Frontwing’s Corona Blossom series is a visual novel with all the elements of a good story. The premise features, cute girls, mechs, actions, drama, and comedy, so one would assume that this will hit a home run within the visual novel community. However, I feel like the developer might have played it too safe with this series by relying heavily on cliché anime tropes used in far too many harems. Although, that’s not to say one should pass on this adventure, as it does contain some great features that make up for its shortcomings.
Journey to the Stars is the third and final story in the Corona Blossom series. The game begins exactly where Vol 2 The Truth From Beyond ended. For fans who need no reminder, it was huge cliffhanger that came completely out of left field. We find the protagonist, Keiji, still recovering from the story’s twist while I found myself in the middle of some intense dialog that I was hoping would explain to me what was going on.
At this time I’m going to be talking about spoilers for the ending of The Truth From Beyond, if you are planning on playing it please stop reading now. So anyway, it seems Kanada turns out to be a fairly intimidating antagonist as she captures R-ne and plans to use her for fuel. The writing for Kanada’s scenes is quiet good, but it’s strange hearing her be so blunt about her evil deeds and totally waving off any attempt to change her mind. Like Keiji, I became used to her gentle smile and charming words.
The first hour of Journey to the Stars provides a great start to the story. However, like some good anime series, the plot vanishes and the pacing takes a turn for the worst. There are obvious filler scenes during the middle hours of the game, such as when the group of characters visits the beach for the day. At the time I was confused with how they even ended up at the beach with so much happening, but then I remembered that this could be the final moments the group will spend together. With that in mind, I accepted these scenes, but part of me just wanted to the plot to advance.
This is a kinetic visual novel, meaning all the player does is read the story and follow along. Sometimes these types of visual novels can feel more like reading. Often times developers put in a choice system to change things up a bit, but if this game had that implemented I can assure you I’d spend all my time with Lilly.
Coincidentally, Frontwing does a great job at making each scene feel alive with character emotion. This is all due to the e-mote system used in the game where each character shows expression and movement during scenes which is pretty awesome when compared to the alternative, static images. Furthermore, each main character has voiced dialog, except Keiji, even non-illustrated male characters have a voice.
One of the strengths of Corona Blossom are its character designs. Each character is given a unique illustration to match their personality. Some of the characters even change outfits which is rare in visual novels, but an enjoyable addition. However, sometimes CG scenes were used a few times too many which is something that gets old to me. One H-scene in particular stood out as the one that became more repetitive than others.
The game’s soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard in a visual novel in a very long. Each track gives an extra layer of depth to the more action oriented scenes, while also making the romantic conversations that much more intense. As an added bonus, the soundtrack unlocks after finishing the game, along with the CG scenes. It goes without saying, I spent time with both of these bonus options.
One setting that was helpful in the game were touch screen options. These offered multi touch support for accessing various menus while playing. In addition to that, the developer has added a Japanese subtitle option which unlocks a Steam achievement if used.
This game does have some H-scenes sprinkled throughout, but if you pick up the all-ages Steam version you aren’t missing out on anything important to the overarching story. However, if you are trying to get the full game experience, the developer does offer an 18+ patch which unlocks three separate scenes that can be accessed on the main menu. These scenes are totally separate from the main story, but offer an added something for the adult fans.
The conclusion of Corona Blossom is one that fans can appreciate over the 3 – 5 hour story. In addition, the last couple hours totally redeem the middle of the game’s more light hearted moments. Corona Blossom Vol.3 Journey to the Stars isn’t a visual novel that is going to blow seasoned fans away like Frontwing’s other visual novels, such as The Fruits of Grisaia series. However, they did a great job at developing a group of friends and making the player care about them over three volumes. Some will find absolute joy in this story, but by playing it safe, I was left wanting more than a typical harem.