- System: PC/PS2/PS3
- Publisher: Visual Arts
- Developer: Key/Visual Arts
- Release Date: July 2, 2016
- Pricing: $19.99 (US)
- Rating: Everyone [E]
- Genre: Adventure, RPG, Visual Novel
Who it caters to
Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ is a visual novel developed by Key, and is a spin-off of Key's earlier all ages title, Clannad. The title delivers a truly remarkable experience to Tomoya and Tomoyo's journey, and really promises to help you dive much deeper into Clannad's beautiful world. The initial release was in 2005 which arrived on PC, with other consoles receiving it much later. July 2nd was the official re-release of the game which is now available on Steam.
What to expect
Many of the hentai scenes were taken out of the game to cater more to a wider audience, which felt a little off since some of the scenes left you wondering a little. The game features an in game encyclopedia named the “Tomopedia”, which educates the player on particular words or phrases that are quite common in Japanese culture. One great example is the term is “Tsuyu” or “梅雨” which refers to the rainy season that takes place between early June to late July. This feature is especially fantastic for those wanting to learn more about Japanese culture, but also words that are commonly used within Japan and various visual novel games.
Soon after, it is revealed that Tomoyo has a younger half sister named Tomo, and Takafumi introduces her into their lives. Tomo had lived with her mother but was abandoned due to her mother's psychological weakness, and inability to look after her. This prompts Tomoyo to take care of her, while Tomoya has to endure having new residents living in his small apartment.
Much of the story is tied to relationships, and creating a more family oriented environment much like Clannad. We see a young man who has a passion to take care of those around him, developing a stronger sense of responsibility as new challenges confront him. Tomoyo also builds a more mature temperament, as she sees everyone in the apartment as one unit, ensuring that everyone helps to inspire and grow with one another. It demonstrates the importance of forming strong relationships with those around you, establishing trust and realizing the values of togetherness. Through this visual experience, we felt the sense of emotion as the game not only entertains you, but also educates you on the valuable attributes of life in a meaningful way.
Visual novels normally take on a click and read format which is what you'll find in this game, along with the occasional personal decisions as we've stated above. You are given the options to skip, move forward, backward, auto, and close, with auto allowing you to change the speed at which the text moves along the screen. Since there are really no levels in a visual novel, your progression has everything to do with listening carefully to the dialogue, making rational decisions, while aiming to capture the essence of the story. There is no level of difficulty either since your aim is to explore the many events that take place within the game, and really build a strong relationship with the characters over time.
This was a great little bonus feature that added more incentive to the experience, since it takes you away from the main story for a while, and to help bring you a lot closer to the cast in a more fruitful manner. Much like what you'd expect in a classic RPG, there are various levels/floors that the characters must complete with each level gradually increasing in difficulty. Tomoya After isn't a RPG focused game, so you'll definitely notice how linear it becomes, but most importantly it keeps you entertained at all times.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Wonderful voice acting from the original game is still in tact.
- The inclusion of the insightful Tomopedia gives you a truly rewarding experience, since you get to learn more about Japan and its cultural significance.
- Branching plot lines were simple but still added a lot of feeling to the overall direction of the story.
- The Dungeons and Takafumis mini game was a fantastic addition to the game, which added an extra element of gameplay and excitement well after completion. Great replay value.
- The novel really grabs your attention as you learn a lot about various relationships, and how each character grows along with each encounter.
- Wonderful music to keep you immersed and relaxed through the entire experience.
- Short story, roughly 10 hours with one playthrough, with the added 20 for replay value (multiple endings) and RPG section.
- No 1080p option.
- Would've liked to see the more hentai side of the story much like its original.
- No option for using a gamepad.
Honey's Final Verdict(Thoughts):
In spite of the game being a point and click title, we would've liked if they gave you the option to switch in a PC gamepad to give you the original PS2 feel. The art style was very reminiscent of the 2005 original which we admired, but the characters such as Tomoyo looked slightly different from the anime version which threw us off initially. Not a major issue by any means, but for those who truly love the Clannad series may find it off putting a little.
The novel portion of the game was surprisingly quick for the first playthrough, which was a little unfortunate since it would've been nice to know a little more about each character. The multiple endings however make up for that, and reel you right back in. This is perhaps why Key decided to throw in the RPG mini game also to keep the player engaged well after completion, which was an added plus for sure.
If this is your first time playing a visual novel, don't hesitate to try it as the story compels you enough to stay engaged, while the humor brings everything together for a complete package. What's important is the wonderful experience you get from it all, while coming to understand a little about yourself as well.
Overall, Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ captivates you with a warm story about love, sadness, helping us to realize the values of responsibility, and the growth process throughout life. We highly recommend checking it out, and of course if you have any other anime games you'd like for us to review, be sure to let us know in the comments section down below.
As always, for all things anime, keep it locked here on Honey's Anime. Take care and have fun!