A Delightful Surprise
Figures of Happiness is just one little twist after another. In fact, I couldn’t believe that this is a G-Collections game, not to mention a V-Mate activated* one at that. I had already mentally prepared myself to another round of absolute inanity when I realized that I staring at the computer screen with complete involvement.
Story and Characters
Well, for starters, the plot is unique in itself. You play a young man who suddenly gets into a series of unfortunate events, starting from the breakup of your wonderful relationship to the accidental death of one of your friends. The clincher is that the girl that you thought was your friend sort of tricks you into exchanging places with her and you set off into a new supernatural adventure.
One thing amusing with the protagonist Ryo is that he is somewhat naïve. He’s got a lot of heart and this made me love him from the first moment. It’s because of his innate niceness that I got attached to Mio, his girlfriend. While there were many touching endings—as well as hilarious, bizarre, or even twisted—to this game, I still find Mio’s the best. I suppose the developers intended for Ryo to fall in love with the dead girl Minamo, but I suspect this makes his character flighty. Negative possibilities—of them both cheating on each other in the future—just pop into my head. This rings true for the other endings as well, although I must admit they were all well-written.
The girls are exceptional. Mio, in my mind, is Ryo’s dream girl. On the outside, she is the epitome of perfection—a leader, a responsible student, and a straight-laced older sister. On the inside, she’s just an ordinary girl who usually has her klutzy moments. Minamo is the overeager waitress, who just happens to have every insecure girl’s affliction: how do I tell that special someone how much he means to me? And then there’s your wacky but wise Miss Death, also known as The Soul Collector. For someone who’s in the apocalyptic business, she certainly exudes warmth and charm. Other notable characters are Mao, Mio’s twin sister; Narumi, the psychic; Kokoro, the effervescent rival of Minamo; and Izumi, the roaming out-of-body-experience enthusiast. The supporting male characters, loyal Wataru and enigmatic Satoru, also left quite a collective impact, so much that I wish this game had given them the chance to hook up with some of the more interesting women. Giving us female gamers more naked male eye candy to look forward to certainly wouldn’t hurt. Heh.
Ryo’s story threw me in for a few loops. There was even one point wherein I thought I bungled up my path and I was already screaming, “Nooo!” in pure unadulterated horror. I definitely know that I underwent several degrees of every emotion you can name while playing this one. I immensely enjoyed Ryo’s adventures, meeting up with different people and trying to solve so many cases while he deals with his own. Even though I wanted to bitchslap Minamo, for her bratty attitude, throughout the game, I still ended up laughing at her antics. Figures of Happiness is truly an experience that you can take pleasure in even if you remove the h-scenes.
At first I found the artwork too simplistic, and the girls’ heads reminded me of hazel nuts. I positively adored the coloring, however. (I think I began appreciating these aspects ever since I worked as a digital ink and painter in an animation studio.) The colors are vibrant, yet light enough to make the atmosphere effectively ethereal. I got used to the art halfway through the game, markedly with the appearance of Miss Death, whom I consider to be exceptionally stunning. Sometimes there’d be scenes where everyone would be in SD mode and I’d be amazed at how cute and genki everyone looks. You’re also treated to a short presentation, somewhat like a delayed intro, near the beginning of your spiritual adventure.
The voice actors were excellent. Satoru’s voice, in particular, is totally sexy. That seiyuu must be pretty talented, considering he also played Wataru. All of these, of course, are accompanied by hauntingly beautiful background music.
Gameplay and Other Features
The system is straightforward. You have the usual hands-free mode (or Auto), skip text mode, and conversation logs. You can adjust the settings via the Options menu. The Extras menu contains background music, CGs, and album galleries. The Album is a collection of your most memorable scenes with the girls of Figures of Happiness.
The game itself is easy. I managed to collect all of Mio’s three albums on the first try, even though I thought I had fumbled in the middle of her path. You’ll encounter a few tricky choices, mostly in Izumi’s and Kokoro’s routes but these just add a bit of spice and challenge to your game.
The good news here is that you can now deactivate Virtual Mate, or V-Mate, by going to http://support.g-collections.com and entering your game's product key, which is written at the back of your V-Mate blue booklet. Once you've gotten the patch to remove V-Mate, you can enjoy the game to its fullest. Meaning, if you were suddenly struck by sudden floods that cause your internet connection to go down, which often happens to me, you can still continue playing the game.
I mentioned earlier that Figures of Happiness can actually survive without the sex. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any ecchi flavor to it. The hentai scenes are explicit, but they’re very sweet and tender. Every sexual moment you encounter with any girl of your choice is special and magical. This is the type of game where you’d want to use the words “make love” instead of “fuck.”
If it isn’t obvious yet, Figures of Happiness broke all sorts of stereotype I’ve listed in my book. It’s not linear, but it doesn’t have that get-all-the-girls obligatory feel. It’s not perversely naughty, but it’s not boring. It’s long, but it’s not an insomnia buster. Best of all, it has everything good I have said for previous favorite bishoujo games. Kudos to AngelSmile and G-Collections for coming up with this one!
A hauntingly beautiful story; more than just another H-game.
And so the wheels of fate turn, winding the destinies of everyone together: Minamo and her reluctant helper Ryo; the pure Mio and her carefree twin sister Mao; the competitive Kokoro, who won't give up Satoru without a fight; the lonely spirit Izumi; and the perplexing Soul Collector. What twists and turns await this cast of characters before the final act is played? The longest and most complex game ever released by G-Collections — dont miss it!
What more can I say? This game is the single most magnificent work of art, in my opinion. The elegant and haunting soundtrack urges you on to explore this beautiful tale of love, life, death and accomplishment, from start to end.
The style of art is nicely matched up with the theme of the game. No striking colors, nothing to poke into your eye. Just a mild tone to go with the gentle and very touching story that unfolds slowly, piece by piece.
The story is simply too great for words. You play Ryo in this game, happily in love with Mio, the class president. The love between you two is pure, untainted and innocent. You two always meet after school at the Blue Cosmos. There you’ll meet a waitress, Minamo, who just admires the real and natural love between you two. But little did anyone know, when the day tragedy strikes, Minamo and you will be going on an epic adventure beyond all boundaries… Beyond life and death.
The characters are all designed with outstanding qualities. You’ll get emotionally attached to them deeply, seeing your beloved by your motionless body, weeping and sobbing. You can see her every single movement, hear her every single word, yet you can’t do a thing, and you can’t say a word. You can’t comfort her, you can’t thank her. Just look at her crying, and you can’t do a thing. The story had me in tears many, many times. You’ll loath Minamo at first, but in the end… You start to feel for her. The emotional bond you’ll experience with the characters is simply something that must be felt to be appreciated.
The soundtrack is truly amazing. The sorrowful but elegant melodies that chime in your ears as you feel for your beloved, makes the experience all the greater. It is one of a kind, and you can feel your emotions drifting with every single note. Looking back on the events in your album, while those touching tunes dance in your ears, is something unlike anything before.
Gameplay is relatively smooth without any huge glitches or problems. The only little annoyance is that you can’t exactly tell how many endings you’ve achieved, but that is easily remedied by the large amount of saving space.
The hentai content is something else worth a mention. While the art in those scenes are magnificent as well, nothing seems out of place. It doesn’t feel like “Oh, another hentai scene.” Those scenes fall perfectly in place with the story; it almost feels like you’re no longer playing “just another H-game”. I’d still love this game to pieces even if there wasn’t the ecchi stuff; the story alone holds its grounds in my heart as the best game that ever existed.
This entire experience will make you think. Think about all those around you, and all those you love and care for. I, for one, can personally relate to Minamo in a lot of ways. After all, the true feeling of love can only be felt after the bitterness of losing it. But how many times could a lost love be fulfilled again? The only time when we are truly going to confess our feelings… Is often just too late.
“I wish I could have told him sooner…”
Do not let the title screen fool you. This is more than just another H-game.