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Courage for a Kiss - Review

Developed and published by Mikołaj Spychał, Courage for a Kiss is the third release from the Polish developer who has released a few “low-profile” Visual Novels on Steam since 2017.

Courage for a Kiss follows a group of students planning and performing a school play. As Ryan, players will have to make sure the performance is a success while at the same time, dealing with the dramas and insecurity of four female students. Will he manage to fall in love and still help projecting a school-play?

The story is very simple and delivers exactly what it's supposed to be: a simple and lightweight slice of life novel. It depicts a year in the life of Ryan as he meets four different school girls, each one with a unique personality that may or may not appeal to everyone. Storywise, it’s clearly a romance novel as you’ll have choices that determine who you date.

The script is well written, even though the pace of the whole game is relatively unbalanced. Some parts feel somehow rushed or undeveloped, while others don’t. The routes are simple and not deeply defined, but they end up working generally well within the game’s plot. Dialogues are produced with simplicity, but at the same time with care. The humour falls towards the corny side, but blends well with the overall game style.

There’s no adult content and no patch is available, but included through the dating routes is some light fan-service, that ends up being more visual than anything, but still delivering spicy dialogues.

Visually, the renders are hand-drawn by the developer and the quality has been improving since their very first published game, but it still looks amateurish and let’s say, unique. The improvement from their first titles can be seen in the details where additional attention was given to the clothing designs which is always nice to see, such as the girl's Cosplay and seasonal clothing. Overall, the design is generic but dedication and identity is what counts!

One of the most impressive feature regarding renders is perhaps how they are animated with emotional expressions alongside the gameplay, giving them a more dynamic presence. Their placement is also well directed, with characters moving across the scene based on the situation and events. This technique further extends the interactivity with players, and it’s always welcome.

The user interface has a nice design presentation and as can be seen by some images the text outline borders change based on the character dialogues. Some of the colors like (yellow for example) aren’t the best ones for this effect, so it would've been better to stick with the same color. Regardless, fonts and menus are nice and pleasant.

Backgrounds on the other hand, are well designed with a fantastic presentation. Some even change based on the time of the day and the effects such as the sunset definitely adds genuinity to the whole look. There's a large variety of these locations giving us a decent amount to see throughout the novel.

The soundtrack presented in the game is a mix between relaxing guitar chords for routine gameplay with instances of electronic/pop waves that characterize special moments and events. Overall, it’s a nice upbeat tune that goes alongside the game’s attitude on a romantic slice of life.

Although it features several endings and different romantic routes, it’s a medium-short visual novel with up to 5 gameplay hours, that can be extended when achievement hunting. Overall, it’s a great lightwave experience, particularly interesting if purchased during a special sale.

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