Released simultaneously in English and Japanese, Corona Blossom is a crowd-funded series from veteran visual novel studio Frontwing designed to compete with the highly successful Nekopara on the Steam platform. But is it up to the task?
Title: Corona Blossom Vol.1 Gift From the Galaxy
Playtime: 6 hours
Buy Corona Blossom Vol.1 Gift From the Galaxy here on Steam.
This game is recommended by the Visual Novel Fans curator list.
Corona Blossom is a very high quality game, from the translation to the art to the sound. The plot is super silly, involving a metal alien who presents herself as a cat-eared loli, space pirates, mechas, and more; if anything, it tries to throw a bit too much into the mix all at once. My favorite bits were the slice-of-life scenes as R-ne adjusts to her new life in rural Japan, and the local residents adjust to her in turn, and the old guys in the town in particular are hilarious.
However, the end result is a constantly shifting tone as the game tries to decide whether it wants to be an everyday drama, an ecchi comedy, or a sci-fi drama, before settling on all of them at once. Incidentally, I feel like this is a problem that a lot of Japanese VN have – they try to cater to all tastes at once, which ends up with them spreading themselves too thin to have any real meat in any one area.
The characters are all decent, although this is only the first of a three-part series, so we don’t get to know them that intimately just yet. The protagonist, Kei, is much better than the usual eroge fare and has at least a bit of a personality to him, although he’s still the all-around “good guy”. Shino is a typical motherly type of character and, while her character design is most to my tastes (pink hair!), unfortunately her saccharine-sweet personality was a bit much for me. Kumiko, on the other hand, is pretty cool. But my favourite has to be Ms. Kanade, with her pervy attitude and penchant for booze.
There was a big surprise for me in the form of our little loli alien. I came into this thinking I would be unbearably annoyed by R-ne, but by the end she had actually won me over. Her innocence is adorable without being grating, and we get to experience her grow and learn over the course of the episode right along with the rest of the cast.
During the 6 hour playtime we’re treated to plenty of CGs and SDs featuring nanaca mai’s lovely artwork, and the sprites make good use of the E-mote system, although sometimes the mouth movements are a bit off. The system is also very polished with plenty of options to mess around with. This is a professionally made game, and it really shows. I also have to give a shout-out to the excellent translation that manages to retain each characters’ personalities and unique speech styles in the English script.
This has turned out to be a rather short review as there’s nothing particularly mindblowing about Corona Blossom, but also nothing really bad about it either. It’s a solid and enjoyable visual novel, and I’m actually looking forward to the second volume. I’d recommend it to anyone just getting into visual novels, as well as long-time fans if you’re in the mood for something light but with some semblance of plot, however silly it may be.