When I think of genres that would work well with visual novel style story telling platformer is probably one of the last that comes to mind. Even though I know there are exceptions I just don’t think story is a major factor in most platformers. Let’s not delay and get into the review!
So as I said this is basically a platformer that uses visual novel style story telling. My main issue is I’m not sure I can explain the story, I can give the basics of Tobari is the main character and the hall monitor of her school, the festival is about to happen and she sees her friend Hina not wearing her uniform but after questioning doesn’t think much of it, Hina ends up opening a seal on the moon (Tobari assumes as only the student council president has the key for some reason) and that’s what I got. I found the story kind of hard to follow as it felt like often the only story progress happened in boss levels and since I was terrible at the bosses, I forgot what was said before I entered for the 1st out of 20 times and don’t feel like reading the same thing over and over. I don’t recall seeing any grammatical errors so it’s good on that front.
Now the platforming bits. Basically you have you standard run and jump but Tobari also has a staff. When she has no magic this is basically a sword attack but if she whacks an enemy or boss that gives magic she’ll be able to steal it if she’s quick enough at grabbing the token that pops out (which really isn’t hard to get). This mechanic felt similar to Kirby as she essentially copies their abilities. There’s also shops you can buy certain magic with the coins you find around the levels or you can find magic just sitting around. You can have up to 2 abilities at a time with the ability to switch at any point. Unlike Kirby 64 you can’t combine them though. I really liked this mechanic, my favourite powers ended up being the ones that shot stuff out such as Ice and Fire. There are some levels designed with having a power in mind. My main issue though was unlike say Kirby these powers weren’t always restocked frequently and often at parts before you need them there’s easily avoidable pits and spikes that I assume are put there specifically to kill yourself if you screwed up. This is a huge issue for me and I quite liked the level design except when this happened. The game gets a lot harder as it goes on but the forcing you to kill yourself if you don’t have the correct power is poor level design in my opinion.
As I mentioned before I liked the level design when it wasn’t forcing you to have certain magic. I did find pacing a bit weird as some levels were super quick while others could have multiple “check-points” and they don’t feel too close to each other. One of the biggest examples I think comes from World 2 where you’re introduced to the Ball power you have this kind of pinball style level and I don’t think it lasted even a minute.
The end of each world had boss levels. I wish either the levels were shorter or non-existent as it makes me want to stop playing if there was a part I have trouble with, finally make it to the boss then get a game over and have to do the entire level over again. Most boss battles had shops right outside the door you could buy 1-ups at but I preferred buying the extra hits and getting magic so I ended up not having much money left for extra lives. The boss fights them selves were nothing special. The actual boss I don’t think ever does damage to you but their magic (which you can steal if you can time) does instead.
I liked most of the graphics. The character and enemy sprites were all nice and fluid and the magic all looked good too. There were some CG and all those looked nice. The backgrounds also looked pretty good, so what didn’t I like? The blocks used as platforms and floor. I’m not sure why but something about them looks off. They almost look like they were placeholder and forgotten to be replaced. The game ran at a solid 60 FPS with the only variations being drops to about 48 FPS when something big was happening (so very rare).
The game has some voices. Tobari grunts and cheers when using magic or being hit (and even says “Cheku Pointo” when you hit a check point). The shop keeper is also voiced but the visual novel sections are lacking in this department. The music is also pretty catchy. There’s nothing I’d buy a soundtrack for but I found myself humming a couple of the tracks on the bus to school.