Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £49.99 (digital deluxe £59.99, Season Pass (argh) £36.99)
Where To Get It: Steam

Ah, we’re back to the Atelier series, and so soon! So yes, as a quick refresher, the Atelier series is a JRPG series about cute alchemists doing cute alchemist things, meeting people, getting ingredients, beating up monsters, synthesising new things, and, after a relatively slow burn, saving the world. It’s usually pretty good stuff.

Doing this this early was a mistake. But a fun one.

Now, the other thing about the Atelier series is that it changes the formula up somewhat nearly every time. So, while time limits on the overall story still appear to not be here (yay!), the combat system is different from Lydie & Suelle, the alchemy system is different, maps are different… And I like most of these changes. One, in particular, I’m not a huge fan of.

There is a world map with shortcuts. There is a minimap both in the main city portion and the various biomes you encounter. You know what isn’t there? A minimap inside buildings. There is a fast travel menu in the city from the world map, but honestly, that feels a bit backasswards from the way Lydie and Suelle did it. I sorta get it overall, there are people who will have quests for you, so you need to be running through the city to meet them (and, as usual, alchemical ingredients can be found in town), but…

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear…

Look, I get lost easily. And, to rub a little salt in, there is… A colourblindness issue with the door type objectives. Specifically, it’s difficult to tell what is a door you need to go through for the objective, and what… Is not. There’s a small difference in shade. That’s it.

Not cool.

Otherwise, though, Atelier Ryza’s second installment has a lot of cool stuff, the grind remains as mellow and, honestly, low key as ever, and the characters remain charming and interesting, from the folks you meet around town (oh, Ryza, why do you keep getting in trouble like this, huh?), to the main characters themselves. It looks damn pretty, the story is a little higher stakes from the beginning (as the ruins information rapidly makes it clear that yes, things are afoot in ye ancient ruins), the soundtrack remains as chill as seems to be the case (until it needs to be otherwise, and it’s alright at that too)…

Hrm… Yes. I see… Interesting… And other noises of academic interest fitting for the moment…

So, what about them lost legends, huh? Well, that’s one of the more interesting additions. Effectively, you’re piecing together the story of ancient ruins, with the help of a magic mcguffin and deduction, in order to learn more about the situation you’re in, and about the fairy wot hatched from an egg you got given at the beginning of the game. Called Fii. Who goes Fiii!

Shush, they’re extremely cute, I will hear no bad words against them. It’s honestly not a bad system, though, because it encourages exploration of the ruins themselves, and filling in blanks.

Gripes about the map aside, I can’t really think of any critique that would significantly improve the game. What little quality of life it lacks, is easily fixed, and the rest just… Works. It’s a solid game about cute alchemists doing cute alchemist things, befriending many, crafting stuff incessantly for various reasons, whaling on monsters for various reasons, with a relatively chill difficulty curve, and an equally chill lack of pressure. You take it at your own pace, and, so long as you don’t mind a fair bit of repetition in your routine, then yeah, this is a solid JRPG to play.

I really can’t complain when I can make a beatstick specifically for early enemies.

Become a Patron!

Journey to the Savage Planet (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £24.99 (Expansion Scenario: £5.99)
Where To Get It: Steam

I just keep finding cheerily dystopian games with guitars in, don’t I? Well, this one’s particularly cheery in its corporate dystopia, and is a metroidvania style deal in which your abilities allow you to explore the world more, see interesting beasties, and get yourself wrecked by them, so it’s not like I can complain. All I can do is eat the monsters that look rich. Or, more accurately, drain their mineral contents so I can make sweet, sweet traversal items and upgrades.


And, just like a metroidvania, there’s a fair amount of being lost, because, apart from shortcut points, you’re basically relying on muscle memory and a few upgrades to work out what’s what, and where.

So, first things first, the humour. Oh god, the humour’s on point, and it’s clear which rich asshole(s) Kindred corp’s head are inspired by. They shall not be named, for they are also namesearching rich assholes. But it’s pretty obvious, and oh boy are they smug, clueless jerks who’d rather throw money and people at a problem than use resources efficiently.

That’s our job, apparently.

Humankind. Whether it’s possible, advisable, or even safe, we will try to [BEEEEP] it.

Aesthetically, the game is pretty clear, with a clear, unobtrusive UX, cool alien designs that make the beasties in question instantly recognisable (along with other features, equally clear), and a broken world that feels awe inspiring at times to travel in. Musically, well, it’s good, it’s frontier western guitars, and yup, dystopian future with space-trucker guitars again!

This is not a bad thing. This is, in fact, a good thing. Equally good is the world. The pufferbirds are very satisfying indeed to feed to the grinding maws, to punt, and to generally bully, the creatures are, overall, well designed, big glowy weak points and all, and they feel like they belong in this screwed up, shattered world. Which, like your journey, is one big, long WHOOPS.

But it’s an enjoyable whoops that controls well, has some good acting (and some delightfully godawful adverts), a dystopian story that nonetheless made me laugh, and an ending that I saw coming a few hundred parsecs away, but still delighted me in the details. I found some of the later stuff and some of the bosses a bit of a drag, mainly because said boss fights were multistage, but also relied on maneuverability with limited healing, but overall, I found it well paced, and likable enough that I wanted to 100% complete before hitting that lever to take me back home.

Pretty landscapes. Filled with creatures that want you dead, and you want dead too. It’s all good…

And after I do, what I’ve found will totally be used safely for the betterment of mankind. Right?

Oh. Yeah. Comedic hellscape.


This review sponsored by CAMPING CUBICLE, the portable office cube with a coffee maker in-built, so you can feel like an office drone even in the farthest reaches of space, as you should!

Become a Patron!

Love Stories: Furry Shades of Gay (NSFW Going Back)

Content Warnings: M/M, D/s, anthro/furry, maid costumes, oral, anal, facial, degradation, spanking, bratting, open relationship, size difference, dubcon(?), masturbation


Become a Patron!

The Sad Story Of Emmeline Burns (Going Back)

Source: Free
Price: Free
Where to Get It: Steam

At first, I had mixed impressions. A beautiful piano piece on the one hand, not making it clear the drawers are the menu, and the key the options on the other.


The piano remains good. And the opening crawl… Don’t let it put you off. Yes, it’s all text, but being that fits. Toma has no good pictures for this. Why should she, when she feels off, isolated, and feeling like her core, her identity, was stolen via the simple fact her aunt named her baby with Toma’s mother’s desired name for her daughter. And it’s affected her self esteem, to the point where she, a beautiful young lady (and she is) feels plain, weird, uncomfortable to be around.

A kinetic novel (where one doesn’t choose, but simply experiences the story), it revolves around two people, both young: Toma and Emmeline, and the fateful meeting they have in a graveyard. And it’s an emotional ride, where I found myself tearing up at one phrase early on:

“Every person has a story, and there is not enough space on a single tombstone to say it.”

But the story is told, and I teared up several times. That, in and of itself, says a lot. I sometimes tear up at the weirdest things (Like the SST arrange of Space Harrier, of all things. No idea why), but I don’t often do it overall…

Emmeline is smooth as warm butter…

But Toma’s story, and Emmeline’s struck a chord. They both loved a girl, and, in the end, they both got the relationships they wanted, and resolved, at least partly, the histories that plagued them.

You’d think that was a massive spoiler, but no. The details matter. The very British nature of the game matters, the small things matter. Just like a light brush of the hand, or a stammered set of words.

The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns is free, is hella gay, and it made me almost cry. If you want that experience, and don’t mind it being a kinetic novel… Go give it a go.

Oh, and the gallery is in the book, and the music box’s function is obvious.

And so we close our tale, the biscuits and milk all eaten, the night drawing in. Sweet dreams, one and all…

Become a Patron!

Witches X Warlocks (Going Back)

Source: Free, Cashmoneys for the DLC
Price: Free (£4.79 for an extra romance route and extra eye candies)
Where to Get It: Steam

Omigosh. This is so hecking wholesome. So hecking wholesome, in fact, that I’ve said hecking twice.

Okay, okay, let’s get into it. Rawr.

Spells! So many spells! Learn… Well, enough to pass, and enough to romance your chosen sweetie…

Witches x Warlocks is a visual novel with some resource/raising elements, in that you need potions to cast and learn spells from the four potential sweethearts, and you have times of the day to choose to make potions with one of said sweethearts, learn spells from them, and work part time to buy potions. And, naturally, learn about your four potential sweethearts, and romance the heck out of them as The Matchmaker of Dwimmermere, the Halloween Town!

…Who’s also a witch who completely forgot to study, and realises exams are in a week’s time. Which is why you’re doing all this. Whoops.

So, aesthetically… Everyone is cute. The visuals are clear. The music is nice, and my only (minor) gripe with the VA is that, no matter what gender presentation and pronouns you pick, your protag has exactly the same voice. Otherwise, everyone is characterful, and there’s just enough VA to get more of a sense of their characters.


Speaking of characters… I love them all, and if time actually permitted, I would smooch all of them. There’s Damion, the frankensteinian cutie, Zero, the gruff poltergeist who, nonetheless, is warm beneath that, Lawrence, the grumpy werewolf, and Carmilla, the wry, seductive vampiress who nonetheless hides some pain in her past. I want the best for all of them, and this is a hallmark of a good dating sim: You want to date them all.

And then there’s something I enjoy most of all: This is a game that wants to be played. So long as you have at least 8 of every potion at the end, and a selection of spells that cover most situations, you will be fiiiine, and the full selection of a given character’s skills goes a long way, and, y’know… Gives you more chances to get to know them, and closer to giving them a big sloppy kiss.

So yes, Witches x Warlocks is fun, it’s wholesome, it’s cute, and it tugs at my heart in the right ways. Give it a go.

Now, what we need are more queer villainess isekai otome visual novels. And manga. And anime. I won’t shut up about this, you can’t make me.

Become a Patron!