Visual Novel Book Club // Now reading: ISLAND

Tbh, I also had to look up quite a lot of unknown words. It’s still an improvement compared to my first attempts at reading untranslated VNs, when my speed would be three or four times slower than the average indicated on vndb :wink: Now I’m at around half of the “normal” speed :slight_smile: My “best” result recently was with Aonatsu Line - 36 hours with vndb average time being at 26 :wink: And indeed I felt like this VN was quite easy - but lovely at the same time.

It has non-sexual versions - for Switch, PSV and PS4 - of which the former two can be played on PC with emulators (that’s how I played), but I’m not sure if romantic slice-of-life is the suitable option for bookclub. Indeed mystery titles (and relatives) seem to be more appropiate :wink:

I know that you wanted to dive into something bigger and with choices this time, but - just in case - what about the latest KEY’s short title - Tsui no Stella?

Or maybe Seven Days? I played it after the Loopers, and I loved it. It’s linear with some minor choices, but at least it was longer. I also didn’t find it overly difficult - and it’s available on Steam :slight_smile:

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It’s not truly a huge deal, just what seemed sensible to me, so I can probably keep them open longer term / always in the future.

I had no idea this existed, neat. Very new one! I’d personally maybe lean slightly away from Key right after just to avoid fatigue with “Key style” (I know nothing about this new VN so maybe it’s different but they often have their similarities).

Appreciate the ideas either way!


Well, giving nominations sufficient space and then moving to voting is going to put us with a bit of a gap between clubs anyway, so might as well get started, huh? I’ll update the main post to reflect this, but:

Nominations are open!

Please refer to the template in the top post, nominations are only accepted using that structure! Remember to adhere to the basic rules in the top post, but when it comes to choices/route structure and even length, anything goes this time. Do keep in mind though, as we’ve discussed, the sort of time commitment required at learner reading speeds for longer VNs. For those not a part of our first club, Loopers is a “short” VN (5 and a half hours on VNDB) and we still broke that into 17 weeks, between 6000-8000 characters on a typical week. Most of us found that alone to take at least an hour or two, sometimes more.

Oh and assuming no one goes wild, you’re welcome to propose multiple things should you desire.

I’m probably fine to run again, but at some point I may need to offload operating the club to someone the way all the book clubs work.

Can’t wait to see what we get :smile:

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Awesome, that’s exciting!!
I’ve got a lot of VNs on my to-read list in my study log, but now that I’m checking them out on vndb, they range from 25h to 50h, so I don’t think they are great candidates :sweat_smile: Just nomitating the only short one I have.

fault - milestone one

Developer: ALICE IN DISSONANCE
VNDB Play Time: 6h20min
VNDB Link: fault - milestone one | vndb

Summary

END OF PEACE. BEGINNING OF A JOURNEY.

Launched as a throwback to the Science Fiction genre in the 80’s, fault - milestone one is a Science Fantasy Kinetic Novel which depicts the story of a princess named Selphine and her Royal Guard Ritona. While attempting to make an escape from a brutal assault that’s devastated their homeland of Rughzenhaide, the two mysteriously teleport to an unknown forest surrounded by vegetation not native to the surroundings of Rughzenhaide. The atmosphere is thick and heavy and no sign of life can be found, which is particularly unusual for such a lush forest. Sign of life isn’t the only thing missing though. Something is odd about this land - something is amiss - but Selphine and Ritona are too startled to notice the obvious.

Who were the assaulters and what was their goal?
Where did Selphine and Ritona end up traversing to?
Will the two make it home safely?
And more importantly, what will they come home to once they do?

Follow Selphine, a bubbly, happy-go-lucky Princess and her sharp-witted but slightly misanthropic Royal Guard Ritona, in their journey of a lifetime as they head back to their homeland of Rughzenhaide.

Availability

Steam link
Switch link
PS link

Personal Opinion

I don’t know why it’s on my list, saw it as high rated somewhere here on the forums or in a video maybe…

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Pretty short
  • Not too expensive, and 50% discount right now until Nov 4th
  • Seems to have chapters

Cons

  • No voice

Pictures

Screenshots

Took the screenshots from Steam, sorry it’s with English text, but the Japanese texts are available
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Japanese screenshots:




Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this VN?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

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That’s cool! I’ve not actually heard of this one, but I’m definitely interested.

One little point – I edited the template, probably late, to explicitly say images with Japanese text so people can use them for an at a glance guess at difficulty (for what it’s worth, this is on jpdb as just a 4/10 difficulty and not a bad average sentence length, so probably a pretty simple read for us :smile:). If you get the chance, swapping to a couple of those would be nice. I did the exact same thing originally posting English images like “look, pretty pictures” until other people asked me to change it so no worries at all haha.

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Okay, that makes sense :slight_smile: I have the game so I’ll load it up and update the screenshots in a couple of hours!

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月影のシミュラクル

Developer: Applique
VNDB Play Time: 13h48m
Character count: 285,345
VNDB Link: Tsukikage no Simulacre | vndb

Summary

Seiichi received an invitation letter from his dear cousin Rei who he hadn’t seen since he moved. She asked for his presence at the family’s mysterious ceremony which is held once every few years. He decided to return to the town of Izawa where he had once lived, and was reunited with his childhood friends. There is a legend of a living doll at the large mansion in the forest, and it always takes the form of a girl from the Kisaragi family.

Availability

The all-ages version is on steam here: 月影魅像-解放之羽- on Steam - for some reason the page is in Chinese but it is a Japanese game and the steam version has the Japanese text.
The 18+ version can be found on dlsoft but since the screenshots on that website include some 18+ stuff I won’t link it to be safe.

Personal Opinion

It is a mystery VN so I think it will lead to a lot of discussions as we read through it. I have seen a lot of people say it is one of the better VNs they have read and a lot of others begging for a translation, so I assume it has to be decent? jpdb has the VN at 285,345 characters long (the game is tagged with “low sexual content” on VNDB and we would read the all-ages version, so the all-ages version is probably 10-15k characters shorter I would imagine). The length ends up being about double of our current VN Loopers but still on the shorter side when it comes to VNs so I think it would be a good game to test how we do with choices and whatnot.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Mystery VN
  • All characters seem to be voiced outside of the MC
  • Good art
  • Texthook works

Cons

  • The VN is tagged with “high amount of bad endings”. I haven’t looked at a guide yet so not sure how many there are exactly or if they are necessary to complete but it could potentially be annoying
  • There does not seem to be any chapter break or date system in place for us to schedule around
  • The game is only on PC

Pictures

Screenshots








Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this VN?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

8 Likes

I actually have this game as well the sequel on Steam, but never got around to playing them. No luck getting textractor to work, but it looks like it’s ren py based so that’s probably user error on my part.

screenshots from the beginning of the game




It’s a teeny bit more towards the kinetic side with the camera doing a bit of pan and zoom to emphasize characters or side conversations. Also lets you swap between English and Japanese with the E and J keys. There are some wordier bits, but on average the text box contents seem shorter than Loopers.

There is a demo on Steam if people would like to check it out, however it seems there won’t be a youtube version per their content policy:
image

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Added the Japanese screenshots in my above nomination :slight_smile:

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Ah I just saw your post, thanks for the screenshots! Almost the same ones haha

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This is actually the one I was going to nominate :joy: but you’re absolutely right, perhaps it’s not the best time right after Loopers, which is unfortunate because otherwise it looked like a super good “second” VN. 12h on VNDB, up to level 5 difficulty in jpdb from the 4 of loopers, bump of 30k characters, neatly divided into 16 chapters with character counts of each on jpdb already, Texthooking without issues (was playing with the demo for a second, it’s the same engine as Loopers), and so on. Music was great, sound effects too and it seems nicely rated. It also gave me NieR:Automata vibes, which I love.

Now all of that looks great on paper but unfortunately the downside is that we just finished (edit: or are about to) a Key VN and playing another one so soon can potentially get boring, just out of familiarity. What’s even more, the main character is voiced by Simon’s VA in Loopers and having it too recent can make it very weird. I don’t really mind personally because the very little I did of the demo was nice, it’s not exactly the same as Loopers, but thinking about it as a group pick… again, perhaps it’s not the best time for it.

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I say nominate it anyway, a lot of newcomers (me?) that were not around for the first VN bookclub could be interested :slight_smile:

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I didn’t look at it on jpdb but I’m surprised it is only rated a 5 on there. Tanaka Romeo is the writer for that VN and he’s known to be pretty confusing (he’s most famous for CROSS†CHANNEL and Yume Miru Kusuri I believe). From the few people I’ve talked to they mentioned its on the tougher side and not beginner friendly.

It is a Key game but different writers so I’m not sure how similar they would feel (Loopers doesn’t really feel that similar to other Key games to me tbh) but I definitely understand wanting to be safer and avoid Key burnout. It is something I am interested in reading in the future though!

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To be fair, the very little I played of the demo (I was only seeing if it could be texthooked nicely) surprised me in terms of terminology, I was also surprised with the 5 in jpdb :smile: . It was very little and couldn’t properly judge its difficulty overall because I didn’t want to spoil anything, but it did feel like a jump, definitely.

Another downside is that I think it’s not available for Switch, only PC if I remember correctly.

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It does still look interesting so I’d second going for it if you want! I’m probably overstating similarities and either way that’s the kind of thing for the voting to sort out since you know you personally would be into trying it.

I know we have at least one member who is reliant on Switch ports and I don’t want to be excluding people but it sadly may just fall that way sometimes – accessibility has gotten a lot better recently, but this is very much a PC first medium.

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Thinking about nominations has made me really wish a whole bunch of VNs I want to read were like 5-10 hours shorter, haha. I also wish Suda51 had just made Silver Jiken a pure visual novel because I really wanted to nominate that as an oddball pick, but it seems like it has too much cumbersome-sounding gameplay to be a good fit.

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@Akashelia It would be worthwhile to also mention that it has a Switch version. Some of us only play VNs on Switch. :slight_smile: It seems to be available with Japanese text even in the UK/US/English eshop so totally available.

I know I might miss a pick because I only read on the Switch. I hope no one stops themselves from nominating something or voting for something because of my choice.


On that note, I checked the length of my otome VNs and the vndb results were depressing. I have a couple that are pure otome which I feel like might not be right for this group, that are short enough at like 15h. (Two of the Yoshiwara otome games. One of them was also a gacha game to start I think? Anyway, definitely pure dating game, the very short prologue lead right to the main character needing to pick the guy you want to start dating first. (I haven’t played past that yet.))

The ones I thought might interest people here. One with ninjas set after sengoku war is over and another in an alternative new york city with some mystery/crime. Well, they are 30h and 33h respectively. :sweat_smile:

Not sure I should nominate either, but in case someone is curious and want to encourage me to nominate one, they are: the ninja one is Nightshade (百花百狼 戦国忍法帖) and the NYC/crime/mystery one (vndb doesn’t mention otome, but other places calls it one, so maybe the mystery elements are more prominent than I thought?) is Bu$tafellows.

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I hear a lot of nice things about Bustafellows and have had it recommended a lot. I was checking the vndb page and see it lists an English PC version but not a Japanese one. The steam page also says it only supports English text, not Japanese. I wonder if anyone here has it by chance and can confirm if that’s right? It seems weird to port it to PC for English but not include the original language. If the VN won, I’d definitely be interested in reading it but I’d probably have to skip out if there is no PC version (don’t let that stop you from nominating it though!)

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I think the PC port was done specifically by the english publisher so there isn’t a Japanese PC version. There is an app version for both android and ios though.

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On that note, just crossed my mind, I did have “PC version available in Japanese” as a specific requirement just kinda following the logic that this medium is on there primarily (honestly that might be less true of otome? showing my lack of experience with them heh) and assuming most people would be texthooking. I still think most people are doing it that way so having no PC availability should be very clearly labelled and might seriously hurt a nomination’s chances? But, for fairness sake now that we know some people aren’t going to be playing that way I’ll go ahead and just make it a Japanese version on any platform rather than requiring my preferred one haha – that said, if we vote for something that doesn’t have a PC version, I myself may or may be out and we should talk about having someone else run that round, heh.

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Oh, I completely missed that note haha. I think most otome are on PC too but some VNs regardless of genre are randomly console exclusive for some reason (Chaos;Head Noah for example was a console exclusive for over a decade until it finally got a PC release the other week). But yeah, I am in the same boat where I most likely would not be able to participate if there is no PC version.

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