Real Life Plus Ver. Kaname Komatsuzaki Review – Childhood Friend Romance

    Title: Real Life Plus Ver. Kaname Komatsuzaki
    Developer: Fan-na
    Release Date: May 8, 2020
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Sekai Project
    Genre: Visual Novel

Following the life of a character as a premise for a dating-sim seems like a great idea. Having an understanding of the whole “childhood friend t0 lover” by witnessing the entire life of the character sounds rather charming. However, Real life Plus: Kaname Komatsuzaki, developed by Fan-na and published by Sekai Project for an English release, is an oddball.

It’s a visual novel about someone’s life, with lots of choices, an interesting premise, and potentially some serious depth. Which unfortunately goes almost entirely unused as the game ultimately accomplishes nothing more than being a generic eroge.

Real life Plus: Kaname Komatsuzaki stars the faceless protagonist Kouichi and, you guessed it, Kaname Komatsuzaki, the player character’s childhood friend. And for the duration of the entire visual novel, that’s all there will be. The story focuses on these two characters through the early stages of their lives, which could have been great, provided that there was even the barest attempt at substance.

There’s no narration here, so you’ll have to figure out what’s going on through dialogue that contains possibly some of the worst exposition I have encountered to date. There’s either too much, or too little, and then the scene moves on to something else entirely rendering pretty much everything you just read moot. Like seriously, scenes just jump almost seemingly at random with no warning or transition. One snap of your fingers, and there’s been a multi-year time skip. There’s not even a hint of pacing, this stuff just happens, and you’re forced to be along for the ride whether you wanted to move on or not.

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Still, Real life Plus does feature a handful of dialogue options that affect the characters and the ending. Are they any good, though? No. Aside from the apparent couple, the changes they impact are merely arbitrary. The options themselves are also terrible, and possibly the worst if you actually want the player to feel even remotely like they’re in the role of the player character.

90% of the time, your dialogue options are either “be an asshole” or “be an even bigger asshole,” and somehow, we’re supposed to expect that Kaname puts up with the stockpile of human trash that Kouichi is. Kaname is a generic anime love interest who magically has eyes for Kouchi, whose dialogue choices barely even gives you the option to be a decent human being without acting like an entitled, whiny, child. It feels like there’s supposed to be some romance here, but Kouchi is about as smooth as a pit of spikes.

One selling point is that it makes references to different periods, and frankly, that does the writing no favors, as the references boil down to “Hey check out this thing you’ve probably heard of…” and then the story moves on. It’s a peak example of just dropping names for the sake of dropping names.

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The character art is actually pretty good, but it is sabotaged by its placement as the developers have no grasp on what head room is. The first two portraits of Kaname are positioned in an extremely uncomfortable fashion, with her head jutting out of the screen. It’s absolutely baffling and really doesn’t help distract you from the clearly stock assets that make up the backgrounds or the very messy UI.

The text is white on translucent pink, while also being very small, making it very hard to read. The sound settings are also super wacky as random songs will suddenly be much louder than they were before, drowning out the voice acting from one character in the game. You’ll find there are basically no CGs unless you download the outside hosted patch to discover they’re just H content, which, while artistically looks decent, it’s more than clear that this is the only reason I could see someone picking this title up.

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Real life Plus: Kaname Komatsuzaki will cost you both your valuable time and money, with next to nothing in return. You’ll be able to clear it at least once in just half an hour, experience some terribly paced attempt at storytelling to set up some H-scenes, and then wonder why you spent $12 on this. Unless you’re looking for a title with some good H-art and nothing else, I can think of no conceivable reason to pick this one up.

Score:
4/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jacob Kavanagh

Staff Writer - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so he can buy more murder mysteries. @JacobPFZE on twitter