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Game Info:

Shining Song Starnova
Developed by: Love in Space
Published by: Sekai Project
Release date: July 25, 2018
Available on: Linux, macOS, Windows
Genre: Visual Novel
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $29.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Sekai Project for sending us this game to review!

Shining Song Starnova was successfully Kickstarted in September 2017. Though the game has been released on schedule on various sites, it has yet to be made available on Steam. Because of the sexual content in this title, Valve is waiting for filtering options to be released before allowing this game on its storefront. Users looking for a censored experience can order it though GOG.com. The 18+ version is available on Denpasoft.com. This review will compare the two versions.

In this game you play as an idol producer who was recently fired from Golden Calf Productions. I have to admit that’s a funny name for an idol company. The reason for the firing is explained later in the game. Mr. Producer (as he’s referred to) is given a job at a new firm with seven girls who have a wide variety of experience, issues, and personalities. It’s your dream to make an all-star idol group, but can it be done with these misfits?

The girls fall into various tropes and constantly make fun of themselves for it. The oldest of the bunch, Mariya, is in her mid-twenties, chain smokes and often stumbles into work hungover. She has the most experience in the idol industry and she was a former member of the idol mega group, Quesar. The other girls tease her about her age and fading beauty, and they also brush off most of her comments on how producers can take advantage of them. Thankfully, the main character is an honorable man, but still prone to temptation.

Shining Song Starnova
Highlights:

Strong Points: Funny characters and dialogue; good voice acting and music
Weak Points: There is an 18+ version available and the censored version constantly prompts you to “upgrade” to it; lazy censoring that consists of white rectangles and chopping of text that confuses the reader to what actually happens during the blackened screens
Moral Warnings: Tobacco and alcohol consumption; drunkenness; every curse word fathomable is used along with some blaspheming; references to sexual acts, sexting, and implied sexual encounters (outside of marriage); the adult version shows everything including all of the girls topless, bottomless sex along with fully animated sex scenes that show both male and female anatomy; references to rape; one of the characters is openly homosexual

Sasami is shy and innocent and in order to play through the route of making her the center girl for Starnova, you’ll need to complete all of the chapters for the other girls. Aki was a popular twelve year old idol and wants to maintain the young and innocent image despite her body giving her away. Everyone including the producer refer to her as a “sh*t loli”.

Julie is a blonde mix of American and Japanese heritage. She’s beautiful and knows it. Her team refers to her as the “top b*tch” and she’s fine with that. It’s because of characters like her that there are so many blonde jokes out there. Mika is an unusual one who is in her own world and constantly talks in Dungeons and Dragons RPG lingo. Some of her dialogue has occult references in it.

Natsuki is your typical country bumpkin who is simple minded, but strong. Don’t underestimate her intelligence, strength, or sex appeal though! Nemu is beautiful and incredibly endowed. She comes from a rich family and seems almost too good to be true. Be careful of what you think about because she can read minds!

At first, this visual novel seems kinetic as there are no choices to be made until you get into the second chapter. The game does have a sense of humor by giving a bad ending scene for a situation that your character literally had no control over! In fact, the humor and writing are very well done and I did laugh on several occasions.

The biggest decision you’ll have to make is choosing who will be the center/representative for the group.  Each of the girls is hoping to be selected for this sacred spot and are willing to seduce the producer to earn his favor.   Though there are different character routes to take and perspectives see, it doesn’t take long for the adult nature of this game to reveal itself.  

If you’re playing the censored version you’ll be greeted with many white rectangles covering up breasts and bottoms.  Having an alternate drawing with undergarments shown instead of a five minute censor job would have been better in my opinion.  In all honesty, I could have done without the changing room and bath scenes, but I realize that I’m not the target audience here.  

Shining Song Starnova
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 39%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 0/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

I’m totally fine with the naughty bits being blanked out and I preferred seeing rectangles over topless girls. With that said, the intimate scenes on the censored version are confusing since massive chunks of dialogue are removed and you have no idea what actually happened in the missed scenes. Along with the blank screen, some clarification would have been nice instead of an offhand remark afterward.

Absolutely nothing is left to the imagination on the 18+ version of the game. Everything is shaved, shown, and animated. It’s obvious that this is the intended way for the game to be played and that the censorship was an afterthought. I can now see why the developer insisted that this was the version we look at (unless it was a successful trolling attempt?).

As gorgeous as the visuals are, they’re too graphic for my tastes and I’m going to leave the rest of the game unfinished since I have seen and heard enough to warrant the appropriateness rating this title is receiving. The censored version of the game's menu will constantly nag/tempt you to get the free 18+ DLC. If you can resist that temptation, great, but if you struggle with pornography I highly suggest passing on this game. The soundtrack DLC is also available for purchase and is worth picking up if you enjoy J-POP music.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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