Released in 2018, Leaflet Love Story gathered quite a positive reception among Chinese players on Steam, and retains its status with a Very Positive rank. Originally launched exclusively in Chinese, the Western market can now finally enjoy this romantic journey with the official English translation, by the Steam Group and Curator “VN is Life”.
Mind though, this is not a simple fan-translation, as it was translated from the ground up, by an experienced community member: Woosk, and reviewed by a few users. A true testament of passion and effort to bring such a sweet visual novel to the West.
We take the role of Nan Zhu, a young man whose college life isn’t going exactly as he wanted. Although his technical skills grant him the unique opportunity to develop drones and robots for his team at a university competition, his other classes, particularly English, are not going well.
Unless he manages to obtain the necessary score on an upcoming English exam, he won’t be eligible to participate in the competition for his university, which is his biggest objective as a student. Deciding to improve on the subject, he looks for help at The Old Orient, an independent institution for extra classes. Unfortunately, Nan Zhu can’t afford these classes, and when all hope seems lost, Qin Jingxue appears right in front of him, with a pamphlet, offering major discounts for classes at The Old Orient.
Clearly, this is an opportunity from the gods, but that’s not the first thought that crossed his mind… Qin Jingxue's presence was all he could think of. His young heart could barely resist such an elegant figure. After all, she is popular, if not the most popular girl at his university. With this, a story of love, commitment, hopes, and dreams between two students that lead very different lives begins.
Leaflet Love Story delivers a very traditional story, that we will come across many times in timeless romances, with a modern touch. Some things never change, and this game portrays a modern China, that still respects its traditions and costumes, and this automatically reflects on characters, setting and events. It’s really interesting to see such classic romantic values over a modern age.
The narrative is amazingly well placed, with plenty of great moments featuring the protagonist’s prodigious way of solving problems, and more importantly, his ways of interacting with Qin Jingxue, in a traditional approach. The plot is inclined towards the romance, and by this I don’t mean as in a date, it really is a romantic story.
Bits of emotions are shown across various events, and dialogues offer a fantastic perspective on our main characters, and how they express themselves. Thoughts are shared equally with slices of humour and some unexpected moments in the mix, the romance between these characters is fun, sweet, and pleasant to follow.
Through family issues, cultural problems, and even differences in social status, love can either be successful or unsuccessful. For that, Nan Zhu must overcome his own flaws. It’s through decisions that players can accomplish different endings. There are three different ones - the Bad, Normal, and Good Ending. The most important factor regarding the endings, is not the route itself, or the consequences, but instead, it’s how Nan Zhu copes with his feelings and maturity.
As I wrote above, Leaflet Love Story was manually translated from the ground up, maintaining the most accurate expressions and words as possible from the original Chinese script. As a bonus, an interview with the actress who voiced the beautiful Qin Jingxue is also included, and translated as well. This is a major sweet thing that not every visual novel includes, and props to the developer for doing so!
Visually, due to budget constraints, there’s only one character render, and that is of Qin Jingxue, that went through several changes during development. The final version resulted in a very adorable character with anime-inspired traces, but in a very unique design, retaining its own creativity. The facial expressions match her personality, which is always good, and every other detail such as clothes, light works, and hair, it’s absolutely perfect.
Backgrounds are really good, and by good, I mean they deliver fantastic design and variety. Locations sometimes give out a little feeling of emptiness, such as empty classrooms, but that’s typical with 99% of Visual Novels. Truth is, after spending time with Qin Jingxue, you might start to think you’re watching an anime. That’s how good her character render is.
Soundtracks for Leaflet Love Story are very simple, but somehow alluring, and suits really nicely with the game. They are very melodic and will change based on the scene, which is one of the most important aspects. Each tune follows a simple note arrangement, consisting of piano with waves of ambience and melodious chords.
With good character development, amazing narrative, and a distinct traditional feeling, this 10 hour Visual Novel is highly recommended, and now completely in English.