Sacrament of the Zodiac: The Confused Sheep and The Tamed Wolf is the first of Kuro Irodoru Yomiji's visual novels that are translated to English and published by Denpasoft. This kinetic novel is a nukige that includes adult yuri content. The game features two schoolgirls, Arissa Mokose and Hitsuji Suou in a cloistered religious school setting.
Hitsuji was recently transferred to Arissa's school, Saint Leanne Academy. While heading to her baptism at the school's cathedral, Hitsuji bumped into Arissa praying inside. Hitsuji is an introvert while Arissa has a kind and approachable nature. Arissa also has the Aries zodiac sign from her baptism as a blessing from the goddess in the cathedral. This means she is liked by everyone in her school and can bring happiness to everyone in her entire school. Arissa decided to chat with Hitsuji while Hitsuji was waiting to receive her baptism that is required for all new transfer students. After a short conversation, Hitsuji made a bold confession that she fell in love with Arissa at first sight and would like to know Arissa better.
Sacrament of the Zodiac has taken the unusual step to feature a narrative in two different perspectives. One as Arissa and the other as Hitsuji, which can be toggled between by clicking on the character's portrait on the text window. The perspective differences and the good translation serve to highlight the differences in both Arissa and Hitsuji as the main high point in this visual novel, which might have been a bland nukige otherwise.
A few examples of the two perspectives:
1. Hitsuji struggling to introduce herself in class because of her shy and introverted nature while Arissa could see Hitsuji is having difficulty expressing herself.
2. Arissa is confused at Hitsuji's behaviour a few times at first when other girls exchange friendly pleasantries with them while Hitsuji is feeling jealous almost to the point of becoming possessive for trying to take Arissa away from her.
3. Hitsuji plans to do something naughty to Arissa while Arissa has no idea on what Hitsuji is planning to do.
Sacrament of the Zodiac does a lot of things right. First starters, it has nice attractive artwork (a must for any nukige), a pleasant opening theme song, full voice acting on all characters (including minor characters), and it doesn't have a censored version preventing the need for an uncensored patch.
Although I have mentioned the artwork is nice, I believe that the developer could have done more to improve in this area. I understand that this is a cloistered school setting where the students are not allowed to leave the premises and this is a doujin production, but the small number of background scenes, CGs, and small selection of outfits for both protagonists means this game is a bit limited in the artwork department overall.
As with a nukige, the plot tends to steer towards hentai content very quickly. Yet I would still expect the romance between Arissa and Hitsuji to take a longer time to develop, or to expand and develop more on the plot hole regarding Arissa's stigmata (Aries sign on her face as a blessing by the goddess). This is especially the case since the title of this game mentions a zodiac sign. This is quite a pity because Arissa sounds like Aries while Hitsuji is the Japanese Kanji character for sheep. After playing through the whole game, I still can't quite see the connection between Arissa's stigmata and her relationship with Hitsuji. At the same time, there has been some effort into developing the characters throughout the story. Arissa is a bit absent-minded as the confused sheep while Hitsuji is like a predatory wolf who wants Arissa all to herself. As their relationship goes further, Arissa will rein in and check Hitsuji's desire for her as a tamed wolf.
Overall, Sacrament of the Zodiac: The Confused Sheep and The Tamed Wolf is a short and sweet romantic comedy aimed at the target audience who enjoys yuri nukiges. I ended up purchasing this title at a discounted price of under $5.00, which I feel was actually very fair for the content provided. Due to the limited amount of art assets, I can't recommend this novel at full price, but grabbing the game around $5.00 is a good deal due to the gameplay time being more proportional to the price, and there are very few visual novels with full voice acting and an opening theme song for less.
Initial gameplay video with author narration and commentary on YouTube by AssassinDXZ