I wasn’t going to buy this game – as I do more reviews I’m sure folks’ll pick up on this, but I’m kind of stuck in my ways when it comes to art design for a game. I really am hopelessly stuck up about how something’s presented. It bothers me to some extent, because I know what it is to grow through art and such, and I feel like an ass that I can’t see past that and give a game a try.
BAW had a huge mark against it – from what I’d seen of the art it was far too stylized, and not my cuppa.
Boy. Gurl. — Whatever – look, I can’t be more happy to have given it a shot.
Tipping the Scales:
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give Bad Apples Wars a solid 7.
If you don’t change the protagonist’s name the voice acting will say it.
The shortest of the short versions? It surprised me. I wasn’t expecting a story that was so… well, Weird in the first 15 minutes of game play to hold onto me. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be bawling like a baby at the end of it either.
Holy Shit the MUSIC y’all. (A great guide for this game can be found Here)
The Short of It:
The “common” route is 6 of the generally 9 chapters of this game. It is long, but there’s two versions of it, so it’s not so bad. You can Skip Read in this game, so once you get the details down, apply liberal use of this. Even within the repetitiveness of the first 6 chapters, each route is separated enough that you get different details and tidbits depending on who you’re focusing on.
While it might have only taken me a couple days to knock this game out (I read pretty fast), I played almost non-stop from Friday to Sunday. I easily sunk 20+ hours into the game, and since I wasn’t letting days go by between each route play through the details stuck with me, so once I had them down I could skip a lot. Even getting through it that fast, it was worth the full price tag of 40$.
The LONG of It:
There’s not really a preferred route order with this game, not as far as I could tell anyway. The story baseline stays pretty consistent with each play through – which, given the premise of the game – makes a Lot of Sense. BAW doesn’t give itself much wiggle room, but even with that said, the different endings of the available options were… oof. All of them were just Right in the Feels.
Alma, White Mask, and Satoru were the only ones, in my opinion to see a truly happy ending. Kiga comes in a close second, and Shikishima’s good ending was still just so bitter sweet.
I was surprised to find Kiga becoming my favorite of the ones available. Alma’s story is solid, and – as a rare treat – one of the very FEW “canon” routes I’ve actively enjoyed — due to the details provided in the ending for Alma I do recommend playing his route first. Given how he interacts with you in all the other routes I was entirely disinterested in Satoru’s route, and even though I’d planned to at most skim the entire thing I found myself pulled in anyway. White Mask’s route was more angst than I had anticipated, but I really loved the fact that it was well-founded. If I’da lived that kind of life I’m fairly sure I’da been a lot like that guy. Lastly, Shikishima caught my eye from the rip – he’s actually the reason I caved and gave the game a shot. I just loved the design of his character, and as an artist, I will admit to some bias.
For a Spoiler-Free review, that’s the most I have for you. There’s nothing that really jumps out at me that should be listed here. Be warned that you’ll get an in-depth look at the worst moments in these people’s lives – Everyone at the “School” is – technically – dead. And some of them got there in bad ways. There’s not a lot of details provided, and there’s no long prolonged discourse on the morality of any of it.
If anything, BAW’s overall views on life are… Good. Deep, thoughtful, and balanced. As I said at the beginning I was surprised.
Totally personal Pros and Cons:
Cons: Modern setting. Very stylized Art. Not a lot of variety in sprites. Weird AF at times. Semi-Con the romance is Very Light – It works for the story, so I didn’t legit mind it. I don’t usually go for heavy romance, but this was just a step more reserved than I like. Just barely missed that sweet spot.
Pros: Lots of CGs. Great personalities in the cast – nothing was spared even with the non-romantic characters. Ripped my heart out with Feels. Variants between the stories gave a lot of details into all parts of the total cast – non-romance options included.
Voice Actors: Behind the Voice Actors.