By Diego Hernandez / October 22nd, 2021
|Title||Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche|
|Release Date||June 11th, 2021|
|Genre||Romance, Comedy, Visual Novel|
It’s finally time that I talk about Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche. A visual novel made by Saga Planets and recently published in the west by NekoNyan. To clarify, this is a very special visual novel. Prior to its English release, Kinkoi was a hit in Japan as it won award after award. These awards were for stuff such as outstanding art, writing, music, the list goes on. With such accomplishments to display, I’m one person who was foolishly unaware of any of it until NekoNyan announced they’d bring it over. I witnessed their overwhelming success on Kickstarter and wondered why it got so much love. All I had prior to the start of my playthrough was a warning from NekoNyan’s PR advising me about the length, and a comment from a /vn/ user saying that it made them cry. It’s time to check what the fuzz is about.
The story of Kinkoi seemed rather textbook at the start. You play as Ichimatsu Ouro who is down on his luck. A series of unfortunate circumstances lead him to wander the streets by his lonesome on what otherwise seems like a regular day. That is until something completely absurd unfolds. What follows is this “unlucky” individual coming to his own in an environment that is otherworldly. To clarify, that’s the world of the elite. As a result, he becomes acquaintances with some of the most gorgeous blonde-haired girls he’s ever seen. It all just seems to be very primitive at first. By this point, I figure the point of the game was just for this commoner to climb the ranks and impress the girls on his way to acquiring true love. Oh, but how foolishly wrong I was. Life isn’t that easy, and Kinkoi is quick to remind you.
A few comedic events here and there ultimately ease spectacular levels of tensions at the school, and the main character settles in with a couple friends in tow. By this point, the common route had done a very good job establishing some of the main charm points of our protagonist, as well as his weaknesses. It also provided you with time aplenty to get a basic idea of who these amazing girls were. In addition to all that wholesome stuff, we get a look at some important memories and how they’re relevant to what’s going on in the present. Kinkoi takes a very clever approach for once you think you start figuring things out, it’s time to choose a route. I had several questions, but my only option was to go forward with the available romance options and see what happens. Again, completely unaware about what follows.
When it comes to the routes in Kinkoi, it feels like I was just handed a bunch of puzzles pieces to try and complete a picture. To the extent that every scene transition seemingly places a piece where it belongs. I felt attached and, for the first time, it wasn’t just because the girls were pretty, but because there seemed to be a mystery that was slowly uncovering as I got close with each girl. Now I’m not downplaying the actual romantic ventures, those are deep in it of itself. Uncovering the girls’ pasts and their reason for chasing their dreams is hardly something to scoff at. The more you learn about either Sylvie, Elle, Reina, or anyone else, the more you fall in love with them, and your puzzle starts to make sense. This is how I was hooked.
Once I put my foot on the pedal, I never wanted to stop reading. The more I read each route, the more I got curious. Now considering this is a spoiler-free zone, I won’t get too into specifics. However, this is a seriously emotional journey. A couple of the routes really hit home for me as they really bring out Ouro’s weaknesses. For you see, in a game that’s all about the color gold, black was dominant. Every single time that I thought I had the game figured out, more curveballs would come my way and I’d whiff on all of them. Sometimes I’d feel overjoyed, and other times I was in the depths of despair. Kinkoi’s particular style of presentation really stands out for its ability to draw out such powerful emotions from the reader. Furthermore, even now, as I try to recall major plot points, I get emotional.
Kinkoi also possesses a knack for intrinsic character development. My expectations for each route were shattered and I got something even more beautiful than I originally thought. Remember when they told you that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Take that to heart when you boot up Kinkoi for the first time. All these characters, from the main down to the supporting cast, are truly wonderful in their own way. As I watch those characters grow through this intense emotional rollercoaster, my initial read on them and then what I feel now is completely different. Saga Planets, with of course NekoNyan’s brilliant translation and editing, truly made me fall in love with everyone involved in the story. They brought out the best in everyone which only makes things sad when it ends. My obvious favorite is Ria.
So, Diego loves the story and the characters, what else? Everything, really. Kinkoi’s art style was to die for. The expressive character sprites really brought out the script, the hard-hitting CGs made my heart feel way heavier than it should and much more. The voice acting is phenomenal, with several lines per route being immensely memorable. In addition, you’ll be glad to know that you can bookmark some of your favorite voice lines to listen to again whenever you want. The UI was colorful and easy on the eyes with several accessibility options. Finally, the soundtrack is what will go down as the thing that will make me cry the most once this review is out. To clarify, a few of the tracks just hit different once the story is over. I came out of this experience a different person.
Surely not everything is perfect, right? Well if we’re going to nitpick, I will talk about the 18+ patch of the game. Now the sex scenes themselves are fantastic, with a decent length of about 10 minutes per scene. They implement a variety of positions, facial expressions, and of course the lewd bits are gloriously uncensored and beautiful to look at. So, what’s the issue? There’s a huge emphasis on anal play. Now it’s to my understanding that there’s a lack of anal representation in visual novels. However, one or two scenes should be fine. One route that shall not be named, for the sake of the experience, has solely anal content. Nothing grotesque but if you’re not used to butt stuff, it can be unnerving and take you out of your reading groove. I’m a pervert so it doesn’t really matter, in my opinion.
Before I wrap up this review, I just want to say something important. Despite this being a spoiler-free review, this is the one thing that everyone covering this game should say. Kinkoi is the kind of game that you have to play every route to get the full picture. Some routes will be more exciting than others. Sometimes the first route will leave you pondering if this is really worth it, and with my time in the game I can guarantee you it is. Because much like that anonymous individual I quoted at the beginning of the review, I also cried. The story is that good. Kinkoi is an exceedingly breathtaking game and if you do check it out, please play the entirety of it. That’s all I’m going to say, and I hope that the rest of my review serves to aid in convincing you to buy it.
Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche is a masterpiece. It’s a visual novel I didn’t even know existed until a couple months ago, and now I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t read it. The story of Ouro Ichimatsu has phenomenal highs and devastating lows and I loved every second of it. Furthermore, it has great length as I spent upwards of 37 hours on the game at the time of writing. That’ll really make the $34.99 price tag less intimidating. Reading this visual novel was my golden time and it allowed me to reflect on my life as a whole. I hope it can be a life-changing experience for you as well. Congratulations to NekoNyan on the release, we’re looking forward to the next one with open arms.
Game provided by publisher for review purposes.
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