GAME REVIEW | Living in the Californian Desert With "Karakara" Hybrids
**WARNING: WHILE THIS ARTICLE IS SAFE-FOR-WORK, THE FOLLOWING REVIEWED GAME IS INTENDED ONLY FOR PLAYERS 18 AND OLDER. READER'S DISCRETION IS ADVISED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE STEAM VERSION**
Calme is a visual novel studio I hadn't heard of until the introduction of this game, but Karakara does have some people who worked on the Grisaia series. Unfortunately, this visual novel doesn't quite live up to the quality of that previous series. It's the possible start of of a potentially good series, but its length is its greatest weakness.
Karakara takes place in a world that has seen the aftermath of a cataclysmic event that no one knows the true cause of, as if the world flipped upside down overnight. To survive, humans had to enhance their bodies with gene splicing, and few original humans remain in the world. Technology also remains, but the means of recreating the machinery has been lost.
It's a very post-apocalyptic scenario. The main characters Leon and Lucia live on the outskirts of a town in the desert called Sagami Francisco, based on the original San Francisco. They run a restaurant, and during on of their workdays, they discover a young woman sleeping on the side of the road. They introduce themselves as Aisia, and she requests a job at their place. They agree.
The rest of Karakara is about how they get along, while slowly learning more about Aisia's past. There's a subplot or two about how she's looking for her mother, and about how there might be discrimination going on. Elements like how the world came to be are introduced, but never fully explored. The story is very short, lasting only about 3-4 hours, based on whether you play the Steam or 18+ version.
The erotic content is minimal, and does very little for the overall game, but what is there is nice enough. Much like the rest of the game, the soundtrack is serviceable but not outstanding. Karakara's creator wants to make this a series though, so hopefully the world will be more fleshed and questions raised by the game are answered. However, as it stands, Karakara is an average game which it's low price is it's best selling point.
The Good: The artwork is nice, and the world seems interesting.
The Bad: But the game is so short that it feels like a tease.
The Ugly: Many questions unanswered.
SUMMARY: Karakara is somewhat is similar to Nekopara, if it weren't a nukige and had a plot set on a broken world.
Review codes provided by David Bruno of Sekai Project and Denpasoft