KARAKARA (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 03.10.2016 4

Review for KARAKARA on PC

Visual novels are among the more divisive of game genres. While one does not dispute that shooters and so on are video games, the first often follow a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style in which the only interactions are a series of branching decisions. While this does not always hold true, with titles like Long Live the Queen being a prime example, KARAKARA flees in the exact opposite direction. This is just a story about a boy and his catgirl running a shop, with no interactions whatsoever… at least is it good as a story.

KARAKARA is, unquestionably, one of the more unique titles to be reviewed, since it is, a visual novel that is, quite literally… a visual novel. Focused on the story of one young man who runs a diner along with his catgirl co-worker/girlfriend Lucia, things seem calm and fairly nice for the pair. Sure, the restaurant isn't the best, but it's also far from the worse and they are good friends among other things. Life is peachy - until they discover a young girl on the roadside named Aisia.

Aisia is unique in that she is oddly gifted and capable of learning at very fast rates, but is also frequently hungry, outgoing, and willing to push the other two along on their relationship. Yet things don't perfectly add up about her and, to make it more interesting, rumours of a vampire going around have surfaced. To top it off their world is full of artefacts from a time before the modern era, which the people of this world are busy trying to figure out more about.

Screenshot for KARAKARA on PC

So far, this sounds like a decent set-up. While some things are fairly transparent nothing seems 'wrong,' right? Well… there is one problem, and it is far from a minor one. Namely that it is questionable if KARAKARA can even be considered a video game. Why? Because there is literally nothing about it that requires interaction of any form. If one were to hit 'autoplay' right at the beginning, they could, quite literally, sit back and watch the story unfold without even an iota of interaction. There are no multiple paths, there are no branching decisions, there are no multiple endings, there are no decisions or interactions of any form to be found.

As such, and even for a visual novel, it is questionable if KARAKARA qualifies as a game as opposed to, well, a novel with visual aspects. In other words, this is a kinetic visual novel, therefore, the only way to judge it is on terms of story and presentation. So, how good is the story? Is it decent? Worth checking out? Well, nothing about it feels bad or irritating, beyond how certain plot points feel like they could have been figured out swiftly resulting in a shorter story. Nothing is actually really all that wrong with the plot, it can be enjoyed, and while some moments feel a bit more… obligated than natural, nothing is really bad with it.

However, ultimately this suffers from the exact same problem as Sakura Swim Club in that it targeted a certain niche, and makes no attempt to deviate, become deeper, or even really try harder. It has a storyline that is… okay-ish, no need for the player to do anything but read through it, and that's about it.

Screenshot for KARAKARA on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

There's nothing in KARAKARA resembling actual 'gameplay,' therefore, there is not much that can really be done for those who aren't exactly interested in experiencing a kinetic visual novel. In conclusion, it all boils down to the story, which is… well, it's nothing special.

Developer

calme

Publisher

Sekai Project

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

As this game holds no gameplay I wouldn't call it a game.

Also, those seeking certain adult content will have to pay extra. Really ticks me off that Steam doesn't allow that sort of thing for whatever reason but them's the breaks. 

Edit: I want to add in that I would not call this game 'bad'. I've played far less enjoyable games of late that make this look quiet enjoyable. I just don't think I'd consider it a game.

( Edited 04.10.2016 04:41 by Snowtwo )

Snowtwo said:
As this game holds no gameplay I wouldn't call it a game.

Also, those seeking certain adult content will have to pay extra. Really ticks me off that Steam doesn't allow that sort of thing for whatever reason but them's the breaks. 

Edit: I want to add in that I would not call this game 'bad'. I've played far less enjoyable games of late that make this look quiet enjoyable. I just don't think I'd consider it a game.


I had the same issue while reviewing "Chiru Chiru Michiru". I feel like they can never achieve higher than a 6 as it's purely an illustrated E-book.

That said on their own merits they can be very good. I really enjoyed the bunker which is effectively a visual novel but with FMV XD

But if you didn't find it bad would a 4 not have felt more fair on it?

As for adult content on steam, I can see why they don't want to open that can of worms but it could be a setting within the store to enable or disable dependent on age and such. After all, I'd like the option when it comes to visual novels.
It has always confused me why they are so adamant about it. Does it mean if God of War was on PC they'd not be able to do it on steam because it has exposed breasts and a sex minigame? (obviously it shows far less than an Adult rated visual novel)

( Edited 04.10.2016 11:17 by Sandy Wilson )

But they still let games like Witcher 3 on Steam along with plenty of other M-rated titles. Ultimately nothing stops someone from buying Sakura Swim Club then getting the free patch and, honestly, I support the devs in that choice as I feel they should be able to release the game that they originally made.

And no, I don't feel a 4 would have been more fair. I ripped into Gone Home for having effectively 0 gameplay and being nothing more than a propaganda piece. While I find KARAKARA leagues above Gone Home in terms of story I don't feel it's fair at all, especially when Gone Home did have an iota of gameplay as opposed to KARAKARA. 

Fair enough XD I get a sneaking suspicion as time moves on Steam will relax it's rules.

( Edited 05.10.2016 23:05 by Sandy Wilson )

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