Independent developer TsukiWare is new to the adult scene and their first title, Critical Hit, shows that they still have a lot to learn and improve upon.
When I started playing Critical Hit, I may have had the wrong mindset: maybe I was feeling too serious and expected a game that suited my mood. Critical Hit is, however, selling itself as a comedic, light-hearted adventure, but was only thinking itself to be smart and witty with its writing.
The game starts with a character called the “Game Master”, an unseen entity who supposedly orchestrates the adventure. The Game Master introduces you as the main character, Akira Tourell. A spirit named Akira’s Spirit also introduces himself, stating that he is an “older version” of Akira and can take his body over at times. While I was left in confusion as to what kind of strange plot this is, the Game Master decides to dump more exposition at you during the whole first chapter of the game. The Spirit tells of past adventures where the Game Master purposefully gets Akira to be in sexual situations for his own perverted needs. During these occasions, you would think the philosophy of “show-don’t-tell” would be applicable here.
After all that strange exposition, you are finally given your quest and the plot of Critical Hit. Akira lives in a village that is never shown, where he lives as a girly boy and plays with his girly dolls. This village is constantly being attacked by goblins and other monsters that plunder the place. Princess Pony, his favorite doll, has been taken by the monsters and you have to gear up and fetch her back from the cave where the monsters reside. When you finally finish the exposition chapter, you start in the item shop where you get your equipment for the adventure. The shopkeeper is deaf for some reason, but you just so happen to know sign language. What are the chances? Maybe that’s the joke, but I didn’t laugh so much as I crinkled my brow into a frown.
Critical Hit tries to be a comedy and didn’t do a very good job entertaining me in that sense. Granted, I am a simple mind who did laugh at the skeleton named Bob and his boner, the likes of whom you will find later in the cave. The way it the dialogue written, however, is very immature, with very simple, dick joke-centric humor, innuendo and cringeworthy puns. The breaking of the fourth wall immediately at the start also rubbed me in the wrong way. To me, that’s not clever or funny, but just lazy.
The strange concept of being in multiple adventures with Akira and the Spirit orchestrated by the Game Master did nothing but confuse me; things happened just because it was so. The Game Master is the plot device, which, to me, is a far too easy way to fill in any plot and seems lackluster. The way the whole concept was worked out makes me think the writer didn’t know how to make it into a coherent story, comedy or not. Characters merely state things which are nothing but filler for very bad jokes and puns.
The one thing you’ll immediately notice is that Critical Hit’s art is quite lacking, looking quite cheap and like something that could be made by your neighbor’s dog. While the sprite of Akira himself looks cute enough, it isn’t done justice in the sex scenes. The quality of Akira’s sprite is also not transferred to the other character sprites; the goblins and the skeleton look okay, but really simple. The shopkeeper’s design is so uninteresting, I completely forgot what she looks like while I was writing this. The backdrops are also severely lacking and look very budgeted in nature, being very dull and simple with scant details.
As mentioned before, the sex scenes themselves also leave a lot to be desired. With just three of them in total, you would hope they would at least be sexy. They could have benefited from Akira’s cute looks a lot more if the scenes were drawn with cleaner strokes and more attention to detail. If the sex scenes were a little more zoomed out so a fuller picture was shown and more emphasis was placed on the penetration of the ass, it would’ve been much better. Other ways they could’ve been improved would be if the position of Akira himself was different or his clothes were ripped, but those are mostly just personal preferences. It left me a bit disappointed when the best-looking part of the game was the UI.
Also noteworthy is that Critical Hit is one of the VNs that runs in the modern standard resolution of 1080p, likely because it is a Unity game; however, because it is a Unity game and not a standard Ren’Py visual novel, it comes with a few problems that usually happen when one tries to reinvent the wheel. Some standard features generally expected of visual novels are missing here, like the option to hide the UI so you can see the full sprites and backdrops. Additionally, the log also does not seem to keep track of anything more than its current chapter. You cannot save, but the shortness of the title and the chapter select option in the main menu remedies that for the most part.
Other small bugs and glitches also caught my attention while playing: the log sometimes shows messages of what has yet to be said, the character highlighting to show who is talking sometimes does not work properly and, at one point, a text box meant for one character strangely jumped to a different character and back again. In short, using a different engine can be okay, just make sure that the standard features that are usually expected in visuals novels are present.
As for the sound, there’s not much to say about it. I can count the amount of sound effects on one hand. They’re very prominent, though you can’t help but wonder why aren’t there any during the sex scenes. The music is also barely worth speaking of, with only a few tracks that are okay for filler, albeit very repetitive after a while.
Thankfully, the repetitive soundtrack doesn’t last long, as the game is very short. The story clocks in about two hours maximum, which might not reflect the price very well, especially combined with the overall quality of Critical Hit. Many opportunities to show some good porn were missed, which could also have been funny. The character art was not used to its full potential and was ultimately disappointing. Again, maybe I went into this with the wrong mindset, but I’m not a hard guy to get to laugh. This type of comedy seems to be more suited for teens because it feels like the game was written by a 12-year-old. With all these missed opportunities, I hope that TsukiWare is going to learn from this experience and make some great titles in the future. As for a Critical Hit, for me it was not.
You can get Critical Hit from the Nutaku store for $9.00 or 900 Nutaku Gold. It is fully uncensored and, as stated, merely two hours long. If you are more easily entertained by bad puns than I am, you might get some more enjoyment out of it.