RE: Alistair (Free)
The game being reviewed can be downloaded here for free. If you don't want spoilers, it is best to download it and play through it at least once before reading this.
Merui loves video games, especially the MMORPG Rivenwell Online. With her short temper, it's no wonder that she wants to get revenge when some guy named Alistair "steals" her Blessed Stone. It's a little too bad for her that she has no idea who he is in real life, but she's determined to find out. After all, it doesn't take long ro realize that he has to be a student at her school - leaving her with three possible suspects.
Unlike most otome games, it's not necessarily your choices that lead you to your true love - and there's not exactly an equal amount of good and bad endings - if anything, there's only one bad ending - which will be mentioned later.
When I say your choices don't have much of an effect, I didn't mean that there was no effect. The more time you spend in a certain place during lunch and after school, the more likely you are to meet up with the boy of your choice. The choices are pretty much static. In the middle of the school, you choose where to go for lunch (stay in class, gym, computer lab). In the afternoon, you also have some static choices (mall, work in the office, work on project). In the evening, at home, you can check your email, watch TV, surf the web, or study - all of which can raise certain statistics, with the exception of email.
The mall is mainly used to get stat-boosting items, and, at times, you might run into someone you know. What are the stats for? Without stat-boosters, it's pretty hard to get a good ending with any of the three obtainable boys. Items can boost your social, network, or intelligence stats.
For free game, the artwork is pretty nice. The CG events are also really cute. I'd give the artwork a rating of about a 7, mostly because I'm in college and I actually want to see some actual kissing in a dating game - but not much more than that. Basically, the artwork is pretty innocent - even if there are some suggestive CGs, they aren't too bad. I'd say the game is suitable for ages 12 and up in terms of artwork.
Derek is the popular guy at school and is involved with student council. He is also a member of the basketball team. As one of the popular kids, it's pretty obvious that he values his social life (*hint*) more than some other aspects. He doesn't seem to get along too well with his parents and is usually trying to please them, but it doesn't seem to work well.
Travis is in charge of the computer games club, so it's rather obvious that he likes games - including MMORPGs (*hint*). He also has a bit of a thing for smart girls, and would rather be comfortable than fashionable. He's a complex person who doesn't seem to like the school too much, but he has a pretty hard life.
Shiro is basically the misunderstood new kid. Everyone thinks his family is pretty shady, when they're not - Shiro just lets people think they are becaause it's more amusing that way. Shiro feels neglected most of the time, thinking that his parents don't care. He values his grades more than almost anything (*hint*).
There are three "good" endings where you end up with either Derek, Shiro, or Travis. There are also two "alone" endings, and I typically only refer to one of them as the "bad" ending.
Derek: When Derek likes you, it doesn't matter which person you guess to be Alistair (*hint*). Derek admits to falling for you and apologizes for what he did in the game (*hint*). When he finds out that you return his feelings, you basically become boyfriend and girlfriend.
Travis: To get this ending, you have to get Travis to like you and then guess either Travis or Derek to be Alistair. In this ending, Travis admits that he does play Rivenwell Online and that he has a job as a global moderator. When he admits this, he asks if he can become your guardian...in real life, not gaming - essentially admitting that he likes you.
Shiro: Same as Travis (you have to get him to like you), but you guess Alistair to be either Derek or Shiro. It is revealed that Shiro is the fairy that you're always playing Rivenwell Online with - and Shiro yells at Alistair to basically leave you alone. He eventually becomes your boyfriend and you usually make his lunch.
Bad Ending: Nobody likes you, romantically, and you don't guess the right person to be Alistair. Alistair basically mocks you in the game.
Revenge Ending: You guess the right person to be Alistair, but you do not get the Blessed Stone back. Instead, you choose to report Alistair to the moderators - simultaneously getting your revenge since it was, after all, HIS idea to bet all your gold in exchange for the Blessed Stone when the bet was made. (I consider this a good ending despite being single at the end of it.)