Today on the blog, we have a tester’s corner from Xarrias!
Hello, this is Xarrias, and this is my tenth Tester’s Corner for MangaGamer. Woooo, the big One Zero! I’ll admit that this was a game that I knew quite little about going into it. I skimmed some reviews and was expecting both comedy and drama. However, one thing that struck me was how real some of this felt. Sure, there’s a lot of plot points that are a bit out-there and some over the top moments, but the core of it was very true to life, and actually quite depressing at points.
Yoshimura Osamu is a down on his luck salaryman. Actually, ex-salaryman. He lost his job through no fault of his own. His wife left him without giving him a reason. He’s got nowhere to go, and no purpose to his life. He’s at the point where you might hear about him in passing as a delay to your train. But a chance encounter with a woman led him to a run-down boarding house with a complement of quirky characters and the owner – her daughter, Mitoko. She, too, is down on her luck. Her mother ran out on her shortly after this encounter with yet another shady man, and they’ve always struggled with the bills. She’s working multiple part time jobs and she’s thinking of quitting school just to make ends meet. However, this chance meeting between two broken individuals sparks the start of a story about raising them both up to their feet and regaining control over their lives.
I know you probably want to hear about the romance, but I want to emphasize just how the game managed to capture the banal and everyday struggles one faces with employment, school, and money. It can be soul crushing to find employment these days, particularly if you’re young without prior experience. While the game doesn’t go into that side of things, it still gives you an idea of what it’s like to try and find work, or taking one step forward only to go two steps back.
One character that stands out to me, asides from our protagonist, is Himeo. She’s the rich girl who lives next door who is looking to buy the boarding house. She’s possibly one of the nicest and most generous characters in the game – to the point where she’s got a bonus ending – and her voice acting never failed to make me smile. All the characters are voiced well, but the style hers was quite distinct with her pace, and so stood out to me.
Speaking of endings, that’s admittedly something I had an issue with. The way the game handles branching means that some characters have their route split a lot sooner than others, and though their arc concludes, the ‘common’ route, for lack of a better word, loses out. There’s also one instance in Himeo’s where something happens there that should happen regardless, but doesn’t, which I found problematic. When events change between routes that aren’t affected by the decisions you’ve made it affects the verisimilitude of the world, as these things should still be happening in the background.
The sex scenes are probably best compared to something like Princess Evangile. Concentrated into the character routes and more fanservice for the player rather than something you’re there specifically for. Osamu can be an aggressive lover, and he isn’t voiced for them unlike the rest of the game, so that might be a positive or a negative for you. Otherwise it’s pretty vanilla stuff – the meat of the game is with the story and character development.
In conclusion, this is a game that will make you laugh and cry over the mundane trials and tribulations of life. Some of these things might hit home a little hard for some of the readers, but I’m of the opinion that when something is capable of playing with your emotions that it’s worth giving a go. It didn’t quite make me cry, but it certainly came close at points, and asides from the depressing stuff there was a good amount of humour to balance things out, too. If you want something that has adult themes, you can’t go wrong with Damekoi.