Did you enjoy Shuffle!? Did you like Nerine? Do you like her enough to have an entire game about her?
If you answered no to any of the above, scroll along.
Tick! Tack! is a fandisc to the harem moege Shuffle!, which MangaGamer localized back in 2009. It is a fairly standard harem story with a super convenient setting, one-dimensional characters, and some attempts at plot that fall flat. A fantasy setting where Gods and Devils mingling with humans is introduced, but the game doesn’t do anything with it. Despite being an incredibly average eroge that lacks substance and staying power, it was popular in Japan at the time of its release (2004).
One of the heroines in Shuffle! was popular enough to get a fandisc all to herself. Tick! Tack! is all about Nerine, the soft-spoken, reserved devil who fell in love with the protagonist eight years ago. Fans of Sia, Asa, Primula, or Kaede have no reason to buy this game, for those girls don’t even show up (although the latter gets her own fandisc that has not yet been localized). Three side characters from the original game are present, and there are several original characters mentioned but not shown in the original that play an important role.
The story follows the end of Nerine’s route, where Rin and Nerine are dating, and decided to host a sleepover party with their friends Itsuki and Mayumi. Unfortunately, Nerine’s house is decorated with fancy furniture and mirrors, some of which are dangerous magical items that did not have their powers sealed because doing so would ruin the brightness and color of the decorative gem. A single, uninformed touch of a magical mirror sends the four to Nerine’s family’s mansion in the world of devils. The problem is, they were sent back 20 years in time, prior to Nerine’s birth, and their arrival happened to change the events of the day where Nerine’s father, Forbesii, proposed to her mother! Forbesii happened to be stuck between two women in his life: his maid (Nerine’s mother) and his fiancee. His feelings can sway towards the latter, and entirely change Nerine’s birth. It is up to Rin, the protagonist, to set things right so that Nerine’s dad marries the right woman.
Gameplay consists of selecting locations to go to for the day, and sometimes making choices. Depending on the player’s actions, Nerine will either remain as is, change into a red version of herself with a more energetic and mischievous personality (what happens if Forbesii marries his fiancee instead), or become a loli. Unfortunately, the “correct” decisions don’t always make logical sense, and getting 100% completion is a pain without a walkthrough because there are many mutually exclusive scenes that lead to the same ending. There are four endings, not including one that can potentially count as a bad ending: one each with normal (blue) Nerine, red Nerine, loli Nerine, and Ai (Forbesii’s fiancee). Yes, Rin can seduce Ai away from Forbesii to get a separate ending. He can also try to seduce Sage (Nerine’s mother) for some H-scenes, but there is no separate ending.
The scenario is even more shallow than the original game, which wasn’t exactly lauded as an eroge with an intriguing plot. Nerine, even by the standards of Shuffle! heroines, is one-dimensional, and there isn’t much to explore about her character in Tick! Tack!. Her route was also one of the least exciting ones in the original game, and whatever story material about her has been completely exhausted there, so your enjoyment of Tick! Tack! depends on just how much you like Nerine or her potential mothers. My favorite character was Cineraria, who isn’t even an obtainable heroine but holds the status of a funny side character. There aren’t really routes to speak of, just some very short different endings that require multiple playthroughs due to a large number of choices. The visual novel is short, and if you don’t like it at the beginning, there is little chance that you would change your opinion even if you keep playing until the end.
In terms of presentation, the music ranges from mediocre to annoying (mostly leaning towards the latter) and the art is decent. The girls look attractive, and there isn’t much to complain about the backgrounds. I like the artist’s recent style better and there is a lot of sameface, but you could do a lot worse, especially with other eroge from 2005 and earlier. The majority of CGs are NSFW, and the H-scenes are well, very typical but plentiful. The system is also not very well-programmed, with skip mode stopping once you reach a new “scene” despite having read it before, and there are few options for configuration. Overall, I managed to enjoy some of the funny moments and side characters despite the jokes being pretty cliched, but I would not recommend Tick! Tack! as a whole to anyone who isn’t a Shuffle! or Nerine fan. Even then, approach with low standards in regards to plot.
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