Visual Novel Theatre: Ristorante Amore

Hey there, hey there.  So, recently, your main man Aether played yet another visual novel marketed primarily towards girls who like all that touchy-feely romance stuff.  You know what that means!  Time for yet another Visual Novel Theatre.

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So, our offering up today is the freeware novel Ristorante Amore from developer duo Cyanide Tea.  As you might guess from the title, it’s a love story.  I mean, really, pretty much everything is a love story at its core, right?  James Bond is almost always about him saving their girls as much as him saving England, Final Fantasy X wrapped up its world-saving plot in a big ol’ fantasy love story, Dark Souls was at its heart a tale all about how much I love hating myself.  This one’s just a little more up front about it than most.  It’s also really up front about screwing with my screencap capabilities.  We’re going to have to see just how far I can get by shamelessly ripping things off the internet.

Jumping right into it, the most notable thing about Ristorante Amore is the big twist at the end of the first act.  Which, in all honesty, the concept behind the twist is pretty neat.  You start the novel, and right away, you’re going through an utterly standard, blatantly clichéd romance story, the type that’s in like everyone’s first romance VN ever.  You progress through the story pretty quickly, then get to the end of the complete arc, and BAM!  Everything you thought you knew was wrong, time for the real story.   Kind of impossible to get into the real story without talking about that twist.  So, I’ll give you one chance.  If you’re going to be interested in Ristorante Amore at all, if there’s even the slightest chance you’re going to want to play it after reading this and you care about spoilers, go ahead and download it now and spend about 15 minutes getting through the prologue, and come back so you can have your precious little fresh experience.

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Visual Novel Theatre-Fantasia: Realm of Thanos

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Fantasia: Realm of Thanos.  Here’s a visual novel that owns some really odd online real estate.  Most of the visual novel market, as least as far as I’ve seen, doesn’t pay much mind to it, but on certain segments, certain forums?  People are absolutely fanatical for it.  There’s something that draws people there.  What is it, exactly?  Is it that it really emphasizes its anime-style bad boys, and that’s just what all these people are into?  Is it that the main character’s situation, being a stranger in a world completely foreign to them, strongly resonates with today’s disaffected youth?  Does being pushed to enter the world of romance and finding all your options to be total jerks and losers feel so familiar to so many people?  In our special, exploratory edition of Visual Novel Theatre, I pack my best shorts, make myself a sandwich, and head deep into the bushes of Fantasia to find out.

In Fantasia: Realm of Thanos, you’re behind the wheel of Hammercles Von Chunkmeier, or whatever weak name you decided to give your main character instead, a 15 year old girl whose parents died in a plane crash and who apparently has literally no one else involved in her life at all.   So, you’re going through your hard knock life, doing whatever things it is that 15 year old girls do, when all of a sudden some random woman shows up, and tells you that there’s another world out there and it’s going to be destroyed unless you go out and get some loving from a guy whose life sucks as much as yours does.  Of course, you agree to that right away, because this wouldn’t be much of a story without it.  So off you’re whisked to the land of Fantasia, to go all big pimpin with four messed up mammajammas in the hopes that one of them will love you enough to produce a magic key that will save the land from the invading realm of Thanos somehow.  I don’t even know.  I think the author lost a little steam there.  Anyways, that’s the gist of it.  New world, gotta save it by getting some guy with a screwed up life to love you.

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Fantasia ROT is a homegrown effort by AzureXTwilight, and it’s obvious the author put a lot of thought into it.  Well, into certain parts of it at least.  There’s fifteen endings, plenty of branching paths, and a lot of character intertwining.  I do want to lead with this.  Whatever I may say about the rest of the visual novel, that’s something that always stands.  It feels like I’ve been given a little peek into an imaginary world that the author’s been spending a lot of time in, and that’s a really special thing.  It reminds me a lot of all my own imaginary worlds, stories, and people that just never made it out of my head.  That’s something that’s just so great out of all these amateur and indie releases we’re seeing now in the information age, that is lets people share these experiences that would normally be locked away, so valuable to one person yet invisible to all else, and that is truly on great display here.

That said, I didn’t like it.

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