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Too much time on Russian imageboards, a lot of imported otaku media, dread about the future both personal and national, a nostalgia for the Soviet past while recognising how bad it was: from all this came a visual novel, with a cast of memes, aping the Japanese mould, including many things I consider flaws.
The one word that applies best is "inconsistent". Backgrounds and music are masterpieces, while the CGs are rush-jobs. Intended as a horror-mystery, it ended up mostly as Iyashikei romantic comedy; this results in scattered dark elements that feel intrusive while being too few to create an atmosphere.
There is little I can praise in the story. The plot rambles about with no direction or momentum. The comedy made me groan more than laugh. The mystery's resolution is full of holes. It is too implausible and light on facts and to work as historical fiction. The prose, in the English translation, is bland. I was never comfortable with the premise, which amounts to an adult romancing teenagers, or the gratuitous panty shots.
And yet, I was able to read through it much faster than the far more sophisticated Katawa Shoujo. Partly it's the pacing, it has none of KS's long slogs with nothing happening. Partly it's the art and sound giving it far more atmosphere than the story deserves. And finally the characters had just enough depth (except for Slavya, who never grows past being a dream girlfriend) to make it something more than the wish-fulfilment it so obviously is. And I will say that I much prefer Alisa over the Japanese type of tsundere. Then there is the Miku route: while using well-worn tropes, it has the focused plot that the main game badly lacks and shows something of its potential. And being freeware did blunt my criticisms somewhat.
So if you can swallow the (occasional, but inescapable) skeeviness, it may be worth a few hours' read. I advise playing it once blind, then finding a guide and heading straight for the Miku route. There is a fan rewrite project going on somewhere, so it may one day be actually good. Until then it is passable.
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