(18+) REVIEW: Atom GRRRL!!

Monday, March 14th, 2016

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Atom Grrrl!! | Putting the story pieces together

As stated previously, the events of the story go down in a 24-hour period. But, much like Pulp Fiction, some events are shown out of order. In the movie, however, time breaks are always split via chapters. In this Visual Novel, that does not occur, so it may take a while before you realize that you skipped around in time. As long as you pay attention, though, it will become apparent. This is a pretty violent story, but most of the violence happens off screen. So there is really nothing much that will turn your stomach other than by description. But a lot of violence there is. Anyone who has seen any Tarantino movie will know that it’s his bread and butter. This is a very over-the-top and humorous send-up to that premise, though. So when it all came together at the end it ended up being very fun. Really the last few panels alone made the entire journey worthwhile for me. I was laughing aloud when all the chickens came home to roost for everyone at once. In that way, their homage to those films worked out very well. Not in exactly the same way, but definitely captured the spirit, like a good cover song.

Atom Grrrl!! | Scarlet Commentary

Big E has a way with words, she certainly can turn a phrase.

Any large fan of QT knows how important music is to his work. And for a send-up like this, they definitely knew that, as well. So they created eight songs for the visual novel that were indicative of what they consider to be things that would be playing in the background for these characters. For a VN, they are pretty well done. There is even the option in the extras menu to be able to listen to them individually. Honestly, they aren’t all that American; they are more like what a foreign person would consider to be the style. So they actually ended up reminding me a bit of the general music of the classic anime FLCL. Either way, that’s not a bad way to go. The voice work is also pretty good, especially the character of Anna. I really enjoyed that performance. And one thing that surprised me a little bit about the voice track is that it was not filled with bleeping noises. Honestly if they had to censor every cuss word (like many VNs do, even Adult ones), it would sound a bit like an old telegraph machine. However, I must strongly warn those that are easily offended that they go to some pretty culturally insensitive places. It didn’t bother me, and it is definitely in the style of Tarantino, but racial slurs are very popular in this title.

Atom Grrrl!! | Uncle Tom

This is the mildest bit of racial commentary I could find in my screenshots.

Since we are talking about the potential to offend, lets go into the sexual content. Honestly, considering the rest of the content that I’ve gone into thus far, you would expect the sexual content to also be extreme. This is decidedly not the case, though. There are five sex scenes, and all of them are entirely yuri. They are also pretty mild by VN standards. In fact, the only aspect that may be a little out of the yuri norm is that two of them occur with cat-girl sex slaves. Other than that, they were pleasant but a little vanilla, or cafe au latte as the circumstance happens (and they refer to it as). That said, I’m still happy that I played through the 18+ version of the game. Three of the sex scenes would have been very apparent that they were missing if I played the Steam version. And especially the one where Jessica and Anna consummate their mutually confessed love involves character development that would have been sorely missing. I do wish there was a little more variety in the sex to match the gonzo feel of the rest of the work, but their presence was still a welcome one for me.

Atom Grrrl!! | Cat Girl

Well, just do better next time, Neko. You’re cute enough to get away with it once.

Other than the inconsistencies in the quality of the script, my one other major gripe has to do with the artwork. It’s not horrible, but it could use some work. I would not consider it to be as poor as some of the Western visual novels that have tried to capture some of the spirit of the Japanese products. But it does certainly get close to that level. There are a few cases where the artwork does get noticeably better, though. Thankfully one of those circumstances happens to be during the sex scenes. And, really, if you are going to have a time for your best artwork, that is a good time for it to happen. There is extremely minor mosaic work that I would rather not be present during such circumstances so I would still have to also list that under the negative column. But it is a lot smaller than most mosaic censoring is. The story and cultural references can be a bit groan inducing at times, but when they hit the mark it can be a hilarious affair. So really, my complaints are pretty minor.

Atom Grrrl!! | Sexy Look

Anna chooses opportune times to look her best.

Both the Denpasoft and the Steam versions of this game are for $9.99. That is the price of about two Royale with Cheese meals. So is this visual novel worth that? Heck yes, in my opinion. It is far different than any other title that I’ve played. And seeing how the Japanese view American pop culture is a fascinating experience all in itself. Plus the sheer delight of how this convoluted story resolves itself at the end will have me playing through this game again. It is about a three to four-hour game, so not too much longer than a movie, and there are no alternate routes to worry about. You can just set the dialogue on Auto and sit back and enjoy the experience. The truly great thing is that we are now seeing these titles get translated and sold over here in America. So even if it doesn’t entirely hit on every front, we can still see the wide array of titles that the Japanese Visual Novel Industry has to offer. If you also collect waifu, Anna is definitely a quality addition… or Big E… if, you know, you’re insane.

Review Score

Review copy provided By publisher

About William Haderlie

Born in the 1970's, I've been an avid participant for much of video game history. A lifetime of being the sort of supergeek entrenched in the sciences and mathematics has not curbed my appreciation for the artistry of video games, cinema, and especially literature.

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