Posted by Psycosis (390 posts) -

I’m going to make this quick, I was out drinking yesterday because it was Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday. So yeah that was a lot of fun, but that’s not important right now! Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog of visual novels, videogames, anime and other junk. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time working on a visual novel concept in which you play as ZombiePie, seducing the Anime Vice mods. So much time, in fact, I’ve written up a 5 page design document and tried to convince a friend of mine to draw some of the anime versions of mods that I’ve cooked up. So that could be hilarious, but until then, let’s get on with the blog!

Nimbus

So after telling myself I’d play a bunch more Nimbus after last week’s blog I went ahead and did exactly that! I really enjoyed this game, so much in fact that I wrote up a review saying how much I enjoyed it. My advice is that you should go read that, recommend it so I can get those review quests done, and then come back here. Done that? No? Well whatever you can’t stop me this is MY BLOG DAMMIT.

Something I didn’t end up covering in the review is the music, partially due to me forgetting about it but also because most of the time I had the game on mute and was instead listening to The Hood Internet mixtapes. I really like the music in this game, on both a musical and a gameplay perspective. Musically I felt the tracks were really good, and had a nice happy feel to them which coincides with the graphics perfectly. I do also like how the music for the levels are the same as the music for the world map, meaning the tracks never stop and start unless switching worlds. Some of the level tracks even gave me a little Donkey Kong Country 2 vibe, which as everyone knows is the greatest game of all time and also has the greatest soundtrack ever produced for any form of media ever. On that note the addition of having giant coins to hunt in the levels is also reminiscent of the giant DK coins in each Donkey Kong Country 2 level... Damn it! Noumenon Games tricked me into loving their game via subconsciously reminding me of the greatest game ever created! Those fiends!

I kid around but Nimbus is still a great game in its own right, though the DKC2 coin mentality is just one wink and nod this game has, intentionally or not. The game opens with a great Ghosts ‘n Goblins homage, in which a giant one eyed villain who could past for Kracko Jr’s brother, steals away a ship that looks identical to your own, except it’s pink. The graphics especially in the first world is reminiscent of Green Hill Zone with its green grass and brown chequered dirt.

Oh no! My girlfriend ship!

Nimbus came out in October of last year, and it’s still being updated with new levels! Even in between my review and this blog, a new patch was released, fixing the level load problems I talked about, and even adding three new levels to the game! I encourage anyone who’s interested to check it out on Steam, both in that it’s a great game and well worth the low price, and that I need more people on my leaderboard to HUMILIATE AND DESTROY.

Puzzle Dimension

If there’s one thing in this videogame world that I love more than anything it’s the weird Playstation 1 games that were released. If there was one game I would love to have a new version of on Steam is Devil Dice. Another great game from this list is Kula World, so when I stumbled onto the Steam page for Puzzle Dimension and thought to myself “wait is this just a Kula World rip-off?” and immediately bought it. As it turns out it’s totally made by the same main designer, and it shows, this may as well just be Kula World 2, and I love it for that.

So the way Kula World worked is that you control a beach ball in some weird floating platform based world, whose main objective was to collect keys to activate the level exit. The game is all grid based, moving forward moves one grid space and jumping moves two. Various obstacles in the level will stop you from advancing, such as spikes, fire hazards, ice that means you can’t change direction while slipping on it, grid spaces that break away after you move off of them, and a bunch of other hazards. In Puzzle Dimension, however, you control a ball in some weird floating platform based world, whose main objective was to collect sunflowers to activate the level exit. The game is all grid based, moving forward moves one grid space and jumping moves two. Various obstacles in the level will stop you from advancing, such as spikes, fire hazards, ice that means you can’t change direction while slipping on it, grid spaces that break away after you move off of them, and a bunch of other hazards. Completely different!

I’m giving Puzzle Dimension a hard time here; it’s an amazing puzzle game. There is a great gravity system that, while is similar to Kula World, the difference is probably the biggest difference between the games. In Kula World if you reached a dead end you can roll onto the other side of the map and the gravity will change to that new side. Gravity works similarly in Puzzle Dimension, however, now there are specific 45 degree panels to change your gravity. Another new mechanic is that each level starts off pixelated, and as your move across the level the ground starts to unpixelate and you get a score bonus. Possibly the greatest part of this mechanic is that even the music starts off with a chiptune feel, and as you traverse the level the music fades from chiptune to a more orchestra based soundtrack. It’s a really neat effect that does a great job in giving the game that extra pizzazz.

Chime

I also played a little bit of Chime to pass the time. I feel Chime is a fun game but I’m just not that good at it. Lately though I’ve been trying to aim for the achievements, and yeah as it turns out it’d probably be beneficial if I was good at this game in my attempt to get them. I enjoy Chime from the musical perspective, and it’s probably one of the best uses of music as a gameplay mechanic that I’ve seen in videogames. And it’s what I blame my constant listening of Moby’s “Ohh Yeah” on.

Listening to the music in Chime and the actual songs, however, is a completely different experience, and this is very apparent with Portal’s “Still Alive” which is featured in the Steam version. Covering the level with your tetromino-like shapes advances the song, however, if you’re bad at the game like me, this can mean certain parts will loop a lot longer than they maybe were originally intended to, with songs taking as long as 10 minutes to complete. Still Alive, for example, is a song at this stage you probably wouldn’t want to hear an extremely extended version of it, and after hearing most of the songs in their original state the extended versions can be a bit weird. As previously said the songs will progress with the level completion. With Still Alive, for example, the drums will only kick in at about 20% level completion. It’s a really cool effect, but some loops don’t really work that well, in my opinion. For instance, 95% to 99% will loop the final “And when you’re dead I will be still alive” section, which again if you’re bad at this game like me, you’ll hear that a lot when trying to cover the last few corners of the game, and it will drive you insane.

Suika A.S+

This week’s visual novel is Suika A.S+, an interesting visual novel from Circus, so all eyes on me I guess. This visual novel is broken up into 4 separate chapters, each one with a different main character and heroine. A really great idea, as it’s like 4 short stories in one game, yet each chapter ties together in rather great ways. The game originally came out in 2001, but I’ve wanting to read this ever since reading the 2006 and 2008 game Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two. Both games follow this four chapter structure, and two of the main designers from Ef were a part of the development of Suika, and that’s enough for me to have high expectations going in, as I absolutely loved Ef. I’ll probably talk about Ef whenever it gets its official English release, but until then here’s my thoughts on Suika!

So since each chapter is in fairness its own story, I have four different story synopses to write, my favourite! Chapter one features Akira, as he returns to the village of Tokiwa, only to reunite with a childhood friend at the shrine and begins to recollect his time in the village years ago. Chapter two revolves around Souji and his interactions with an exiled family in Tokiwa. He meets with the father and daughter family to paint, and then ends up tutoring the daughter due to getting one of the lowest scores in her class. Third chapter involves Yoshikazu trying to balance life with his long term girlfriend, and his extremely jealous younger sister. And finally chapter four has Horishi finding a nameless girl during a visit to the shrine, and taking her in, hoping that she’ll be a good friend for his bedridden younger sister.

Well that all sounded really nice didn’t it. From those synopses you’d get the impression that this is your rather standard visual novel. Well allow me to forcefully remove that rug you seem to be oh so conveniently standing on, because this visual novel is all out fucking insane, people killing people left and right, suicide, murderous intent, time travel, supernatural elements and a bunch of other crazy shit. The first chapter delves into this near the end, so it’s a great bait and switch. You go through the entirety of the first chapter thinking everything’s fine, then eventually you find out the girl’s dad is insane, which makes sense considering his wife and one of his daughters are dead. But then the further you get into it you realise that everything is insane and oh god, what the hell have you gotten yourself mixed up in. The other chapters also have this obviously, but due to them not being chapter one, you’re expecting it to happen, thus making it not as impactful, though still super crazy. In fact, some of them I’d say work even better because of this, as they go in directions you’d never expect.

The different chapters have some interesting connection. You’ll see some characters spread out across different chapters in rather inventive ways. In the first chapter Akira will come across a weird girl selling a bunch of small items for 10 yen each, thinking nothing of it he buys two things and continues on his way back home from the shrine. Then in chapter two, that girl is trying to run away from someone trying to kill her. She left her wallet at home and digs through her pockets looking for any cash for the bus. Some random guy shows up asking if she’s selling the small items she threw on the floor trying to look for money. The guy buys two items, giving her enough money for the phone to call Souji, and effectively saving her life. Some other little nods are here and there, such as the father from chapter 2 being the painter behind a large plot device in chapter 1, the main character from chapter 4 visiting the shrine and conversing with the heroine from chapter 1, a character that appears near the end of chapter 2 being a pivotal character in chapter 3, and so on. Each story happens concurrently and it’s a great way to make the village feel extremely connected while at the same time having their own extremely messed up adventures.

The way that the story is told is also pretty great. Along with each chapter containing its own main character, the story is also told via a multitude of characters. The story can and will also cut back and forward with flashbacks to fill in the past and how they affect the story at hand. What’s great about this is that, despite every narrator telling the story from their own perspective, it gives you as the reader a great coverage of all the events of the story, and also allows main characters to go missing or whatnot and let other perspectives fill in that time. This can be a bit weird from a gameplay perspective, however, as there is no way of telling whose eyes you’re currently seeing the story through. And on top of that, you as the reader can have more information on what’s going on than the characters, meaning when making plot decisions you’ll have more knowledge than you probably should have, as it can work to your disadvantage. For instance, as the player in chapter 2, I knew the main character was at the heroine’s house. This meant, as the heroine, when given the option to phone her own home or the main character’s home, I instinctively went with her own home, which ended badly to say the least.

There’s also a ton of content in this game. There are six routes spread across the four main chapters. Five of these are available from the start, with the 6th being unlocked so to speak after completing the full story. One of the endings of chapter 4 can only be accessed by going everything perfect in the previous 3 chapters, but apart from that each chapter can conclude in their own ways without affecting the other chapter's main story. On top of all that there are also side stories to explore the story of the village in more detail, this combined with each chapter taking about 5 hours each means there’s quite a bit of content to be had here.

So yeah, needless to say I really enjoyed this visual novel. The stories don’t rely on each other to the point that they are just four really cool stories, but at the same time manage to interweave the characters in such a way that it does feel like a big village that went through a crazy month. The stories themselves also strike that fine line between being set in some kind of plausible reality yet still throwing hints of supernatural conduct here and there and, while some of these do end up being red herrings, they do it in a way that’s not completely stupid. I’m looking at you Unwound Future.

Rio – Rainbow Gate!

Now this is an anime that’s been on my computer for months but I never found the time to watch it. I finally did this week, so hooray! Rio – Rainbow Gate is a weird anime as it’s based on a Tecmo series of pachinko games that feature the titular character Rio Rollins. Pretty crazy right? How does one take a simple poster girl from pachinko games into a fully fledged 13 part anime? By making everything completely goddamn crazy, of course!

The main story revolves around the titular Rio Rollins, the ‘Goddess of Victory’ at Howard Resort, a giant island based casino, in which she is a popular dealer. Every time she enters the room the casino gets a breath of good luck, and people around her start winning big jackpots and getting a ton of luck. This, already, is weird. Surely any proper casino would immediately fire any dealer who you know was helping people win money from the casino. Having said that the casino is famous for their ‘Goddess of Victory’ so maybe that’s part of it. You learn throughout the series that Rio is a holder of a gate, one of 13 magical cards that only the best card dealers own. Eventually other gate holders show up to challenge Rio to a gate battle, in which each party bets their own gate on a casino based game. Rio turns out to be the daughter of the only person ever able to collect all 13 cards, and drives to collect them all to be closer to her mother.

Rio is also a ‘Roll Ruler’, which means she can manipulate luck through illusions. These illusions have some kind of sense but it’s mostly used to make games of chance a lot more interesting. For instance, the first episode contains a five card poker match. After discarding part of their hand, Rio’s illusion starts up, showing a giant maze of cards that both players traverse to try and get the cards they want. This, weirdly enough, is probably the illusion that makes the most sense. As these Roll Ruler illusions are pretty much just the Shadow Realm equivalent for non-children’s card games. The games start with poker and roulette and eventually evolve into ridiculousness like space pinball and what is essentially AaAaAA in reverse. Some of the people you fight end up showing up later in the series as good guys, or at least better guys. One some example is the less than subtle Elvis-sama, a womanizer whose only real character trait seems to be he’s surrounded by woman all the time.

Like most anime nowadays it’s also got a bunch of fanservice. Almost every main character is female, Rio will often be wearing skimpy outfits as chosen by the owner of Howard Resort, and losing games in gate battles might also have a losing clothes stipulation. It’s sort of par for the course whether that’s a good thing or not, at the very least it’s usually brought on for humour rather than extended shots to try and boost viewers. All of this, however, is nothing compared to the best fanservice comes in the form of a Tecmo nod. One of the characters Jack Mighty, who is the spitting image of Caillou from Recettear, has to hack the security of Howard Resort due to someone trying to take over. How does he try and bypass security you ask? Well, he does it by playing some motherfucking Star Force, that’s how. And it’s not just like a weird anime styled version of the game or anything like that, he types some stuff on the screen, the camera zooms in onto the monitor and it’s all ROM CHECK ROM0 OK ROM1 OK ROM2 OK ROM3 OK STAR FORCE INSERT COIN. Jack then essentially says he made a program to bypass security, but instead of making it a text based hack he just programmed Star Force so it’d be more fun.

So this isn’t a section that will be used that much but I figured I don’t really have many places to showcase my silly mash-ups so why not? Because they’re terrible that why, but yet here it is!

So I make stupid mash-ups, here is one of said stupid mash-ups. Combining the silliness of the DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64 with that Drake song what has three other more talented rappers in it for no real reason. I give you Forever DK.

Yeah I have more time than sense over here!

So the story starts off with ZombiePie sleeping in class, only to get woken up by MattyFTM during lunch. Marino also shows up a little after the fact as Zombie starts to tease Matty. They tell Zombie that Caravella-senpai needs to use the room usually reversed for the Giant Bomb Club, and therefore will have to relocate for the week to another room in a different part of Whiskey High. After school, Zombie means up with his comic relief ridden best friend Sweep and heads over to the new room. However, Zombie in his sleepy state, didn’t remember the room number, and found himself in the wrong room! The room is occupied by Newton, Sora and Kris, the only members of the Anime Vice club, as they are completely shocked by the new visitors. After some basic introduction, Sweep drags Zombie away and goes to find the room they’re meant to be in. After the Giant Bomb meeting, Zombie heads to his shoe locker where he meets an incredibly shy Newton also heading home. Zombie tries talking to Newton but he just locks up, so Zombie decides to leave him alone. As he leaves Newton shouts after him, and they walk home together. Newton reveals without any staff covering the Anime Vice club, and with not enough members, the school board at Whiskey High is thinking about closing the club. Newton bashfully asks Zombie if he and Sweep could join, which causes Zombie to get flustered for reasons he can’t understand. Zombie agrees, and Newton walks off extremely happy. Zombie completely brushes off the weird feeling he got when looking into Newton’s eyes, and walks his apartment, hoping that his simple life didn’t just get a whole lot more complicated.

...What?

#1 Edited by Psycosis (390 posts) -

I’m going to make this quick, I was out drinking yesterday because it was Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday. So yeah that was a lot of fun, but that’s not important right now! Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog of visual novels, videogames, anime and other junk. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time working on a visual novel concept in which you play as ZombiePie, seducing the Anime Vice mods. So much time, in fact, I’ve written up a 5 page design document and tried to convince a friend of mine to draw some of the anime versions of mods that I’ve cooked up. So that could be hilarious, but until then, let’s get on with the blog!

Nimbus

So after telling myself I’d play a bunch more Nimbus after last week’s blog I went ahead and did exactly that! I really enjoyed this game, so much in fact that I wrote up a review saying how much I enjoyed it. My advice is that you should go read that, recommend it so I can get those review quests done, and then come back here. Done that? No? Well whatever you can’t stop me this is MY BLOG DAMMIT.

Something I didn’t end up covering in the review is the music, partially due to me forgetting about it but also because most of the time I had the game on mute and was instead listening to The Hood Internet mixtapes. I really like the music in this game, on both a musical and a gameplay perspective. Musically I felt the tracks were really good, and had a nice happy feel to them which coincides with the graphics perfectly. I do also like how the music for the levels are the same as the music for the world map, meaning the tracks never stop and start unless switching worlds. Some of the level tracks even gave me a little Donkey Kong Country 2 vibe, which as everyone knows is the greatest game of all time and also has the greatest soundtrack ever produced for any form of media ever. On that note the addition of having giant coins to hunt in the levels is also reminiscent of the giant DK coins in each Donkey Kong Country 2 level... Damn it! Noumenon Games tricked me into loving their game via subconsciously reminding me of the greatest game ever created! Those fiends!

I kid around but Nimbus is still a great game in its own right, though the DKC2 coin mentality is just one wink and nod this game has, intentionally or not. The game opens with a great Ghosts ‘n Goblins homage, in which a giant one eyed villain who could past for Kracko Jr’s brother, steals away a ship that looks identical to your own, except it’s pink. The graphics especially in the first world is reminiscent of Green Hill Zone with its green grass and brown chequered dirt.

Oh no! My girlfriend ship!

Nimbus came out in October of last year, and it’s still being updated with new levels! Even in between my review and this blog, a new patch was released, fixing the level load problems I talked about, and even adding three new levels to the game! I encourage anyone who’s interested to check it out on Steam, both in that it’s a great game and well worth the low price, and that I need more people on my leaderboard to HUMILIATE AND DESTROY.

Puzzle Dimension

If there’s one thing in this videogame world that I love more than anything it’s the weird Playstation 1 games that were released. If there was one game I would love to have a new version of on Steam is Devil Dice. Another great game from this list is Kula World, so when I stumbled onto the Steam page for Puzzle Dimension and thought to myself “wait is this just a Kula World rip-off?” and immediately bought it. As it turns out it’s totally made by the same main designer, and it shows, this may as well just be Kula World 2, and I love it for that.

So the way Kula World worked is that you control a beach ball in some weird floating platform based world, whose main objective was to collect keys to activate the level exit. The game is all grid based, moving forward moves one grid space and jumping moves two. Various obstacles in the level will stop you from advancing, such as spikes, fire hazards, ice that means you can’t change direction while slipping on it, grid spaces that break away after you move off of them, and a bunch of other hazards. In Puzzle Dimension, however, you control a ball in some weird floating platform based world, whose main objective was to collect sunflowers to activate the level exit. The game is all grid based, moving forward moves one grid space and jumping moves two. Various obstacles in the level will stop you from advancing, such as spikes, fire hazards, ice that means you can’t change direction while slipping on it, grid spaces that break away after you move off of them, and a bunch of other hazards. Completely different!

I’m giving Puzzle Dimension a hard time here; it’s an amazing puzzle game. There is a great gravity system that, while is similar to Kula World, the difference is probably the biggest difference between the games. In Kula World if you reached a dead end you can roll onto the other side of the map and the gravity will change to that new side. Gravity works similarly in Puzzle Dimension, however, now there are specific 45 degree panels to change your gravity. Another new mechanic is that each level starts off pixelated, and as your move across the level the ground starts to unpixelate and you get a score bonus. Possibly the greatest part of this mechanic is that even the music starts off with a chiptune feel, and as you traverse the level the music fades from chiptune to a more orchestra based soundtrack. It’s a really neat effect that does a great job in giving the game that extra pizzazz.

Chime

I also played a little bit of Chime to pass the time. I feel Chime is a fun game but I’m just not that good at it. Lately though I’ve been trying to aim for the achievements, and yeah as it turns out it’d probably be beneficial if I was good at this game in my attempt to get them. I enjoy Chime from the musical perspective, and it’s probably one of the best uses of music as a gameplay mechanic that I’ve seen in videogames. And it’s what I blame my constant listening of Moby’s “Ohh Yeah” on.

Listening to the music in Chime and the actual songs, however, is a completely different experience, and this is very apparent with Portal’s “Still Alive” which is featured in the Steam version. Covering the level with your tetromino-like shapes advances the song, however, if you’re bad at the game like me, this can mean certain parts will loop a lot longer than they maybe were originally intended to, with songs taking as long as 10 minutes to complete. Still Alive, for example, is a song at this stage you probably wouldn’t want to hear an extremely extended version of it, and after hearing most of the songs in their original state the extended versions can be a bit weird. As previously said the songs will progress with the level completion. With Still Alive, for example, the drums will only kick in at about 20% level completion. It’s a really cool effect, but some loops don’t really work that well, in my opinion. For instance, 95% to 99% will loop the final “And when you’re dead I will be still alive” section, which again if you’re bad at this game like me, you’ll hear that a lot when trying to cover the last few corners of the game, and it will drive you insane.

Suika A.S+

This week’s visual novel is Suika A.S+, an interesting visual novel from Circus, so all eyes on me I guess. This visual novel is broken up into 4 separate chapters, each one with a different main character and heroine. A really great idea, as it’s like 4 short stories in one game, yet each chapter ties together in rather great ways. The game originally came out in 2001, but I’ve wanting to read this ever since reading the 2006 and 2008 game Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two. Both games follow this four chapter structure, and two of the main designers from Ef were a part of the development of Suika, and that’s enough for me to have high expectations going in, as I absolutely loved Ef. I’ll probably talk about Ef whenever it gets its official English release, but until then here’s my thoughts on Suika!

So since each chapter is in fairness its own story, I have four different story synopses to write, my favourite! Chapter one features Akira, as he returns to the village of Tokiwa, only to reunite with a childhood friend at the shrine and begins to recollect his time in the village years ago. Chapter two revolves around Souji and his interactions with an exiled family in Tokiwa. He meets with the father and daughter family to paint, and then ends up tutoring the daughter due to getting one of the lowest scores in her class. Third chapter involves Yoshikazu trying to balance life with his long term girlfriend, and his extremely jealous younger sister. And finally chapter four has Horishi finding a nameless girl during a visit to the shrine, and taking her in, hoping that she’ll be a good friend for his bedridden younger sister.

Well that all sounded really nice didn’t it. From those synopses you’d get the impression that this is your rather standard visual novel. Well allow me to forcefully remove that rug you seem to be oh so conveniently standing on, because this visual novel is all out fucking insane, people killing people left and right, suicide, murderous intent, time travel, supernatural elements and a bunch of other crazy shit. The first chapter delves into this near the end, so it’s a great bait and switch. You go through the entirety of the first chapter thinking everything’s fine, then eventually you find out the girl’s dad is insane, which makes sense considering his wife and one of his daughters are dead. But then the further you get into it you realise that everything is insane and oh god, what the hell have you gotten yourself mixed up in. The other chapters also have this obviously, but due to them not being chapter one, you’re expecting it to happen, thus making it not as impactful, though still super crazy. In fact, some of them I’d say work even better because of this, as they go in directions you’d never expect.

The different chapters have some interesting connection. You’ll see some characters spread out across different chapters in rather inventive ways. In the first chapter Akira will come across a weird girl selling a bunch of small items for 10 yen each, thinking nothing of it he buys two things and continues on his way back home from the shrine. Then in chapter two, that girl is trying to run away from someone trying to kill her. She left her wallet at home and digs through her pockets looking for any cash for the bus. Some random guy shows up asking if she’s selling the small items she threw on the floor trying to look for money. The guy buys two items, giving her enough money for the phone to call Souji, and effectively saving her life. Some other little nods are here and there, such as the father from chapter 2 being the painter behind a large plot device in chapter 1, the main character from chapter 4 visiting the shrine and conversing with the heroine from chapter 1, a character that appears near the end of chapter 2 being a pivotal character in chapter 3, and so on. Each story happens concurrently and it’s a great way to make the village feel extremely connected while at the same time having their own extremely messed up adventures.

The way that the story is told is also pretty great. Along with each chapter containing its own main character, the story is also told via a multitude of characters. The story can and will also cut back and forward with flashbacks to fill in the past and how they affect the story at hand. What’s great about this is that, despite every narrator telling the story from their own perspective, it gives you as the reader a great coverage of all the events of the story, and also allows main characters to go missing or whatnot and let other perspectives fill in that time. This can be a bit weird from a gameplay perspective, however, as there is no way of telling whose eyes you’re currently seeing the story through. And on top of that, you as the reader can have more information on what’s going on than the characters, meaning when making plot decisions you’ll have more knowledge than you probably should have, as it can work to your disadvantage. For instance, as the player in chapter 2, I knew the main character was at the heroine’s house. This meant, as the heroine, when given the option to phone her own home or the main character’s home, I instinctively went with her own home, which ended badly to say the least.

There’s also a ton of content in this game. There are six routes spread across the four main chapters. Five of these are available from the start, with the 6th being unlocked so to speak after completing the full story. One of the endings of chapter 4 can only be accessed by going everything perfect in the previous 3 chapters, but apart from that each chapter can conclude in their own ways without affecting the other chapter's main story. On top of all that there are also side stories to explore the story of the village in more detail, this combined with each chapter taking about 5 hours each means there’s quite a bit of content to be had here.

So yeah, needless to say I really enjoyed this visual novel. The stories don’t rely on each other to the point that they are just four really cool stories, but at the same time manage to interweave the characters in such a way that it does feel like a big village that went through a crazy month. The stories themselves also strike that fine line between being set in some kind of plausible reality yet still throwing hints of supernatural conduct here and there and, while some of these do end up being red herrings, they do it in a way that’s not completely stupid. I’m looking at you Unwound Future.

Rio – Rainbow Gate!

Now this is an anime that’s been on my computer for months but I never found the time to watch it. I finally did this week, so hooray! Rio – Rainbow Gate is a weird anime as it’s based on a Tecmo series of pachinko games that feature the titular character Rio Rollins. Pretty crazy right? How does one take a simple poster girl from pachinko games into a fully fledged 13 part anime? By making everything completely goddamn crazy, of course!

The main story revolves around the titular Rio Rollins, the ‘Goddess of Victory’ at Howard Resort, a giant island based casino, in which she is a popular dealer. Every time she enters the room the casino gets a breath of good luck, and people around her start winning big jackpots and getting a ton of luck. This, already, is weird. Surely any proper casino would immediately fire any dealer who you know was helping people win money from the casino. Having said that the casino is famous for their ‘Goddess of Victory’ so maybe that’s part of it. You learn throughout the series that Rio is a holder of a gate, one of 13 magical cards that only the best card dealers own. Eventually other gate holders show up to challenge Rio to a gate battle, in which each party bets their own gate on a casino based game. Rio turns out to be the daughter of the only person ever able to collect all 13 cards, and drives to collect them all to be closer to her mother.

Rio is also a ‘Roll Ruler’, which means she can manipulate luck through illusions. These illusions have some kind of sense but it’s mostly used to make games of chance a lot more interesting. For instance, the first episode contains a five card poker match. After discarding part of their hand, Rio’s illusion starts up, showing a giant maze of cards that both players traverse to try and get the cards they want. This, weirdly enough, is probably the illusion that makes the most sense. As these Roll Ruler illusions are pretty much just the Shadow Realm equivalent for non-children’s card games. The games start with poker and roulette and eventually evolve into ridiculousness like space pinball and what is essentially AaAaAA in reverse. Some of the people you fight end up showing up later in the series as good guys, or at least better guys. One some example is the less than subtle Elvis-sama, a womanizer whose only real character trait seems to be he’s surrounded by woman all the time.

Like most anime nowadays it’s also got a bunch of fanservice. Almost every main character is female, Rio will often be wearing skimpy outfits as chosen by the owner of Howard Resort, and losing games in gate battles might also have a losing clothes stipulation. It’s sort of par for the course whether that’s a good thing or not, at the very least it’s usually brought on for humour rather than extended shots to try and boost viewers. All of this, however, is nothing compared to the best fanservice comes in the form of a Tecmo nod. One of the characters Jack Mighty, who is the spitting image of Caillou from Recettear, has to hack the security of Howard Resort due to someone trying to take over. How does he try and bypass security you ask? Well, he does it by playing some motherfucking Star Force, that’s how. And it’s not just like a weird anime styled version of the game or anything like that, he types some stuff on the screen, the camera zooms in onto the monitor and it’s all ROM CHECK ROM0 OK ROM1 OK ROM2 OK ROM3 OK STAR FORCE INSERT COIN. Jack then essentially says he made a program to bypass security, but instead of making it a text based hack he just programmed Star Force so it’d be more fun.

So this isn’t a section that will be used that much but I figured I don’t really have many places to showcase my silly mash-ups so why not? Because they’re terrible that why, but yet here it is!

So I make stupid mash-ups, here is one of said stupid mash-ups. Combining the silliness of the DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64 with that Drake song what has three other more talented rappers in it for no real reason. I give you Forever DK.

Yeah I have more time than sense over here!

So the story starts off with ZombiePie sleeping in class, only to get woken up by MattyFTM during lunch. Marino also shows up a little after the fact as Zombie starts to tease Matty. They tell Zombie that Caravella-senpai needs to use the room usually reversed for the Giant Bomb Club, and therefore will have to relocate for the week to another room in a different part of Whiskey High. After school, Zombie means up with his comic relief ridden best friend Sweep and heads over to the new room. However, Zombie in his sleepy state, didn’t remember the room number, and found himself in the wrong room! The room is occupied by Newton, Sora and Kris, the only members of the Anime Vice club, as they are completely shocked by the new visitors. After some basic introduction, Sweep drags Zombie away and goes to find the room they’re meant to be in. After the Giant Bomb meeting, Zombie heads to his shoe locker where he meets an incredibly shy Newton also heading home. Zombie tries talking to Newton but he just locks up, so Zombie decides to leave him alone. As he leaves Newton shouts after him, and they walk home together. Newton reveals without any staff covering the Anime Vice club, and with not enough members, the school board at Whiskey High is thinking about closing the club. Newton bashfully asks Zombie if he and Sweep could join, which causes Zombie to get flustered for reasons he can’t understand. Zombie agrees, and Newton walks off extremely happy. Zombie completely brushes off the weird feeling he got when looking into Newton’s eyes, and walks his apartment, hoping that his simple life didn’t just get a whole lot more complicated.

...What?

#2 Posted by DocHaus (1331 posts) -

Oh good, the NewtenxZombiePie fic is going to give me nightmares. 
 
Also, why did you watch Rainbow Gate? Was it at least funny to watch, because I just couldn't get past the first episode.

#3 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Man, I wish I went to Whiskey High.

#4 Posted by Daroki (712 posts) -

I just wish I could bring Rio to Wendover with me for a few hours so I could get some money to get Shadows of the Damned, Alice: Madness Returns, and a new Ferrari.

#5 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

Visual novels are serious business.

Good lord, you have scary ideas.

#6 Posted by Psycosis (390 posts) -

@JJWeatherman: Yes sir they are! (on both comments!)

@Daroki: I also want this! Man the amount of money I've drunkenly lost at casinos is rather embarrassing. Maybe the whole 'completely drunk' thing has something to do with it.

@Claude: By the rate that this has been going maybe this visual novel will actually be made and it'll be really like you're at Whiskey High!

But probably not, my attention span is

@DocHaus: I wouldn't say it was incredibly funny, I got a few chuckles here and there, but I think the Star Force moment was the funniest for me. I didn't find the series bad, it falls into a rather standard formula of 'bad guy shows up, challenges Rio, Rio uses Jedi mind tricks and beats bad guy'. This is pretty much it until half way through or so when everything starts tying together into a much larger plot based on the gate cards. I don't regret watching it, but it's not for everyone, and if you didn't like the first episode (or what I wrote about it) then yeah fair to say you probably won't like it.

#7 Posted by Sparklykiss (1964 posts) -

I am so pumped for this Visual Novel. So very pumped. I love your mash-ups, that's old news. But your review and coverage of Nimbus here make me insanely curious. It seems like it'd be right up my alley.

Moderator
#8 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Will the non-mod/staff users be involved in your visual novel? Will I be the quirky, mentally unstable comic relief?
 
Actually, the thought of Whiskey High has got my mind racing about a potential Whiskey game. It'd be an RPG set in college, all the major users would be there, and you'd be able to make your own character. That's all I have.

#9 Posted by Wraith1 (561 posts) -

you sure have the greatest/scariest ideas for a visual novel
 
I also want to know if non-mod/staff members will be involved because I kinda want to be part of whisky high

#10 Posted by rmanthorp (3944 posts) -

@JJWeatherman said:

Visual novels are serious business.

Good lord, you have scary ideas.

Moderator
#11 Posted by Psycosis (390 posts) -

@Sparklykiss: It's either going to be the great or worst thing ever, probably both! And yeah I've been really enjoying Nimbus, you can probably find gameplay videos on the youtubes if you want to find out more, but I recommend it.

@Video_Game_King: @Wraith1: I've been taking a stance of only mod/staff people will appear in the visual novel, so unless I get convinced otherwise it'll probably stay that way. Though maybe they'll be references to other users in some spots, maybe the class test results will have a bunch of users on it, who knows!