Hold on to your seats, grab some coffee at the local café….actually don’t since we’re currently under the COVID-19 quarantine. Start again; Make yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s check out My Time with Dee Dee Vol 0,1 and 2! Yes, you read that right. We are covering three visual novels at once, talk about efficiency! This game was developed by Matt Sainsbury using the mascot of DigitallyDownloaded.net as our love interest in this trilogy of adventures! This game is only available for PC.
When I heard about this game, I found the concept quite interesting. A lot of people create mascots with the intent of making their company stay in the memory of the people who see it by using an image as their representative, like McDonald’s Ronald McDonald. Using them as a visual novel character is a novel idea!
The themes in the My Time With Dee Dee series vary between volumes. They can be treated like different Dee Dee’s and not as a continuous timeline. It was quite entertaining for me as they introduced ideas I had not interacted with before, but they all start from the same place.
The story revolves around your character as you move to a new school for your last year before moving onto higher education. Your parents moved you a lot from school to school so you are not used to making friends at all, but this time you have resolved that things will be different. According to your character, the important thing in high school is to get friends to go drinking with and to go to parties. Priorities, right?
The start is a rough one. The other students seemingly ignore you. That continues until Dee Dee appears, a pretty and cheerful girl who is quite perverted and just happens to be a transfer student as well. What luck!
Your first and main class is with Professor Longman, a crazy teacher with an oddly aggressive tone for someone working in the educational system. He separates the class into pairs for the whole year to work on weekly projects for him to grade them. Thanks to the powers of anime plot progression, the two transfer students are paired together. That is the starting basis for all of the volumes as you two work on a project and deepen your bonds in many ways. In volume two, other characters like Lo and Nellie, Dee Dee’s best friend and sister respectively, come to the fray with their own…different quirks you could say.
Vol 0 is simply a demo where you meet Dee Dee. The theme of volumes one and two can be explained as a project about an erotic thriller and a project about the male gaze, in order. You can watch your character and Dee Dee work on these and explore the topics as the stories progress. They are very interesting topics and in my opinion something I don’t see often represented.
In the case of My Time With Dee Dee volume one, erotic thriller is the characters talking about romance, softcore sex scenes and thriller aspects like noir or suspense. There are some great movies the game tells you about too.
In My Time With Dee Dee volume two, we see the character discussing the male gaze, which is the view of men about women and the world. It goes into details about how many concepts are meant to show the view of women as sexual objects for the man. An example of this being the bikini which was made to free women from wearing the old bikinis that look like shirts, but with male designers it went from a resistance symbol to clothing for men to look at. And that’s probably the most serious I will ever get on this website
The characters overall were quite fun to engage with. Dee Dee is super cute but also brings sexy to the table since she is a quite flirty person and doesn’t mind showing her panties sometimes. I want to add that she has an amazing voice too and props to the one who chose to have a particular scene of hers voiced. Lo is quite endearing too as she is sorta tomboyish and isn’t afraid to show her confidence, which you easily see when following her route. Nellie is super cute too and I loved her dialogue simply because she is a bit more of a tease than Dee Dee sometimes, but she shares her interests more openly. It is showing why she is an art student after all. The three are super lovely but due to the game’s short length, you don’t end up knowing them completely and in just two interactions you can get the ending.
One last character remains and that is our protagonist, who ends up being quite plain to become a sort of self-insert. That said, I still ended up curious about the reason he moved so much and who his parents are. I hope that gets more developed in future volumes, so he becomes a bit more relatable.
The gameplay itself is the same old visual novel style we all love and expect. This includes the standard convenience features such as quick saving and loading, which is always appreciated. It certainly helped me clear all the routes faster! That said, it didn’t take long anyway since the games are relatively short.
When it comes to the reviewers here at NookGaming, I feel like I am the one who likes to highlight specific details I like. It may be a minor point, but I want to mention how the ‘teach me professor’ segment was amazing. Being able to learn what the themes are about and the history behind them, while showing the impact they had on society. Being a cultural history nerd, this was super endearing for me but it’s a ton of text without images so beware of that before entering the knowledge lair.
The sprites are quite good, if fairly simple. It does help that there are some great looking CG’s during the game, something I didn’t expect. The backgrounds are well made too and work well to provide a believable setting to interact with the girls in.
In conclusion, it was quite surprising for a visual novel made by a writer using a game website’s mascot, but it ended up being fun to play through despite its short length. I am hoping for more volumes for us to see the story continue into bigger narratives. I have to say the following:
MY TIME WITH DEE DEE IS RECOMMENDED
With that said, I do have to add a proviso. I recommend this game for any visual novel fan, but don’t expect a big-budget visual novel with graphics and animation that would blow you away. Remember that in the middle of a sea of visual novels, seeing a small fish with shining scales is something that can be a good experience too.
If you are looking for some further indie visual novels originally written in English, perhaps The Last Birdling would be worth checking out.
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Nick has been gaming for quite a while, a decade now! His first console was the DS but the first one played extensively was the Nintendo 64. He loves a huge variety of games, favourite genres include RPG, platforming, metroidvanias and visual novels. No longer a member of the NookGaming team, but still here in spirit. Follow him on @NickMendz.