By Benny Carrillo / September 26th, 2015
Authors Note: Please be aware that the following game contains strong sexual content and explicit adult themes, including sex toys, light bondage, and bisexuality. Reader discretion is advised.
|Developer||AJTilley, Yume no Mikata|
|Release Date||August 14, 2015|
|Genre||Eroge, Visual Novel, Slice of Life|
Some people consider the notion of a Western Eroge to be absurd. I am not one of those people. I think a Western-developed Eroge has a lot of potential and the ability to possibly bring some innovation to the genre. Beach Bounce, however, is not that game… yet. Before we dive into the sea of mixed feelings I have for this title, let’s talk a bit about the developer first.
Beach Bounce is game that’s developed by AJTilley and Yume no Mikata. AJTilley’s website as of the time of this review is in a state of being revamped, with even the pages for their currently released games (The Sword of Asumi and Quantum Flux) merely saying “Update coming soon,” as well as having several other projects being listed. So, why mention this? It helps to explain some of the issues that I’ve found during my playthrough of Beach Bounce. Namely, why there seems to be a lack of focus and polish. The developer’s resources seem to be focused on several projects instead of focusing on refining a single one. I’m getting ahead of myself, however. First, the premise.
The game bills itself as a “Slice-of-Life visual novel game” which got me excited. I love the Slice-of-Life genre, so an Eroge that tries to capture that essence is something I find intriguing. The game takes places at the titular Beach Bounce resort in Japan. You, playing as Tomoyo Oshiro, have arrived at the resort to see your grandmother and, hopefully, enjoy a little vacation. However, things quickly take a serious turn, and you find yourself working at the resort in order to help your grandmother and do some soul searching, along the way possibly finding a love interest and, of course, securing the future of the resort. Now, let’s look at the technical specifications.
For the record, I am running the MangaGamer version. The game is also available through Steam, though be advised the Eroge bits are skipped over. Like most Eroge, the requirements to run this one aren’t that taxing. According to MangaGamer’s product page, the game requires a CPU that clocks in at 1.66GHz minimum. In addition, you’ll need 1 GB of RAM and 1 GB of hard drive space. Like with Sweet Sweat in Summer, I’m running this on my laptop, which is running a Core i5 @ 1.70GHz, so I’m just barely over that limit and I didn’t notice any slowdown or hiccups while running it. That, however, doesn’t mean this game doesn’t have issues. Let’s take a look at the graphics, and I’ll explain what I mean.
The title screen of any game is one of the most important parts of a game presentation-wise. Beach Bounce manages to give a lukewarm reception right off the bat. The character designs are very much going to be hit-and-miss. Personally, I like them, though something does feel a bit off. The background is very nice and does seem pleasing to the eyes. However, the menu interfaces feel off. It’s almost akin to watching a flash movie where you can see the different layers of video. It doesn’t blend properly. In addition, there’s a small bug regarding the full screen mode. Unlike most other applications, you must press “F” to enter full screen mode. If you click on the maximize button, the game does enlarge the window, but snaps to the left hand side of the screen. It’s a bizarre oversight and one I’m honestly surprised wasn’t caught during the QA process. Next, let’s take a look at the music.
Audio wise, I really don’t have too much to say. Nothing seemed grating, but nothing really stood out to me, either. There’s no voice acting for this one, so, really, the background music is all you’re going to get. I will say is that it is themed well. For example, at one point you do go a night club, and the music seems appropriate, even though the rest of the music in the game fits the resort theme more. The point being, it’s well balanced, but forgettable as nothing stands out. If you do like it, though, the soundtrack is available via Steam for $2.99. Now we come to the real problem with this one, and that is the game design.
This game is a mess. The worst part is that many of these issues are easily fixable, but the sheer amount of them just makes the experience unpleasant. The biggest one is the grammar. It’s fairly obvious this game was either written in Japanese and then translated, or was written by someone whose first language isn’t English. Normally, an editor would catch these mistakes, but there doesn’t seem to be one. I’ll include some more shots in the gallery, but I count at least eight errors. I don’t intend to be cruel here; after three semesters of Japanese, I still have lots of issues with using the right particles in sentences. However, if I’m going to pay for a product, I expect it to be polished. That’s not the case here, and the lack of polish seems to be a constant issue here.
While the development team has some interesting ideas, it’s not enough. For example, when you’re being given a tour of the resort, the map screen has several white hexagons with no labels. I have no idea what any of these places are and the amount of them is intimidating. While you can skip this sequence, it’s one of those things that could be fixed by at least giving us some labels as to what these places are. I’ll include pictures in the gallery so you can see, but the player experience needs work. For all my complaints, though, they did nail something down; the flow of the game.
AJTilleyBeach BounceerogeMangaGamerPCSteamvisual novel