I’m not going to lie, I probably spent more time playing FFXIV this weekend than was really healthy. It’s a super pretty game and I’m just starting to get my head around some of the weirder systems.
That said, I did manage to take a few hours and, um, “play” through a pair of visual novels, for values of “play” that involve reading and listening to dialogue and hitting enter occasionally.
Planetarian ~ the reverie of a little planet ~ is one of those that is designed to get you, as they say, right in the feels. 30 years after a massive war starts, and 20 years after mankind has been reduced to a bare fraction of its former self, a scavenger hunting for food and supplies in an abandoned city stumbles into a department-store planetarium where a cheerful robot hostess is still hoping that, one day, customers will come back and see the stars.
It’s a straight-up kinetic novel with no branching choices. Really good, but I’d recommend experiencing it at a time of day when you can get up afterwards and go outside and see sunshine and make sure that the world is still there.
…and for a complete change of pace, we have the latest entry in the “Sakura (noun)” series. These games sell themselves pretty heavily on the cute girls and fanservice, and this one isn’t an exception. On the other hand, the story-to-fanservice ratio is actually pretty favorable; the protagonist is a guy who’s been shuttled around schools his entire life while his family waits for him to live up to his father’s legacy and he has to come to terms with that and figure out what he actually wants to do with his life.
At his latest school, he winds up joining the swim club, a club with such a terrible reputation that it’s down to two members.
Of course, both of them turn out to be seriously cute girls with swimsuit structural integrity issues, so it’s hard to feel TOO bad for the main character’s troubles.
They have their own problems, the main character has his own problems, they become friends and help each other work out their problems, it’s actually kind of charming. It could actually probably do all right as a VN even without all the pandering, but – let’s be honest – it wouldn’t sell nearly as well.
It’s a Steam game, so it’s technically an all-ages game.