by Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar.
So, before I begin my demo review (there's a special discount offer for those who do - we poor college students appreciate said discounts!) - I want to say a bit about Hanako Games and Indy Developers in general.
Hanako Games is run by the lovely Papillon, a female developer who has created such games as Cute Knight, Fatal Hearts and the latest release, pictured above. Fatal Hearts is one of my favorite OELVNs - it's really innovative in terms of gameplay and writing and in general is really fun to play. I found myself playing for HOURS on end to get all the endings - it's a great game and pretty affordable in price nowadays. If you haven't picked up a copy, you should.
This is going to sound really sycophantic, but I really admire Papillon and her studio. I'm sorta trying to emulate it with MG Studios. Not necessarily in the types of games I put out, but in the professionalism and care that Hanako shows in each of their projects. I also really admire Papillion as a female game developer. No surprise, most game developers are men. The Eroge/Ren'ai market is dominated by men, and it's to be expected, as the audience for most of the material is male. But to see a lady come out of the woodwork and create her own VN/Indy Game/Ren'Ai influenced studio is really inspiring. There's nothing more exciting as a hopeful developer than to see someone who came before you succeed. That goes double as a female developer.
Also, in general, Papillon rocks for taking a chance and developing games in this niche genre. The OELVN community deserves some awesome contenders and I honestly believe Indy is the gateway to commercialism and wide-spread popularity. Anyone ever heard of this little Indy MySpace DJ "Owl City"? Nah, didn't think so. He's only like super famous or something with them thar Fireflies song.
So yeah - in short, Hanako Games rocks, buy their stuff, I'm a suck-up, but I am HONEST in my love, go me. o_ob Read on for the review.
Date Warp Demo Review
Meet Janet, our heroine. The game begins with her and Bradley at the tail end of a disastrous date. Their car breaks down and they see, in the distance, a mysterious mansion. I know - I got super Scooby Doo vibes too. I was all ready for Janet to announce that they were getting out of the Mystery Machine and that she had the munchies.
Janet may look super moe, but I was pleasantly surprised by how "with-it" she was. She's pretty sharp with words and nicely down to earth. I mean, she's thrown into a mansion of bishis and doesn't once remark on how "OMFagizzles HOT" the guys are. Overall I'm so far liking her a lot as a protagonist.
I'll post the guys in order of my least favorite to favorite. You're supposed to pick your favorite guy in your post, so you'll have to read to the end to see who I'm most interested in.
Coming in at number five...
Alben is pretty hot, don't get me wrong. But the second you get to the mansion he's awfully rude and suspicious. I can't really remember him having a kind word to say for the entire demo. I get the "tortured" bishi trope - it's usually super affective, but I didn't get "tortured" from him as much as I got "wow,whatadick". But for now, Alben's jerkiness turned me off from him. That might change as I learn more about what he's hiding and why he's so protective of the mysterious mansion.
Rafael works as some sort of servant in the mansion. He's soft-spoken and very polite. He's supposed to be younger than our heroine, but his sprite looks like he's actually a few years older (Probably his height and broad chest). Rafael is a nice character, but he's pretty evasive and you don't learn much about him in the demo. Still, he might be interesting to pursue later on.
Nathaniel is the owner of the mansion. Young, handsome, extremely polite and good-natured...what's he hiding? No kidding, I never trust a golden boy. XD Am I sensing Yandere vibes? I'm not sure, but Nathaniel interests me less in what he's done and more in what he might do. We know very little about him and his overwhelming hospitality leads me to believe that he might just be up to something...
Bradley is your date for the night. He's a jock who goes to your school and either plays football or soccer (I couldn't exactly tell - the term "football" is used and then he remarks on "kicking a ball around" which leads me to believe it's soccer.) He's asked out every Freshman girl on one date each and seems completely uninterested in any of them. He seems just as oblivious as you when you arrive at the mansion, but he might know more than he lets on... I like Bradley a lot actually, especially towards the beginning of the demo. He's a pretty normal guy - nice and polite while not being too stuffy. :) If you follow him into the library you get a pretty adorable scene between him and Janet where they talk about their childhoods. Towards the end of the demo Bradley became less...adorable. I'll leave you with that.
And now for the guy I'm most interested in...
Linds is weird. Weird doesn't even go far enough to explain how weird he is. He mostly speaks in elevated vernacular and scientific terminology. And look at that expression - the man is craaaazy-pants. But he's also obviously knowledegable and is up to something strange in the basement of the mansion which leads me to believe there's a lot more to Linds than I've seen. I want to know just how Janet could possibly form a relationship with a guy THIS strange. It might just be crazy-train enough to be adorable. So yeah, Linds will probably be the first guy I go for. :)
Here's the link to the game again. Hope you enjoy/purchase. Every little bit helps. And if you do something like this on your blog/other public thought space you can get a discount too!