Title: Nurse Love Syndrome
Developer: KOGADO STUDIO
Release Date: April 18, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
2016’s Nurse Love Addiction taught me to never underestimate a yuri visual novel which revolves around cute girls with large dreams. These types of games are the ones you would expect to be strictly light-hearted without any real plot. Now, with its sequel, Nurse Love Syndrome shares similar themes with its predecessor and also attempts to include more hospital jargon that revolves around these cute nurses and their shared romance. The overall mystery presented in Nurse Love Syndrome turned out to be a thrilling experience even with all the distracting nurses.
Something to keep in mind is that Nurse Love Syndrome and Nurse Love Addiction are technically from the same series although Syndrome was released first in Japan.
Nurse Love Syndrome stars Sawai Kaori who has a dream to be a nurse. When she was 10 there was a traffic accident where she almost lost her life and ever since then it was clear to her that she wanted to become a nurse. However, she is rather clumsy at her job and encounters all sorts of hardships. I feel that this is something that most people can easily relate during the first days of a new career. Kaori slowly gets used to her job, yet she gets confronted with a lot of things including her past. She only remembers small fragments of her accident and the two voices she keeps hearing in her dream seem awfully familiar to her.
After playing Nurse Love Syndrome I was keen on the small reveals which slyly implies that there is more to the story than it lets the reader in on. While these moments are brief, I was left curious to find out why a series of strange events happened and for what reason. It’s refreshing that Nurse Love Syndrome manages to balance its yuri themes and mystery elements so well during the story. With that said, I absolutely loved the unexpected development from a light-hearted yuri game to a supernatural and thrilling plot. On top of it, it doesn’t fail to deliver romantic scenes for everyone who is into cute nurses.
While the series is known for its writing, Nurse Love Syndrome is an extremely long game and the pacing of the game can be a hit or miss at times because of this. Although I don’t mind slower paced games, sadly, I felt like Nurse Love Syndrom was dragging more than a few conversations at times. There are also moments where it tries to be serious and throws all sorts of professional medical terms at the reader, which made it impossible to not get a little confused for those who aren’t familiar with these terms. The good thing is that the technical terms do get explained, but there were so many that it’s not likely the reader will remember one before another is introduced. I wouldn’t have minded if it was spread out over the game, but reading this visual novel was very dry at times and I really needed a break after a couple of hours since I couldn’t concentrate on it anymore.
Furthermore, many scenes felt unnecessary. With such a massive game it got boring quickly to read the everyday life of Kaori to only learn little bits and pieces about the main the plot. Some of the romanceable characters even get introduced after hours into the game, which made it tough to care about them. After having already played a few hours, it sadly didn’t feel like anything happened at all and the story came to a standstill. The worst part about this is that it not only hurt the plot but the character development as well.
I often found myself frustrated with the main character Sawai Kaori. While she is displayed as an innocent and pure girl, it was overdone at times and she kept making silly mistakes. It gets to the point where you question her nurse studies completely, even though it often gets mentioned during dialog. As aforementioned, this game uses a lot of technical terms which Kaori didn’t even know the meaning of. It made me question her ability at times and it seemed like even the characters in the game didn’t want to get treated by her. Now, I get that she is new and doesn’t have a lot of experience, yet you would think she would have at least memorize something she got taught in school. However, she does not know how to handle her work most of the time. But it doesn’t end with this, Kaori’s actions are even comparable to a child since she doesn’t know how to properly accept her wrongdoings.
The mystery themes in Nurse Love Syndrome are spread over multiple routes, so in order to be able to understand the whole story, multiple playthroughs, routes, and endings are necessary. Additionally, there are unlockable romance routes in this game, so you need to complete a certain route before being able to unlock another character to romance.
Like Addiction, Syndrome has a skip-to-the-next-choice option. The inconvenient thing about this option is just that it even skips the unseen text, so that makes the feature pretty useless if you want to read every possible scenario. There is no way to change that in the settings either, so I’m afraid those who want to read the entire game have to use the normal skip function.
Still, Nurse Love Syndrome has some incredible artwork and an amazing soundtrack. The special thing about this game is that the main character has their own sprite as well which is unique for games where you can pursue different love interests. Although it’s presented in a different style than Addiction, I found it no less charming with its superb voice acting, where the main character is also voiced. I found it pretty entertaining to listen to these cute girls squeaking around while having fun together.
To sum it up, while it seems like I didn’t enjoy this visual novel based on my criticisms, Nurse Love Syndrome was indeed an enjoyable experience overall. It has its moments but the story-line and romance make it all up in the end. However, this means getting through the dry moments of lengthy text to discover the best parts of the game. Furthermore, even though Kaori can be annoying at times, and I couldn’t understand her way of thinking sometimes, she is still an adorable girl who thinks about others way too much, which redeems her in the end, and made me feel that the people around her were too harsh with her clumsiness.
Nurse Love Syndrome had the opportunity to tell a story with a more capable main female protagonist, but they opted to present her as absent-minded and dumb. Given that Nurse Love Syndrome originally was released before Addiction, you can really see the improvements in the studio’s way of storytelling and character growth. However, playing Nurse Love Addiction first might have hurt my overall experience with Nurse Love Syndrome because it was just so good. Still, I can easily recommend this story to fans of yuri visual novels because there are plenty of them, but also to those who enjoy slow-paced light-hearted narratives.
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