Tenkuu no Yumina review and comments

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#1 by krafty
2012-08-08 at 05:32
First of all I did not finish all the routes, only Kirara's (the black-haired girl), and that alone took me over 60 hours, so please read this with that in mind.

Presentation:

I went into this game with no idea about the setting, but the game presents itself pretty well. In essence, it's a science fiction romantic comedy centered around a group of friends who against all odds try to win something called the Election War.

Obviously, there are shenanigans going on behind the scenes, but telling you any more would enter the domain of spoilers.

The artwork is great for the most part and really reinforces the immersive aspect of the game. The music was appropriate as well, and I never felt that it got in the way of the experience.

Two minor gripes here: 1. Not enough CGs! 2. Each character sprite has only 1 position. Thankfully, there is a small icon in the textbox whenever a character speaks so you can see them change expressions.

The choices for the voice actors were spot on, and though I found Kirara's voice a bit odd in the beginning, it grew on me very quickly.

As a bonus, the main character is voiced in all battle sequences.

As far as I know, the game is divided into 3 sections. Chapters 1 through 4 make up the common route, chapter 5 introduces the character routes, and chapters 6 through 8 make up the heroine routes.

Battle system:

Presentation-wise, one cannot help but be reminded of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: the battles are very flashy and very cartoony (just look at those sprites!), so it is difficult to take them seriously sometimes even when the situation calls for it. If you choose to accept them for what they are though, then the battles do offer some nice eye candy.

The system looks complicated at first (you have to balance audience colours to use your spells and take note of the approval rating to make sure a victory actually ends in a victory; there are "blast" skills that interrupt your opponent's skills, anti-blast skills to interrupt the blast skills, buff skills, debuff skills, etc.), but once you've gone through a few battles, it really becomes a simple question of what level you are compared to your opponent.

The "grindy" aspect of the game was well handled in a dungeon-crawler section with a subplot of its own. Two things I really liked about it: the random conversations between the characters can be quite funny, and the completely unrelated sprite animations in one section of the screen really help keep things lively. You can also hold ctrl to accelerate through the animation sequences in battles.

Characters:

This was easily the most enjoyable aspect of the game for me. Although the characters do adhere to stereotypes, the combination of character design, voice actor, and individual quirks turned them into something unique and made it easy for me to feel attached to them.

Something interesting I just noticed while writing this section: their names all include a kanji for a color corresponding to the color of their power and, except for Yumina, their hair.

Akashima Ayumu:

Our main character, and a very decent one at that. As a result of the Spartan training his father made him go through when he was young, his physical capabilities are far above average. Another (not so desirable) result is that this training cultivated within him an aversion to hard work, causing him to become a lazy, go-with-the-flow type of guy who likes to expend minimal effort in school to achieve borderline results.

He is however a good man at heart with a strong sense of justice and in the one route I played through, I did not see an inkling of the block-headed cowardly protagonists who seem to run rampant in so may other visual novels. Also, his role as a tsukkomi in the comedy skits seems to come very naturally, compared to other protagonists where the role usually feels tacked on.

Midorishita Yumina:

The titular heroine. She adheres to the stereotype of the honest idiot who knows nothing better than to follow her heart. In her own words, she is easily depressed and easily encouraged, but usually stays on the positive side of this spectrum.

Although the processing power of her brain is slower than the other characters, she does not hesitate in voicing her opinions on the various conflicts that occur within the story. She acts as the voice of childish reason: her intuitive feeling of what is right and wrong is usually correct, but she lacks the eloquence to voice her arguments properly and the maturity to understand their qualities and faults. In the comedy skits, she is about 70% boke and 30% tsukkomi.

Kurokawa Kirara:

The "evil genius" type of character who pulls strings during the Election War to her group's advantage. Blackmail and behind-the-curtain dealings are well within her scope of activities. She comes off as prideful and overbearing, but has the intelligence and resourcefulness to back it up. Her friends see her as a reliable ally and a strict teacher. She also has an obvious complex about her childish stature.

Once Ayumu gets romantically involved with her, she becomes weak to teasing. This combined with her adorable (but very scarce) 'dere' made her my favourite heroine. Fits into the tsukkomi role like a glove.

Okitsu Ai:

The mysterious transfer student who suddenly joins the Debate Club that all the main characters belong to without a clear reason. Although quite intelligent, she seems to be lacking in the department of common sense, which makes her a good boke. A random character trait the author decided to add on to her: glutton.


Story

The story throughout the common route is light, fun and immersive. Although it really serves as an introduction to the second half, I found it better than the second half overall. There isn't anything outstanding as far as the plot goes, but it does its job of developing the characters.

Kirara's route:

After the abrupt change in setting from the first half, the many mysteries and motivations behind Kirara's actions are finally revealed. The story was fairly well written, perhaps slightly above average. I mostly stayed for the H scenes and the character interactions between her and Ayumu and ended up fairly satisfied with what I got. (7.3/10)

Verdict:

With colorful characters and a bold sci-fi setting, all that is missing to complete the trinity for success is a masterful plot. The story in the second half never strays far from the stereotypes of its genre (which I won't reveal because that would be a spoiler) but it does execute these stereotypes decently.

Was it worth the 60+ hours? The answer is a definite yes.Last modified on 2012-08-08 at 05:40
#2 by ice
2012-08-08 at 09:39
There's a lot more to the other routes so if you enjoyed what you played keep going on. Yumina didn't particularly have a big impression on me, and the gameplay essentially becomes a joke, but the story is entertaining enough.Last modified on 2012-08-08 at 09:43
#3 by horseband
2012-08-08 at 15:38
Which other routes are there? Yumina, Kirara, Ai, and who else gets a route? Is it basically all the girls on the official Yumina page ( link )? The picture with him kissing miko twin implies that.

I'd normally just look it up and do some translating but the walkthroughs are all hundred different page monstrosities.Last modified on 2012-08-08 at 15:47
#4 by xookix
2012-08-08 at 15:53
I'm pretty sure the three main girls shown are the main routes. The rest of the girls are considered to be side routes.
#5 by horseband
2012-08-08 at 15:57
Yeah that's what I figured, but for anyone whose played it, whats the length difference between the two types (main/side)?
#6 by krafty
2012-08-08 at 21:26
The side characters don't actually have routes per se. You just have the option to get more involved with them during their chapter in the Election War, so they are more like micro-plots that run parallel with the main plot.

Basically, their "routes" are just an excuse to H them.
#7 by horseband
2012-08-08 at 23:07
So do they have an "ending" or how exactly does it work? You said the format was Common route -> Character Route -> Heroine route.

Do you literally just h them, and then have to chose a main heroine? Or does it have an ending/hscenes for the side character but no real route?Last modified on 2012-08-08 at 23:12
#8 by krafty
2012-08-08 at 23:56
Here's how it works: the side characters have small plots of their own included in the common route, so whether you choose to get involved with them or not, the story will proceed in the same manner.

This basically means you can H all the side characters in one playthrough.

One thing I didn't mention that might clear this up is the "Events" interface. The game is divided into 4 interfaces: ADV (during dialogues and narration), battle (during battle sequences), dungeon-crawler and Event (choose where to go and thus who to see in the school during each 10-day period against your Election War opponent).

If you pick the right events, then Ayumu will get more intimate with the side character of the chapter (one side character per Election War chapter, so 4 total, or 5 if you count the miko twins individually). Ayumu then obtains a skill to be used in the boss battle at the end of the chapter. Once you fulfill these conditions, you get the H scene, which is also the "ending" for the side character.
#9 by engix
2012-08-09 at 03:03
So in a way itsl ike Kamidori, am i right?
#10 by ice
2012-08-09 at 15:47
More importantly, there's a final chapter after you clear the three routes. It's not very long.
#11 by arcana70
2012-09-13 at 08:00
@engix
no
#12 by zeroyuki92
2012-09-14 at 03:39
Hard to learn easy to master gameplay (and then just a joke) and grinding based gameplay is a very bad combo, I guess.

Seems like it's better to expect decent-at-best light story and cute characters?
#13 by krafty
2012-09-14 at 14:11
The story is good, just not innovative. It gets a lot more serious in the second half, but not ridiculously so. The plot twists are occasionally predictable, but some of them are done quite well.

Also, the characters are more "fun" than "cute". They have good chemistry together, they sometimes hide things from one another, and there are also instances when they get angry at each other. Their contrasting personalities and the somewhat-wacky setting ensure that there is literally never a dull moment.

I rated this game an 8, but with a different concept for gameplay (maybe a squad system like in Eien no Aselia) and longer after-stories for the heroines, I would have easily given it a 9.
#14 by karvilatern
2013-09-21 at 15:15
Well, this game certainly is good, but has a couple of problems. The earlier mentioned battle system is the first thing (basically after the first playthrough it is so easy that it is hard to ever lose if you don´t try really hard). Going through dungeons isn´t hard, but time-consuming and bothersome. Lastly you will have enough money to buy out the shop three times over, but nothing decent to spend it on.
Second problem are H-scenes to tell the truth the main heroins´ H-scenes are worse than bad (especially Ai´s) and the only enjoyable ones are the side character´s (well I don´t really enjoy this scenes anywhere, but the main character´s are almost unwatchable).
Third problem is, that this game propably had quite a low budget, so the decent CG´s are... sparse.
But, well even though there are so many problems I would still give this game 7, so that means, that the other features aren´t half bad.Last modified on 2013-09-21 at 15:16
#15 by albedo
2013-09-21 at 15:46
Despite the lackluster story and all the grinding (yup, didn't hack it... easier than NES or early PC rpgs anyway) it was fun. Didn't find the dungeons that long, though some floors ocassionaly were annoying. Hope they would have sticked to comedy instead of lame-ass drama. Still, I would play the fandisk and anything else in the same style (where the fuck is my Seinarukana JAST?)
#16 by sanahtlig
2014-02-05 at 19:22
I've completed up to Ch. 8 (all but the final chapter). While the game has managed to entertain and I don't regret the money I spent on it, I'm disappointed. This wasn't the breakthrough gameplay title I'd been hoping for. Instead it's an above average gameplay title with significant flaws in both storyline and gameplay.

The space drama aspect is poorly executed and falls short of similar titles like Star Ocean 3--the main conflict seems hollow and the setting is woefully poorly developed. This is above all a character game, revolving around a very small cast of characters, and they're plopped into a conflict overwhelmingly vast in scope--it just doesn't fit. The gameplay suffers from repetitive grinding that does little to enhance the story being told. The dungeon exploration aspect should've been gutted entirely, leaving only the event battles (basically, the same style as Chapter 1). The debate boss battles were the ideal the game should've strived for.

While flawed in its own way, I think Seinarukana is a better title overall. That will be the localized title I should be able to hold up as a solid localized HRPG. I'd soundly recommend Yumina only to fans of HRPGs starving for something to play, on par with titles like Tears to Tiara (PC).Last modified on 2014-02-05 at 19:33

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