Friday, February 3, 2012

Katawa Shoujo: Final Impressions

Katawa Shoujo, for those who don't know it already, is a visual novel/dating sim developed by 4 Leaf studio, a small studio. It is a free game, made by fans of the genre. It is about a high school by, that after a heart attack, discover he have a congenital disease. Because the disease have no cure and will need constant care, he is transferred to a special school for kids with disabilities. There, he must adjust to his new reality, while meeting several girls who have disabilities of their own.

Since it is a dating sim, the main objective of the game is to engage in a relationship with one of the girls. And since this is an adult game, it means having sex with them.

Now, if you just read the  above paragraphs, it is easy to be disgusted by each. A game whose objective is to have sex with a girl with some kind of disability. If the game was just about that, I would agree that it is problematic. But if you play the game, and read the text instead of skipping to the kink parts, you may be surprised.

First, the game is very well made for a game without any kind of known developer behind it. It even have some animated cutscenes. It does not have voice acting, but I think that understandable. It have that basic gameplay: read text, make choice.

But where the game outstanding is in their portrayal of the characters. Instead of having the people with disabilities being better human beings than normal people, they have their flaws. They can be competitive, hold a grudge, manipulative. They are portrayed as human beings, above all. They are not perfect, not only physically but emotionally too. And that make them more real and believable.

Another good point is that their disabilities do hinder them in some aspects. There is things they can't do because of their problems. But they try to do a lot of things that are possible to do between the boundaries of their problems.

There is the sex scenes, yes. But they are portrayed in a very sweet, tasteful way. It is never there to play with a fetish. It is there to show that people who are deaf, blind, amputee or scarred are human beings like you and me. That they also have the same feelings we have.

In the end, it is a game who made me think: if my girlfriend suffers an accident and ended with a disability, would I reject her? If a deaf girl or a girl in a wheel chair shows love for me, would I reject her because of the disability? Katawa Shoujo is a game that make you ask those questions.

Since it is free game, there is no reason to not play it. even if you don't like the anime art style, it is a game with a kind of deepness in its presentation that is rare to find. Play it, I say. It will get you thinking.

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