Reversible is a 2007 eroge produced by EGIS. I first thought it would just be a nukige and didn’t plan to review it but it made me sit through enough non-porn before getting to the ero that I decided to talk about the time I
wasted spent on it.
Tatsuhiko is a university student who is in love with his childhood friend Misaki. Unfortunately for Tatsuhiko their other friend, Yuuji, beat him to the punch and started dating Misaki at some point before the start of the game. Tatsuhiko pretends to be okay with this but really isn’t, and he finds it increasingly difficult to hold back his feelings for Misaki and act as though the two have his blessing. The other two heroines are the big-boobed senpai Naho who has a boyfriend and the small-boobed kouhai Shizuno who has a girlfriend, so all three routes have love triangle and netori themes.
Reversible is mostly a drama. Its drama is different from the type commonly found in eroge and is more akin to the kind you’d find in a TV drama. Although this makes for a nice change of pace for someone like me who just plays eroge, it also reminds me why eroge drama is better than television drama. Reversible’s story is by the numbers and cliche, but since those numbers and cliches are drawn mostly from Western television and film, a different medium, the derivative nature of Reversible doesn’t seem as offensive. It also helps that Reversible executes the cliches with a degree of skill, particularly in key scenes. As a result Reversible’s plot is relatively entertaining but not what I’d call good. If it had been more developed it could have been solid, cliches and all, but the story is short and could use with a lot of fleshing out and a greater sense of resolution.
It’s fortunate that Reversible’s plot isn’t bad, because although it presents itself as a netori nukige it takes awhile to get to the proper ero scenes (relatively speaking; the game as a whole is fairly short). On the other hand the game throws fanservice bones to the reader frequently and you can get some ero scenes earlier on depending on the choices you make and the route you’re on. Speaking of routes, I’d hesitate to even refer to Reversible’s minimal branching as routes. The game actually has a lot of choices, which is cool, but the story itself is mostly linear with only some scenes and the endings being heroine-specific. You’ll see repeated text and scenes until right before the end of each “route.”
If I had to name the one unique and good thing about Reversible’s story it would be its presentation of university life, which is realistic and reminiscent of my own college days. Japanese universities are different from American colleges, and I was never part of a “seminar” or went on a trip to an onsen or anything, but the experience of being a young adult in that transitional period before entering real society is perhaps a universal one. Reversible’s atmosphere nails that experience through means that I must shamefully admit I cannot concretely identify.
Unlike Reversible’s story its characters manage to avoid being cliche. They also manage to avoid being interesting, developed, or likable. They manage all this by having absolutely no depth. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen such flat characters in an eroge. It’s been even longer since I’ve played an eroge where I didn’t feel an ounce of affection for any of the heroines. In fact I think that’s only happened in the worst nukiges I’ve played. Another thing that bothers me about Reversible’s cast is how some side characters seem utterly pointless and have no reason for being written into the few scenes during which they appear, like Naho’s prostitute friend or Yuuji’s foreign exchange student friend. Well, I guess the former adds an ero scene to the game. Two side characters I liked were Kouta and Shiojiri, who were just included for their minor contributions as (understated) comic relief.
Reversible’s soundtrack is rock solid. Only one track is bad, a slapstick song that thankfully rarely plays. All of the rest of the songs are good but none of them are outstanding. I also like the sound palette used in the music. The OP is a catchy, jazzy number.
The voice acting is below average. As seems to be the norm in games with bad voice acting, the male characters have better voice acting than the females.
The art is also solid, but not as solid. The coloring is bright and shiny and recalls 90’s anime. The sprites have some proportion issues that are really only noticeable in the naked sprites.
The main draw visually here is the animated ero scenes. I’m talking about real animation this time. It’s just a looping animation, with the insertions and ejaculations also animated, but it’s a huge contributing factor to the ero in Reversible. The quality of the animation is average, with a few seriously rough spots, but it’s good enough for an eroge. My one dissatisfaction is that not every part of every scene is animated. I didn’t expect every ero scene to be animated, that was just my ideal, but the choices for which parts of which scenes would be animated were less than ideal. Pragmatically speaking the game has a good amount of animation, and the animated scenes incorporate multiple animations to avoid too much repetition.
I just talked about the animation in the ero scene and the major contributor that is to the ero scenes in Reversible. The other big factor is the situations, which are really good. This is a netori game but I’m talking about more than just that. I’m not the biggest netori fan, although this game does a good job showing the appeal of the genre. What Reversible does very well is create circumstances for sex that would be hot even without the netori. The netori just makes things better. And the animation makes them even better.
The downside here is that Reversible doesn’t have enough ero. Its story:ero ratio creates some reservations about even calling it a nukige. The secondary heroines only have four or five scenes. Misaki has the bare minimum number of scenes I would want for a heroine in a nukige, around a dozen. And in all cases some of the scenes never reach full blown sex. The other notable con for the ero is that the text is very rote and heavy on rote descriptions, so that detracts from the hotness a not insignificant amount.
Pros: Great animated ero scenes; good atmosphere; enjoyable if typical drama story
Cons: Terribly flat characters; not enough ero; underdeveloped story
I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend Reversible to anyone but if it’s caught your interest I’d say it’s worth playing. It’s got really good ero and the story can be fun in its departure from eroge drama toward Western television drama. I think it would have been better off had it more fully committed itself to just being a nukige though.