Otome Review: Christmas Sweaters

2/03/2017

otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

GAME INFO
Name: Christmas Sweaters
Release Date: Dec. 22, 2014
Developer/s: Shaples, Fungii
Genre: Romance

I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for this visual novel. I only saw it in my visual novels folders, with absolutely no idea how it got there, and the first thing I see when I load it is that lackluster opening screen. Uh… I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but...

STORY

You’re a café owner. It’s snowing hard on Christmas eve, and you decided to let your employees off early so that they can avoid getting stranded by the snowfall. Just as you were closing up shop, however, you hear someone trying to call your attention outside. It’s a young man, his car stuck in the snow with no way for him to go. There’s nothing else to do but to let him in, is there?

otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

I actually like the premise, and I enjoyed the first half of the game, but as for the second… ugh. I have a lot of gripes with the story, which will be made more obvious throughout this review.

WRITING

The story is only around 12,000 words of writing, and there are only two characters in the whole visual novel. That said, their conversations were quite an enjoyable read, if not a little commonplace. If I didn't know what the game was all about (and I actually didn’t, when I first started playing), I’d say it’s a slice-of-life story depicting a completely normal getting-to-know-you scene between two individuals who just happened to meet in a pretty uncommon situation.

Sam totally looks bad-ass, but she seems to be a pretty sweet girl. Ty looks hot and sexy, and well, he is hot and sexy. So even though the whole VN seemed to be a slice-of-life, their contrasting personalities and even appearances made for quite a unique experience.

The prose part of the story is written in NVL format, and it’s written really well. Quite descriptive, which is to be expected of prose.

otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

Surprisingly, the sexual tension between the two characters was pretty high almost throughout the novel. At one point, I was actually half expecting and half worrying that they’d just get on with it and make out or something. Every time I felt they were getting a little too close to each other, I’d feel instantly nervous, and I honestly didn’t know why. Maybe it was because everything happened too fast? Not saying that the pacing of the visual novel is too fast, but rather, that the story itself is fast. Like, hello guys, you just met? May I remind you of that fact?

Or maybe, it’s because I was fully unprepared when I decided to play this VN and… heck, you will NOT make out in front of me you guys, no no no. Not when you JUST MET, IF I MIGHT REMIND YOU AGAIN.


otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

With the sexual tension running high in this VN, it was no surprise that the power got cut off just as they were about to get ready to sleep. Mother of all clichés. It seems like Fate itself is pushing them to just ‘get on with it’.

Spoiler: no, they didn't get it on. But if you were expecting something to come out of all that tension (and rightly so!) then I’d have to say, you won’t be disappointed. Then again… ugh, they sure employed a generous amount of self-control last night, huh.

Bonus: I find it funny that the guy’s name is Ty Ko, because in my local language, Ty Ko sounds like some sort of rice cake. Totally adorable.

ART

The sprite art is surprisingly good! Don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess. Or at least, in this case, don’t judge a game by its opening screen. Anyway, I’m pretty certain I’ve seen this art style before somewhere. It’s the kind of style that if you see it once, you’ll surely recognize it the next time you see it again.

otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

I have to admit, I prefer Japanese anime style to this more Western style, but nevertheless, it’s very polished and pleasing to look at.

The backgrounds, on the other hand, are not as nicely done. It’s a bit bothersome, but at the same time, their low quality makes the sprites stand out even more, so… that makes up for it, I guess.

GUI

Your standard Ren’Py GUI. I really don’t like seeing the Ren’Py GUI on visual novels with larger resolutions, because it makes long texts look more so unappealing to read. At least make the padding or margin large so that the text will be more centered, huhu.

otometwist review christmas sweaters visual novel

MUSIC

The first thing I hear upon opening up this visual novel is this freakin’ music, which I hear ALL THE TIME in YouTube videos. I actually enjoy watching random tutorials or study channels during my free time (in what little free time I have, huhu) and almost every YouTube channel I watch has probably used THIS song at least once. It’s already grating at this point, tbh. If you’ve been a regular to YouTube even just for a while, you’ll definitely understand what I mean.

But anyway, in-game, the music is fine. I think there’s only two to three tracks, but I’ve got no complaints.

Other than the fact that the track used in the ending scene doesn’t match at all, in my personal opinion.


WRAP-UP

And I… still honestly don’t know what point this visual novel is trying to make. Just a sweet little slice-of-life genre fit for the holiday seasons, maybe? Which is fine, if it made itself clear. I did enjoy it at first, although I think the story was way too fast… not the pacing, but the story itself.

Spoiler [maybe]: Guys and girls, please try to avoid awkwardly making out with people you just met, alright?! If you’re gonna make out, at least try to lessen the awkwardness. And suddenly going from cool to cringe-y sweet. No. Just… please, no.

Spoiler [again]: Okay, I just have to spit it out. Did they just kiss and make out like 6 times in a row that morning… as in the morning after they met?! Like… guys, come on, I know the sexual tension last night was high but… like what the heck? Especially considering the fact that Ty will be going somewhere far away and apparently can’t go back immediately… wow. The cynical part of me is screaming to Sam: noooo, he’ll never go back to you, girl, he’s just doing this as thanks for feeding him and letting him stay last night! He’s just telling you those things so he can make out with you like that! Don't be such a hopeless romantic!

Oh, I can be cynical alright.
otometwist visual novel review

Six out of ten frozen strawberries. The art is good, and the writing is arguably good as well, but I can’t help but think that the story was just way too fast. While I did feel that the writer/s tried to slow down the pace a bit by making the conversation scenes longer than usual, having everything happen after just one night is simply too fast in my book, sorry. And the ending was too cringe-y for my taste. I’m sure there are other people who’d enjoy it, but it’s just simply not for me. :)

You can download this game here for free.

[This is a scheduled post.]

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