Key Wishes Western Gamers a Happy 2013 With Official English Planetarian Release for iOS
Perhaps the Mayans were on to something with this entire 2013 "enlightenment" period after all. In what was a stealthy, but nonetheless awesome, bit of news over the weekend VisualArts Co. Ltd., a major visual novel distributor in Japan, released an officially translated English version of their 2004 kinetic novel Planeterian - Dream of Little Star - for the iOS system.
Taking place in a dystopic future where the player assumes the role of a junker, the Star Wars equivalent being a Jawa, the player is guided along a linear storyline without making any choices, but is instead treated to a wonderfully written scenario written by Yuchi Suzumoto (Air, Clannad). The player encounters a robot named Yumemi Hoshino who was a former attendant of a now abandoned planetarium on Earth. Although neither Jun Maeda nor Itaru Hinoue were involved within the production of the game, composers Magome Togoshi and Shinjo Orito produced the game's original soundtrack.
Clocking in at around three to four hours, Planetarian is a fantastic introduction into the realm of visual novels. Not only is the story top-notch, in addition to the soundtrack, but it serves its function to showing the power of visual novels as a fantastic storytelling device.
Who really knows what Key and VisualArts hopes to accomplish by releasing one of their shortest visual novels in the English market, but if all goes well perhaps there's hope in the English market for bishoujo games after all. No matter how niche the market may be.
No Android release has been announced/discovered at this time. More information can be found on the app's official page.