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Little Busters!

リトルバスターズ!

Developer / Publisher: Key
27 July 2007
Little Busters! [リトルバスターズ!] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.03 / 5.0
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58 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#734 All-time
#8 for 2007
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リトルバスターズ! 初回限定版
2007 Key  
DVD
JP 4 933032 004387
リトルバスターズ! Converted Edition
2009 Key Prototype  
DVD
JP 4 580206 270095 SLPM-55203
リトルバスターズ! Converted Edition
2012 Key Prototype  
Game card
JP 4 580206 270248 VLJM-35002
Show all 5 releases
Little Busters! English Edition
2017 Key VisualArt's  
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Little Busters! Converted Edition
2020 Key Prototype  
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review major rewrite - march 26 2022
This review avoids important spoilers

16 year old me loved Little Busters. I was just getting into this whole 'anime' thing at the time, and Little Busters was my first 'real' visual novel. Back then, all you needed to win me over were cute characters and a small amount of lighthearted humor, which Little Busters has endless amounts of. Fast forward seven years later, I decided to revisit this visual novel via its new official English translation. This ended up taking me 66 hours to complete and uncover every secret because it never ends. That's a truly impressive amount of content, for better or worse. Nine full character routes are featured within this version of the game. Of which, you'll need to finish six of them in order to get to the 'true ending'.

In addition to the endless text, Little Busters sports a handful of cute extra minigames. One of those is a battle ranking system where random characters from the baseball club fight each other with random weapons (e.g. a chalkboard eraser or balloons). This battle system is amusing at first, though mostly pointless outside of discovering a couple small secrets. The baseball practice minigame, on the other hand, is tons of fun. Rin, the main female character, throws baseballs while you mindlessly swing and launch them into cats and other characters.

Considering that the main storyline revolves around one big baseball game, I found that the actual game simulation was a huge disappointment. Unlike the top-down minigame styling of the baseball practice, the game simulation is purely focused on strategy and luck. You pick and choose who's in what position and what they do. No physics as seen during baseball practice are used here. Instead, you have to look at the sprites of each character as the game, through RNG, tells you how many bases they've ran (or how many strikes they've gotten). The experience is made even worse upon realizing that you have to play through the visual novel multiple times before you can realistically win this baseball game in the first place. Meaning you'll have no choice but to watch your team fail over and over again before you're allowed to win.

One of the Ecstasy routes introduces some shooting segments, along with maze traversing. These mechanics tend to get repetitive and annoying, especially when you're trying to view all the extra content, which requires multiple playthroughs.

The English Version here is based on the 2009 Converted version of the game, which includes all the extra content from Little Busters Ecstasy, minus the h-scenes and nudity. You can look up the lewd CGs for yourself, though trust me when I say you're not missing out on anything worth seeing. This is not a stereotypical 'Sony light beams' censoring situation, seeing as these changes date well before the official English translation. And no, there is no patch to add the h-scenes back in, because nobody ever bothered to translate them. If you're looking for a 'purist', complete experience of Little Busters, this English version is the best you're going to get.

It's unfortunate that anyone would end up turning this down purely on the notion that it's 'censored', considering that the original release had no nudity to begin with. But wait, if the original release had no nudity in it, how the hell did it get censored in the first place? To summarize, Little Busters was originally released in 2007 with six full character routes. The very next year, an updated installment called 'Little Busters Ecstasy' was released, featuring three new character routes. Though, seeing as this was probably not enough content to justify buying the same expensive VN two years in a row, the team decided to pull out the classic sucker magnet. Our main character Riki gets to fuck now!

It's important to remember that while Little Busters appears to be a 'dating simulator', very few of these routes actually contain anything resembling romance. Sure, Riki goes on at least one actual date in one of the routes, though I'm pretty sure that Riki doesn't even kiss anybody in the original game. So you could understand why sticking full on sex scenes into the story would come off as contrived and unfitting. It's a bit self-defeating, seeing as the focal point of the story revolves around the concept of 'friendship'. But my point is that yes, this Little Busters version is worth playing in its PG-13 form, arguably more so than the actual 18+ Ecstasy version.

So is it good? When I revisited and completed this in 2020, my perception of its writing was completely altered. A lot of the hacky emotional writing completely bounced off of me. Many times, something surrealistic and unnatural needs to happen to resolve a problem, though I can't exactly blame Jun Maeda for his writing decisions considering the holes he ends up writing himself into. Many of the conflicts are ridiculous to begin with, which causes the greater picture of the story to become a blurry mess of melodrama and the supernatural.
On the contrary, Jun deserves credit for being an amazing SONGwriter. Most of the music associated with this series is worth hearing.

The best example of Jun's 'surreal', supernatural writing comes out in Mio's route. Mio is a good character when she's interacting with others. She's comparatively serious, and she plays as the straightman to their silly humor. Once the spotlight is on her alone, however, the story turns into ambiguous philosophical wankery.
Komari is more of an optimistic airhead, which is fine if all you're looking for is fluffy cuteness. Her route is less abstract as well, though it's laughably melodramatic, with a touch of goofy tragedy. The same can be said for Haruka's route. As fun as her character might be, her genki antics don't line up with her bizarre upbringing and insane family conflicts.
Rin is yet another airhead, though she's more aggressive and childlike than the other characters. Her route is more interesting than the others, though you don't get to experience it in its full glory until you play through it a second time at the tail end of the game. In it, her and Riki lead on a small adventure that exits the usual school scenery of Little Busters and takes on a life of its own.
Kud was my favorite character when I was 16, though there's not much more that can be said about her now other than 'she's cute'. Indeed, she is also an airhead, though much less so than the other female members of Riki's baseball team. Her route still ended up one of the more interesting ones. It's a hell of a lot more serious compared to the others, though the ending devolves into enigmatic spectacle, anyway.
Kurugaya is one of the few non-airheads in this cast. Her wit and straightforward personality lets her stand out as one of the better characters. Her route is far more digestible compared to the others.

All the routes I listed above are standard for the original release of the game, though with the newly translated Ecstacy content comes three more character routes. This includes Kanata (Haruka's sister), Sasami (the purple haired baseball girl), and Saya (a wild card bonus character).
While I don't hate Kanata's unflinching personality, her route ends up being a retread of Haruka's flimsy route. It follows similar points from a different perspective, and the same problems remain.
Sasami, on the other hand, ended up becoming my favorite character, with my favorite route nonetheless. Her character is a basic archetype (ojou), but she fits into the story even more so than some of the main characters. Her short route is simple, goofy, and bittersweet. It highlights all the strong points of Little Busters in a concise way.
Saya's route is an entirely new game within itself. It's fitting, since Saya is the only entirely new character in this version of Little Busters. Her personality is far more cartoonish than the others, making her route unquestionably the funniest one.

By the time you pass through all the build-up and get to the True Real Actual ending, you'll be so tired out by the previous melo-trauma and silliness that you might not be able to fully take in The Big Twist at the very end. Yet, while I find a lot of the story and gameplay mechanics annoying, I do still like this game a lot. Mainly because besides all the writing oddities, this is easily my favorite character roster of all the Jun Maeda casts. Put the nonsense routes aside, and each character is worth remembering. All the innocent lighthearted comedy make this an overwhelmingly sweet experience. But no matter what way I look at it, it's unique, and its experience is special. It's worth playing.
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tempest06 リトルバスターズ! 2024-05-20T21:58:50Z
2024-05-20T21:58:50Z
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Silexeo リトルバスターズ! 2024-05-18T01:11:16Z
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calvieh リトルバスターズ! 2024-05-07T23:21:44Z
2024-05-07T23:21:44Z
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Turton リトルバスターズ! 2024-04-14T11:50:57Z
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saltyshive リトルバスターズ! 2024-03-20T08:16:21Z
2024-03-20T08:16:21Z
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crypton42 リトルバスターズ! 2024-03-10T22:33:18Z
2024-03-10T22:33:18Z
4.5
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aselfcalledl リトルバスターズ! 2024-02-22T02:07:52Z
2024-02-22T02:07:52Z
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5.555598416172731e+23 リトルバスターズ! 2024-02-04T22:58:15Z
2024-02-04T22:58:15Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
epicj リトルバスターズ! 2024-01-24T22:20:59Z
2024-01-24T22:20:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Slilisk リトルバスターズ! 2024-01-24T16:09:24Z
2024-01-24T16:09:24Z
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Encephalopathy リトルバスターズ! 2024-01-16T04:22:25Z
2024-01-16T04:22:25Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hevykofe リトルバスターズ! 2024-01-07T01:43:37Z
Windows • JP
2024-01-07T01:43:37Z
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  • tphillips 2020-05-25 02:25:00.136768+00
    Was convinced Key sucked after watching the Clannad and Kanon anime.

    This makes it apparent that they don't. I haven't seen the anime for this but I imagine it doesn't work. There's way too much here and the way it's told is even more important than the what. Anyways, absolutely brilliant stuff. Happy to be proven wrong: you don't suck, Key. Might have to give the other VNs a shot.
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    • chumlum 2020-10-01 09:54:39.976551+00
      I have a slight preference for Rewrite. You might wanna check it out. It's a bit more "interesting" and expansive thematically I suppose, but also a pretty all over the place. Its highlights are Kotori's and Akane's routes, with Lucia/Moon/Terra also being quite solid. Chihaya's route is trash, Shizuru's route is meh. The common route is maybe a little better than in LB too (but I like them both). Meanwhile LB doesnt have any lows as poor as Chihaya's route, but it's a bit more mediocre on average, with a lot of routes that I don't think much of. IMO LBs highs are Refrain and Haruka's route. I think Rewrite is the better game even though it has an inexcusably shitty route included as well as more "inconsistencies" not just in terms of quality but also feel and meaning. LB is purer, Rewrite more i guess interesting.
    • chumlum 2020-10-01 09:54:49.513742+00
      Rin best girl. just too adorable.
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  • fartgang 2023-06-11 04:35:43.600811+00
    there are two wolves inside of you. one of them loves baseball. the other one hates anime
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  • 4D3D3D3 2023-07-02 02:02:34.983434+00
    who could forget little busters
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  • okayfrog 2023-07-03 18:43:18.461388+00
    top-ranked Baseball video game
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