Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche Review – Blonde Girls Abound

    Title: Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche
    Developer: Saga Planets
    Release Date: Jun 11, 2021
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Neko Nyan
    Genre: Visual Novel

Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche is the first visual novel from developer Saga Planets to come west. Though the game focuses on romantic comedy and has a clear preference for blondes, it also offers intriguing plotlines developed through its multiple routes.

Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche introduces Ichimatsu Ouro, a boy who dropped out of school and has a chance encounter with a rich, blonde girl. The scene was like a movie, as he spotted a group of men in black chasing the girl and decided to help her getaway.

What he didn’t know at the time was that this girl was a European princess named Sylvie who comes from a small, technologically advanced country called Sortilège. After a lot of twists, the boy finds himself with a golden opportunity: to become part of the notorious Noble Academy.

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This change of environment may allow him to find something significant for his future. As the game puts it, this is his golden time, a chance to figure out what his ideal self is supposed to be. The academy also includes some additional beauties, which is a significant reason this arrangement is fortuitous.

Everything starts with the common route introducing characters and Ouro’s situation as a newcomer in the Noble Academy. Amid the rich people that usually frequent the school, he’s an unusual person. He isn’t intelligent and doesn’t have proper manners, so the other students ostracize him.

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Nonetheless, he has a good group of friends to interact with. He makes a few guy friends along the way as they bond over porn. However, the most important characters are the five girls whose stories developed across each route.

Initially, only Sylvie, Reina, and Elle are available, with Akane and Ria unlocked by completing those routes. Curiously the game mentions the protagonist has a fetish for black-haired women, but none of them are. There’s, however, a sort of antagonistic figure who has black hair and is quite prominent in the story, as well as the idol Maria Bishop, whose identity is relevant to the plot.

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Sylvie is the princess of Sortilège, but she hates being too stiff due to formalities. She’s like an innocent ray of sunshine, trying to have fun by acting on a whim. Despite this immature side of her, she’s also the kind of person who doesn’t neglect anything important, serving as a dignified role model.

Reina is a commoner and acts more casually than any of the other girls. Highly empathetic, she is the kind of person who can always understand the mood of others and tries to accommodate in any situation. Though she may seem like an unassuming and stereotypical adolescent girl, her effort towards fashion studies is genuine.

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Elle, or rather Heroina di Caballero istaa, is Sylvie’s knight. She’s an imponent figure who seems to dedicate every breath and thought to her master. Besides this sense of duty, her relationship with Sylvie has another, more affectionate side to it as well.

Akane is a kouhai of the protagonist and the only love interest whose hair isn’t blonde; she’s red-haired. Full of enthusiasm, the girl does radio calisthenics every day and is one of the first people to engage with the protagonist. Interacting with her is calming, as is her route, which instead of diving deeper into the characters’ backstories, goes for a more lighthearted tone.

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Last but not least is Ria, a delinquent girl who’s always smoking. Despite being rude frequently, she looks after the protagonist and gives him advice from time to time. She’s the kind of character who drops nuggets of wisdom when needed. Her route is unlocked separately from the other girls and is called “Golden Time” on the main menu.

This term is significant and recurrent in the game, being a philosophy that guides the story. In a way, his time with those girls in the Noble Academy is his chance to become his best self. The answers he finds change depending on the route, but it invariably leads to him finding out something of interest.

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It’s a shame, however, that the game’s routes are unequal in relevance. Sylvie’s and Ria’s are clearly the most important ones, with all the necessary backstory answers revealed through them. Playing Reina’s and Elle’s first makes them feel complimentary, but Sylvie’s just covers every important plot of them both as well, making it feel like the other girls are mere filler contents.

There are also some persistent typos, especially on the common route. In Sylvie’s story, there are at least two text lines with translations that say the exact opposite of what they should. This can be noticed even without understanding the Japanese voices, as those lines don’t make sense context-wise.

Despite those grievances, it’s important to note how the game has a great sense of animation. There aren’t actual animations, not even for the lips, but it’s common for a single dialogue box to have multiple expression changes for the character. This technique makes them feel vibrant as if animated.

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Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche is a romantic comedy story with a surprisingly touching philosophical side to it. It could have done a better job making each route significant, but it’s an enjoyable ride, especially when it comes to having fun with cute blonde girls and a red-haired kouhai.

Score:
7.5/10
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.