First up, Tuna Salad with what should not be another death threat.
I know some of you are going to claim sacrilege here, but I have never played Shuffle. I only saw the anime and I really didn’t like it. Okay, I thought it was hot shit when it was first airing, but after watching it and thinking about it, it was pretty shitty. When shitty Kouryuu told me I was being given Tick Tack, I was pretty sure that I would have to strangle him, luckily, Tick Tack is kinda awesome.
Let’s get a few things straight here, I know the basics of Shuffle: Lithianthus, clearly best girl, Kaede, next in line of awesome, and no one cares about the rest (unless you’re a loli-pedo-fiend, to which you liked Primula). Quite unfortunately, this game has NONE OF THEM, but it does have the lovely maid Sage, and everyone likes maids so big plus there, and the ultimate haremette Ai, who has tits the size of a small moon which is right down my strike zone…DON’T JUDGE ME!
That’s not to say Sage isn’t pretty awesome either. You can’t ever go wrong with maids. Especially a maid who’s determined to make it her life’s work to become the champion of maid-dom. Her eager desire to out maid the other maids in the world is in of itself downright admirable and her uncanny taste for violence is something to be lauded, albeit from afar…
But the title of greatest heroine goes to Red Nerine, the outgoing, assertive Nerine who won’t hesitate to tell you exactly how she wants it! Which quite unfortunately is not considered a “good” ending or at least one that doesn’t get an extended epilogue where you get to see just how much better life with Red Nerine could have been. For whatever reason, Navel is assuming that if you’re playing a Nerine-centric game, then you clearly want the submissively docile, innocent girl archetype. As far as I’m concerned, those are sad and boring, although an argument can be made for how satisfying it is to corrupt something pure and beautiful, this really isn’t that kind of game…
The same applies with Loli Nerine and if Nerine should lose her memory, to which you’re a bad person and are doing it wrong. Which actually brings me to one of the most unique and also hardest aspects of this game, GETTING THE RIGHT NERINE!
Let me explain: this game uses a stopwatch in the upper left hand corner of the screen to keep track of just how much you’ve fucked with the timeline. If the watch goes too much into the green (left) or the red (right) side, Nerine will change into either Loli Nerine or Red Nerine, respectively. If you go too far into either side, Nerine will lose her memory to which you’ve really fucked up, although it is recoverable if you can fix it enough before the end. On top of that, certain scenes are prerequisites for other scenes, these scenes might add a penalty to the stopwatch if you see them, and some scenes are only accessible if you manage to satisfy certain stopwatch criteria. And just to add insult to injury, there’s also a basic heroine point system where you need to have a certain amount of points to see a specific scene with one of the heroines. The hardest of scenes are the ones that require you to have satisfied a certain stopwatch criteria as well as seen specific prerequisite scenes and have a specific girl at or over a certain value.
Scenes like Red Nerine in a maid outfit:
Or mother-daughter ‘skuru-mizu’ time:
As a tester, I get a cheat sheet showing just which options lead adds to which meter and unlocks which extra scene. As much as that helped, later in the game, the paths became so convoluted with scene prerequisites and point requisites that it was quite hard not to accidentally venture into the amnesia Nerine zone and then have to start over because I have no idea where I went wrong.
And with awesome scenes like Ai and Sage in a maid outfit on the line, I made a point to be very through…
If you manage to play your cards right and be relatively faithful to Nerine, there’s even a super special scene for the diehard Nerine fans out there. Something I hope this screenshot won’t spoil too baddly…
So there you have it, the awesomeness known as Tick Tack. If you’re not going to get it for the voluptuous Ai, the adorable Sage, or the many faces of Nerine, then you should do it for Cineraria because she’s hilarious.
Before you ask, no, she’s not an “obtainable” heroine.