February 05, 2012

Katawa Shoujo: The Review

Over five years ago, a particular bit of colorized doujin art from the year 2000 made its way to the 4chan image boards, where it made quite the splash.  So much of one that some denizens of that board decided to follow the original artist's intentions and turn the artwork into a ren'ai game.  Two years later, the group (now calling itself 4Leaf Studios, or "4LS") brought out a demo.  The demo, entitled "Act I", was a hit and brought quite a bit of attention to the game.  And then... three more years would pass before 4LS announced that the full game would be released before the end of 2011.  Shortly before that deadline, they moved the date to January 4th, 2012; five years to the day that a particular bit of colorized doujin art hit 4chan. 

Nobody on the staff of 4LS had ever made a game before.  The amount of work involved in such an endeavor is daunting, but they certainly pulled it off; they did release a game.  The question, though, is just how good is it?  To be truthful, it's hard to imagine it being any good at all considering the topic material.  Disabled high school students?  A dating sim about disabled high school students?  Controversial, to say the least.  When Act I came out, a common reaction was "...that game makes me ill, what's wrong with those people?"  So now that the full version has been released, what's the real verdict?


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