It is difficult to garner much from VNDB’s exceptionally vague description of Dra+Koi, though I suppose it does match Dra+Koi’s short and crazed nature. The aforementioned visual novel is wacky, in fact, it is literally a mess. The writing feels like as if it had no idea what direction it wanted to be. At some parts, the writing feels poetic, romantic and even endearing, but it doesn’t take long for it to break down into randomness and mass swearing that takes a bit of getting used to. The world the characters are set in is a mess in itself too, featuring a place where invading dragons in a modern world are treated as “normal”. However, the messiness and chaos feels oddly right for some reason, and the character’s swearing, which I believe was the translator’s choice, adds a certain fitting beauty to it. Indeed, the chaos Dra+Koi shown us is almost indescribable – it’s nothing but a magnificent madness.
In a very short amount of time, the visual novel is packed full of emotions – one would laugh at certain messy, yet comedic parts of the visual novel, and at another, it would make one thinks with it’s thought-provoking elements, and on some other parts, it would excite one with it’s over-the-top actions. However, while it certainly did a good job condensing everything in about a few hours of content, one can’t help but feel that some aspects of the visual novel should had more time and effort focused on them – the main root issue behind the visual novel’s awkward and super-fast pacing. Indeed, this ruined itself in the end, whatever the story had going for – it’s intriguing plotlines, it’s themes – all of them ended before they even started becoming interesting.
Despite it’s flawed pacing and time shortage however, whatever were there, they were great. The visual novel speaks of themes of love and tradition – to follow one’s strict tradition or to break free of it in order to pursue love – with surprisingly ample developments and characterizations to go along with it. The prospect of love and hope is definitely a weird story execution of choice, especially if we are talking about Nitroplus. However, it does makes sense in a boy-meets-girl story with a touch on fantasy and romance. The ending was also pretty predictable, but makes perfect sense and was an almost flawless conclusion point.
To the contrary, I’m actually unimpressed about it’s graphics and music. The character designs are no doubt good, and there are definitely some pretty CGs. Dra+Koi’s visual presentation basis however, is questionable. The frame circling around the whole window while you play the visual novel may look pleasant at firsthand, but easily becomes a visual distraction later on. The backdrops are unappealing – strangely not full-sized images themselves, with the opening gaps filled up with symbolic patterns; some of them also look like edited real photographs too if I’m not wrong, which in my opinion, doesn’t bode well. Reminiscent of Demonbane, usage of 3D CGI can be seen most prominently with the dragon sprite, thought the number of usages itself was especially meager in amount – it doesn’t cause much impact visuals-wise.
Being such a short visual novel, there are not a lot of tracks, and quite a number of them are vocalized as well. A majority of them are pretty forgettable however, and some of them sounds more like standalone tracks then there are songs “supposed” to be implemented with the visual novels – that’s how unmatched their songs are. One in particular, “No Answer”, a song with a somber mood perhaps more fitting for more saddening moments, in contrast to my thoughts, the song was oddly used during sex scenes. Not all are that far bad in any case, some tracks are noteworthy, “To Aru Ryuu no Ama no Uta” for one, and it’s re-arranged version in the ending. The former is a calm, mellow, comforting song while the latter has an atmosphere akin to Celtic folk – it feels like a song coming out of Fairy Tail.
In the end, even with my countless bickering, Dra+Koi is a good visual novel. It is brimming with contents despite it’s extremely short length, and that feat already deserved applause. Certainly, Dra+Koi is too short to be anything grand – I myself was skeptic and played it with barely any expectations, and I’m glad to say that it easily met my expectations, no, exceeded it. Even when concise, Dra+Koi was engaging and enthralling – a strangely alluring romantic tale that may (or may not) touches everyone.