Game Review #002: Spirit Parade (Demo)

Spirit Parade (Demo)

Title: Spirit Parade (Demo)
Developer: Lettuce Waltz
Language: English
Download?Commercial (Demo)
Disclaimer: I am friends with the writer of this game, Lore, so I will try to remain as objective as I can in this review.
Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis:
The story centers on Nara, a cynical 17-year-old girl who mostly shut herself off from the world after contracting spinal polio at a young age and becoming unable to walk. One night, a festival is going on in town. As she goes through the various stalls, things become hazier and gradually Nara finds herself surrounded by people with ears, tails, and horns… then suddenly her clothes and wheelchair disappear! After a run-in with a rambunctious kitsune named Hayato and a scary-looking dragon officer of death named Shuye, Nara finds out that her soul has left her body and been transported to the Spirit World, where all the demons and spirits are celebrating a month-long festival. Until the end of this festival, she won’t be able to return home… Will Nara survive long enough in the Spirit World to go back in one piece? Will she be able to get over her bitterness borne from the past, or will she be engulfed in hatred and lose sight of what’s truly important? Everything after the cut is a spoiler. Please read with caution and also note that I will never show the choice menus as well as it will probably ultimately spoil the experience for my readers.

Right when you first start, I’m given a prompt to insert a name. Of course, I could go with the default name, “Nara”, but since I’m playing it – I want to immerse myself as much as I can so I’m going to …

(*・艸・)

(*・艸・)

use my name of course! (*・艸・) After all, I am in her point of view, right? Anyway, let’s go!

Right away, there’s a legend: there’s a running parallel  to our world is another one where spirits and demons dwell. As we, the humans work and play, in the other world, the same is also true. The fact that demons and dragons appear are obviously stuff from the myths and fairy tales – but they stick to themselves. The world is close but it truly is distant. Once a year, in every July, supposedly the worlds are open to one another. In the Spirit World, beautiful demons go through while we humans hold special festivals, unaware of their presences among us. Of course, this is when people spend time with one another, romantically and spiritually, and reflect our feelings for another…

Of course, our heroine is having none of that crap!! (⌤⌗) She just thinks that it’s just a ploy for merchants to sell their merchandise. She doesn’t want to believe that demons, or rather, ‘youkai’, come over to our world during the festival on every July.

But then she admits that she doesn’t even believe in youkai so why bother?

Lily goes on to say that her family tried to invite her out but she shut them out. She believes the festival to be lame and exploitative.

Though, it does get lonely when you’re by yourself, isn’t it? There’s no harm in peeking, right? |・ω・`)

It is important to note that Lily is physically disabled. She is in a wheelchair.

There’s even animated smoke!

Soon, she arrives to the festival by herself after some thoughts. It seems that Lily isn’t fond of crowds at all; all she’s concerned about is getting some books at the book vendors.

She talks about her family and how annoying it could be for them trying to walk eggshells around her, if you’ll forgive the metaphor, about her disability. Not to mention, she had rejected earlier! She didn’t want to explain why she’s there after saying no to them before!

On her way to the vendor, she feels a chill! It doesn’t take long but something is happening?!

And they're actually falling too!! (๑✧∀✧๑)

And they’re actually falling too!! (๑✧∀✧๑)

But the book stalls disappeared!! (」・ω・)」And then Lily suddenly fell off her wheelchair too! Oh no!!! (>囗<?)

エエェェェ(●’Д’●)ェェェエエ

エエェェェ(●’Д’●)ェェェエエ

エエェェェ(●’Д’●)ェェェエエ エエェェェ(●’Д’●)ェェェエエ エエェェェ(●’Д’●)ェェェエエ Her clothes are gone?! And her wheelchair!? What is going on here!! Σ(゚Д゚;≡;゚д゚)

Because of Lily’s righteous surprise and shock, she starts to the attract some very unwarranted attention! Oh no! Get out of there, Lily!

━(◯Δ◯∥)━ン

━(◯Δ◯∥)━ン

Lily closes her eyes and tries to assure herself that these youkai aren’t real – they can’t possibly be real! They have to be a dream, right? This isn’t reality, right?! (c=(c=(c=(c=(゚ロ゚;c=

No such luck! They’re still there! And worse yet, they were going to try to eat her! Get out of there, Lily! ε=ε=ε=┏(゚ロ゚;)┛

As Lily tries to figure something out, there’s these two girls whispering. Who are they?! Are they here to help?

They confront the youkai and they realize that these two girls are their…bosses?!

The trio tries to convince these girls that they should totally eat Lily because apparently, humans are a delicacy!  But the girl on the right keeps whispering to the left (dubbed appropriately Quiet Girl and Angry Girl) something to which the Angry Girl apparently agrees with.

Look, friends, she’s just trying to buy a book to read! Please don’t eat Lily!

…Oh. After a threat with their lives, the three youkais goes away. Σ(°Д°;≡;°д°)

I don’t know who they are, but I’m forever grateful to them! But then Lily points something….

Oh, they're just kitsunes (^ω^ ≡ °д°) BUT WHY ARE THEY STILL ANGRY!

Oh, they’re just kitsunes (^ω^ ≡ °д°) BUT WHY ARE THEY STILL ANGRY!

Oh, they’re kitsunes! But maybe they’ll be more friendly to Lily since they helped and spared her life!

Thank you so much!

It’s then that one of them tells Lily that she’s in the Spirit World now. Of course, we kinda figured that out with the crab and the others. The kitsune girl tells us to move so they can get Lily some clothes but Lily can’t help worry about her fate – should she really trust these kitsunes?

They tell her that they much prefer fish instead, don’t worry. Lily still doesn’t believe them, even in her situation (naked and on the ground) but eh.

Finally, we’re introduced to the sisters! Sakuya and Asuka are their names, how lovely! (´▽`ʃƪ) Asuka is the more quiet one while Sakuya is the more outgoing one. Lily introduces herself to the twins but realizes that there’s something familiar about the two somehow.

Never mind that, though! The sisters try to get Lily moving but she can’t walk. They insist but Lily tries to make them understand – no, she really can’t! And yet, when she was pulled up on her feet, she realizes that she can stand. Finally, she explains that she’s normally in a wheelchair and couldn’t walk normally.

Sakuya doesn’t quite understand what a wheelchair is but seems to understand the fact that, at least in the human world, Lily can’t normally move around without the wheelchair’s help. But even though she’s in the Spirit World, Lily wonders if this happens to other humans – but Sakuya nor Asuka would know since Lily is the first human they’ve encountered.

And yet, Lily is just amazed overall that she can even stand up! But she held onto Sakuya and Asuka on the way to get some new clothes.

(ღ˘⌣˘ღ) How pretty!!

(ღ˘⌣˘ღ) How pretty!!

They find the perfect outfit for her! (ღ˘⌣˘ღ) And it looked like that they even braided her hair for her!

After some chatter, Sakuya invites Lily to stay with them, since obviously Lily doesn’t have a place to stay. Lily’s a little conflicted by it – since she doesn’t have any money to pay them back, plus she doesn’t completely trust them yet. Since she’s been a shut in for a while, she’s worried how she could even make it on the outside.

Suddenly, Asuka points out to someone named Hayato.

(ᅌᴗᅌ* ) Oh.

(ᅌᴗᅌ* ) Oh.

Sakuya tells him that Lily’s going to stay with them (so he better not try anything) and then some banter happens~! It’s then that the two are introduced.

Immediately, he takes a liking to her but Lily seems pretty cold to him. Though, when she first sees him, she did mutter to herself that he’d be good looking without the food stuffed in his mouth. What an ice princess!! (✌゚∀゚)☞

Hayato notes that there’s something familiar about her but Lily brushes him off. He tries to get closer to her to get a closer inspection. And he does realize that she is Lily (duh (」・ω・)」). But apparently he didn’t pick up her name till just now.

Lily says she doesn’t know Hayato but Hayato swears that he did! Not only that, he knew her when she was a little girl, even!

Then suddenly, she remembers! She had met him when she was a child and apparently forgot about him over the years. ( ´∀`) Ah! Lily points out that he was younger back then as well but Hayato explains that youkai age faster in the Human World and since he stayed there for too long, he’s like that. (๑✧∀✧๑) I think I know who I want to go after…!!!

After some teasing, Lily realizes that her childhood friend, Yato, had been a youkai all along. Lily hits him in the crotch for “stepping all over [her] pure maiden heart”! (*≧艸≦) The twins try to pry into her story but she doesn’t allow it. Soon, everyone makes their way to the house!

And it’s beautiful as it is grand. To be fair, Lily is a shut in but… still. The house is beautiful and huge! Wow! (*・艸・)

After making their way inside, Sakuya warns Lily about Mikio wandering around who is older than even Hayato! They make snide remakes about him, though, about being a freeloader – Lily does point out that even with the size of the mansion, it shouldn’t matter.  Sakuya assures her that their assessment of their older brother is right. We’ll see about that! (๑✧∀✧๑)

It doesn’t take long till we’re directed to Lily’s room. Apparently, their younger sister had used it up until she got married the year before – she just left it furnished like that?! (∩⌣̀_⌣́) But at least Lily has a place to sleep!

Lily tries to count up the family members, including the parents but Sakuya says they’re on a long journey that won’t end till the end of the next year for another honeymoon. Sakuya casually states that if there are anymore siblings – the twins are out of there!!

Lily does get tired, as it’s been extremely eventful for her. (´□`川)The twins, and Hayato, says their goodnights as Lily gets comfortable in the temporary room she’s given.

She starts to reflect what had happened. Not only the Spirit World real, but she’s in it! On top of that, she wonders if she actually wants to go home. Does she even have anything worth going back to? But after clearing her mind, she falls asleep and wakes up back in the room she slept in.

Lily seems to forget where she is though because when Hayato comes in to greet her, she threw it in his face! Well, after she remembered of course! (*・艸・)

After some banter, Hayato invites Lily to breakfast and old habits do die hard!

Soon, she meets the twins!

As they ate breakfast together, the twins start to explain more Lily’s current situation. Rather, the things that she needs to understand since she’s going to have to stay in the Spirit World for an undisclosed amount of time.

First of all, the air is different – there’s a lot of magic in it and since Lily is a human, she’s not used to it. They talk about the portals that allow the youkai to go to the Human World and back but not really the other way around. It is rather strange since Sakuya points out that most of the portals are hidden – it’s one of the reasons why youkai are able to find it easier than humans.

Another thing to note about the Spirit World – time is a lot different! In fact, they see the Human World and are amazed by how fast they grow! It even seems that only days pass by! Only during the festival, time match up with both worlds – three days in the Human World is the same three days in the Spirit World.

Hayato then starts to convince Lily to stay in the Spirit World but I don’t think she needs that much convincing….

And now the twins start talking about the debt that Lily apparently owes them now! Uh-oh!! (๑✧∀✧๑)Lily tries to get around it but they catch her!

The currency in the Spirit World is something called ‘sycees’? Hmmm! (*・艸・) But apparently it’s worth 600 taels of gold. Wait, ‘taels of gold’…? (´⊙ω⊙`)!Naturally, Lily doesn’t have that kind of money!! Immediately, they try to get her to marry Hayato instead  (๑✧∀✧๑) and Lily can pay them back through physical labor instead? No way! ε=ε=ε=┌(๑ʘ∀ʘ)┘

Hayato tells them to chill out and Lily admits that she felt if she refused, she probably would have been killed for it! She continues to admit that she didn’t trust them from the beginning, especially since the kitsune in her world have a reputation to be con artists. Hayato tries to defend Lily further but also really seems to be open to the idea of Lily marrying him….(๑✧∀✧๑)!!!!! YES!!!! I DO!!!

But Lily refuses it. Why?! I know you love him…. !!! ─=≡Σ((( つ•̀ω•́)つ o(╥﹏╥)o Eventually, Sakuya gives in and decides that instead, she just wants to paid back for the clothes, since Lily is Hayato’s childhood friend. Finally, being the childhood friend pays off!! (≧ω≦)ゞ Ah, but there’s a rental fee for the sister’s nightgown!! Wow, these kitsunes… so stingy!!! \(-ㅂ-)/

Hayato then suggests that Lily should stay with the kitsune family until they figure out the portal business. Sakuya then suggests Lily for her to keep active while she’s in the Spirit World so she could get used to the air and walking.

And they’re not kidding – they immediately get started on helping Lily walk around. Lily wonders if she goes back home, would she still be unable to walk? Or is she going to be right back in her original state?

Hayato offers to help but Lily goes to Sakuya and Asuka instead.  Lily points out that while it’s true that the sisters are trying to swindle Lily out of money she doesn’t have, Lily keeps flashing back to an image of her on the ground while someone was next to her. What actually did happen between them back then?

The rest of the day is spent practicing and it’s not hard for Lily to fall back to sleep. After all, it’s her first full day in the Spirit World.

The next day. Lily is extremely sore because she exercised a lot of muscles she hadn’t used in a long time! She meets the sisters outside in the living room while they drank tea and talked among themselves. She starts to talk to them about her condition. She then realizes that although the air was thicker the day before, it didn’t seem that way anymore.

After some teasing, Hayato calls from outside, asking for some help. Since there’s no other means of money, Lily begrudgingly goes and helps him out. He gives her the smallest basket of fish but Lily tells him not to underestimate her just because she’s a girl. He tells her he was just being considerate but Lily picked up the bigger basket only to realize that it’s pretty heavy. ლ(ӨᆸӨ)۳

Oh, Lily! ლ(ӨᆸӨ)۳

Oh, Lily! ლ(ӨᆸӨ)۳

Hayato was going to say something but then another male’s voice chimes in!

Oh, my!! ƪ(♥ﻬ♥)ʃ

Oh, my!! ƪ(♥ﻬ♥)ʃ

A tall, dark, and handsome stranger comes up!! ƪ(♥ﻬ♥)ʃ  Hayato demands to know who he is but he says he wants to talk to Lily instead! Kyaaa!!! ♡o。(๑๏‿ฺ๏๑)。o♡

Lily wonders how people know in this world knows her name until he starts explaining: He’s White Impermanence, one of the gods who preside over the dead and collects their souls.

Well, that got dark. (((( ;°Д°)))) Lily tries to tell him that doesn’t answer her question but before she could finish, he tells her straight up that he’s here for her soul, specifically, and it’s his job to know! (((( ;°Д°)))) RUN, LILY, RUN!

Hayato tries to break the mood by saying his name wrong (on purpose?) but he changes the subject by talking about the fish – it needs to go in the house before it gets spoiled! He even asked a god of death to help him! HAYATO, PLEASE!!! (((( ;°Д°))))

And HE DOES IT! I– Okay. ( ゚д゚)

But apparently the White Impermanence doesn’t have a good sense of direction so he just kind of wanders around the front area while Hayato is trying to get a dazed Lily moving. Yeah. I don’t know what to make of this situation either…( ゚д゚)

Same here, Hayato… (*σᴗσ)(ㅎᴗㅎ ) |‸눈;)

The kitsunes are the only ones who are taking this in stride, that a death god is standing in their house like nothing else… While Lily remains speechless!! I don’t blame her! (*σᴗσ)(ㅎᴗㅎ ) |‸눈;) White Impermanence clarifies that he’s not there to collect it, not yet, but just for her soul in general.

Though, it would have been nice to have been clarified right away!! |Д´)/ But he says he’s there to watch over her. Apparently, she has something called a ‘gray soul’ – so far, she hasn’t don’t particularly more good or evil. Lily is just neutral. Apparently, if she doesn’t go back to the Human World by the end of the month, her mortal body will die. And then her soul will just be under “our” (whoever they are) jurisdiction.

If she’s more good, she’ll be under his jurisdiction; that’s why he’s watching her – for paperwork reasons.

Hayato asks to talk about it from the beginning while the twins excuse themselves. Lily’s not in her actual body? But… what does that mean? Does this explain why she can actually walk?

Lily answers his question with what happened: She was wheeling through the festival and the next thing she knows, her wheelchair is gone and she’s naked. Soon, three youkai showed up and tried to eat her until Sakuya and Asuka showed up and helped. That’s why she’s there now, even though she owes them back.

She goes into a little bit more detail about her condition back home. She mentions that she could only stand up for a few seconds at a time. He clarified that she regained the physical abilities, despite losing her clothes and wheelchair just as Hayato starts to remember what happened 10 years ago.

The god explains that there are reasons why things happen in the Spirit World and in fact, Lily didn’t travel through a portal or any other means. In a way, she’s dead. To be more specific, she’s in a coma so she’s “mostly dead”. As souls don’t carry physical limitations or injuries, that’s why she’s able to walk and her items disappeared.

Lily asks how come she can’t go through things then but it’s explained that she has to be completely dead and tied to a person, object or location. Simply, she’s just a wandering soul.

He goes on to say that the bodies of souls who wander to the Spirit World are protected during the festival as there’s precedence for it before. It’s almost like a hibernation for her body. If she doesn’t get back by the end of the month, the protect will go away. The body will age and die if there’s no proper care.

Apparently, spirits can enter the Spirit World but they cannot leave until the end of the festival – in which the time will be different again as well.

If she doesn’t go home until after her body dies, one of these will happen: if she’s content with the life she had, she’ll pass on. If not, she’ll become a ghost.

Hayato dares to ask him if Lily wanted to stay there instead, and gets the answer that, it’s not her world. A non-answer, fun. Hayato tries to convince her to stay though. She could walk. She could have a life there. She never showed signs that she even wanted to back.

Lily agrees. She couldn’t deny that. But now the question comes up: Is Hayato thinking about Lily’s well being or his own? Does Lily actually want to go back to a world where she feels helpless, inadequate, as her disease slowly kills her?

But Lily realizes that these two guys really don’t know what’s best for her. Only she can make that decision.

Finally, we get the death god’s name – Shuye. For as long as Lily is in this world, Shuye’s going to keep an eye on her and sees whether her soul is white or black. Despite that, though, Shuye doesn’t want Lily to meet Haiyue, the Black Impermanence. He insists that Lily should go with him  to the Underworld instead but Lily considers it since Hayato points out he can’t go there.

But Shuye will give her three days to consider. After some more banter…

He leaves. Lily spends the rest of the day practicing with the twins and Hayato but she can’t concentrate. She keeps thinking about what Shuye and her talked about earlier. It’s hard to say…

That night, Lily could barely sleep. There’s just so many things going through her mind. Ghosts, souls, Underworld, the kitsune family…and then there’s her mortal body.

When Lily goes downstairs, she’s once again greeted by the twins. They suggest for Lily to go out with Hayato while he’s on the hunt for their lunch. Mostly, just to make sure he’s doing his job. Even though it’s clear that Hayato annoys her, she still wants to repay the family’s kindness since her arrival.

It doesn’t take long until Lily gets lost in the woods but eventually finds the spring. After wandering around, she sits down and takes a break.

But then! There’s a rustle in the bushes! After worrying what it could be, after all she is in the Spirit World, she realizes that it could be only one thing…!! |ョд゚)

It’s merely just a rabbit…(ノ゚0゚)ノ~ And Hayato?! But he was in the process of hunting so he falls on Lily, and it doesn’t help that Lily’s not fast enough to move either!! ((((;゜Д゜)))

Hayato asks why Lily is doing there, wandering alone by herself, but Lily admits that it’s his sisters who sent her.

He then asks her if he’s doing okay but Lily tells him not to coddle her – she’s just fine! Hayato says that he’s just concerned but Lily continues to argue until he says to just stop arguing with him all the time. Why should she anyway?

But Lily can’t help but stay silent. She may have a grudge against him but she needs to start letting it go. The two stay silent and Hayato tells her that whatever it is she has against him, she needs to let it go. He’s even trying to at least have her tolerate him a little bit…after all, doesn’t she remember the good ol’ days?

Lily doesn’t want to go back, ever. He must have done something that’s related to her illness and disability to have her hate him so much. It might be though that he does remember? But… there are two sisters who are quite hungry, so they should get moving!

He then starts to teach Lily how to track. It took them awhile that Sakuya and Asuka were pretty annoyed with them but it’s understandable.

Lily does admit that Hayato did have noticeable changes after 10 years had passed and yet…

Soon, we’re into the next day. Lily casually wonders if her adapting to the Spirit World so quickly will make her more bitter if she decides to go home. Instead of worrying about it too much, though, Lily explores the forest a little more.

After her lesson with Hayato, she starts to pick up things around the forest that she hadn’t noticed before. She begrudgingly admits that Hayato is a good teacher, despite it all. She finds a creek shortly after that and decides to put her feet in it.

Hayato reappears in the forest, although Lily is ready to defend herself!! But Hayato whines about how much Lily hits him so he sits down next to her and puts his own feet in the creek as well.

For once, the two are quiet for a while. Until Lily speaks. She notices how quiet he is compared to his younger days. He teases her and says she was just as rowdy.

Then, Lily realizes what bothers her about him – Hayato can’t understand what it’s like from another person’s perspective. He only knows his own. She tries to call him out but he tells her to relax. He asks her about her legs but Lily says it’s fine – she’s getting enough practice and can continue to do so.

Hayato asks how come she couldn’t simply practice walking at home until Lily tells him that she has polio. It’s not something she can just do.

Pictured: What not to say to anyone with a chronic illness and/or disability.

Pictured: What not to say to anyone with a chronic illness and/or disability.

He says some more appalling things until Lily had enough. Instead of using her brute strength, like usual, she just pushes him in the creek. After some final words, she leaves him and heads back to the house. It only took minutes for Hayato to come back, drenched in water.

She ignores him for the rest of the day, and for the first time since she’s arrived there, he made no effort to talk to her either.

The next day, everyone is around, including Shuye! Sakuya suggests they go to the festival but Lily wonders if it’d be awkward with her and Hayato. Sakuya also invites Shuye to come along for the celebration!  And so, he accepts! Only because he doesn’t have anything better to do… (●’o’●)

Despite it all, though, the festival grounds is still as beautiful when Lily first saw it. After much discussion, Lily finally asks what the flaming dusts are but Shuye answers – apparently they’re souls!! @(。・0・)@  Or rather, ‘spirit fire flowers’ – souls that have passed on.

The only reason why they’re there is to have fun! Even passed on souls can have fun, right? ₍₍ ◝(・ω・)◟ ⁾⁾

(✿˘艸˘✿) In a way, Shuye can be really moe!!

(✿˘艸˘✿) In a way, Shuye can be really moe!!

After some banter, everyone starts to have fun at the festival! (✿˘艸˘✿)  ₍₍ ◝(・ω・)◟ ⁾⁾ Food! (๑´ڡ`๑三๑´ڡ`๑) Games!! (⊃‿⊂) ⊂(⋂ヮ⋂)⊃

Everyone have fun!! -(๑☆‿ ☆#)ᕗ

But the twins takes this as a chance to set Lily up with Hayato further by making them get the drinks while they get to know Shuye. Ohohohoo~~~ (๑✧∀✧๑)This point is further pushed when they get the drinks and come back, only to find them missing! Eek!! (((\(@v@)/)))

Hayato suggests that they should just walk around until they find them since the festival isn’t as big as it seems! (๑✧∀✧๑) YES!!! I love your line of thinking, Hayato!!

After the previous day’s incident, it is a bit awkward to walk with Hayato. Lily reflects on her actions, though she felt they were justified. Despite it though, she really doesn’t like it when the mood’s this awkward…

Then, Hayato breaks the silence. In fact, he apologizes for his actions the day before. Lily asks him if he’s genuine or if he’s just saying it for the sake of it. Hayato does admit that he can’t understand her point of view and he just can’t seem to get it, but he’s not stupid enough to realize that he did hurt her. And for that, he apologizes.

He understands that youkai and humans are different in a lot of ways but since he’s in both worlds so much, the lines are just blurred for him. He thinks of youkai and humans are one and the same. Lily tells him that she doesn’t expect full understanding – but he’s got to stop talking down on her and at least try to understand a little bit.

He promises that he’ll do that as long as she considers staying with them instead of the Underworld.

Then…

She smiles at him! Of course, he has to point it out but, Hayato-chan!! So charming!! How can I stay mad at you!!! (ღ˘⌣˘)❛ั◡❛ัღ)

Lily can’t help but bicker with him but I know deep down she loves him!! We just gotta get past the grudge!! (๑╹ڡ╹)╭ ~ ♡

Eventually, they meet up with everyone and they all went back home!

But even after all the fun she had the night before, Lily still couldn’t sleep, the huge problems of everything that’s going on were on her shoulders!!

However, despite everything and despite her feelings towards Hayato, grudge or not, we have to make a decision of where Lily’s going to stay!

After some pleasantries, Lily is left alone with Hayato and Shuye since the twins can’t deal with such a serious talk. Finally, we can make a decision and it’s….!!!!

IT'S THE END?! (((( ;°Д°))))

IT’S THE END?! (((( ;°Д°))))

(((( ;°Д°)))) That’s it?!

That’s the end of the demo?! Well… I guess… all good things couldn’t last forever….Apparently, though I made it to the common ending, although I kinda wanted to see Hayato’s… ahh…!! m(。≧Д≦。)m

This game is really full of eye candy! Wow! The backgrounds, sprites, and even the animations are extremely crisp and beautiful! It really does have that feeling of being in another world entirely and not different from the human world! It would have been nice to see a regular human festival, though, to really show to the player that there is a transition going on (unless we’re led to believe that Nara is already in the Spirit World when her clothes and wheel chair disappears) and to help immerse them more into the world – make it feel like we really are transporting.

The UI is really nice and seems to be completely original! It really fits with the theme of the story and the world, especially since it’s heavily influenced by Asian mythology.  I really like how there’s a status where you can check to see where you lie for two of the guys so you can make your choices accordingly. A neat thing about the actual interface that if you miss something, you can not just go back – but hear the music and even see the same CG again. That’s really helpful, especially if there’s something you may have missed previously. I also really liked that the extras featured a Music Box and a CG Gallery but speaking about the music…

The music was fine but here’s where I had some issues with it. Sometimes, it felt that the music wasn’t looping as smoothly as it could be. That little pause in between the loops kind of took me out of the story at times. And when it completely stopped, I wondered if it’s because it’s about to loop again or if it’s supposed to do that.  At times, it didn’t seem like the music fit with the theme and it’d be nice if there was more than one “silly” song because that song got a little annoying, at least for me.

Now, the actual writing. Nara herself is fine (especially in regards with her cynicism) but I’m a little confused about the time period. Is this during modern times or is this sometime in the past? It’s a little unclear about that (especially since Nara knows about polio) but there’s no definite answers.  It’d be a little nice, especially since Nara keeps commenting about the manual labor that Sakuya keeps asking her to do. Besides her physical capabilities, wouldn’t she also complain about it anyway if she is in the modern times? It’d be understandable if this was more during the past – it’d explain why Nara wouldn’t be complaining as much.

The jokes are funny (especially that “Inu-Yasha” reference) but I didn’t really care for the physical violence that much but then I’ve never been a fan of that anyway.

I really like how the twins are portrayed and I really enjoy Hayato’s parts, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Shuye, though, I may need some extra time to warm up to him. Despite the fact that he seems to be a cooler character and much more serious, it’d be nice if he wasn’t such a stock character. If he had more warmth underneath the subtleties, he’d stand out a little more. Perhaps in his route, he is warmer. Initially, though, he still pretty much feels like a stock character – the type that’s just here to do his job, whatever, and doesn’t really care either way.

The warm moments that I did pick up on was when they went to the festival together and after he tried to deliver the basket of fish to the kitsunes’ house. I do like Shuye and maybe I’ll like him more when I start his route in the full game, whenever it’s released. There were moments though it seemed he was trying to break out of the coldness of the workaholic but it didn’t really seem much – only bits and pieces.

Either way, I do like this game and while Lore is my friend, I can’t wait to see what the finished product will be like!

 

 

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