Foreword: I personally found myself picking this game up when I heard from a person named Zen, who works with Micchi back in Hau Omochikaeri in delivering previews of new releases every month (for which they really deserve more credit to be perfectly honest). For the most part, he has a very pessimistic
(and humorous) attitude towards these new releases, but you can rarely see him being optimistic for some games. These are the games I generally want to try, because as someone who has a similar mindset as Zen, I imagine I might have a relatively similar preferences or tastes.
For the most part, this game was hilarious. Like seriously. There’s a lot of nonsense humor which really works if you know much about the otaku subculture and its taboos. Obviously though, being funny alone does not create a good game, so let’s get on with the review to see if this is a title you should try!
Producers: Asa Project
Release Date: November 25, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19444
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=906632
Game Type: Nonsense Comedy Parody (?) Novel
Summary: Sousuke is a relatively normal guy with interests in the otaku subculture. He shares the same interests with his younger sister Nanaru, who loves cute things such as idols, and is involved in a club specific for the groups of people who enjoy anime, games, or even things like mobile games.
While his life is peaceful with this group of friends, two people are suddenly introduced to his surroundings. One is his actual biological sister who was separated from him at a young age due to a divorce, and the other is an upperclassman who stalks the boy claiming she fell in love at first sight!
This along with the current relationships he has with Nanaru and his childhood friend Maho, there will most definitely be some love triangles involved!
and ice cream. Can’t forget ice cream.
Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderate
Comments: Asa Project did well in this first game I experience from them with the choices which seems relatively mindless, but rather interactive. It made me think about what choices would lead to which route, and even for characters like Shiina, she literally tells you which choices to pick to get into her route right from the beginning (I thought this was a joke, but it wasn’t!)
You can diverge into Cara and Akane’s routes as well, though I should mention unless you liked these characters specifically, they’re not worth going through.
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 5/10
Rating Comments: So to the comments.
The characters are what makes this game worth your time, as colorful characters who are the center of all the jokes, comedy, and attention. The game doesn’t hesitate to serve the character’s traits or attractive features in front of you on a silver platter, so you immediately know which characters you genuinely like right from the get-go. As mentioned by the aforementioned individual who inspired me to try this game, Sankaku Renai was very simple and clean. No gimmicks, no trickeries, and no bullshit.
On the other hand, that same thing that made this game clean also made it TOO clean… or in other words, shallow and unmemorable. Jokes were funny, but they would be hard to understand for individuals who are not experienced with the genre (i.e. If someone who’s just coming into galge played this game, they would be thoroughly confused), and since the comedy was all this game had to offer to the readers, it got very awkward when the story went over to the resolution of the “love triangle” which was more serious than anything else (not to mention that said love triangle wasn’t even properly developed). Basically, the game has the extremes of comedy and drama and no in-between transitions to the point you’re laughing at one scene and the next is all serious and gloomy.
Though most of the game is more comical than anything else
The main problem with the story was that the game shouldn’t have taken itself seriously and it did. The “love triangles” used for the story were very poorly developed especially considering said “romantic transition” between characters were nonexistent. Expect archetypical stories in terms of the romance department with excessively blushed faces or the lack of taboos (in the case of Nanaru/Suzu), which admittedly was too great of a contrast from the otherwise funny introduction and the large amount of jokes presented in the game.
Protagonist is the least of the crew purely because even as the center of said love triangle(s), he really has nothing to offer to the heroines. He’s not unique like others, and it’s only his past relationships (or purely the design of the story in case of Shiina) which makes him a romantic partner for the heroines. He has comedy of his own and contributes to the story, but this was far too “typical” and not a good design. If at all, I really would have liked for him at least to be extremely knowledgeable about the otaku subculture or at least be intelligent in terms of academics; anything which would differentiate him from any other guy in his classroom.
Or else readers might wonder why the heroines like him in the first place
Nanaru is the step-sister of Sousuke and not actually blood-related to him since she became his younger sister as Sousuke’s father remarried to a woman who had a child. Originally very quiet around Sousuke, our protagonist works hard to befriend this younger sister through various means, and soon they became the best of friends who enjoy the same preferences in cute “idol” anime.
Nanaru really seems like that character who is “too close” to her brother, to the point the re-introduction of a REAL younger sister startles her greatly and challenges her paradigm. Similar to how she was unable to get along with Sousuke in the first place, she is unable to get along with Suzu when she appears and seems to grab the attention of her “dear older brother”, which displays a love triangle (?) right off the bat.
Nanaru’s route focuses mostly on that very fact, that if Sousuke’s family weren’t torn apart in the first place, she wouldn’t have met with him at all, and she is now unable to be neither happy or sad about the fact Suzu is added onto this fray and she herself finally realizing her romantic interest for someone she knew as an older brother all along.
Overall, Nanaru was a nice twist to a typical “imouto” character which is usually locked on to an archetypical design. That isn’t to say that her route was any unique, but it didn’t make her route annoying, so that’s always a good thing. As with the rest of the routes in this game, I just found it unfortunate the love triangle was taken too seriously all of a sudden.
Suzu is the younger sister who is actually related to Sousuke by blood, and joins in the fray when her grandmother who was taking care of her fell ill. While Sousuke and his father was happy to welcome the once former family member in their homes, their main worry was that Suzu might not do well with Nanaru and Momiji (Sousuke’s step-mother). Their worries were for naught however, as Suzu is immediately welcomed by both of them despite having some kinks with Nanaru, and likewise participates in the B-Club with her own otaku-ness for fantasy and anything “cool”. The humor for this character often stems from how she has another, more darker side to this seemingly innocent imouto.
Contrary to the other younger-sister counterpart, Suzu is more traditional as a younger sister, being well-behaved, intelligent, and good at housework. She also receives attention after working at the beach house for her looks
and skills at making yakisoba, and later events fuel Sousuke’s affection for someone who was once his younger sister.
As with any other characters in this game, I was okay with Suzu’s design. It’s just that like Nanaru’s route, the love triangle is taken too seriously and the romance between the two characters are more flimsy than wet rice paper (while also being rushed excessively). It’s the typical “I suddenly find my blood-related younger sister to be irresistible” and vice versa.
Probably the least of the routes out there (aside from the subheroine routes), Maho is that one character who is almost like a guy friend to Sousuke due to her preference in fighting games over anything else. She is always happy to join anyone to a good round of fighting games, and is very skilled at any kind; easily beating even the national champions.
Maho actually has a very good design of having a history of romance with Sousuke in the past, as Sousuke genuinely liked this girl who took care of him occasionally when he was down from his parents’ divorce. However, due to receiving joke confessions herself, Maho ends up treating Sousuke’s as such, and ultimately rejecting it once she realizes he is serious. The game hints that this rejection was due to her own embarrassment, but I felt that this concept wasn’t fully “pulled out” more, meaning if Maho really rejected Sousuke due to “embarrassment”, the game should have really gone through more detail on how she came to like him, her own monologues, and even maybe her point of view when interacting with Sousuke (though this last one is actually more prevalent in Shiina’s route)
Like other routes, the love triangle was not that great and I actually thought it would have been a “better” love triangle to have Maho and maybe Suzu/Nanaru instead, purely because the former has memories of the three of them when they were young and the latter has the time spent with Sousuke. I’ll explain what I mean in the comments section down below.
The last of the characters is Shiina, an upperclassman who comes to Sousuke with an immediate confession that he fell in love with him at first sight. There are jokes about how she comes to like his “looks”, but the real reason for this affection is never defined.
Regardless, Shiina’s hobbies are mostly eroge as she boldly claims, and it really seems that this stalker has no sense of shame or humility in her hobbies. This translates to how she literally tells the reader the choices he needs to make to enter her route (you think it’s a joke; but it’s actually accurate). On the flip-side, most of her brazen attitude is just a facade for her being unable to make friends or get close with anyone, which is slowly peeled in her own route as Sousuke genuinely feels affection for the upperclassman who accepts him purely for what he is.
Overall, I enjoyed Shiina’s character the most (and maybe Nanaru as well) purely for the fact these two were the characters with the most amount of humor. Even though Shiina’s romance was arguably the most shallow one out of all four heroines (due to completely lacking a background), she compensated that with a large amount of “deredere” and sexual innuendos which added to the comedy of her route. Not surprisingly Shiina was my favorite character despite having one of the worse routes.
Her design itself was pretty cute in my opinion
Sexual Content: Moderate
So this game is simple; it’s a lot of jokes and nonsense humor along with occasional breaking of the fourth wall in regards to the otaku subculture, but that really seemed to be it. The romance was never a main thing (and thank god it wasn’t), but the game gives the “love triangles” too much seriousness later in the game which was a big contrast. It’s almost as if the producers realized that there was a limit to how much jokes they can have in the game and decided to end the story with two characters hooking up and stick some H-scenes in there and ta-da there you have it.
It was indeed simple, but extremely shallow. There wasn’t any “story” or anything to learn from this game. It was definitely not like some dramatic love triangles such as the ones from White Album 2, but on the other hand (and to be fair to this game), Sankaku Renai wouldn’t have “ended” with said love triangles giving a proper conclusion. Not like you can keep using the same jokes for endless hours
though the jokes are the real “meat” of this game.
Even the heroine interactions weren’t too meaningful (but at least it was there >.,>)
So it’s sufficient enough to say that at least regarding this game, you should only play it for its jokes and maybe the route of a couple characters you found to be interesting
or pursue Cara because Tono Soyogi is a fucking goddess (and holy shit she actually says the word “fuck”. GIVE ME BACK MY INNOCENT SOYOGI), but keep it as such because aside from the humor, this game isn’t really worth it. It’s only average at best and at least for a player who focuses on story much more than anything else, the spontaneous serious atmosphere of love triangles was more OCD-inducing due to the lack of background or development.
More like I personally thought the “pairing” for said love triangles were rather awkward. Why have it such that even though the common route suggests all four heroines have feelings for the protagonist, the game divides into two arcs depending on the choices you’ve made, so that either both the younger sisters or the childhood friend + upperclassman combo loses that affection? If at all, they should have made the game something similar to Aozora Stripe or at least “pair” up the characters in a much more intricate and meaningful way. It’s just unnatural for say Shiina to suddenly stop pursuing Sousuke just because you entered the “imouto route”.
Like why wouldn’t Suzu be jealous of her brother’s relationship with other girls, regardless of who they were?
One other thing that rustled my jimmies about this game was that there were no traditional save/load feature. It was instead “bookmarks” that you literally had to create and delete the old one, and as someone who likes to be organized with my savedata, this annoyed the living daylights out of me.
Affection for the Characters: Moderately High
CG Score: 6/10. Decent artwork, though the game lacks normal CGs almost excessively
Music Score: 4/10. Pretty generic for the most part. Not too much of a fan of the Opening nor the Ending
- The game has amazing humor for which it should be recognized. Take note, however, that it may be harder to understand for someone who is not too familiar with the otaku subculture or other things like mobile gaming.
- Heroines are generally very colorful and contribute much to the humor
- The two subheroines also receive routes of their own. I generally marked this as a plus because of how much character they have as well.
- Other than the high quality humor, the game has literally nothing to offer to the readers.
- The Love Triangle was an awkward, spontaneous, incoherent, and mismatched conclusion for each route. The seriousness was too great of a contrast with the otherwise humorous atmosphere created in the beginning
- Considering said “love triangle” was supposed to be the core story, the romance behind it are flimsy and weak, making this game have one of the worst “story” you can have.
- Protagonist is not considered ideal, and offers nothing to improve the game’s quality.
Overall, Sankaku Renai was that game that you’d probably pick up so you can laugh mindlessly for a few minutes. The parody works nicely to lighten the mood and induce laughter, but that really seems to be all the game has to offer. If anyone plays this for the story or love triangles, they’ll quickly find themselves thoroughly disappointed at how undeveloped it is in the first place.