Description: You are Ryo, a teenage guy who's life is pretty much on track. You live by yourself, you have a cute girlfriend named Mio, and you don't have any problems with your academics. Almost every day after school, you and Mio hang out at a restaurant called the Blue Cosmos. Eventually you become friends with Minamo, one of the waitresses. One day, you get wind of some very bad news -- Minamo is dead due to a traffic accident. Much to your surprise however, Minamo's spirit appears before you and begs you to lend her your life force. If you lend Minamo your life force, she'll gain a temporary physical body and she can take care of some unfinished business before she passes on. The problem is, your own physical body will be comatose until she returns your life force. What's a nice guy like you to do?
Review: Figures of Happiness took me by surprise. As usual, I wasn't expecting much since it's a game from G-Collections (notorious for tiresome sex romps). However, the exceptionally written and unique plot reeled me in and I actually could not tear myself away from the PC until I got at least a couple of endings.
As Ryo, you really have no choice but to lend Minamo your life force in order to proceed with the game. After doing so, your soul is kicked out of your body and you spend your days floating along and watching people you know lament over your physical state. Some time passes, and you're forced to do something to make Minamo return your life force as soon as possible. A seductive female soul collector you dub as Ms. Death warns you that your soul's extended absence from your body will eventually cause your body to die. Although your main purpose in this game is to get your life force back and return to the land of the living, it's still a dating simulation. Seven girls are available for romancing: Mio, your current girlfriend; Mao, Mio's twin sister; Minamo, the dead waitress; Narumi, Minamo's psychic best friend; Izumi, the astral traveler; Kokoro, Minamo's schoolmate; and lastly, Ms. Death herself. Mio and Mao are the main female characters here, and so they have about two to three endings each while the rest of the girls have only one.
Unlocking some of the girls' paths can be rather tough since Mio and Minamo's best endings have to be acquired before you can pursue them. Even though I generally disliked Minamo, I consider her best ending as one of the best bishoujo game storylines I've ever played through. It's more than just getting your life force back and getting her as a girlfriend, I think it also effectively illustrates the whole essence of being soul mates -- and I don't even believe in the concept of soulmates. Each girl's story is solid and touching in its own way, such that I actually enjoyed reading through the narratives and dialogues.
Figures of Happiness' artwork is lovely. Character designs are charming, with girls who are distinctively beautiful or cute and guys who are attractive that it's perfectly understandable why the girls would fall for them. Sex scenes are portrayed graphically but delicately, never coming across as vulgar. The overall visual tone is soft and vibrant at the same time. The game music is pleasant but quite forgettable, and as always the original Japanese voices have been retained. An added bonus for me was the removal of the V-Mate system. I downloaded the long-awaited patch and it worked like a charm. No more connecting to the internet in order to play.
Figures of Happiness is an excellent game, a bittersweet parting gift from G-Collections -- being the last game they released before going out of business. If only they had spent more time translating quality games like these instead of worthless sex romps... who knows?
Miscellanies: Extra features include a CG and music gallery.