Alrighty, so this time there’s no snide comment like “siiiiiigh, well at least this was in the Christmas sale so I was only forced to pay a dollar for it.” I spent basically full price this time for Buster Fellas! It was released on Steam over the summer and I just waited until they released a patch for it. I managed to get about halfway through it before Endwalker hit, but now that we’re in a bit of a lull there I fired it back up to finish it up. Again, as usual spoilers, etc.
Bustafellows takes place in New Sieg, which is Definitely Not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! New York City. (The game explicitly says this during the omake where Teuta accidentally calls Sakrada). Extend (and the localization team) did a pretty good job at trying to pull in American cultural elements rather than making one of those “ME no namae wa MIKE GUNEAGLE DEEEEEEEEESU!!!!!! This is how we greet people in America! (starts making out with you)” anime Americas. So while there’s some embellishment for storyline purposes, we’re not talking something like Mad Bull 34 here. THAT SAID, they made a HUGE cultural faux pas when they assumed that New York has tax on groceries!!!!!!
This in turn means Bustafellows is definitely the least otome-y otome game out of the ones I’ve had to review so far (and not just because Teuta is an actual character with real dialog and voiced lines). The “A” routes for all of the guys are these hard-boiled crime thrillers (but not THAT Hard Boiled), and while there’s usually some “shipping” or “sexual tension” (aka what normies call it) nearly all of the romance is reserved for the short “B” routes that are unlocked after their good endings. What this also means is that there’s no Amnesia-style dialogue choices wowowowowowow! Yes, that’s right, no dialogue choices where if you pick “eat chocolate ice cream with senpai” instead of “try to solve the mystery” you get hit by a car and die (you also get hit by a car and die if you unwisely choose “eat vanilla ice cream with senpai”).
That’s right, actual sensible choices! The game also gets a little creative with these at times. (One of the guides I found on Steam was inadvertently quite confusing in the choices for each route, because it tried to explain exactly what was going on with them, like “you need to win the bet here so that you’ll have enough money to pick up the tab in chapter 3”). The most prominent one is where you take a personality test early in the common route which is the primary driver for which character’s route you will move on to. My personal favorite one though was during Helvetica’s route where during the obligatory Teuta time travel scene, where you need to guess the PIN for the cell phone of the person that she bodyjacked based on the stuff that you find in her locker so that you can call him up to warn him (also, loooooooooooooooool “Britney Federline“).
I guess one quibble with this though is that the routes didn’t always feel particularly interconnected, and they didn’t really unravel the central mystery regarding the human trafficking ring. It’s pretty central in Limbo and Helvetica’s routes, VERY tangential to Mozu’s, and not really mentioned at all in Shu or Scarecrow’s routes. Then when you do the Full Circle route (which amused me in retrospect about how it’s like “what if Citizen or Nextdoor were less racist”) it’s like “yeah so anyway here’s the resolution to that whole overarching storyline that wasn’t really foreshadowed at all in any of the other routes”. And finally there is the frankly baffling choice to wrap up the game with a short route of “btw Adam is dying of a brain tumor (which makes it two characters that need live saving brain surgery) and also he killed Teuta’s brother, who was a drug addicted rapist?” Huhhhhhhhhhhhh???????????????? And seriously though, this game gets REALLY violent/graphic/gory at times, like absolutely DO NOT WANT that one suicide scene!!!!!!!!
I went back to what the missus had to say, and while she had a lot of complaints about bugginess in the Switch version, it seemed like a lot of this was pretty cleaned up for the Steam port. The font was fine, the auto and skip modes were fine, and the jump option worked without any issues. Now that said, the Steam port has a huge problem in that the keybinds are bafflingly unintuitive (yes, worse than the ones I singled out in my last review for 7’sCarlet). For some incredibly bizarre reason, they use Home/End/PgUp/PgDn for the various menu buttons (nothing is clickable on screen). Lots of keyboards these days don’t even include those buttons any more! Additionally, the game doesn’t have mousewheel support, which gets annoying when you’re trying to scroll through the earlier dialog or the in-game menus.
Anyway, I know that I’ll be asked this, so the husbando ranking is as follows:
Mozu (gimme those deadpan/matter-of-fact routes)
Limbo (by “crooked lawyer” I’m pretty sure they meant more like Saul Goodman than like Dersh)
Helvetica (Helvetica? Teuta? Someone at Extend loooooooooves “tribes that were subjugated by the Romans”, amirite????? Oh and don’t forget “Constantine” either!)
Scarecrow (only good for bullying, such as by blasting him with mud or getting scratched in the face by Cat)
What matters more than the husbando ranking, of course, is the cat name ranking:
Cat (I always refer to animals as their species when talking to them)
Ginger (Even though Captain Ginger is a bear, “Ginger” is an acceptable name for a cat)
Ana (Nothing special, but at least not actively bad)
Max (Already taken by a dog)
Teuta (Already taken by Teuta!!!!!!!)