Queen’s Gambit [Dating Sim First Look]

This week we have a special treat, a first look at Queen’s Gambit by Voltage USA. For those who don’t know, these are games designed to an American base. What does this mean? Usually stories unique to Japan are adapted to America, and some brand new releases made just for us exist. But how well does the company hold up? It’s rare for there to be US inspired games with dating! We have harlequin novels, cheesy teen books, even some games but in general we always tend to fall behind. Can this game catch the interest of both the romantic US genre, and the anime fandom the company bases it’s original games off of? I’m here to give a first look and help you decide.

don't be a dick emmett

don’t be a dick emmett

Well, I have access to two route prologues: Joao and Emmett. Emmett looks like a cutie so I want to try him more, but let’s start with Joao to see what kind of surprises he has in store!

10801859_1567713000126945_8880592656047725966_n

I can say for certain this game is very unique. First off, congratulations Voltage! Nobody is a pastry chef! No, instead the main character is a member of an Organization who do covert operations. From the prologue alone it’s hard to completely grasp their entire goal or what they want, but they’re basically good guys doing shady business for a high stakes game. You can feel right away how American the influence is and never once did I think, this is not how an American would be behave.

10407359_1567712830126962_7644927887771307471_n

The main character, you can once again name her, has a really interesting personality. And for once Voltage did away with that ‘don’t ever see the main characters face and when you do her eyes are hidden’ crap. Most of the prologue was obviously to set up, but I got to hand it to them. 5 minutes in and I was genuinely curious, like the main character, who Joao was. I was also grateful the new guy, the fish out of water meant to make things easier for players to understand, was stumbling around a bit so I could understand the game myself.

10250188_1567712930126952_5515657989691585263_n

Technically speaking the game has some handy stuff. No longer must you slog through entire scenarios if your game shuts down, they actually have checkpoints! The length is done differently, the character’s presented in a new way, and the choices even seem more consistently meaningful. Did I mention Joao is a cutie? Not to mention I’m pretty sure the MC, who I have named Rachel, can kick everyone’s ass in this story. It’s really fun and refreshing to see that! By the end of Joao’s prologue I was incredibly interested in continuing. I can’t give you the full run down until I see more, but so far it’s promising and looks really entertaining.

he's hot that's who

he’s hot that’s who

Emmett kind of wore on me a bit in Joao’s prologue, but his story is one we have all heard. Best friend romance, guys! Sadly most of the missions specs and in general that route don’t catch my attention, as it’s a political bit. For some reason being a spy is so much more interesting when you have a bigger stake- not that politics aren’t a big stake, they just never feel like it until you get into some really heavy territory. It’s also now more of a pain to skip things because it’s under a second menu.

Emmett is interesting, and Joao’s REALLY interesting. I think with their new approach they are taking a much needed step to make it about a character who is most certainly doing their own thing while still having some really cool love interests. It takes a new approach with it’s own prologues and it’s own set up that is definitely unique from the softer type of woman that Voltage usually represents.

10487169_1567712926793619_4063882491398581366_n

You’ll find in their Japanese made games they tend to rely on a subset of women who are either doing much more vocational work. The best example is two games in their own have you featured as a pastry chef, one an assistant museum curator, one a random villager who is just nice to people, one a designer, and the one that really stands out is one where you are a doctor who wants to murder her potential love interests. For the most part Voltage tends to pick less serious roles for the women involved. The only credit I can give them is the roles really matter to the women involved and that makes it really interesting. Now you can’t argue anything because the main character in this game very clearly is self sufficient and capable.

What I am interested to see is the comparison. It’s so different seeing Voltage take on this kind of game, even their American subset company. I think when the whole game comes out it will be a very interesting thing to compare Voltage USA to it’s Japanese counterpart- their styles are different but underneath you can still feel the pull and appeal of a Voltage game. Without a doubt the love and care put into the game makes it a must to try out.

I will say this: while the art can be funky, it’s actually much better than some of the other games. Still, try softening your art Voltage. You’re blending the art a bit and making it smooth, but the faces themselves seem rigid and painted starkly. The best faces were done for the main character, but the art on the cover photo is a lot weaker than in game!

1655835_1567712823460296_3260394670828983065_n

Color me interested. Fans of Japanese Voltage fans might find this new release to be an all around attention grabber thanks to it’s strong plot, dynamic characters, and interesting new game layout. (but someone please wipe that smirk off Emmett’s face? He’s starting to seem like a sleaze ball)

9753_1567712993460279_2052890389699966166_n

Oki

Be my Princess 2 [Ivan Route]

As soon as Be my Princess 2 came out I watched the prologue and went, OH I WANT THAT GUY! low and behold, he wasn’t available for forever. By the time he came out I was broke, but recently I finally had the money to purchase this wondrous route. No regrets this guy is super hawt.

10696341_1563274343904144_3617345103327389289_n

From the getgo Ivan pretty much chooses you. And why? You’re a sturdy wife who can make him babies. I can’t with this guy. So much . . . straightforwardness is kind of hot. He basically says he won’t love you and as long as you perform the duties of a wife he won’t care, so I’m just sitting here going. . . . I will make you love me you little shit.

10313658_1563274207237491_1398307603796928980_n

His whole shtick along with the butlers is tricking you to come to his nation thinking it’s an invitation to be a bride candidate. Lol you liar I’m the only bride. We also see right off the bat this place is constant war and terror. Come on Ivan let me warm you up with my sweet swe- I can’t finish that sentence. The amount of shame Ivan makes me want to bring on myself is ridiculous. Why won’t he love me?!

1533871_1563274347237477_96389995110120070_n

Ivan goes off to war almost immediately. Why do I foresee you taking care of injured Ivan? Because that’s amazing that’s why I foresee it. You end up going to see him once, and already I can tell this Ice Queen is letting it go. Shut up Ivan with your stupid hair and your stupid face and your stupid sexist country where women aren’t supposed to work at all which is dumb because women would get bored dontcha think? I am a strong independent pastry chef dammit! Let me cover your country in potato donuts ya dork!

10629689_1563274433904135_3492501069078286192_n

One thing I will say though: Please get an offline version, Voltage. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to enjoy a game and having to download an update, waste data, all for stuff I’ve already downloaded! If I’m not buying a new route there is no reason to force an impromptu update on me. I much prefer having to download manual updates rather than being forced to download automatic ones. I play the game usually during my downtime at school, or on my breaks at work- that’s the best part about them! But if you force me to download updates, it eats up my breaks and I end up angry and upset I couldn’t play rather than happily playing. Even worse, when your phone has to be online simply to play. Let me play my game without having to connect, Voltage! This is your biggest flaw! I seriously had to download a 20 minute update during my freetime because I wasn’t at home with wifi, all to play Ivan’s route which was completely up to date! sobs deeply. Why did I put this in? It happened to me three times and held up this review for weeks.

Anyway, you know what ends up happening in this route? The true conflict? Ivan is an idiot. There you go. He says something thinking it means something completely different and you end up leaving him. WOOPS. He basically tells you you can be replaced, when he meant you could be replaced at your job and you should stay with him. Even that was insensitive so you return home and to your job. Eventually you catch a cold and go to answer the door in a haze only to find. . . moe moe adorable Ivan who is in love with you and wants to take care of you.

1385728_1559015127663399_4529254397312183510_n

It’s all perfect as you return to Sanct sybil. And then you get kidnapped.

10366007_1559015130996732_3357998450640944460_n

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the more badass stories, where you get kidnapped. You do your best to stay alive but ultimately it is Ivan who saves you, and the plot twists involved in that part of the story are just amazing. Suffice it to say that it’s definitely worth your time to invest in the magnificence of this story, I can’t bring myself to ruin the ending for you but it involves Ivan seemingly dying and a lot of other really cool things. Can I just say this? Favorite Princess route, 1 and 2 included, because I can’t get over this stupid dork of a prince who loves me (I told you I’d make him love me!)

10411164_1563274350570810_6113789275249506708_n

You can’t go wrong on this one. Every flaw Voltage games have was able to be overlooked for me in order to make this dork my prince. Do it everybody. Make this dork your prince!

10805669_1563274213904157_6943655313486144212_n

Oki

Dreamy Days in West Tokyo: Ichigo’s Routes [Including Living With Him!]

Guys, when I first saw this game I knew one thing. I had to have Ichigo Sato in my life. When his story finally came out I played about half before life interferred. Recently a whole slew of sequels and bonus content came out. . . so I got them all! Yes, everyone, this is a review and compilation post for every single addition of the main storyline for Ichigo Sato. Hey Ichy. . . .how you doin’?

1016478_1559014814330097_2034942983597905064_n

Ichigo is my fabled anime love type, the male tsundere who is very obvious. The closest to him is Momoi since well, as is Voltage’s favorite, pastries. Ichigo’s family runs a sweets shop so you’ll be getting some of that fine patisserie action. His main route is basically what you think it would be. You were friends with Ichigo since you were a kid and it’s heavily implied, much to your ignorance, the two of you have always liked each other. For being the ‘default’ choice, as in the one the game uses for advertisements, it sure took a long time to release his routes. . .

10644533_1559014820996763_7625425297133406585_n

Ichigo spends much of the first route picking on you, but it never bothers me because my character never seems to take it seriously. As long as the character isn’t bothered by it, I don’t think it’s a problem. For her, it’s what they’ve always done and she cherishes it. I think the worst thing about the route is you have some kind of selective amnesia. Wouldn’t it have been more fun for her to keep thinking ‘I wonder if he thinks I’m worth that promise at all. . .’? They do weird things in these games sometimes and I’ve learned to accept it.

10599572_1559014817663430_7750081588174125279_n

You’re in high school in this game but there is a significant difference in this and First Love Diaries. There’s hardly any sexual tension but it still keeps you wrapped up, mostly because you’ve all been friends and it’s fun to deal with all the different friendship elements. I’d say a game that can succesfully re use tropes without reminding you it’s doing so is a good game, so Ichigo’s first route keeps a place in my heart. I was actually going to skip right to the sequels 3 years later and Moving in, but I played the free chapter and Ichigo made a perverted comment, so this happened:

Ichigo: well you’ve already given me everything

Me: they fucked didn’t they

MC: W-what’s that mean?!

Ichigo: Oh, what were you thinking of?

Me: they fucked. Gotta go play first season sequel.

1899968_1559020314329547_3141141869997424240_n

While the sequels, the first ones anyway, tend to be lacking and filled with bland drama, this one wasn’t so bad. After the first five you get into some fun things and Ichigo has decided to move away so he can deserve to inherit the shop. You’re trying to figure out what you want and you go with social work. You know, I’d be really surprised if for once people could seem to want their own unique things even if they overlap. Social work is a better option, but it seems like a safe story option. Couldn’t the MC have a more interesting choice? Then again, sometimes people who can’t choose do pick that. As a person who had a hard time choosing I did not end up going with nursing, so I find it hard to relate. Then again, they didn’t cheap out and go pastry chef.

10734180_1559017467663165_3705759326233322819_n

The whole first sequel was WORTH because Ichigo actually cries over the decision. Stoic, tsundere Ichigo is like “I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS OKAY?!” and it was worth it. Not to mention even though you guys don’t talk about it often, you kind of bring up and decide to have sex and it feels pretty natural. How can I pass up a sequel with this face on it??

10644862_1559014934330085_1720783889062989286_n

Then. . .oh boy. Guys. Then Ichigo goes off to Paris and becomes the beautiful butterfly we all know and love. Ladies and gentlemen, perfection:

10409066_1559014610996784_3363510724961529863_n

You and Ichigo are back together now but it seems that after all this time, you’re both working way too hard! The whole thing is you trying to squeeze in time for him during your Practicum’s. I gotta give Voltage this, the more they developed her role and made her go for the job of nurse it was better.

64271_1559014377663474_4875799535109958264_n

Add on that Ichy’s boss is a jackass who yells at him and you’d kind of miss Ringo. Ichigo is, as I see it, basically only working here to learn how to be a true pastry chef until one day he can inherit the shop. It’s really funny comparing Ichigo with Momoi from Finally in Love Again, as Momoi is probably one of the best pastry chefs ever and doesn’t have much to learn. Ichigo is what, 6 years his junior and working his ass off to be good? It’s really nice to see Ichigo work hard.

10644949_1559014370996808_2336311702050977612_n

Your parents have also come to town and it’s all about them trying to meet Ichig-

holy crap, hold the phone. THESE are your parents? No wonder 6 guys want to get into your pants. . . they’re. . .they’re beautiful. Do you guys see this crap?

10420035_1559017477663164_3867398535185608911_n

I must be BEAUTIFUL. Damn! I bet Ichigo is coughing inwardly and going “…….I guess this family ages well”. Jeez. I had to say something. Your family is just. . . super pretty. As a song I like quotes, “This family is stupid attractive.” Just. . .wow. When Ichigo does meet them they are impressed by him but your mother is sure to remind you to stick to your studies. Hey mom, come on, I’ve been ditching my boyfriend this entire route to be responsible!

ichigos mom knows where its at, encouraging me to do it with her son

ichigos mom knows where its at, encouraging me to do it with her son

The ending to the three years route is very very cute. He has been saying this whole time he wants to marry you, so I’d believe it if he does it in the next route. That being said, I am reviewing every single one, even the brand new just came out ‘Living with him’ route, so here we go on that one. (One last note though, there is a glitch in the 3 years route that has the lights in his house off the entire time. I thought it was just the art until a scene later had you asking him to turn off the lights, and when he did, they turned on! lol)

10407342_1559017470996498_575852504088548314_n

Most of the tension in the Living with him route comes from his own fears, He wants to settle down with you but doesn’t he need a stable job for that? It’s really sweet to watch him push himself. Not to mention the both of you realize: you’ll do anything to be with each other. Ichigo will take a job he doesn’t want to secure your life, and you’d follow him and lengthen your education for it. I have done these things! I personally have made these sacrifices and feel a lot of personal connection to this. They love each other and it’s. . .it’s so freaking cute.

1467360_1559014607663451_8784472792400017857_n

Its so hard to put into words just how awesome it all becomes. You’re cute, you’re happy, you’re a real relationship and you can feel those years of development build it all up into an amazing thing. Ichigo loves living with you, you buy groceries. Just, look at this! look at the cute!

1380033_1559014714330107_6491883596868157177_n

How can I even describe it?! This relationship is all in this post. You see it all. All I’m missing is getting married and having perfect patisserie babies. I need this to be happy! This whole route run down was just . . .amazing. You met him as a child, and you had a crush on him from the start, you move back and it happens that the two of you would fall in love. He goes away, but you stay strong and eventually live together. This route is a love story after my own heart.

None of you can appreciate it until you play it. . .and with the new bundles, you’ll save money..SO FREAKIN DO IT

1513815_1559014374330141_6448897165561795404_n

Oki