Crystal here! I don't think I commented here, but rereading this years later, I think my opinions may have shifted (?) a bit, and I think I have noticed some things that I hadn't noticed the first time I played it too.
1. Which guy did you like the most and why?
I'm one of the rare few who would probably say Rama, with Reksa being a close second! That's not to say I disliked Mitra, of course: he had charming qualities of his own that the other two didn't have, just that he's not the type I'd hype over, haha. I'll ramble about the characters (with spoilers) below the "cut"! I think I have a lot to say...
2. Do you play a lot of otome/visual novels? What made you choose to play Nusantara?
I play quite a bit of mobile ones, along with some indie ones on my computer. They're mostly casual and I don't always fully complete every game I buy. I did finish this one though; I got all 6 endings! As for what made me choose to play Nusantara, I would say that (1) seeing Indonesian culture mixed into this story, for one. I think that gave the setting a more unique flare as opposed to the normal Japanese setting. (2) There's also the fantasy element too with Avians and Komodos, along with being thrown to the past by the Goddess. I could never turn away from fantasy, hehe! (3) The art... the love interests are handsome, and I really liked the softer shading to the characters and backgrounds. Overall, I had no regrets picking this one up!
3. Which element of the game would you say was the best and which ones would you say need work? Consider story, art, characters, music etc.
Hm... personally, I thought the characters were a strong suit in the game. Taking Tamara as an example, she has a personality. Visual novels sometimes fall short in protagonists that lack much of a personality or history. Seeing Tamara with a strong, independent personality and a background as well was a refreshing aspect. She's very human, and while it may be less than easy for the reader to place themself into her shoes, she's still a breathing character, so it's not painful to read it as a "third party". The love interests are the same: nobody is perfect. Mitra looks perfect, but even he has his problems and flaws... his way of handling Rama seemed a little bit gray and questionable to me (though it's equally understandable); Rama is really complex and struggles with very real mental health issues that are more often than not overlooked; and Reksa has his own insecurities about his self-image and complications with his own biological father. Even the side characters are not thrown in the back burner. They, too, have personalities. As realized by Tamara, Asih, Yuda, and Sukma have all become like a family to her. Tamara managed to develop distinct relationships with each of them. Purba seems like that antagonist hungry for more power, but some things he has said have made me curious and intrigued about him. As much of an a-hole he is, I would love to learn more about him, whether that be through side stories or a route or something!
I'd say there were some parts of the story that I had questions about. Don't get me wrong: I thought the story was also well-done. Just that some parts made me a bit curious, though I reckon that some of this was an intentional narrative choice. For example, how did Purba actually feel when a flicker of emotion flashed in his eyes in Rama's route? Why is it that we only find out the birds' identity in Rama's route but not in Reksa's route even though they were both pretty much knocking on death's door? On the other hand, the themes were something I really enjoyed and felt my heart warm up. The way the realization that Tamara had a family in Nusantara scene had played out made me smile. The value of family should never be underestimated. It's a very touching subject to me that gets to me every time: especially when it centers around someone who struggled to feel like they had a family in the past like Tamara.
Another place that I felt that it fell a li'l short was the music. Particularly the ending. I don't know what microphone was used, but I felt it wasn't very good sound quality to me? It was a good tune though – very beautiful and serene! I love hearing original songs with vocals as much as original soundtrack! By the way, I loved the BGM. One of them was simply a percussive tune, but I thought it was pretty catchy and aesthetic musically, haha. Another one of my favorites is the festival BGM. That was catchy and made me really happy. Oh, and the ones with the piano will always have me, regardless of game. The piano BGMs felt raw and were simply beautiful to listen to. Overall, a great selection!
4. Do you have any other questions, comments or constructive criticism?
There are some parts where I wish I could experience real-time, to be honest. For example, the story of Rama, Ayu, and Teja. Or some story with Purba, since first of all, he's pretty hot himself (though what he said especially in Reksa's route pissed me off and I wanted to punch him), but also there were definitely some things that caused me to raise a brow in curiosity. His actions are not justifiable by the past, but I would definitely try to go out of my way to try and understand his point of view as well. Also, I'm curious about Asih and Yuda's romance story, not gonna lie, haha. They have great chemistry after married, but curiosity kills the cat when it comes to their romantic journey. The epilogues to the good ends were satisfying albeit I had grown pretty darn attached to all the love interests and Tamara to the point that I crave more of them. It's not that the after stories were not well-done; in fact, it's quite the opposite: it's because they were well-done that I want more. I don't know if any of those would be done, perhaps for an anniversary or a paid or unpaid DLC fandisk or something, but regardless, whether via that or fanfiction (or fan-whatever), I'd love to see them be like a reality! I think many fans would appreciate that for nostalgia among other reasons, since I would feel it's one of those games that sticks close to the heart.
While I'm aware Rama isn't really everyone's cup of tea because of his unpredictability, obstinance, carelessness, and severe mood swings... I really felt bad for him. To me, his route was just different because of how psychologically broken he was. He may be a jerk, as Tamara stated, but I think she also realized that it was like a self-defense mechanism of his to cope with how he's been extremely traumatized and hurt in utterly unimaginable ways. It's really unfortunate and tragic how in other routes he has lost all hope in finding any happiness in life that he is convinced he would find it only in death.
His route wasn't so much romance nor was he physically intimate – another reason why I think his route may not be for everyone – rather than a gradual journey of healing. It includes a journey of something other than romance, thus making it different and interesting. Even at the end, it has the feel of a journey that has not ended, but rather just started. Of course, yes, there is romance, but it's more slow-burn and "in the back heater" in comparison to Reksa and Mitra's routes. That is, it's obvious from observing his actions that he loves Tamara romantically, but his insecurities and trauma have left enough scars that he refuses to profess that love very openly with words. Seeing him smile as that truly childish, sensitive, kind, and vulnerable boy (that he initially locked deeply within himself) when he first said "thank you" is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.
With that, I felt like his bad end invoked the most emotions within me out of all the less-than-good ends. It was absolutely spine-chilling to witness him break down and snap. Soon afterwards, I was hit with sadness the moment I saw that CG. It was tragic to see Rama break down and start crying while saying "I love you, Tamara" only after she got killed and wanting to be together with Tamara and his family. It was tragically, chillingly beautiful. I also noticed an interesting parallel here: when Teja passed away, Ayu performed the Sati Ceremony; when Tamara died, Rama also threw away his life in a fire to be with the one he loved after losing everyone he cared deeply about... just like Ayu. Seeing it that way, it's almost a bit ironic. At first, he thought the ceremony was stupid, but when thrown in the same situation, he (unofficially) performs it himself.
Now, for the champion bachelor: Reksa. I love him so much, seriously. His route was also different and more informative because of that change of perspective from Avian to Komodo. On another note, tsundere personalities can sometimes turn out annoying if they're executed as such, but Reksa didn't really come off that way to me. He, like Rama but perhaps not to his level, was a tough nut to crack. Underneath that though is a boy who would do anything to keep Tamara safe and someone who he could over time grow to trust – which is something he doesn't give to just anyone on a silver platter, thus making it all the more valuable.
And can we take a moment to appreciate the whole recurring gag with the "why are you squinting?" ordeal... like that just made me laugh. Every single time. I really enjoyed the whole process of Reksa slowly warming up to Tamara the more she visits their cave hideout. Their relationship development is gradual but let me say one of my favorite parts of the game is their scenes together in their cave. They were cute and/or comedic in its own sense. Reksa had his own insecurities about his body as well, and that is something I can relate to.
Overall, I really liked the chemistry between Reksa and Tamara. He's probably more of a "sexy" sort of route, haha. A certain line he pulled off when the two of them were in Liang Ndara along with some of his other actions (eg. wound licking) made me blush! Also, when I really stopped to think about it, their romance wouldn't have ever happened if Tamara hadn't chosen to stay when he was unconscious and injured. It's funny but amazing how such a relationship can develop to that of a romantic one just from an incident of a failed hunt on Reksa's part and a single, conscious decision on Tamara's part.
I know Mitra tends to get overlooked, maybe because of his perfect personality. But the thing is, for anyone who reads it, they will realize that he is far from perfect – in fact, a theme in his route is arguably being able to show imperfect sides even given his position. A thing to note is that Mitra is the most "otome" route in the entire game. His route is probably the best one to play first to ease in, because it is the most romantic one out of the three, in my opinion, and I promise anyone who plays it that Rama and Reksa's routes are one hell of a ride. They cover darker issues; they are more intense; they have bad ends; they are more plot-heavy. Mitra's route may feel a bit underwhelming in comparison to Rama and Reksa, but he also has his cute moments: he's awkward with girls and overall that type of person who anyone would want as a big brother. I really found it touching when Tamara felt like she could open up to him about his past.
As a final remark, as one of the proofreaders for Bermuda Triangle, I can assure that the new cast of characters, while different from Legend of the Winged Ones, are equally hilarious. Man, the boys and their antics. Maya, too! I hope you all will look forward to the final game for another adventure in Nusantara!