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HardMode: Does Katawa Shoujo Still Hold Up While Drunk?


What follows is a work of satire and may possibly be a good idea or a miserable trainwreck; regardless, let’s just roll with it, shall we?


Before we begin proper, allow me to introduce myself: I go by SKoW, or “Some Kind of Wizard”. I write for a living, visual novels in particular; the smuttier the better. It’s likely that I’ll be producing more legitimate (read: sober) reviews later, but I wanted to come out of the gate strong (read: shitfaced).

I’m writing this little intro while I get prepared, because that’s how being time efficient works.

Pictured: Preparation


I’m not just getting wrecked for no reason (Frankly, I don’t need one). I’ve written games under the influence (and gone back through afterwards once sober again) and I firmly believe the following:

A visual novel should at least be enjoyable and coherent enough to follow, even when drunk.

That said, alcohol rescues a lot of bad games. In the future, I’ll “Drunk Re-Review” some poorly reviewed games to see if they’re improved by being shitfaced. If you need a simple example; Dead Island is a really shitty game, but it’s the funniest game I’ve ever played while hammered.

Okay, I’ve typo’d a couple of times. That’s usually a good indication that I’m getting a little fuzzy, so we’re almost there. After all, this is a drunk review, not “SKoW is feeling good, so let’s review this”. Now that we can actually start, I will be judging the following things about the game as I go through:

  • PICTURES: All the shit we look at
  • SOUND: Whether it’s background music, voice acting, or the sounds of cute girls getting plowed.
  • STORY: Because we need this thing to feel better about ourselves while we get off.
  • WRITING: Because a good story can be spoiled by being a shitty writer.
  • LEWDNESS: As we all know; if it’s Lewd, it’s Gewd.

From the outset, this game’s music is lovely, so fucking lovely. It’s just pleasant and makes me feel nice and warm, and that’s not just the dark ale. I’ve got the game open in the background right now, and the idle main menu music is so sweet and soft.

I do have one immediate gripe, however.

ARE YOU KIDDING? THAT IS A TINY GAME WINDOW!


I set the game to fullscreen and it looked awfully stretched. It’s a pretty perfect resolution for tablets or phablets (Phone-Tablet, as the cool-kids would have it) so if you can get a crack for that, I recommend it.

Full disclosure: About… I’unno, some years ago I played this before and I remember feeling… feelings. I don’t remember shit about it though, so I’m gonna wing it for the route.

Oh shit; from the very start, we actually know what our main character looks like; I mean, almost immediately. That’s nice, since I personally hate being faceless. And with regards to the game’s sound designer? That heartbeat noise makes me feel uncomfortable. That’s solid, but also fuck you.

Geez, when your character is just observing the world and nobody’s talking to you, everything reads like poetry. I’m a big fan of it; brains often work like that; dissecting the world.

I’ma stop typing until we get into the bulk of the story. As starting impressions go, I feel good about this. Oh shit, I forgot that after you have the heart attack it goes to a really fancy animation with eerie music. Kind of reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, plus heartbeats. Weird combo. That’s more points in the categories of picture and sound, I guess.

They set up pretty early in the story about some little character features you can use later on; you like books, and think TV is stupid. (I commend that; writing a scene where you watch TV with someone is the equivalent of doing fuck all) (Sober SKoW: I spent like, a solid paragraph rambling about how they design your main character. This is the trimmed down version)

They really show off some really neat animation for the background while you read. Whoever they had doing that is really cool. The music keeps surprising me really. I won’t talk about it anymore since I’ve said all that needs to be said, but it’s super nice. It’s the kind of thing I would sit in an upstanding bar and sip whiskey to while talking with friends. (Sober SKoW: Or alone, don’t kid yourself)

Your character is super bitter about going to this disabled kid’s school. Someone should’ve told you the girls were cute as fuck.

They already offered me an option in conversation; introduce myself or don’t. I used to be so paranoid about seemingly inconsequential (holy shit I didn’t mistype that word) options screwing me.

Again, props to the person who handled the art and animation. It shows your class as a CG and scrolls through them to reveal the important characters. Not too fast, not too slow. Some neat polish right there.

OH SHIT. We finally meet some cute girls, turns out alcohol doesn’t un-cute them, A+. I want to give their writers handshakes, since the girls aren’t boring to talk to about non-smut things.

Bitch, stop having secret sign language conversations. I might follow this route just to learn the crafty things they’re talking about. (Sober SKoW: I don’t remember. I probably shouted this at the screen)

I will put this right the hell out there, and I stand just as guilty of this; lots of VNs are based in a school, or academy, or whatever. They deal with it well. Nice and brief, I don’t want to know if you struggled with maths or got called out by the teacher.

Hey look, a really chill Murse (male nurse). I usually hate doctors. He mentions a pool, I can’t remember; do we get swimsuit scenes? Damn I sure hope so. One sec, this bottle’s empty, I need another.

I’ve checked, we don’t, boo. -1 to pictures for no bikini sprites. Why am I not gauging lewdness? I went up and added it. LEWDNESS. There, much better. -1 to lewdness (Sober SKoW: … Sure)

I encountered some crazy guy. I can’t follow his shit with this much alcohol in me. Quirky soundtrack though, a good cue for “This guy is meant to be hard to understand and crazy”.

Phew, went to get more drink, that pilsner tastes like water but it’s kicking my arse. I’ve not written a thing in a little while. There’re some more cute interactions and good writing that I can still follow. But God, dieting sucks, I’ve not had beer in ages, this is killing me, and now all I want is pizza.

I don’t want to go with pink drill-hair and class rep route, these people get hard to follow.

I should avoid this student council like the plague. Wait, if I know that the council will probably lock me on their route, does that mean I’m still following the story well enough? Let’s count it; +1 writing!

Damnit deaf girl, how did you know I think board games are sexy? Can we just fuck over a table now? -1 lewdness. You fucking tease.

Run away!


Proud I remembered to grab an image this time. I won’t write more until my next potential route-girl comes up.

SO SOON?


That was like, six text boxes later. Let’s fall in love miss.

Hah! They put a blind joke in there. Into it. They drop in some very anime punchlines, but they don’t hit me right. I think the music’s too soothing for it. They have a sweet looking library though, I want in on that.

The quick transitions between locations are a little disconcerting.

I just met baconface. Drunk Skow doesn’t find her shyness very cute, maybe Sober Skow would. (Sober SKoW: Probably, I can’t remember yesterday anymore)

I can’t keep track of crazy Kenji’s shit, but he’s right, there are a disproportionate amount of cute girls… CONSPIRACY. The Kenji writer is a genius, but also fuck him, I can’t drunk this out.

Have you tried?


Oh snap, legless girl. My personal weakness is for the tomboys. I probably went for her when I first played this (Sober SKoW: I did. It was really fun, the artist does amazing puppy-dog eyes for her)

I met no-arms girl. She’s… I think she was hard to follow sober. It’s fucking IMPOSSIBLE when drunk. Where’d the lovely gently blonde girl go? I wonder if no-arms does kinky foot stuff…

Something has gone terribly wrong. Why would you betray me, beer?


Okay, this bottle’s empty. Going to fetch a new one and zoom ahead in the story. So far, still enjoying. Also took a shot, since I’m not shithammered enough. I forgot how long this game is. That’s a bonus point to the story, right? It’s interesting and long. I fully intend to get onto a route and feel feelings before I pass out.

…why did I take that shot, again? One of my clients just had me in for some character and sprite design and he figured out I was trashed immediately. Oh well, back to the game and skipping in time.

Blonde blind waifu and deaf girl are in a bitch-out fight. I lost track of what it’s about. They should just fuck and get the tension over with.

Obvious romantic tension. You know they’re gonna take each other down to brown town.


Okay, I forced myself not to type for a while. It’s getting harder to do, because alcohol, but this is turning into pages of writing. The long and short is that I’m still compelled to keep going. And being hungry and shitfaced isn’t stopping me from enjoying it.

I’m tempted to conclude this adventure, but I haven’t reached a “feelings part”. I sweetened up more to baconface, and I think I successfully dodged the deaf girl. (Sober SKoW: You’re a cunt, man)

Oh my god. This game is so fucking long you guys. It’s uh, okay, you know what? We’re going to conclude things. Let’s go back to our categories.

  • > PICTURES: The sprites are neat, though simple. And I love the fuck out of that animation. The CG work is bloody fantastic
  • > SOUND: If this could be the soundtrack to my life, I’m down with that shit.
  • > STORY: I can follow it, that means it must be good. The game is long but not boring.
  • > WRITING: Characters who’re meant to be hard to follow, are hard to follow. That said, the writing makes me laugh in places, and feel in places (Sober SKoW: After wrapping up this review, I kept on reading, and reached a point where I cried. Full on sobbed like a little bitch)
  • > LEWDNESS: There’s none. If you’re looking to get your saucy mince on, this game is not going to work your rod/slizz. Okay, I say none, there are sex scenes, but they’re limited and the language is pretty tame, and you have to work hard to reach them.

What would I say overall? Even shitfaced-fucking-hammered, I really enjoyed Katawa Shoujo. It is not a super lewd game though, even a little, and that’s the only reason I rank it 4 out of 5 hearts.

Oh, also: on their actual site, you can download art books, the soundtrack, and the game for free. So just, I’unno, fucking get it? It’s not a big loss on your time to do so. I consider it a standard of writing to which I must always set myself. (But with far more saucy boning)

So hungry now…


On that note, until next time! Stay playing, stay lewd, and stay not-sober!

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