I tried Hakuoki first as I'd tried the first bit in the mobile app and thought it looked interesting and everyone in the Reddit otomegames sub recommends it as a standard otome everyone should know kind of thing. And it's okay. It's just really slow going. Haven't gotten very far in it yet and am feeling a bit iffy about the heroine...I figured she'd be plucky if she traveled all the way to Kyoto by herself dressed as a boy to try and find her father but so far she's kinda...well...let's just say I'm not sure how she managed to get there unless it was a really short journey.
Anyway, so I also finally installed the Pastry Lovers one because I figured, hey, why not. And I actually quite like it other than the fact that the translation is iffy at best, cringeworthy at times, and sometimes just plain laughably awful. I mean, BAD. It's terrible. SO bad. It's also got stat raising stuff and the art is...okay but nothing to write home about. Would definitely have liked a bit more out of the CGs at the end. But every now and then it has a really nice moment that makes it worth it (and heck, at that price!).
|Hi, I'm the cool and aloof Henin and I teach painting and I'll|
be your bonus love interest this evening...and yes,
I do always walk around with a mug in my hand. All the time.
No, it's not weird at all. Just focus on my lovely hair.
The stat building is all pretty easy. That might partly be because, for some reason, you start the game with a boatload of gold that I don't think you're supposed to get. Seriously. Like 6000g or something. I can see that if you started with a reasonable amount, you'd actually have to really work to raise your stats appropriately. I'm not sure if it is a bug or what, but it made this part of the game SUPER DUPER easy. Given that your normal wages are more like 10g to a whopping bonus of 50g for getting the best grades, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be far harder to progress than it is. I didn't really mind though as stat raising isn't usually my fav thing. Kind of a built in cheat.
The other nice thing about how the stat raising goes is that the game is divided into three sections: 1) you're in your village and interacting with the people there then 2) at the school and attending classes and then 3) in the final bit where you've chosen your love interest and each one has a very different path (or, at least, the two I tried so far were completely different). So even though there's a bit of grindy-ness to it, at least it is switched up so you don't get too bored.
|Little dude commented, upon seeing the other NPC girl characters in the game, that the one you play is actually the|
plainest in terms of looks. He's not wrong. What's up with that? The standard Every Girl, I guess?
There's the soft-spoken blue haired dude who is her teacher (though only 7 years older, so not too skeevy, which is a pet peeve of mine that I think Backstage Pass failed at a bit), the cold-at-first blonde guy with an inconvenient possible fiancé, the red-haired firebrand who is flirty as all get out, and an actual prince who likes to wander around in the slums in disguise helping people out.
I didn't realise at first that it's a Chinese game (the MC's name being Sakura made me think it was Japanese because I associate cherry blossoms with Japan, I suppose) and maybe that's partly why I like it because there's a bit in the route for Christopher DM (yeah, that's his name...why? I have no idea.) where they are at a temple and he's feeling all unrequited because he's her teacher and they are at some island where they celebrate the Qixi festival and he's at the temple and he hangs up a tablet that says When will a bridge of magpies be built between us, so that I can be with you? Which was lovely and then that made me look up the legend behind it so now I know a bit more Chinese history/mythology than I did before and Lo, all is good. Seriously, just that bit made it worth it. A sad but lovely story, which in this case, turns out a bit better for our heroine.
So far I've done the blonde guy's good end (mostly to get him out of the way, as I'm not really into the whole tsundere thing...or blondes, for that matter), the bonus guy's good and normal ends (as you can save during the teacher route and knock it out quickly at the end) and the teacher's good end (very sweet). I was going to do the Prince last but it has become obvious that he's the end game as the only place you can learn about your absent parents is at the palace...so now I'm going to save him for last. You do get a bit more of the story each time about your past, so there's that.
So, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It doesn't have great reviews and I can completely see why. I mean, the translation is dismal. But, at that price, I'm glad I bought it and I've enjoyed it. And there aren't many walkthroughs or guides for it, so it's a good thing it is fairly easy to puzzle out (it even warns you at crucial points when you need to save).
I wouldn't mind finding a few more like this, albeit ones with better translations. I didn't even mind the stat building (it's less of a hassle than in Backstage Pass, for instance). Will edit this after I finish to see how I feel after I've revealed all the endings.