I just finished going through Science Girls. And while I usually find RPGfan's reviews and commentary to be relatively spot-on, I had to de-lurk and register just to ask what you guys were smoking
when you wrote the Science Girls review.
Multiple difficulty levels would have been a fantastic feature in this game. The game in its current form could be hard mode, since some players would justify the balancing as hardcore or old-school difficulty.
Uh... the game DOES have different difficulty levels. They are called Elementary, Standard, and Graduate. You are asked to choose from one of these when you start a new game.
Moreover, having chosen "Standard" difficulty, I found the whole thing very
light and easy to play. The fights are smooth and done with very quickly while still providing a decent challenge. The monster's hp are well in line with the damage the girls can do with their special attacks, and it's very easy to go into "phalanx" mode to recharge your mana when you run out. The girls' attacks have a great variety between them and you can often combine them in ways that complement each other and let you take down big bosses fast and easy, as long as you put even a small amount of thought into it.
As for items, they are generally weak yes, but they were plentiful throughout the game and I had no trouble keeping all the girls' mana store regularly filled. Healing directly from items is barely worth it, but Jennifer's (the healer's) healing abilities are strong enough to more than make up for that, and you never feel like you're out of resources or struggling in any way.
In fact, I got through the whole thing so smoothly that I was constantly considering whether to start over on "Graduate" difficulty (and probably will play it again in that mode now).
Now, I don't know what's going on here... but the only thing I can think of is that you played either a beta version of the game that was subsequently updated and polished into something almost completely different, or the game was actually released as you describe but was then quickly patched (which I doubt happened, since Hanako posts all updates on their news page and there is nothing there about anything like that... and besides which, inserting difficulty levels into a game that was not designed from the beginning to have them involves massive amounts of work and can't just be "patched in" like that).
I just can't imagine that you actually played the same game that I did (because, well, what kind of a reviewer misses the difficulty settings
, for pete's sake).
Either way, I think an update to the review is critically in order, because as it stands it's simply inaccurate, and wholly misleading of the game it's supposed to be reviewing.