New Game Thursday – Sakura Spirit
I love visual novel games, and so when Steam put their anime sale up I was excited to see quite a few from my wishlist marked down in price. I picked up Sakura Spirit without doing much research into it, which is something I now wish I had of done. Yes, the game is ‘adult’ in nature, but in the past that hasn’t bugged me, especially if the story is good and it follows a ‘choose your own adventure’ type of gameplay. Most visual novels combine things like leveling skills and making choices that affect the story, etc, with a great plot, but Sakura Spirit doesn’t really work this way.
I played for a few hours and only had one decision to make which didn’t affect the story at all, which of course disappointed me right away. Especially after waiting so long just to make that one decision.
The story is about a young 17 year old boy named Takahiro, who is two weeks away from an intense judo competition. He gets ported into an alternate realm where he meets up with some kitsune ladies. The ladies are stealing panties and creating issues in a nearby town with their antics. He later learns that the kitsune (Maeko and Machiko) are also from an alternate reality, and that’s why there’s such strife between them and the villagers. He is given a mission he has to complete in order to get back to his own world, and the story basically continues from there. Tsuyuri is a spirit bound to a specific location in the alternate realm, and she explains all of this to him. She would love to help get everyone back to their own realms, but she doesn’t have the power to (despite being a magical creature in her own right).
I enjoyed the basic story, it was light and humorous with a lot of teasing and fun to read (minus the spelling errors). I just think it could have been so much more had they actually allowed some interaction with the reader. That one fact soured the game for me, and it’s not one I would recommend to others unless they were looking for that very specific type of visual novel.