Visual Novels are making a bigger splash on western consoles in the last few months. Go to Japan and there are hundreds of these kinds of games which are at their most basic premise like a limited choose your own adventure book. In the last couple of years I’ve reviewed visual novel classics like Steins Gate and other titles where you only make 5/6 choices. It’s definitely a take it or leave it genre, you are either going to love the slow pace and mountains of dialogue or you will get bored very quickly because generally in most of these kind of titles you are simply making a choice every now and again by choosing where you want the conversation to go. Strawberry Vinegar is the latest visual novel to make an appearance on the PS4, so lets see what kind of impression it can leave.
The plots to visual novels range from gothic horror to cute romantic storylines, in the the case of Strawberry Vinegar it’s the cute romantic perspective it is telling. You play a 9 year old Japanese girl called Rie. Your father is a stay at home dad whilst your mother is a famous actress. Rie isn’t particularly popular but one day she comes across a horned demon girl called Licia who is eating cookies in her kitchen. One thing leads to another and Licia ends up staying in the house for a while which makes the parents happy. You watch the relationship between Rie and Licia grow and that is the story of Strawberry Vinegar.
Strawberry Vinegar gives quite a detailed look into how people grow up and how their emotions or feelings grow with them. Strawberry Vinegar is a romantic game but taken from a very innocent point of view. Strawberry Vinegar also has a lot of comedy to it, brought through by the exaggerated characters who are part of the story. The dad is very needy but has his own issues, whilst the mum is a famous actress but a lively and spirited one at that. Strawberry Vinegar does suffer a little through it’s lack of non-food related choices you can make. Sometimes there will be two options or three options to pick from, a few more would have helped involve the player a lot more into the story. There are 6 endings to get, some are more abrupt than others. There’s the usual visual novel mantra of “true” and bad endings, as Strawberry Vinegar is a romantic comedy the negative endings are not really that bad. The longevity of Strawberry Vinegar is through it’s replayability, you will want to play it at least one more time after that first ending as it an endearing experience.
Visually, Strawberry Vinegar is a beautifully crafted piece of art, there is rarely any movement outside of character expressions but the backgrounds are gloriously vibrant. The soundtrack is similarly as cute with lots of child like sounds being heard as you stream through the dialogue. There is a lot of dialogue in Strawberry Vinegar, you can skip it but if you do you’ll certainly miss out on the lovely story that is being told. When you do get to make a choice, some choices will lead to disappointing endings but you don’t really get any sight of when those kind of choices will become available, it’s a minor issue but there isn’t really a lead up to a major decision, you just make one.
Strawberry Vinegar is a pleasant and wholesome visual novel experience. Like a lot of visual novels Strawberry Vinegar is bizarre but the relationship between the two girls that grows through their love of food is quite an endearing thing to be part of. Dialogue and visually Strawberry Vinegar excels it just lacks a little depth and whilst there are 6 different endings you don’t have a large enough choices to make. If you like visual novels then Strawberry Vinegar is one of the better and more upbeat titles in the genre so give it a go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Strawberry Vinegar Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
You find a demon in your kitchen, what do you do? Well you let them stay in Strawberry Vinegar!