- Demographic: Everyone (Trust me on this.)
- Sexual Content or Nudity: No.
- Cost: Free
- Genre: Slice of Life, Sci-Fi
- Game Systems: PC, Mac, and Linux
Ristorante is a game about a girl who works in an Italian restaurant. She has a chance to woo three different guys and… she does. The end. Or is it?
Ristorante Amore was made in one month, and therefore there isn’t as much content as you would normally get in a Visual Novel. For example, there are only five CGs, one for a neutral end and the rest for romantic endings. Although it was made in a month, for that it isn’t bad. The music is pretty standard, although I advice you to turn your speakers down when you first start it up as it will hurt your ears. The art is different from your conventional anime style, but I liked it. It was the way that the artist likes to draw and you could tell that they were comfortable in it, which made it nice art instead of art that you look and wonder how much they were struggling.
Alas, it is impossible to fully talk about this game without spoiling it. Since it is free to play and extremely short (I finished the whole thing in less than three hours), I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a great visual novel with a unique twist. However, if you are offended by homosexuals and portrayals of homosexual relationships, be wary (although you can choose ways to avoid the people in question). There is another spoiler-free review done by my roommate, which can be found here. Check it out if you’re still undecided. Below, I will spoil the game so if you want to play it, DON’T SCROLL DOWN!
As it turns out, I feel kind of gipped on this game. See, I came in wanting to play an Otome game. What I got were twenty minutes of incredibly stereotyped, blunt-edged otome parody, and then after that the real game where you become the character Pierre and you can date two girls or two guys. So essentially, this game covers all genres because you can play as a girl and woo a guy, and play as a guy and woo girls and other guys. The end.
The problem is that the otome game part is the shortest, and it also kinda feels like the game’s creators are mocking you. I think they tried to parody how formulaic most otome games are, but it doesn’t feel like a loving parody. It feels hateful. When you play it, by extension, and you expect an otome game and when they parody it and psyche you out, you can’t help but feel like the creators took you for a fool.
However, if you’re not too set on getting specifically an otome game, there’s no real problem here, unless you’re afraid of BL (Boy’s Love). I was bothered by the fact that you could tell who the creator’s favorite characters were (Ethan and Josh/Pierre, with Liam in third and the girls last). I was also bothered by the fact that it the guys’ routes were longer and more interesting than the girl’s routes. (Compare having a drama about whether or not to continue pursuing work when it’s not letting you live your life and then disappearing on your family for week and not speaking to anyone vs not being sure whether you would make a good vet.) It’s unfortunate that there was such a bias, because I actually found one of the guys boring and the other girls much more interesting. One of the girls, Laura, had an interesting quirk to her that actually made her routes challenging, and the other was a very strong woman who was occasionally wavering with self-doubt, but never lets it get her down– basically, they were very believable. But speaking of the decisions…
They were way too easy and you could see through every last one of them. Aside from the aforementioned girl, who I was often surprised with which choice was right, they are all very clearly “This one means I like you” and “This one means get lost!” Therefore there wasn’t much suspense in the game and you were only playing to find out what happens. This is great because the game was so short, but had it been any longer for each route and I would’ve questioned why I was playing, especially since I had hoped for an Otome game and not an everything-game.
This is a good game to see how you like each genre, though. You will get a feel for BL, Otome, and Bishoujo easily by playing this. Considering it was made in a month, I will give it a score of 3.5/5 stars. I almost wanted to give it 4, but the fact that this game was not what was advertised prevents me from doing so. Overall, this is a great game with an interesting premise, and I suggest you play it, as long as you’re aware that you won’t be playing an otome game.
- Visual Novel Review: Katawa Shoujo (cheratomo.wordpress.com)
- Typesetting review: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (updated)(again) (notredreviews.wordpress.com)
- Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom for PSP Review (geardiary.com)
- Proofreader for a Visual Novel! (cheratomo.wordpress.com)