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Size: 13.5 Mb

Price: $0.99

Version 1.0.2

My first foray into an iDevice visual novel was with MoeCureNet, also published in the Japanese iTunes store as OnenaiSS. The app is a surprisingly fun little game that is worth much more than a dollar. The game opens up with the main character attending his first day of 11th grade at Izu Island High. Since he had attended the same school for 10th grade, character introductions are quick and to the point, even if they come from a slightly annoying source; the main character you name is a stand-up guy, but he is rather obnoxious from time to time, especially during the beginning. Although many female characters are present (the main character’s two male friends have no drawn portrait to identify them by), the only ones that can be pursued in a route are: Ren (popular school idol who’s good at everything), Rina (rich tsundere), Honoka (hot teacher who looks very similar to Onegai Teacher’s Mizuho), and Yuna (dorky childhood best friend).

A variety of decisions are spread out across the game that will lead you to a variety of routes, not necessarily always ending in a romantic relationship. If keeping track of what “scenes” (drawn portraits of the characters that occupy almost the entire screen and represent what is currently going on in the story) you have and have not seen is too much of a hassle, the main menu offers the “Album” option, which conveniently lets you identify which scenes you have and have not seen, as well as revisit any scene you have already encountered. The Album is especially important as not only does it show your progress, but it lets you see if you might have missed any scene even if you have completed a route (happened to me with one of Rina’s earlier scenes). Thankfully, the game offers a handy Skip button that automatically skips all dialogue you have seen, freezes when you have to make a decision, and keeps skipping until you reach text that you have not encountered before; really handy for those who want to go for a specific route or reach a specific scene.

I have not completed all the routes, but definitely enjoyed those that I have. The presentation is a mixed bag, however. The character portraits only change expressions and move from one side of the screen to the next in a very non-fluid manner. The text is a good translation effort, but hints of engrish are very evident in the Album, where all the different scenes are given a name. The sound of the game is, on the other hand, fantastic! There are only a few background tunes, but they work wonders; the voice acting, available for all the female characters through wi-fi (to prevent bloated file sizes) is superb and contains the talents of Ayako Kawasumi, Ai Shimizu, and Saki Fujita, among others.

It’s not the best visual novel out there, and the average story is bogged down by clichés, but MoeCureNet is a solid iDevice game that can be played quickly and for only $0.99!