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Review of Little Busters!

SubjectLittle Busters!
ByHelpfulness: 0
Vote: 7
aristocrat on 2023-09-23 last updated on 2023-09-26
ReviewThere's something about Key's visual novels that keeps me coming back to them (I've previously played Clannad, Rewrite, Summer Pockets, and Planetarian), but at this point I've come to be aware of their weaknesses as well as their strengths. They do, in my opinion, write the most exceptionally funny and charming slice of life content, and some of the most endearing characters I've seen in visual novels. However, they do tend to fall down pretty hard when it comes to using the supernatural as a plot device, and unfortunately this is one of those games where they love to throw around random supernatural bullshit, especially in the character routes.

To be honest, it's kind of hard to condense my thoughts of this game which took over 100 hours to complete into a numeric rating and a short summary. I really do love some of the characters; I love Mio's deadpan style of humour, and everything about Kurugaya as a character is great. However, both of their routes are a bit disappointing. It almost seems like they're unable to create good character drama without forcing it into the story with these complete deus ex machina type developments. Furthermore, some character routes are downright painful to get through (Haruka's in particular strikes me as one where I had to stop reading on several occasions because of how cruel it seemed).

As per usual with Key, I find the best part of the VN to be the common route, where things are light-hearted and entertaining. If the whole thing had the same vibes as this, I can't help but feel I'd enjoy it a bit more. The true ending is also pretty good, all things considered. It does feel a bit like it comes out of complete left field though (you could argue there were hints to it throughout the story, but I don't think there were enough). Getting to the ending without a walkthrough is also just a pain in the arse and even with a walkthrough it kind of sucks.

The minigames are a bit mixed. The baseball thing is a pretty fun distraction, although I definitely found myself skipping it on repeat playthroughs. The battle system feels like a complete waste of time, just a lot of randomness without any real ways to influence the outcome other than to have better stats.

Overall, I liked it, but I feel there are many things that annoy me about it, and these are all unfortunately recurring aspects of Key's games. I still feel Clannad is the superior game, if you have not played that, and I'd probably go for Summer Pockets as a second one to try, just because it has a more interesting setting than a school. This game is clearly very popular though, so you can't really go wrong with it if you're on the fence.
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