The Ten Worst VNs of 2017
4) England Exchange – An International Affair (Hanabira/Hanako Games)
True story, I forgot this came out this year. As soon as I remember it, I immediately regretted it.
England Exchange is a train wreck only topped on this list by bigger train wrecks that it could not have foreseen coming. You are given fair enough warning up front as the friends of the main character flat out tell them to use their foreign exchange trip to get laid. Male, female, large-mouth bass, potted plant, a mime, a plate of fish and chips just out of the grease, the grease the fish and chips was cooked in: it doesn’t matter. Just get laid. What do you in between these dalliances you ask? Apparently, the answer is not important as this game is narratively broken.
Things just happen here: there is no rhyme, reason or payoff for abject randomness of what happens in this game. Forget fleshing out the characters or developing anything close to rapport or chemistry…and considering how most of the cast is filled with unlikely douchebags whose asshole nature is supposed to be attractive, TIME would have been in their favor. But oh no, we get none of that. Also Your choices are shockingly irrelevant: sometimes logically leading to a desired outcome, mostly not. Things just keep happening until you’ve smashed enough random buttons together to get two tools in this shed to bump uglies. However, by that point it’ll come down to aesthetics and stereotypes more than anything the game does to get you to like these characters.
But, forgive me: all of that doesn’t matter. As I said, we’re here for the animal-like rutting, not for anything like plot or character development! Well, on that; there are no sex scenes. Yeah. They’ve recently put out a patch to allow for the sprites to be nude, but that is it. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining about the lack of sexual content here. However, the reality is that this title, dripping from top to tip with hormones, is clearly on focused on getting these tumbleweeds resembling fictional characters in the sack. Without any sort of pay off on that end, it makes the one narrative thread this game hangs on snap like a particularly brittle leaf in Autumn: leaving an absolute mess in its wake.
Maybe this is what life is like during a foreign exchange trip, but it makes for terribly constructed fiction and easily the worst game Hanako Games has published.