By William Haderlie / August 8th, 2016
|Title||Nurse Love Addiction|
|Genre||Yuri Romance Visual Novel|
|Age Rating||General Audience|
Possibly the largest difficulty with writing a review about a story such as Nurse Love Addiction is that the element of subverting expectations is a large part of the story’s appeal. So you are simultaneously wanting to explain how the story is different than you expected going in, but having to avoid spoiling it for your readers. Then again, if I don’t tell you enough about the story, you may also just pass this off as just a standard yuri story or romance story. So this can be a bit of a fine line, which I will hopefully succeed in treading.
I want to get the one subverted expectation out of the way first, that was in the negative direction. With the title of this story being Nurse Love Addiction and one of the user tags for the game being Nudity on Steam, I was expecting an Adult Visual Novel. Perhaps not full on Eroge, this is Steam after all, but I was expecting some sexiness. But that is definitely not the case. So you should know going in that you will never see any of these girls do anything more than kiss and you will never see anything remotely resembling nudity. For some people that may make them more interested in the title, but it cannot be ignored that for others this will make them less interested. There were two negatives about this for me, one is that with all the materials that I saw before the experience I expected a more sexy experience. But the other negative is that these girls are all in Nursing School and are 18-20 years old, so just entering adulthood. That gave them an opportunity to explore more adult relationships than your typical High School romance slice of life Visual Novel. An opportunity that was not leveraged. Obviously, some people will consider the depiction of lesbian relationships at all to be something for Adults Only, but I’m not interested in addressing that crowd.
It’s best to introduce these characters by the relationships they are engaged in from the story’s beginning. So in that vein, I will begin with the Osachi sisters. Osachi Asuka is the protagonist of the game and is the older sister. Her pink hair, while very evocative of many anime tropes, is also a bit of an indicator of her soft and gentle nature. But the other side to her personality is definitely put out there right to start off with, and that’s her extremely lazy and spoiled attitude. Her spirit animal is the jellyfish, a creature that floats through life without much care or thought, and she is rather proud of this distinction. As for the person that provides the lion’s share of spoiling and general upkeep, that would be her beloved little sister Osachi Nao. While it seems that Asuka might have been held back a year (or Nao jumped forward), it’s actually the case that their birthdays are slightly less than a year apart, so they are in the same school year, naturally. The older sister didn’t know what she wanted to do after high school, but she found an inspiring reminder from her childhood that she wanted to be a nurse. Not understanding why she ever wanted to be one, due to a large amount of memory loss, but with nothing else to do, she went ahead with that plan. And her devoted little sister followed right behind all the way to Nursing School.
The next two individuals could not be any more different than the Osachi sisters, at least on the surface. They are Amatou Itsuki and Takeda Sakuya. These two also entered the Nursing School together, but not as sisters. They have been friends since they were children and have also been longtime lovers. So that, combined with their ridiculous beauty, makes them the resident power couple of the academy. Needless to say, wherever they go, fangirls are soon to be found shortly after. Sakuya, the one with long hair, is rather haughty and spoiled and a bit severe. In every manner, including her family’s wealth, she is the picture of a Princess and is called as such by Itsuki, much to her chagrin. Itsuki herself seems to be every bit what the surface figure would indicate. In many ways she is the Prince to Sakuya’s Princess character, having many traits that are traditionally associated more with males. But as her outfit shows, she is the most sexual of all the characters and feels no particular shame at wearing that on her sleeve. Even though she is an extremely devoted gamer and ends up spending long hours doing so, she is actually the top of the class due to no small amount of natural intelligence.
Last of the cast members is Ohara Kaede. She is the odd woman out in many ways. She is actually their primary teacher and adviser, and for both school years. As you can see from her looks, however, she is not that much older than her students. But she comes from a very prestigious medical family and her older sister winning the Nightingale Award is a major deal to both her and her students. As you can imagine there is huge pressure on her to be a fantastic nurse, so what is she doing teaching at a school instead of being out there performing her profession? There is something that is stopping her and it becomes obvious rather early on that not everything is alright in her world, even to someone as oblivious as the Jellyfish Club President. I do have to say that one advantage of introducing the characters this way is so that you can manage your expectations with how the stories will develop. The other 4 girls are strongly tied together, even more than you realize for a long time, but Kaede’s story is a very different one. In fact, you are basically playing an entirely different game when you go through your teacher’s story. The tone and the content are completely different, and actually much more in line with what I would have expected from this game by initial impressions. Still nothing naughty or erotic, but a very gentle yuri slice of life story. That’s not a criticism, though, it was quite a pleasant story. It did give me a chuckle that this was considered the forbidden romance of the visual novel, not because they are two girls but because they are teacher and student. I personally hope for that kind of future world.
I’m going to discuss some minor spoilers, just to give the readers a better idea of whether they should purchase this game or not, but I’ll avoid anything that would ruin a story arc. Your mileage on spoiler territory may vary, so avoid this paragraph if you want to know nothing or if what you’ve already seen has convinced you one way or the other. Kaede’s route isn’t only different because she’s a teacher and they are students but also due to tone. The other 3 major story routes go into a surprisingly dark place. Not dark as in Higurashi When They Cry, thankfully, but it will almost definitely surprise you and subvert your expectations. The best part of this twist is that it lends a whole different flavor to the proceedings than a typical slice of life school story, and they are able to explore some far different story elements than they could have before. The worst part of this twist is that it also lends a distinct element of disbelief and other-worldliness to the proceedings. So it makes it far less grounded and would be much more difficult for some people to have a personal resonance with. But, at the same time, the fact that every relationship in the game is a yuri relationship and that men are almost entirely non-existent in this world, already lends itself to a feeling of being in another world. There are also some light horror elements that enter the picture, but nothing too extreme. Other than the Kaede route it almost felt like a cross between Strawberry Panic! and Elfen Lied (just not nearly that horrific). The one criticism I have that applies across all 4 character routes is something that is true of most romance stories, period. I call it the Jane Austen problem. And that issue is that it is far easier and usually more satisfying, to tell a romantic story about gaining love than it is of keeping it. It is especially noticeable in a situation like this where there are 4 different romances and they all end at precisely the moment that they realize their mutual affection. But I won’t hammer on this point too much, it’s frankly just a huge part (and issue) of the genre, and it often doesn’t become truly irritating until you are older.
Your mileage with whether the story twists work or not is down to the eye of the beholder. Personally, I found it to be mostly a pleasant surprise, other than the lack of eroticism. So this story actually ended up being a bit longer than I expected. It took about 20 hours for me to experience all 4 major paths, and they each have a good and a bad ending. There is also a 9th ending that is basically you not getting romantically involved at all. So while the asking price of $39.99 is steep compared to what most are used to with this influx of yuri Steam titles, it’s full price is probably justified. I’m still a bit torn on the price. I think they could have probably gotten more interest at $10.00 less, but the developer and publisher know the cost of production more than anyone else does. But if people skip out on it only due to the price that will be a bit disappointing. The only real criticism that would have any semblance of objectivity is that the grammar and spelling in the translation was a little inconsistent. Not that the translation was bad or nonsensical, it just could have used a good edit. There is some good voice work here and some really pleasant music, especially the end credits song. The music doesn’t have great variety, but I personally prefer a pleasant soundtrack that will not be annoying on repeated playthroughs to one that is diverse. After you roll credits on any route you will have some of the standard Visual Novel galleries to access, including a soundtrack playback option. That usually tells me that a developer is very proud of the work they did on the songs. And they are indeed good, but the art style is still the highlight to me and was the first draw when I volunteered to review it. So as long as you aren’t expecting Eroge or anything too sexy, this should be something that will please almost anyone who loves yuri visual novels.
Review Copy Provided By Publisher
degicaKogado StudioNurse Love AddictionPCSteamvisual novelyuri