Little is what it initially seems in Critical Hit, TsukiWare’s inaugural eroge. Following completion of the half-gigabyte download and a potential layover on the novel’s option screen, players are introduced to Akira, the game’s protagonist. While the young adventurer’s pixie-cut, alluring eye lashes, and purported propensity for dolls might make you assume that Akira is female, he’s actually a male, placed into the body by an omniscient and scheming Game Master.
But the process of situating the character in his current skin (apparently the GM does this is a regular basis), he commits a slight statistic blunder, giving birth to Spirit Akira, an aged and taciturn entity that has the sex drive of a young rabbit. What follows is a one-hour adventure, where Akira seeks to recover his stolen Princess Pony, as he meets a procession of relentlessly amorous interlopers.
Early on, the script shows promise, as it pokes fun at role-playing tropes and habitually breaks the fourth wall. Certainly, the novel’s profanity-filled conversations are fun at first, especially if you’re accustomed to demurer visual novels. But woefully, Critical Hit doesn’t capitalize on its premise, attempting to find humor in a succession of lewd situations. Certainly, these scenes have the potential to induce laughs. After all, it’s not every game that you’re sodomized by a pair of fraternal goblins or encounter a skeleton with an aptitude for uh, boners. But in execution, Critical Hit all too often squanders its set-ups, with coital conversations that drone on rather that tickle the funny bone.
It’s a kinetic novel, so there are no player choices nor really any sense of urgency that drives Akira’s quest. Instead the narrative is a string of laxly linked interludes without much pay-off. Even the game’s trio of H-scenes seem strangely dull, without the kind of aural component that would have enlivened the lascivious encounters. If you’re accustomed to narration to help give insight into the character’s mindset you also might be disappointed, as Critical Hit lacks any kind of voice-over at all.
Without output that ranges from 720p and 1080p, Critical Hit has the capacity for visual fidelity, but’s its art style tends to undermine the elevated resolutions. While the novel only has several characters, the majority of them don’t exhibit much detail. Both Akira and a busty shopkeeper help buck that trend, but even their portrait art lacks a variety of facial expressions. Backdrops tends to drawn with broad brushstokes and constrained in number but are generally pleasant to look at. Critical Hit’s meager soundtrack might lack quantity, but on the upside the tracks range from the innocuous to pleasing.
Beyond the hour-long story, the title delivers a few supplemental. The game’s text log allows reader to reread conversational bits, but given the banality of banter, its inclusion is unneeded. One component that might be appreciated is the ability to save your game, but regrettably you’ll have to alt-tab the title to the background if you wish to take a reprieve. Expectedly, there’s a CG gallery to review the game’s bawdier moments, if you want to look at the smut without having to deal with the story.
Given Critical Hit’s abbreviated length, tedious conversations, and subordinate aesthetics, it’s a tough title to recommend. Although the read does contribute the occasional comic circumstance, the laughs (and other reactions) should be delivered at a brisker pace. Unless you’re a completionist who has to get through every trap/yaoi text around, you’ll probably want to pass on Critical Hit.
Release Date: August 19th, 2016
Price: $9.99 via Mangagamer