Happy New Year! I had a relaxing holiday obsessively playing Dungeon Defenders with hubby non-stop, to the exclusion of anything else… like otome games… aaaanyways. This review is long overdue (.__. ;;)
Let me start by saying that I LOVE this game (*´ー`*) It was funny and romantic, alternately sending me into fits of laughter and massive fangirling. In fact… I love this game so much that I can’t wait for the new Cinderella game to come out…
waiting for the pre-order to open… JUST RAPE MY WALLET ALREADY QUINROSE, TAKE MY CREDIT CARD, TAKE IT! pre-order completed. …*cough*… wait, where was I… ah yes, review…
Gameplay looked simple, but it’s not… it’s a Quinrose game, don’t expect to clear the game without a guide. Every night you get the choose which place to visit the next day, and each guy stays at a fixed location… so if you visit the same place continuously, you’re guaranteed to enter that guy’s route. Once you enter a guy’s route you’d no longer need to select which place to visit. But as to guessing which answer is the right one… use a guide. Not to mention an earlier choice might change a later event completely… for example, in event #4 a guy might ask Wendy where she’d want to go… and depending on your answer, event #18 will be completely different, split into event #18A and #18B. Getting all the events will require a bit of saving and reloading. The game also has one of those sudden Game Overs you can get just by picking 1 wrong answer, so… thankfully it’s pure visual novel without any mini-game and such, so replays were pretty fast.
Speaking of replays, I wish they would implement a 1-press button skip… having to hold down R to skip gets rather tiring. On the bright side, the L button works as a rewind button… you can literally go back in time to the beginning of the current chapter. Yes, you can go back to the point where you have to choose an answer and select a different answer. One thing I really loved about the system… is how you can literally replay *any* scene from the Memories section.
The system is your standard visual novel… the game doesn’t give you a visual hint whether or not you just selected the correct answer. But when you open the game menu, at the bottom you can see an icon of Wendy and the guy whose route you’re on. At the start of the route, the guy’s icon will be at the left corner while Wendy’s at the right corner. As you raise the guy’s affection his icon will slowly move towards the middle. As you raise Wendy’s self-confidence her icon will move towards the middle. Having both icons in the middle next to each other will get you the Best Ending, whereas having the icons sort of near the middle but not next to each other (ie., there’s a distance between Wendy and the guy) will net you the Good Ending.
The story was very well executed, and they have a good reason to make the True End accessible only after you get everyone’s ending. Each route was distinct from one another and didn’t have any shared plot (apart from the fact that they still revolved around the sweets contest). And one interesting thing about this game… you actually get to see the heroine develops and grows. As a main character Wendy has her own issues, and as you play the game you get to see the guy falling for Wendy and Wendy herself learning to overcome her issues… it made for a very engaging game, to me, as I could sympathize with Wendy and be happy for her whenever she got over her issues. And for a game with such a serious question at heart to still manage to be hilarious with all the banters… is nothing short of awesome :”D
As usual with Quinrose games… you don’t get the stereotypical characters. I can probably pin down John as being the childhood friend and Michael being the younger brother type… but even then they didn’t quite fit the mould. The rest didn’t fit any of the existing stereotypes either. But the characters are alluring and… how to say this… the way Quinrose writes their characters… I’m not very comfortable with yandere characters, but if Quinrose ever makes a game filled with yandere, I’ll dive in head first whilst screaming “YANDERE BANZAAAAIIIII!!!” …I really can’t explain it, there’s just this belief that if it’s Quinrose, even their yandere characters will be too hot to resist. And probably another thing to note… even the side characters have their own personalities. The not-as-important side characters aren’t illustrated, although they’re still voiced.
…anyway, back to the topic. The characters in Peter Pan are very distinctive from one another, and all of the seiyuu did an excellent job. It took me a while to get used to Akira Ishida voicing a young Peter, but once I got used to it… it was perfect 😀 he managed to get across the tone of a spoiled kid hiding a complex issue very well. The most well-written character in my own opinion though… was probably Wendy. She’s a heroine with a spine who followed her own principle rigidly, and seeing her stood up against people who could and would kill her without hesitation for the sake of her own principles was satisfying. This is a heroine with a spine, and heck more otome games need one. At several points during the story Wendy’s stubbornness felt rather annoying, but it’s part of her character… and consistent characterization is good. You’d never see Wendy changing to a doormat in any of the routes.
The romance in this game… this. This. THIS. Is the best part I love about Quinrose games. None of the stupid silly misunderstanding and having the heroine ran away from the guy in tears for the most trivial of reasons, none of the typical scenario where the girl would think the guy didn’t like her and started avoiding him etc. The characters were aware of what they wanted/liked, and so was Wendy… so it felt like they handled the romance like adults would, without petty teenage drama involved. What little drama there was was never prolonged or dragged on; you wouldn’t find Wendy angsting and gloomy over whether or not the guy liked her. It was more like… “Does he like me? …eh, whatever, no point thinking too much about it 😐 ” …which in turn forced the guy to really show that he did like Wendy, which in turn usually turned me into a blubbering mess of satisfied fangirl on the floor. In case you’re wondering, they used the fade-to-black technique whenever the juicier scenes started, but there’s no mistaking what they were getting into 8D
The event CGs in the game were plentiful, and there was a lot of variations of the same event CG, making it felt more fluid and less static. Each character also had different poses and different expressions, giving the game a very ‘lively’ feel. The background CGs were also very pretty, and I liked how they had different colouring/mood depending on whether Wendy was there during the day or at night. Overall the art felt very polished to me, barring some minor, nagging questions… like that picture to the side. Is it just the way the clothes were drawn, or are the proportions actually odd…?
The music in this game… is awesome 8D Usually when I play otome games I’d change the setting so that the music is barely there… so I could hear the guys better. But for this game… I turned down the music volume in the setting, but I found myself turning up the volume so I could hear the music. …it was rather pointless, so in the end I reset the music volume to what it was originally. There wasn’t a single music I didn’t like in this game… and I like all the songs enough to tell myself that I WILL buy the OST CD for this game. …bye-bye, food allowance…
Finishing each guy’s good end will also unlock mini games that could be accessed from the Omake menu (like Black Jack etc), where you can play against one of the guys. I wasn’t very interested in the mini games so I didn’t really try it (- v – ;;)
Recommended play order: John -> Michael -> Tink -> Hook -> Scissor -> Peter -> (Tinker Friendship End) -> True End (you can access Tinker Friendship ending as a branch from the True route)
Personal favourite, based on the number of times I almost fainted from nosebleeds: Scissor -> Hook -> Peter -> Tink -> True -> Michael -> John
Oddly, I was rather let down by the True ED… felt like they could had expanded more on it. …that might just be my disappointment talking though, since I was actually hoping that the True route would be twice as long as the other routes (- v – ) …since I didn’t really want the game to end. Other than that, this is a game I’d easily, happily, recommend to other people. …ahhh, I feel like replaying Arabians Lost now… never full-comp that game… (.__. )