Knight Reviews: Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

Hey there, everyone! Mod Knight here to talk about an amazing game with you! This time, I’m talking about Dream Daddy! If you’re unfamiliar with it, Dream Daddy is an LGBT dad dating sim in which you play the part of a dad dating other dads! It’s already an amazing concept and the game follows through flawlessly on it’s premise; not only that, but it’s full of incredible characters, deep, emotional stories, and lots and lots of dad jokes.

So! What’s the Number 1 thing that makes, or breaks a dating sim? Well, it’s the characters, no doubt. The cast of Dream Daddy is not only diverse, but super lovable, too. One thing I really enjoy about the premise of a dad dating sim is that that means that there are kids involved, too! Not only are the dads excellent, but the kids range from adorable to hilarious. Speaking of kids, we mustn’t forget the most important character in the game. Her name is Amanda, she is your daughter and you. WILL. LOVE. HER.

Image result for dream daddy AMANDAI mean, you’re her dad; it’s your job. But also, she’s an amazing girl who will pull on your heart and never let go. The story and writing for her do an amazing job of pulling you close to her extremely quickly, and really make you feel involved and concerned for her! Of course, being a dad isn’t easy, and the game does a great job of replicating the struggle.

Of course, we cant just spend the whole time talking about Amanda (though I could write a whole article on her). Because the game is dripping with amazing characters, especially in the dad department! From the sweet and nerdy Hugo, the brawny and boisterous Brian, and the cool, gritty Robert, every dad is an amazing character with their own story, interests and personalities.

One thing that I especially loved about the game is that, with many dating sims, it’s easy to get a handle on the characters quickly and understand their entire personality at a glance. Dream Daddy’s love interests, however, continually reveal layers of themselves that you’d never have guessed just from looking at them! And each layer only serves to make you love them even more because you get to know them not only as a romantic interest, but as a friend!

One other thing I enjoyed was the level of diversity the game included! Despite being a men focused dating sim, it still is chock full of interesting female characters, not to mention POC, bi, and trans representation! The game does an amazing job of showing the diverse spectrum of people in the world, even though it’s a simple game set around suburban America.

Also, you get to build a dad-sona and that’s awesome.

Overall, Dream Daddy absolutely blew me away! I’ve yet to cover everything I have to say about the game, however I think I’ll go more in depth on certain topics in future articles, as this is a game I’d like to cover thoroughly!


Thanks for reading everyone!

Aria Reviews: Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~

Mod Aria (or Sam if you prefer) is back again talking about Otome Games! I’m planning on talking about them a lot, but today I’d like to discuss one of the newest Otome Games to be localized by Aksys Games, Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~. I mentioned this game in another article that I did. However, I recently finished it (while also juggling Persona 5, Hakuoki and Fire Emblem Echoes). As such, I thought I’d take the chance to actually start a review on it.

Story/Characters:

The premise of Period: Cube is fairly interesting. You play as a girl named Kazuha (or you can change her name if you’d like) as she searches for her brother who has recently gone missing. She and her childhood friend decide to start their search by playing an MMORPG called “Arcadia” together (since her brother played it often).

When they do enter the game, they discover that they entered a server that was not supposed to exist, called World V, and that anyone who enters World V cannot leave. Their body in the real world remains unconscious and their virtual body stays alert in the game world. Sadly, if they die in the game, they die in real life. The only way to escape is to find the Trinity of Swords: The Divine Blade, the Shadow’s Edge and the Almighty Amadeus. It is soon discovered that Kazuha has become the Almighty Amadeus, and she has a hidden power; one that could save everyone.

So the premise of this game isn’t very unique in comparison to MMO-style games (like .hack and Sword Art Online). Stuck in a real world, secret mastermind lurks just around the corner, you could die in real life, etc. What sets this game apart from most of the others is that, finally, it’s a female character who actually ends up being The Chosen One™ and the most powerful.

As for how the actual story went, it’s a bit strange. With every new explanation given for why things played out the way that they did, a bevy of new questions are created. There’s a deep plot and some interesting ideas in Period: Cube, but I feel like they sacrificed expounding on this plot to focus more on the romance element that all Otome Games come with. Personally, I’d rather play a game with less routes and more story than vise versa; so honestly, I was a bit disappointed in Period: Cube. That’s not to say I had a bad time playing this game though.

There are seven romanceable guys in Period: Cube. Your childhood friend Hiroya, the prickly lone wolf Radius, the roleplay enthusiast Astrum, the mysterious man Zain, the devil-may-care girl Libera, the monster character Poyo-poyo and one secret route. As far as the characters go, I honestly didn’t connect with very many of them. This was mostly due to the fact that the game itself was also quite short, so the romance was very rushed.

It was like one minute Kazuha and the Current Route Guy were arguing, then suddenly kissing? It just made the romance feel so unbelievable for some of the characters. Really only Hiroya’s and the one unlockable route were believable. Speaking of Kazuha, I did think she was a good heroine, but in comparison to heroine’s like Cardia, she cannot compete. I’m not the kind of person to hate on Otome Game heroines, but I do prefer ones who don’t just sit back and watch things unfold, which Kazuha did sometimes. I will say that they made Kazuha being rescued by the guys in the routes make some sense, as she cannot summon her Almighty powers at will.

The character routes I enjoyed: I really liked Astrum’s route (a lot of people have, and for good reason). While he fell in love with Kazuha fast, he’s genuine. Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of his real life persona because of his rudeness, the character he RPs is very princely and hot. I enjoyed Hiroya’s on principle. I do like childhood friends, but not tsunderes. His romance made sense and a lot of main plot was in his route, so it’s actually really good. I also enjoyed Radius’s route, but it’s for a shallow reason: he’s my type because he’s all about the darkness aesthetic and his character race is a dragon demon. Plus his character model is the most gorgeous of them all.

Libera’s was interesting, but was the most nonsensical. Zain was a bit too creepy for my tastes. One secret route was just badly written and could barely constitute as a route. But I half enjoyed, half hated the Poyo-poyo route. The romance (while quite discomforting) made sense, and the route ends are unlike any others in the game. Regardless, there is an awkward taboo in Poyo-poyo’s route, so I’d do a bit more research into it. It might be something you cannot handle if you, well, don’t watch Game of Thrones. 

I give the Story/Characters a 5/10

Art/Music/Gameplay:  

Period: Cube plays like any other traditional Otome Game. It’s a visual novel where your choices affect the outcome of the story. There’s an affection meter that takes the form of an MMORPG character profile (which is fun), as well as an Almighty lower level for Kazuha. You fill the Affection meter by picking the right dialogue choices for each character, and Kazuha’s Almighty power level is risen based on combat choices.

The combat choices make the game a bit difficult, as I couldn’t notice a screen catch if I chose right. But the dialogue choices are easy; a screen catch and melody sounds off when you’ve chosen correctly. I personally enjoy this feature; I really like to see the good ends my first time around, so it made hunting for them easier.

The GUI is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in my experience playing otome games as well. More bright, opaque blues with a sparkling main menu. The title screen is laid out nicely, and if you wait for a minute, a little Poyo-poyo will dash around. It’s cute! There’s tons of customizable settings to make the game easier or more challenging for you. Also available is a dictionary that is filled with a ton of MMORPG terms and slang. Though, for any MMO veterans, it’s nothing new.

A feature that I greatly appreciate is the History feature, which lets you load from any point and in any route. It also lets you adjust the character’s Affection meter and Kazuha’s Almighty power level as low or high as possible from where you started. It makes getting the bad ends after you’ve hunted for the good ones seamless; trophy hunting is easy, too.  

Visually, Period: Cube is very pleasing. The artist, Kuroyuki, has really improved. I’ve seen the art from Black Wolves Saga (another Otome Game I did), and I feel like Period: Cube’s art is definitely a step up for them! The vivid spectrum of blues and purples are very fantastical, but also very calming to look at. The colors are deep and rich, and the character models during the actual game are beautifully rendered. Some of the CGs were a bit awkward in my opinion, but for the most part, this game is visually stunning. The world Map of Arcadia, the dungeons and caves; it’s all brilliant.

As for the music, it’s pretty much the same song and dance: Takumi Ozawa composed some fanciful and stellar music, as well as an astounding main theme. The ending theme, composed by MYU, is touching and poignant.

Aksys Games also did an amazing job with the localization. While there were grammatical errors and typos in Code: Realize and NORN9, there were hardly any in Period: Cube. I’m sure the translation was easy because the characters spoke in katakana a lot, but I still think this is a great improvement for them as well. I really appreciate all they do for Otome Game fans!

In sum, the staff of this game really produced something great. It’s been my favorite interface and system for an otome game so far. It’s really a shame the writers couldn’t match up.

I give the Art/Music/Gameplay a 9/10

Overall, Period: Cube is definitely a inimitable concept for an Otome Game. Never before has the MMORPG setting been done with a female main character who has a throng of men falling in love with her, so I have to say I love how this game subverted that genre. However, I feel that the games story and characters weren’t anything all that special. It’s really a shame due to how exquisite of a look and feel Period: Cube has.

If you’re not too picky about some taboo themes or short character routes in your Otome Games, then I think you should definitely pick up Period: Cube. If not, then here’s my suggestion: the game itself isn’t terrible, but it’s not high quality. I would wait until the game has a flash sale on PSN and pick it up there.

I give Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadues~ a 7/10.


Thanks so much for reading this article! I really plan to review more Otome Games and cover them more on YouTube, so please keep an eye out for more of that content from me. And please keep supporting NWG! Thank you!

–Mod Aria/Sam

Nasty Discussion: Most Wanted Otome Game Localizations With Mod Aria!

Gamer Date Night: Nightshade with Mod Aria!

Mod Aria again, talking about more dating sim shenanigans! Today I’m going to discuss a game that was released fairly recently. The company Otomebu translated and brought to Steam a Japanese otome, game originally titled Hyakka Hyakurou Sengoku Ninpochou, under the name of Nightshade. I’ve played through the entire game, and I must say that it’s my favorite dating sim of the year (so far)!

Nightshade is a visual novel set towards the end of the Sengoku era of Japan. You play as a young and upcoming ninja named Enju Ueno (you can change her first name), the daughter of the Koga village chief. Enju and the other members of her clan are hired on a mission in Kyo (known as Kyoto today) to help the Toyotomi catch the infamous thief, Goemon Ishikawa. However, things take a sinister turn, and suddenly Enju is the being hunted down by all kinds of shinobi for a heinous crime.

The plot in Nightshade is quite interesting. It can be a bit predictable at times, but there’s was always one plot point here and there that really took me off-guard. This gave the individual routes such creative twists that I was always eager to see what new route had in store. Also, it helps that each individual guy that you can pursue has their own personality and quirks, which definitely influences how Enju grows and progresses.

Speaking of the guys, there are five romanceable men in Nightshade that Enju is able to chase after. Three are ninjas from her own clan: there’s her bodyguard Gekkamaru, Gekkamaru’s brother and troublemaker Kuroyuki and her sensei Chojiro. The other two are fictionalized historical figures: the famous ninja, Hanzo Hattori, and Goemon Ishikawa himself. What’s even better is that, despite the route lengths, I actually felt like all the guys really loved Enju by the end of it. Some games I’ve played really force the romance in the routes by making the two characters fall in love quickly, but Nightshade did not fall into this trap.

Personally, I enjoyed most of the routes for different reasons. Some had characters I liked, but the plots were weak in comparison. Others had great story, but the characters weren’t my favorite. Some of the routes are very dark, others not. So I can’t fully say which routes are definitively better or worse than the others. It’ll depend on your own personal tastes. Though I will say that my favorite guys are Goemon and Hanzo. But let’s not forget Enju! As a heroine, I enjoy her in comparison to some otome games I’ve played. However, she sometimes falls into that faux action girl trope. She has some scenes where she’s a great fighter, but others that get set up just so the main guy in the route can act cool and save her.

When it comes to Nightshade’s staff, fantastic choices were made. The art is vivid, with deep colors and gorgeous character designs. I love the models for Gekkamaru and Hanzo the most. But all the outfits are sharp and really fit the characters. The artist, Teita, also worked on NORN9, which was localized by Aksys Games in 2016. They are a truly gifted person. Same goes for the composer, MIKOTO. The music is so beautiful that sometimes I just left the game at a certain spot to hear it play. And I’m definitely going to get the opening and ending songs on my iPod as soon as possible. The Japanese voice cast is star-studded; they’re all brilliant. But to be frank, I really feel like Wataru Hatano and Hikaru Midorikawa really got to showcase their acting chops here. There are hardly any localized otome games with them in it. I hope that changes!

Another thing I really enjoy about the game is that it has the feature that let’s you know whether or not you picked the right answer when it comes to a choice; a little melody will play and flowers will bloom on the screen. There’s also an affection meter to help you track where you stand with the guys, which is nice; but I’ve always found it to be a bit useless for people like me who are hunting for the good end their first time around.

And now for my complaints: mainly, these are technical issues. There are hardly any typos in the game, but Otomebu used some really outdated software to get this game ported to PC, and a lot of people have really had to wrestle with their computers in order to even get the game to launch. It might have just been easier to localize it physically for the Vita, but that costs more than it would on PC. That’s challenging for a small indie company. But if you’re able to get the game working, this doesn’t really become a problem after that.

One more issue I had with the game is that there is no mode that lets you easily move onto another route after completing the common route for the first time. You have to backtrack and fast-forward through scenes that you’ve seen a million times before. The first couple of times is kind of fun because you get to see new stuff, but when you have only one route left to go, it can get frustrating.

Lastly, the routes in Nightshade are good, but fairly short. It really makes me sad because this would have been a great game to have nice, long routes for. It’s well-written, there’s hardly any plot holes, and most of the characters are great. But the stories are over right when the characters finally get their happy ending. There are extra scenes that you can see after each route is over, but it’s not enough to satiate you. I haven’t heard any news of D3P planning a fandisk, and that really disappoints me. This game would have been worth it.

All in all, I think Nightshade is a great experience. It reminds me a lot of Hakuoki, though I feel like Hakuoki is a bit more in depth with the plot of the game. If you like otome games that have a lot of Japanese history and a bit of tragedy, I’d definitely recommend picking up this game. Otomebu’s hard work (thought not imperfect) paid off, and this is a right step for D3P and Red Entertainment.


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this you guys! I hope you’re waiting for more great NWG content!

–Mod Aria/Sam

 

NWG Reviews: Long Live the Queen with Mod Knight!

Royal ruling and role playing are the order of the day in Hanako games’ “Long Live the Queen”. Published in 2012, this delightfully dark visual novel places you in the role of Elodie, a 14 year old princess who must make careful choices if she is to survive to her coronation. I’ve personally played through this game at least 50 times, so I feel this a game truly deserving of review!

PLOT:

The game’s story is quite literally the center-point of the entire thing, being a visual novel it relies on you being interested in the story and the way that the choices you make have an effect, and OH MY do they have an effect!! This game is quite literally all about the choices you make, and there are constant choices available! Every choice you make will affect the path the story takes, who lives, who dies, and what kind of ending you will get.

The plot itself is difficult to explain, seeing as how it branches off and has so many different paths and endings. However, the basic story of the game involves Elodie taking on the months before her coronation after the untimely death of her mother as she gets embroiled in war, politics, espionage, and magical exploits! The game is fairly short, requiring 2-3 hours for a single playthrough, however often you won’t even reach the end on your first few tries. Instead, there are many, MANY ways for you to die horribly…

Plot- 9.5/10

CHARACTERS:

Now, where would any decent visual novel be without it’s characters; after all, they are the life and soul of the game! Now, sadly, many of the characters encountered in game are more or less side characters who are only fleshed out when their stories are dug into, sometimes requiring you to make skill checks to get the option. However, the game boasts a few very interesting characters, and quite a few well written female characters to boot! Not to mention a healthy dose of LGBT representation. Two of Elodie’s instructors in the game are lesbians, and, if the proper requirements are met, they will be married at the end of the game!

Elodie herself has a possible female romantic partner whom she can be with by the end as well. As a character, Elodie is just as difficult to describe as the story, as she and her personality change to match the player’s choices, either becoming a vicious warlord, a smiling flatterer, a yielding diplomat, or many other possible changes. But it’s always amazing to see the choices and circumstances that affect her growth!

Characters- 8/10

GAMEPLAY:

As a visual novel, the gameplay itself is rather simple, it’s all making choices. However, there is quite a bit of complexity in the choices you make! The most prevalent choices are Elodie’s classes, as these are the only way to increase her skills! Skill growth is affected by her mood, each mood granting bonuses to certain skills and penalties to others. Therefore, weekend activities must be chosen wisely as they will push her mood in different ways. Also involved is the making of choices throughout the game, certain choices will benefit you; others will kill you!

Gameplay- 9/10

PRESENTATION:

Due to the format of the game, I can’t really say much about the graphics as the game is composed entirely of anime sprites and illustrated backgrounds. What I can say is that the art is gorgeous and nicely stylized, the character art is all well done and solid, and that the music, while simple, is nice and enjoyable. My biggest complaint for the game is the lack of major plot screens, illustrations that come up during major moments in the story, something of a staple in visual novels. However, there are death screens that appear when Elodie is killed, and also screens that explain your choices at the end of the game.

Presentation-7.5/10

Overall, this is a solid game with a fun story, interesting characters and almost limitless replayability! If you enjoy that, I’d definitely advise picking it up.  

OVERALL- 9/10