Game Review -Tomoyo After ~It's a Wonderful Life~ (English Version) - PC [Steam]

Tomoyo after game

  • System: PC/PS2/PS3
  • Publisher: Visual Arts
  • Developer: Key/Visual Arts
  • Release Date: July 2, 2016
  • Pricing: $19.99 (US)
  • Rating: Everyone [E]
  • Genre: Adventure, RPG, Visual Novel
Specs (PC)
OS: Microsoft Windows® 10
Processor: Pentium 4 2GHz or above
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Graphics: 800 x 600 24bit or 32bit
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card

Who it caters to

Tomoyo After screen capture 02
There are so many great titles out there in the gaming world that really speak to you in ways that perhaps, one person can't really explain. It would take hours if not days to truly get an understanding of what the premise was, while still finding time to explore the game you're playing. Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life~ is one of those games that will help you better understand the world of outside of Clannad, but more importantly the finer aspects of life.

Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ is a visual novel developed by Key, and is a spin-off of Key's earlier all ages title, Clannad. The title delivers a truly remarkable experience to Tomoya and Tomoyo's journey, and really promises to help you dive much deeper into Clannad's beautiful world. The initial release was in 2005 which arrived on PC, with other consoles receiving it much later. July 2nd was the official re-release of the game which is now available on Steam.

What to expect

Tomoyo After screen capture 07
Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ takes the same approach that it went with its original Clannad title, by maintaining the same art style and direction. With the inclusion on Steam there’s a great number of added features such as the very popular Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, and the added function of English subtitles for a much more robust experience. Furthermore, improved visuals were made to the PC version to radiate a more vivid look, such as reduced flickering, sharper colors, and eyestrain. The team approached the game very much like they did with the previous console and PC versions, but made sure to include a wider spectrum of options to ensure that the game felt more up to date.

Many of the hentai scenes were taken out of the game to cater more to a wider audience, which felt a little off since some of the scenes left you wondering a little. The game features an in game encyclopedia named the “Tomopedia”, which educates the player on particular words or phrases that are quite common in Japanese culture. One great example is the term is “Tsuyu” or “梅雨” which refers to the rainy season that takes place between early June to late July. This feature is especially fantastic for those wanting to learn more about Japanese culture, but also words that are commonly used within Japan and various visual novel games.

Story

Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ looks at the life of Tomoyo through the eyes of Tomoya, as the two grow together through various relationships with other characters. Tomoya works as a garbage collector and repairman as he strives to become a full fledged member of the working society. In the beginning Tomoya is mostly alone in his room, until Tomoyo starts to make an appearance more frequently. The story takes place a month after the events of Clannad, and is situated within the same area. The two begin to develop a more romantic relationship which initially starts off very awkward, but through various ups and downs the two gradually show more emotion towards each other. Takafumi, Tomoyo's younger brother, occasionally visits Tomoya's place randomly bumping into the two performing perverted acts towards one another.

Soon after, it is revealed that Tomoyo has a younger half sister named Tomo, and Takafumi introduces her into their lives. Tomo had lived with her mother but was abandoned due to her mother's psychological weakness, and inability to look after her. This prompts Tomoyo to take care of her, while Tomoya has to endure having new residents living in his small apartment.

Tomoyo After screen capture 04
This new family portrayed environment leads Tomoyo to build a more motherly figure towards Tomo, Takafumi as the younger brother, and Tomoya acting as a husband. Kanako, the ex-girlfriend of Takafumi, also makes an appearance and finds herself living in the apartment as well. Her deep and dark past plays a major role in the game, as we are reminded of her wounds she received after a tragic accident which left her feeling lonely and empty.

Much of the story is tied to relationships, and creating a more family oriented environment much like Clannad. We see a young man who has a passion to take care of those around him, developing a stronger sense of responsibility as new challenges confront him. Tomoyo also builds a more mature temperament, as she sees everyone in the apartment as one unit, ensuring that everyone helps to inspire and grow with one another. It demonstrates the importance of forming strong relationships with those around you, establishing trust and realizing the values of togetherness. Through this visual experience, we felt the sense of emotion as the game not only entertains you, but also educates you on the valuable attributes of life in a meaningful way.

Tomoyo After screen capture 05

Gameplay

A lot of what transpires throughout the novel is decided on you through the use of branching plot lines, which essentially mean that whatever choice you decide on will impact the story moving forward. There are multiple endings to choose from, so it's encouraged to play through it again to know what each ending provides. As you progress through the story, so too do the characters. They begin to realize what their true purposes are, while coming to understand what they can and can't do as in the example of Kanako and Takafumi.

Visual novels normally take on a click and read format which is what you'll find in this game, along with the occasional personal decisions as we've stated above. You are given the options to skip, move forward, backward, auto, and close, with auto allowing you to change the speed at which the text moves along the screen. Since there are really no levels in a visual novel, your progression has everything to do with listening carefully to the dialogue, making rational decisions, while aiming to capture the essence of the story. There is no level of difficulty either since your aim is to explore the many events that take place within the game, and really build a strong relationship with the characters over time.

Tomoyo After screen capture 01
Once you've managed to complete the story, the option to play Takafumi's “Dungeons & Takafumis” becomes unlocked on the main screen, which is essentially a mini game taking place in an RPG universe. Takafumi explains the game to the reader, while you take part in your typical RPG adventure.

This was a great little bonus feature that added more incentive to the experience, since it takes you away from the main story for a while, and to help bring you a lot closer to the cast in a more fruitful manner. Much like what you'd expect in a classic RPG, there are various levels/floors that the characters must complete with each level gradually increasing in difficulty. Tomoya After isn't a RPG focused game, so you'll definitely notice how linear it becomes, but most importantly it keeps you entertained at all times.

Tomoyo After screen capture 03

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Overall if you're a fan of Clannad and its wonderful slice of life values, then we most definitely recommend playing this one through with all multiple endings along with the amusing Dungeons and Takafumis. The music in the game is truly beautiful as they've remixed the ending theme “Dango Daikazoku” with a more upbeat tempo, which they throw in frequently throughout the course of the game. Your soul is forever at ease as each melody speaks to you, making every sentence that you read that much more compelling, and the adventure more satisfying.

Honey's Pros:

  • Wonderful voice acting from the original game is still in tact.
  • The inclusion of the insightful Tomopedia gives you a truly rewarding experience, since you get to learn more about Japan and its cultural significance.
  • Branching plot lines were simple but still added a lot of feeling to the overall direction of the story.
  • The Dungeons and Takafumis mini game was a fantastic addition to the game, which added an extra element of gameplay and excitement well after completion. Great replay value.
  • The novel really grabs your attention as you learn a lot about various relationships, and how each character grows along with each encounter.
  • Wonderful music to keep you immersed and relaxed through the entire experience.

Honey's Cons:

  • Short story, roughly 10 hours with one playthrough, with the added 20 for replay value (multiple endings) and RPG section.
  • No 1080p option.
  • Would've liked to see the more hentai side of the story much like its original.
  • No option for using a gamepad.

Tomoyo After screen capture 06

Honey's Final Verdict(Thoughts):

The lack of 1080p in an era where high definition is a staple was a downer, but didn't take away from the actual gameplay. While we would've liked the game to really encompass everything from the original including the hentai scenes, the game itself is very moving as it helps you to realize the importance of family values and love. The game moves at a nice pace for the reader, while helping them understand a little more behind the life of Tomoyo and Tomoya along their maturation. The Tomopedia was an excellent addition, since it gave the reader a chance to learn more about certain words and terms that are commonly used in Japanese culture.

In spite of the game being a point and click title, we would've liked if they gave you the option to switch in a PC gamepad to give you the original PS2 feel. The art style was very reminiscent of the 2005 original which we admired, but the characters such as Tomoyo looked slightly different from the anime version which threw us off initially. Not a major issue by any means, but for those who truly love the Clannad series may find it off putting a little.

The novel portion of the game was surprisingly quick for the first playthrough, which was a little unfortunate since it would've been nice to know a little more about each character. The multiple endings however make up for that, and reel you right back in. This is perhaps why Key decided to throw in the RPG mini game also to keep the player engaged well after completion, which was an added plus for sure.

If this is your first time playing a visual novel, don't hesitate to try it as the story compels you enough to stay engaged, while the humor brings everything together for a complete package. What's important is the wonderful experience you get from it all, while coming to understand a little about yourself as well.

Overall, Tomoyo After ~ It's a Wonderful Life ~ captivates you with a warm story about love, sadness, helping us to realize the values of responsibility, and the growth process throughout life. We highly recommend checking it out, and of course if you have any other anime games you'd like for us to review, be sure to let us know in the comments section down below.
As always, for all things anime, keep it locked here on Honey's Anime. Take care and have fun!

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Rob "NualphaJPN" B.