Foreword: Okay, so this review was slightly delayed because I (like I do always) completely forgot I had a 6-day work week which obviously is going to crush my playtime of galge or MMOs. Apologies in advance for the delay!
Let’s get into the review anyways. As you know, my previous games with Saga Planets (or Sagi “Scammer” Planets as some Korean players might call them xD) involved Hatsuyuki Sakura and Kisaragi Gold Star, which I believe are both written by the dreaded Nijima Yuu. It’s going to be a little different this time, with different writers and a different setting; Getchu labels this game as a 恋愛ADV (Romance Adventure) which means it’s pretty much your normal galge.
However, I should definitely mention that I’m really getting sick of all these “Romance Adventure” games that skimp out on romance the most. Don’t get the wrong idea though; story-wise, this game was extremely well planned and highly intricate, while also being fun in some portions, but as it’s advertised as a ROMANCE ADVENTURE game, I’m going to have to criticize the living daylights out of this game because the romance portion was pretty much the worst thing that this game had to offer.
Like seriously. Just take out the damned romance and you have such a great game! Why ruin it, SP??
You might also be surprised to hear from me that this game was also quite depressing, at least in my opinion. I’m going to explain my reasoning for this as well as other elements that contributed to this game within the review below, so let’s begin!
In order to properly prove my points, spoilers are included in this review. Please read at your own risk!
Title: フローラルフローラブ (Floral Flowlove)
Producers: Saga Planets
Release Date: July 29, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18842
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=895714
Game Type: School-life Romance Game
Summary: “I met an Angel that day”
That’s the quote that Masataka states even as he does not believe that God exists or angels for that matter, and this is already on top of how he can see white or black feathers emanating from a person’s back depending on whether or not the person has a good or bad motives. Aside from this special ability called a “Gift”, Masataka is mostly apathetic about various things and refuses to get involved with anyone, including his childhood friend Kano, her best friend Nanao, or anyone around him for that matter.
He was always searching for what happened to him in the past since he couldn’t remember anything, and for the most part, seems do not care that much. It’s not until long, however, a girl named Adelheid who seems to know something about the “accident” a long time ago that catches his attention, and he then finds the motivation to find out everything he can to learn about himself.
Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: A very easy and straightforward game, the selections at the first choice is only available if you’ve already unlocked the heroine’s route, so don’t freak out about not being able to choose anyone besides Kano. Choices after that literally have the heroine’s name (so shame on you if you seriously get lost), and Suu gets her own route which splits off in Kohane’s route.
Frankly, I think these are the games that really need a better, more complex route splits, which obviously didn’t happen. The mere fact that literally the heroine’s names (and not choices like “Look for Kano”/”Help out Kohane with Cleaning”) were used shows lack of originality.
What I’d like to do to people who thought this would be a good idea
Character Design Rating: 3/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: Overall, the game was fairly decent, but was definitely one of the more disappointing games.
Story is the best portion of this game capable of being called “Good” because the scenario presented for the characters and how each characters react to events in the common route were quite interesting. While extremely unoriginal (e.g. school life with ojousama themes… wait, why does this bring back past traumas?), the overall flow of the game was fairly decent, how the common route was more focused more on the protagonist and his past worked well, and said common route even contained some climactic scenes much to my enjoyment. While the heroine routes themselves weren’t as great of a quality (as I’ll mention in a bit) it’s shown at the end of the heroine route, all the trouble that the characters went through weren’t for naught; there’s something that does correlate back to one of the main focus of the game, Saisu Toshinari. It should be noted that the last route of this game is most worthwhile, more info on that later.
And you’ll hear my rants about this. Rest Assured about this
There’s very little “story” within heroine routes until the later portions which display that heroine route-specific conflict. The problem with this “conflict” later on is that it’s just so underdeveloped, meaning it’s introduced rather suddenly, and resolved way too quickly. I guess it’s nice there’s something at least, but as it is, the heroine-specific routes aren’t as valuable as the common route (or the Final Route) and worked to bring down this score.
In regards to characters, I liked how the game utilized various subcharacters to present the conflict or various facts about the protagonist or heroines (e.g. Sawaki -> Masataka). On the other hand, the heroines were extremely lackluster and often non-contributory to the overall game, knocking down the score quite a bit. This trait was further amplified within the Final Route, where they were more or less absent until the climax, which makes strong suggestions that the heroines weren’t even worth anything to the overall story. Even for seemingly important characters like Kano who had the design of “knowing everything about Masataka”, she played very little role in the common routes; her role was more to cheer up the atmosphere or be that “utmost loyal heroine to the protagonist”. Same with other heroines. While each of them do appear at the end of said Final Route, that’s not why you’ve spent countless hours designing them. Right, Saga Planets?
They’re cute, but oh-so-shallow
Riku, as the heroine for the last route also shared this same trait, but was fortunately more involved in the story between Toshinari and Masataka. Again more info on this later.
The ultimate irony that as a galge, the heroines and their romance were the worst things that brought down the quality of this game
I’m not sure if others are okay with this, but I absolutely hate it when games display jealousy of other people for the popularity of the protagonist. Simply put, you see all four heroines who are considered the “Four Goddesses” within the school completely infatuated with the protagonist for absolutely no reason, and while that’s already a bad character design, displaying how Masataka would receive death-glares from “other guys” is just cringe-worthy since that’s the type of presentation in Harem Fanservice titles. It’s not like this game was meant to introduce shallow heroines, but that’s exactly what happened.
Protip for galge producers: Please don’t do this. It annoys players to no end
Overall, character design was more on the poor side for this game, because while there is that cast of subcharacters which helped present the story, the heroine’s reactions to the overall scenario were completely unnatural, such as how Kohane is immediately able to consolidate Masataka and display romantic emotions for him from the get-go once you get into her route. Basically, the shallow and completely underdeveloped romance (which is ironic because remember the genre of this game), was the driving force for the heroine’s actions for the protagonist and pulverized the otherwise-decent design of the heroines.
Like I appreciate all this super-fancy CGs and such, but it’s literally been 5 minutes since I entered your route Kohane.
Protagonist is generally better, but I just saw so many inconsistencies in his design to be that solemn and apathetic individual who doesn’t trust anyone, but ironically falls in love within a couple of scenes for the smallest reasons, and this includes how his paradigm towards Kano especially is overturned extremely quickly (That and Masataka uses the pronoun “俺”, which is an informal pronoun, when he’s so hard-headed on order and formality). I personally wish Masataka’s design was darker than what the game presented, and actually have more conflict with said “innocent” heroines in their respective scenes like this game. Otherwise, the story is one of those happy-go-lucky type of story where “no one’s evil”, and Masataka himself really lacked that interaction with the heroines in the first place (and thus romance had less validity). It also caused each heroine to lack that impact or even show-time throughout the game.
Otherwise, this score was also killed by that same element that the protagonist was, from the very beginning of the game, surrounded by SSS-tier bishoujos in addition to gathering the full-on jealousy of classmates around him, and even having all four of them attracted to him in one way or another. Harem Fanservice scenarios are one of my biggest pet peeves in Japanese entertainment and holy shit this is going to knock off points.
Furthermore, while it seems that Masataka is in action and very capable to a large extent (as shown by the common route), he loses almost all of that competence in the heroine routes were he instead seemed like the damsel-in-distress boo-hoo’ing just because he found out he was adopted. It’s nice that the heroines
deal with his sorry tear-drenched ass do something for him in this sense, but he seemed too powerless in the heroine routes, creating another large inconsistency compared to the common route where he was that almighty “Guardian Angel”. He does regain most of his protagonist moments later in the final route, however, so there’s a good thing.
Class change from a “Guardian Angel” to a “Knight”!
… Why does this seem like a bad thing?
One last thing I wanted to mention was that there seems to be two protagonists in this game; Saisu Masataka (who is listed as the protagonist), and Saisu Toshinari who is dead for the main context. While Masataka was focused as the main protagonist, the entire scenario seems to revolve around Toshinari (who is the non-blood related older brother of Masataka), which was quite unwanted at least for the protagonist design, as it should be the main protagonist making differences within the heroines and the story; not some other character who’s already dead.
I’ll bet they tried to follow Sakura no Uta’s design and failed horribly lel
Regardless, it should be noted that the Protagonist Score was greatly salvaged by Toshinari’s presence and design.
Character Summary: I’ve already talked too much in the rating section me thinks, so I’ll try to keep this short.
Lol I wish. I got lots to talk about
Kano is the daughter of the Mihano family, who is extremely well known to be a group of nobles who control this area of the town with their wealth. Cheerful and friendly is the immediate impression of this “ojousama”, who has a very frank and easy-to-understand personality.
While it was quite adorable how this girl was absolutely infatuated with the protagonist, the real crap was the reason “why”. Only a few reminiscence scenes is all you have between the interaction between Masataka and this heroine, and it’s heavily implied that the girl essentially “fell in love at first sight” with the protagonist at a very young age. What really made this worse was how the beginning scene tries to exaggerate this affection by having the “other male characters” point their jealousy at Masataka.
Kano’s route involves her family who’s been trying to match her up with various individuals for marriage, but Kano refusing all of them because she loves Masataka (Oh God this trope. Kill me). The route mostly displays how Masataka needed to become acknowledged by the Mihano family so they can acknowledge the couple’s relationship
As a character, Kano was strangely more complex, but the entire game failed to properly foreshadow most of these complex characteristics of the heroine (Such as her actions to hide Masataka’s past, her efforts to save his life and give him happiness, etc…). This is in addition to how the romance of Kano and Masataka was extremely cheap–much cheaper than candy from a dollar store, and considering how their “love” for each other was important in several parts of the story (AKA PRETTY MUCH THE ENTIRE ROUTE), this cheap romance ruined the otherwise excellent and touching scenario.
Displayed as Kano’s best friend, this archetypical tsundere character first finds Masataka an eyesore because he treats Kano (her best friend) coldly. This causes the two to have a rather clunky relationship with Kano in the middle of it during the common route. Like Masataka, Nanao met Kano from a long time ago when they were children, during an Easter Egg hunt where Nanao’s eggs broke, which Masataka, or as Kano states her “Guardian Angel” fixes.
Nanao and Masataka’s relationship is started uneasily with Kano making them first become friends, but (too) quickly escalates to the point Nanao falls in love with the protagonist since he was so similar to her. In return, Nanao has a firm and dedicated dream which she shares with Masataka, who comes to admire the girl for having such a goal.
Nanao’s route splits off from the love-triangle as with Kano’s route, and involves Nanao’s mother as well as Sawaki. The end of her route also displays Sawaki’s interaction with Toshinari, and reveals another bit of the mysterious singer’s story
Overall, Nanao’s route was just “okay”. It was decent enough to stand as a route, but everything was so archetypical. That effort at a love-triangle was admirable, but was resolved way too quickly for my liking.
Adelheid is the loli heroine who was passed out in front of the school who Masataka takes care of in the beginning scenes. Soon revealed to be of royal blood, this “Princess” of the country named Belkstrasse is ironically lazy and apathetic about many things, and it becomes questionable why someone like her would come to Japan in the first place.
Adelheid’s route mostly continues from her story in the common route. She barges into Masataka’s house in order to “learn the ways of the Ninja”, but in reality, she was also pretty sick of all the crap that happened back at her home country and just wanted to relax
Adelheid and Masataka’s relationship was strangely on the better side of the spectrum. It’s shown that Masataka comes to like this princess for her lax personality that contrasts his serious one, but continuously restrains himself as he is dealing with someone of royal blood. This awkward relationship continues for a good amount, unlike other heroine routes where H-scenes ensued pretty quickly.
Voiced by Akino Hana, it seems like Akino Hana voices a lot of characters nowadays, which I don’t mind at all since I like her voice. Adelheid was also a character who had more interaction with Masataka even outside of her route as a supporting character, so that really amplified her design as a character. While her route itself wasn’t too great, I would probably give the “best character design” to this lazy princess.
After having that one character completely traumatize me from Agumi Oto’s voice, I was admittedly more cautious about the personality of Kohane despite she was not related to the aforementioned title. Graceful describes this character, as one of the sisters in the Bible Reading Committee, she and her “older sister” Suu seems to be the ones who are aware of Masataka’s “Gift” of being able to see white or black wings. This allows the three to work together to filter out the students who are creating trouble for the school without being too conspicuous.
I’m going to flat out say there’s no romantic transitioning for Kohane at all, along with her being one of the more annoying characters. From the very beginning of the game it suggests that she was romantically attracted to Masataka, and her speech pattern of using the phrase “極み” (Translates into Greatest/Extreme) is something that Korean “weeaboos” already use too much (No seriously; Korean adolescents overuse this term thinking they’re cool for using it).
P.S. Mose is the cutest character. Period. End of Story.
As a Catholic background, I also found it funny how few of the biblical references were incorrect, and Kohane’s route just seemed to be a random bunch of events that happen after Masataka finds out about his past, unlike Kano’s route where it was more orderly. It’s nice that Kohane does console Masataka after this event, but if I had a chance to redesign her route, I would have her consolidate Masataka AFTER he’s displayed his rage/anger just to have that impact, THEN make Kohane seem like a very important character for being able to sooth Masataka out. The route then continues through the pointless icha-icha at that point, and includes a bit of Kohane’s past because otherwise the route would be boring as hell. The route ends with Suu and Kohane’s interaction with Toshinari.
As a character, Kohane was the least descriptive, and many of her traits were non-contributory to the overall story (Suu probably had more role, despite being a “subheroine”) Some readers may even forget that she’s technically an upperclassman, which raises the question why the school-life setting was chosen when it wasn’t important in the first place.
After Masataka learns of his past and now has to deal with what to think of his “Gift”, he can choose to think this special ability was given to him for a purpose, which drives the story town to Suu’s route, the Sister who has ridiculous sex appeal and apparently is super scary if you make her mad. She also seems to be extremely easy to manipulate, always bending her will if Masataka takes off his glasses and “seduce” her.
Being a Catholic “Nun” does forbid Suu to form any romantic relationships, which becomes the scenario in her route. The taboo was present, but the shit in this route was how Masataka states how he doesn’t “love” Suu even after kissing and having sex with her purely because he’s not aware of that emotion (Seriously, SP? That’s so fucking retarded), and those actions were simply because he wanted to be with her AND THIS CLEARLY ISN’T ROMANCE HURR DURR.
Dat sex appeal tho.
Obviously one of the less important routes, Suu’s story is the only one in the entire game that does not connect back to Toshinari, and seems more of a fanservice scenario.
Literally one phrase describes this character until her route and that would be “Masataka’s younger sister”. Riku is that strange character who stays at home and plays video games all day, and considering how she’s considered a heroine despite having so little information about her does make it ridiculously fucking obvious that she has some hidden role throughout the entire game. Having only a few characters aware of this character make it even more obvious that Riku is SOME SUPERNATURAL CHARACTER HINT HINT.
Like seriously, you’ve been living under a fucking rock if you didn’t see this coming
With her real identity as an angel who is described by Masataka’s “I saw an Angel”, she suddenly appears in front of Masataka after a certain dream and reveals to him the four routes being “possibilities” along with the cellphone straps which represent Masataka’s possibilities for the future with each of the four heroines, for which Riku prepared so he can make a decision
Along with how this “True Route” starts off with Masataka already conveniently in-love with this archetypical childish tsundere? character, there was literally no romantic transition
(AND WHAT’S THE GENRE FOR THIS TITLE AGAIN?!) for Riku’s route. On the other hand, I would actually consider Riku’s route to hold the best in terms of story, since it compliments the other four routes by having an “alternate ending” for each of them, along with the route solving the entire mystery of the “Gift”, “Angels”, and the life of Toshinari. As most thorough in terms of story, I rate this route the best and especially praise that little parts of Toshinari’s story was displayed within each of the heroine routes (at the end though), which the true route connects
However, this Final True Route also puts the final touchdown for pulverizing the meaning for the previous four heroines, who now have that design of being a fake, what-if scenario, along with having very little role in the final or what’s considered to be the “real” story even though it’s connected. Quite literally, the four heroines were absolutely abysmal to the entire game, dropping scores to the bare minimum. The value of the four routes that you went through only had it because the final, true route references them.
Regardless, this final route does introduce some new things like “Chains”, and goes into great detail about Toshinari through dreams. (P.S. stories that have to resort to dreams to display past events is really lacking originality)
For that reason, a lot of the events in this final route did have me saying the following:
Sexual Content: Moderately Low
Generally, I thought the romance in this game was pretty cheap. The common route is amazing and contains actions from the protagonist along with “okay” humor, and for the most part was worth reading. However, the story quality dips so sharply from there regarding all this cheap romance with lackluster heroines who do not play a big role in the common routes, that the game seemed to be divided into like two “sections”; the beginning section which worked out well to grab the reader’s attention, and the later section of the heroines which had little impact and little meaning. (Though it should be mentioned in Kano/Nanao’s “arc” that one family-love element was quite touching and one of the best scenes in the game)
As mentioned in the Foreword, I personally thought this game was extremely depressing. Basically, you see a protagonist who is pushed to the depths of despair from learning about his past
though it’s kinda weird why because he knew he was already adopted, and that’s quite similar to some of us in real life being troubled by many things regardless of what it is (family, finance, education, career, life, etc…). The difference between the real-life and this story is that this story CONVENIENTLY has several stunningly beautiful girls who are all pure-hearted, strong, and absolutely infatuated with the protagonist who didn’t really do anything and they’re all there to support you with all their might and very existence.
I hope you’re seeing where I’m going. This kind of picture is heavily unrealistic, and that’s exactly why I think this game is depressing; the game is essentially saying to all of the real-life players who have problems on their own and need to deal with it ourselves “Haha, bet you’re lonely; look at this fake protagonist who’s not”. I might be exaggerating or overreacting
because I’m a cynical bastard, but that’s essentially the impression I got from playing this game and seeing heroines so shallow and the protagonist so relatively powerless, yet that “romance” between them was so strong each of them were able to overcome their troubles and past traumas.
Do galge companies really think it’s okay to throw out these strong bonds that form out of nowhere?
Furthermore, I don’t think there was a reason for this “religious” element to be placed in the game. In Floral Flowlove, it was used to differentiate a couple of heroines by giving them the “religious” characteristic, and to give an excuse of using the theme “angels”. While there were some symbolism and biblical references used to work for the benefit for the overall story, the entire element was more of a negative than a plus. (and they make incorrect analysis in some parts too)
Another thing I want to mention is that this theme of “gift” doesn’t make much sense. So basically Masataka sees black or white feathers (not wings, by the way) coming out of someone’s back and he’s literally the only person in the world who has this supernatural ability, and the color of the feathers are determined by whether or not the person has good or bad intentions. Nothing is explained about this ability and people just accept for it to be true, unlike some games where these supernatural traits are explained more thoroughly. Considering this ability is one of the main themes, it needed much more development, such as flashbacks for Masataka first realizing he had this ability, or others not believing him. The game just jumps right into the story without developing well into this trait, and I would say this was one of the worst planning within the entire game. It’s worth mentioning how there are also some inconsistencies with this element as well (such as how Suu’s feathers changed from black to white so quickly despite the fact she had “good intentions” for Masataka, or how some people who were out to harm others had “good intentions”). This was made even worse due to new introduction of “Chains” in the true route, which without a proper explanation of these supernatural elements seem undefined and conveniently utilized.
Then the heroines. Oh the heroines. ALL of them are angels because it’s just heresy to have a heroine who’s not a virgin, or have had any dark pasts, or is anything BUT eyecandy to the readers and a loyal support character to only the protagonist. I’m just sick of these tropes in galge. It’s even worse because if you did have heroines who had problems in her past, the relationship between her and Masataka would have been much stronger, there would have been much more sympathy for these characters, and that would all go back to having a good story. As it stands, you just have a charage with a failed attempt at a good story, so I’m just so salty about my expectations being crushed from the common route.
My reaction when my expectations are crushed
But who would give a shit about my preferences and opinions amiright?
Let’s talk about the final route though, and I’ll tread carefully since I understand some people have not yet finished this game. It’s generally better with the story, but also spurt out these terms called “Chains” which is apparently required for a person to exist in this world. I’ll be honest and say this was pure nonsense because it’s literally same as what we know as “relationships and memories”. The game tries to confuse the reader with this term when it’s really nothing but simply being remembered by others (Experienced players might be able to predict how the route ends just from this information). As it stands, the final route should NOT have included this bullshit element.
The final route almost seemed like a “common route”, even, of how Masataka uses this knowledge that he suddenly gained through a
wet dream deus-ex-machina to solve the problems present in each of the heroine routes. I mean, if the romance for the heroine was developed after this, I wouldn’t have been complaining like I have for the past few hours, but I guess the company didn’t see that potential.
I think I might have missed this, but did anyone catch what “Flowers” represented? This was the only symbolism not answered in the game (that or I missed it), and I’m actually genuinely curious to what this was supposed to represent.
One last thing I wanted to mention related to the overall gameplay is that the CVs were recycled for other subcharacters. I personally hate it when they do this because that just shows lack of dedication to the game. Even grabbing random people off the streets (or even people off of Niconicodouga) to do voice acting would at least show that the producers made an attempt to put more work into this game.
I know some people who would love to have some experience with voice acting and would do it for no charge, too.
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Score: 6/10
Music Score: 8/10
- The story is generally well planned and has a good flow… Only for the beginning portions it seems
- Protagonist is considered to be active and resourceful… at least in the common route
- Outside of their role, characters are generally colorful and original
- Music is quite decent for the most part, with a unique soundtrack for Adelheid because it was relevant.
- Having two protagonists relating to each other works well in this game, though it’s quite annoying how the other protagonist was only visible through convenient dreams
- The story gives off a harem-fanservice impression in the very beginning, which can be immensely annoying. Fortunately, this kind of atmosphere is quickly discarded
- Religion element is heavily half-assed, with seemingly no purpose except for the taboo present for the subheroine “Suu” and the excuse to present “angels” in the overall game.
- Heroines are often non-contributory to the overall scenario (including Riku), also seeming to have little to no transition in their romantic views for Masataka. The final route does display them to a larger extent, though to be fair that’s a bit too late.
- Romance is one of the worst that this game has to offer, which is ironic as it is labeled as a “Romance Adventure” game. Strong bonds are said to be formed via this romance, which doesn’t have much validity
- The conflict placed within each heroine route is lacking greatly in development, pretty much presenting the problem and solving it within the next 20 minutes.
- The game does bitch-slap the reader by saying the four heroine routes are fake and only a “possibility” in another world. Are you seriously incorporating the theory of space-time in a game with RELIGION?
This game is a mess
- It really does seem as if the game has a forced scenario. Heroines do not feel natural in their actions and Masataka seems to act because the writers “force him” to act; and not on his own accord.
Overall, while Floral Flowlove was one of the more hyped titles for the July releases, I would only rate it slightly above average due to the interesting common route and perhaps the final route being brought down heavily by the heroines themselves and their routes being almost pointless. I can definitely agree that I would have been hyped for this title if I had played just the trial, and would like to warn readers that’s probably what the company was aiming for in the first place. Inversely, people who bought this game for this hype were effectively baited.
While not as bad as the previous game I’ve reviewed, Senren Banka, Floral Flowlove is your typical galge with some minute differences with that effort at a serious scenario with morals at the end. However, that last route also has some critical flaws which doesn’t make this game worthwhile, in addition to the major portions of the game not worth playing at all.
P.S. I’m having a lot of shifts this month, so I’ll probably skip on Amatsutsumi and move on to August releases. Tayutama 2 is like at absolute highest priority, so I need to get to that when it rolls around in September. Unfortunately, that means I’m procrastinating Irotoridori again
(joyjason you incompetent shithead)