Clover Day’s Plus Review – Childhood Feelings in Full Bloom

    Title: Clover Day's Plus
    Developer: ALcot
    Release Date: August 18, 2023
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: NekoNyan Ltd.
    Genre: Visual Novel

After a long wait, Clover Day’s Plus is finally available in English thanks to publisher NekoNyan. This cute visual novel about childhood friends was released in Japan in 2014, later receiving a “Plus” remake that improved animations and new H scenes. The company announced the release of the latter back in 2020, leaving moege fans in anticipation.

Clover Day’s Plus tells the story of a boy called Yuuto Takakura. He used to live in a British orphanage until a Japanese businessman decided to take him as an adopted son. Having faced discrimination due to his appearance, this opportunity to start again is an important step forward for the boy.

For Yuuto, becoming part of the Takakura household gives him priceless treasures. Fast forward to the present, he has a home with two cute young sisters who adore him and a circle of dear friends whose strong bonds are like a big family. For someone who only had a nun and an imaginary friend as a small kid, it feels rewarding to see how blessed his life is now.

While some may argue the comfy style of Clover Day’s is nothing impressive in a genre filled with moeblobs, there’s significant meaning to the slice-of-life arrangement here. This story truly gets what friendship is all about, making the main characters feel like that cozy group that hangs around to do silly things, and then, little by little, everyone becomes a part of the others’ hearts.

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As we learn more about each character, we see flashbacks of 10 years ago. Life wasn’t so simple when Yuuto had just moved, as he had to make these connections stick. He was now living on a new land, and learning Japanese would require effort. At the same time, making friends at school and learning about what it means to be a family were also things he hadn’t experienced before.

His large group of new friends includes six girls and a single boy who is the butt of the jokes. The first ones we should mention are Yuuto’s sisters, Anri and Anzu, who have very different personalities. Anri tries to be a serious girl, having a tsundere-ish poise, but she isn’t good at hiding her true feelings. Meanwhile, Anzu is a modest, shy girl whose clingy side with her brother and Anri is surprising.

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Another duo of siblings is Tsubame and her brother Torakichi. They also feel like opposites in a sense. Tsubame is a modest girl who tends to bottle up her feelings with jokes. She cares so deeply about her friends that it can sometimes hurt her a little. Meanwhile, Torakichi is a loudmouth who would embarrass anyone but still feels like a genuine guy who no one would hate for long.

While these are undeniably close friends, Izumi is a more complicated party member. As she notices how much attention Yuuto gets, the girl becomes competitive towards him, often throwing insults here and there. However, her actions speak louder, and it’s easy to see how much she cares for the boy and everyone else in this small group. Her exaggerated competitive theatrics are often played for laughs.

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Finally, we also have twin silver-haired girls called Hekiru and Hikaru. Hekiru is an oddball who has a hard time expressing herself, sounding stilted and unnatural. She has a cute personality and can be surprisingly bold at times. Meanwhile, Hikaru wants Hekiru all to herself, acting like she hates men. Unlike her sister, Hikaru expresses herself in a clearly deliberate way.

Playing through their routes, we get to know more about the girls and their issues. Learning more about their specific circumstances and feelings evolves into finally giving form to another relationship. Out of all the main girls, Hekiru and Hikaru share their route, meaning there’s no specific one for one of them.

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Besides the quality of the cast’s interaction as a group, Clover Day’s Plus has an impressive art style. All the characters are cute-looking, following the same image of other ALcot titles, which tends towards young-looking love interests. Though this may not appeal to some players, the characters are very detailed and have varied expressions and clothing styles.

However, the biggest highlight is the E-Mote System. This is an addition to the Plus version that makes characters extra expressive with animations like breathing and winking. Though the game doesn’t have any lip flaps, which reduces it a little, the way facial expressions change midway in the same dialogue box and all the details make the experience immersive.

Generally speaking, the English text also felt fluid and enjoyable to read. Even so, there are a few typos and inconsistencies, such as a yakiniku joke becoming something else that has no relation to the second time Torakichi brings it up. During my time with the game, I also had a technical issue with new assets taking longer to load than they should when I had the game open for a while.

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Clover Day’s Plus is an impressive visual novel that manages to offer an inspired take on the slice-of-life format that truly feels like becoming part of a solid group of friends. From the cozy moments of hanging out to the dramatic events coming to the surface during the routes, this is a great example of what a moege can offer.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.