Socialising can be challenging at times. Even more so, you happen to be looking for a romantic partner, which requires time and energy. There’s also the potential that things don’t work out. Luckily, there are romance based games available to save us from all the heartache and expensive dinner dates. Developer Smee’s visual novel, Making Lovers, puts an exciting spin on the genre by making the dating start first, before the romance kicks in.
Making Lovers stars our faceless hero [insertnamehere], a young man who has been out of college for a couple of years with precisely zero experience in the dating game. However, without fate to help him, he’s forced into his worst nightmare: blind dates and mixers. Luckily for him, he’s got a best friend who can arrange that stuff for him. In each of the potential heroine routes, our protagonist ends up dating a girl on a sort of trial run, or they’re temporary roommates. Oh my god, they were roommates.
In terms of structure, this means that accepting whatever invitation or event that puts you within 5 feet of the girl is what will end up putting you into their character route, no questions asked. From there, it’s a straight shot to the ending, with no bad or neutral endings to get in your way. There are five different girls to romance and they’re all of consistent quality, but the little sister might throw some of you off. Or turn you on.
This visual novel has your standard array of sharp backgrounds with a collection of portraits, poses, and, most importantly, outfits for each heroine. Additionally, several minor characters get their own portraits instead of just being relegated to silhouettes. You’ll notice quickly that the game doesn’t even remotely try to take itself seriously, instead opting for comedy all the way.
Making Lovers has an absolutely fantastic translation that makes it a lot of fun to read. While this means there aren’t any especially emotional plot beats, there are enough cute and humorous shenanigans going on between the cast to keep readers invested. However, I would suspect that many of you would be here for the title’s H-scenes (unlocked through a free patch), which makes the actual dialogue leading up to the romance nonsensical.
Interestingly, these scenes, which are by no means necessary to enjoy the events of each story, can actually be impacted by the date system. This setup allows you to create your own outings to go on with each of the heroines. You pick a location to visit and then a place to get a meal from before you embark.
Each route has two points in which this system is used, which depends on which level of intimacy the protagonist is with the girls. Each location has entirely unique interactions, and the characters will discuss topical events about the date and reference them later. There’s an excellent sense of satisfaction when you manage to pick out a date spot that a girl especially likes, even if it’s effortless to do so.
How pretty the game looks can not be overstated, and that is only helped by the utter swath of options you have at your disposal, all laid out on a beautiful and clean series of menus. You’re free to change things to your heart’s content, from the text box color, opacity, the ability to segment the textbox out entirely, and even change the font. The world is your oyster and it has some very good waifus. Except maybe the siscon route. That’s just, y’ know—a thing. Quick, listen to the game’s bangin opening to avoid thinking about moral complications!
Making Lovers is a solid title that accomplishes everything it sets out to do, making for a reasonably expansive narrative that can last you up to approximately thirty-five hours to complete. The game’s dating system makes each story a little more personal and also makes the linear nature of it all less noticeable. The game’s cute, funny, and very pretty to look at, and sometimes that’s all you need.
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