Under 20: Just Deserts

Hi there, guys. Alkaeid here with my first post on the gaming blog, and as promised on my about write-up, I’m here with a game review! This series will aim to review games below $20 (which should be a decent budget for the average gamer). Maybe we’ll get the other writers to collab with down the line. Let’s start the very first one off with a dating sim: Just Deserts!

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About from Steam page: Just Deserts is a sci-fi action dating sim where you play as a soldier who must protect a city from mysterious alien attack, while at the same time need to capture the heart of your dream girl(s)!

Just Deserts is a Dating Sim/RPG hybrid game developed by Vifth Floor and published by Sekai Project.  It was released the 26th of July, 2016 on Steam, and goes for $9.99.  I actually first heard of it during one of my rare visits to the Steam Greenlight pages, and I eagerly waited for its release in the Steam store after it had been Greenlit!  Coming in with expectations of a good balance between fighting and dating sim-ing, I won’t say I was disappointed, but…

Gameplay

The gameplay is split between making girls fall in love with you and fighting creatures of unknown origins.  Performing either uses up an energy bar, which dictates the amount of activity you can do in one day, and passes time, where girls move to different places as the time of day changes.

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The dating sim portion of the game is very “rinse and repeat”-ish.  You aren’t really given much to work with.  Performing activities with them, giving them gifts, completing quests, and making them accompany you on patrols (fights) are about all the options you have.  A few problems I have with this, there isn’t much individuality with the girls, (i.e. a certain action is more well received by one girl compared to another) and there isn’t a whole lot of activities.  There is only a progress bar to see how much all of the girls like you, and I think that that’s bad game design.  Sure, the one line of dialog they say when they greet you changes, but I feel that there should be more impactful changes to the way they treat you whenever you reach past a certain part of the progress bar.

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The fighting portion of the game is actually pretty fun.  It’s akin to a classical RPG type of battle, where all the actions happen in one turn, and who hits first is decided by speed.  There are a couple of stats for your character, but it feels as if only health and speed actually matter.  You can choose any of the girls available at the time of day to accompany you in the fight, and you have to pay money (lol, the money) to make use of their services.  Each weapon has limited uses, but you can equip a different one midst fight.  Winning gives you different amounts of money, and losing means game over.

There isn’t a good amount of depth to it; it’s very straightforward and also does not require much thought, but I really think it’s very enjoyable.  The only problems I have is that it feels a little too slow, you have to click through every line of dialog, and there isn’t much variety with enemies.

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Money is the biggest object that is related to both the dating sim and the fights.  I feel like everything costs too much money, because you need so many fights to actually get a new weapon.  I believe this is so because there are only so many options, and that skews the progression curve a bit.  To put it in perspective, 1/4th the amount of money you make in one fight is needed to use the support of the girl accompanying you, so hooray.

Story

I don’t feel like divulging the story any more than what is available on the Steam page, but it comes off like a weak self-insert fanfiction because of the “unique” trait given to the protagonist wherein he is the only one unaffected by the alien’s attacks.  It is not too interesting, and seemingly its only service is to portray the military environment, which I admit is one of the things that captured me when checking the game out.

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Audiovisual

The art is pretty great in the game. The monotonous brown given off by the desert setting is outweighed by the bright vibrance from its characters.  The characters themselves are, not surprisingly, very contrast from each other so there is something to like in all of them.  One thing that really impressed me is the English voice acting.  Aside from one character (who I muted almost instantly upon hearing), the voice acting is quite nice.  There are some inconsistencies with the spoken voice and written text, so hopefully that gets patched out.

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There is not a lot of background music, and the fact that there is all but one background music for battle makes it a little too tiring after a while.  In fairness, it’s pretty catchy though.

Extra

Now I feel as if I’ve been a little too mean, writing this review.  This game is actually a product of Vifth Floor’s first kickstarter project, and for an indie team, I would have expected less.  Funnily enough, I actually recommend you trying the game, as the entire package is actually an enjoyable time sink for a few hours.  For just 10 dollars,  the game’s execution is amusing, albeit mediocre.  I hope more games of this nature come out for the English market, and more developers expound on this type of gameplay.


Anyway that wraps it up for my first ever game review!  I hope I was able to express myself well enough while writing a coherent piece.  Feedback is appreciated!

Thanks for reading!

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