Title: Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble
Developer: ASa Project
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
I know plenty of visual novels that wear the “Comedy” tag prominently. However, I don’t remember the last time I physically busted out laughing while playing a game. That is until playing developer ASa Project’s newest visual novel Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble, which had me busting up within the first 10 minutes. While nailing the comedic tone is a feat on its own, the game does struggle when it comes to story direction.
Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble stars the main protagonist Sousuke as he pretty much introduces himself as an otaku anime nerd who is in a club with other otaku nerds. The club has plenty of members with more added throughout the story, but surprisingly, the writing handles their conversations together well. Each member of the club has their own otaku interests and this shows prominently in the topics that they wish to talk about.
What’s important to touch on for the purpose of this review is just how well Sankaku Renai makes these character’s friendship believable. They all know each other so well and nothing gets past any of them when one of them is acting differently. They constantly riff off of each other, which creates moments that feel so genuine as if they just recorded an actual group of friends talking and put that into visual novel form.
The premise of the visual novel revolves around Sousuke and his two sisters. There are some other plotlines thrown into the mix, but I felt like Sousuke’s family troubles was the most prominent theme overall. You see, Sousuke has a half-sister, Nanaru, who gets along with him very well ever since their parents married when they were younger. However, one day, his real sister, Suzu, shows up at the house after a family emergency requires her to stay with her dad. As you could have guessed this creates some moments of tension as the two battle for the love of Sousuke.
On paper, this can seem like a generic sister love visual novel, but as the story plays out, Sousuke’s two sisters are trying to get to know each other just as much as they are trying to stay close to him. It makes for some interesting moments, but things can get a bit overwhelming when the mature content kicks in. While the story does attempt to show why these characters love each other, it loses direction several times and struggles to make a clean shift from comedy to heartwarming romance.
As far as the supporting cast goes, Sankaku Renai has some really great characters here. Stand out performance goes to best girl Shiina who is a perverted mess of an otaku. She says the most outlandish things and even breaks the fourth wall. She is perhaps the girlfriend that many of those playing will wish exists, but I might be just projecting. For the funniest character, I’d have to point out Cara who has a short route in the game but goes through a few changes in the story. However, she retains her hilarious input and personality which makes any scene she is in all the better.
Sankaku Renai has plenty of character routes to find you in and an amazing UI to keep things organized. The game sets up autosaves during each route that contains a choice that could find the player on another route. This feature is great considering every female character has their own route, with that said, some routes are rushed, but they each contain a prologue showing what happened after the events of the story.
Sankaku Renai finds the characters in many situations, but there isn’t an actual destination that the story is headed. This makes the story feel lost at times because, as the reader, I didn’t actually know why I was sticking with the story other than the hilarious dialog and adorable cast members. This lack of direction makes the game feel more like a journey and not the destination type of visual novel, which makes the overall 20-hour runtime of the game a hurdle.
While the characters go through a number of costume changes, their movement is shown by only a handful of static illustrations. Furthermore, the backgrounds in the game are pretty generic save for a few standout environments like the Otaku Club room. Music in the game isn’t anything memorable and I felt like I kept hearing the same three track loops over and over.
The character illustrations themselves are extremely adorable, but the game’s all-ages version lacks many CG scenes found in the adult version of the game. During the game, there are moments that allude to the characters hooking up, but it’ll just shift to the morning time. While the h-scenes don’t really have an effect on the game’s tone, I wish more non-h CGs were in the game to break up some of the lengthy conversations during the game’s narrative.
Where Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble shines is in its branching paths and character banter. The friendship shared between these characters comes off as genuine and believable. Every time they were all together, I knew I would be laughing, especially moments with Shiina involved. While character illustrations are beautiful and each character has multiple costume changes, they do come off a bit static. Also, there are plenty of H-scenes in the game across all routes for those that want it, but the all-ages version lacks in the CG department for the most part.
Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble is just a hilarious visual novel with some amazing UI. I had a great time hanging out with these characters even though I didn’t actually know where the story was leading. If you’re looking for a visual novel that is pure comedic gold with some h-scene romance then you will without a doubt have a great time with Sankaku Renai: Love Triangle Trouble.
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