Didn’t I do this one already? Nope, this is actually the review, meaning that I sat through the entire game. Why would I do that if the preview wasn’t promising already? Well, there are two reasons: 1) I’m an idiot, 2) I’ve imported the game for PS Vita since I trusted the reviews on Amazon Japan, and since I paid good money for this, I thought I should freakin’ sit through it. Some parts didn’t change, of course, (art, characters, …) so I will just copypaste parts from the preview there. Anyway, here we go.
Who Would Like this Game?
AnoOre (the shorthandle for this game) has no major drama and overall no major events. It’s basically just an eventless rom-com. There’s romance, there’s comedy. Both aren’t exactly great, but I guess if you need something shallow and light, it might be okay for you.
As I said in my preview, it’s surprisingly difficult. However, once you’ve entered the individual character routes, it’s all downhill from there. There isn’t really anything new from there on, so once you made it that far, the game’s a 3/10 in difficulty (really easy). However, first you gotta get there, so I won’t change the overall score.
Nothing I know of. It’s for the better. If you gotta play this, at least learn something from it.
Personally, I’d call its art the game’s strong point. The backgrounds are hardly hand-drawn, but very detailed and easy to look at; they seem to be real photographs with a bunch of filters/manual fixes added to them. The characters look good and feel right, apart from a few exceptions regarding their idle sprites. Considering it’s a static visual novel, it’s highly animated (eye/mouth movements, blur, an awful-looking complicated-feeling-sweatdrop-thingy, etc.). They’ve also got a whole bunch of different expressions. The art’s not the reason to avoid this novel.
The big idea is that in the past the protagonist moved around a lot with his family and hadn’t had much chances to make good friends not to mention a girlfriend. In the present, our protagonist finally managed to get his parents to pay for his own apartment and so he’s a high school boy living on his own now; and he’s aching to live the “riajuu”-life (Haganai, anyone?) he’s always dreamed of. He stumbles upon a girl who’s willing to turn him into one, hence they form a club with said goal. Before long, other girls join too and it turns into a slice-of-life-ish thingy.
She’s the first girl the protagonist meets and with whom he founds the club. Her reason basically was that she didn’t even know what “riajuu” meant and due to the situational context made it out to be “doing dirty things,” hence she agreed to help the protagonist become one. As you might’ve guessed by now, she’s a dirty klutz. Basically the this game’s “Yozora”.
Blonde, big boobs, said to be a yankee. This game’s “Sena” isn’t much of a rich girl, but just the misunderstood yankee. She’s basically a mix of Haganai‘s protagonist and Sena. Her reason for joining the club is our protagonist being the first person who really approached her without prejudice and fear – which is just a misunderstanding in reality. Likes puzzles and is in permanent controversy with Yuzuki ’cause of booby-envy.
She’s the student council president and joined the club because the protagonist seemed to her like the little brother she never had and always wanted. In reality, she’s not the role model student everyone thinks she is, but a lazy bitch. Not sexually bitchy, but just a bitch. During club activities she doesn’t have to keep up the act, so that’s nice for her.
President of the tea ceremony club and closet-otaku. I think she’s a fujoshi, but I don’t think the game states too precisely what she’s actually drawing. It’s dirty stuff nonetheless – she’s a doujinshi artist. And a popular one at that. However, as she’s an ojou-sama to boot, she has to keep it a secret and so she did, until our protagonist found her out but told her he’s either impressed by her abilities -> love. She’s the most aggressive of the harem regarding her approaches.
Haruka’s little sister, the one with the most horrible name reading (紅葉 = Momiji, “usual” reading would be “kouyou;” thanks, Japan), youngest heroine, and – since this kinda character was popular when the game came out – quota chuuni. She joins the club since she’s actually not chuuni anymore and wants to be able to act normal around people at times, which she can in the club. She can’t do it outside club activities since her friends had been so supportive during her chuuni period and still are that she can’t bring herself to tell them she’s not chuuni’ing anymore.
There’s a bunch of side characters and I’m bad with names, so here are their roles: the quota female cousin teacher who’s lazy as hell and drinks a lot; the female classmate who’s taking on the tsukkomi part; Momiji’s supportive female friend who seems like an airhead; the female student council vice president who basically does all the work. Yes, there aren’t really any male characters in this game – at least none with sprites. And I’m interested to have a route with side characters #2 and 3. They’re kinda hawt.
Since this is my first full visual novel preview, I thought it’d be a good idea to first write everything that happens in the individual routes and then rate which one of the routes takes what place among them. Since this is a huge spoiler alert, I will put these in spoiler tags.
When I was planning to import AnoOre I did my homework: I read reviews to make sure that I wasn’t buying crap. I still remember some of their key words: “As you’d expect from GIGA!,” “Just like a light novel!” No. It isn’t like a light novel. Any light novel as boring as this would die before it even started. And no, it’s not a typical GIGA game. I tried BALDR;HEART and it has more going on in its first 60 minutes than AnoOre has all game. It’s weird, really. There are so many possible reviews on Amazon Japan and it’s gotten so many ports to consoles and whatnot, yet I can’t see how anyone could receive this game so positively. And I’m usually all for rom-com.
I thought that the real game starts once you get into the heroine’s respective routes, but all the routes together are shorter than the common route. They end before they really get started and there’s hardly anything going on during those (see above).
Unusual for Japanese releases, the voice acting for some characters is pretty annoying, too. Yuzuki doesn’t seem to be able to put the intended emotions into lines and Manami has a very annoying kind of childish voice she forces. Whether it’s the actresses or the director or even as intended, is beyond me. There’s no issues with the other three heroines, though.
While Aoi reigns them all, the second most interesting character is actually your female classmate sidekick, she’s more fun than four other main heroines. Now if that’s not telling you something.
Came here for the eros? The art’s good, no doubt. Alas, typical for these kinds of games, all you’ll get is a bunch of awkward first times and as I don’t see how you could’ve bonded with the characters considering how little they give you, I don’t see how you could be moved by some clumsy H scenes. Everything’s just too clean and ‘run by the book.’
All the game has going for it is, one, the Haganai kind of story for the nostalgia – but poorly executed. Two, the art, which is just well done. You start appreciating mouth movements, blinking, and character design that is kind of realistic once you played something that lacks all of the above. Three, the music, it just fits the atmosphere really well and you don’t get tired of listening to it even after the 126th loop. Altogether, this adds up to something plain average. I wouldn’t play it if I were you and, personally, I’m just glad I’m done with and regret having bought it.