Taking 2 years of physics was a part of my major in college. I enjoyed the classes, but more importantly, I enjoyed learning about the people that these laws and formulas were named after, many of which were men. However, developer Laplacian is turning these seemingly boring ideas and presenting them in a way that visual novel fans can enjoy…by turning Sir Isaac Newton into waifu with twin tails in their visual novel Newton and the Apple Tree.
Newton and the Apple Tree begins by introducing Syuji Asanaga who has had some pretty huge life changes as he chases what he believes is his dream of being a musician. The only sad part is that he isn’t very good at this, which mirrors why he quit doing physics, the subject that held his interest before picking up music. So you can imagine his surprise when a girl in disguise was standing front and center watching him perform on a street corner. It just so happens that this girl is his childhood friend, Yotsuko Utakane, who requests that he Syuji goes with her to figure what happened to Syuji’s Grandpa, a well-known physicist who Syuji hasn’t been in contact with for some time.
After some convincing, Syuji and Yotsuko head out to England, but after looking through the belongings of Syuji’s grandpa, they end up traveling through time. Coincidentally, the two find themselves at the moment when a young girl was on the brink of discovering the law of gravity while sitting under an apple tree. Yes, this would turn out to be Sir Isaac Newton who goes by name of Alice. Now, not only do they need to find a way home, but the two need to assist Alice’s work and eliminate the possibility of a time paradox.
Okay, I just want to point out that this premise is brilliant and the way it’s executed is as charming as it is well written. As the main protagonist, Syuji evolves over the course of the main route (Yotsuko) where he will prove his confidence within himself and also reveal confide in his peers with the reasons why he drifted away from pursuing physics. Similarly, His character growth varies between each route which makes them each interesting as if you are learning more things about him with every playthrough.
Each character met throughout the story serves a certain role to the game’s progression, but at the same time, the direction of the story goes in a way that you wouldn’t expect during the main route. I actually enjoyed this because it caught me off guard. At the beginning and end of almost every day, the cast will sit around a table and talk about their days or some random topic. I found myself looking forward to these moments because the space around the table changes as you meet new characters and it gives the story a chance to evolve this group together over the course of the story to make them believable friends.
Routes are decided by the choices made during the game. However, there are only two routes available during your first playthrough. These routes offer deep insight into what kind of a person Syuji is. After those routes are complete, players can work their way towards the real meat of the story that revolves around Alice herself. I found that all-around Alice’s route was perhaps the best and that’s saying a lot because they are all generally good, especially Yotsukos. Still, Emmy Felton is best girl, just had to add that in somewhere in this review.
This design choice might turn players away because they might shoot for Alice right away only to discover that the main route doesn’t involve her. Also, some choices during the game don’t offer a consequence and have no effect on the story or if the wrong choice is made the story will simply make you rechoose.
The localization team did a really good job getting this game to make sense to an English reader. Many of the terms used could be seen as high brow physics jargon, but I never felt lost in the text. Even when Yotsuko, Lavi, and *redacted for fear of spoilers* have a nerdy conversation about physics. Still, there are some clever jokes sprinkled around that only physics nerds might find comical.
The character designs are decent, but I would have liked to see more of variance during CG scenes. It just felt a bit repetitive the fourth time visiting the bar and seeing the same scene of them drinking. Also, the game could use more character illustrations that depict the character’s movement. However, a design choice I did enjoy was how there were times during the game where the story shifts to Syuji’s thoughts and he’ll give his input on the situation.
As for the H-scenes in the game, yes, this is an eroge. It seems as though these were just made to satisfy fans of the genre. They aren’t necessary for the story, but the developer does write them in so that they flow nicely with the story’s progression. The H-scenes themselves are vanilla and without mosaics, but I would say that this is an eroge where the story comes first. With that said, the extra scenes unlocked after the game is complete can get a little spicy.
Newton and the Apple Tree has a nice flow of drama and action that keeps the player interested throughout the 20+ hours of the story if you’re going for all the routes. There are also some high action moments that can easily pull on the emotional heartstrings of the reader. Following Syuji’s quest to accept himself and his past is fueled by a great supporting cast and the insane premise that Sir Isaac Newton is a girl.
Newton and the Apple Tree gave me the opportunity to have fun with key members of the scientific revolution. The story offers multiple routes of enjoyment and even more content to be unlocked after all the routes are complete. I would say this story is for fans who enjoy a comedic look at history with a dose of romance and thrill. Newton and the Apple Tree is a fun ride and I’m glad that I was able to experience it.
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