Review by Greenlitlleman
One of the best turn-based strategies I played. It delivered that I expected from Fire Emblem, but didn't get.
If you never heard about this game, it is probably because this never was properly released on the west. Moreover, it is an 18+ game with sexual content and until recently it wasn't something that would appear on the western market (of course, now even Steam has games with sex). Thankfully, Kamidori has a fan-translation of remarkable quality and you can get it for free if you know how to use google.
What to expect from this game? Simply put, it is a hybrid of a visual novel and a strategy game with gameplay similar to Tactics Ogre, FFT, Super Robot Taisen, and Fire Emblem. Except - you have much more customization (you can completely customize four main characters with unique costume system, choose out of tens skills for each of them, choose your party out of more than ten members with unique abilities) than in any of those popular games (let's ignore a bunch of classes that are almost the same except the stats), you have many cute girls (and you can bang them btw) to control, you have a well-developed alchemy system (not that trash from Tactics Ogre) with some resource gathering elements like in Stardust Valley. Just gameplay alone would be enough for the game to beat all those titles I mentioned if it was a console game released by a large developer, instead of a visual novel for PC with h-scenes (a rather niche genre).
Even if it is partly a visual novel, there a lot of more gameplay than reading in Kamidori. Moreover, the game has more replay value than any other game in the genre - first of all, it is just impossible to get all content in one run, the game is designed for you to enjoy NG+ - you will get more characters to control, you will have a completely new story (the game have three "heroine routes" that are vastly different) and new maps/enemies, all your progress from a previous run wouldn't be lost, in fact starting NG+ is a minimum requirement to get access to all of the post-game content. When starting NG+ you can choose to either scale lower level enemies to your own level (in this way you can enjoy story-battles in a new route), or not (then you can rush for the post-game content and just read the plot). From my estimations, to complete the game 100% it would take at least 150 hours in total so there A LOT of things to do.
The plot itself is decent enough in two routes (mage loli and warrior girl) and too generic in another (elf archer). And by "decent enough" I mean by visual novel standards, not by RPG standards. By RPG-standards it is better than any FF game other than 7 and than any story in other turn-based strategies (at least ones I've played before). There is multi-arching plot, there is character development, there is proper romance, there are plot twists, etc. Even if it was just a visual novel without any gameplay it still would be enjoyable enough to be worth your time.
Sound - well, the game voiced by professional seiyuu actors, some of whom also voiced popular anime characters. There a lot of good musical compositions as well, especially Opening.
Visuals - great art design, both in the visual novel and gameplay department. There is no bunch of ugly pixels or any unsightly 3D.
Conclusion: If you enjoy turn-based strategies as a genre then it is a must-play game for you. Even if you are someone who is too childish or prudish to accept sex in your games, there is always a skip button as in any visual novel. Hell, you don't even need to read the plot if you aren't someone who enjoys a lot of reading. If you liked Fire Emblem but thought that it lacked skills and customization then it is something you will enjoy a lot. If you want to have a party full of cute girls in your games, then it would be probably you favorite game ever. If you want to fap...well, I guess it would be a decent choice as well, though in this case, you would need to get a full save first, after all, there is at most 2 hours of sex in the 150+ hours long game.
Product Release: Kamidori Alchemy Master (JP, 04/22/11)
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