Girls in Glasses Review – The Name Says it All

    Title: Girls in Glasses
    Developer: nostalgia
    Release Date: April 9, 2021
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Sekai Project
    Genre: Visual Novel

Girls in Glasses is just what it sounds like: a visual novel where all of your love interests happen to wear glasses. It’s not an interesting enough gimmick to really set this narrative apart from all the other fluffy slice-of-life high school romances, but it’s still a decent entry in the genre.

Girls in Glasses follows protagonist Hidekazu and his friends over the first few weeks of a new school year. There’s no overarching plot or conflict, just low-key scenes of daily school life. Each afternoon, Hidekazu can choose who to spend time with: Kana, his ditzy childhood friend; Kotomi, the refined student council president; Iroha, the deadpan bookworm; or Ken, his male friend, who of course also wears glasses.

Ken just having a friendship ending and not a full romance route was a big disappointment, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fujoshi. It would’ve been something different and unexpected in a game that’s, on the whole, very straightforward and typical.

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The romance routes with the three actual love interests are relatively short, and the writer’s attempt to insert a sudden conflict in the last act felt contrived. A serious issue from Hidekazu’s childhood is introduced and resolved in about 15 minutes in Kana’s route. While I’m glad the story didn’t get too intense, I wish they hadn’t tried to tackle such a heavy subject in such an abrupt manner.

Kotomi’s route felt the most satisfying because the conflict was an extension of her issues with managing the student council. Hidekazu had been helping her out with it throughout the common route, so it felt like a natural plot progression with a satisfying ending.

My favorite route ended up being Iroha’s. Iroha being a year older than Hidekazu and getting ready to graduate gives the relationship a different dynamic since that’s not something he has to think about in his relationships with Kana (same year) or Kotomi (a year younger). Even though the conflict feels a bit contrived and the relationship progression from high school crush to long-term commitment is rather sudden, I liked that the romance felt a little more grown-up.

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The uncensored version (or the Steam version with a free patch) includes two explicit scenes on each route, one towards the end and one as an epilogue. All the girls’ scenes have basically the same structure, and I wish there were more variations to highlight differences in characterization. Still, the scenes are a nice bonus if you’re interested and totally skippable if you’re not. (As a side note, if you’ve purchased Girls in Glasses from a retailer other than Steam or Denpasoft, you should install the patch and rename adult.xp3 to patch.xp3 to make sure you have the most updated version, as the original release contained a game-breaking bug.)

The presentation of Girls in Glasses is simple but functional. The stock assets used for the backgrounds and soundtrack will probably be familiar to visual novel fans, but hopefully, that’s not too distracting. The character designs are cute, and the sprites have a couple of different poses and simple blinking animations. CGs are sparse except in the adult scenes, and I wish there had been something with the whole group of friends instead of just for the individual character routes.

The options menu is pretty limited. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by bigger budget releases with many granular adjustable options. Still, it would’ve been nice to have a text box opacity setting, as the white text can sometimes be difficult to read and volume adjustments for individual characters. It’s not a sound balance issue, just that Iroha being quiet is part of her character, and that can make her voice difficult to make out.

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Girls in Glasses doesn’t do anything particularly notable or memorable, but it’s an enjoyable read as an average lighthearted high school romance. And if you like cute girls in glasses, you probably won’t find a visual novel with a higher concentration than this.

Review copy purchased by outlet or reviewer

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Amy Scholl

Fan of unusual visual novels.