By Benny Carrillo / October 17th, 2015
|Title||A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We Met|
|Developer||St. Michael’s Girls School|
|Release Date||September 25, 2015|
|Genre||Visual Novel, Yuri, Romance|
|Age Rating||15+ (MangaGamer)|
I love the Yuri genre. There’s just something about the way Japan handles the romance between girls that I really enjoy. Sadly, though, it’s a severely underrepresented genre here in the West. So seeing MangaGamer announce that they were bringing over one of the most famous Yuri franchises to the West officially had me ecstatic. Thus the quest to build a “Yuritopia” and finally showcase this wonderful genre began. So, how does A Kiss For The Petals’ first official English outing fair? Is it full of Yuri goodness? Is it more about how our two main characters met? And does the lack of an Eroge element in this normally-Eroge franchise hurt it? Let us step into this land where no man may enter and find out as I take you through A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We Met.
First, though, a bit of backstory. This is actually the 18th game in the franchise. As such, there’s quite a bit that’s gone on at St. Michael’s Academy for Girls before this game. Thankfully, this particular title focuses on Risa Azumi and Miya Ayase and how they met. So, a general knowledge of the various couples and characters in the franchise isn’t necessary at all. I will note that Risa and Miya have starred in previous titles which has developed their relationship. This does affect the narrative a bit, I think, but I’ll save that discussion for when we get there. As for franchise itself, it was created by the doujin group Fuguriya, and the first title was released on November 25, 2006 in Japan as Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o or SonoHana as it’s often shorted to. Each game in the franchise tends to focus on one particular couple, though some games do feature multiple couples as part of the plot. The history of this game particularly is quite interesting.
Originally this was released on March 13, 2015 in Japan for iOS and Android. Being a mobile phone release, this means that the usual Eroge content the franchise is known for isn’t present. After playing through this, though, I don’t think it hurts it at all, and the inclusion of Eroge elements actually might have made the narrative feel rather disjointed. This lack of Eroge content also allows this release to be ported to Steam and PC for the Western release. We’ll have to see how future releases are handled, but, rest assured, no adult content was cut from this release in order to get it on Steam. With that very brief history lesson out of the way, let’s move on to technical specifications.
Like most Visual Novels, the minimum requirements are very forgivable. A Pentium III at 800MHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 300 MB of Hard Drive space are what’s needed to get this running, and, if you remember what a Pentium III is, then you’re either as old as I am or know your computer history. Per usual, I’m running this on my laptop which is a Core i5 @ 1.70 GHz. I experienced no issues when playing the game, so expect a pretty smooth experience. Next, let’s take a look at the games graphics and artwork.
I love the artwork for this game. The character designs are very pleasing and despite the fact you’re going to be seeing the St. Michael’s uniform a lot, it never really bothers me or gets old. It also shows how well the characters are designed as everyone doesn’t just blend together due to said uniforms. Risa and Miya themselves are pretty expressive, as well. There are some CGs that will have multiple versions with different expressions for the characters and, while it’s reusing artwork, it also does help covey the particular emotions that are supposed to be happening at that point. If I had one complaint, it would be the resolution. While 800×600 is pretty standard for PC-based Visual Novels and Eroge, it still pales in comparison to things like Amnesia: Memories, which can run in HD and look beautiful. Hopefully in the future, we’ll start to see more of these smaller games being developed for HD resolutions. While I may have done some nitpicking about the graphics, I have no complaints about the soundtrack.
The music here is not the stuff of legends, but I do enjoy it greatly. It’s a series of upbeat tunes that really just make you feel relaxed and happy. The game does contain a few more moody tracks for when things take a serious turn. The best part, though, is that, thankfully, there is a section in Extra menu that allows you to listen to the music in the game once you’ve beaten it, including the ending song Kiss me With a Smile. The voice work is well done, as well, and it’s fully voiced. Even the incidental background characters like “Girl A” get a voice. So, no complaints in the audio department, but let’s talk about the game design, where I do have a few nitpicks.
First things first. This game was ported over using Ren’py. The same engine Beach Bounce uses. One of the major criticisms I had about that title was the fact that the maximize button did not work. The same thing occurs here. As such, I believe this is more of a bug with Ren’py itself than the game. However, unlike Beach Bounce, the developers had the foresight to include a ‘Full Screen’ option in the Settings menu. Thanks to this foresight by the developers, this doesn’t bother me nearly as much, especially as it’s a design flaw of Ren’py’s and not the game itself. Besides this, there’s only one other thing that may deter some people from this title, and that is the lack of decision making in the title.
This one is Kinetic Novel which means there are no decisions to be made by the player and, thus, little interaction. So, grab yourself some coffee, tea, or a beer and be prepared to read. According to Steam, I was able to finish the game in about 3.8 hours, so it’s certainly not a long read. The standard Visual Novel Save/Load system is in place, as well as text-skipping features for future replays. Even better, once completed, you’ll have all the CGs unlocked, as well as the ability to replay any scene from the game from the extra’s menu. So, if you want to show your friend a particular heartwarming or funny moment, the game makes it pretty easy. As such, the user experience is a pleasant one, and I have no major issues with the design. One final note before I move on, the game does include Steam Achievements and Trading Cards. The achievements, though, are given out for completing various “chapters” in the story, so by the end of the game you’ll have them all, so it’s not a challenge in the slightest. With all the technical bits of the game discussed, let’s move on to something more subjective, the characters and plot.
Normally, I break the characters and narrative into two separate topics, but, considering this is a story about two particular characters, they really go hand-in-hand. First, let me set your expectations. Just like the title says, it’s a story about how Risa and Miya met. It focuses more on the beginning of their relationship, even though the framing device used is the two of them beginning a new school year together a year into their relationship. I bring up the framing device because it really feels disjointed when compared to the rest of the story. During these parts, we see how close the two have become in the year they’ve been together. As such, you would expect us to see the development of this relationship in the story. However, as I mentioned, that’s not the focus of the story. Because of this, it honestly feels like we go from Point A to A.5 instead of B. Their relationship is developed in other titles in the series, so, considering that this is number 18, it’s really more of a jumping on point and prequel designed to get you interested in the other games. That doesn’t mean this isn’t worth taking a look at, though, even if we’re only getting a piece of a much larger puzzle.
The story itself is well written, and watching Risa and Miya interact with each other is charming as the two really are a mismatched pair, but they do deeply care for each other. Risa herself is the straight-laced class representative who takes her duties seriously and is striving for perfect attendance for the year. Miya, meanwhile, is the brilliant transfer student who finds class boring and, thus, tries to skip as much as she can to read or just relax. This, of course, brings her in conflict with Risa who, due to her class rep duties, is asked to keep an eye on her. Despite their opposing natures, the two never really become antagonistic towards each other, and there’s a layer of playful teasing about the whole thing. Of course, during all this, the two slowly find themselves becoming attracted to each other, and it’s interesting to watch them try and realize what it is they’re actually feeling towards each other.
One final reason that I like both these characters is that I find both relatable due to their backstories. While, sadly, we don’t learn a lot about said backstories, the few nuggets we do get really helped me connect with both Risa and Miya. With all, that’s said let me give my final thoughts this title and recommendation to you all.
I really like this game. The fact we’re even getting an entry in this franchise localized officially is something I’m truly grateful for. As a reviewer, though, I of course need to look at this with a critical eye and point out the flaws. The main problems here are the fact that there’s no interaction on the player’s part other than advancing text, and the fact that the story really only gives us an introduction to these characters. It really doesn’t show us the relationship developing, just that the seeds have been sown. Also, I’d be remiss in not pointing out that the Japanese version of this is only about $4 on the Google Play store, while the Steam version is $7.99 or $7.95 on MangaGamer as of this writing. Yes, translation and debugging costs money, but a 100% price increase is a bit much. Still, even at $8, if you’re a fan of Yuri, or the negatives I mention don’t bother, you should give it a shot. Even with my nitpicking, I still greatly enjoyed this title and certainly hope that we’ll see more entries from the franchise come west in the future. Until that time, let the eternal quest to spread the joy of Yuri continue as we all search for our own personal Yuritopia.
A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We Met was purchased by the reviewer and played on a Windows 10 PC via Steam.
A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We MetMangaGamerPCReviewSonoHanaSt. Michael'sSteamvisual novelyuri