As we’ve previously explored, some of the core themes that run through Kogado Studio’s visual novel Nurse Love Syndrome include the ideas that people are fallible, that first impressions aren’t always correct — and that becoming overly dependent on someone is usually a bad idea.
The narrative route for Yasuko Yamanouchi explores these concepts from a slightly different angle. Protagonist Kaori Sawai once again finds herself struggling in her early days as a nurse, but this time around the ways she finds herself having to cope — and the things she has to cope with — are a little different from that which we witness if we pursue the route focusing on her senpai Nagisa.
Like much of Nurse Love Syndrome, Yamanouchi’s route is emotionally charged and, at times, a challenging read. Sounds ripe for a bit of deeper reading, no?
While Nurse Love Addiction primarily unfolds in a nursing school and deals with the shared traumatic past of a small group of students, Nurse Love Syndrome, at least on a first pass, is a rather more down-to-earth affair that concerns the struggles of a rookie nurse during her first year on the job.
For anyone who has ever experienced work-related stress and the mental health challenges that presents one with, it’s a difficult and emotional but rewarding read. And there’s a lot more to discover beyond that first playthrough, too. Let’s take a first look at the package as a whole, and what one of the routes through the narrative has to offer us.
Critics of popular Asian free-to-play games often joke that those who invest money into their hobbies are “paying money for JPEGs of their favourite characters”.
While obviously a somewhat mean-spirited exaggeration, the truth of the matter is that, barring a few notable exceptions, free-to-play mobile games do tend to eschew flashy technical prowess in favour of a constant barrage of new playable storylines, special events and collaborations with popular franchises. And their players don’t seem to mind this relative lack of “wow factor”; the immensely popular and long-running Granblue Fantasy, for example, is little more than a collection of sluggishly loading HTML pages playing some low bitrate audio in the background, but it shows no sign of slowing down.
With all this in mind, though, wouldn’t it be nice to find a free-to-play game that combined the things people enjoy about this sort of experience with rather higher production values than usual? Well, enter Magicami DX, a game which came out in 2019 back home in Japan, and which has now found itself localised for the browsers and mobile devices of English speakers thanks to adult gaming specialists Nutaku, who you may recall I had a nice chat with a little while back.
So far in our exploration of Kogado Studio’s visual novel Nurse Love Addiction, protagonist Asuka Osachi has had a lot to deal with.
The interesting thing about this visual novel is that while it might initially appear to be a fairly straightforward yuri romance, as you progress through each of the routes it becomes much more of a mystery narrative, with each character’s unique story path providing a little more of the complete picture.
Rather unusually for a visual novel where the routes are themed around the protagonist developing romantic and/or sexual feelings for one of the heroines, the game features quite a few examples of relationships that can be quite reasonably regarded as unhealthy — even in that route’s supposedly “good” ending.
A great example is that of Itsuki, a character who you know pretty much from the outset is going to be trouble — and how. Let’s take a closer look. As always, there will be major spoilers ahead.
We’re going to spend a few articles exploring and dissecting the visual novel Nurse Love Addiction by Kogado Studio. There will, of course, be major spoilers ahead.
You might think you know what you’re getting with a pastel-coloured visual novel called Nurse Love Addiction that depicts five pretty nurses getting along swimmingly with one another on its cover art. And you might even be partially right; this is a visual novel with an all-female cast of (trainee) nurses and multiple narrative routes, promising potential romantic entanglements with all of the main heroines.
It’s so much more than that, though. And that’s what we’re going to delve into from today.
The idea of existentialism is a concept that a lot of people have been brought into contact with through various forms of media — most notably for us in the gaming sphere, Taro Yoko’s masterpieces in the Nier series.
But how much do you really understand about this philosophical concept — and how might it relate to video games and visual novels? These are the things explored by Summer Loop, the third volume in the My Time With Dee Dee series of visual novels, produced by friend of the site Matt Sainsbury from DigitallyDownloaded.net.
Matt was kind enough to once again provide a copy of the game for me to explore — if you’re interested in trying it for yourself, you can find it right here!
Those of you who have been following for a while may recall that friend of the site Matt Sainsbury from Digitally Downloaded has been beavering away at a series of visual novels based on his site mascot for a while now — you can read about the first one here.
I finally got around to making some time for the second volume — and a look at the third one will be following shortly! — so I figured it’s high time we talk about it. Because, much like its predecessor, it does an excellent job of raising some interesting and relevant talking points without becoming preachy about it.
Volume 2, subtitled Meet Lo and Nettie! focuses on the topic of the male gaze, which is a term bandied about so often these days that its original meaning has become somewhat obfuscated. Let’s see if three cute girls can sort that whole mess out, shall we?
I reviewed this visual novel over at Nintendo Life — please go support my work over there, then join me back here to delve into the narrative in more detail!
SeaBed from Paleontology Soft is a kinetic novel that first released in 2015. It was localised for PC two years later, much to the delight of Western yuri fans, and in early 2020, it got released on Nintendo Switch, too.
It is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolutely masterful work of fiction. It’s peaceful and calming yet melancholy, and the evocative, descriptive writing gives the whole experience a pleasantly mature feeling that is a far cry from noisy, chaotic anime hijinks. Not that there’s anything wrong with noisy, chaotic anime hijinks, mind, but sometimes you just want a bit of quiet contemplation to mull over.
So let’s mull it over together, because there’s a lot to talk about. There are likely to be some spoilers ahead, but I’ll try and keep major ones to a minimum, because you should experience this for yourself!
One of the great things about modern gaming is the sheer diversity of experiences you can have from one moment to the next.
If you’re in the mood for hacking and slashing through hordes of enemies as the cute girl personification of a video games console, gaming has you covered. If you fancy taking photos of spooky scary ghosts in a creepy old mansion, well, there’s a game for that, too — several, in fact.
But what about if you just fancy chilling out in a nice quiet coffee shop, enjoying the company of a few good friends and leaving all the troubles of the world outside for an hour or two? Sure, you could pop down your local Costa if you can face leaving the house… or you could settle in for an evening with Coffee Talk, a thoroughly pleasant story-centric game from Indonesian developer Toge Productions.