Hi aquaspirit39 here! Are you guys surprised? I am. I never thought that I will write another review so soon, but I guess that is the power of a good eroge; it makes you really want to share it with others.
Sumire is supposedly Nekonekosoft 10 years anniversary celebration product and for this reason, the company has included a simple mini games that allows players to visit and interact with characters from their previous game. Unfortunately, since the only other game from Nekonekosoft I have played is Scarlet, I completely ignore this aspect of the Sumire and will not be writing about it in this review. Now that I have gotten rid of that, let us get started.
I hope everyone will be able to enjoy their stay here, お手柔らかにお願いします。
Release Date: 2015/05/29
Spring. April. Tokyo.
When I look down, I see a city filled with countless buildings. A city that is a home to many.
When I look up, I see a hot blazing sun showing the sign of incoming summer.
As I perspire badly under this hot weather, I take off my suit, loosen up my necktie and stop on my track.
“Three more places to visit for today”
I check my schedule for today and head for my next customer.
I work for a normal company, as a normal outdoor salesman.
I have been doing this kind of courtesy visit for two years, ever since I graduated from university.
Although I no longer feel tense like when I first started, I am still a long way from being a veteran.
“Let finish this quickly and go home. I should be able to go back home directly today”
Of course, there is no particular reason for wanting to go back early.
There is no one special waiting for me at home.
There is nothing special I want to do at home.
…and yet, I am counting days impatiently for weekend to come.
and without realizing it, Sunday is over.
Next week will probably pass by in the same way.
“Am I going to repeat this until the end of my live?”
This is, frankly, my thought after joining the society for two years.
I feel that I am being a little negative. I wish I can be a little optimistic.
However, I am beginning to feel fed up with my live.
I do not know since when, but I am getting very used to the everyday morning rush hour.
Breaking a sweat from walking to station, inhaling strong perfume smell from the person sitting beside me, getting my feet stomped on in the crowd. I am getting used to all these.
When I realize, only my ‘faking a smile’ skill has gotten better.
“I don’t think I need to improve this skill any further,” thought the 23 years old me.
Ever since that incident, 10 years ago.
This is a story of a small community made up by four people in an eroge simulation online game. They log in every night, hang out with each other, act out ero scenes, and whatever fun activities they can think of. The only one rule however that they all have to abide is to never bring up any real live related subject, because this online group is their safe haven from the harsh reality. In this virtual space, they can temporarily cast everything aside and become someone who they are unable to be in real. This is a story about four friends who only know each other through the internet.
Tae is the founder and leader of this online group. She is also the one who set up the rule that prohibit discussion on the real world. Tae loves to joke around and as a result, it was very hard to tell whether she is being serious or not. Nonetheless, she is definitely more that who she appeared to be.
Pink was originally not her handle name, but it was a nickname given to her avatar, which she later adopted as her main character name. If I were to pigeonholed Pink into a 2D character template, she would be what people refer to as uzakawai. For those who have never heard of this term before, just like tsundere, it is made up of two words: uzai which means noisy and kawai which means cute. I think those two words, describe her perfectly.
Moe is the newest member in this group. She is the amaenbou and imouto character who are constantly competing with Pink for our main protagonist attention. Since she join this online eroge simulation game only recently, she is still very shy when it comes to erotic related talks. Don’t worry though, she is picking up really quick (￣ω￣).
For me personally, this game biggest selling point comes from its relatability. I do not know if Nekoneko is doing this on purpose, but considering the currently aging population of Japan, I believe most of eroge players are working people. By having a salesman instead of the usual high school student as a protagonist really makes him much easier to sympathize with. It was only last year in fact, when I finally took my first step into the society and had to experience many similar situations, thoughts and feelings, just as described by our main character. Actually, Some of them hit so close home that it hurts and makes me slightly depressed.
On top of that, the story itself is also very interesting and it made me unable to stop reading. Some of the minor plot lines are cliches, but with interesting spins to them. That final twist though, when everything has finally been revealed and connected, made me literally jumped out from my seat in awe. It is very simple and yet brilliant.
This game is however, not without flaws. My main disappointment lies in the structuring of this game. Instead of having three different routes, one for each heroine, Nekonekosoft tries to cram all the stories into one route with three arcs. As a result, the transitioning between these arcs can feel a little unnatural, especially on the human relationship side. For example, the heroine from earlier arc who is supposedly in love with our protagonist, suddenly spends less time with him and allows him to hang around more with the heroine of the current arc. This will not be a big issue if Nekoneko were to do it by the one heroine per route format, as many players probably never pay any attention on how the other heroines suddenly stop appearing or have less screen time when they have entered a certain heroine route.
I don’t want my criticism from the previous paragraph discourage you from trying this game, so let me reiterate once more that this game is definitely worth playing. However, it has the potential to be better if it were to be presented with more thoughts.
I am really sorry if this review feels really sloppy because I did rush it. For those of you who are following me on my twitter, probably know that I was drafting this review on the plane, in the hotel and during meetings of my business trip. I was then forced myself to upload and grammar check this during my one day back home, before heading for another 4 days trip to a remote factory site without mobile network.
Also, I would like to mention special thanks to Micchi for helping me with translation on the story section and to all readers for reading this meaningless review of mine. Thank you.