Friday, February 7, 2014

The Retro Goat Reviews- Koihime + Musou (The Visual Novel)

Koihime + Musou is an adults only strategy game visual novel developed by BaseSon and published by MangaGamer. It is based loosely off of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and it features a gender-swapped cast of the character from the book. Keep in mind that while this review is appropriate for all ages, this game contains erotic content and is not intended for minors.
Story- 8/10
As previously stated, Koihime Musou is loosely based off of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. That being said, it takes a variety of liberties with the story and creates it’s own unique plot. You are a random guy who, more or less, gets spontaneously teleported into an altered version of ancient China. You end up becoming the leader to the Shu faction as you try to unite all of China while growing closer to your ladies.It sounds odd on paper, but the delivery is surprisingly well done. The plot can be pretty griping at times, and I was legitimately entertained by the portions for the story that were focusing on you establishing a connection with your people and attempting to maintain a decent public image while your kingdom grew. While the story is nowhere near as dark as it’s source material, especially as it thankfully lacks characters dying, it does add a unique type of conflict. Throughout the game, you have a bit of an existence crisis, never being positive that you won’t end up magically teleported back home and away from all your new friends. It uses natural human emotion to make the player feel worried about their in-game future, due to the fact that nobody wants to be forced to hurt their loved ones. Koihime + Musou does also tap into some of the darker parts of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, such as Xiahou Dun losing an eye or Zhou Yu being left distraught after Sun Ce dies. It adds a bit of alternative interpretation to the whole story too, which makes Koihime Musou stand out among other stories based off of the Three Kingdoms era. It’s all very well done, and the game manages to explain it’s admittedly contrived plot in a manner that makes a decent amount of sense. It also manages to explain why there is an alternative world, and how every play through, ending, and media for Koihime + Musou is a legitimate part of the story. It’s hard to explain, but it is very well done.
Characters- 8/10
The game boasts a pretty large roster of characters, especially for being the first in the series. They include many of the notable warriors from the Three Kingdoms era, while giving each individual their own unique personality. No two characters have identical personalities, and it makes each individual more memorable and easier to grow attached to. One benefit this game has is it’s usage of the characters Japanese names as opposed to their Chinese ones. Guan Yu becomes Kan’u, Zhang Fei becomes Chouhi, and so on. Due to this being a dating game, it’s a subtle change that helps make sure you don’t picture a six foot tall man with a two foot long beard when you see a beautiful maiden whom you’re trying to fall in love with. The only issue with the roster is that there aren’t many selections for plot important dating choices. There are three main women to date, and a dozen or so characters that are mostly subplot. The fact that almost every character gets their own short story is enjoyable, but it would be nice to have a larger amount of important characters. The current amount is fine though, and it’s good to be able to expand for future releases.(PC)KMR2
Gameplay- 7/10
This is a visual novel with actual gameplay elements. Part of the game is going into battle with a number of warring factions, and there is a bit of strategic element to it. There are little over half a dozen formations to choose from, with each having their strengths and weaknesses to each other. It’s fun, but it can get a bit tedious due to how predictable the AI is for most of the game.It’s still pretty enjoyable, and I like that you can skip it during subsequent play throughs, if you just want to get all of the cut scenes and endings. With four different endings, the game is a decent length, even if you skip the battle parts. It’s got a heavy amount of content, and the replay value is pretty high. That being said, this game will get tedious if you try to do everything within a small time period. This is a game that’s more fun to pick up periodically and play, rather than play for hours on end. It is still a likable title, and one that could appeal to a large amount of players.
Graphics- 8/10
There’s a very large amount of variety in the art, both CG scenes and character designs, which make the game more appealing to look at. The CG scenes are anatomically accurate, and each character has a decent number of intimate scenes in the game. The characters are all distinct looking in terms of body structure, and the faces look relatively different too. Each girl is also extremely pretty, which is always a plus for a dating game. The battle animations are a little lacking, but they’re not poorly done by any means. One subtle thing that this game has that deserves props is the various amount of character portraits. Every character has many different reactions, which makes the visual novel feel more active and alive. There’s also a few times where the characters are just plain adorable, and the art really helps make a cute scene even cuter. The game is very nice looking, and there aren’t many things they could do to impress in terms of graphics.(PC)KMR2
Sounds- 9/10
This game has one of the best soundtracks out of any game I’ve played, regardless of console. Every song is enjoyable, with each setting the appropriate emotion for their given scene. The soundtrack is honestly worth checking out by itself, regardless of your desire to get this game. There are over forty different songs in the game, and each is simply spectacular. The voice acting is also really well done. Each characters sounds like someone of their given age would, the acting is nice for their given context, and no character sounds particularly annoying unintentionally. The only complaint I have is that some characters do sound pretty similar, but that’s out of the control of the developers. It’s all well done, and this game excels in terms of sound quality.
Buy It?
If you’re looking for a charming dating game that avoids becoming tedious, this is a good game for you. If you want a well done visual novel with a nice plot, this is one of the best ones out there. If you’re simply interested in the eroticism, this game delivers in that field too. This is not a game that should be passed up, and it really is one of the best visual novels out there. The characters are lovable, the soundtrack is nice, and the plot is very well done. This isn’t a run of the mill pornographic game, this is a legitimate video game worth checking out that just so happens to have erotic elements in parts of it. It’s definitely worth getting.
Overall Koihime + Musou was a very fun game to play. It’s easy to grow attached to the characters and invested in the plot, and the game delivers a unique experience. It is certainly not for minors, but anyone who legally can check this game out should. It’s definitely worth getting, and it’s better than a large amount of video games out there at giving players an emotional and fun experience.
Final Score- 8/10
Help support the publishers by legally purchasing the game. Visual Novels are frequently pirated, and that seriously hurts the sales. There exists sequels to this game, but they’re Japanese only and won’t be released out of Japan until Koihime+ Musou gets a certain number of sales. Obviously that will not happen if the game is pirated more than it is legally purchased. You can get the game from MangaGamer here. The price is well worth it.