Highway Blossoms is a kinetic visual novel by Studio Elan, Studio Coattails and Sekai Project. This visual novel falls into the category of drama/romance, and has optional adult yuri content (Remastered version only). Highway Blossoms features a girl Amber Golley, who is driving her mobile home to California to attend a music festival. Along the way, she encounters another girl Marina Hale, who is stranded in the middle of a deserted highway in the desert after her car broke down. Amber decides to give Marina a lift to the nearest gas station to get fuel for her car as she feels an air-headed girl like Marina wouldn't be able to survive in the middle of the desert by herself.
Amber and Marina would find out later that Marina's car was stolen while they were away. Left with no choice, Amber decides to let Marina ride and travel along with her in her mobile home. Marina convinces Amber to embark on a treasure hunt for buried treasure as they travel across different parts of America before heading towards the music festival. Along the way, the two of them also encounter a team of scavengers on numerous occasions, and a few minor characters. Throughout this experience, Amber's relationship with Marina will gradually blossom.
The game has an interesting storyline as the main characters travel across different states in America to check out new locations. Every background scene in the game is different. The desert, highways, cafes, diners, and the restaurants all have their own unique drawing. Even the minor characters have a different voice actor or actress to add plenty of variety, charm, and humour to the game. The story does a great job keeping the reader interested in the adventure. The background music has a variety of pleasant country music to match the setting and most scenes in the game. The game's adult content can also be conveniently toggled on and off by enabling and disabling adult content in the game settings directly in the Remastered version, or after downloading the free Remastered version DLC in Steam, or the Remastered upgrade patch files from a link provided in the developer's itch.io website.
There are a few cons to talk about though. To start off, Highway Blossoms can be a bit short as it only takes about 5 hours to read and listen through all the text and voiced dialogue in the Remastered version. There are also some inconsistencies in the art. As an example, Marina's hair colour isn't always consistent with the same tint across every CG and sprite. One of the more annoying but still minor cons is that the Steam version has an unreasonable achievement that requires leaving the game running at periodic intervals in the story for at least 12 hours after completing the game once. This should only affect achievement hunters. Lastly, the Goofball mode and Extreme mode that is unlocked after finishing the game doesn't really justify playing the game more than once since there are not that many changes in the text and dialogue.
Title screen changes to High Speed Flower Bloom after completing game
Overall, Highway Blossoms has good artwork and background music with a storyline that has decent improvements in the Remastered version. At the same time, the game has also upset players in Steam for adding a very unreasonable achievement that requires idling the game for a lengthy 200 hours at first before it was revised to 12 hours. The additional new content after finishing the game once doesn't really justify playing the game more than the first time. Hence, I can only recommend this game when it is discounted to $5 or less to make it proportional to the playing time of this game.
Initial gameplay video with author narration and commentary on YouTube by Michael_SK
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