Study Steady Review – Your Next Guilty Pleasure
Title: Study Steady
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
The visual novel genre has grown on me over the years. I went from sleepily reading them for an hour before moving on to appreciating their nuances and character-driven stories. Now, I’ve come to appreciate this genre and understand what keeps players invested; regardless if it has eroge or slice-of-life themes, there’s room for some great moments of storytelling. This brings me to the Marmalade-developed Study Steady, a casual eroge with decent character arcs that don’t move the genre in any new directions.
Study Steady begins with the protagonist moving into his recently deceased grandparent’s house, accompanied by his AI assistant, Coogle. No, I didn’t say Google. Although, it isn’t long until he meets four young women who change his life as their fated encounter leads to him growing up and understanding his emotions.
Despite having an AI as a character who you frequently interact with, that’s pretty much where the futuristic themes end as the story takes place in a relatively normal school setting. This is where you’ll become acquainted with the main heroines who catch your attention. The frequent tropes and character archetypes help ease you into the plot as you’re able to pick one of four girls to woo first, the tomboy Hazuki, the popular and studious Nanoka, the homely Mai, and the maturely blunt Yuu.
The story covers a variety of different preferences; since this is an eroge, you can bet that each romanceable girl will enviably fall to your smooth moves. The range varies from a sporty tomboy who is sometimes more of a bro or the timid underclassman adept at housework; Study Steady covers all the bases. Due to this diversity, it’s evident that the girl you’ll pick first is more dependent on their archetypes than their inner conflicts that emerge through dialogue since the former is where their characterizations are rooted.
This is disappointing, considering the four routes don’t have legs without these tropes. In addition, it makes some routes feel less appealing than others if you don’t really like the heroin’s interest. For example, if you don’t already find it charming, then the tomboyish Hazuki begging you to help them study won’t win you over.
The humor found throughout the story is great for what it’s worth, but nothing will surprise you, leading me to invest in the character interactions alone. However, one of the most memorable conflicts is an internal one, where the main character is unsure of his feelings seconds before a confession.
These exchanges allow the more explicit scenes to be about the fun rather than bogging you down in an emotional plot. The length of the h-scenes is exceptional, though, such as one scene where you spend the night at Hazuki’s, and it never ends. I mean credit where credit is due; this protagonist has stamina.
The CGs for these scenes are delightfully pleasing as they have different variations to show movement. Considering how long the scenes last, it’s good that the illustrations keep things moving. Further, the character illustrations are gorgeous. So much so that I found myself in the gallery to take a second glance.
During the dialogue, the characters’ illustrations have different poses. This helped add life to the characters throughout the scenes, and, thankfully, the dialogue itself was well-written. However, when progressing the dialogue, characters seem to suddenly return to a default pose before the dialogue continues causing the scenes to be prolonged as the pose unnaturally transitioned during a scene.
Study Steady doesn’t do anything new, instead opting for an enjoyable yet slightly forgettable experience. Even so, I found myself coming back to it repeatedly, spending time before bed to continue the route I had been on until, before I knew it, there was nothing left, except for the beautiful art and a sense that I shouldn’t let anybody know what I spent fifty hours of my life doing.
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