I’m not going to lie. While I found Sakura Angels (the only other Sakura game I’ve played) somewhat enjoyable I was never interested in playing the others. A quote from my Sakura Angels review:
I found myself liking the story. That’s one of the problems however. I found the fan service to be distracting from the plot, which might have been better than “oh I kind of like this” as a “this is a pretty cool story!”.
Do I feel the same way? Well let’s get to the review and find out.
*note: we were provided with a code from Sekai Project for this review.
We follow Kaede who is a teenage boy who is a bellow average student while his parents believe he can be a top tier student. To help him the keep changing his school (obviously the best idea) until we eventually get to where we are now (I don’t think it ever actually gives the name of the school and the Steam page just mentions “transferring to a new school” so it probably doesn’t actually have one. He is pressured by his teacher to join a club so he starts looking around before bumping into a girl (using VN/anime logic this girl will be important) and of course, knocking her down and landing in her crotch giving us a nice face full of panties. He keeps hearing bad things about the swim club and decides being the rebellious teen he is, to check it out. Upon arrival he finds no one and decides to wait. Eventually two girls comes out with their swim suits torn up for whatever reason (to show us cleavage probably) with one being the girl earlier and the other being someone new. Kaede’s called a pervert but eventually the girls decide to make him join the swim club.
These two girls are Mieko, the girl from the start, your standard tsundere and Hiromi who is more mature and clearly has some big secret. My problem is they are both super generic and feel like characters I’ve read or seen multiple times in anime, manga and visual novels without adding anything interesting to these tropes (or even using them to add to the story). While Sakura Angels let you pick a girl and date her Swim Club decides to let that screw off (despite there being choices that I couldn’t be bothered to check what difference they make as I got all the CG anyway) and goes for spoilers, a harem ending.
My biggest problem is the structure itself. We have all this content that could have made a great story, why’s the swim club so hate? Why can’t Mieko stand the word “drown”? Why does Hiromi miss so much practice? Will Kaede stand up to his father? All of this is answered but in back to back scenes near the end with about 20 minutes total of the 2 hour read time. There was so much potential but instead the writer opted to make pretty much every scene aside from those have almost no point aside from “how naked can we get them?” There’s a scene where Mieko and Hiromi come over to Kaese’s house and start playing video games and the controller wire somehow completely wraps around Hiromi while removing her skirt and shirt and pushing her bra up. Another goes to Mieko’s house to study and she says she needs for get comfortable which she does by laying on her bed in her panties with her shirt mostly undone. I have no problem with slice-of-life scenes. I complemented them in The Fruit of Grisaia and have many other examples of them being done well. I do have a problem when they are only there to get the girls naked and cram all the story into the end to make more room for boobs.
There are also some grammar issues (picture at top of section). They were pretty minor and not very frequent though.
Like Sakura Angels I really liked the art style. Also like that game the majority of the CG are fanservice. While my issue with the backgrounds often not matching the scene wasn’t here (they actually added rain when it was raining!) sprites are still an issue. Mieko and Hiromi are the quickest people at changing I’ve ever seen (unless it gives Kaede a chance to walk in on the changing for the twentieth time) as we go from a CG with Hiromi in a bunny costume, Kaede and Mieko say a couple lines, Hirmoi’s back in her uniform. I actually don’t think there’s any sprites outside of uniform and swim suit and considering Mieko and Hiromi are the only characters with sprites this is a disappointment (that previously mentioned video game scene even has them in their uniforms despite is being a weekend). I also noticed sprites weren’t aligned properly and the characters would often slide around the screen.
The music was decent but there wasn’t very much and over the course of the story it got tiring. I probably liked the song that plays when Kaede was swimming the most as it had a pretty good buildup and actually didn’t overplay.