I’m still not quite sure whether it’s meant to be spelled “Ayashi no Miya” or “Ayashino Miya”… but since I think “Miya” is her name, I’m guessing Ayashino is her surname… but the way characters kept on referring to her as “妖ノ宮”, I kept on thinking that it’s a title as much as a name… I mean, do people normally call you by your full name all the time…? The first kanji character, if not mistaken, means something like ‘spirit’ or ‘demon’, and I thought it referred to the main character’s heritage (she’s half-human, half-demon). Not sure… It’s spelled “Ayashi no Miya”, thanks to aliene’s comment 🙂
So the main character is a princess whose father met an untimely end. In the game’s world, humans and demons lived somewhat side-by-side… that was, until the king’s death. The king had 4 trusted generals; in the wake of his death these generals started to drift apart and had conflicts arising from differing interests. Just because the king managed to establish his kingdom so that humans and demons lived together it didn’t mean all of the generals liked it. And in the middle is the Ayashi no Miya; she has no power, no authority or influence, but she’s the daughter of the previous king and she’s half-demon. In other words, she’s an excellent political tool. Speaking of the main character, I really like her design 😀 She looks like a Japanese doll ^^ She looks young, but eh… one of the guys looks young too. By the way, if you want CG samples of the game in better quality, go to the official website, in the Characters section (3rd menu from the top). I always save my pictures in low quality to conserve space ^^;
When you start the game you get to choose which of the 4 generals you’d want to be Ayashi no Miya’s guardian. It doesn’t matter which general you choose, you can still get an ending with any of the characters. The only difference is that you get to see the conflict between the 4 generals from the point of view of the general you chose.
In the beginning of the game you’d only see the 4 generals on the screen. If you visit and choose to talk to the generals, it might open up a new character for you to talk to. Usually when you visit the general and ask “Tell me about your aide” then the general’s aide (captureable guy) will then be available for you to talk to. And it’s not just the general; when you talk to the other characters sometimes it will open up new characters for you to talk to. You don’t need to talk to them though; you can get to an ending without ever talking to unnecessary characters.
In the bottom-right corner you’ll see a number; this is the number of your turn. The maximum turn you get is 48; if by the 48th turn you haven’t gotten an ending you’ll get a Time Out ending. If you do get an ending at, say, the 30th turn, the game will be over immediately. The game has a lot of endings (including one Suicide ending which you can access anytime), but they can be considered Bad Endings, I guess. I’ve only gotten 10 endings so far, but I think it’s safe to say that the only good endings are the ones where you end up with a guy; the other endings I’ve gotten so far hasn’t been good…
The game felt… very fast, to put it simply. Each captureable male character has around 6-7 CGs. To get an ending with the character, you just need to visit and talk to them repeatedly and choose the correct answers. There are snippets of the main storyline (the generals’ conflict) every turn or so, but with the skip function… the game finishes quick.
Each individual storyline also… lacks romance, I guess. It’s a bit like… Ayashi no Miya got to meet and talk to the guy for a dozen time or so, and he’s suddenly head over heels in love with her. It was a bit… “Huh ?”
Having that said, I think the game actually has a lot of possible outcomes… in the game you can go and visit some sort of a familiar… depending on what you feed it the familiar will change into different forms (you can ask for the food from the general). Not sure what would happen if you keep on feeding the familiar… I didn’t bother to try. Ayashi no Miya can also choose to train her demonic power. The more often you train, the more her demonic power willl increase… I passed a certain point and Miya’s eyes changed into a golden yellow colour and looked like cat’s eyes. When I tried to visit one of the generals, apart from the usual “Talk” and “Stop” I got 2 extra options, “Enslave” and “Curse”. Enslave will put the character under some sort of mind control, and will convert his allegiance to be the same as Ayashi no Miya’s guardian. I’m not quite sure in what ways this would affect the storyline or endings. I didn’t really try… At one time I tried to increase her demonic power more and enslave the generals… Miya’s lips turned red and she looked… umm… really sinister .__. …I didn’t try further ~__~
By the way, one of the captureable men… is your rock star-type character. …how that character managed to exist in a setting that looked way ancient is a wonder in itself. …I thought it’s worth mentioning because… because… when I was playing his route my mind kept on saying “Shamisen does NOT sound like an electric guitar, no matter how you rigged it. Shamisen does NOT sound like an electric guitar…” (repeat). Seiyuu does a good job in this game, although not all of the dialogues were voiced. Secondary characters like the generals were voiced, although characters which didn’t have role as large as the generals in the storyline are left unvoiced. Music is also pretty good; dunno why but my favourite was the Title screen BGM song .__. Other than that… I didn’t really notice the music. I don’t know whether that’s good (that the music blends well into the game) or bad (that the music’s not memorable).
By the way, in the game you have 2 bars on the left and on the right. The bar on the left is the energy you used up when you talk to characters, ask for food from the general etc. Sometimes it also affects what answers you can choose during an event, as some answers will deplete energy and you might not have enough to choose the answer. The bar on the left is Ayashi no Miya’s demonic power. It decreases when you feed the familiar spirit, train your demonic power etc. To replenish these bars you can visit your familiar spirit; one of the options there is to “Rest” (uses up 1 Turn).
One thing I dislike about the game is the whole Recollections section. You can’t replay events, for a start. And the CG gallery is different from the usual… instead of having a blank gallery that gets filled up as you come across the CG, in Ayashi no Miya the CGs simply gets listed as you get them… in other words, you wouldn’t know if you missed a CG.