It’s an indie project donated to charity, Pete. Deep breaths.
Page 31, Game 25: By Your Side by Takafumi
This is a game I could go absolutely HAM on, but that would be douchey. So, let’s keep this relatively simple and not dickish:
This is a relationship sim that is simultaneously dull and cluttered. There are a lot of ideas here, but most of them aren’t developed well enough to matter.
So, you’re a young woman, with the ability to see fairies.
You saved this particular fairly from dehydration. In thanks, she did a little fairy magic, such that whenever you take a picture of somebody, you’ll be able to see whether or not they’re your soulmate. For some reason, you think this is a curse, and swear off taking pictures of anybody ever. However, you do love taking pictures, with a camera from the future. Sometimes you can get technology from the future in this world — it just kind of happens.
All of this is incidental.
The actual visual-novel-style gameplay revolves around your relationship with your girlfriend (whose presence in your life might have something to do with fairy magic, or not), and this is where the game really exhausted my patience. In the morning, you can talk to your girlfriend, or you can do some gardening. The conversations exhaust themselves quickly, and become repetitive. Then, you go to work, taking photographs. Your boss will ask for a photograph of something, and you have to guess which section of the city you can find it in.
Then, you get home. You can talk — again, these become repetitive quickly.
At home, you can dress-up your girlfriend. You can also buy clothes for your girlfriend during the day, and you’ll be rewarded with clothes as a reward for the plot moving forward.
Also, the game keeps track of relationship stats:
The hearts go up every time you talk, even if it winds up being the same conversation you’ve already had and you just fast-forward through it. Energy stayed at 2 the entire game. I have no idea what that means.
Every once in a while, something different will happen. This will either fill in some history on your relationship, or it will be a slightly different conversation.
It’s all just … dull. None of the conversations are particularly interesting, the relationship isn’t terribly interesting. I had a bunch of jokes queued-up to really hammer that point home, but really, trying to avoid being a bag of dicks here. I stuck through it for 40 in-game days, and while the game dropped HINTS that something might happen, nothing actually did. I feel like an hour of gameplay was more than enough time to give it a chance to go somewhere.
Not recommended, obviously. Though I do wish the dev well; this game doesn’t work, but hopefully they learned some stuff they can take forward to the next project.
Maybe this next one will be more my speed:
Page 54, Game 19: Scratch’s Sc0re: Hellish Descent by NinjaHELL! Productions
“More Damned Cards for Old Scratch’s Favorite Game”
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this. Let’s check it out.