War is better when it’s Moé – Gadget Trial

by eternal on September 14, 2009

Gadget Trials (11)

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you haven’t heard of Gadget Trial. If you follow visual novel translation news then you can skip the next few lines, but in essence, it’s a surprisingly lengthy VN by the apparently well-known Kogado studio. Like most SRPG VNs, Gadget Trial mixes strategic gameplay with visual novel-style dialogue, but unlike most of them, it seems heavier on the gameplay. That’s what makes it feel long, regardless of the actual hour count.

All things considered, though, that doesn’t matter very much. Really, what matters more is the Tomokazu Sugita-voiced military commander and the loli artillery units.

Gadget Trial (1)

Yes, Gadget Trial is completely mecha musume. Is this the biggest draw of the game? Quite possibly. The sheer moefication of the battlefield is combined with a dry sense of humour – imagine a 10x more GAR version of Kyon – and the main girl’s clumsy boke lines are perfect for the kind of shallow entertainment the game begets. You see, even though I only recently came from playing Fate/stay night, Gadget Trial got a smile out of me hours before something like Utawarerumono could have (which would have been my second choice). Of course, the bad thing about un-serious visual novels is that they usually suck, but the good thing about them is that not all of them take themselves seriously.

That, I believe, is Gadget Trial’s biggest strength. It doesn’t look serious, it doesn’t try to be serious, and it doesn’t care if you can’t take it seriously. It’s pure comedic fluff, filled with the expected light dialogue and moe character designs. It’s a more jovial portrayal of war than Advance Wars, and that’s saying something.

You’ll realize why I’m talking about a GBA strategy game in a moment.

Gadget Trial (10)You get to fight Hitler! Sorta.

Advance Wars. Heard of it? It’s a fairly long-running handheld Nintendo strategy game, quite a bit more popular than Gadget Trial. Anyway, the game uses a pretty unique combat system that might take hundreds of words to describe but only a few hours to figure out by experience. Long story short, GT uses that same combat system, except in a much simpler way.

This, obviously, is a bad thing. Why play a watered down version of an old GBA game when you can just pick up the latest iteration and even challenge human opponents through wifi? The thing is, if you’ve read this far into the post, you’re probably more of an otaku than a gamer.

Basically, Gadget Trial does not work as a strategy game. It’s incredibly fun because I love Advance Wars, it’s fairly meaty, and it doesn’t have any major exploits, but really, it isn’t as deep as its parent. If you play it for gameplay and expect a balanced and well-paced SRPG, you’re in for a bit of a disappointment. But that’s where my first point comes in: don’t take it seriously. Play it for the mecha musume and the comedy, and the battles will suddenly change from shallow and simplistic to fun and addictive.

Random screencaps ahoy!

Gadget Trial (2)

Gadget Trial (3)

Gadget Trial (4)

Gadget Trial (5)

Gadget Trial (6)

Gadget Trial (8)

The game used to be available at HimeyaShop, but it seems to have disappeared. There should still be some legit copies floating about, though, and I can almost guarantee that there are some less legit copies on the market as well. The English patch is available here.

Bottom line: Gadget Trial is a ridiculously fun strategy-RPG visual novel if you don’t take it seriously and you prefer your naval units with an extra serving of school swimsuit.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

animekritik September 14, 2009 at 11:12 pm

what sort of naval units? futuristic, or battleship-types or what? and what sort of swimsuits? sounds fun..


ETERNAL September 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

My military history knowledge is next to none, but it’s the kind of thing you’d expect from the 1950s-ish. World War stuff, battleship and tank stuff. And in addition to the school swimsuit, you can make your bomber wear a maid costume! :3


phossil September 17, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I only want to keep the moe characters.


Noirsword September 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

Strike Witches meets Advance Wars…? Only in Japan. I’m not too much into the VN scene, but these character designs are the generic of generic. That’s probably a big reason I never delved into VNs aside from the big name games. Stupid generic characters in all their stupid genericness. This really, really should have just been a flat out, legit Strike Witches SRPG.


Blowfish September 19, 2009 at 9:32 am

You just picked my interest! Im a big SRPG fan!
Thanks for posting!


nosef October 18, 2011 at 2:31 am

Nothing like Strike Witches at all, although I did adore it, it is absolutely nothing like it. There is barely any ecchi in this Visual Novel, and that was only one part that may have been considered, but otherwise, none. It’s a great game, very simple retro style gameplay, the story is pretty dang good and the characters are just superb. The only downside really is that there isn’t enough! It’s a great game and definitely worth a try, I’d recommend it to anyone!


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