Galge Review – Offline Shoujo

offlinegirl10That’s it! I’ve been out of the doujin scene for a long time now, but I officially declare this to be the first doujin special! Where I intent to cover these games from the abyss. I was playing a couple of games non-stop recently, and I will be starting with Offline Shoujo, because I need to play my fill of Galge, or else, I would just die!

Story & Characters

mo_02It has been a while since Fuji Nayuta moved to Osaka with his mother, and many things happened ever since. He even created an underground rock band with his best “bad-friend” Ichimangoku Hajime, but this has become part of his dark-history, which was why he got pretty surprised to see Hajime was still interested in those “indie shows”, he even invited Nayuta to a concert.ev_08_aEven though it was not Hajime’s original target, Nayuta ends up having a fateful encounter with Ousaki Rikka, a promising idol singer with a captivating voice. The two immediately become good friends when they meet face-to-face in Rikka’s dressing-room thanks to an accident. Nayuta finds out she is unexpectedly easy to talk to, being really friendly towards anyone, and even Rikka herself hates to get special treatments, which contrasts with the image he had of idols.ev_09Nayuta’s stereotypical vision would be more suitable to Kiyougoku Hikari, one of Rikka’s rival. She is part of an idol group called “Mahou Shoujo Keiyaku Shi Tai (kari)”, which would translate to “Want to Make a Contract With a Magic Girl Group (temporary name)”, where every member has to cosplay as Kaname Madoka. She puts a cute and innocent mask on stage to better fit her appearance, but shows to be very aggressive and arrogant when Nayuta has a chance meeting with her on a store. However, she is an adult and even forgives Nayuta for an (accidental) perverted act, without a second thought, which is the trigger for them to become…almost friends.ev_02Hikari lets very clear she first approached Nayuta for his abilities as a programmer. This is because he created a fair number of apps for smart phones, and proved to be pretty competent at that. However, his online friend Nekozane Chisato is one step ahead, as she even started working for a big company. This is all her parents influence, since she was tortured by loneliness and fought to get their attention, even being employed in their same company, but she moved away upon noticing she was nothing more than a co-worker for them. Chisato already knew Nayuta before from social networks and alikes, but her first offline meeting with him was when he helped her catching a cat-plushier from a crane game. She was really desperate to get this doll, for it greatly resembled her late pet-cat, the only friend and company she had during her childhood, but later she finds a real cat with a similar appearance. This same cat would later make Chisato face the void in her heart.ev_33_cAnd for last, there’s Yuzu. The newbie at the café Nayuta and his friends usually go to. She has a sexy body and the innocence of a child, which the group considers to be “too much power” for Nayuta’s poor brain. Sincerely, they are not far from the truth.

Themes & Routes

ev_16When I first saw this game a long time ago, I thought it would be a really interesting and charming little piece…Well, call me psychic, because this is just what this game is! The setting being in Osaka feels fresh, since most Japanese stories take place in Tokyo, Chiba or a fictional city based in Tokyo or Chiba.offlinegirl07It’s not just that. I love the fact the characters are adults and act like adults. It’s a relief being able to play a Galge where I will not see a tsundere high schooler punching the face of the wimp protagonist for no good reason for the 1000th time.ev_05Additionally, the protagonist is not your usual hetare. Nayuta does have his weak moments, but he is still a competent man who can take care of himself and have no problems talking with cute and popular girls. He is also very determined and is the first to act when someone needs help. Nayuta is not the only decent male character either, as Hajime and even Rikka’s boss – who is a fat old man – are reliable. And I was convinced the old guy would be the villain because he is an ugly male (Galge logic), but it turns out he is a really nice guy! Breaking some paradigms, huh?ev_17Unfortunately, this game isn’t perfect, as there are some flaws. One of such being the lack of a route for the always-present supporting character Rebecca R. Rainbow (A.K.A. Becky).ev_07I don’t get why she was ignored, and this is not only about my personal taste. It really feels like bad writing, since she is constantly involved with Nayuta and his friends. She even has a major role during the main plot, so it’s weird she is put aside in favor of Yuzu, who is introduced out of nowhere and is not linked to anything.ev_33_aBesides, Becky is so lovely, interesting, funny and charismatic…Ok! There is this one time when she is REALLY awful! It kinda goes like this:

offlinegirl01

Hello, [insert the most unpleasant nick-name you ever had right here], Good morning!

.

offlinegirl02This is not the time for jokes Becky! We are all frustrated by certain events, so our humor is the worst possible, right now! Please, stop fooling around and listen!

(after explanation)

offlinegirl02So, Did you get how this is not the situation to be all cute and funny?

.

offlinegirl01Yes! [insert the most unpleasant nick-name you ever had right here], now I understand!

.

offlinegirl02……..

.

offlinegirl03

…….

.

offlinegirl04…..This wasn’t funny! Someone, give her a bitch slap!

.

To be honest, there might be a good reason for why she isn’t capturable, because it seems she is a lesbian and a lolicon, seeing from how she acts towards Chisato. But this is kinda confusing and never clarified in the game.offlinegirl06The game has four heroines and a specific ending for each, plus the true ending version of Rikka’s ending, but it would be more correct to say there’s one good ending and a true ending, while the rest is just a bunch of bad endings. Because you have this straight path leading to Rikka’s route and the other routes are nothing more than a short detour. The backstory and conflicts of each heroine are shown during their routes, but they never receive a resolution or even a closure. Instead, you see them struggling a lot, just so they could accept their current situation. The protagonist gets to have sex with the chosen heroine, but they never officially become lovers. In short, those endings give a very sour taste in the mouth!mo_01

Graphics

I really like the art for this game. It’s simple while still manages to be unique and beautiful. The colors give the impression it was hand-drawn, the body formats are cute, but not exaggerated cute, and men look masculine and cool, which gives a serious atmosphere to the story when it’s needed.offlinegirl09There is A LOT of details, for example, when a character is holding an object, there’s a specific graphic to depict that, even if this graphics will be used just for a few seconds, leaving almost nothing to the player’s imagination. Even the menus and dialog boxes have good designs. They are simple, but are not exagerated and weird, while they still manage to be pleasent for the eyes!offlinegirl05If I was to point out something bad about the graphics, it would be the H-scenes. They have this blur effect around the CGs and the camera moves awkwardly to try mimicking Nayuta’s movements during the whole thing, which can get really awkward during the “climax”.offlinegirl08

Sounds

Following the Osaka setting, almost every character in the game uses Kansai-ben, and it’s refreshing to hear this dialect being used for someone other than comic-relief. The acting is mostly good, but there are some occasions where the recording quality drops all of a sudden. I suppose some of the seiyuu didn’t had the time to record on a studio, so they recorded in their houses and sent the files via internet.ev_04

Conclusion

ev_20Even with all its flaws, this was undoubtedly an excellent game! One of the best Galges I’ve played recently. And the quality is high enough to put this side-by-side with games made by big names from the Galge industry. Which makes me question if it’s this game that is impressive or if it’s the pro-brands that have become stagnated.ev_27Anyway, this is my first venture playing a doujin game in a long time and it was MUCH BETTER than the last one. I intent to review more doujins from now on, and I am open to suggestions, so if there’s a doujin game that you wish to know more about, just ask me!

 

 

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