Foreword: I tried, guys… I swear that I tried my best to NOT become disgusted at this title, but just as how chocolate has some bitter taste or how watermelon tastes sweeter if you put salt on it, this game reminded me of what “romance” shouldn’t be.
Well, it’s Hook that we’re talking about… I’ve only played a few games from them, and this happens to be my third one. I kinda had a good impression with the two games before this, but I didn’t expect the third one to be as if I was forced table sugar down my throat. Actually, that’s a damn good metaphor; I was forced table sugar down my throat.
In short, I didn’t like this. No drama; cute but highly cliche characters; corresponding storyline, but oh-so-boringly slow and leads to really nothing. When it comes to the “romance” genre, pass on Hook’s games and try something else. You’ll thank me for doing that.
Title: Lovely Quest
Release Date: September 28, 2012
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v10341
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=740659
Game Type: Romance Novel with RTC (real-time choices)
Summary: Zenichi is a normal student involved in a school that’s involved in a merging of a male school with a female school. This merge soon formed couples all over the place, and the school has recently been struggling with the fact that some couples would be too brazen about their actions within the school. This is why the school decided to formulate a “Lovely Smile” group, who would go about determining what kinds of actions are “pure” and “impure”.
Zenichi is naturally scouted into this group, and despite it being a “group”, he’s pretty much the only member. He does, however, have the freedom to ask any girl to become his partner to determine the “purity” of a given action, and perhaps this event will allow Zenichi to realize his feelings for a girl that he didn’t have before…
Story Length: Moderately Short (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Easy
Comments: RTC refers to the system where you are given a “choice” (in this game, there’s only one choice), but you can do it within a certain time period. The time period you select becomes your choice, and the dialogue seems to vary depending on how long you “wait” before you make the decision.
Frankly, this is highly unnecessary. I’d want the storyline to improve instead, but as far as I’m concerned, Hooksoft is the only company that does this (let me know if I’m wrong), so I guess they’re “unique” in this sense. (LB had this element for their mini-game, but it didn’t affect the overall story, so I exclude it)
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 2/10
Game Quality: Moderately High
Overall Rating: 3/10
Rating Comments: A huge cut in the ratings, the story because there’s really no flow, and the settings are highly cliche. The same plots repeat pretty much endlessly, and there’s no theme within each of the heroine routes. I’ll try to get into detail of this with the character summaries.
Character design gets a cut for the same reason, except it gets salvaged somewhat by the CG. In a sense, this game is even worse than many of the nukige out there…
Character Summary: One of the plus sides of games like this is that it’s oh-so-easy to write up character summaries, because of the fact that there’s no plot to spoil. LOL!
Hami is first. As the childhood friend of Zenichi and the granddaughter of the school headmaster, this cliche character is considered a “deredere” character, or someone who is helplessly in love with the protagonist. Obviously, this characteristic is not explained (why would character design fall so much if it was?) throughout the story, and most of Hami’s route involves being bewildered by Zenichi’s actions in the most exaggerated manner.
Then we go to Mizuho, who is Zenichi’s younger sister. The two are blood-related by birth, but while the younger one is beautiful, intelligent, and extremely popular, the older sibling is just a normal guy. This cliche setting is increased by the fact that Mizuho has some traits of a tsundere as well, which is shown early within the game. Despite the CV being Yoshida Mayumi (an awesome CV), I couldn’t really appreciate this character for being too “unreal”.
Next is Aino, a transfer student from Europe, with my best guess being France according to her route. Energetic and always curious, this stereotypical character fits in the role of a “genkiko” (Energetic girl). Always looking for something new, everything in Japan seems to amazes this girl who spent most of her life in Europe. It also seems as if Zenichi’s dad was Aino’s original teacher, and the initiation for her to transfer over in the first place. Because of this, Aino finds Zenichi comfortable, and agrees to assist him with the “Lovely Smile” activities.
Then we have Iroha, another tsundere/sadistic character. She loves to enjoy seeing others suffer mentally, and Zenichi is not an exception. Despite this, what I hate about this character is that she has a “cute side” that she tries to hide from everyone else… but it appears so easily in front of the protagonist, easily mesmerizing him to this girl who always act coldly. CV is the same as Yune from Amairo Islenauts, so this character correspondence made me laugh originally.
Last Ayaka, the Vice President of the Student Council. She originally agrees to the Lovely Smile activities, and even agrees to assist Zenichi with the differentiation between “pure” and “impure”. An upperclassman adored by many of the students including Zenichi himself, this is your typical “senpai-route” that you can literally find in many other titles. Ayaka is also detached from the rest of the members; many of the scenes only involve the four heroines mentioned previously.
Sexual Content: Slightly High
Comments: So the greatest irony within this story is its entire plot. Originally, Zenichi is supposed to differentiate what’s pure from impure, but often ends up performing those same “impure” activities right in school, regardless of whether or not if it’s in public or private (aka, H-scenes in an empty classroom). Simply put, the beginning scenes show couples perhaps doing something that would be deemed acceptable in public, but Zenichi (in an effort to clear up this “impurity”) ends up doing something worse. So this “overall irony” ultimately slashed down the story rating to near 0.
I guess it’s a plus that H-scenes for the subheroines were also included…?
Yeah, no. Focus on the damn storyline, not H-scenes.
The “embarrassment” of both the protagonist and the heroine was also highly exaggerated, and this really disgusted me. Call me cynical if you want, but such a personality is very contradictory in my eyes–if you’re too embarrassed to even look at your partner, how do you even manage to engage in sexual activities or spend quality time together? It’s also a minus that each route seems way too short–the characters fall in love for the most trivial reasons (sometimes, no reason at all).
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Quality: Moderately High
Music Quality: Moderate
Addictiveness: Very Low
Conclusion: A very poor Hooksoft game that I thought was a waste of time. It’s really sad how these kinds of companies would immediately tag “romance” with blushed faces and H-scenes, which doesn’t apply to the real world, nor is pleasing for the eyes of the reader like me.