Lamunation! Review – Live and Die By the Meme

    Title: Lamunation!
    Developer: White Powder
    Release Date: November 22, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Love Lab
    Genre: Visual Novel

I don’t generally play many humor-focused visual novels. Good comedy is hard to find, and the titles that advertise themselves as ‘comedic’ are usually an awful attempt at a parody game. Most of them have the quality and freshness of a tuna sandwich that’s been sitting out in the sun for three days, in the middle of the freeway, with a colony of ants actively avoiding it.

Am I painting a detailed enough picture here?

And then I stumbled upon Lamunation -International-. This White Powder developed visual novel is brought to us by Love Lab. I knew it was special when it’s About’ page on Steam starts with a slight tweak to the first few lines of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And it just keeps getting better from there. So you could probably already guess this was a game I had to try.

Lamunation stars our protagonist Luna, a masochistic exhibitionist who spends so much time in the jacuzzi that a prune would get jealous. He doesn’t crave much in life: more specifically, he craves literally nothing. However, he does have a social life, and a circle of friends made up of some of your usual visual novel pastiches.

The first is a childhood friend who is addicted to and is named after, the soft-drink, Lamune. Next, there are a couple of sisters with multi-colored eyes who style themselves as idols. The last is Luna’s sister, who is only technically 5 minutes younger. She’s very memorable as the horniest character: she even gives Noisy Pixel’s own Azario a run for his waifu honeys, I mean money. (Come on, he played Onii-kiss: it takes a certain kind of person to play that degeneracy!)  [Editor’s note: Sure. Makes all the sense]

ANYWAY: They do stuff wacky stuff together, and that’s the entire game. I’ll admit though, at this point I’m just trying to pad out the word count because this game can be summed up entirely in one sentence:

It’s a work of art on a genuinely memetic scale.

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When you start the game, you’re thrown in the middle of the action. Then there’s a prologue that slows things down and introduces the cast of characters before you sink your teeth into the real meat of the story. The plot is a combination of the flimsy concepts of Luna, you should do nice things for people, and Alright sounds good.

Here’s a quick fun fact or two, the Lamune soft drink in Lamunation is named after the Japanese soft drink Ramune, which derives from the word lemonade. Interestingly, there was an eroge released in 2004 that is also called itself Lamune. Hmmmmm. Coincidence?

So, are you ready to guess what kind of visual novel the game is?

Inevitably, Luna’s “doing nice things for people” leads to some graphic romance situations. Yes, there are some spicy h-scenes in this game. You’ll need to download a patch from White Powder’s site to access them. After playing, I would highly recommend doing so because it makes the plot in this game even more killer!

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The writing in Lamunation is stellar, and I suffered many injuries from laughing so hard. Who cares that the plot is so flimsy that you could wipe your behind with it? The real star(s) are the impeccable cast of characters and the rock-solid dialogue. Except, I’m cruel because the main story is entertaining and has a great setup. As mentioned before, it all stems from an in-universe meme: this involves people taking photos of themselves with the Lamune soda, and it’s all extremely wholesome!

On the visual side of things, White Powder spared no expense in giving us some of the best transitions. The game has loads of fancy cut-in shots, CGI, and some needlessly good chapter start screens. Your eyes will be glued to the screen as they’re assaulted with vibrant colors and hilarious jokes. There’s little in the way of gameplay here, with precisely one nonsensical choice, but that’s obviously not the reason for Lamunation. The amount of quality content here makes that utterly moot if you want to enjoy a hilarious visual novel.

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The standard array of presentation options for the game are limited, but it’s more than acceptable. I mean, you’re not exactly going to be playing an eroge in 4k, 1080p, and 60 FPS, you naughty player. It’s also got multi-language support, and launched on Steam with Japanese, Chinese and English options. This is a great addition that is worthy of at least a little applause.

Do you know what else applause is worthy? The music! Citta* knocked it out of the park so hard that I didn’t even realize there was a park, and I don’t even know where I parked this joke! This is not a deep game, it is based on a meme, so of course, it has a soundtrack that surpasses even the highest quality rips. Why wouldn’t you expect that? I told you it was applause-worthy…

The opening themes are incredible bangers, and the actual in-game OST is filled with a ton of well-produced EDM tracks. It’s note-perfect and adds a severe amount of weight to the mood. When fused with the fantastic voice acting, it allows the bits and pieces of character drama to punch you in the gut with emotion. The sound design makes you feel like you’ve been playing an epic, story-heavy visual novel, but really you’ve been playing through some of the most cringe-worthy dates of all time.

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Lamunation masters everything from scriptwriting, comedic timing, music, and more. Anyone who enjoys the visual novel medium needs to play this game. It is a work of art that had me in stitches for hours on end. What’s important is that this a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, but it also respects the player’s time by giving them one of the most entertaining visual novel experiences in the comedic genre.

Honestly, we live and die by the meme. Lamunation!

Score:
9/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jacob Kavanagh

Staff Writer - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so he can buy more murder mysteries. @JacobPFZE on twitter