Pretty Girl Makiro (PC) review
"Pretty Girl offers a different perspective than most other adult bishoujo games. Disposing of the idea of a male lead character surrounded by a bevy of beautiful girls, the developers of this game made the main character a female... and surrounded her with a bevy of beautiful girls. Yes, Pretty Girl provides the player with a large helping of girl-on-girl action. Unfortunately, that's the only attraction of the game. The thin script barely provides a story, much less any charac..."
Pretty Girl offers a different perspective than most other adult bishoujo games. Disposing of the idea of a male lead character surrounded by a bevy of beautiful girls, the developers of this game made the main character a female... and surrounded her with a bevy of beautiful girls. Yes, Pretty Girl provides the player with a large helping of girl-on-girl action. Unfortunately, that's the only attraction of the game. The thin script barely provides a story, much less any character development, while an atrocious translation sabotages any conveyance of the story that does exist. These aspects, plus frustratingly mindless gameplay, combine to render Pretty Girl little more than a quasi-interactive hentai slide show.
The game begins with a solid enough premise. The player controls Mariko Kouda, a transfer student to the St. Takarazuka School, and decides how she will make new friends. At the beginning of the game, one can make her join the student government, participate in the rhythmic gymnastics club, or simply free up her time for studying. Each activity will give her a different set of associates. For example, she might befriend the hard-edged student body president, blossom under the tutelage of the gymnastics coach, or simply waste the time away with a new classmate. Naturally, being a hentai game, this situation quickly escalates into illicit sexual activity.
Unfortunately, that's the extent of the story and character development. No significant conversations ever take place between Mariko and her lover, and the player isn't given any insight into Mariko's personal thoughts. Most surprisingly, Mariko's behavior remains static throughout the game; her daily routine barely changes even with hours of sex added into it. This total lack of emotional issues and conflicts only further accentuates Pretty Girl's role as a simple vehicle for sex.
As disappointing as the lack of palpable characters and story may be, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise; the horrific translation job done on this game would leave even the simplest of plots in shambles. For example, the beginning of the game opens with Mariko's introduction:
''My name is Mariko Kouda. Suddenly transfer due to my father's business. Suddenly I become to transfer school. I couldn't say good-by to my bosom friend. from tomorrow new semester. one year is very fast. Already became second student. Therefore its the first day new school.''
At least this typical example can be interpreted into meaningful information; some of the conversations with more complex language are completely unintelligible. The little text the games provides is virtually meaningless, which again just serves to focus the player's attention solely on the graphics of the game.
The gameplay adds little to the mental stimulation of the player. Most bishoujo games are commonly described as ''click-and-click'' games. This terminology just means that the games are menu-driven; the player controls the action of the main character by choosing different options and clicking through events. Pretty Girl, however, would have to be categorized as a ''click-click-click-click-click-click-click-and-click game.'' The player must literally choose an option for all of Mariko's actions, and the term ''choose'' is used loosely, as most of the time only one action is presented. Also, the choices are presented one immediately following another, so the player is left to move the game along by continuously clicking.
However, while your finger may be constantly active, your mind will wander due to the inanity and repetitiveness of the action. During each day, you'll face several strings of non-decisions like this : wait for the train, wait for the train, wait for the train, get on the train, get off the train, walk home, go inside, change clothes, etc. These are only symptoms of a larger problem, the days that seem almost identical. None of the choices you make about Mariko's sexual habits seem to affect her life at all, except to change her repertoire. One day bleeds into the next until you really don't care about what's happening. Dulling the player's senses even more is a ten-second loop of a bland, three-note tune. Instead of striving to guide Mariko to a happy ending, you'll be fighting to stay awake.
With no story and repulsive gamplay, the game must rely completely on its graphics for appeal. During normal gameplay, the face of the current focus of the action appears in a box. It changes with her current emotion, or, in other words, she blushes when she's horny. The girls in the game are cute, and this close-up is your only visual cue to a character's state of mind, so this graphic serves its purpose well. Another box shows a still of Mariko's current activity : sitting in class wearing her school uniform, practicing a sports activity, or having sex (of course). During sex another box appears, and it shows an animated closeup of the action. The artwork, though not incredibly detailed, is an accurate depiction of the female form. The sex scenes themselves might even get you a little hot. However, like every other aspect of the game, these scenes repeat so often they become boring. Mariko only has a few scenes with each other character, and with each path limiting her to only a couple of girls, the few sex scenes she has with each one are quickly exhausted. In the end, the graphics alone aren't enough to carry this game.
Pretty Girl fails to deliver on every level. Any excitement generated by the graphics is killed by repetitive, lifeless gameplay and a garbled script. Perhaps, however, you're still curious, and you'll venture out onto the net to find this game. Heed the warning of the words you've read here; you'll only be disappointed. As your pointer hovers over the link that will deliver the game immediately to your machine, remember this warning, and please don't click.
Community review by woodhouse (May 23, 2004)
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