By Benny Carrillo / September 26th, 2015
Decision trees are always nightmares for programmers. The more choices you have, the more potential possibilities and outcomes you have to plan for. It’s where all the effort went, and it is impressive. In most Eroge, you’ll make a choice that has you go off with one character and, when you return, there may be a few different lines of dialogue. For the most, part everything follows a common route until you are locked into a particular heroine’s route. Here, everything seems to affect everything else. The best example of this is your job training that occurs on Days 3-5.
If you pick greeter as the first job, then later that day your character will get some bad news which is discussed the next day. If you do the job on Day 4, the discussion happens on Day 5, and if you do it on Day 5 then no discussion happens for reasons I’ll get to in a bit. Likewise, other minor things, such as the order in which you meet characters, affects things. It’s small changes like this that add up and make it feel like the decisions you make have weight. It makes you want to go back and try different possibilities to see how it affects things. Speaking of choices, let’s touch upon what makes this an Eroge; the sexual content.
There are only two scenes you can get, and they’re both very vanilla. One, though, does involve some light bondage and toy use. The way the game handles its sex scenes, though, is a bit different from normal convention. While Tomoyo is quite talkative and obviously present throughout the rest of the game, during these scenes, he’s not. Only the girl will speak, and I actually really like this approach. It creates the illusion that she’s talking to you, the player, rather than Tomoyo. Other Eroge try to do this by never showing you the protagonist’s face, but leave his body in scene and have him speak. This actually works because we have neither of those. We neither see nor hear Tomoyo, so the player’s mind is left to fill in the blanks. It’s a creative approach, to say the least. What doesn’t work, though, are the graphical effects.
During these scenes, whenever the girl kisses you, the screen will flash pink and text that indicates a sound effect will appear on screen. If it happened once or twice, I wouldn’t mind as much, but it happens repeatedly. It gets annoying and is more distracting than anything else. This method of delivering sound effects also happens several other times, from doors opening to the sound of bells. While I get what the developers were trying to do, the text box that occupies the bottom of the screen exists for a reason. With that all said, let’s talk about the characters.
The soul of any Slice-of-Life work is the characters, and Beach Bounce got this right. I love this cast. Tomoyo himself is generally just a good guy trying to find out who he is and what to do with his life. Yuuki is basically the serious assistant manager, but you can tell she also cares about the employees. I’ll note that, due to being written as someone who’s using very polite speech in Japanese, her dialogue is very stiff. Mineko is the head greeter and stutters any time she talks to Tomoyo. You’ll soon learn it’s because she has a crush on the guy, and it’s honestly cute to watch her try and act normal around him. Aiko is the head lifeguard and, while she’s competitive, she is also a pretty laid back and accepting kind of person. This brings us to the two girls you can end up sleeping with: Sakura and Rei.
Sakura right off the bat is very flirty and a party girl. She invites you to a night club when you first meet her and, if you go, you’ll learn she’s a stripper at the club and a bisexual who tends to lean towards women. As lazy as the setup that you’re the only guy she’s trusted to sleep with is, I actually still like her quite a bit. No one seems to remember that bisexuality even exists when it comes to writing, so kudos to the writer for including her here. Rei is instantly distrustful of you and, while she does warm up, she ends up in bed with you due to her being someone who’s driven by lust rather than love. As a whole, both character’s sexuality is complex and handled in a very adult way. It’s also a credit to Tomoyo’s character, as, in both these cases, he calmly handles the situation and doesn’t take advantage of either. It’s a mutual discussion and agreement, which is kind of refreshing. There is one more character, but we’ll touch upon her as we talk about the story.
The story starts off as I mentioned, with Tomoyo arriving at the resort and going to me his grandmother. Specifically, he arrives on Monday of Week One, and the game quickly notes he has five weeks of vacation. I’ve already mentioned the events of Days 2-5 briefly during this review, so I’m going to skip ahead to Day 6, Saturday, and the end of Week 1. Tomoyo goes to a guest house and finds it belongs to the guest who you keep running into, Nymphadora Vonhilliger… I am not even kidding. She comes out of her bathroom wearing lingerie, and the game cuts to a black screen that says “The End. For Now.” That’s the end of the game at the moment. The rest of the story will be released in three parts over the span of five months. While I do like where the plot is going and how the characters are developing, the ride is over so quickly and suddenly that you feel like you just got whiplash. So, with all these pieces in place, what are my final thoughts on Beach Bounce?
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