Friday, 10 August 2018

Plk_Lesiak’s Shovelware Adventures: Yume Creations

Wondering what this series is about? What's with the "crappy" rating system? Find out all about it here!

Welcome to another episode of Shovelware Adventures! This time, we'll take a break from our favourite, the Sakura series, to take a look at a much more obscure corner of the OELVN scene. The venture into commercial visual novel development by the German fan translator working under the label Yume Creations effected in some of the strangest EVNs available on Steam and beyond. Combining competent art and occasional interesting ideas with trashy ecchi, pieces of absolutely disastrous, bizarre writing and straight up failures in the English language, these projects are all experiences that will defy your expectations – just not necessarily in the ways their authors would want them to. So, let's get to it!

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A nukige without sex scenes, this little VN offers a rather charming heroine, who sadly gets involved in a totally nonsensical plot and various sexual scenarios that are never shown to the player. In the game’s story, our shut-in protagonist is forced to go out on a rare quest to buy groceries and on his way back home is nearly crushed to death by a (nude) girl falling from the sky. What follows, is a series of rather amusing interactions between the main character and the mysterious woman that invaded his life, and some clearly-signalized h-scene spots that are never filled with anything (the game has an "18+ patch that only uncensors a topless CG, which is pretty much the extent of "erotic" content you're ever going to get from the whole experience). All of this can lead you either to one of the literally incomprehensible, abrupt bad endings, or to a single positive one, only a little bit less weird and impossible to understand. The latter, admittedly, somewhat won me over by the virtue of being heartwarming, but was also based on some highly-questionable logic, making, in turn, everything that happened in the story earlier even more nonsensical.
            The bad endings, which make very little sense even after discovering the mystery central to the story and the true conclusion of the plot, along with the sexual tension constantly present in the game, building up towards non-existent hentai scenes, most likely suggest some heavily problematic development process – the only explanation other than Yume Creation not being able to include the h-scenes within a reasonable timeframe or budget would be the game being a straight-up scam, luring in people looking for eroge without actually investing in the h-content. Because of all this, the final product is rather hard to recommend, even though I seriously enjoyed certain elements of it and ideas the author tried to implement – it is, indeed, a particularly unfortunate hunk of rabbit poo, not really offensive in its shortcomings, but hardly worth your attention.
 
Final rating: Rabbit Poo
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Featuring, among many other things, gross overuse of Japanese honorifics so beloved by the Western readers and some utterly confusing grammatical errors, Yume Creations’ second title definitely tried to improve on the already established formula, but sadly succeeded only to a marginal degree. This casual story of a family trip to an exotic island, which evolves into a rather lighthearted supernatural drama later on, does an arguably better job than Aozora Meikyuu when it goes following a coherent plot and including some wholesome erotic material (husband and wife sex scenes that are nice to look at, but pretty horrendous when it goes to actual writing). It is, however, still way too lacking in polish and competent storytelling to really become a compelling experience. Also, it even manages to be seriously overpriced for the 2+ hours of content it offers. The pinked-haired wife character, just like the Aozora Meikyuu’s heroine, might be the main redeeming quality here, but that will make the whole VN worthwhile only for the most dedicated waifu hunters. All others should feel justified to skip on this one or grab it only with some kind of deep discount. 
            Well, that is unless you're hell-bent on experiencing one of the most confusing and weird bad endings in the history of VNs – one that ends the game before the proper intrigue even starts, is pretty much indecipherable in its tone and made many readers believe the whole VN is a 30-minute-long SoL story, with barely any point or meaning to it. Because if Yume Creations are good at something, it's obviously undermining they own work in most absurd ways...
 
Final rating: Rabbit Poo
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Have you ever dreamed about getting really intimate with your favourite gaming console, or the PC you’ve worked on for years and shared so many special moments with? If yes, Games&Girls have all your gross, objectophile fantasies covered, with a plot involving a shut-in protagonist, who spends his all money on a limited-edition PS4, only for the overpriced piece of hardware transform into a sexy woman overnight. What comes next is the tale of living with a battery-charged, sentient sex-doll that puts most Sakura games to shame when it goes to trashiness and dry writing. Chapter 2 of this episodic release adds a Nintendo DS to the mix – one that our hero buys fill the void left by his previous system not being able to run games anymore, and which, very predictably, turns into a loli (and a particularly obnoxious one at that).
            The anguish of the protagonist, being forced to sexually satisfy his now-living electronic devices instead of playing games on them is only comparable to the pain of reading the cringe-worthy dialogue and edgy internal monologues of the main character. Admittedly, Chapter 3 mixed things up a little bit, with our lead and his two waifus being kidnapped by the government, interested in their console-to-human transformation powers – for the first time, there was something akin to a plot involved in this game. It also introduced an actual human heroine, protagonist's cousin Melissa, adding opportunities for some light incest porn. The general outlook of Games&Girls, however, is still nothing short of dreadful. Avoid at all cost.
 
Final rating: Smelly Poo
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Romantic by SzafaLesiaka
The Yume Creations’ latest title gathered quite a lot of attention in 2018 for being openly rejected by Steam due to its questionably-legal characters (the main heroine is a middle schooler) and nearly getting the developer permanently banned on Valve’s platform. Even though not that much of the interest survived until the game’s ultimate release on DLsite in November of the same year, it was still the most notoriety YC gained since Aozora Meikyuu. What’s hidden behind all the drama, however, is short and ultimately underwhelming, incest-themed nukige which somehow manages to feel even more cynical than Games&Girls, even if it’s not as atrocious quality-wise.
            Imolicious’ story follows Wataru, an orphan high-school student living together with his younger sister, after their parents suddenly passed away a few years back. Obviously, our protagonist is a siscon – and not just any siscon, as his creepy obsession about his beautiful sibling is present in his every action and thought, even when talking to her directly or chatting with his best friend from school. Oh, and his friend is a trap, but don’t expect that fact to have any real meaning within the story. We’re just checking points on the Obligatory Obnoxious Tropes List for now. The little sister’s feelings towards Wataru are unclear at first, but if he decides to confess, he quickly learns that his love is more than a little bit mutual… Or is it?
            The game is all built around a twist, making it a psychological horror much more than it is a typical romance (this is by itself a bit of a spoiler, but I don’t think Imolicious deserves being considerate with it). While it has a very short “good” route, where the protagonist fights his obsession and lets his sister find her own happiness elsewhere, most of the game’s content, including nearly all of the h-scenes, is relegated to the forbidden love scenario. If anything even remotely interesting happened there, it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but both the game’s general storytelling and its dramatic twist are utterly mediocre and predictable. And this is on top of the consistently-cringy protagonist, still poor English prose and only decent visual design. Even to the most dedicated incest lovers, I suggest looking for a fix somewhere else.

Final rating: Smelly Poo
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Yume Creations is one of those fringe emanations of the VN market that are not only limited the Western scene – it’s enough to look at the horror known as Creature Romances, brought lately to the West by Sekai Project, to see that disturbingly bad visual novels can be made anywhere, and some indie companies will produce such small nightmares against both good taste and common sense. When it goes to YC themselves, there always seem to be more VNs coming from them, no matter the feedback they receive. With the drama around Imolicious resulting in partnerships with new distribution platforms (even Nutaku, which initially didn't want to publish the game either) and some sympathetic interest from the community, I can imagine many new "masterpieces" like it popping up in the coming years. And when they show up, I'll be ready to cover them on the blog, in all their shovelware, disturbing glory.

PS This time too, my special thanks go to Bosskwar, who made this series possible (or at least much more enjoyable to make) through his let's play videos. 

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