Title: First Snow
Developer: Salty Salty Studios
Release Date: August 19, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: tudio Élan
Genre: Visual Novel
Back in around 2014, Salty Salty Studios announced their first visual novel titled Twofold. However, it wouldn’t be until 2020 that the studio would launch their first game, but it wasn’t Twofold. Instead, the studio has opted to release a yuri visual novel titled First Snow, which functions as a spin-off prequel to the still in development Twofold. And if you need more of a reason to pick this game up, well, it’s free.
First Snow stars Allison, a college student who has no idea what she wants to do in life. In search of independence, she’s moved, but now that hasn’t turned out to be such a good idea. Without any real goals or motivations, she ends up roped into an art club run by the incredibly energetic Caprice, who uses the club as an excuse to create a friend circle.
Here, Allison properly meets Eileen, an oil painter who couldn’t be more different from her. They begin to bond over their mutual “friend” Caprice and their almost mirrored pasts before they end up doing club activities. Which out to just be an excuse to hang out together.
First Snow has some excellent design choices in the form of an impressive-looking UI with a lovely handicraft design thanks to its use of layering. Aside from a customizable control scheme, it’s got accessibility and formatting options as well as general ones. The UI can even be altered with different font choices and text sizing.
Additionally, there is a theme option that can either be hard set or left to alter itself throughout the story. The backgrounds are beautiful and carry a sort of painting vibe to them, with particle effects being used to create falling snow. Characters have alternate poses, as well as alterations to their outfits.
The game also likes to alter focus on characters or backgrounds, which is a really cool visual thing other titles don’t tend to do. Allison sadly doesn’t have her own sprite, but we do see her in the CGs. I’ll also mention that the soundtrack only further helps this title carve its own little niche, with the use of bass in the background tracks, which isn’t often used.
First Snow is a short game, but since it’s free, I can’t really criticize it for that because it’s a well-paced cute story about meeting new people. It cuts out a lot of events that occur while moving from place to place, which gives it a movie vibe. There’s an entire story here, and while it could have been longer, it doesn’t need to be.
The length does affect the more minor characters, who could have been expanded on a bit more, but it puts most of that time focusing on Allison and Eileen. I mean, this is a romance, so at least it does that much right. Also, this being a spin-off prequel to Twofold, allows it to set up relationships that will be further explored in their upcoming title.
There is an adult patch available for those who want it, which I honestly didn’t know existed until after the game was released. However, it isn’t crucial to get the story and adds exactly one scene, along with slightly modifying another.
First Snow plays it safe with its storytelling and pacing. Still, the free cost of entry allowed the studio to give the reader an insight into characters and relationships that can be expanded upon later. The game features some fantastic art direction, and it’s college cast allows the writers to create a story that a lot more people can instantly relate to, without having to try and reminisce on high school days. The entire story comes off as a familiar and comfortable tale that I enjoyed, which makes me excited for whatever the team puts out next. It’s merely free yuri real estate.
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