The Mikado Birdgirl in Taichung is Erotes Studio's sixth visual novel release (fourth in Steam) fitting into the romance and thriller genre with science fiction themes. This is a direct sequel to its earlier title The Leopard Catgirl in Miaoli where we follow the male protagonist Wang Cheng-En in a fictitious alternate reality where the island of Taiwan is split into more than 20 different states after every town and city voted for independence. Cheng-En had to flee his hometown of Miaoli after becoming a fugitive and joined a leopard catgirl Pisuka Riya, and a mikado birdgirl Mika, on a new mission in Taichung.
In Taichung, Cheng-En hopes to visit his father to enjoy the sights in the city before embarking on their mission. However, surviving in a city being ruled by mafia bosses will be difficult, given that he is now a wanted man in the neighboring state of Miaoli.
Voice acting has now been included which adds to the immersion by helping to bring out the personalities of the three main heroines. This really adds to the cuteness of the game and also delivers on player feedback (including myself in an earlier review - yay!) from the prequel. I am also glad to see a larger amount of equally cute and attractive artwork in the CGs, character sprites, and facial expressions, along with brand new theme songs and soundtrack to go along with it. The game also has the additional option to adjust font thickness, making it easier to read the visual novel.
In terms of plot, the story by scriptwriters Yin Fan-Ya and Gui Sen has a decent mix of the usual slice of life drama and comedy based on pop culture in Taiwan which features actual locations in the city of Taichung itself. The thriller aspect has been expanded compared to its earlier title with science fiction elements being added into the mix. This helps to keep the novel interesting. There are numerous references to events in The Leopard Catgirl in Miaoli, so it is recommended to finish the earlier game first before starting on this one.
The Mikado Birdgirl in Taichung still has its cons though.
First, the limited outfit variety for all the heroines remain in this visual novel. I would have liked to see the heroines with more outfits, especially since the CG art for the male protagonist features him in a business suit on one occasion, and dress clothes in other occasions. Sadly, two of the main heroines seem to be stuck wearing the same outfit from The Leopard Catgirl in Miaoli.
Second, the game continues to finish on a cliffhanger ending without telling much about the third heroine in the story, which is disappointing. The ending in The Mikado Birdgirl in Taichung is better compared to The Leopard Catgirl in Miaoli, though.
Initial Chinese gameplay video with author narration and commentary on YouTube by 綠狗拉拉 (Adjust font thickness at 4:19)
Overall, I am glad to see the large improvement in this title by featuring voice acting. I very much appreciate the scriptwriters for pulling no punches in exploring actual locations, things, people, and even plunging into the futuristic science-fiction genre. The result is an entertaining blend of comedy and satire on pop culture in Taiwan, bringing out the charm and humor despite featuring a soft-spoken and reserved girl as the main heroine. I hope this game will have a sequel or appropriately-priced DLC to expand on its storyline in future.
Lastly, I would also like to share that I handled the English translation for The Mikado Birdgirl in Taichung. I was motivated to do so for my friends in Steam, and members of my Steam group (Visual novel, JRPG, Anime) to bring a cute, funny, and enjoyable romance, thriller and science-fiction visual novel to an English audience. Thank you to all my friends and family members who have supported me, and to Erotes Studio for giving me the wonderful opportunity to work on the English subtitles for the game before release.
Initial gameplay video on YouTube by KenpcGames (OP at 10:30)