Endless Summer Book 1 Act 2 Chapter 8: You Always Have to Be the Hero (Choices)

A/N: After a delightful feast, some of the contest winners head for the satellite uplink in the hopes of trying to contact home. Can they make it to the uplink or does La Huerta have more surprises in store for them?

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Endless Summer Book 1 Act 2 Chapter 7: Pies Make Peace (Choices: Stories You Play)

A/N: Hey, everyone, I’m back! Sorry for the delay but it took me a while to figure out what day to post these recaps on until I decided to stick with Sunday. Anyway, after that disastrous fight in the last chapter, Raj enlists Jasmine’s help to get the group to make up. What is he planning and, whatever it is, will it bring peace to the contest winners or make things worse?

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Endless Summer Book 1 Act 1 Chapter 5: It’s What You’re Meant for (Choices)

A/N: That’s right, I’m back with the next chapter of Endless Summer! In this chapter, our heroes are trying to find a way out of the dark underground. Yet the only way out is through an underwater tunnel. Not only that, but Quinn gets captured! Can Jasmine save Quinn and get her friends out of that underground labyrinth nightmare?

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Endless Summer Book 1 Act 1 Chapter 3: All Kinds of Crazy (Choices: Stories You Play)

A/N: I’m back with the next chapter of Endless Summer! Last time, Jasmine saw a mysterious creature in the woods. Now, while still being haunted by the silhouette, she learns of a shelter where the other residents may be hiding. Can Jasmine and the other contest winners find this shelter?

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Cyberbang 2069 (Itch Store)

Check out the fangame of Cyberpunk 2077, Cyberbang 2069! In this game, you can choose whether you want to romance Johnny Silverhand, Sandayu Oda, Goro Takemura, or Victor Vektor. Let me tell you, none of these characters were available to romance in the original game. Right now, this fangame is currently under construction. So the only completed path is Oda’s, but you can play the first chapter of the other characters and choose whether you want safe or explicit. This fangame has a set up system based on Cyberpunk 2077 and makes references to events and quests in the original game. Though, honestly, I’ve only played a bit of it because I haven’t finished the original game, but the little bit I did play was actually pretty cool! Feel free to check out the game, or what’s created so far, here.

Delicious: Moms Vs Dads (Gamehouse)

Emily and her friends are tired of having to do all of the housework while their husbands lay around the house.  Therefore, they have a Father of the Year contest in order to teach them a lesson. Will the men learn anything or use this as an excuse to continue being lazy?

Be warned that this review contains spoilers, so proceed with caution.  First, I’d like to say that, when I first started playing the game, I had a huge fear that it would result in the latter.  There were times in the game when you’re supposed to have sympathy for the husbands’ failures, especially Mike. He is such an epic fail that, during the camping challenge, he didn’t pack enough supplies for his children but still managed to pack too much.  The characters even point out that he’s director of the parks department, so this should be his area of expertise. It gets so bad that Mike’s boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t clean up his act. Let me explain that Sharon, without getting permission from the others, agreed to broadcast the Father of the Year contest on live television.  The fact that the parks department keeps a failure such as Mike employed at the park makes them look back. Thankfully, Stacy agrees to help but, instead of helping Mike be a better cook, she makes pancakes for him, gives them to him in secret and encourages him to tell everyone he made the pancakes. Don’t worry; everyone catches Mike and Stacy in the act.  Fortunately, for Mike, it’s the one time when the camera operator’s not around. At the end of the camping round, he chooses to stay in the competition so that he doesn’t disappoint his kids and ends up doing a not so terrible job at making pancakes.

Patrick, on the other hand, is good at being a fun dad but fails at being a responsible parent.  He can play with his kids, but he fails at laundry and only does chores around the house when Emily asks him to.  She calls him out on this during the contest when he questions Emily for giving him a four. Patrick ends up getting so competitive that, during the kite competition, he ignores Paige’s wish to keep the kite they made in order to make a superior kite that would be sure to beat Chad.  Patrick even gets angry with Emily, accusing her of wanting him to be more like Chad. He is Sharon’s husband who passes all of the challenges with flying colors, yet spends more time on business trips than he does with his family. However, Emily never said that Patrick needed to be more like Chad.  All she told Patrick was that he needed to improve his fathering skills because they have three children and Emily’s strained having to do all of the work herself. It’s something I pointed out in Miracle of Life when Emily was making excuses for Patrick, so I’m happy to see that she’s wising up about this.  Later on, Emily gets worried that Patrick’s desire to win is making him lose sight of what made him a good father, as I pointed out earlier. In the end, Emily and Sharon come up with the idea to have the final round be about how well the fathers know their children. It’s a challenge Patrick passes with flying colors and is even able to tell his kids apart when Chad switches the twins around so that Patrick will lose.  This challenge is worth double the points and, if you ask me, Patrick should’ve gotten more points just for being able to tell his kids apart despite the sabotage. Instead, they decide to give a four-way tie, something Chad doesn’t agree with which I’ll talk about later. Patrick comes up with the idea to make a special challenge for each father to give their kids a surprise and it’s worth no points. He even admits to Emily that the contest was a good idea because it helped him appreciate how hard Emily works.  As happy as I am about Patrick’s growth, it still brings up one question. I’m sure those of you who follow my blog know that Emily and Angela went on the Love Boat for a cruise while Patrick stayed behind to care for their kids. Since Patrick, at the time, was not a responsible father, what kind of mess did Emily come home to after she left the cruise?

Chad, Sharon’s husband, is the other side of the coin.  He’s good at cooking, cleaning and everything the contest has to offer in the beginning.  It’s something Sharon brags about and shows off to everyone even going so far as to allow a news channel to broadcast the contest without talking to the other women about it.  Sharon points out that it’s no different from Emily posting the contest on her blog, but she didn’t go behind everyone’s backs for her own ego. However, as I said earlier, Chad spends more time at work than he ever does with his family.  It’s what inspires Sharon to come up with the final challenge and show everyone that Chad’s not so perfect after all. During this challenge, he fails miserably at answering questions about Grace. It’s a scene I found rather funny and sad at the same time.  Patrick, despite being in competition with Chad, actually tries to help him out and fails. Whether Patrick does this more for Chad or Grace is up to the player to figure out. Personally, I think Patrick did it more for Grace because she was hurt that her own father didn’t know anything about her.  I’m sure there are some children who understand Grace’s pain. This inspires Chad to sabotage Patrick by switching their twins that, as I’ve pointed out, backfires. I also said that Chad is the only husband not satisfied with a four-way tie and talks to the reporter about having a sumo contest to determine the winner.  Since the whole point of this contest was to show the men what the women have to go through, this undermines the whole message and reinforces that it’s more important for men to be macho rather than being good people. It’s a message also supported by my mom’s least favorite car commercial. Unlike that commercial, the contest ends with Patrick about to win but forfeiting at the last minute when he sees his son crawling for the first time.  Despite Chad being the winner, Patrick gets the last minute footage for caring more about his kids than he does about the contest. In the end, Sharon breaks down because she admits to Emily that she’d rather have an imperfect husband that spends time with her and Grace than a perfect husband who’s never there. Chad overhears this and quits his job for Sharon, leaving her to worry about whether they’ll be poor because Chad has no job. Personally, if Chad’s job makes him enough money for them to own a beach house, I think they’ll have more than enough money saved up to stay rich.  However, they might want to keep a closer eye on their back account.

Last and, in my mind, most certainly least is Andy.  For those of you who haven’t played Miracle of Life, Andy is Mary-Lynn’s husband who abandoned her when she was pregnant.  Now, he wants to come back into her life and takes part in the contest to win Mary-Lynn’s heart. While Andy does mediocre on the chores at best, their baby, Levi, doesn’t know him because he’s never been around.  To me, this is a gray area. I haven’t forgiven Andy for abandoning his family, but I imagine it would be hard for Mary-Lynn to raise Levi on her own. In the end, she takes him back and he helps with the chores as well as raising Levi.

I explained that each father learns, in their own way, that they need to help with the domestic in their own way.  I also said that there were many times throughout the game that I feared the message would be, “fathers are useless at anything domestic so mothers should do everything.”  At first, it begins with elderly women saying that Emily’s generation is lucky because the men help. What they didn’t get is that the men often blew off their chores with Patrick refusing to get up at night and feed the twins.  Emily, Sharon and Mary-Lynn talk about this with Evelyn and Brigid, who both support the Father of the Year contest. At first, they mope about how mothers do all the work and fathers get all the credit. They even make jokes about events for the Father of the Year contest, which Emily, at first, finds a little too mean-spirited.  Brigid defends it by talking about how she had to raise Patrick and Kate by herself with no help from their father. Evelyn is, at first, proud of Edward for vacuuming, until she realizes that she’s been praising her husband for doing one chore around their house. Meanwhile, she is stuck with the lion’s share. Patrick refusing to get up in the night and take care of their babies is the final straw for Emily.  At the end, each of their husbands agree to do more chores around the house. Patrick even does the dishes without Emily having to tell him and gets up in the night to take care of the babies. Evelyn even tells Edward that he has to do an equal amount of chores as she does when cleaning from now on.

The game play is just as it was in Miracle of Life, with you preparing products and giving them to standing or seated customers.  You have to clean up after the seated customers as soon as they leave.

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Then you find the mouse in each level and complete a challenge to get the diamond for that level.  You also get to play optional challenge levels to earn more diamonds but don’t enhance the story in any way. If you’re still low on diamonds, you can play the daily challenge to get more.  During each level, you have to take part in mini-games that tend to distract from the game rather than add to it.

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It’s similar to what Heart’s Medicine and Dr. Cares would do, except the mini-games were about treating patients.  This helped add to the experience while, in Delicious, it more distracts you from your goal. It’s similar to when Sally’s Quick Clips tried to do a match 3 game and failed. In that case, they learned their lesson and went back to the original style.  Since the makers used this in Miracle of Life before making this game, you can see that this isn’t the case with them. You can buy upgrades between levels to make your gaming experience easier. As for the diamonds, you use them to purchase decorations for Emily’s backyard.  Unfortunately, you have to buy both variations if you want to get that trophy; one of the many that you can win in the game. The game play also supports the storyline in the last venue, where you play as Patrick giving Emily a break from running her restaurant. However, I do wonder who’s running his flower shop.  You can also higher Mike as a cleaner for the last venue, with the description explaining that it’s one of his first lessons on domestic work.

This game has a good storyline, but doesn’t really entertain as it should.  I give it 6 out of 10; love the message, not crazy about the game play.

Endless Summer (Choices)

This is an unusual post because it’s not really a review as much as a recommendation. This game is one of my favorite Choices games due to having a great story, great characters and a huge mystery that’s up to you to solve. Your choices determine your relationships and if you can gather enough clues to solve the mystery of the island you’re stranded on. However, I warn you, completing the game 100% means you have to make in-app purchases.

I’ve made a decision to post more on my blog, but only post reviews once a week. From now on, I’ll be posting what I make in dollmakers, news about video games or board games, people’s Let’s Play videos and recommendations for interactive stories you can play on your phone. You can even give me dollmaker pictures you made, recommend Let’s Plays I can post and so on. Just make sure that what you suggest I post or recommend has something to do with either video or board gaming.

Delicious: Emily’s New Beginning (Gamehouse.com)

Emily just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and she and Patrick couldn’t be happier.  That is, until Emily goes back to work.  Now she has to learn how to balance running a restaurant with taking care of a child.

You read that right, the plot is about career vs. family.  Emily’s trying to run a restaurant while keeping her baby under control.  Surprisingly, some customers don’t like having a baby bothering them while they’re eating.  This starts to become a plot point in the cafe portion of the game where many of Emily’s regulars don’t like Paige (her baby).  I can’t say I blame them.  When I go out to eat, I don’t really want some stranger’s baby bothering me.  Though it really becomes a plot point when Emily has to work for her competitor, Wu, after her family restaurant burns down due to her father and her uncle competing to be Paige’s favorite relative (I’ll explain later).  Wu doesn’t allow babies in his restaurant, so that means Emily has to sneak Paige in there behind Wu’s back.  Wu also won’t let Emily have any say over the menu, though I do see Wu’s point about having a baby in the restaurant and I’m not sure if pies fit his atmosphere.  However, that doesn’t give Wu the right to treat Emily like his slave.  Therefore, I can’t hold her rebellion against her.  This doesn’t end even when they get a restaurant together, with Emily having no say about how her restaurant’s run, though she does stand up to him and makes it clear that she’s the one in charge of the menu.

Again, Emily’s family is a huge part of the plot and you can always count on them to make the plot fun.  For starters, I mentioned Edward and Antonio competing to be Paige’s favorite relative.  This escalates into them buying similar presents with one of them being better than the other and even buying similar toy cars, then racing them around the restaurant to prove that their toy car is better.  Of course, this results in them accidentally burning down Emily’s restaurant.  This forces her to work for Wu.  Though Edward and Antonio learn their lesson, they still have to one up each other at Christmas by dressing up as Santa.  Truthfully, my favorite family moment includes Jimmy when Emily yells at him for buying Paige (who’s three years old in the Christmas levels) a lighter.

The game play is similar to the previous Delicious games with Emily serving customers who sit down or order from the counter.  After the customers at the table finish eating, you clean up after them.

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In between levels, you can purchase equipment to help run your restaurant including an entertainer that you can send to your seated customers to cheer them up.

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The only problem is that the entertainer takes a little too long doing their job.  The game also has a new feature where you can decide your menu based on what customers will be going to your shop on that very day.

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Choose right and you can get generous tips to help you achieve a three star goal.  Some levels will require you to complete an activity relating to the story.  Another thing that separates this game from previous ones in the series is Paige, who will crawl around exploring the restaurant and bother some of your customers.  Therefore, you have to take her back to her playpen.  This feature still exists in the Christmas levels, when she’s three years old, which makes no sense whatsoever.

This game is simplistic yet fun.  I give it 8 out of 10, a fitting installment for the Delicious series.  Though I do have one question.  If Emily’s so busy with work, then why can’t Patrick take care of the baby?

Marin Umino (Cafe 0: The Drowned Mermaid) *Major Spoilers*

A while back, I reviewed Cafe 0 which is still one of my favorite visual novels due to its Twilight Zone feel.  I also recreated all three versions of the main character, Marin Umino, as best as I could using the Azaleas Dolls game (Snow Queen Scene Maker), which you can check out for yourself on Azaleasdolls.com.  Despite the premise of Marin being a ghost who relives the past seven days of her life, the game is more tragic than it is scary.  For those of you who haven’t played it yet, be sure to check out the game on roseverte.com and be warned that there are major spoilers in what I’m about to say.

To me, what makes the game tragic is Marin and the characters that surround her.  To an outsider, it seems she has the perfect life.  Marin’s the most popular girl in school, she has a nice apartment, she’s the swimming team’s ace, dating the most popular boy in school, boys want her and girls want to be her.  However, just because she’s admired doesn’t mean anyone loves her.  Marin’s best friend, Ami, is only hanging out with her because they’re both popular.  Ami has no issue with stabbing Marin in the back if she benefits.  Marin’s boyfriend, Tooru, is only dating her to further his own ends and blackmailed Shou, her doctor who is also Marin’s secret boyfriend, into making Marin date him.  As for Shou, he’s an adult and Marin is a teenage girl.  So the fact that he’s involved with her in private means he’s basically committing statutory rape and also prostituting his girlfriend to protect his own career because Tooru made it clear that he will expose Marin and Shou together if Shou doesn’t make Marin date Tooru.  Keep in mind that Marin doesn’t even want to date him and is only doing whatever Tooru wants to make Shou happy.  Really think about that for a minute.  To anyone asking, “where’s her parents in all this?”  They’re off in who knows where and leave their kid to fend for herself without even a pet for company.  Even Marin wonders if she’s an unwanted child.  So this girl had no genuine love in her life.  Just people who took advantage of her and used her for their own ends.  Marin dies unloved and no one mourns her death.  I’ll admit, I’ve been used myself and I have trouble telling who my real friends are, but the worst that I ever happened to me was that I got called out on the internet, or I had a pool installed and people I’ve never even talked to suddenly wanted to be my friend.  Even if I was used to such an extent I know that, through it all, I’ll always have my mother and I also have pets that love me unconditionally.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in Marin’s shoes.  I’ll admit, usually, I hate the popular kid is sad trope, like how Smallville portrays Lana Lang, but here it works.  Marin is Lana if the writers of Smallville actually took the time to write her better.

Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! (Steam Store)

After Mairu finally starts her comedy club, a teen idol visits in order to join. Unfortunately, Chitose doesn’t want that to happen and will stop at nothing to destroy Mairu’s club once and for all. To make a bad situation worse, the president of the Classical Comedy Club has it in for Mairu, and wants to bring her club down.

That’s right; Cherry Tree High Comedy Club got a sequel. This game is unusual in one aspect. You know how, in some reviews, I skip the paragraph that explains the plot of the video game because there’s no plot to be found? This game has no game play to be found. It’s purely visual novel without even letting you choose where to take the story. Contrary to what the summary would have you believe, the main conflict isn’t about Mairu. It’s actually between Ai (the pop star) and Hoemi (Mairu’s best friend). Ai wants to be a comedian and replaces Hoemi as Mairu’s partner in a comedic duo due to having better chemistry with her. Hoemi has no desire to be a comedian but is afraid that Ai will replace Hoemi as Mairu’s best friend. Eventually, it leads to an argument between Hoemi and Ai with neither side being right and neither side being wrong. The game also has side episodes that explore the relationships between the other characters, such as Mai and Ravian trying to find a tutor for school subjects they are both hopeless at. That’s actually much better than it sounds. In other words, this is not a video game. It’s a slice of life anime in visual novel form.

This game is entertaining and amusing. I give it 9 out of 10; definitely worth looking at.