By Diego Hernandez / October 22nd, 2019
|Title||OniiKiss: Onii-chan, Where’s My Kiss?|
|Release Date||September 24th, 2019|
|Genre||Romance, Comedy, Visual Novel|
The most wholesome visual novel localization of the year is finally here in the form of OniiKiss: Onii-chan, Where Is My Kiss? OniiKiss originally released in Japan on April 28th, 2016 and quickly won the hearts of many through an unusual way. While visual novels that touch on wholesome family interactions are quite common, the level of immersion is not. In comes the developer, Tinkle Position, who have crafted a feature that allows for players to be in control of those intimate moments. Furthermore, they create a whole story around this wonderful mechanic. The smart people at Sol Press quickly realize how special this all is and proceed to announce localization efforts on October 2018 during Kumoricon. Following a year’s worth of translation updates, the game finally releases in the West. Now, a final question remains for consumers: how does it hold up?
The story of OniiKiss stars you, a nameable protagonist, whose love for his little sisters knows no bounds. Thankfully, those same sisters return the feelings and provide you with the energy to overcome the day and its trivial obstacles. This includes taking a complete shower in less than three minutes or navigating through an overwhelming rain just to go to the supermarket for something your sister needs. However, with all your time devoted to your cute siblings, you have no time to study. That is until your wise mother comes up with a proper solution: you are moving out. This devastating news shocks the close siblings until a compromise presents itself. The sister who gets the most kisses from the older brother will be able to spend time with him! Now’s a good time to mention that kissing your family in this story is normal through a special house rule.
Welcome to OniiKiss: Onii-chan, Where Is My Kiss? This game establishes wholesome relationships between you and your family through kisses thanks to a special house rule. To clarify, the rule dates back to your childhood days, and nobody is in clear opposition of it. In fact the rule has allowed you and the siblings to get emotionally closer, further improving character development aspects. With all this established, let’s introduce the four cute siblings who will figuratively fight for your kisses.
Asahi is the eldest of the four sisters but still younger than you. It’s important to note the latter half of that sentence. While she acts the most mature, she’s still a klutz. This combination makes Asahi an astonishingly wonderful character. Through her maturity, she’s the first of the siblings to question their family rituals, specifically the house rule, ultimately ending with the amber-eyed beauty getting closer to her beloved brother. At the end of the day, she’s a young girl exploring her feelings. A tremendous bundle of joy to be around.
Following Asahi is the second oldest of the bunch, Mahiru. Mahiru carries herself as the most demonstrative of motherly qualities of the four. She’s a girl who keeps to herself for the most part. However, with the utilization of a sweet password, the walls come down and allow an honest girl to be true with her emotions. Unlike Asahi, Mahiru never went through a questioning period regarding house rules. Instead her battles are with herself in terms of what she wants from her older brother. A thinking man’s choice.
Yayoi is the third sibling and she provides the most complicated story of the group. While Asahi eventually came to terms with the house rule, and Mahiru is seemingly indifferent, Yayoi seems to be going through the questioning phase now. Her cold demeanor and attempts to further the gap between her and you are proof of this. Despite this, her feelings still linger behind the mask. As a result, this makes Yayoi a textbook tsundere. Despite the stereotype, Yayoi provides the more realistic story of the four and makes for a wonderful selection should you fill the hole in her heart.
Saya is the youngest of the siblings and the most overwhelmingly energetic. She’s the happiest to comply with the house rule and it will show as you are assaulted by an onslaught of kisses. Her love for you and your smooches are unparalleled. The theme surrounding Saya is not of questioning reality or coming to terms with how you truly feel, but more so the discovery. After all, she’s the youngest and as a result is quite unaware of what further interactions entail. Curiosity is often the motivation behind overwhelming actions so consider starting a journey with the energetic Saya and who knows what it might bring.
With the premise and lovely characters introduced, it’s time to get technical. As noted earlier in the review, incest-themed visual novels are not a rarity. However, OniiKiss in its presentation aims to separate itself from the crowd as the one who provides the most immersive experience. This isn’t accomplished with the lone assist of a nameable protagonist, but rather its kissing mechanic. This kissing mechanic allows for the player to take minimal control of impactful kisses and deciding where they go. Accompanied by wonderful CGs, this mechanic allows players to be fully in that moment of pure joy and bask in the results that follow. The story provides a nice assist as the circumstances permit these immersive kisses to be quite frequent and allow them to be the deciding factor for which route to choose. Therefore, not just being unique but fun, and lovely.
The character design for OniiKiss is as cute and colorful as it gets. The close-up CG for kisses coupled with several story driven art make for heartwarming pieces to look at. Almost as if to drive the point home and make your feelings on a one-one scale with the main protagonist. The background art is simplistic, but it gives proper spotlight to the involved characters and the entailing moment. The twenty-one-song soundtrack provides a healthy blend of comical and intimate tracks to further drive the point of the scene home. Last, but certainly not least, the voice acting work is astonishing and truly mesmerizing to the ears.
With all this good, it should be hard to find something bad about it. Sadly that isn’t the case, as OniiKiss suffers from a major narrative problem. The core concept of the story in its common route is brilliant, but its execution leaves much to desire once mid-route. Once you are done with your chosen girl’s conflict, it loses nearly everything that made it unique and turns into a standard industry replica of a sex-focused visual novel. I’ll take a moment to say that there is no problem with the lewd scenes themselves, as they’re overall amazing and decently timed. However, once the grind ends and you’re rewarded with the first one after an emotional journey, the sense of narrative progression seems to stop. It all becomes about the couple getting hooked on the coitus and trying different positions and circumstances. A complete turn-around from the first few hours.
I wish I could say that’s all, but it’s not. OniiKiss also falls into an easily predictable plot pattern. If you clear one route, you’ll get a sense of when the conflict eventually presents itself, resolves itself, and when the load of sex starts to trickle in. It would completely kill any and all sense of replayability if it weren’t for the intricate personality types of each girl. At the end of the day, the game has several pros and few cons. However, the cons are big so you’ll end up having mixed feelings about completion. Should that stop you? Absolutely not. Will it? Probably.
The one aspect that rarely gets talked about in reviews is the localization effort. In this regard, Sol Press did a wonderful job on the project. In particular, the script felt natural to read with little-to-no typos or off-character lines. Some comical Easter eggs are present throughout and even provide a fair laugh. However, what’s the biggest thing to note from this localization? If you crack the code and unlock the voice actor commentaries, those same commentaries are now subtitled for the English-speaking audience to enjoy. A very nice touch and I wish other publishers would follow their example. The same could be said for their contributions to the end credits. However, I won’t be spoiling that bit. That aside, everything from beginning to end was fun to read thanks to their efforts.
OniiKiss: Onii-chan, Where Is My Kiss? is the most wholesome reading experience of the year. While it suffers from issues with plot predictability and sexual pacing, overall the project is still a unique must-read. You can pick up OniiKiss for $24.99 on Sol Press’ store and other various visual novel markets. My playtime ended at 16 hours. Congratulations to Sol Press on the release, and we look forward to your next project and spamming your weekly update threads for the localization of the sequel: OniGyu!
Review copy provided by publisher for review purposes.
18+KissinglocalizationNSFWOniiKissOniKissSol PressSol-Press USATinkle Positionvisual novel