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Everlasting Summer Review

This free to play visual novel by Soviet Games(Also known as Beskonechnoe leto or Бесконечное лето) features a male protagonist Semyon who lives alone at his apartment and spends a lot of his time surfing the Internet on his computer. With no goals in his life, Semyon decides to hop onto a late-night bus while wandering around in an unnamed Russian city during a winter night and promptly falls asleep while in the bus. Upon waking up, he finds himself in front of a Soviet-era pioneer camp Sovyonok with a young girl Slavya to welcome him into the pioneer camp where he is introduced to the headmistress of the camp Olga Dmitrievna, three other girls Alisa, Ulayna and Lena. Strangely, Semyon appears several years younger, none of the camp's occupants have any knowledge of the bus he arrived in and the season at the camp is summer instead. As Semyon settles into his accomodation and training routine at Sovyonok pioneer camp, he is also introduced to additional fellow pioneers Miku, Zhenya, Elektronik and Shurik and the pioneer camp nurse Viola. After an act of mischief caused by one of the girls, Semyon will discover a disused mine and bunker alone or with a girl of his choice. Semyon will participate in a few more activities at the pioneer camp leading to a route with Slavya, Alisa, Ulayna, Lena or an unnamed male pioneer which can have a good or bad ending.

Each route will take approximately 2 hours. In subsequent playthroughs after at least one good ending, an additional route with Miku will also be available which will turn the plot and storyline into a horror comedy. After reaching good endings with all 6 characters, a mysterious catgirl Yulya will also show herself at the disused mine which will further expand on the mysteries surrounding the pioneer camp and the occupants' apparent lack of any knowledge of the place and eventually lead to two additional possible endings. With the free DLC after completing all endings, there are 8 romance options altogether with Slavya, Alisa, Ulayna, Lena, Miku/Masha, harem with the aforementioned girls, Yulya and Zhenya. The story and plot is written as a romance visual novel with fan service, comedy, mystery, supernatural, horror and tragedy.

I decided to give this visual novel a score of 9/10 based on the following factors: Plot and character backgrounds: Each route will require approximately 1-3 hours of reading to reach both the good and bad endings. The mystery and supernatural elements featured in the story are somewhat bizarre and difficult to follow for those who are new to visual novels. Together with the disjointed plot especially when reading the route in the DLC content, it appears very strange where after the protagonist having achieved a good romance ending and getting intimate with 6 different girls, the protagonist would end up automatically in a romance route with Zhenya just to make fun of the system. There are numerous discussion posts in the game's discussion forums in Steam asking to clarify more about the storyline. The horror comedy in Miku's route may provoke a share of jump scares together with comical elements as a small change from the usual romance encountered in all other routes. Some of the romance routes also feel rushed and do not seem to make any sense. For those who are looking for a pure romance visual novel, the somewhat bizarre plot where time is reversed and Semyon can romance and get intimate with any girl of his choice after leaving and returning to Sovyonok might reduce the appeal of this visual novel. Most of the main characters' backgrounds are written well with sufficient variety in each person's behaviour. I would have preferred further expanding on Yulya, Zhenya and Olga's character background but after seeing that only the characters in harem ending make a re-appearance in the sequel Frosty Kiss which is also a free to play(F2P) visual novel, I can also understand less emphasis can be given on these characters.

Artwork, backgrounds and CGs: The game and soundtrack cover artwork, character sprites, backgrounds, CGs, opening and ending themes used in the game are attractive and colourful. The opening theme does well in introducing the cast of characters featured in this visual novel, while the ending theme will show a slideshow of different CGs depending on the ending obtained. Just don't ask the developer for Steam trading cards to be added to this game. You might get an angry response or get ignored.

Background music: The background music composed by Sergey Eybog are both pleasant(A Promise from Distant Days and Everlasting Summer) and stirring(Blow with the Fires and Always Ready) to match the different moments in the game. Overall, this visual novel is highly recommended as a free to play romance visual novel with fan service, comedy, mystery, supernatural and horror. If you don't mind some plot holes, bizarre occurences that seem far-fetched and a somewhat unresponsive team of developers, then this visual novel is for you.

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