NaNoRenO 2016: Sweets and Spices

4/11/2016

Hello! This is my second post on my NaNoRenO 2016 series! You can check out the previous game, Between the Lines, here!

Hmm, to be honest, this was really stupid of me, but I didn't notice that this game was a BxG until I actually started drafting this review right before launching it! Hahaha, I have nothing against BxG, except, well, you guys probably know already (and it's probably obvious) that I prefer GxB over anything else. =) Hence the name of this blog, "a twist of otome". But anyway, on with the game~

visual novel nanoren sweet and spices

GAME INFO
Name: Sweets and Spices
Developer: Pastelle Studios
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Genre: BxG, Romance, Drama

You're the new assistant of the bakery, Sweet and Spices! Your Manager is nice to you, plus she's oddly familiar to you!

While you stay there, your bond is getting stronger and stronger until you found out her secret...

STORY
In this game, you'll be playing as an assistant in a pastry shop! You just started your first day at work, and you've just met your new manager. After a long day of work, you're surprised because it doesn't seem like your manager is getting ready to go home. Is she staying in the cafe all night? What could be her reason?

Play to find out!
visual novel nanoren sweet and spices
Seriously though, there's this really neat twist at the end, hahaha. However, I'm still torn about whether I like it or not. When I realized what was happening, I was pretty excited, since I definitely didn't see that coming! But then, now that I think about it... what the heck? That was sort of... ridiculous? Okay, can I just spoil you guys now? Hahaha, don't worry, I'll write it in white text, for you people out there who don't want to be spoiled.  [white text here]I mean, hello, Mr. Assistant, how could you JUST forget Ms. Manager's face after promising her that you'll marry her someday? I mean, sure, it's been ten years, but... you should've at least recognized her or something, right? I'm pretty sure I still remember the faces of my 3rd grade classmates, but maybe that's just me. Plus, I can't see the connection between their promise to each other and her staying behind every day. Did she promise that to him as well? That she'll stay there everyday and cut cookies until he returns? Man, girl, that dedication... I admire you, alright. [end white text]

CHARACTERS
I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, even though there are just two of them, and even though the game is really short.

The narrator, whom I named Patrick... um, for no particular reason, was quite irritating at times! But, not in a bad way. He irritated me in a sense that he was such a slacker, always complaining about doing too much work. He even complained about having too many customers! Sheesh, dude, maybe you should be glad people are coming to your shop, or something.
visual novel nanoren sweet and spices
The manager, whom I named... hehe, Ran, (because hey, I still wanna see my name in the VN I'm playing, you know, hahaha) was alright. Her default name is Mina, though, so that's what I'll be calling her for this review. Anyway, Mina is definitely the more mature one of the two. She's also really bubbly and cheerful, never getting mad at Patrick even though he's such a complainer. I like her a lot. Hahaha.

WRITING
It was alright. No noticeable errors or anything. Style-wise, I didn't like it very much, because it didn't feel very polished. I say that because of the use of words in all capital letters, plus the "??!?" to denote surprise. There's nothing wrong with wanting to use those things, but I think using them way too much, or even just normally but in a small piece like this VN, can make the writing seem quite amateur.

ART
Personally, I don't like the art style very much, because it looked a little bit unprofessional. I don't know if it's because of the flat colors or the too soft lines, but... yeah. Compared to the backgrounds, which were quite colorful, Mina's sprite felt really plain. Despite that, if you look close enough, I think the drawing itself is done rather well? Of course, there's still a lot of room for improvement.
visual novel nanoren sweet and spices
As for the backgrounds, they were alright. The proportions and point of view were a little bit off, but it's not like they were distracting or anything. I think the colors were the best thing about them. (Man, I love colors. Hahaha.)

GUI
Custom GUI, but it's still rather plain. Not that it's a bad thing! I actually like simple GUI better than overly-complicated ones sometimes. With this one, although it's a bit too simple for my taste, still think it's way better than just using the standard Ren'Py GUI. =)

MUSIC
I love the opening song. Hahaha. I love cheerful music like that. For the most part, music in this game was alright! Looping was fairly obvious in some of the tracks, though, which probably means they weren't meant to be game background music?

Ah, by the way, there's voice acting involved, but only for Mina! I think her voice suits her character really well, though! The VA was a little bit too soft though, and on the default settings, the music definitely drowned it out.

WRAP UP
It's definitely a short game, alright, and I managed to complete it way sooner than I expected. Like I said, there's a little twist in the ending, one I actually didn't see coming. While I can't say that I absolutely enjoyed the game, it was short enough that I didn't really notice the time while playing. If you're just getting started with this year's NaNoRenO list, I think this is a good way to start it off.

You can download this game here!

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