Anime Visual Novel

Nimble Strong: Anime-ish iPhone Game Review

An iPhone developer reached out to me about a game he just released. As an iPhone dev myself, I felt I should give the game a try and also get something to stick on my blog. So here’s a game review!

Nimble Strong is an anime themed drink mixing game. Yes, you read that correctly. The combo isn’t really that unheard of. Wasn’t there a bartender anime that came out a while ago? Anyway, you take the role of a complete bar noob. Part of the game is like a visual novel where you talk with customers and choose from one of two snarky responses. The game part of the game is where you mix drinks and are graded accordingly. There’s also a drink recipe thing that you can unlock with your tip money and a “survival” mode.

I could do without the visual novel part of the game myself. I think if the art had been better, I may have been more interested in the characters. The drink mixing part of the game is actually pretty fun. You hold down on a glass to add ingredients. Ice first, then liquor, then sweet stuff. You can also add a garnish if you want. The game makes use of some of the iPhone’s gimmicky features (you shake the phone to shake a martini).

The game grades you based on how accurate and fast you are with the drink. I think the level of tip that you get depends on how well you do. If you over pour or under pour, you’ll lose points. I would go on about the main mode, but I didn’t finish. I got to a place in the game where I’m supposed to make a Piña Colada for some robotic chick. The thing is she never accepts my drink. So either there is a bug in my version of the game or I’m horrible at Piña Coladas…

If you wanted a drink recipe app or wanted to learn more about mixology, I guess this game is of some use to you. I personally got kind of tired of mixing the drinks, because there wasn’t much variety besides pouring ice, and then liquids. It’s kind of a boring job if you don’t get to actually get real tips and mess with actual people. At least Burger Time had you running away from burger ingredients!

Also, I could never figure out why the game is called “Nimble Strong.” Because you need to be nimble, yet strong? Or is it like Strong Bad?

For $.99 I could definitely recommend this game. But for the $5 it’s at right now, you’d have to evaluate for yourself whether it’s worth it for a buggy game. Hopefully there’ll be a fix for whatever’s making my Pina Coladas go bad… There’s a light version of the game out as well, in case you want to try it first. Perhaps it’ll go on sale at some point.

Disclosure: Adam, the guy behind the game, sent me a promo code for a free copy of the game to review it. He didn’t offer me any money or drinks for a review, however 🙂

Edit: Adam wrote in to say:

I just want to point out that the Pina Colada bug isn’t actually a bug, it’s more of just a typo. In the recipe book for the game we just forgot to put ‘shaken’ – but since the mixing glass appears the majority of players are used to shaking drinks with mixing glasses and juices inside anyway (that it’s shaken is also mentioned in the dialogue prior to the drink)

It’ll definitely be fixed, but I don’t think this qualifies the whole game as being ‘buggy’ – if you could write a small update I’d really appreciate it 🙂

I think at that point in the game I was kind of running on autopilot (it was kinda late) and didn’t notice the glasses, reference, etc. I still think this qualifies as a bug, however, as the recipe book states what is necessary to “beat” the stage and in this case, it is wrong. As for whether the whole game is buggy, no, it is not, but the fact that I couldn’t progress means it was a pri 0 bug as far as I am concerned.

It’s good to see that it’ll be fixed. I still consider it a great $1 or $2 app, but I don’t see enough to warrant the current $5 price point. (For $1, Angry Birds is the shiznit!)

Review Visual Novel

RenAi Blogger (Sim JPMeyer)

Alright! Hinano finally released her JPMeyer sim RenAi game, appropriately called “RenAi Blogger.”

The game features multiple heroines, multiple endings, and other stuff you would expect in any other RenAi game. This includes a trap, a loli, and a meganekko or two. Probably the best part of the game is its length; it took me maybe an hour to find all the good endings and a few bad ones. Some people might complain about the game being too short, but I kind of like the brevity.

The girls in the game are all existing female anime bloggers. Well, in the game they aren’t all bloggers. That would make the scenarios kind of redundant. They’re probably just loosely based on real people as a base. I sorta just went through all of the girls’ scenarios as they appeared, more or less. CJ to Natsuko to Jen to Hinano. Man, that sounds weird.

I will say that the game is pretty well made. I didn’t encounter any bugs besides the thing flipping out when I skipped the movie (I only did this the second time I opened the program). Besides that, the branching logic seems pretty solid. Oh man, I better stop reviewing the coding and start reviewing the actual content, huh?

Okay, so I had a few issues with the main character. He’s a transfer from Ohio State? The one university that’s the mortal enemy of my Michigan Wolverines? Okay, fine, whatever. I can get past that part. Main character is transferring to NYU, so he can’t be all bad.

I won’t criticize the art since I can’t draw worth a damn myself. To her credit, Hinano’s art has gotten much better since the Anime Nano Podcast days. That’s a complement, Hinano! I thought it was funny that all the backgrounds are from photos taken in NYC. How cool would it be to have a cameo in the game at Artist’s Alley or something?

The game is easy enough. Picking the obvious choices will usually net you the girl. If only it was this easy in real life… The only time I got tripped up is when I took Natsuko’s stuff to her house and was branded a pedobear. Oh, and the other time when I confessed to her on the train. But wait, when I didn’t confess to her on the train, she confessed to me! What a double standard! Ah well, as long as I eventually found the good end. Thanks Hinano, for training me on how to legally navigate my way through the situation, if something similar ever presented itself. And I hope it never will… Natsuko also wins for having the best lol line given during her scenario (as seen above).

So overall, the game is a fun use of an hour or so of your time. It’s definitely worth it to find Hinano so you can see her go tsundere on JPMeyer the protagonist. But I’m kind of disappointed that there wasn’t a rival for the protagonist. A slick, podcasting co-host, if you will. Nah, that would’ve made the game too complicated.

Hinano deserves some major props for completing this project. If there was a donate link or something, I’d be happy to chip in for a sequel. If you’re reading this and you haven’t already played it, go grab it from here.

Visual Novel

My First Foray Into The World Of Visual Novels: Lessons Learned

I love out of context quotes!

So as I mentioned briefly in the Anime Nano Podcast Episode #7, I’ve started to try out some visual novel games. These interactive visual novels are just as legitimate a part of Japanese culture as anime and manga. As such, I figured I should at least experience them a little bit.