Sugar * Style Review – Cute Girls, Much Laughs

    Title: Sugar Style
    Developer: Smee
    Release Date: April 30, 2021
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Neko Nyan
    Genre: Visual Novel

Sugar Style is a visual novel by Japanese developer Smee, who also worked on Fureraba: Friend to Lover. It promises a fun rom-com game with cute girls to date and good jokes, honestly never trying to be anything more than that.

In Sugar Style, the player assumes the role of a young man who decides to enroll at a vocational school after being invited by a relative to live with her at the dorm. What he didn’t expect was that the place would be a rundown building in which only women lived.

Besides his irresponsible relative/dorm mother called Kaoru, the dorm also has four beauties who are also joining the school this year and a little pest named Erika. Though living with girls could be an exciting prospect, he’s soon branded a pervert by his dormmates.

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Despite his reputation getting to a low point, he still has the chance to woo them. After getting to know a little of their stories, the player must choose one of them, thus entering their routes. However, the actual dating will take a while, mostly happening in the latter portion of the game.

Each girl has a unique personality. For starters, Hare is a tennis “girl jock,” very passionate about the practice and many kinds of sports and physical activities. Despite that, as the protagonist gets to know her, he finds out she’s very sensible and girly.

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On the other side, Ichika is studying to become a baker. She cooks for everyone in the dorm and is generally level-headed. Despite seeming meek at first, she speaks her mind when needed and has a scary side if irritated.

Kaname has a mysterious allure to her with the poise and dignity of a noblewoman. However, she has a mischievous side which she often shows. She’s the kind to tell lies, joke around and play pranks, but people are none the wiser.

Lastly, but not least, Mao mostly acts tsundere, though she’s terrible at actually seeming threatening in any way. Despite always badmouthing the protagonist, she’s very fond of him. She is the oldest of three siblings and dreams of becoming a good teacher.

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Besides the choice of girl, the player can also pick between four jobs in the game. Each consists of extra story moments with the protagonist doing some work to help around the house. They help develop the characters a little further as well.

The story itself is a simple romantic comedy, with a narrative that feels predictable and even a little stale. However, the jokes are well crafted, some of which work thanks to the great dynamics between the protagonist and the girls. The game constantly made me laugh, especially when the characters did outlandish things.

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Besides the story, Sugar Style also has a few small segments of point-and-click. The player has to search the girls’ rooms for conversation materials during those moments. Often, it’ll end up with him causing their ire, though the game has no bad endings, so it won’t impact the routes negatively.

Visually speaking, the character design is enjoyable and very expressive, with some good usage of background effects. The soundtrack is serviceable but also generic enough to not stand out much. Also, the game offers a font adjustment option in the menu. But even with the default option, there are a few instances in which text gets cut, and there are a few typos.

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Despite feeling generic and not offering much to set itself apart, Sugar Style manages to be a fun romantic comedy. Its character dynamics are charming, and it never tries to be something it isn’t. Each route features humorous exchanges that will likely be enough to warrant a full playthrough.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.