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Genre: Adventure, Casual, Simulation
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger
In January of this year, I reviewed LoveKami -Divinity Stage- and, while I felt it was one of the better novels up to that point, as it was a music-themed slice-of-life visual novel, there is always room for improvement. Thus, when its sequel was announced, I was ready to dive back into the world LoveKami had to offer but what I found was a different story altogether: LoveKami -Useless Goddess-. LoveKami -Useless Goddess- is a music-themed slice-of-life visual novel developed and released by MoeNovel, that, while it keeps some of the same charms of the original, also gains a whole slew of issues due to its similarities.
Like a random blackout, the story of LoveKami -Useless Goddess- attempts to keep the focus on the goddess characters like before but does so in a way that makes you not care as much. We, the reader, follow Sho, as we are told about the goddesses and their descent down to Earth but then divulge into aragami, a type of goddess who is essentially bad and causes more trouble than good. We are then introduced to Akane, a goddess who is wandering the streets and collapses from hunger. After a quick bite and some exposition later, we are brought to the living area of Sho, who (not soon after) introduces us to the home’s owner and landlord, Maika, and an earth goddess named Inori, tasked with rehabilitating Akane. After some more exposition, we are told that Akane is the goddess of the house they live in and if she does not become a goddess within two months, the house will be less protected and will, likely, age and fall, prompting Sho to engage in a plan to help Akane become a true goddess. I will end the synopsis here, but for how nicely written and different this story’s vibe is from LoveKami -Divinity Stage-, it does not have the same energy or initial flare given to it.
As I stated before, the story for LoveKami -Useless Goddess- is one I enjoyed but, at the same time, felt it was lacking in some key elements that made LoveKami -Divinity Stage- so memorable. The first big element I found missing was the identity of the goddess characters themselves. In Divinity Stage, I found the characters to be a nice pace breaker, as the first portion of the novel served to help the girls grow and become better people while improving their likability with the crowd, but here, it felt like the goddess characters come from left field and do not truly gain any identity until later in the story. My second big gripe with this novel is how they explain a major story element: the blackouts. These blackouts, during the start of the story and even some later, are all caused by Akane getting angry, frustrated, upset or anything else that would spike her mood. While, from a story perspective, I want to say it was creative and inventive (which is not a lie), it just feels cheap, as Akane is very aggressive and I expected half the scenes she was in to have some form of blackout to it.
With the focus on point, the presentation of LoveKami -Useless Goddess- stays true to that of -Divinity Stage- with the anime-inspired music and visuals. Visually, LoveKami -Useless Goddess- definitely keeps the anime feel of the original, which is a good selling point for the novel as a key feature. The background is as unique as the locales you visit in the small town inside Tokyo, from bustling markets to the many rooms of Akane’s house. These settings are one of my favorite features, as they breathe some life into the scenes the characters are in. The cut scenes are also well presented, something that -Divinity Stage- used to its advantage but what -Useless Goddess-, in my opinion, needed more of. Finally, the character designs are split once again between the full character shots and the chibi mini shots. Both designs are wonderful, the animations definitely feeling stiffer than before in the full character shots, but this is a minor issue, as I often felt the intensity of the scenes had more presence.
Time to bring out the headphones again, as the soundtrack provided in LoveKami -Useless Goddess- is still a welcome addition to the overall presentation although lacking in new pieces. Musically, I still feel the soundtrack holds up well overall even though the timing is more off than in -Divinity Stage- in terms of being present in the scenes. There is also a lack of new songs to add to the variety, so it can get stale quickly if you are going to play the four route runs of the characters. The sound effects do make their return but still more as set pieces, which was something I was hoping might become more in a sequel, so the hope still hangs tight.
Overall, I felt LoveKami -Useless Goddess- was a good addition to the lore of the LoveKami universe and a good read although some new issues do hinder the novel from topping its predecessor. The interesting story, good writing, beautiful backgrounds and cut scenes, return of a good soundtrack, and multiple routes to explore make this novel a welcome addition to the LoveKami universe.
- An interesting story being told
- Good writing all around
- All right character development
- The beautifully rendered backgrounds
- Well designed cut scenes
- Good and welcomed soundtrack
- Four routes to complete
- The lack of the goddess identity until later in the story
- A lack-luster explanation of a major story element
- Pacing issues across the board
- Lack of new soundtracks was missed
DarkLunarDude gives LoveKami -Useless Goddess- a Drastik Measure 7.0 out of 10.0 (70)
For the price of $12.99 on Steam, LoveKami -Useless Goddess- is a good novel for those into the LoveKami universe or those interested in musical-themed slice-of-life novels, just not as recommended this time.