KARAKARA2 – PC Review

Genre: Casual, Indie
Developer: calme
Publisher: Sekai Project
Release Date: Nov 11, 2017
Edited by KnightAvenger

The world of KARAKARA is one where just about anything can happen and does for the most part, mythical creatures included. Thus, when the sequel was announced for this series, my hopes were high that it would bring the same level of detail that the original did, adding to the small but, somewhat, random lore this world has to offer: KARAKARA2. KARAKARA2 is an anime-themed, slice-of-life visual novel that was developed by calme, later released by Sekai Project, that, while it kept the spirit and body of the previous novel, left some holes open for debate.

Kicking off where we last left the crew, KARAKARA2, as a story, holds up well in terms of theme and writing, gaining instead what could be a bad ending choice. We, the reader, once again follow Leon, the owner of a diner, as life continues with Lucia, alongside the newly added family member and resident vampire, Aisia. However, it seems some things have changed in Leon’s life when Cullen, the police officer from the first novel, brings with him letters of engagement request for young males, ones without additional animal features, which are sought after in the world. Marriage soon comes knocking on Leon’s door, though, as a young animal-eared women by the name of Rebecca stops by and hands him a letter, asking him to marry her. Leon declines, as he does not feel the time is right for such an action, but does agree to allow her to stay with him for a week as a form of trial for her to prove to him that she is the right one. I will end the synopsis here, as going further spoils a big reveal and adds a fourth character to the lineup. The story here, though, is just as good as the original but with a big flaw to follow it.

With KARAKARA2, my biggest complaints are bound to two, both of which I find pretty hard hitting. The first complaint is the length of the novel, once again coming up short. When I read the first KARAKARA, I found my main complaint to be the length of the novel stemming at about two to three hours, which I thought, with a follow-up, they might make longer. This isn’t the case here, as it clocks in at about a little under or just at two hours with my faster reading pace. While I don’t want them to unnecessarily pad the novel, I would have liked just a little more meat to the story, as they already cut out content for the Steam releases that require an 18+ patch bought separately. My other issue stems from the way the ending is presented, specifically the cliffhanger they use. While I did not find the cliffhanger that big of a game breaker overall, I will admit it left a sour taste in my mouth, as they are setting up for the third novel in potentially one of the worst ways you can do so. I won’t spoil that, as it is past chapter four, but it is a big questionable decision on the writer’s part.

Resuming our journey along the dusty and barren landscapes, KARAKARA2’s presentation is still top notch with the hand-drawn art style and that memorable soundtrack bringing the scenes to life. Visually, KARAKARA2 is still one of the most beautifully designed novels I have read, using this hand-drawn art style from start to finish that never loses detail as it goes and giving each scene its own sort of flair. The backgrounds are still one of the most visually memorable things in the novel, each having its own setting and place, with a few new locations added, such as the tower, the garden, and even a market-type zone. Following this are the characters’ sprites, which are still one of my favorite art pieces of the game, as they give each character excellently detailed animations, especially in the facial area, and do not limit this to the upper part of the body in most scenes.

Turn that music up once again as KARAKARA2 brings back the classical inspired and a beautifully crafted soundtrack that made the first novel so memorable to me. Musically, I cannot get enough of KARAKARA2’s sound design, as the soundtrack plays so well to the scenes it is in and is still one of the few soundtracks from any game or novel I will put on as background music when I am working on the computer. The piano and horn inspired pieces get paired with instruments like the guitar and even some violin with the new tracks added, adding to the scenes it is played with. Sound effect wise, the minimalist route is taken once again, but this is something I like here, as it does not try to upstage the soundtrack in this regard.

Overall, I found KARAKARA2 to be an excellent follow-up to the original KARAKARA in terms of the story, music, and overall design of the world with a few issues, such as the cliffhanger ending and short read time. The excellent storytelling and writing, memorable characters, beautifully presented hand-drawn art style, detailed background, and character designs, beautifully orchestrated soundtrack, and nice use of sound effects make for a novel worth a read at least once.

Pros:

  • Excellent storytelling and writing for the most part
  • New and memorable characters
  • Beautiful hand-drawn art style
  • The detailed backgrounds and characters
  • A beautifully orchestrated soundtrack

Cons:

  • Short read time around two to three hours
  • An unnecessary cliffhanger ending

DarkLunarDude gives KARAKARA2 a Drastik Measure 8.0 out of 10.0 (80)

For the price of $9.99 (USD) on Steam, I can recommend KARAKARA2 to slice-of-life novel readers as well as to general KARAKARA fans, as the new editions to the character roster are right in line with that of the original novel. There is an 18+ patch available through Denpasoft for those seeking the missing content at the price of $9.99 (USD) if that is your thing as well.