Title: Our Lovely Escape
Developer: Reine Works
Release Date: September 30, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
Genre: Visual Novel
Characters in visual novels usually have some typical personality tropes. However, this is often told through a cast of about six to eight characters, not counting the supporting roles. Well, developer Reine Works doesn’t seem to want to follow the rules with the visual novel Our Lovely Escape. The story is so outlandish, cruel, and haphazard that I couldn’t help but hate the entire cast. And yet, I ended up enjoying the game for the very same reasons.
Our Lovely Escape begins by the player choosing a name and gender for their character. All of this doesn’t matter because you won’t ever see yourself at any point in the game. However, some moments of dialogue are affected by this choice; it’s not a bid deal, though. Anyway, you have started working at an Otome visual novel company, and your two coworkers and boss make up the three other cast members in the game.
These three characters are tough to explain because the events that follow the opening act make them each out to be everything but ordinary. Take Mayu for example, she’s quiet and shy, but then you get her over to your house after a drunken night, and she doesn’t seem to want to leave. These themes of bad character traits of women show in each character, which makes you wonder if the writer had some terrible relationships growing up and projected that into these characters.
It doesn’t stop at the women. The main protagonist is at the mercy of your choices, which could make them out to be a complete ass hole or a caring lover. It’s zany, and you’ll never know where the story is going to go next or how these characters are going to react, which makes the entire game rather interesting over multiple playthroughs.
I hated these characters. However, I hated them because I could relate to some of the situations in the visual novel, and nervously laughed at the events that transpired. The said, as a visual novel, this doesn’t work because you see no character growth, and you’re mostly just playing to see how crazy this game can get and where the story will go next.
Nothing about the main protagonist is likable, and the only romance route that makes sense is the relationship between the protagonist and his boss Lissa, who’s also a childhood friend. Sadly, she is the craziest character and shows some pretty kinky sides of herself out of nowhere multiple times. As unlikable as the protagonist is, each of these characters falls for him. If you’re going into this visual novel for any character consistency, then I would hold off on those expectations.
Our Lovely Escape has some extremely witty writing about game development that is accurate, as well as some scary relationship interactions that have probably happened. The developers seem to have a real grasp on these situations and expertly put them out there for the player to experience. It’s even better how the writers create awkward situations and see them through until the end when any sane person would run and hide.
The artwork in Our Lovely Escape is nice, and there are even some excellent illustrations of food. There aren’t too many CGs in the game, but the ones that are present are detailed and well animated. The h-scenes in the game aren’t anything too special as the protagonist isn’t really there, but they all have a high quality about them. There’s currently no voice acting in the game, but I don’t think that hurts it in any way and the developer has said they will try to add it in the future.
There are multiple endings for each character, as well as plenty of interactions with the game where the player can make choices during dialogue. The game only lasts about an hour for each playthrough, and there’s an email mini-game that has some pretty true-to-life emails that game developers get, which is pretty impressive.
Our Lovely Escape is not a game of character growth or a compelling story, but it will leave you happy that you aren’t in a relationship like the one in the story. I can only describe the characters only as “random,” and I wish the developer had a more extensive cast of characters to spread these personalities out evenly instead of having three characters with personality disorders. It ends up making the entire game feel like a messy rollercoaster, and the invisible protagonist angle never worked here because I personally never felt a connection to the character.
As much as hated the main protagonist and characters, Our Lovely Escape is an excellent example of how an insane premise that pulls off unique ways of storytelling can keep someone’s attention. I don’t think these characters are supposed to be likable, and I couldn’t help but want to tune in to see how each relationship plays out awkwardly. The art is excellent for such an indie title, and I’m excited to see what this developer comes up with next.
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