Title: Yukikoi Melt
Release Date: April 29, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
Even in slice-of-life visual novels, I expect there to be something more than what is presented in the premise of a game. I need something to keep me invested and interested in the characters, outside of what is written on the box. Sadly, Frontwing’s Yukikoi Melt doesn’t offer any that; it doesn’t even expand on gameplay features that it introduces within the first 30 minutes.
Yukikoi Melt stars your male tsundere protagonist Miharu Okazaki, a boy who recently moved to the snowy town of Yubane to attend school. However, there’s one massive issue with this; he hates winter. Any chance that Miharu gets, he will proclaim his hatred for the cold. The story does well to sell this key personality trait about him, and it does it many ingenious ways.
The first hour of gameplay is excellent, which is sad because the story quickly falls apart after, until the true ending. You see, there’s a bit of mystery in opening scenes of Yukikoi Melt that isn’t expanded upon. You meet a few of the game’s heroines, but its when you meet Taruhi Himeguri that things get interesting. For one, she has cat ears, which introduces the game’s one-and-only choice, “Do you touch them?” By touching them, you’ll get a bad end, but it’s the way the scene carries out the grabbed my interest.
It’s something that I wish the story returned to, but let me just stop your right there and tell you that it doesn’t. Furthermore, the story completely forgets about the cat ears altogether, and they are never brought up again. Even with that, Himeguri’s route was one of my favorites.
Let’s get back on track, Miharu hates winter, which grabs the attention of Inaba Usagi, resident scarf girl, and leader of the Winter Club. Her and her crew of winter loyalists go around town and make ice sculptures as they soak up the icy breeze. Usagi wants to enlist Miharu to get him to accept winter into his life, but he refuses for a while until he realizes that he is rather lonely and likes hanging out with a bunch of attractive girls, who could’ve figured?
Benefits aside from the fact that Usagi sometimes walks around naked in the snow are that Miharu will get to move into a special Winter Club dorm room and live with the members who consist of Himeguri, Kanon, Unazuki, and Yuki. These four girls each have their own role in the club and are also your romanceable routes. Sadly, you can’t romance Usagi or the beautiful homeroom teacher.
Once you make it through the common route, the game simply allows you to choose which heroine you want to romance. Following the choice, you are treated to a more in-depth and personal look into the respective character’s life as you begin dating them.
Himeguri stands out as one of the best routes because she is also a hater of winter, and the dynamic between the two is just adorable to watch play out. Putting my bias of cat ears aside, Himeguri is just a safe lead heroine and has a few complex elements about her that allow her to stand out when compared to the other girls.
Surprisingly, I found that Yuki’s route was also rather intriguing. Throughout the narrative, she takes lots of pictures, which plays a role in her route in more ways than one. However, there is no real reason as to why these girls chose Miharu. You see, he isn’t that interesting and has no real stand out qualities other than his clever ways with words.
The theme in the dialogue is kept comical throughout the entire story, which is fine, but there is never any sense of pacing. No, the club isn’t at risk of closing, and no, Miharu doesn’t have some unique bonds with this club that makes him special. The story can be summed up in a sentence, “A boy hates winter and so a group of attractive girls changes his mind.” That’s it. Still, I laughed more than a few times at the dialogue since it is rather funny, and the characters do grow on you a bit.
Character illustrations are gorgeous, which is something that the developer consistently delivers on in each of their games. The character CGs are also spaced out well and focus on some great moments of the game’s story. As for the h-scenes, things are kept pretty vanilla here with some fetishes touched on, but nothing that’s in your face. I should mention that if you are going to play this game, you should understand that a large portion of the story is cut from the all-ages version, including a few character routes. There is a free patch available, that restores everything, but without that patch, you are playing a tremendously bare-bones version of the game.
Yukikoi Melt is a beautiful visual novel that falls apart within the first hour. There is so much potential crammed in the beginning moments that are never brought up again and make you question why you just spent 20 hours hoping for something that never happens. However, if you’re looking for an exceptionally humorous and lighthearted visual novel about a boy overcoming his hatred for winter, look no further than Yukikoi Melt.
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