Visual Novel Review: Ristorante Amore

  • 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!

Spoilers Below!

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.

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5 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Visual Novel Reviews

5 responses to “Visual Novel Review: Ristorante Amore

  1. Nice review! I agree about feeling a bit like the creators were playing a trick on me too.

  2. Pingback: Ristorante Amore Review | luciustheninja

  3. Abby

    Although I didn’t feel particularly motivated to continue with the game after finishing one complete route, my experience with and feelings about this game are otherwise mirrored by your review. The game’s creators may not have had any mean-spirited intentions, but the overall impression that I got from the game after the prologue was, “Were you enjoying that? Ha-ha, it was fake and shallow and none of the characters are really like that, they’re glad your airhead of a player avatar is gone.” That it’s presented as an otome game doesn’t help; I’m pretty sure most of us who play them are well aware that they’re inevitably at least a little shallow by definition, but if that’s what you’re in the mood to play, then having this kind of bait-and-switch pulled on you is kind of uncool.

    And, unfortunately, the game doesn’t do anything with the concept that would justify pulling that kind of fast one to begin with. The post-prologue gameplay would stand just fine if the prologue and the whole Erewhon concept were removed and it were simply a game about three guys and two women at an Italian restaurant. If anything, I think the game would be the better for it, since aside from that issue it’s definitely among the better freeware OELVNs out there..

    • I agree. I think if the characters hadn’t continued talking about what a drag it was to be in the shallow games with the boring protagonists, and talking about how the girls who liked Ethan were masochists, it would have been better. I can definitely see what the allure of it being such a bait-and-switch. If it had been present more affectionately to the players, it would have been much better. As if maybe the characters liked acting and they enjoyed the character because she was entertaining and the only thing they didn’t like was the repetitiveness. But the insulting of her avatar and, by extension, anyone who had played as her (not helping by the fact that you can name her) really hurt the concept. If it hadn’t been so patronizing to play, I wouldn’t have been bothered by the fact that the game switches up on you, and it would have been a really unique characteristic that was fun to prank your friends with, or something.

      I agree that it isn’t really necessary for their concept to include the first part of the game, and they shouldn’t have if they were going to be so mean about it. Insulting your target audience isn’t good. But since that wasn’t their intention, they probably didn’t see it as insulting, so it probably seemed funny to them. Parody is hard to do well and make it seem like you still like what you’re parodying, and the just unfortunately didn’t succeed. It is sad, because it had a really original concept that I enjoyed very much, and the art wasn’t bad either. If they ever returned to it and fixed it up and lengthened it, I would be interested in the final product.

      xD Thank you for reading.

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