Dharker Studio's eleventh game, released in February of 2017, was nothing more and nothing less, than Beauty Bounce. The name may bring back memories of another similarly-titled game; Beach Bounce. Beauty Bounce serves as a sequel to Beach Bounce, although in practice it works more like a spin-off.
It feels good to be back at the Beach Bounce resort, and, just like last time, we play as Tomo, a young man who inherited the resort from his grandmother. Everything was going as planned, until the bank starts reviewing all of its business loans, and discovers the numbers for the beach resort aren't up to date. The bank calls Tomo for a special meeting, to decide how things will go, and, if nothing else works, the resort will be forced to close its doors. To convince the bank directors to continue investing in the resort, Hiromi, a bank representative, dedicates herself to go through the accounts personally, while spending some days in the resort. Will Tomo sacrifice his happiness for the sake of the resort? Or will his selfishness ruin the job of the entire team?
Being back after a couple of years sure adds to the hype, and some familiar faces are still around. The naughty Yuuki is still a workaholic, the voluptuous red head Aiko is still the expert in beachy sports, and Sakura, the mischievous one, is still just working part time. They are all the remaining memories from the past, as the other girls are currently pursuing other goals, but players get the chance to meet a couple of new characters as well. Chiasa, a shy and cute pink-haired hottie, friends with Aiko, who accepts to work at the resort, and Hiromi, the bank representative. To make things even more interesting, it’s currently the off season, and to gain extra profit, a beauty pageant is being held, to serve as a promotional campaign for the summer season, and at the same time, entertain the current patrons.
Naturally, players can and will use the beauty pageant as their opportunity to further romance with whatever character they decide to. The events of Beach Bounce are barely relevant anymore, as Tomo seems to be focused on work, rather than relationships, thus, new opportunities arise, especially with the new girls around the resort.
As the story goes, Beauty Bounce shares very little with its predecessor, except for the characters and general design. It’s highly recommended to have played Beach Bounce at some point, or at least remember its characters, but a short recap is available for those who missed one of the best Visual Novels by Dharker Studio.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, the game is short! While it’s nothing new for certain titles to be short, assuming they have multiple endings, which is the case here. Although considering how long Beach Bounce was, this feels more like an extra chapter that could perfectly well be sold as a DLC. Then again, looking at the lowest price ever on Steam (1.80$), it’s more than fair.
Beauty Bounce is your traditional Visual Novel, with crucial choices across its plot, in which the player will determine his own ending. including whether or not you're successful in maintaining the resort. Dialogues follow the consistency of the characters first introduced in Beach Bounce; their personalities are completely untouched, and, if one enjoyed them, will likely be thrilled to revisit their company once again. Tomoyo is also unaffected, and players should expect the same protagonist across a handful different endings, each with up to two hours of unique content depending on your decisions.
Visually, Beauty Bounce doesn’t change or alter its design direction from what we’ve seen in Beach Bounce, still offering the same 2D renders, through a western approach, in a cartoonish style, but very detailed and appealing. Plus, let’s not forget the adult factor which is still present of course. The design choices also apply to the new characters introduced in this chapter, maintaining the quality fidelity one would expect. Renders have some variations, but they are mostly what they were previously seen, at least when comes to expressions. Their positions and style are identical, which may or may not be a good thing, but some minor changes would’ve been welcome to characters previously seen, just to shake things up. Either way, they are still provocative and sexually engaging, which was a strong selling point for Beach Bounce, which I’m glad it’s still active in this sequel.
The backgrounds were reused from Beach Bounce as well, but not all of course. Some new ones can be spotted during new activities, while others are exactly the same. Would be interesting to see some changes, even if minor, but we have to assume the directions was to go for straight-up nostalgia. Assuming everyone played Beach Bounce, (because if you didn’t, why haven’t you?!), what to expect from the artwork is already well known.
Some noteworthy cutscenes (or special scenes, in this case), are available, with hand drawn events, depicting unique visuals and scenery. An Directors Cut Adult Uncensored Patch is available through the official Dharker Studio website. This patch unlocks nudity, but adds little when it comes to actual gameplay content. At the end of the game, Tomo can further romance with the chosen character, ending in full nudity, but it’s far from the amazing sexual content delivered in Beach Bounce, which went further ahead and made it into a full experience. In Beauty Bounce, players can expect visual nudity, but almost no interaction.
As far as gameplay goes, the big incursion is without any doubt, some extra sound effects associated with characters. Running, closing doors, or even simply dropping a pile of papers give way to a special sound effect. It’s still limited to what sounds one hears, but it’s still an interesting improvement, considering it’s been a long time since we had a full voiced-over cast in a Dharker Studio game, in which any extra audio is a great addition, and well worth being mentioned.
Speaking of music, we have the main Beach Bounce theme back, with a few tweaks here and there, but also new tracks to go with. Some old tracks seem to have been reworked, and considering how it’s basically Beach Bounce soundtrack, this one is not available to purchase, but the original can still be bought through DLC.
Overall, Beauty Bounce is an enjoyable, if short, Visual Novel that can captivate your nostalgia if Beach Bounce had that great impact. It sure did for me, and it’s amazing to see some characters again, and better yet, rekindle that passion with them. A simple but well directed game, highly recommended for those who enjoyed the first title, and somehow miss Tomo’s adventures surrounding some of the most attractive girls!