Summer Session (

When a shy student signs up for summer classes, he didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe he’ll finally have a girlfriend, or maybe he’ll remain as lonely as he’s always been.

This is not exactly an interesting premise.  In fact, the only reason I bought this game is that Celso Riva is working on another one called Roommates that he claims is sort of a successor to this one.  As I said, the plot is some shy guy trying to find a girlfriend in six weeks while still trying to ace his exams.  He can pursue the outgoing Rachel, his teacher Jenny, the studious Midori, the athletic Tanya and the eccentric Emma.

The game play is about choosing your schedule for the week and making the correct dialogue choices when pursuing a character. 

You can study to do well on exams, work for money, go partying, play sports, play video games, rest or exercise.  No matter what, you have to attend class every day.

This game is addictive but not that interesting.  I give it 3 out of 10; compared to Celso Riva’s later games, it falls short.

The Royal Trap (

When Prince Oscar and his companion, Madeleine go to Gwellinor in the hopes of making Oscar the groom of Princess Cassidy, a mysterious kidnapping takes place and Madeleine is the prime suspect.  Now she must clear her name and discover a terrible family secret.

In games like these, you would normally take on the role of Princess Cassidy and pursue each potential suitor.  Instead, you take on the role of Madeleine and choose which character’s route you wish to take between Oscar, Gaston, Nazagi and Callum.  Did I mention that Callum’s route also comes with a secret path? I have to say that playing as Madeleine is a nice change of pace from the usual heroine you play in these types of games.  Not only is she a strong character but the story isn’t all about her.  Madeleine is just a servant who unintentionally got involved in a huge mess.

The game play is your standard visual novel.  You make choices that determine which character route you want to go on.  Each one has a good, bad and normal ending depending on the choices you make.  Not only will playing the game unlock pictures for the CG gallery, it will also unlock songs for you to play on the jukebox.

This game is fun and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10; an original take on a common genre.

The Royal Trap Demo (

As Prince Oscar’s companion, Madeleine Valois’s job is to train him so that he can marry a princess.  Unfortunately, Princess Cassidy has been abducted and Oscar is the prime suspect.  Now Madeleine must clear his name and discover the truth.

I normally don’t review demos unless the full game won’t be out for a while but I made an exception due to a promotion Hanako Games was running.  As for the plot, other than Prince Oscar, Princess Cassidy has two suitors.  One is the dark and mysterious Prince Nazagi and the other is the over the top Prince Gaston (no relation to the character from Beauty and the Beast).  One of them may be responsible for Princess Cassidy’s disappearance or they might not be.  In addition to these characters, there is also Prince Callum who seems fascinated by Madeleine.  The story was so intriguing that when the demo was over I had to remind myself not to purchase the game right away (waiting for payday).

This game is in typical visual novel form.  You play the role of Madeleine and pick a set of choices after reading the dialogue.  Some choices will help you form relationships with various characters.  If you’re playing the game again, you can choose to skip unread text.

This game is intriguing and beautiful.  If you would like to purchase the game click here.

Long Live the Queen (

Princess Elodie’s mother has just died but she doesn’t have time to grieve.  14-year-old Elodie has to train to become the next ruler of Nova.

Will she become the queen her people are looking for, or become corrupted by power?  Will she even survive to reach her coronation?

Elodie has a difficult road ahead of her and it shows.  She has all the luxuries of royalty but it also comes with responsibilities.  Every action she takes determines the fate of Nova.  Every decision she makes shows if she is capable of the task given to her.  Various subplots can show her relationship with the other characters.  Her relationship with her father is very special because he’s trying to point his daughter in the right direction, yet he still sees her as his little girl.  There’s also a fantasy element to the game where Elodie discovers that she has a hidden power inside her and can train it if she gets the crystal.

This isn’t your typical princess game.  You’re not just wearing pretty dresses, having parties and falling in love.  You actually have responsibilities as a ruler.  You can train in a variety of subjects ranging from the athletic to the intellectual.

If you raise your stats enough in a specific skill, you unlock a new outfit and only one of them is a beautiful dress.

You can attend parties in the game but if you haven’t trained yourself in social skills, well let’s just say that the other nobles won’t think well of your abilities as ruler.  You can even marry but it will be more for political gain than for love.  During the game, various scenarios will test whether you’ve trained Elodie enough in certain skills.

You can also take a break in your studies to do an activity of your choice.  What you pick affects your mood.  The choices you make affect what type of ruler Elodie will become.  If you don’t make the right choices or fail to train Elodie enough in certain skills, she might not survive to her coronation.

The game is challenging yet addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10, an original take on a game about royalty.

Bionic Heart (

Luke Black’s just a regular guy living in 2099 London, a world that’s constantly raining.  His fiancé of ten years, Helen, wants him to stop toying with her and tie the knot.  Later, a bionic being named Tanya comes to his home on the run from her creator.

This sounds like Catherine except set in a sci-fi world.  While the plots are similar, the game is nowhere near as great.  Vincent, Katherine and Catherine all seem to have their own hidden depths.  Vincent’s afraid of change but later realizes that change isn’t so bad.  Katherine wants to get married but there are hints that her parents are pressuring her.  Catherine seems like a fun loving girl but then you realize just how crazy she really is.  When Vincent is on the latter’s path and eventually chooses her, you get the feeling that his sanity is slipping.  The case is the same in this game; a normal guy is having trouble with his girlfriend when this mysterious woman pops into his life.  Helen just wants to get married, no explanation why.  At the start of the game, she gives an ultimatum not getting the hint that if a guy doesn’t marry you after ten years of engagement he probably never will.  No matter how badly you treat her, she doesn’t leave.  You know that Helen runs her own shop, but she seems to have no life outside of Luke.  Luke is equally guilty in this, because he led a woman on that eventually he would marry her even though he despises the idea.  Still, the fact that Helen sticks with this guy doesn’t say much about her.  Sometimes I wonder if women this pathetic secretly don’t want to get married.

Tanya has a psycho side and Luke never seems to get the hint that he needs to get rid of her.  I’m well aware of Tanya’s back-story, but it doesn’t make up for what she’s capable of.  One wrong move from Luke and Tanya does something psychotic.  Luke claims that Tanya’s kind and polite, but we don’t see that.  At least Vincent admits that Catherine’s trouble.  There are endings that involve Tanya showing exactly what she’s capable of.  Not to mention that Tanya’s life revolves around a man, much like Helen’s.  There’s another hint that as long as a man keeps Tanya under control she won’t go psycho.  It’s like a sci-fi Bewitched.

The only woman who has potential is Tina, and even she constantly hits on her partner Roby, who is revealed to be engaged.  I have no problem with women hitting on men, but I do have a problem with people hitting on someone who’s taken.

Luke also has a friend named Tom who’s just a perverted mouthpiece for Luke.

The game is a visual novel, so you just read the plot and make decisions.  The decisions you make affect the endings you get and your relationship with Helen, Tanya and Tom.  You can end up with Helen, Tanya or no one at all.

This game has a decent plot, but is a poor representation of men and women.  I give it 1 out of 10; I hope the sequel will be better.

Always Remember Me (

Amy’s a simple girl with an ordinary life until her boyfriend Aaron gets into a car accident.  Not only does he not remember her, but Aaron’s ex-girlfriend Abigail lied and said they were dating.  Will Amy help Aaron regain his memories or will she find love in another man?

The story’s simple, there are no demons, no aliens, just a city girl trying to live her life.  Amy works at an ice cream shop, she dreams of being a writer and she has her own blog.  Amy has four men to choose from, her shy co-worker Lawrence, the chivalrous pervert Hugh, the workaholic doctor Eddy, and her amnesiac boyfriend Aaron; so it’s like an interactive soap opera.  You can tell that the game sees Aaron and Amy as the official couple, especially when you listen to the theme song.  In my opinion, Aaron seems like kind of a jerk because in one scene, Abigail called Amy average looking right to her face and Aaron doesn’t rush to defend her.  You can argue that Aaron doesn’t remember Amy, but if my boyfriend said something like that to another guy’s face, I’d be pissed.  There’s also a scene where Amy said that Aaron would get jealous if she so much as associated with other men.  Amy also believes that her looks are average and in some scenes wonders if she belongs with Aaron; then again, that could be Abigail and Osher’s (Aaron’s father) fault.  Lawrence seems sweet, but he’s too much of a dogged nice guy.  There’s one scene where he secretly follows Amy, but you can’t call him out on it because it lowers your relationship level with him.  In another scene, Amy screws up at her job and Lawrence takes the fall, but if you try to set the boss straight, Lawrence gets mad at you for not acting like a helpless damsel in distress.  Eddy and Hugh seem more normal compared to them.  Hugh’s just a tiny bit more controlling because he ordered pizza for Amy without asking her if she wanted any.  No, you can’t call him out on it because it lowers his relationship level with you.  The worst Eddy’s ever done is get ready-made food and try to impress you by pretending he cooked it himself.

Every weekday morning you have to work at the ice cream shop.  Other than that, you have free range until after sunset.  You can update your blog, work overtime, go shopping and more.  Some of these activities actually increase a stat that helps get a special ending with the character that stat is associated with; Eddy’s discipline, Aaron’s romance, Lawrence’s culture and Hugh’s creativity.  You can also talk to each character at their respective places, the hospital (Aaron and Eddy), the mall (Hugh) and the ice cream shop (Lawrence).  If you’re on Eddy’s path, you can eventually talk to him at his house.  Each character has scenes that activate in various locations and can give you more relationship points based on how you respond to them.  If you pursue another character besides Aaron, you get an extra scene where you have to decide to give up on him completely.  The scene’s supposed to be heartbreaking, but it’s hard to feel sorry for Amy when you haven’t gone to see Aaron once in your entire play through.  If you fail to win any of the other character’s hearts, you get the alone ending.

An escapist video game that doesn’t offer anything to people who prefer girls, but if you prefer guys this is your game.  I give this game 5 out of 10.  If it weren’t for this, I wouldn’t have a blog.

Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate

After the last adventure, Heileen is shipwrecked on a mysterious island with Robert and Ebele. In order to survive, Heileen must rely on her friends. Meanwhile, a pack of tarot cards wind up on the island that hold the key to Heileen’s past.

In the last game, other people pushed Heileen on a certain path. However, in this game Heileen takes a more active role. Instead of people deciding for her, Heileen is asked to make decisions for the people in her life. Her choices influence her relationship with Robert and Ebele. It is also her decisions that can either lead her and her friends on a righteous path or throw them into the depths of sin. She can also decide if she wants to remain in limbo.

During the game, you select tarot cards that represent the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. When you go to sleep, you select a card and you make a decision in your dream. After the dream ends, a card flashes to show if you chose the path of virtue or sin. It also affects what situation you find yourself in on the island. Like the last game, you can find quests to complete. Finding a quest gives you two points and completing it gives you three more points. Gathering items in the dreams also helps you complete your quests.

This game has an intriguing concept and can become very addictive. I give this game 6 out of 10, far more superior to its predecessor.


Heileen’s uncle just received stock to take to the New World. On the journey, Heileen meets many interesting people and discovers what secrets her uncle has been hiding from her.

This one is nowhere near as good as it sounds. It’s just some spoiled girl whining on a trip, and yet everyone wants her, even the women. I know, you’re probably thinking “homosexuality in 17th Century England, no way!” Yes, there actually is, and the characters are a little too open about it. Before I get over a hundred comments telling me that homosexuality did exist in the 17th Century, I’m not saying that it didn’t. I’m just saying that due to very strong bigotry, you wouldn’t find many open homosexuals walking the streets. No, that is not the only historical inaccuracy they committed in this game. I don’t really know that much about the 17th Century, but I do know that according to this article, some behavior we regularly take part in today would be considered crude in that time period. The characters partake in this behavior regularly, especially Lora. There are some references to historical events in the 17th Century, but the characters behave like they live in this time period. It’s very much like the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, only without their charm driving the movie.

The characters themselves are not intriguing in the slightest. Despite Heileen’s whining, she’s loved by everyone on the ship. Come to think of it, that’s actually believable considering that the only other women on the ship are Lora, her uncle’s mistress, and Marie, who does not meet the standards of 17th Century beauty. It’s hinted that Marie is such a reject that she’s not even considered to be worthy of rape. Just so this review doesn’t become long and boring, I’m just going to sum it up in one sentence. Rape is not about beauty, it’s about power. Not to mention that Marie isn’t even that ugly. Sure, she doesn’t meet the standards of 17th Century beauty like Heileen does, and she doesn’t wear as little as Lora, but she’s not completely hideous. No wonder Marie has so many emotional issues. As for Heileen, I said earlier that it’s believable that she would be the most sought after on the ship. However, that does not explain why everyone is completely in love with her. Anyone who hates her is automatically labeled evil. The other characters Heileen can have a romance with are John and Lora. John is the bad boy sailor that Heileen’s drawn to, and I can see that. I just don’t see how she can fall in love with him in such a short amount of time. As for Lora, I’ve already said that she’s Heileen’s uncle’s mistress, so she and her uncle watched Heileen grow up. Yes, that’s right, Heileen hooks up with a woman who has been a parental figure to her. Anyone else thinks it sounds like lesbian wife husbandry?

The story is not historically accurate and the main character is a Mary-Sue. However, it’s still an interesting play through. I give this game 2 out of 10.

Cute Knight Kingdom

When you were a child, a strange creature told your adoptive parents that one day you would find your wings. Travel the kingdom and discover your destiny.

Like the last game, the story depends entirely on how you play it. Except this one has more suitors to choose from, and one of them is a girl. Another difference is that the last main character had no one to go to while this one has parents that are always there for her. There is just one thing that makes this game inferior to the last one. Cute Knight had two funny endings, one of which was laugh out loud while this one doesn’t. There is one ending that tries to be funny, but it just falls short.

Again, you have a choice of many different endings, and every single one that you collect ends up in the gallery. There are many different event endings, and if you turn 21 before reaching the end of said event, the game ends. Instead of clicking on random places, you are actually taking control of your character by moving her around the 2D graphic kingdom. You have many choices of classes and jobs, but you have to actually expend energy and concentration in order to do well in either one. What stats you have determine what ending you get when you turn 21.

Not very different from the last game, except for a different style and having to actually contribute to your jobs and classes. I give this game 7 out of 10, not worse than its predecessor and not better than it.

Cute Knight

When a young girl leaves the orphanage, her fairy godmother tells her to go to the next town and find her destiny.  She just isn’t sure what her destiny is.

You’re probably wondering if there’s actually a story going on in this game, and it really depends on how you play it.  There are fifty endings in the game, and some of them rely on what events you set in motion.  There is only one ending that fully explains the main character’s origin, but there are still questions that remain unanswered until you achieve two other ones.  If you turn 21 before reaching an event ending, the game automatically ends and what happens to the main character depends entirely on how you played the game.

The game itself has many career options available.  You can work in the library, assist the doctor in the slums, work in a store and even go pillaging in the dungeon for treasure.  You can even attend classes in college to bring up your fighting skills, your magic skills and many more.  You also have a dream skill, which decreases when the main character fails at a job and increases when she succeeds.  The higher your dream, the better your ending.  You even have a stat known as sin that increases as you steal or kill and decreases as you do jobs at the church and volunteer for the doctor.  There is sin required for some of the more evil endings.  Each time you get an ending, you add a picture to the gallery section of the game.

Despite the game’s simple premise, it’s still challenging trying to get certain endings.  I can spend hours trying to collect every ending.  The better endings are harder to come by, like trying to get what you want out of life.  I give this game 7 out of 10, fun with many possibilities.