Title: Love on Leave
Release Date: May 17, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Developer qureate are making a real name for themselves in the low barrier of entry visual novel. The team also has a knack for creating cute character designs that are likely the reason behind their popularity. One of their more recent releases, Love on Leave, takes the relaxing low-impact narrative storytelling to new levels as its systems revolve around players freely making choices surrounding how to spend various aspects of their day. Although its small cast of characters is based on popular archetypes, it delivers a nice dose of humor throughout its narrative.
Love on Leave puts players in the role of Akito, a man who has just quit his job and is using his paid time off between working to return to his childhood home. Upon return, the small countryside village hasn’t changed too much for him, well, aside from the fact that his friends, known as the Amakusa sisters, have grown into attractive women.
The three girls, Amane, Hibiki, and Kanami, each fall into their character tropes from the moment they appear on screen. Amane is the tsundere, Hibiki suffers from younger sibling syndrome, and Kanami takes on the role of the motherly figure for the group. Their individual growth throughout the game is very surface-level, and nothing will surprise you, but at least they’re cute.
The overall writing helps the enjoyment of the core story elements. It seems like qureate knows its audience with nuanced writing and jokes that show an understanding of this genre. It often makes jokes relating to the medium, which managed to make me laugh a few times.
When it comes to the gameplay elements, everything happens naturally, but you’ll have to go through a lot of random running around to see everything this game has to offer. I suppose Love on Leave could be described as an item collection adventure game since that’s all you do in the game.
Each day, you’ll explore the town, pick up items, interact with people, and complete item deliveries. Each girl has their likes, but I never had a problem earning affinity points with the three heroines just by playing. Doing tasks like fishing, playing mini-games, and farming will increase their love, but you can also give them gifts to speed things up.
The idea here is to eventually unluck romance scenes between the characters. This will become the main reason you’ll play this game after the first hour. The girls have a charm about them that goes well with the humorously simple gameplay design. You’re constantly moving forward toward your goal.
To add a sprinkle of supernatural elements, there’s also a Sage character who is mostly a magical perverted old man. He asks that you deliver him panties found around town. I’m not sure why this town has a problem with these garments being casually spread around the streets. Still, I was already so far into the experience that I wasn’t really concerned about all that, especially after the Sage introduces the touching mini-game.
Okay, okay, but before I get into that, several other mini-games are available that add to the overall experience. Aside from a space shooter and claw mini-game, there’s a fun little card game featuring characters from other Qureate-developed games. This mini-game simply has you click at the right time to cause damage to the opponent. When it comes to the touching mini-game, well, there’s a reason why they need to be touched; I just didn’t care. It’s fun, and it’s there alongside some well-detailed CGs which unlock as you raise the affinity level with the girls.
Some interesting elements of gameplay require you to complete quests that open access to new items that can speed up relationships. Further, a cell phone menu organizes all your tasks, even displaying the ones with a deadline. However, there are moments during gameplay when the repetitive nature of running around town, picking up items, and playing mini-games weighs on the enjoyment. It becomes a game where you kind of forget about the actual plot, as your enjoyment mainly stems from the ecchi gameplay systems.
Graphically, I thought Love on Leave was decent. The size of the town grows throughout, offering various areas to explore, but this does mean more places to run around, hoping for items to appear randomly. Regardless, the voice audio is excellent, even against a forgettable soundtrack. There’s room for replayability if you’re trying to complete the Sage’s special CG events or get the harem route, so spend your days wisely if you want the goods.
Love on Leave knows what it is and will find its audience through its ecchi gameplay systems and humorous writing. However, that comes at the cost of a repetitive gameloop that doesn’t require any thought to reach the game’s various milestones. Still, if you’re looking for a casual, relaxing experience, you can’t really go wrong here but don’t go looking for any significant attachment to the characters.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.