Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! is a one of a kind visual novel, with tremendous content, in a full-on Yuri romantic journey, among 15 characters! Developed by Particle, and published by MangaGamer, this Japanese Visual Novel instantly became a remarkable release of 2019.
Each character gets a storyline that will be entwined with others, but the romantic path will be set from the beginning. This is not a sexualized Visual Novel, and instead, it relies on feelings, more than anything else. One thing leads to another, yet, characters will show their sweetest spot, in a cute, amorous, charming and very colorful, yet maudlin dialogues. The narrative itself is composed of all sorts of daily slices of life, with drama, humour in all types of charismatic character development.
Instead of following a conventional storyline path, Lilycle Rainbow Stage introduces character events through episodes. While in-game, there is a calendar available, depicting a full year, with occurrences on specific days. These events unlock as players advance in the story, and allows one to follow how the girls interact with each other, forming friendship, and more importantly, feelings.
It’s obvious there are some pre-made couples, this means characters give out who they love or like, however… some minor in-game optional choices may spice things up a little. It’s definitely an interesting extra, but playing Lilycle Rainbow Stage will eventually feel like a Kinetic Visual Novel, or as I prefer to see, as a good Anime TV Show!
After getting to know all the characters, it’s obvious their personalities are quite diverse and aim to please everyone. It’s also ok not to fall in love with every single one of them, and for that, one could skip events with less enjoyable characters. That’s probably something a lot of people will enjoy, but try and go through every event, even if 30 or 35 hours of gameplay is a little too much for you.
The artwork for Lilycle Rainbow Stage is what you’d expect from a top publisher such as MangaGamer, and renders are absolutely amazing. Exquisitely drawn, and with as much detail as possible, characters have different renders for school uniforms and casual clothes (which is rare in many VNs). Some accessories may sometimes be included such as hats, aprons, or other extras that further goes alongside the specific episode. Cute Chibis are also included for those special scenes, and that’s always a plus.
Every render has a consistent animation for blinking, blushing, or showing facial expressions, even when you didn’t expect, considering it’s a small scene or moment. Surely, dedication is nothing but extraordinary. Although renders don’t animate in real-time, that did not stop developers from doing close ups or moving around characters to give the idea of interaction. It’s a nice detail that alongside the narrative, and forms amazing moments.
As you may have already noticed, it’s a very colorful game, but even with all the stars and sparkles it doesn't interfere with the text. The user interface is clean enough to have a proper experience and not as clustered as it looks at first glance. Backgrounds are simple and good enough, plus, I found the ones that really shine are usually portrayed a scene at the night sky, or evening sunset. Those are truly beautiful.
As technicals go, Lilycle Rainbow Stage has some of the most well integrated functions, with all types of settings and options to adjust your gameplay experience. Text, Sound, and even Visuals, it’s all up there to change. A bonus mode will unlock after completing the game, or at each concluded chapter. This contains CG Galleries with all the chibis, renders and backgrounds, together with audio bonuses, featuring fantastic interview/commentary from all the voice actresses including subtitles.
When it comes to soundworks, I would like to say how good the soundtrack is, but I can’t, for two main reasons; The first it’s how the OST is actually not that good… It’s very repetitive, and it was bound to happen with a 30 hour title. There is still some small variety, but eventually you’ll be listening the same simple melodic soft wave across the whole game. The second main reason, is really simple. How can you really focus on the soundtrack when the whole game is voice-over in a solid and fantastic way!?
The soundtrack does go well with the voice-overs, that’s for sure, and in a way, you can tell the music does not want to steal the spotlight from all the voiced dialogues. Performed by professionals, the voices are just amazing. It’s one of the best voiced-over games I've ever heard, with high recording production and dedicated emotional efforts into the representations.
Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! is a long and sweet Visual Novel, with its unique pace, and approach. A fantastic Yuri game, and even if you are not interested in that specific content, you’ll still enjoy the game nonetheless!