Ash Recommends: Visual Novels — the B-List


DELAYS! Oh good lord the delays…*cough* I mean hello everyone!

So this was supposed to have been done many many weeks ago, but unfortunately, many, many delays happened instead.

Said delays started right away when I began researching this list I actually found about 9 games that I never played that looked interesting. Of course, we can’t have an incomplete list, so I spent about a week and a half on that (sadly none of them made this list…I guess there was a reason I skipped them). So with that out of the way, I sat down to write this article! Except the website was down, which happened two days in a row to me…Talk about a motivation killer. Sigh anyway by the time that nonsense was fixed I’d been gripped by resurgence in my MMO addiction and we all know how those go…

SO! To make a long story short I suck and am easily distracted like a small animal by shinies! In any case this list here was actually the brainchild of the lovely Zai from Plastic Parfait and the general idea of it is to cover games that aren’t what I would call AMAZING like what I included in my last recommendation list, but merely enjoyable in my eyes. Kinda like guilty pleasures only actually good to a degree!

Now without further ado, the first game up in the entirely alphabetical order is…

Canvas 2
“If you want a colorful cast of girls to pick from, Canvas certainly delivers!”

Canvas 2

Some of you may recognize the title as it had an anime adaptation quite some time ago (8 years to be exact…and now I feel old), and much like how the show was fairly standard harem fare, this is a fairly standard eroge! The protagonist however isn’t completely useless and the cast of girls is pretty great all around, so just on those merits alone it places it above a lot of the junk I’ve played lately! Specifically you get to play a teacher instead of a student, which changes the dynamic of the usual school setting quite a bit.

Also one thing to note is while this is technically a sequel it shares no characters with the first one, so don’t’ worry about not having played that one already. Overall, it’s just a very nice simple little enjoyable game, which is what the majority of the games on this list will end up being I’m sure!

Castle fantasia 2 renewal - Men at work 2
“Turns out slightly older games only have really piss low rez shots of their box art…”

Castle Fantasia Renewal 2 Men at Work! 2

I’m actually putting these two together in the same entry because what I can say about one pretty much applies to both. They were made by the same company around the same time, both utilizing RPG gameplay and they are both sequels with silly names! Beyond that though they’re enjoyable enough games with solid gameplay, stories, and characters. While I doubt either of them will wow you with any one aspect, I’d say they both do pretty much everything you’d want from an RPG eroge.

Daibanchou - Big Bang Age
“If nothing else, you know an Alice Soft game will have enjoyable art!”

Daibanchou – Big Bang Age

Now this one is again a case of a similar game from the same company, although the one I compare it to is on the other list in the form of Sengoku Rance. Now why is this one relegated to the B-List while Rance gets to sit pretty on the AWESOME games list? Well the gameplay may have some similarities what with conquering territory and all, but the actual in-combat fighting didn’t capture me like Rance’s did. Likewise, the characters just weren’t as memorable as Rance’s in general…They’re OK in their own ways, but from the protagonist all the way through all the girls you can bag the line-up just wasn’t nearly as compelling.

With that said though this is still a pretty enjoyable game with a fairly fun gameplay system and typically imaginative Alice Soft character designs.

Da Capo 1 - 2
“Only girls that matter in each game!”

Da Capo 1/2

Another twofer! Like Canvas earlier, these games very squarely occupy that “typical” eroge space. However, I’d say the overall cast and writing in the routes is a bit weaker than Canvas. What really made both Da Capo‘s stand out for me was that each had a truly exceptional girl with a memorable and well written route in each game that really drew me in. So I’d say this one is a bit more hit and miss overall…I doubt you’ll like the entire cast or even a good amount of them, but you might just find a really exceptional and special route buried underneath the mediocrity like I did!

ef - A fairy tale of the two
“Minori just loves their light flares!”

ef ~ a fairy tale of the two

Ok, this is technically two games (First Tale and Latter Tale), but the overall name of them as a series is the one above, and we had to keep the awesome twofer theme going anyway! But yea I may catch some crap for this one being on the “B-List”, and I can’t really argue they’re wrong honestly…ef is a gorgeous game with really great production values, interesting characters, and good writing all around. It however lacks — to use an extremely pretentious and vague word — a spark. It just never really captured me nor do I think it was particularly memorable. Hell, I can only remember like 2 or 3 things that happened in the game and yea…

But as I said, it is a really well put together game and your experiences may be vastly more enjoyable than mine, so I’d highly recommend you give it a try, as you may end up loving it far more then I did!

Figures of happiness
“Where it all began for me~”

Figures of Happiness

NOSTALGIA TIME! This is actually the very first Eroge I played ever…amazing, I know. Now it may look like a typical trashy harem eroge that English publishers just looove to translate, but trust me it actually has a few twists!

I don’t want to spoil too much about it (in fact, don’t even read the VNDB synopsis of the story), but you start out already in a relationship and…well, lets’ just say things take a turn for the weird fairly quickly! It’s just an overall very fun quirky little game that I really ought to play again for old times sakes.

“Mecha musume…The perfect blend of my two favorite things!”

Gadget Trial

This one is probably the odd man out in this list. It has no h-content and is entirely linear which aren’t qualities that I’m terribly fond of. Throw in a fairly weak story and somewhat unbalanced gameplay you quickly see why it’s on the B-list.

It does however have great art, pretty fun tactics-based combat, and some seriously charming characters! It’s just a shame they couldn’t be put in a more ambitious game, but whatcha gonna do? It’s still an overall fun little mecha musume themed game to play.

Kara no Shoujo - Swan Song
“Note the large amounts of blood — ’tis not a happy game!”

Kara no Shoujo / Swan Song

Ok these two games have almost NOTHING to do with one another in any way shape or form. The reason I put them together like this is they occupy a similar feeling to them, one of a dark and realistic atmosphere.

I usually don’t want anything to do with overtly dark or realistic feeling games. To me, playing eroge is an escape! I want to see pretty colors and cute girls, yea? I don’t mind violence or somewhat darker themes (one of my favorite games and A-Lister was Saya no Uta, afterall) but games of this ilk just aren’t what I’d call enjoyable for me. That said though objectively speaking I found both of these games extremely well done in story, characters, and presentation overall. So if your into more depressing fare that has a gloomy atmosphere to it these are probably perfect for you!

Koihime Musou
“The amazing thing isn’t how many characters there are, but rather how the protagonist finds time to bang each and every one of them… More then once for most of them at that.”

Koihime Musou

This one made fairly big waves when Mangagamer announced they were going to release it, and its presence on this lower list is in no way a condemnation of it, but the game honestly could have been more. The combat in particular is pretty damn shallow and easy, and there are only 3 girls with actual routes while all the others are just side dishes the protag sleeps with (which is a damn shame because there’s some really amazing side girls). Of the girls that you do get a route with, two are lolis. One of them is frankly so childish it even gave ME a bit of regret “romancing” her, and the the last non-loli girl was fairly dull to me.

That aside though it is quite a large game with some really fun and snappy dialogue along with an enjoyable main story. Hopefully Mangagamer translates the what looks to be the far superior sequel in the future!

“Somehow they make transparent clothes badass!”

Muv-Luv Extra – Unlimited / Alternative

Alright lets break up the twofers with a uhhh…three…fer? Now to be fair Extra and Unlimited are technically one game, but they are so VASTLY different from each other and substantial in length they might as well be thought of as two separate games.

Right now, a lot of people consider Alternative to be the pinnacle of Eroge and I honestly can’t really dispute that. But then you must ask: Why the hell is it on the B-List then Ashlotte you douche nozzle!. Well my foul-mouthed friend, that’s a complicated answer! Basically, to me to get the most out of Alternative you really do need to play through Extra (at least one girl’s route) and Unlimited. The problem with this is that neither game is especially good as it were. Extra is an extremely generic and often times flat-out boring eroge that I could only barely get through one girls route of. I didn’t think much better of Unlimited either, as I found it often times unlikable and not terribly enjoyable after I had finished it.

But again, without these two games and the experiences of going through them I think Alternative‘s impact would be greatly lessened. So…IF and only IF you have the commitment to play through two fairly mediocre games to play one AMAZING one then I’d suggest this series. If that sounds like too much of a pain in the ass I’d say simply don’t bother.

Private Nurse
“Oh boy, seeing that nostalgic form really gets me in the heart!”

Private Nurse

This is actually the second eroge I played (much love for G-collections for getting me into these silly things ages ago <3)! Now since I AM slowly becoming an old man I have a lot of fuzzy memories of this game, and my jaded current self may think it was silly to have loved the game as much as I did, but lets keep those memories beautiful and say this is a wonderful game!

But no seriously, this is a very nice small-ish game. The writing and the characters are quite superb and its one of the few games that actually made me cry like a little bitch, which is a pretty hard feat even for my younger self! Sadly though it’s on the short side, the sex scenes were kinda repetitive I remember, and one of the routes is far superior to the others, but its still very much worth playing I’d say!

“While it’s not the greatest Eroge ever, it has some of the damned cutest girls ever!”


Once again in the company of Da Capo and Canvas, this game is yet another one that got a fairly successful harem anime adaptation back in the early/mid 2000’s (and was the peak of the shipper wars for me on anime boards…oh man, was that a scary time.). Also just like those games, it’s a very “standard” eroge with little change in the usual formula. But out of the three I’d say Shuffle has the best all round cast with all of the girls being very charming in their own ways (Although Asa-senpai is CLEARLY the best girl and anyone who says otherwise will be KILLED! Oh sorry I regressed their for a moment…).

Overall, it’s just a really nice fun cute game being a bit on the short side that’s kept a special place in my heart for various reasons. You could do far worse!

Wanko to Kurasou
“All you need to know about this game summed up in one game cg!”

Wanko to Kurasou

Why aren’t their more good animal girl-centric eroge translated? Seriously, whose dick do I have to suck to get some cute freaking dog/cat loli girls up in here?!

…Ahem, Wanko is jut a fun great little game especially if you’re like me and have an unhealthy obsession with loli animal girls. The story is far from amazing though and it doesn’t have a huge amount going for it aside from said animal girls, but for what it is I found it very cute and enjoyable on the whole.

“Goddamn is the art great in this game!”

Which girl should I choose? (Hinatabokko)

I included the original romanized title because the official English one is stupid as hell (which ranks up their alongside such gems as Suck my dick or die!). Anyways, questionable English title aside, this one is similar to Wanko above in that it’s just a very cute sweet standard eroge (though sadly lacking Wanko’s animal girls).  The art style and writing all contributes to a very nice comfy quaint atmosphere. This is the kind of game you want to play in winter with a nice cup of hot chocolate curled up in a blanket.


And…WE’RE DONE! Holy hell I actually wrote an article after god knows how long…Where’s my gold star?!?

Jokes aside, again I apologize for how long this took. The regular reviews probably won’t come out anytime soon either, because there’s nothing I really want to write a full review of! I’m contemplating changing my format and separating the round-up junk I do at the end into its own separate thing from full length reviews so I can actually get out some content to fill the sadly large gaps between good review-worthy releases. Guess I’ll fiddle with it this weekend.

10 replies on “Ash Recommends: Visual Novels — the B-List”

You have convinced me that I must play all of these, particularly Kara no Shoujo and Swan Song. I’ve had Wanko to Kurasou sitting here for awhile and planned to give it a go after Rewrite but I’ve stalled since I’ve stalled on Rewrite because I’m finding it a bit boring, haha. Thank you for the list, and I will most certainly be using it very shortly. 😀

For someone that likes dark things thats awfully bright and cute avatar!

Rewrite can be pretty dull during parts in the beginning and well…Yea you know my thoughts on that game lol.

I’ll believe it when I see it miss I get sidetracked and don’t watch/play things!

I always have the problem that no one is interested in translating the Games Im interested in or better said, the ones that look appealing to me.

Well, but Im still occupied with Little Busters, so a new game has to wait. Not sure about Muv Luv, but Wanko to Kurasou sounds nice.

I also have good memories with Hinataboko, the arcs had a nice lenght unlike other titles that take like forever ^^

I was able to play all the girl routes, I skipped the boy to be honest. I like to play these games without help at first try. It is always fun to see what your choices caused. In this certain Game my natural kindness lead to the loli route, I was not prepared at all *spitting coffee on the screen*

I liked the childhood friend and the sister arc the most.

Haha sad, but true. The majority of things that get translated I have to wonder why, but I guess the translators liked them enough! Or in the case of companies thought they’d make money.

Yea I’m still waiting for Ecstasy to get into LB. Lol something tells me you’d like Wanko Fab.

True Hinata is a bit on the shorter side, but that’s not always a bad thing.

rofl gotta love the loli’s man! ^_^

Muv-Luv is definitely more than an Eroge. Sure, Extra and Unlimited are just for show, but Alternative sure is a story worth to play. Not to mention Total Eclipse, Euro Front, Schawarzesmarken and countless side materials.

From these, I haven’t played: Men at work! 2 (neither Men at work! 1), Figures of happiness, Gadget trial, Kara no shoujo, Swan Song and private nurse. From the others, that I played, I left Muv-Luv into oblivion (I couln’t handle Unlimited, it was waaaaaay to slow paced for me, and the lack of romance in-between killed me.) I was planning to play Men at work! 1&2 and Private nurse, but Kara no shoujo and Swan song seem too dark for me (I’m more of the bright and happy side; heck, I don’t even play a visual novel if there’s too much gore or rape, even if there’s only one scene xD), and Gadget trial seemed more of a mini-game than a visual novel, so I just skipped it. I’ll try it now, though xD
Thanks for the recommendations! *And so, he goes in search of A-List*

Oh, and I forgot to say that Figures of happiness didn’t get my attention (more like I didn’t want to play it because of the whole plot… Hard to explain without spoiling D:)

Heh I think I already know what you mean no worries I can see how that could be a turn-off to people. ^_^

Yeah, with a setting like that, something sad is bound to happen… And I don’t really like sad moments xD Maybe I’m wrong and all endings are nice, but I’ll pass from that vn for now >-<

Haha well Men one never got translated haha, but I highly doubt it matters if you played it or not. And yea play Private Nurse wonderful game!

Yea if your like me I would steer clear of those two honestly. And nah the gameplay in Gadget Trial while not the most balanced thing ever is fairly fleshed out and stands as a decent strategy game in its own right.

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