Game Review: LoveChoice (Xbox Series X)

From the Japanese Akaba Studio comes a trio (anthology) of visual novels. LoveChoice is all about making choices that will affect and change relationships for many years to come.

Love-Game, Love-Distance and Love-Detective; three varied stories. The first, Love-Game is puts you in the shoes of young boy taking part in a Game Jam. It’s there he meets a girl and must get over his nerves to asks her out on a date. It’s up to you to deduce the best way to get her to agree as well as work out where to go and what to eat.

As time goes by, you’ll see how those choices have affected your relationship and how, paying attention, listening or compromising has had an impact. It sounds clever but of the three, it’s the most lacking and the most notable for translations issues.

Of the three, it’s the one with the creepiest and most questionable choices as your character just comes across as manipulative. Scanning her Twitter feed to find out what she likes and dislikes, gas-lighting her and getting abusive during a row. It really doesn’t make you feel very ‘loving’ and when she inevitable leaves you, you can’t help but think you got what you deserved.

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…and leave you, she will. As the first time you play Love-Game, you won’t have a clue what it expects from you. In the last portion, it tries to explain itself through colour as the letter you receive from your partner comes with both green and red text.

The writing in red is the section that you failed, so you’re going to have to replay (there is a chapter select thankfully) to get the best ending possible. Choice? When you have muddy dialogue options and confusing text, it doesn’t feel like it.

Love-Distance is better. For starters, you don’t feel like quite as much of a git. Here you have a very sad story about distance and not letting go.

A boy and girl meet when very young, sharing a love of music and more, and becoming firm friends. However, as they got older, their lives diverge and they become more and more distant. Neither can quite let go.

It’s a much better story with relatable content, one that doesn’t have a good ending per-se and leaves a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth. There’s not much in the way of gameplay (some small mini-games) but story-wise, it delivers.

Which brings us to the third story and the strangest one of the bunch. Strange because it is so different to the other two. Effectively a point and click game, it’s got a different art-style and is set in an apartment only. It’s still very short, like the others, it’s not going to take you longer than 10-15 minutes to complete but the darker tone is welcome.

You play as a woman who sees her partner get suspicious texts from another woman. While out, you decide to snoop around and see if you can prove that they are cheating. Explore the apartment, pick up items and find information that might prove infidelity.

Though, perhaps things aren’t quite what they seem.

It’s a fun game but over before it’s even begun. However, it’s clever enough to easily hold the attention and stand out from the pack. If this had been the only, story, extended and deepened, LoveChoice as a whole would be vastly improved.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case and the overall package just ends up being deeply unsatisfying. The game had barely more than 30 minutes of original content, extended to about double that if you’re hunting down all the endings.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about it overall though is how it pretends you have choice and that it will result in meaningful content.




 

LoveChoice
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