I first heard of Sutekina Kanojo No Tsukurikata from a friend of mine who told me about a visual novel that was getting a lot of negative reviews on Steam. This piqued my curiosity so decided to look into the game to see if developer Sushi_soft's game deserved these negative reviews or not.
Pros and Cons
-An interesting dark yuri story with eight endings
-Multiple paths throughout the story that will determine the outcome
-Sometimes we are put into the perspective of different characters
-Characters are fully voiced with good voice acting
-Beautiful art style
-Very short visual novel, can be completed 1 to 2 hours
-Lack of character development
-Spelling errors were present
-Visual novel defaults to Japanese for English audience
-No option to fast forward through previously seen text
-The price is too high for the amount of content provided
Sumire Ashiya is a college student with no friends, living a hard life, and yearns for a friend to talk to. One day when she was getting harassed by a bunch of men after a fake meet up she meets a woman named Nazuna Koga who she soon after begins to fall in love with. Sumire is very socially awkward and has a hard time talking to Nazuna, however, to help her, she occasionally talks to someone who she calls Doc on a social media platform.
The story is interesting with the dark aspects being interesting in their own merit. There are a total of eight endings where the choices you make throughout the novel will decide which ending you get. This is something I appreciated as it provided multiple ways to show how the story will unfold with the different endings. This does offer some replayability if you want to experience them all. Just know that some of the endings can be pretty dark.
Sumire Ashiya, Nazuna Koga (From left to right)
We have two main characters that we follow in this story, Sumire Ashiya and Nazuna Koga.
Sumire struggles with her social awkwardness and frequently goes on social media begging for attention. A lot of stuff happens within the first five minutes of the story where her eagerness to grab attention online lands her into some real-world trouble. Initially, this gave me a bad impression of her and I thought that she would be a very unlikable character. However, later on in the story, we get to understand her better and my perception of her changed where instead of annoyance, it was more that I felt sorry for her situation and the challenges that she deals with in her daily life.
Nazuna is my favorite out of the two as she does the right thing by opening up to Sumire and becomes her friend in the process. She helps Sumire out with some of her issues in life while also being there for her when it is truly needed. Her actions exhibit something that I myself would actually go and do and it captures the feel of it very well. Nuzuna is very cheerful, successful in her college career, and is just an all-around sweet girl.
There are also small segments where you can play as the other characters in the VN, mainly Sumire’s online friend, Doc who helps her when she is feeling down and just wants advice. Doc can choose how to respond to Sumire with those choices affecting the outcome of the story. The only issue I had with Doc is that they are the least developed character in the story, but their actions made by the player's choices will affect which ending you get.
Problems with the story
The first issue I had with the VN would have to be its length, being only one hour at most for whichever route you decide to go for. Character development also suffers as it seems that more effort was put into the shock value than into the actual girls that you follow throughout the story. Now, that’s not to say it’s bad, these two characters do develop at an okay rate, but I found myself playing through the multiple endings more to see how dark the endings would be rather than to see how the character's relationship might end up.
Visuals and Performance
The art style is really good with each area being detailed and nice to look at. The character models are drawn well matching the emotions of each main character during the scenes of the story.
I played on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I came across no issues during my playthrough.
There are only three gameplay issues I had with this visual novel.
The first thing is very minor, but the game will start up as Japanese for the default language. Once you go into the menu to change to English it will save and open correctly in English the next time you open the game.
Second, there are spelling errors present in the English text that are noticeable. These are not frequent enough to matter, but you will run into several lines of text that will break your experience when trying to understand their meaning.
The last issue was the fact that you can not fast forward through previously read text so you have to manually click on the screen to move forward causing some frustration when going through the multiple endings. Maybe this is the only good thing about the novel being rather short. ;)
The two characters are fully voiced and they do sound very nice. The voices fit the characters and the tone of the story as they sound cute but at the same time, you could tell that something sinister might be happening or going on.
I will admit that I did enjoy Sutekina Kanojo No Tsukurikata for what it was trying to do to present a darker tale of yuri love and can recommend this visual novel to others who are also looking for this genre, but I would suggest waiting for a sale.
With the story only taking about 1 to 2 hours total time to complete all the endings, there just isn't enough value to purchase the game at full price. A half-off sale seems more reasonable for the amount of content that they are providing in this visual novel.
Lastly, just to touch on the number of negative reviews on Steam, it seems that they are almost all from the Chinese side so there may be some drama that I'm unaware of. My review is based solely on my personal experience with this visual novel.