KiraKira Treasure Box

Review: Mashou Megane (PC R-18 Otoge)

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I told myself I wasn't going to play this game, but I'm in Japan, and it was just there, on the shelf, you know...

WARNING! This game contains a lot of violence and disturbing R-18 scenes!!!

Though this is an R-18 game, this review and the images that appear in it are SFW!
Though beware there is one slightly suggestive image in the H Scenes section.

You can also read my spoiler talk for the game here!

TITLE: 魔性眼鏡 (Mashou Megane)
DEVELOPER: Pil-Vamp
RELEASE DATE: 19th July 2016
RATING: +18
GENRES&THEMES: Otome Game; Fairy tale setting, Fantasy; University student protagonist; Royal hero
PLATFORM: PC

Language the game was played in for this review:
Japanese

"Unfortunately, after a very strict screening process, it has been decided you are not suitable."
"Ahh... I didn't make it through this time either..."
The protagonist, Akazawa Karen, is a university student suffering a string of job-hunting failures. Depression consumes her due to the endless rejections, and her already lacking self-esteem is broken. One day, as she's weeping bitterly, the moe character from her favourite dakimakura, Mr. Prince, jumps out and brings her good news:
"These aren't just any glasses. They're 'magical glasses'. Just by wearing these you can change into your ideal self."
What the lovely Mr. Prince —who has come all the way from Fairy-tale Land— hands her is a pair of ordinary red glasses. Half in doubt, she tries them on. Suddenly, her mind is filled with confidence, and even her outwards appearance changes into that of a lively, reliable woman!
"If I have these, job offers are practically going to rain on me!"
Though she is greatly excited and pumped up, there's no way something so good would come without a price...
Mr. Prince tells her that in order to keep these glasses she must set the currently twisted Fairy-tale Land right. In order to get more job offers she promptly agrees to his terms, and believing that as long she has theses classes it should all be a walk in the park she steps right into this magical world.

But what she finds there is a strange world full of odd people with no common sense!

Source: Translated from the official site by Kira Kira.

I'm actually halfway through playing Zettai Kaikyuu Gakuen, but the game is soooooooo long I decided to take a break and just play this instead.


The Story & Writing


I wasn't going to play this game. I really wasn't going to buy it. The cover art reminded me of the usual fetiche eroge artworks you see in really kinky shops around Akiba, and the story sounded as stupid as it gets.
But bro, I am weak. For one the whole fairy tale setting is my Achilles heel, and to top it off I'm here, in japan, where I don't have to pay ridiculous sums of money to get a game shipped to me. I'm so easily tempted, please forgive me, money god.
And yet despite me thinking I was going to regret this terribly, this game ended up surprising me a lot. The writing isn't particularly elaborate, but I sincerely thought I'd end up scribbling a big giant red F on the cover, so for this game to actually make me feel something seems like a really big accomplishment. The entire deal with the game is that you're going to get the bad endings if you abuse the glasses: it wants you to pick taking them off or not wearing them every time you are allowed to make that decision. Throughout the routes Karen is supposed to eventually realise that relying on magic isn't the right way to advance — she mustn't take the easy way out, she must work her way through this problem on her own.
But this is where my praising ends. I'm going to drop this here now for anybody that might be considering playing this game, but the warning at the top of this post is serious. The bad endings in this game are really violent and incredibly disturbing. Like, I skim read through most of them because of how unpleasant they were. It's beyond the usual rape ending malarkey — this is next level shit. I like that they decided to go for a dark fairy tale setting, but woaaaaaaa... this shit is just one great big NOPE.
Get out of here whilst you still can.

Additionally the world crafting was dog shit. I wasn't expecting a complexity level on par with high fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings, but how about you, idk, try building a fairy tale world that's actually credible? I feel like absolutely zero effort was put into it. We only need the basic outlines to make these men seem exotic and sexy, so why bother with the finer details, amiright? haha (not).
I guess the whole magical glasses idea was interesting, seeing as we got to see two different sides to one same character and you get to chose whether to wear them or not a few times, but other than that there really is nothing special or unique to this game.

My recommended playing order (if you really insist on playing this game), is:

 Peach -> Cidre -> Doutei. 


The Characters & Routes


Peach ピーチ

CV: Shinsen Ryoku (深川 緑)

Peach is the main character in the land of Momotaro... in other words, —and in case the connection between "momo" and "peach" wasn't blatant enough— he is Momotaro himself. Peach is a sexy, cool bro who's very (overly) casual about everything to do with sex, who's about ready to jump onto Karen every second of the day. But it doesn't have to be Karen, actually — he'll jump onto anybody, including his own pets.
Oh boy, yeah. You read that right. Peach's problem is that he's into bestiality. But don't worry, you won't see anything unpleasant in his route..... if you stick to the good ending (stay away from the bad ones, just fucking stay away from them). Peach's route is arguably the kinkiy-ist of them all, with all of the sexy scenes having some quirk or other to them (ugh, my eyes, my eyessss), and its the one I disliked the most in the entire game. As I was playing through it I kept wondering when it was going to end, and routes in this game aren't even that long. My problem with Peach's route is that the world building for Momotaro land was shittier than for Snow White land and Peter Pan land — nothing in it makes any bloody sense. There's instant ramen and modern smartphones, yet this guy lives with his ridiculously young "grandparents" in a hut in the middle of a bamboo forest. Heck, Momotaro even uses modern-day Japanese slang. 
My guess is Pil-Vamp was trying to go for a cool, flashy city boy approach with him, but instead of creating a superb panty-dropper rock star everything just flopped. It's not that his route is disappointing... heck, it went for a very gory plot-twist halfway through that had chills running down my spine that I loved. But how should I put it? Everything about him felt so completely out of context, that I just couldn't take his love story with Karen seriously.
Aaaaannnnddd I'm just not going to talk about the bad endings for this dude, hahaha, haha, haa.... :'D

Also this guy's hair is so funky huge it gets cut off in his corner sprite:
bruh


Cidre シードル

CV: Kuroi Isamu (黒井 勇)

Cider is the dashingly handsome prince of the Land of Snow White. People from the countries around his all warn that the Land of Snow White is a dangerous place... and they do so for a reason. Cidre is into necrophilia, and he collects dead bodies to use them as home decorations.

Magic mirror, on the wall - who is the fairest CUTEST SWEETIE PIE OF ALL?

I know, I know. I'm aware that that necrophilia part in the description must've creeped you all out, but please stick around. Cidre's route was my solace, my salvation, my oasis in the desert. Momotaro's route didn't particularly have my heart going doki doki, and the kinky sex scenes were a bit too much for my taste. But Cidre? Oh, Cidre. You gorgeous baby, if only I could reach through the screen and kiss you.
In Cidre's route you get to read through Karen's thoughts as she falls hopelessly in love with a man that doesn't seem to give a lettuce for anything with a heartbeat. I loved watching her struggle with her feelings, and seeing her slowly unravel the secrets behind Cirde's past and love for corpses was way more profound than anything I ever expected this game could deliver. Witnessing Cidre slowly open up to Karen and admitting to himself he cared about her was incredibly sweet — my chest tightened up in many of their scenes together. I am so biased for this man. He deserves more love.
Cidre's bad ending is just as disturbing as Momotaro's, but to a certain extent (and within how unpleasant and distressing it is) it makes a lot more sense. It sounds odd to say this, but I actually enjoyed it. Just a bit. A microscopic bit.


Doutei 童帝

CV: Yajima Noboru (やじま のぼる)

Doutei. Doutei. Yes, you are reading that right, fellow Japanese speaker. Those two kanjis there are read as "doutei," and yes, the pun is terrible and I laughed harder than I should have. For those who don't understand Japanese, "doutei" (written as 童貞) means "virgin", but this "doutei" is written as 童帝, meaning "Child Emperor"... because, you know, this dude is Peter Pan.
Har har har, this is where you're supposed to laugh (or cry, either reaction is acceptable). To make matters worse this guy's nickname is Cherry. Fucking Cherry. I am so done.
Cherry boy-chan Doutei, like his name indicates, is the ruler of the Land of Peter Pan, and despite his appearance he's actually nothing but a child. His domain is full of fun things... but unfortunately the children living there aren't so happy. Doutei has forbidden all gestures of affection: holding hands and kissing is forbidden, and you will be put on death row if caught having sex.
Doutei's route was the one I was least looking forward to playing because I was sure the bad ending would end with paedophilia, and that is the one sin I will not forgive, not even in fiction. Luckily for me and every other soul on this planet, despite the many very unsettling scenes it stuffed into the bad endings, this game decided not to cross that line, and for that I am grateful.
Doutei's route ended up not being the disaster I expected it to be, and the plot twist they threw in midway was actually quite surprising. I wouldn't call it ground-breaking, but it was nice to see the game throw in something unusual. It also felt refreshing in comparison to the other two routes in that there's no bad guy you need to defeat - it really is solely about Doutei overcoming his issues. Overall the route was pretty cute and charming.
My only problem with Doutei's route was his attitude towards the glasses. He preaches about them not being a good item, but next thing you know he's trying to abuse their power too. Eventually this leads to a really... unpleasant H scene that makes its way into the good route. His actions didn't add up, which was pretty disappointing, seeing as both Cidre and Peach had been a whole lot more resolute in regards to this matter.
.... Also, don't touch the bad ending. Don't. fucking. touch it.


The Voice Acting

Pretty standard an average. I found Peach's voice really annoying, but that might be just because of his character. I also thought Akashi Yuki did a really good job voicing Karen, because her glasses mode voice was distinctly different from her usual voice (though I did find her normal mode voice incredibly irritating at times). Props to Yajima Noboru too, because he did a really sexy job in the H scenes (hue hue hue).


The H scenes


The sex scenes in this game range from

to

I simply cannot stress how unpleasant the bad ending R-18 scenes are. It's just one big WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK plastered across your screen. They were distasteful and horrible, I winced through them all. Fortunately you can avoid them by not actually touching the bad endings, but it doesn't change the fact that someone actually sat down and thought this was a good idea.
Needless to say, the men have no nipples in this game either (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ (why do I even bother?)
But hey, Doutei's and Cidre's good route final H scenes were really sweet and I enjoyed reading through them a lot, so I'll cut this game some slack and go ahead and say that even if the rest of the game really sucked that alone was worth my time. My only real complaint, other than how disturbing most of the scenes were, is that there weren't enough visible bananas. Like, what makes you think I don't want erect cucumbers all over my screen? Hm? ( ≧Д≦)

The Artwork

Despite the artwork initially being the reason why I wanted to avoid this game, I actually liked it way more than I expected. Everything was proportionally correct and other than the R-18 scenes themselves being disturbing, the CGs were very beautifully drawn. That said the flat cell shading still reminded me a lot of PC eroges, but hey, recently most R-18 I've been playing have had that feel to them...
My only complaint would be that Karen's sprite doesn't change clothes at all throughout the entire game, but I'm not sure I should be blaming the artwork for that.


The Music

I've gotta say that for everything bad this game has, the BGM was actually pretty decent. I grew tired of the rock music that kept playing every time Karen put on the magic glasses, but I enjoyed most everything else. I even enjoyed listening to some of the softer pieces individually. The main theme, "mystical whispers", was creepy and in a way that fit the setting very well, and thought I do think the game might've overused it a tad too much, I still enjoyed listening to it at the end of the day.


System & Gameplay

Goooooooddddddddddd if only I'd finished Zettai Kaikyuu Gakuen before Mahsou Megane!!!
I think most people who follow me on tumblr and who read the posts on my blog know that Gakuen is the other otoge I'm currently playing, but it's so long that I'm taking regular breaks from it. The reason why I wish I'd finished it before Mashou Megane is because the system and interface is exactly the same for both games. Like, it's literally copy pasted. It's even got the easy mode button on the title screen that tells you what options you should chose to get each character.
This button is a blessing for idiots like me ╭( ・ㅂ・)و ̑̑

I poked around a bit and it seems the screenplay for both games was done by Yonesuke Kyan, so I'm assuming this is why the systems are exactly the same? I mean, don't get me wrong, both systems were very easy to use, very clean and sophisticated, but lol, clearly no effort was even made to change anything...

So... good job, bro/sis (?), for developing an efficient interface, but how about you actually try and improve it instead of copy-pasting it next time?


Conclusions

... Must I really? (yes, yes you must).
I'm surprisingly a bit torn with this game. The bad endings are terrible — they are distasteful and crazy over the top violent, but lunacy was supposed to be part of the setting from the get go, and that makes think this game isn't so terrible. The good routes are sweet and I enjoyed Cidre's route way more than what I think is acceptable (hue hue hue). The happy endings are satisfactory and will all leave you with a smile. You won't be missing out on anything if you don't pick this one up, but if you do (for whatever reason) I say you steel yourself for the bad endings and just... CTRL your way through them. Just....... don't try and read them. Like........ no. In fact, skip them, they're unnecessary and can't be unseen. You'll never be the same again. Go to bed and dream about Cidre instead.

The Good:

  • Short, just the right length.
  • Protagonist with a voice.
  • Protagonist's default name gets called!! (YES)
  • Fairy tales with a dark twist.
  • Cidre's good route
  • Cidre's good route
  • CIDRE'S GOOD ROUTEEEEEEEEEEE

The Bad

  • There are some veeeery kinky sex scenes that might not sit well with those who enjoy R18 content as just an extra in otoges.
  • The bad endings include VERY violent and disturbing R-18 scenes that you're definitely going to want to skip...
  • The motives behind the "big baddie" of the game never get explained.
  • ...Pretty silly setting.

FINAL VERDICT!

Well, maybe if you’re drunk? 

How about you only play Cidre's route and forget about the rest of the game, hm?


I'll save the disturbing bad endings for my spoiler talk...

Posted on: 20/08/2016



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3 comments:

  1. *when i read the title and looked back at the picture posted*
    me: ...... 0k
    LMAO before i read the review, i was looking for the glasses HAHA XD
    i'm very curious about the PAINFULLY HORRIBLE endings. PLS DO TELL. I CANT WAIT FOR THE SPOILER TALK <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hear that dev & artist of this game is eroge dev/artist. That's why you feel the art like eroge and the writing different from the others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, that definitely makes a lot of sense.

      Delete

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