By William Haderlie / March 22nd, 2016
*Authors note: This is an eroge, an erotic visual novel, and it is an explicit one. I will keep the conversation relatively safe for work and all pictures, but links are NSFW and this whole review is intended for adults. Enter at your own risk.
|Title||Beat Blades Haruka|
|Release Date||February 29, 2016|
|Genre||Adult Visual Novel (Eroge), Action/Fantasy|
|Platform||PC, Win XP through Win 10|
|Age Rating||Adults Only, Without Mosaics|
Minor spoilers will occur when I discuss the paths that are available. But I will avoid any discussion of the resolution of the paths, the endings, or the last few fights. Click HERE to read Part 1 and Part 2.
There are initially three endings to the game (other than the Game Over failures). There is the general bad end, and then there is True Love Haruka and True Love Narika Endings. The requirements for them are pretty simple and apparent, although it is somewhat easier to get the Haruka end than the Narika. Even though this game contains a ton of sex, the endings are quite sweet and romantic. But after you beat the game for the first time, you are also given the option to have a True Love ending for Subaru and a Harem ending.
The Harem ending doesn’t change much from the Haruka/Narika ones, but the Subaru ending is significantly different than any other ending, so I found its inclusion to be a delight. The harem route was in particular more difficult to plan, so you’ll probably want a couple times through the game to make sure you know which options to select and when. But it was by no means an esoteric practice. I didn’t need to look up any guides to figure out how to get any of these endings. So it avoids entirely the mess that some Visual Novel routes can be (say hello FATE/Stay Night). So the game itself is sexy and fun, and the endings are sweet and romantic. Is there anything wrong with this title?
The short answer to that question is, no, not for me. I can see some people being put off by either the types of sex in the game or the sheer amount of it (which is staggering). But those are not negatives to me. A special mention should be given here to the teams at MangaGamer and at Alicesoft. The task of translating this title could not have been an easy one. But the grammar and spelling were spot and and the translation into English colloquialisms was done subtly but well. It was really a delight to read throughout, and there was no phrases that took me out of the experience. Other than how very Japanese it is culturally, it could very well have been written originally in English, so major props to that team. The music was very well done too, especially some of the sadder themes. For such a long game, if the music was annoying it would be an issue. But I never grew tired of it. It was a little funny at times that the love scene themes remained so sweet even when the two (or three) people in question were being so dirty at times, but I found that to have it’s own charm as well. The rape scene theme was not so sweet, of course, so it was fitting too.
One last mention: In the Game Menu you will see an option for “Alice’s Mansion” where the mascot for Alicesoft will address you and give you special thanks from the teams at Alicesoft and also the team at MangaGamer. This is worth checking out to hear from those involved in this mammoth production and translation. But she also gives you the option to play a small minigame, where you can use the Castle Invasion chibi form of Suburu and control it similar to an arcade game. It is a simple diversion and there is not much depth there. But it was fun to see them do something else with those game assets that they developed. And you receive a few bonus CG images as a reward for either high scores or defeating enough enemies. It doesn’t take too much effort to unlock all of them. Just another fun addition to an already robust exciting Visual Novel.
Tally it all up, and you have around a 15 hour experience per path plus 4 good ending paths would give you about 60 total hours of gameplay. You have around 150 sex scenes, so even if you totally skip or avoid all rape ones you will still have around 100. Add on a great translation and good art and music and sound effects, and this is one of the most robust and interesting Visual Novel titles ever, eroge or otherwise. The price of $34.95 seems more than reasonable for this package. I do have to wonder if MangaGamer plans on making a physical copy available eventually. They are known for often offering physical copies after a title has been out for a while. But it would not be worth it to me to wait and see if they will. This is a title that I am happy to support both for the game itself, and for the hopes that further Alicesoft titles will make their way here to the West. Good job Alicesoft, and good job MangaGamer, this one is a keeper. This one has an anime (hentai) adaptation as well, but having seen both, I consider the VN to be the top form of this story (as it usually is).
Review Copy Provided By The Publisher
AlicesoftBeat Blades HarukaEroge ReviewMangaGamerPCvisual novel