.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a certain order you need to follow when getting into Danganronpa world, which anime to watch first and which game to start on, unfortunately, I watched the anime before playing the game so I knew the direction the game was going but to be honest it was more enjoyable for me to play the game than to watch it.

After a murder occurs, you get time to investigate the murder scene to chain the events in your mind before a class trial starts to reveal who’s the culprit. The trial format is almost the same as Phoenix Wright and I loved every minute of it, the music and the whole truth bullet shooting, it excited me. The punishments -when the trial ends and the culprit revealed- is basically an execution scene, are sometimes silly and more humorous. After it, parts of the school gets unlocked which gives you more area to explore and of course find new ways to kill someone.

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The game is heavily dependent on the story, so it has a lot of reading, it took me 41 hours to beat the first game and honestly I would recommend playing the game instead of watching the 12 episode anime.

Moving on to the second part Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.

 

 

 

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair takes place shortly after the events of Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. The game is from Hajime Hinata’s point of view as he starts his first year at Hope’s Peak Academy. As he walks into the school building, he is overcome with fatigue; when he recovers, he finds himself in front of a door. He has the strong urge to open it, and once he does, he finds himself in a classroom full of his new classmates. They suddenly find themselves locked in the classroom, and a pink bunny, Usami, appears before them, claiming herself to be the class’ teacher. The classroom around them soon falls away to reveal a paradise-like island. Usami tells them that they are on a school trip and that they are to befriend each other to gain Hope Fragments and make their hope grow. Just as they get used to the peaceful island life, Monokuma appears and takes control of the island, announcing that the students must participate in a life of mutual killing if they wish to escape.

Oh boy, this part was surprising to me because it was more brutal and dark compared to the first one. Even the punishments aren’t as silly as I mentioned in the first part, they are horrifying and I feel guilty that I was entertained. There was a lot of changes implemented in the gameplay and I actually needed a guide to go through the trials, not my favorite confession to make as a gamer. I mean it’s a visual novel, how hard it should be.

I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending because it was confusing but at the same time, my mind was blown how the story progressed throughout the games, spin-offs, and the anime. I think I enjoyed this part more than the previous one, probably because of my newly found sadistic trait that surfaced during the gameplay or because I’ve grown attached to Monokuma … He’s a cute bear.

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The lastest game of this series is Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

 

“Welcome to a new world of Danganronpa, and prepare yourself for the biggest, most exhilarating episode yet. Set in a “psycho-cool” environment, a new cast of 16 characters find themselves kidnapped and imprisoned in a school. Inside, some will kill, some will die, and some will be punished. Reimagine what you thought high-stakes, fast-paced investigation was as you investigate twisted murder cases and condemn your new friends to death. Forget what you thought you knew about Danganronpa and join a completely new cast of Ultimates for a brand-new beginning. In a world where everyone is trying to survive, nobody’s motivations are quite what they seem. Use your skills to solve each new murder or meet a gruesome end. The world is shaped by our perception of it. Fast-paced trial scenes will require lies, quick wits, and logic to guide your classmates to the right conclusions.”

I kept reading the synopsis that it’s new, the characters are new, the school is new but part of me was searching for connections to the previous games, surely there’s something the ties the epic battle between hope and despair which Monokuma keeps hinting. The gameplay has a massive overhaul in-class trials and thankfully it was easier than Danganronpa 2. The killings were creative and I was impressed at some of them, why don’t I feel bad saying this.

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Danganronpa triggered the inner killer and also the detective in me, I’ve enjoyed every minute of those games. Also, I have to say Monokuma is adorable, the best mascot ever (it’s the total truth, I’m not held at gunpoint)

What I Learned From GRIS

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I know this review is long-due but I wanted to find the right words for this game, even though I’m going to use the word “Game” very loosely throughout this post. I would rather consider it as an Experience -atmospheric at most- and it’s definitely a pleasant one.

Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality.

I’m going to sum this game in a few words, it’s basically Art but playable. There’s a reason why it’s rated overwhelmingly positive on Steam. It showcases that perfect blend of art and music, the silence of an empty colorless world then dropping colors as they bleed in each screen where it matches the music and that’s mostly the premise of the game, coloring your world as you experience levels of grief.

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Red: A wasteland where winds will push the soundless protagonist making here wait till it passes. I would say it could represent anger as the first level or reaction to certain traumas or grief, whatever the protagonist went through.

Green: Plants and animals -or what I can assume animals- start to show as the color green blends with the red. It felt like a refreshing breather moment like she’s in peace but also cautious from being in the woods.

Blue: It starts to rain and the protagonist starts going underwater where there will be little to none illuminated areas. I would say it’s more like sadness and drowning yourself as in underwater with no light but to go up to the surface.

Yellow: Color of light, I believe it’s like the end of your misery where you learned to accept the sadness, frustration and drowning in the darkness.

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Every moment in this game made me take a screenshot, and every screenshot can be used as a wallpaper. The art of this game is simply gorgeous and it sort of reminded me of Journey but I can honestly say that I would choose this game over it. The game doesn’t offer any guides to the story which fascinated me because those colors of grief that you go through in each level is how you interpret griefing from a trauma.

This game is beautiful and it’s very atmospheric when it comes to the environment, the music compliments every animation, every color as the game seem like a simple side scroll puzzle one but in my opinion, it goes deeper than that and I would definitely consider it one of my favorite games.

 

Let’s Talk About Ultimate Fishing Simulator

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I love fishing games. I mentioned a Wii game before called Fishing Resort to be one of my favorite games, I don’t know why I’m obsessed with those simulators. I’d like to think that I’m low-key interested in fishing but don’t have the patience to do it in reality. Recently I came across Ultimate Fishing Simulator on Steam and I saw it has mostly positive feedback so I decided to try it out.

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Considering it’s a simulator, there’s no end goal obviously. The challenge element of this game would be collecting enough money to unlock different areas or fishing gear from rods to baits. The environment of the fishing areas look absolutely beautiful, water looks very realistic and the day-and-night cycle makes the game very immersive and atmospheric.

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Now there are two modes to play this game, Normal which is more laid back and gives you a relaxing experience, and there’s a Realistic mode which like the name implies more realistic when it comes to fishing biting and reeling so it requires more patience if that’s your cup of tea.

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Playing on Normal Mode gives you the option to open an underwater view to see the fish biting, it honestly doesn’t have the best animation but it’s worth to check.

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When you catch the fish, you have the option to either sell it or release it which will give you extra EXP to level up faster. There’s also a multiplayer mode and a level editor in case you are feeling a little creative.

I found this game very entertaining and patience-testing, it’s a very well done simulator and pays attention to every small detail regarding the fishing gear and also how realistic the fish look like.

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Let’s Talk About Little Dragons Café

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Let me began this post with a short might-be-amusing story. I was waiting for this game for awhile and it supposed to be released by the end of August, so I thought of getting it after giving birth. Around October I went to a game store to ask about it since I didn’t see any gaming store in Oman posting about it on social media. The man working there told me he’ll ask other branches and will contact me if he finds any update. He called later on to tell me and I quote “The game is too old that’s why” and I was very confused, I was telling him it was released recently how is it that old. I figured they are clueless about the game anyway and they didn’t want to bother themselves to check it, I decided to buy it from PS Store since the game -to my knowledge- was released on PS4 and Nintendo Switch only. While it was downloading, I found out it was also released on Steam which confused me because I didn’t see it announced that it’ll be released for PC as well. The game hasn’t exactly get that amount of promotion and exposure, I was interested only because it’s created by the same creator of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory which I’m a fan of both.

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Little Dragons Café opens with a twin brother and sister learning to cook and manage a small café with their mother. All was routine until one morning when the twins discover that their mother won’t wake up. Suddenly, a strange old man appears and tells them that they must raise a dragon to save her. Working with three quirky café employees, the twins must wrangle a dragon and run the family business while finding a way to save their mother.

One of the things that attracted me the most to Little Dragons Cafe is the art style, it looks like a hand-drawn storybook. It definitely has the Harvest Moon vibe without the tedious farming tasks, while it also takes from Rune Factory in resource gathering.  Now about the story … It’s … disturbing honestly. I’m not sure how does it all correlate that the mother is sick and won’t wake up because she’s half dragon so they need to raise a dragon in order to save her ? The plot is somewhat lacking and confusing in my opinion but maybe it’ll make sense as I progress.

 

As the story starts to unfold with different characters in each chapter, the gameplay really focuses on one loop that goes basically like this: gather ingredients,  help in the cafe, find recipe fragments and repeat. That’s the whole gameplay part explained, you can get those ingredients from different areas so as you expand your exploration radius in each chapter, you’ll have to memorize from where you got each ingredient. Along with gathering resources, comes the responsibility of taking care of the dragon who needs to be fed from time to time. It gets annoying sometimes because I forget to cook before setting off to find ingredients. The dragon color changes depending on what its being fed, and my dragon currently teal-ish between blue and green. As the story progresses, the dragon grows and obviously becomes less cute but it becomes more helpful in removing obstacles and attacking certain creatures.

I want to say that I like the game like Harvest Moon but sadly I can’t because I feel it needs more gameplay elements. I’m enjoying it though so it’s not that bad…

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Let’s Talk About OneShot

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was released recently and of course I was excited to get it, unfortunately my internet speed isn’t the fastest so I had to wait couple of days for it to finish downloading so I could actually play it. During that time, I bought a game I found on sale by that time called OneShot.

I decided to go ahead and try it while waiting for Assassin’s Creed since it wasn’t a large game and it finished downloading fast, and let me tell you I’m so glad I played this game because I honestly think this game is an underrated gem.

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OneShot is a surreal top down Puzzle/Adventure game with unique gameplay capabilities. You are to guide a child through a mysterious world on a mission to restore its long-dead sun. The world knows you exist.

The game starts by introducing the main character, a cat-like child named Niko. The game is created by RPG maker and pixel graphics are my weakness.

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The end goal of this game is to restore the sun to a decaying world that is mostly inhabited by robots, but here’s what caught me off guard … The game acknowledge your existence as the player and address you by the name (I think it uses your computer login name) and that’s when the game starts to bleed into reality, making you check files in your computer in order to proceed at some locations which I thought is pretty smart and creative.

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I think that what made me start forming an emotional connection with the game characters as if it was personally speaking to me at some parts of the game.

The game contain few puzzles but they aren’t too hard to solve, the music and the whole game atmosphere reminded me of Undertale for some reason. It gave me that feeling I had while playing Undertale, the emotional connection to the characters and tested my personal choices in the game but unlike Undertale, it doesn’t have any combat moments just story-rich content.

I personally enjoyed the game and I think it’s quite underrated seemingly because it’s indie and made in RPG maker. I highly recommend playing it, it’s also quite short because I finished it in 5 hours.

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Games I Played While Waiting For Labor

Waiting for labor can be nerve wrecking, you’ve reached the end of the line and you have to be patient for few more days while you already feel you’re just done with this whole pregnancy and miserable. I’ve been praying for every contraction I feel to be more stronger and painful so I could be done with this, I’ve read numerous articles on ways how to induce labor and obviously failing in every one of them. Nothing really worked for me and I was just fed up, I’ve given up and said “you know what, my daughter is going to be a stubborn if she’s that comfortable inside and doesn’t want to leave yet

To ease my mind off labor and just wait for it to naturally happen, I decided to game more whenever I feel a contraction is happening whether it’s false or real. So here’s the list of games I played religiously while waiting for labor.

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There’s something about those simulator games that triggers your brain into addiction, I’m sure of it … based on my science. House Flipper is a simulation game which lets you buy wrecked houses where you can repair and remodel then sell them for profit, and so on. The concept is pretty simple but I found myself addicted to this game, I enjoyed remodeling the houses, painting the walls, installing floor tiles and getting creative with the colors and decor of the rooms. It’s a great game to spend time on, I highly recommend it.

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Every article you’re going to read about this game is going to compare it to Stardew Valley and rightfully so, just add a graveyard to take care of and a massive checklist to do which makes the gameplay very long. I won’t say I love this game, I just like it. I have this weakness against pixel art games, and Graveyard Keeper is just gorgeous I won’t deny it. The music is what attracted me the most, it’s very soothing and calm that I had to complement the creativity infused in the tracks and ironically the composer thanked me and followed me on twitter. I know this game isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea and it has mixed reviews on Steam, but I would honestly recommend it maybe less than Moonlighter but it’s a good game.

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If you played World of Goo and Little Inferno, you might be familiar with this game. I’m all for games that challenges you with puzzles but sometimes they make me feel stupid even thought the answer is pretty obvious, that’s how Human Resource Machine made me feel. I studied Software Technologies so I’m accustomed to programming flow, and that’s what this game made me feel basically writing pseudo codes for a program that include numbers. It gets frustrating at times but it helped keeping my mind off of labor while I played it.

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Let’s Talk About Sally Face

It’s been awhile since I posted a video game related content else than my usual monthly series Games to Revisit. For some reason, games posts don’t do well on my blog like my usual content and it’s disheartening sometimes because I enjoy talking about games.

I came across Sally Face when the first episode was released and because I didn’t like episodic games, I overlooked it. I bought it eventually when episode two and three were released and I feel I should talk about it.

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Delve into a dark adventure following a boy with a prosthetic face and a mysterious past. In the first episode, Strange Neighbors, Sally Face and his father move into an apartment filled with odd tenants and an unfortunate crime scene. Little did they know what misfortune still awaits…

Sally Face is a horror point-and-click adventure game that follows a blue haired boy called Sal. Now I’ll admit I first thought Sal was a girl because of the hair style and also thinking Sally was his actual name not a given nickname as the game later on reveals. I had to google and research his condition while playing the game so I would understand the whole story of his condition, my interests grew about this game when it started infusing metal illness along with supernatural events because I believe there’s a fine line between those two and how your mind bleed such thoughts into your reality.

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Moving on with gameplay, it’s not exactly complicated since it’s a point-and-click type of game but it has some puzzles that made me feel stupid at times. The game wants you to understand the story by throwing you back and forth between the past when the events actually happened and the future where you ask yourself how did this happen. Like I said before I don’t like episodic games because I don’t like waiting for the next episode when it’s not scheduled and it takes a long time, it takes away the suspense you experienced in the previous episode but I can’t blame the developer for this.

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The game is definitely creepy and disturbing which I personally admire of how it’s portrayed through the drawing basically. I would compare it to Fran Bow when it comes to dealing with the main character mentality and the disturbing visions, so if you enjoyed that game you’ll love this one for sure.

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