Game Title: Nurse Love Addiction
Developer: Kogado Software, Degica Games
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.8 GB
Availability: Digital (Europe, North America)
PSTV Support: Yes
I love to play Visual Novels, but it’s very seldom that I get so absorbed into it, that I literally feel like I am the Main Character. Sure, Amnesia: Memories got pretty emotional and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds was a fantastic learning experience about Japanese History. But, it’s rare that there’s a game where the emotional events of a VN character tug at my own heart, or heighten my own anxiety level as I’m playing/reading the game.
The funny thing is, it was a Yuri VN that did that to me this week. The game has actually been out in Japan for 3 years now, and has been released in English on Steam for almost a single year. Now that it’s on the Vita and PlayStation TV, console gamers can experience an emotional rollercoaster of a Visual Novel.
Here is my review of Nurse Love Addiction!
The plot revolves around a young girl named Asuka Osachi, whom just entered into a Nursing Academy with her younger sister, Nao. The game revolves around the first 3 years of her Nurse Training, as she learns the skills of the trade, interacts with other students and professors, and learns about the passion of Love.
The game offers 4 different women that can end up as her lover. Nao, her younger sister that Asuka heavily depends upon for daily life. Sakuya, a tall woman whom dresses like royalty and seems to harbor a deep hatred for our heorine. Itsuki, an introverted and often flirtatious woman whom is Sakuya’s current lover. And finally, Kaede, their clumsy homeroom teacher and Asuka’s picture of “The Perfect Nurse”.
There are two joys about the game’s plot. Although it is very much a Yuri Romance Sim, there is a lot of plot unrelated to romance. As you dive deeper through the different chapters, there are a lot of deep and even dark backstories for each of the characters, all revolving around Asuka, herself. Even the Loner Path where Asuka ends up single at the end of the game is full of a lot of deep and dark backstory and lore.
The other things I love about this game’s story is how unpredictable it is. IN nearly every anime-like game I’ve played, there are plot twists that I can see coming from a mile away. Nurse Love Addiction has dozens upon dozens of huge and chilling twists to its story, but none of them I could guess. I had ideas in mind, and the game always surprised me by doing something completely different from what cliché anime/manga would expect. It’s a wonderful trait, as the story is constantly bringing you surprise after surprise. Along with this, each “Bad” ending route is filled with jaw-dropping content that is very dark and shows why the game is rated M despite having no visual sexual content.
I’ll explain this later as well, but the length and diversity of the endings add a lot to the game as well with replay value. Some endings are relatively short, while others are nearly an hour long, themselves, and they each will dive into different aspects of the world and reveal different backstories for different areas, groups, and side characters. You never can see the whole picture unless you go through all of the different paths.
But to conclude this story section, it’s just a huge emotional rollercoaster. When I was near the end of the Kaede path and there was a lot of tension with Asuka, I felt tension, myself, and was almost afraid to make a choice with how delicate and how bad the situation could go. Plus, all of the Bad Endings are so extreme and off the wall that they’ll just leave you speechless. The story starts off like any other VN, but it is thrilling and heart-pounding once you get past the “Introducing the characters” chapter.
This game is a Visual Novel, so gameplay is very light. You read through story scenes and interact with dialogue choices when they pop up. It’s very simple and very in tune with what VN players will be expecting. The focus is more on the plot that develops as you play the game.
With Game Modes, though, you have only Start Game, Load Game, and Settings when you begin the game. When you finish one route and see the credits, you will unlock Photos, Memories, Music, and messages, which allow you to see CG scenes, Unlocked Endings, the OST, and Character Profiles for each character whose route you’ve cleared.
As you play the game, it is as I explained above. You go through scenes of dialogue until you come to a section with Dialogue Choices. These Dialogue Choices can either result in slightly different scenes right after or can affect which Character Route you end up branching into in the second half of the game. But even the smaller ones do give you different dialogue and scenes, and the game’s hidden trophy is tied to one of these smaller non-route-altering choices so it’s important to be careful what you choose and save when you believe you’re at an important choice selection.
2 things about the game really help to cater to those who will want to do different character paths and keep specific save files for future routes. First, the game offers you 8 different pages of save slots, each with 8 different slots within. This essentially allows you to dedicate each page to a different category. I used the 1st page for the first half of the game, before the character paths branch out. Then, I used each page after for a specific character’s Routes. Considering there are PSN trophies for Good and Bad endings for each Route, it’s important to have all of these slots readily available.
The other is a setting in the game. Since there is a ton of filler between actual romance events, you’re going to be skipping through a lot of the game when repeating Routes. The game has a Skip Option called “Previously Viewed”, which will only skip dialogue you’ve already seen. This allows you to essentially just turn Skip on and wait for the game to stop when it reaches a sentence you have yet to experience in the game. It makes doing these other paths so much easier than repeating the entire game every single time you go back for a different Route.
This also affects Play Time. Nurse Love Addiction is $39.99 on the PS Vita (and the same price on Steam when not during a sale like the Summer Sale), and has 9 different endings to go through. Although the game has no Play Time timer, based on when I’ve been playing, I guess that from the start of the game to the time I unlocked the 9th Ending, I had played the game for around 28-30 hours total. That’s quite a long time for a VN, so you could see the validation of the full price tag for how much content you’re getting. But note that a single character’s path will probably take you around 10-15 hours. That extra 15 hours comes from doing other Routes for different Endings.
Controls. Considering how sudden the release of this game was, I fully expected it to not work on the PlayStation TV and, just like the game’s story, the devs and publisher proved me wrong. Nurse Love Addiction is fully playable on the PlayStation TV but you can also enable touch controls when you’re playing on the go.
The control scheme is simple, but deceptive. You can use the touch screen or the X button to advance dialogue. You can also advance dialogue with the two triggers. The L trigger enables auto-advance and the R trigger toggles the Skip option. Also, the Circle button is used to make the dialogue disappear if you want to see the artwork or take screenshots.
The Square button is there for most other parts of the menu. It has the Save, Load, Settings, and Return to Title options as well as the Auto-Play and Skip options. This is where things are deceptive. Like so many other Visual Novels, the game doesn’t tell you how to open this menu. You have to just start tapping buttons and hope it was the right one. Nothing on the HUD. Nothing during load screens.
Nothing anywhere to tell me how to do this and I had to repeat a lot of the introduction of the game because I hit Start and used Quick Save, thinking it was the only way to save. Then, when I restarted my PSTV, I had no progress because I didn’t save properly.
This is just another example of gamers’ notes to VN devs: Dear Developers, please give us a button tutorial outside of a digital manual. Even if it’s just a loading screen, let us know where the Save Option is.
Visually, the game looks nice. The game has a unique art style and a ton of CG scenes to show the passion of the characters. From Asuka and Nao’s failed attempts at bed-making to the heart-throbbing kissing scenes, there is a really nice art design for this game that puts it aside from other VNs on the Vita.
Performance is no issue, either. There pretty much are no load times once you hit the story and there aren’t any sound issues or fps issues. The game is optimized exceptionally well.