Hey, welcome to Good Goings! A monthly series where I’ll celebrate some stuff that has happened or is yet to happen in the otaku sphere. The world can bring us down sometimes so it’s important to kick back, relax and remind ourselves of the things we’re happy about. It feels like it’s never been a better time to be a geek nowadays so pop on the kettle and let’s get cracking with what goodies have come up this month…
Usually, I start GG posts with otome corner but let’s shake things up with some BL and yuri goodness for the month of Pride 🌈!!
First up, the popular BL visual novel Hashihime of the Old Book Town Append is heading onto the Switch this 16 December 2021 with supported English language according to Gematsu. Append expands the original release (available on Steam and MangaGamer) with new story and visual content, including after stories from the POV of the love interests, and nifty features like the ability to save voiced lines. Taking place during the rainy season of Taisho era Japan, Hashihime explores the hazy distinction between reality and delusion as a young man finds himself stuck in a time-loop when a series of mysterious deaths befalls his friends. Drawn in a beautiful painterly style, this psychedelic mystery is a treat for the eyes as well as the noggin.
If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Tokyo Onmyoji! From Moonchime Localization, this spicy BL is heading onto PC with a provisional release date of late 2021. Otome Kitten has done a great write up if you want to know the full details but the shorthand version is that it’s about an alternate Japan plagued by demons, wandering souls and the onmyoji sorcerers who are on the case. This looks like a dramatic, action-filled adventure with a good dose of comedy too, if the derpy paper talisman love interest is any indication!
For yuri fans, we’ve had a few pleasant surprises. OshiRabu: Waifus Over Husbandos, a playful cat-and-mouse love story that starts from a shocking proposal, is getting a sequel where the two brides finally head down the aisle! OshiRabu: Waifus Over Husbandos – Love or Die comes out 20 July 2021 and sounds like another slapstick moe-fest. As always, you can go all-ages on Steam or hit the R18 version and patch up on Mangagamer. Funnily enough, I just bought the first game so I’m happy it’s done well enough to secure a sequel – you can never have too many waifus or husbandos after all!
Mangagamer also revealed the localisation of Distant Memoraĵo for PC this 15 July 2021. Distant Memoraĵo is the sequel to The Expression Amrilato (also on Steam), which unexpectedly paired a sweet yuri isekai story with an educational foray into Esperanto, an actual constructed language; it even included a functional quiz mode and an NG+ feature adding full Esperanto subtitles for language learning! Since Distant Memoraĵo is set after The Expression: Amrilato, this is one to play after you’ve finished the first game. The two heroines face fresh challenges as miscommunication and unspoken feelings drive a wedge between the new couple. A game for fans of heartful and thoughtful narratives, this series is a good pick if you’re looking for something different.
Congratulations to Hanako Games for their successful Kickstarter with Cute Bite, a yuri stat-raiser funded in less than an hour back in April! Cute Bite follows a vampire butler who must bring up her deceased master’s daughter and teach her how to be a proper bloodsucker. In the same vein as the Princess Maker series, Cute Bite is a raising simulation where you guide your little mistress down various paths by providing different classes, jobs, and nourishment (the big question: popsicles or people?). While not primarily a dating sim, there are five female love interests added from stretch goals. Fall in love at first bite when the game hopefully releases on Steam and itch.io this Fall 2021!
Vampires not to taste? Well, maybe ghosts can make you shiver. Heart of the Woods is a bittersweet yuri tale about two paranormal investigators who find something strange afoot in the sleepy village of Eysenfeld. A love that transcends death, this indie VN originally released on PC in 2019 and is finally making the transition onto consoles (Switch, PS4/5, Xbox X/S/One) on 8 July 2021. Take a look at Studio Élan’s next yuri fantasy, Please Be Happy, which I featured in one of my E3 posts – it looks just as delightful and decidedly less weepy!
Phew, that was a lot of announcements! I’m so happy more LGBTQ+ content is releasing and deservedly receiving more attention within the industry and by players – there really does feel like there’s something for everyone, if you have a good look around! In fact, there literally isn’t a better time to dive in, because several of the major stores are hosting their summer sales at the moment! I recommend heading over to Steam, itch.io, Mangagamer (R18) and JASTUSA (R18) for the goods – sorry-not-sorry in advance to your wallet 😬.
On the otome side, things have been a little quiet, although look out for Idea Factory’s Summer Festival on 28 July 2021, which promises – gosh, they remembered us! – some otome stuff.
Great Gretuski Studios has come up with a grand idea and are aiming to make an otome based on classic farming sims like Harvest Moon. I never thought I wanted this but, yes, sometimes a tractor is the third wheel. Peachleaf Valley: Seeds of Love is an age-old tale of a frustrated city-slicker looking for the greener grass and finding that and more – now with 100% less farming! I’m loving the crisp, colourful art style – the backgrounds are just teeming with charm. This is Great Gretuski’s second commercial otome following the magical Love Spell: Written in the Stars and I’m glad to see that their second outing is also fruitful – it’s already raised a bumper crop triple their original goal! Peachleaf Valley has an estimated release date of Spring 2022 for PC but the Kickstarter is still running so consider supporting it, if you are interested!
In a few days, Otome Jam is coming to an end and Yaoi Jam is kicking off on itch.io. Like Nanoreno, these game jams are full of short n’ sweet experimental experiences, perfect for a lazy afternoon or cozy evening! They’re opportunities to try something different and get to know the diverse devs occupying the indie EVN space so stick around and get ready to be swept off your feet!
LOOPERS, a recent kinetic visual novel by Key and Ryukishi07, the author behind the Higurashi and Umineko series, is receiving an English translation by Visual Arts (release date and platforms TBA). As you can probably guess, the plot involves time-travel as a group of treasure hunters relive one day after entering a never ending time-loop. So far, so predictable? Well, since this involves Ryukishi07’s writings, you can expect a bunch of sinister, loopy twists you won’t predict. I’m also loving the delicate shoujo-styled art by Kei Mochizuki. The bright preppy colours pop out yet there’s a hint of darkness in there too. Details are tantalisingly vague so far but I can’t wait to hear more about this collaboration.
If the upcoming Caligula Effect 2 wasn’t enough, Furyu are taking another stab at the Persona-esque formula with MONARK, coming early 2022 for PC, Switch and PS4/5. Developed by former Shin Megami Tensei developers, Monark looks like an invitingly dark dive into the psyche, playing with themes of self and madness in a story about a school engulfed by a deadly supernatural mist. Like the Persona games, your party of school council members must tread a dangerous line between reality and the ‘Otherworld’ and wield manifestations of their own ego to understand the mysteries behind the mist. You can also see Caligula’s influence in some of the general themes and the musical and artistic directions. I was a big fan of Furyu’s Caligula Effect, despite its rough edges, so I’m hoping the developers also look within to fashion something greater with MONARK.
Bitmap Books, a UK-based independent publisher for retro gaming, have made a gargantuan book on all things to do with JRPGs. A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games is an incredibly ambitious project with 652 pages of reviews and essays covering the history of JRPGs from 1982 to 2020. The guide comes as a hefty hardback with ample images on high quality paper. The standard edition costs £34.99 while the Collector’s Edition is a limited run of 2000 units and comes to £54.99. The Collector’s Edition includes an embossed slipcase, postcards, an A2 poster, and a dinky pixel heart 2GB USB drive preloaded with a few upcoming indie JRPG demos. I’ve already ordered my copy and I’m eagerly awaiting it in the post so it can join my equally colossal Bitmap book on CRPGs!
Sorry to toot my own horn but I wanted to put a spotlight on some of my recent posts on the games of E3 that caught my eye. They took a bloody long time to research and write so please have a look, if you’re at all interested in what games are coming up. I’ve seen a lot of varying reactions towards these shows – mostly disappointment and/or fatigue – but I came out feeling pretty optimistic honestly…😅 There are a lot of cool indies out there and all sorts of games to appreciate so I hope that comes across in my rambling!
Action Adventures and Platformers
Adventure and Simulation games
There you go. A bunch of things that put a smile on my face and hopefully yours too. Let me know about your own Good Goings in the comments and have a great day!