Making*Lovers | Pantsu
Making*Lovers | Cover
Title Making*Lovers
Developer Smee
Publisher NekoNyan
Release Date April 3rd, 2020
Genre Romance, Comedy, Visual Novel
Platform PC
Age Rating 18+
Official Website

There’s a single word that fully captures the essence of Making*Lovers: unpredictability. However you want to look at the world right now, nobody really knows what’s going on. We can say the exact same for this eternal journey in finding love. To clarify, for most of us, our high school days are in the rear-view mirror. It’s time for a different, yet somehow realistic, approach to finding that special someone. From the outstanding creator-publisher duo that brought us Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~ comes a tale of finding love after dating. A story which won the hearts of many and was promptly rewarded a top five finish at the 2017 Moe Game Awards. Three years later, Making*Lovers is out in the West. A story characterized for its extreme humor and compelling intimacy with art from an artist making their commercial debut. One question remains: How does it hold up?

Making*Lovers | Problem
Our story begins with you, the nameable protagonist, going about a busy day-to-day life after graduating from college. You have a new goal in mind and it’s to find a job. Hopefully, one that doesn’t work you like a slave for penny-pinching management like the last one. You have a couple activities to keep you busy these days while on your search. You either answer a phone line meant to assist people with tasks for the summer or consume a lot of erotica. Needless to say, far from exciting. That is until your normie best friend comes to visit with an interesting offer. You are invited to a mixer this evening; the setup is three girls and three guys. Initially detesting the offer, but with an emotional shove from an unlikely source, you’re on your way to a set of choices that will change lives. Welcome to Making*Lovers.

I know what you’re thinking. This is not a lot of information for a prologue to this story. However, that’s all I can provide before going into spoiler territory. Let me explain. Making*Lovers is a game that doesn’t waste your time. Once you head to the mixer, you’re closer to being on a route than you might think. In fact, whereas some games float multiple choices like a point system to track where you’ll land, Making*Lovers operates differently. While the choices aren’t necessarily dramatic, they might as well be. As it only takes a couple clicks before you’re seeing the opening movie in realization of what you just did. That’s it, you’re on a route. The phrase “life comes at you fast” has never hit harder. However, before I take a deep dive into the game’s choice mechanic, I must introduce the lovely heroines whom you’ll be spending time with.

Making*Lovers | Ako

Ako Takanashi is your incredibly charismatic step-sister. The two of you have been together since you were kids, and while you weren’t exactly super close at the start, things have changed. While you’re storing away more items in your heavenly porn stash folder, Ako began developing housewife qualities. As cute and hard-working as she is, she’s also quite childish and even clingy around you. However, despite all these promising qualities, she’s a romantic outcast just like you. Unlike her though, you have to deal with the parents begging you to please get some romantic experience. Nevertheless, Ako is always there to provide peace of mind even on the hardest of days. Though she can’t be there all the time, as she’s doing her part with school and her own job. You’ll be proud to call her your little sister. Make sure to pat her head as praise.

A lot of people are going to dismiss this route instinctively based on the incestuous factor. However, you shouldn’t. This route is one of the more intriguing ones in the game because of the history between the two. In addition, because of the game’s incredibly fast prologue, Ako’s the only option you really get a firm understanding of before her route even begins. Plus, you really shouldn’t deny yourself one of the most entertaining routes. All thanks to the vocal range of her voice actor, Ichi Hatori, who gives a script full of comedy ample amounts of life and makes those whispers of intimacy all the more sensational to hear. Love truly knows no bounds and this route taught me so much about that. Don’t deny yourself a wholesome endeavor.

Making*Lovers | Karen

The next girl you’ll meet is a familiar face in Karen Kitaooji. Next to Ako, Karen’s the only other girl the protagonist knows beforehand in this story. Why? They were in the same club in college! However, you two never really got close. There are a couple funny stories in there but nothing serious. In any case, it seems post-collegiate life seems to be hitting her bad. Good luck getting any intel on that though. For as stingy and prideful she may be, Karen’s a good girl who’s been dealt a bad hand. Maybe you both needed this meeting to get away from troublesome ordeals, even if for a couple hours. Perhaps you can help her overcome a lack in self confidence and maybe even take steps you didn’t in college? Just prepare yourself mentally if you choose to accept.

Karen’s route is certainly the most interesting within this visual novel. Unlike the other girls present throughout this review, the gap between introduction and route entry is wider here. Furthermore, when you do enter this route, the way it starts is on the sad end of the spectrum. What starts out as a journey of simply helping a friend in need turns into a story of fighting all the odds and overcoming yourself to reach a dream. It almost seemed too out of place, but I loved every minute of it. Karen’s personality really shines throughout her story and the way the two connected hit differently. They were on the same wavelength the entire time and it made their interactions an absolute blast to read. I could watch these two interact for days on end. It’s honestly my favorite route.

Making*Lovers | Mashiro

Following introductions to Karen, you can meet Mashiro Tsukino shortly afterwards. The word strange doesn’t even begin to describe this girl. She’s a waitress at the local seafood restaurant, Leviathan, and that’s where you meet her. However, it isn’t under the best circumstances. Nevertheless, after taking responsibility for what happens prior, you’re on this gamer girl’s radar. In fact, you’re so close that you’re actually her neighbor. Talk about a coincidence, huh? What follows is a co-op quest to understand the machinations of the human heart. What truly is love and how can we grow this mysterious feeling.

Mashiro is definitely the most straightforward of the routes in Making*Lovers. I’ll put it this way – by your second meeting she already decides what she wants to do with you. Who are we to say no, am I right? This is a journey of firsts for the both of you, characterized extensively by Mashiro’s voice actor, Moko Koibane. Mashiro has a ton of fun mannerisms and overall enjoyable moments and her voice actor made sure that I wouldn’t be forgetting any of the interactions anytime soon. However, that’s all I’ll take away from this route. The route is a textbook definition of a slice-of-life story. No theatrics, just two dorks being dorks. Furthermore, it feels so fast-paced, that I have no room to react as she initiates most of the events. It’s the perfect route to play in between other options for a change of pace. That’s all.

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Diego Hernandez
Diego is an incredibly passionate visual novel enthusiast from an island within the Caribbean. He intends on working alongside Operation Rainfall to inform the masses about the vast library of breathtaking visual literature. As well as spreading awareness of the amazingly talented individuals hard at work on said breathtaking projects.