Reviews: Koihime Musou

Its fatal mistake was trying to include a plot

I have little experience with Romance or harem type visual novels, so I wasn't expecting too much. I was pleasantly surprised by the artwork, particularly the variety of colours, backgrounds, and character costumes most of all. The artists did well in trying to immerse me in an ancient Chinese-esque world with distinctive looking heroines. The problem was that every other aspect of the game was flawed or half-hearted.

The three main heroines were bland and I could not bring myself to care about any of them. I also don't find lolis appealing from a romantic point of view, and their high-pitched voices occasionally give me headaches. This combination of factors narrowed my choices down to one and though I came to like Kan'u, I am not sure if that's genuine affection or Stockholm Syndrome. Fortunately, the supporting cast was much more diverse and interesting, and made up for the average leads.

The battle system did not provide much of a change of pace from the text of the story. I wasn't expecting Sengoku Rance at all but there was little to do beyond catch the pattern in how the AI chooses its formations and counter appropriately. I had hoped for something at least as engaging as the Princess Waltz card system.

Finally, I feel the developers felt pressured to include a plot. The alternate universes were only barely alluded to and in the end did not have much of a bearing on anything. I was also confused by the ending, where Saji and Ukitsu have been trying to dispose of Kazuto for the entire game, and yet he is somehow a necessary component of the big ritual they are performing at the end. Not much effort was made to explain them or the motivations of whatever organisation they belonged to. For me, a visual novel that doesn't even attempt to have a plot like The Sagara Family is better than one that does a half-hearted plot especially when it wasn't really needed.

Not much effort was put into integrating Ryofu into the plot despite the effort Kazuto went through to capture and recruit her. Of course, this is just a personal grievance as I liked her.

In spite of the negative tone of the review, I still enjoyed reading this highly flawed visual novel. The artwork is generally good and the characters are likable, and for the Harem genre, maybe that's all you need.