Alright, I finally finished playing through everyone's routes so I can offer more complete feedback. My first impression of England Exchange was that I didn't really like it as much as all the other Hanako/Hanabira games I've played because an abnormally high number of characters came across as awful people to me right from the start. Aasi, Brendon, and James (not romanceable obviously but still a major enough NPC to affect the tone of the game) all seem terrible from the beginning no matter what route you're on. Angelo also seemed pretty awful to me, although I should note that I have very feminist values and so he might not come across so badly for other people. And a lot of the other characters seemed weird or like they didn't really care about Malia/Flynn so I wasn't particularly drawn to most of them. Once I actually played through it, I did like quite a few characters and could appreciate when some characters weren't written to be likable, but I'm not sure I would have kept playing to that point if I wasn't already a big fan of your games.
I think the game really needs more CGs, especially on the good endings. Several endings (Peggy, Ashley, Angelo, etc) just have a blue sky as the background while the characters talk, which just seems really lacking. Most of the characters have an epilogue that would be easy to determine a good CG from. And for the ones who don't really, maybe a CG of Aasi/Brendon breaking up with Flynn/Malia or Flynn/Malia being upset at their friends at the airport
? Even if CGs were only used for the endings that currently just have the sky background, I think it would be a big improvement and make the epilogues feel more rewarding.
I also really like nightshadengale's suggestion that Aasi and Brendon only confess if you talked to them when they were drunk and otherwise they just get caught gloating
. As is, the change of heart kinda comes out of nowhere.
Oh, and I love the endings screen that was added in the update. It does a perfect job of hiding spoilers while also preventing me from spending ages trying to find more endings than are actually there.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on each character/route, in no particular order:
Peggy: I did her route first and thought I would like it a lot better than I did. I actually didn't find her nearly as annoying as all the characters did, but I thought her gossiping about your dates was just incredibly mean of her and had trouble getting past that, even though I got her good ending. It also really confused me that she comes to the airport to say bye to you in the neutral ending, but just appears to ignore you until the epilogue in the good ending. The lack of pre-epilogue goodbye scenes bugged me in a lot of characters' routes, but it was especially weird here just because the scene was already there in the neutral ending.
Ashley: In terms of her character, I liked her a lot. She was just very nice to both Flynn and Malia and seemed like a fun person to hang out with. Her actual route was kinda frustrating though because I kept getting her bad ending even though it felt like the choices I was making weren't really wrong. When I finally did figure out the correct combination of answers for good and neutral, it just felt really arbitrary. I know you mentioned above that this came from the original author, but I think it would make for a better gameplay experience if you edited the dialogue a bit to make it clear why certain answers are "wrong." I loved the good ending though. The proposal scene was really cute and I liked that Ashley actually does go to the airport to say bye to Flynn. Their conversation there was really nice too because it really did feel like they had learned from each other.
Mark: I liked Mark's route. That weird multi-route glitch that I saw earlier hasn't happened again, even when I tried to recreate it with the same choices as before. Since that was my only real problem with his route, I'm quite pleased with it now. I like how his social awkwardness is written consistently throughout, but it becomes more endearing and understood as his route progresses. The accompanying backstory fit into that arc quite well. Also, his sprite looks pretty adorable when he's really happy. It's an eager puppy dog sort of adorable, but that fits his character and storyline perfectly.
Danny: I wasn't expecting him to be my favorite character, but he was easily the most interesting and unique. My first impression was that he seemed like a nice guy, although a little creepy intense after the game, but holy crap I wasn't expecting that backstory. I'm really curious about what his crime was, but I also appreciate why that was not specified. It allows the player to fill in whatever they consider to be really bad, but not unforgivably bad, instead of risking alienating anyone by picking something way out of their comfort zone. I liked how Danny's aggression is seen throughout his route, even in little sequences like when he offers to go after Aasi/Brendon, but that it is always mixed with a strong respect for boundaries. The number of times he reiterates that he does not want to control Malia/Flynn (and actually follows through on that promise) help avoid this feeling like an unhealthy relationship. It still feels a bit uneasy, but I think that's the exact tone that it should have. I like the fact that his kindness and reliability are shown throughout the route and aren't just tossed aside in favor of focusing on a dark secret. I like that given his background, he's totally understanding about the whole theft incident. I love that he doesn't have a bad ending, just a neutral ending where he accepts your boundaries and moves on with an optimistic tone. And the proposal, marriage, and honeymoon made for a great good ending. All in all, this was just a really enjoyable, interesting route to play.
Ji Hyo: While I didn't dislike her as much as other beta testers did, when it came time to do Ji Hyo's route, I did suddenly realize that I had no interest in her story beyond completionism. I was pleasantly surprised. Her good ending was quite nice and she was a lot more fun to hang out with than I expected. I really liked the twist about her fake personality and the reasons why she would do that. It fits together really well, but I wish there was some way to make her true personality more evident in the early scenes so that she doesn't come across as quite so weird and off-putting early on. Try as I might though, I can't think of a better way to present Ji Hyo than what you already have.
I did find one problem in her bad ending scene though. She gives Malia/Flynn the painting of them posing by the riverside, but when I got this ending, I had refused to go out with her that day so she never had a chance to paint that. Maybe that scene should be mandatory for starting on Ji Hyo's route?
Angelo: As mentioned, my first impression of Angelo was really negative. On subsequent playthroughs, I did notice that a few characters mention that his traditional views on gender roles is the result of a cultural difference in upbringing thing, so I tried to be more open-minded when I actually played his route. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice his route was. I really liked how both he and Malia have to compromise to be together. He accepts that she will never fit his idea of a traditional lady and she accepts that he is going to try to protect her. He doesn't see her as a weaker/inferior person and she doesn't see him as patriarchal oppression. I liked that Angelo was relatively quick to realize Malia's innocence considering their experiences with Aasi at the hotel. And I liked that there was a scene before Malia left that addressed why Angelo wasn't included in the big goodbye scene. Oh, and his worrying about introducing Malia to his family in the good ending was quite amusing, as was her response. For some reason, I can't seem to figure out how to get his bad ending though. I've picked every "wrong" answer that doesn't actually lock you out of dating Angelo, but I still just keep getting neutral.
Aasi: My first impression of Aasi was that I hated her guts. Of course, I was playing as Malia and hadn't realized the role of the rival in the story, so I just saw her as a really nasty person who did something stupid and decided to attack Malia repeatedly for it. She seemed a lot more mean to Malia than Brendon did to Flynn because framing her for stealing a guest's possessions and sending her to the Do Not Disturb room just seemed a lot more potentially damaging than Brendon making more work for Flynn, but they both made great villains either way. I was more sympathetic to her when I saw her drunk scene and put the pieces together about her backstory, of course. And she seems decently nice in the early scenes of Flynn's story, so I was interested to see how she would be redeemed by her romantic route. Wow, was that expectation off! I actually really liked that she only had a bad route. I could tell very early on that she was only using him for his meager wallet, but I still really liked how it all played out. I liked that she only had a bad ending (thank you again for adding in the ending screen so that I didn't spend hours trying to "save" her!) because it didn't seem like there was really time for the sort of relationship that would be needed to develop her character into someone capable of having a good relationship, especially considering how long it took Flynn to even realize the sort of person she was. I was surprised that ruining poor Flynn's faith in humanity, friendships, hope for the future, etc. didn't count as the worst ending though.
Brendon: I played Malia's story first and my initial impressions of Brendon ranged from "stereotypical jerk" to "embodiment of rape culture" when he kept hitting on her after she showed no interest, told her that women never actually mean no, and even threatened her when she turned him down. By the time I played as Flynn, I understood how the rival aspect of the game worked, so I didn't have quite as strong a reaction to him as I did to Aasi, but he was still really awful and didn't seem to have nearly as sympathetic a backstory to put together. Brendon's route was one of the last ones I played and now I can definitely see why he got the worst ending. Flynn just loses faith in humanity, but Malia loses faith in herself. Those scenes were done very well and I liked that none of the standard reveal the thief, say bye to everyone, etc. scenes were present. It really helped you see just how badly that relationship hurt her. I liked how you can put together exactly what happened between him and Ashley between what Brendon says to Malia early on, what Ashley says to Flynn in her route, and the conversation in Brendon's bad ending. He's the only character in the game who really comes across as completely, unredeemably bad and that works really well. Also, I have to note that his face in the sex CG just looks like pure evil. The art for this game really fits quite well.
And finally, here are the last bunch of typos I found:
This doesn't flow well as two incomplete sentences, so I think it was supposed to just be one sentence without a period or capital letter:
I'm just posting a link to the image because it contains spoilers for Danny's route, but the word "didn't" is misspelled in this sentence:http://i.imgur.com/xkbLRbb.png
This sentence is missing a period:
I think this is missing the word "the":
This sentence sounds weird, so I think it should be "was," not "were":
This should be "here," not "her":
I'm not sure whether this is actually a typo or if it's supposed to be like this, but if it's not supposed to sound a bit off, I think this should be "kept," not "keep":
There were a few other wrong tenses in the sentences after that, so I thought it might be intentional, but I hadn't noticed that anywhere else, so I figured it was worth mentioning.