Slice of Life
Our MC Chiyuki is a student, who wants to become a script writer just like her mother, who has passed away. Due to that she lives alone and wants to look for her father her mother never told her about. She has these two dreams: to become a successful script writer and to find her father. The only thing she knows about her father is, that he met her mother during the filming of the movie “Lover Pretend”. So she especially wants to contact the former staff of this movie.
And this where our Lis come into play. Because most of them have relatives that worked at that movie. So the premise is kind of, that some of the Lis could turn out to be Chiyuki’s brothers.
Starting with the common path, that follows the casting of the male lead for a next movie, where Chiyuki works as a script writer assistant. During these two weeks workshop she has the chance to get to know the Lis, and hone her skills as an aspiring script writer as well as accumulate hints about her father’s identity.
The common path has officially 3 chapter, but depending on your choices you can experience three separates events with the LI you choose to pursue. So technically I would say the common path is rather about 1 ½ chapters and the rest is partly common partly character specific. And its interesting to the the common path from different perspectives.
In each route there will be a reason, why the MC has to act as if she were together with the LI, and the main motivators being either becoming a better scriptwriter or getting to know something about her father.
In the order I played them, though the order does technically not matter.
Chiyuki’s cheerful childhood friend, who is an aspiring make up artist and therefore also works in this workshop. He is easily flustered and easy to read, though he desperately tries not to. He is a bit of a goofball, but your mother would most definitely like him.
How the character route starts: Chiyuki barges in on a set, where Kazuma works and a co-worker gets angry at her. Then Kazuma says, that she is his girlfriend and they had a fight and she came to make up, because otherwise they would probably have broken up. This rumour apparently spreads so fast, that it would be too embarrassing to take that lie back and so they continue….
Their story focused on their strong emotional connection, and though it had some almost unbearable twists, the game still managed to make it kind of cute. And in his story the two worked cute together as a team and grew together
Voice Actor: Furukawa Makoto 古川 慎 (Cupid Parasite: Allan; Birushana Senki: Noritomo)
I needed to turn down his voice, because it was just too loud, he is often screaming and talks very slangy, so it can take a while to get used to his quite energetic and emotional personality, but in the end I loved this character quite dearly and he often made me laugh whole heartedly.
An assistant director and son of the director of the upcoming movie. He is a silent weirdo, doesn’t seem like he likes to talk and his really bad in communicating, though he is actually quite caring in nature. Every otome geek or anime weeb should deeply connect to him 😀
He is a secret anime nerd and followed by some girls at his university. In order for them to stop following him and to blame the anime stuff on her, Chiyuki pretends to be his anime girlfriend.
For me I first didn’t like him too much, then he started to grow on me, but as I noticed how much the MC does for him I started to hate him again and got kind of bored of his route and had to push me a bit to get through it. Finally it was not bad, but I didn’t really ship them as a couple and the low-steaks story couldn’t grab my attention. But at least in his story I had the impression you saw more of the rest of the cast and their friendly energy, so he would also be a good character to start out with.
And his voice-actor made up for the boring story: Kawanishi Kengo河西 健吾 (Birushana Senki: Noritsune). Due to the voice-actor the character still seemed interesting to me.
He is a model, who applied for the audition, and has the reputation of being a player. He instantly flirts with the MC is very self-confident, but without being committed. The MC is very wary of him in the beginning, but quickly realizes that there is more to him than this shell and gets surprisingly proactive.
He has a co-worker model, who wants to date him, therefore he pretends to be in love with Chiyuki and she becomes his assistant.
For me Sena had the most gripping character development and interesting plot combined with one unique side-character, that held be glued to the screen. In contrast to Makin’os route I felt like they more worked together as a team and grew together (not as much as with Kazuma, but still). The story even touches on one rather sensible topic, especially for Japan, and because Sena is the playboy, has the most sexy scene in my opinion <3
His voice (Suzuki Tatsuhisa鈴木 達央 (Diabolic Lovers: Yuuma)) also got me some time to get used to, because its kind of noisy and fleshy, but half through his route I grew to like it and could never stop smiling hearing it, even in other routes.
He is a famous actor, who has a calm air and is composed and seems rather wise. But that also makes him appear cold.
He then suddenly calls and wants to meet Chiyuki and proposes to her. He actually wants to quit his job as an actor and therefore wants to fake a marriage in order to provoke a scandal.
I thought I would like Nishijima very much due to his cool air, but starting his route I instantly hated him! I couldn’t get to like him the whole route and just couldn’t see in him what the MC sees in him, I just think she’s blind, accepting to be used like that…
Though his voice was great (Maeno Tomoaki前野 智昭: Kunitaka in Kimi Yuki), his character was not – at least for me.
All characters interesting to get to know and most of them have hidden traits and are not quite as they appear to be
timed dialogue choice, in order to convince people
- Conveyed stressed feelings of those situations
- With a guide not too difficult, without rather stressful, but even without guide uncomplicated to reload and redo the five questions
What confused me
- Not always, or rather rarely, you actually had to pretend to be in love
- Could occur in any other moments, sometimes even convincing people, you’re not in love
Made kind of sense in the situations, but still felt like straight out lying to me, lie to the Lis and other characters! Especially when they were better ways than lying to people, the reason for that was acceptable but not inevitable… so sometimes the pretend time didn’t make me feel comfortable, but you had to succeed in those pretend times, in order to get the better endings.
Best/good ending depending on dialogue/affection choices
- Best ending is great, but it felt a bit unfair to me, that they got to different stages in their relationship or careers between the routes
- Good ending: also interesting, worth playing, what distinguishes from happy ending where they reach one goal (either relationship or career), but not both
Bad endings depending on pretend time
- Bad endings: whenever you fail a pretend time, sometimes interesting, sometimes quite sad, but in the end they didn’t add much to the characters or story
- Shoujou mange/anime romantic comedy
- Character driven
- Also anime-humour, like exaggerated emotions in the sprites
- Light-hearted, heart warming, emotional in a cozy way
- Also some possessiveness or small fights over the MC scenes I fully enjoyed!
- But still the romance is very tame, first love shyness, holding hands, no steamy scene, some classical kabedon, sweet kiss scenes (Sena’s most steamy actually).
It really has the first love innocent shoujo manga vibes through and through.
- And a bit like a ganbatte anime, focused on the success of the characters and cheering each other on
Starting with the god parts:
- Voices – quite well, maybe the best part of the art
- Sprites – many funny, cute, well designed sprites, but with anime humour (what I liked, but might not be for everyone)
- Overarching problem: seems like it was tight on budget
But why I think the budget was tight
- Music – only electronically generated, not very inspired, sounds kind of cheap, its cheerful and up beat, does the job as background music, but I didn’t particularly like it.
- Backgrounds – also uninspired, boring/normal, and reused in different contexts! That really broke the immersion and annoyed be quite a bit
- CGs – a lot of CGs, not all very romantic, but the art is good, they are interesting, often dynamic with multiple versions of one CG, BUT again, and here I cant forgive the developers, again, they reused CGs…sometimes the whole one, sometimes they just put a different background behind the couple or changed a colour…and that really killed the mood for those CGs.
That clearly says either they were damn lazy or too tight on budget. I’d rather have no CG than a reused one…
If you want to learn Japanese with Lover Pretend, though it is technically in a slice of live setting, it still wasn’t too easy with some complicated movie vocabulary. But still manageable for lower intermediate learners.
In conclusion, i was acute game, but it had ups and downs. Be it in the character routes (looking at you Makino), that I only really enjoyed half of the Lis, or that the you sense the tight budget from the art. I’m also quite ambivalent about the lover pretend topic. I thought the pretend time would be like in a movie or reality tv show setting, but you always had to lie to real people, for sometimes strange reasons, that made me feel uncomfortable. And you hadn’t always to pretend to be lovers, these lies could just be about anything.
What kind of was a red flag for me, was that I dint mind disturbances while playing. Normally I get irrationally angry when someone disturbs me while I’m playing, but during this game I didn’t mind as much. Because I was not as invested and hooked, as some other games succeeded to do.
But still the energy of the character great, with funny interactions, especially Kazuma together with Sena. And most of the characters have some surprises up their sleeves for you, especially Sena and Nishijima, so maybe play them last.
I myself almost never trust mediocre reviews, because a borderline case could still be enjoyable for me, even if it wasn’t for the other person, but if your backlog is exploding and your wallet is not, maybe wait a bit or skip on it altogether.
And if you want a fluffy funny romance, and don’t mind some steam, Cupid Parasite might even be a better choice for you.
“That was a helpful review!
To show my appreciation I’m gonna purchase it via Lin’s amazon link to support her!”