Pseudo-Vegetables: Science Girls Demo

By John Walker on May 29th, 2009 at 6:52 pm.

I'm not sure exactly what science has been learned.

The demo for Science Girls is an interesting combination of weirdness, amateurish hacky writing, scientific pedantry, and utter rubbish. Sort of an RPG, you play a girl at a Japanese school who teams up with the rest of the Science Club to fight off the attacks of some peculiar plant-like creatures.

“They’re not plants!” as one of the girls keeps crying, the central theme of the game apparently being some smart-arses bickering about the vagaries of pseudo-science. Occasionally you’re asked questions by the other girls, who then snippily pick apart your answer with a tone of disgust. But most of the time you’re engaged in some of the most awful RPG battles ever committed to barely animated Manga gibberish.

It’s fun for all the family, we’re assured, but you’ll have to draw your own conclusions about who wants to play a crappy fighting sim featuring wide-eyed girls in school uniforms. Oddly the redeeming feature is the idiotic dialogue as the rival scientists snap at each other over the failures in their scientific rigour, while discussing mutant killer plants. (“They’re not plants!”) It randomly tries to teach you about the classification of plants, or the nature of rocket propulsion, but without really warning it’s about to, and delivering it all as if you’re being told off by the cooler kids. Bonkers.

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56 Comments »

  1. Blast Hardcheese says:

    John Walker doesn’t review mainstream games anymore, he just posts about incredibly weird or obscure games with just enough to tell us why to ignore it or download it.
    It’s a bit like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1NyGmn4D80

  2. Xercies says:

    That’s no plant…that’s a space station!

    Hmm I like anime but i wouldn’t even like this…

  3. MikeBiggs says:

    @Blast Hardcheese
    ….Wuh?? Damn fine clip but how’s that connected to your point? Also is there any tangeable connection to the animated plants ala Plants Vs Zombies?
    Or am I just playing it too much!?

  4. Dood says:

    Hmm, I don’t get it. But it’s an Invader Zim Video, so woooooo! \o/

  5. Serondal says:

    Invader Zim died before it’s time :( Way more funny than famly guy. I mean a robot disguised as a dog shooting a giant sandwhich at a young child with a GigaHead whilst screaming SAAAAMMMIICCCHH!! You can’t get that any where else! You can read JTHM but it is a lot more dark than Invader Zim. “GIR HOW DID YOU RUN OUT OF ROCKET FULE!” “I threw it all out!” WHY?!?!” “To make room for the TUNNAAA!!”

  6. RealHorrorshow says:

    Anime sucks.

  7. John Walker says:

    Blast Hardcheese – I don’t quite follow your peculiarly comment. The last review I wrote for RPS was for Damnation – a cross-platform mainstream action game.

  8. skizelo says:

    “anim3 suxx0rz” shurely.
    This is why I keep coming back to RPS. Every video-game blog carries analysis of the new TF2 unlocks, but only this one tells me about low-budget games I have never heard of and can only vaguely imagine.

  9. MrBejeebus says:

    make sure you know your stuff before accusing people…

    and this game sounds….weird…

  10. Nighthood says:

    Oh look, anime. That’s never been done before. Does Japan have some sort of aversion to anything without stupid eyes and bad hair? Bloody anime.

    I wouldn’t have such a problem if it wasn’t so entirely overdone.

  11. Linfosoma says:

    This looks so bizarre that I might, just might download and try it.

  12. The_B says:

    “The demo for Science Girls is an interesting combination of weirdness, amateurish hacky writing, scientific pedantry, and utter rubbish.”

    Like ITV1′s Demons. AMIRITE?

  13. drewski says:

    Unless there’s a clever mini-game where you battle each other for the affections of a vaguely effeminate spiky haired misanthrope, I’m not interested.

  14. Serondal says:

    @Drewski Would such a battle be followed directly by a scene that contains blurred out sections of the screen containing said spiky haired misanthrope and the victor of previous battle? If not, that still wouldn’t enough to convince me to play this.

    Anime wouldn’t be anime if it weren’t over done. If you want anime that isn’t over done what you realy want is just normal American comics.

  15. dadioflex says:

    “Like ITV1’s Demons. AMIRITE?”

    Yup. Or Primeval for that matter – which I can’t seem to stop watching. I live in hope they’ll get Hannah Spearitt back into his skimpies.

  16. autarch says:

    I don’t want to actually download the demo and bother playing it, but if someone pasted a youtube video of this crazyness in action, I would watch it.

  17. Dominic White says:

    This game isn’t anime. This is imitation pseudo-anime, made by an American company that just doesn’t know any better. It is the spray-on cheese of anime. It is a Winterwolves Games production, and this is their niche.

    They’re such sad wannabes.

  18. Jazmeister says:

    Hell, I’m game. Let’s do this!

  19. RealHorrorshow says:

    @Dominic White: “Real” anime sucks too.

  20. passingtramp says:

    That was a demo and a half.

    Edit: I find this game is by the same people as Heileen, previously recommended by RPS. That was also a demo and a half

  21. Bah says:

    Slow news day?

  22. Post Maker says:

    This is the closest thing to a cultural debate that I’ve ever seen on here.

  23. steve says:

    Riveting.

  24. Jockie says:

    If it were a western indie games dev making a weird and slightly silly game about high school girls RPS would be all over it (See: Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble). But give them big anime eyes and chuck in some nonsensical plant information and suddenly it’s ‘Manga Gibberish’

    Except well, it does look like a bunch of Manga Gibberish.

  25. Serondal says:

    Anime school girls are my favorite thing in the whole world so I can’t complain about games such as this. I don’t blame Japanese for liking them though I don’t really understand why I like it myself. I’ve just always loved any kind Japanese animation Dragon Ball – Z – GT Even sailor moon, yes, Tuxedo Mask is da bomb pimp digity!

  26. Baris says:

    You know, I expected better from this community (I realise it’s only a few people, but still) than to condemn an entire entertainment/art form as crap simply because it’s not their thing.

    I’m not too big into anime, but a good friend of mine is and thanks to him I’ve had the pleasure of watching a few series, I quite enjoyed them too.

  27. Nighthood says:

    @Baris: I don’t have a problem with the anime itself as much as its rampant overuse. It seems everyone just wants to cash onto anime as if it’s the next big thing, but I have a feeling it’ll die a death in the very near future just due to its sheer amount of use.

  28. Psychopomp says:

    @Nighthood, never underestimate Weeaboos.

    @Baris, I agree wholeheartedly.

    Have you people never seen FLCL?
    Paranoia Agent?
    Cowboy Bebop?
    Samurai Champloo?

    Anime does not automatically=bad.
    There’s plenty of generic drivel in the western world too, get the fuck over yourselves.

  29. Sonic Goo says:

    What’s with the anime/manga hate?

    “If you want anime that isn’t over done what you realy want is just normal American comics.”

    Actually, as a continental European I must say that I find American comics seriously weird. The whole superhero thing is just… baffling…

  30. Serondal says:

    The only european comics I’ve seen are generally really strange porn so I can’t comment on the difference :) But I do know that US comics are what CAUSED magna in Japan, US soliders sharing their culture with the Japanese while we occupied ect.

    @Nighthood Manga has been around for a LONG time and it is INSANELY popular in Japan , there is NO way it is going to die any time soon .They buy Manga over there and throw it away like we buy newspapers.

    I love FLCL The guy with the giant fake eyebrows makes me giggle.

    Cowboy Bebop is probably the only catoon series I’ve ever watched every single episode and movie of, which isn’t that big a deal since it was kinda short.

    Samuari Champloo is okay , I LOVE Trigun, also the entire Macross series is awesome and enjoyed Gundam quite a bit. I’ve got several Gundam models some place in my parents house I built a long time ago :P Death Sycthe was always my favorite.

  31. Elyscape says:

    Since we’re talking about good anime/manga, Monster is the best story I’ve found in any medium ever.

  32. Mashakosha says:

    Played this demo thrrough to the end. Hate to say, but I enjoyed it! To the point where I may seek out the full version. I’d have this over Plants Vs Zombies any day tbh.

  33. Real Horrorshow says:

    @Baris: It’s not okay to not like things now? In the future I’ll remember to chastise anyone who says country or hip-hop is shit to them, and people who say no MMO is good to them.

    Opinions…how dare they! *shakes fist*

  34. Post Maker says:

    I take back what I said earlier. This is nothing close to what I thought it would be.

  35. Mman says:

    “It’s not okay to not like things now?”

    When you make comments that add nothing to the discussion and act affronted when you get called out on it, yes.

  36. Professor says:

    Screw anime

  37. Jockie says:

    I hope no-one is taking my light hearted agreement that this looks like Manga gibberish as anime hate.

    The art style is overused for sure, but that doesnt mean theres no worth in the genre. I remember fondly watching then reading Akira as a child and whilst it’s plot was overly convoluted and eventually nonsensical it had some big ideas which were well realised.

    The problem is how generic a lot of the stuff is and lets be honest the schoolgirl fixation is fucking creepy and the tendency to overly complicate a plot to disguise paper thin writing and poor direction too is extremely common. But there are still gems out there.

    A friend of mine recently told me that an anime series called Ergo Proxy is fantastic, anyone seen it?

  38. FhnuZoag says:

    It’s very goth.

  39. Psychopomp says:

    @Serondal

    Yeah, using HUEG BOOSHY EYEBROWS as a metaphor for coming of age was so silly, it’s brilliant.

  40. Benkyo says:

    @Jockie: Ergo Proxy is OK, but very pretentious and doesn’t hold together too well in my opinion. I’ll throw in another good word for Cowboy Bebop and FLCL, and add Kemono(d)zume. Also Mushishi, the best anime/manga I’ve ever found. Not sure if they’ve had english releases yet though.

    On topic, Science Girls isn’t worth the time to check out. The (junior) high school girl thing in anime is just creepy, and the way girls here are influenced by the look can be nasty too. It’s a mutually reinforcing overly-sexed ‘cute’ overload. I’ll stop now before I start a sexual inequality rant…

  41. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @Real Horrorshow: Western stuff sucks too.

    EDIT: @Elyscape: Urasawa Naoki’s so good at what he does, even people who want nothing to do with Japanese pop culture respect him.

  42. Colin Hansen says:

    Not to make an egregious general statement, But I’ve never enjoyed anything manga/anime. Western stuff just matches my sensibilities much better.

  43. IvanHoeHo says:

    Honestly, there’s lots of bullshit one has to sift through in order to get to the good stuff in the anime and manga world. But then, this is the case for most media, so I don’t see how the average anime, say, Naruto, is any more crappy than the music I have to endure everytime I have to set foot into a mall.

    Luckily for me, I only immigrated to Canada when I was 14, and into a mainly Asian district, so I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting one of them Weeaboos that I hear so much about.

    Good manga, though? Let’s see…

    As so many others have said, Monster is a masterpiece; and Pluto, his new series basen on the Astro Boy universe has a similar vibe, and is pretty good too. Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind is another classic, this time by the famous-ish Hayao Miyazaki. Lone Wolf & Cub is rather epic, but became bland quite quickly (well, 12 volumes, but still…) as different variations of the same sort of tragedy keeps coming up over and over again.

    Berserk and Gunnm are pretty good, for those of you who like their violence with a little story behind it, and then realize all this so-called ultra-violence in videogames is nothing compared to some of this mainstream Japanese stuff. (Seriously, quite a few squick moments for me, there) Problem is, it might take a while if you want to catch up on Berserk, seeing how it started in 1986 and pretty much never stopped coming out (Wikipedia says 33 volumes(!))

    Last but not least, there’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (YKK), a slice-of-life manga about a robot girl who operates a cofee shop in a post-apocalyptic Japan (it’s not as cheesy as it sounds, I swear!). I’m afraid its pace is quite slow, however (lots of scenery porn, though), so it’ll probably never be avaliable in English. Don’t feel too guilty about seeking out scanlations, though! (For example, right here: http://www.cafealpha.org/ ) (or for the whole thing, here: http://www.boxtorrents.com/torrent/141644/Yokohama_Kaidashi_Kikou.html <<registration neccessary)

    Whoa, off topic! Sorry about that.

  44. Captain Haplo says:

    …Huh.

    This brings back fond memories of my days of high school. Snippy science girls ripping my answers apart. The hilarious battles with the not-plant monsters. Those were the days.

    Also, it would probably be wise to point out that anime and manga in general is less of a genre, or a collection of genres, but a medium. You tend to find that Japanese animation doesn’t suffer from nearly as much of the crippling animation age ghetto that we tend to find in the West.
    Obligatory TV Tropes link:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnimationAgeGhetto

  45. Azazel says:

    My experience of Anime is thus: Akira and Metropolis.

    Generally I don’t have much of a facination with Japanese pop culture, but those two films *were* pretty fucking amazing.

  46. mihor_fego says:

    Manga and Anime are actually two different mediums, the former being the printed Japanese comics, the second the cartoons. What most of us westerners seem to overlook is that a consistent drawing style doesn’t necessarily translate to similar themes or plot.

    Our comics also range from Disney’s anthropomorphism to the mainstream superhero comic style, reaching extremes of hardcore porn like Druuna. The main difference with manga is that we tend to draw more realistic when we refer to a more mature or adult audience, while Japanese artists follow the same norms whatever their target groups.

    The thing is most of us that grew up on superhero comics throughout our pre-teens soon got bored of the body and costume stereotypes found therein and the politically correctness of the heroes. Vertigo was a way out before the manga “invasion”, but most found in many of the Japanese titles the same characteristics.

    A very important factor was that we are a generation that grew playing video games and even if you never owned a console (like me), you’d probably play arcade games. These, coming from the Japanese market, had character design heavily influenced by manga and anime.

    It’s true that manga cliches as the schoolgirl uniform have become annoying, but I believe the western comic stereotype of the female hero is equally irritating. The difference is the school uniform seems to be a lot more offensive than the chain mail bikinis or latex superhero uniforms. Both are references to extremes of sexual behavior, pederasty and sadomasochism, but it’s natural (thank God!) that the first is unacceptable.

    Being critical of both, I cannot condemn the international comic industry as a whole when it has produced titles as Sandman, Preacher, Strangers in Paradise, Akira or Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind. It’s the public’s responsibility to push those mediums towards good stories and abandoning their stereotypes.

    Come to think of it, I guess it’s hopeless if you see where Hollywood movies have been led to…

  47. Bhazor says:

    In regards to anime I must bring up Sturgeons Law
    “90% of everything is crap”

    I totally loved Paranoia Agent, one of the strangest, bravest and thoughtiest tv series I’ve ever seen. But for every Paranoia theres ten Battle Vixens and Dragon Ball Z spin offs. You can never dismiss a whole medium/genre because sooner or later you’ll find something which single handedly justifies its whole existence.

  48. Sonic Goo says:

    To continue the comics derail, I myself am a big fan of the Meccano books by Hanco Kolk:
    http://www.meccanoonline.com/
    http://www.comichouse.nl/en/illustration/2d/kolk/
    http://video.aol.com/category/tekenningen/entertainment/meccano
    (warning, some NSFW in there)

  49. BlazerKnight says:

    Captain Haplo summed it up – manga and anime are mediums, which contain many genres, much of which will be irrelevant to your tastes. One man’s trash, another man’s treasure. If this article can polarize the RPS community’s opinions, I’m curious to see how you’ll feel about Katawa Shoujo, it is, wait for it… “Katawa Shoujo is… well.. it’s a western-made free doujin eroge (hentai game) centered around disabled girls.” as described by the head writer. It’s a curious project described further here (link NSFW!!). Have fun tearing it apart as I know you will.

  50. EyeMessiah says:

    PREORDERED

    FLCL is da bomb. TTGL is awesome also.

    Akira comes up a lot, and I love it, but its in a category of its own imho. Its not really representative of anime generally, as many western fans find out when they hopelessly struggle to find something similar to watch after seeing Akira. Every now and then some Japanese media poll gets translated with a top-100-anime-titles-of-all-time type thing, and in recent years there have been a few where Akira hasn’t even made the list!

    I’m watching Ergo Proxy at the moment. Its hit and miss for sure (what 20+ episode serial isn’t, in any medium?), but there have been some great episodes, and the art is often quite nice. I’m looking forward to the next season of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu. Also Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei was excellent.

    Off the top of my head I have never played a good game based on an anime so I can’t make this comment go on-topic. Sorry.

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