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I’m not a big proponent of visual novels, mostly because the ones I’ve played have pacing issues and are really long-winded. If I play Fate/Stay Night for over an hour and I’m still not past the prologue, then we have some problems.

Because of my aversion to needlessly long, pointless monologues I’ve largely avoided reading any visual novels except for some of the bigger ones, which I never finished.

But today I was inspired by a convo I had with Luco on IRC. It spurred me to hoard away on my hard drive a rather large armful of freeware visual novels in an attempt to find one or two that I could bear to finish. So now I’m playing them as they are being picked randomly out of lottery by Luco.

<@Pirate1019> Pick a number between 1 and 28

As it happens I finished a couple of them today. The first was a short story called “Adaigo”, and the second was a longer one titled “A Dream of Summer”.

Adagio

Adagio is short. really short. So short that it clocks in at 5 minutes if you fall asleep halfway through. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in DEEP.

Adagio is a story about an uninspired composer who meets a hard of hearing dancer from a performing troupe who goes to dance at a a nearby auditorium every now and then. There’s not much to it, given the length. It gets points for having the most lulzy climax-killer I’ve ever seen though.

The art is very stylized and very unlike an anime, so it gets points for being different. It reminds me of a very spontaneous oil painting or something. There’s only 3 or 4 images in all though so it doesn’t matter much, and the same can be said for the audio. Just some canned license-free samples pulled from the web.

Oil paints ftw

Oil paints ftw

It uses the antiquated Nscripter/ONScripter engine, so you’ll have absolutely no problem running it, installing it, or figuring out the controls even if you’ve never used an Nscripter based VN before.

Not much more to say about it. It’s short and sweet, and you really can’t bitch about it wasting your time since it’ll be over before you’ve decided if you hate it or not.

Adagio can be downloaded here.

A Dream of Summer

A Dream of Summer was a lot longer than Adagio, but it’s not hard to accomplish that. It clocked in at a few hours for a single route, and maybe an extra hour per route if you’re going for gold.

DoS is the tale of generic pseudo-misanthrope MC and his quest to buy drinks from the vending machine. Whenever something happens, the solution is to buy a drink. Friend’s making yakisoba? Buy a couple drinks. Trying to remember a long-forgotten promise? Mull it over with a cola you purchased. Wanna see a girl’s panties? Throw her a can of orange juice, purchased on a whim.

orange_juice2

You thought I was joking?

I really liked DoS’s sotry, even if it lacked originality in all respects. This is made up for by some genuinely interesting dialogue between MC-kun and the main heroine person. I dunno, maybe it was just me  but the witty banter seemed refreshing (results may vary). Too much srsbsns these days. It is also VERY FUCKING PREDICTABLE. If anything in this takes you by surprise then you need to lurk moar at everything.

The art and presentation were pretty top-notch, and that was a nice touch. The CG was good and each character had several different portraits that all did a good job of displaying emotion or whatever. Let’s just say that I never thought it looked bad, which is more than I can say for Tsukihime, in all it’s glory.

Music was bland, save for an end song complete with vocals, but most of the dialog is voiced, and that’s pretty cool. You can also control the volume for each character’s indivudual voice. This means I can make glasses girl shut the fuck up because my ears cry blood whenever she talks, which is really depressing because I liked her route more.

Overall it was an alright experience that you don’t have to worry about investing a lot in if it ends up sucking. There’s 2 routes plus a FAIL route and an extras section with CG, music, and a minigame about throwing cans of orange juice at a girl, so there’s at least enough motivation to get you to skip to the decision points over and over again until you unlock the number 2 ending, which I initially thought didn’t even exist. If you’re bored and have 114 free megabytes on your computer you can do worse than to play this through.

Can be found Hereabouts.

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Written by PIR

February 1, 2009 at 01:53

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