By Steve Baltimore / June 18th, 2020
|Title||YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story|
|Release Date||May 5th, 2020|
When I took on YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story for review, I knew I was going to be in for one wild ride. The Visual Novel was developed by Nitroplus, after all. The truth is that nothing could’ve prepared me for the ride this title took me on. I will attempt to explain the ins and outs of this very unique Visual Novel with no spoilers, and we’ll see if this a journey worth taking.
The story follows a young man named Susuki Shinichi. He is an earnest young man just kinda floating along through life without trying to stand out too much. Shinichi is heading to the school roof to meet a friend when he suddenly spies a cell phone lying on the ground. The phone is ringing and the caller ID says GOD is calling. The phone stops ringing before he can answer, so he checks the call history, and only GOD has called this phone. Suddenly a girl appears on the phone saying she needs some Zappy (sex) to recharge her battery. He thinks he’s just launched some kind of Visual Novel on the phone then he hears a girl’s voice coming from a platform on the roof. It’s the same girl he saw in the Visual Novel game on the phone!
She suddenly falls off the platform and lands on him just like the scene in the game and conversation follows along with it as well. She says her name is Mukou Aoi and she goes on about needing Zappy to recharge and how this will trigger flags for later events. He thinks she has a serious case of gamer brain, or as some call it in anime circles, chuunibyou. Soon his childhood friend Sone Miyuki arrives and tells her that Shinichi is her boyfriend just to get her off him. Shinichi hasn’t interacted with Miyuki since they were kids. She is the school’s “Queen Bee” and he feels she is far out of his league. Aoi wants to be friends with the two of them since she doesn’t have any. Shinichi agrees pretty quickly since he thinks it will help with her gamer brain. He finally convinces Miyuki to help him, and this sets the three of them down a path in which they will never be the same again.
Now this is the part of review where I usually do a more in-depth take on the story as a whole, but I’m not going to do that this time. YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story is one of those Visual Novels that the less you know about the story going into it, the more you will get out of it. The game has many branching paths in the story and some very unique mechanics thrown in here that really make it stand out from anything else I’ve ever played. I would love to do a deep dive into what makes this title tick, and I may do that in an opinion piece down the road, but for today I will be keeping things as vague as possible. I do want to give credit to the localization team. They did an amazing job with the writing here, and without their hard work I don’t think this would’ve turned out as impactful as it did.
The artwork was done by the legendary artist Tsuji Santa, who you may know as the creator of the Super Sonico, and their style really shines through here. The character’s facial expressions are wonderfully done and really convey the raw emotion of the story. These are really prevalent in the CG scenes found throughout the game. The backgrounds, while maybe not the most detailed you’ve even seen in a Visual Novel, have a very distinct style and use colors to really bring out the feeling during certain scenes.
Some scenes in YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story have very little in the way of music. Instead they rely on the voice actors to carry the emotions of the scenes. The excellent Japanese cast pulls this off and really makes these characters feel alive. While those scenes are amazing the music tracks found in the game are on par with any other Nitroplus release out there. While there are some happy go lucky tracks, there are also tracks that make the player feel uneasy with their eerie tone. The scene where “End of Eternity” plays will probably be one that I never forget. Kanako Itou’s voice is one of a kind and can make almost anything unforgettable.
YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story is probably the most unique Visual Novel I’ve ever played. The story will seem pretty simple at first, but the further you go down the rabbit hole the more you realize something is very wrong. I had a hard time putting this one away when I started playing it because I kept wanting to see how each decision would work out. Then I hit the true ending path and that is something that I promise you folks I will never forget! The game lasts about 10 hours in total and is well worth the $34.99 price tag. Some will undoubtedly find portions of this one tedious, and they are, but the payoff will be well worth every second of the time you invest.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.
JAST USATotonovisual novelYou and Me and Her