Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 312021
 

During my big visual novel buying spree a few years back, another otome I picked up was London Detective Mysteria.

London Detective Mysteria follows a young noblewoman named Emily who gets the queen’s blessing to attend an academy for young would-be detectives. There, she meets characters who are largely descendants of famous fictional detectives (and other related characters), like Sherlock Holmes’s son and Miss Marple’s granddaughter.

At first I thought this was just a way to avoid using the actual characters, but that’s not the case at all. Most notably, the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Herlock (yes, they actually named him Herlock Holmes) is an important part of his story and motivations.

That gives the story a neat “second generation” sort of feel that I didn’t expect when I started.

The common route deals with Emily and her classmates encountering various mysteries, and the game even provides a special journal feature to let you save any line of dialogue to check it later while trying to figure out a case. There’s only a handful of times when that’s actually useful, but it was a nice thought.

Based on your choices, you end up on one of several character routes.

I liked all of the love interests, and each route had a fairly interesting story that ties into the overarching story about a sinister organization and Emily’s personal investigation into her parents’ deaths. Once you see every ending, including the bad endings and non-romance routes, you unlock the “grand ending” that follows up on that.

Unfortunately, the grand ending route feels underwhelming compared to the individual character routes. It’s clearly intended to build up to a sequel – in fact, the grand ending epilogue actually ends with an outright teaser for the next game.

There has been no word about the London Detective Mysteria sequel, but I hope it’s still being made. This was a fun otome and an entertaining mystery story, and I’d really love to see it continue.

So if you like visual novels, romance, and mysteries, London Detective Mysteria is worth checking out… as long as you’re okay with it ending on a cliffhanger that might never be resolved.

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Mar 292021
 

A few years ago, I reviewed a game called Blue Reflection for MonsterVine.

Blue Reflection is a magical girl JRPG developed by Gust about a girl who gains the powers of a Reflector, which allows her to enter another dimension to fight demons and stabilize people’s emotions.

I found the story and social elements to be better than the JRPG sections, since the dungeons weren’t too interesting. Boss fights were a lot of fun, though.

Overall I enjoyed Blue Reflection and hoped the recent announcement of a Blue Reflection anime meant we might get a sequel game as well.

And… we are!

Actually, we’re getting two!

On the weekend, Koei Tecmo announced not only Blue Reflection Sun for mobile devices and PC, but also Blue Reflection Tie for PS4, Switch, and PC. Koei Tecmo also confirmed that Tie will be released in the west as Blue Reflection: Second Light.

Details are still pretty scarce, but I’m thrilled that Blue Reflection is getting another game.

Blue Reflection is getting a sequel, The Caligula Effect is getting a sequel… what next? I feel like I should start looking through other lesser-known JRPGs I enjoyed to see if there are any others I’d like to hear a sequel announcement for!

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Mar 262021
 

After seeing the recent launch trailer for Light Fairytale Episode 2, I remembered that I had Episode 1 and decided to give it a try.

Light Fairytale is an indie turn-based RPG inspired by classic JRPGs, and the developer opted to split it into multiple episodes and release them separately.

Episode 1 is set in an underground city, where a boy named Haru has dreamed of the sky despite not knowing what it is. After spending some time in the city, he and his friend Kuroko end up running into trouble with the empire that rules over them.

I was impressed by the number of secret conversations you can get by exploring and checking various things. They might be there for achievement hunters, but those sorts of missable secret scenes make a game feel more alive and detailed in a way I find hard to explain. It made me want to check everywhere and try everything, just in case I’d get a few lines of funny dialogue or an item.

The turn-based combat system is fairly straightforward, although it has some oddities. For example, Haru’s weapon includes an elemental attack that uses MP on each turn, after which it becomes much weaker. There’s no way to choose whether or not to use the elemental part, though, which means you’ll simply deplete all of his MP and then be stuck with his weaker attack for every fight after that until you rest again.

It features random encounters, but only in certain areas that you can see by using Haru’s special AR goggles, with a set number of possible battles in each location.

That’s fine… except some are also locked by story progression, so you might only be able to fight half of an area’s battles on your first trip through and need to backtrack later to fight more. I still wouldn’t mind that system, except that when I got stuck on the final boss and looked it up to see if there were any tricks, the official recommendation was to fight all battles in the game.

Necessary grinding + set number of encounters in each location + backtracking required to fight them all makes for a tedious combination.

Anyway, you’ll notice I didn’t say much about the story. That’s because there isn’t much to say. Haru and Kuroko seem like enjoyable enough characters, and they have a good dynamic with each other, but not a lot happens. It takes about five hours to complete, and that includes playing through a second time as Kuroko for a couple of altered sections.

When the first episode feels more like a prologue than anything else, releasing each part of Light Fairytale as a separate game might not have been the best choice. Maybe Light Fairytale will have a deep, compelling story by the time it’s finished, but Episode 1 didn’t show me enough to sell me on Episode 2 just yet.

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