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Game Info:

Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~
Developed By: VisualArts/Key
Published By: VisualArts
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Available On: Windows
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Visual Novel/RPG
Mode: Single Player
MSRP: $19.99

Thank you VisualArts for sending us this game to review!

After the incredible success of CLANNAD, there are many fans that prefer some of the main character Tomoya's other possible girlfriends and their routes, rather than the canonical Nagisa route and their after story.  There are many possibilities for unexplored after stories, like Kyou, Yukine,  or Kotomi, but many fans really love Tomoyo.  Tomoyo is definitely one of my favorites as well, and I can certainly understand the appeal.  She was popular enough that the creators decided to write an alternative after story for their life together.  This game was the result.

Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~ takes place a few months after the end of Tomoyo's route in CLANNAD.  As such, it is highly recommended that you play CLANNAD and complete her route before starting this game.  We also have a review of CLANNAD.  

Unlike Nagisa in CLANNAD, who is a physically weak person with big heart and a wonderfully supportive family, Tomoyo is in many ways her opposite.  She is brilliant, both mentally and physically.  Her family has a painful history, with her parents having had affairs and various other marital struggles.  Tomoyo had a rough childhood as a result, and became very physically violent towards anyone who stood in her way.  In CLANNAD, you meet her trying to turn the corner and change from that old life of hers.  In Tomoyo After, this transition is mostly complete, as she rarely resorts to violence, and is very kindhearted towards those around her.  She will do absolutely anything for those she loves, even at great cost to herself.  This driven determination, and the relentless pursuit of her goals, is a strong part of the woman she has become.

Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~
Highlights:

Strong Points: Very well written story; excellent Japanese voice acting; very nice art and music; some meaningful choices with a few different endings; some very funny moments, other very touching or sad ones
Weak Points: No controller support; 4:3 resolution
Moral Warnings: Alcohol consumed by several characters, including underage; there is a scene with street fighting; sexual jokes, including homosexual ones; sex before marriage happens (off screen) and is considered normal; main character and his girlfriend are considered lovers; a kiss between brother and sister is played for an inappropriate joke; woman dresses up in stereotypical fantasy attire, like cat girl, teacher and maid; she is also shown in a very revealing bikini; she moves in with the main character before marriage; porn mentioned; jokes about male prostitutes; many foul words used, like 'hell', 'sh*t', 'douche', 'a*s', 'b*st*rd', 'd*mn', 'd*ckh*ad'; references to God or a god/gods; joke about a contract with the devil (who is gay)

The main character, Tomoya, was a delinquent in school (as explored in CLANNAD) and as such, never goes to college.  He gets a job as a repairman and recycler, taking old appliances and equipment and repairing them.  He gets his own apartment, and Tomoyo visits him very often, often helping him with meals.

It doesn't take too long before you are introduced to Tomoyo's younger brother, Takafumi.  He has a knack for showing up at the most inopportune times, and often walks in without even a knock, to hilarious (or embarrassing) effect.  He is also very gifted, both academically and athletically, just like his sister.  He is very skilled with computers, and that is evident through the Dungeons & Takafumis minigame that he wrote for him and his friends to play.  This is accessible through the main menu, or within the story on the second playthrough.

Then there is Tomo.  She is an adorable child, who is in kindergarten, that is the illegitimate child from Tomoyo and Takafumi's father from back in the time when their parents were separated.  They do not know she exists.  In order to protect the fragile peace between their parents, they both decide to hide Tomo from them, and have her live with Tomoya.  Tomoyo basically moves in at that point, and thus begins the main story in Tomoyo After.

Takafumi's childhood ex-girlfriend Kanako suddenly shows up.  She is running away from her mother who wants to get remarried after her own family experienced tragedy, as her father died three years before.  Needing a place to stay, she also stays with Tomoya.  That one room apartment is a very busy place.

With the cast set, the story goes in several different directions, dealing with the consequences of their pasts, as well as the challenges that lie in their future.  There are both significant victories as well as deep sacrifices that everyone makes in order to do the right thing to help each other and those they care about.  A major theme of this story is the deep love they have between each other and the importance of family.  There is both great joy and deep sadness that Tomoya, Tomoyo, and their friends and family deal with, as well as great inner strength that is both found and developed during this roughly ten hour visual novel.

Dungeons & Takafumis (D&T) is a very silly strategy RPG that is developed in story by Takafumi.  There are a ton of goofy characters as well as CLANNAD Easter eggs within.  You can easily play for another ten or more hours trying to see everything there is to see, or get all of the achievements in D&T.  The game plays simply: You give your characters orders before the round begins, and then you simply watch what they do each turn.  You have no control outside of the directions you gave them before you started.  Each character has their own skills, as well as various class skills and character classes for further customization.  There is quite a bit of strategy and a whole lot of luck needed to win.

Like CLANNAD, there is a fair amount of appropriateness issues to be aware of.  Being a sequel, it has many of the same issues, though it has a bit more 'fan service' that isn't present in CLANNAD.  Tomoyo is seen in various outfits, including a very revealing bikini.  Outside of this, little else is shown.  Now, it has to be said – the original Japanese versions were 18+ and have outright pornographic content.  Thankfully, the Steam release is fine on that front outside of the bikini.

Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 1/10
Sexual Content - 3/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

Bonus points:
Promotes the importance of family: +3
Delivers a good moral lesson: +3

Also like CLANNAD, there are jokes as well as a few conversations sexual in nature.  Tomoyo and Tomoya are lovers, and their sex life does come up a few times.  You can choose to have sex at least once throughout the story, though giving in to your baser desires almost always leads to bad results.  This all occurs before any talk of marriage.

A few jokes are odd or homosexual in nature.  Sometimes Tomoyo says that she wonders if Tomoya and Takafumi are together since they are so close at times.  One time Tomoyo kisses her brother Takafumi to get back at him for something; that backfires and humor abounds.  In D&T, the Takafumis are male prostitutes, and at least one of the one hundred Takafumis sells himself to the devil who is gay.  There are also jokes that talk about pornography.

Some foul language is used.  There are a few parts of the story where it is more common, and then several hours can go by without any at all.  I noted many words used, like 'hell', 'sh*t', 'douche', 'a*s', 'b*st*rd', 'd*mn', and 'd*ckh*ad'.  A few characters also talk about becoming a god or thanking God for blessings or struggles in life.  Alcohol is used by some characters after a celebration, and an underage girl has a hangover.  There is also a scene where people are street fighting.

Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~ is a very interesting and memorable visual novel that I would recommend to any CLANNAD fans, especially those who really like Tomoyo.  In considering the stories of CLANNAD and Tomoyo After, it's interesting to see how the same person's life can be so dramatically different based on just a few choices, like which girl to fall in love with, or whether you choose strength or fear to make a choice.  These visual novels are designed to help make you a better person – to prepare you for the difficult things in life, and to help you value what blessings you have as you consider how tough life can be, or the inner strength you gain by going through challenges.  Just be warned, that like CLANNAD, you will probably need tissues handy as Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~ may encourage watery eyes, especially in the later parts of the story.

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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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