This double feature will highlight two of the recent releases by independent publisher Gamuzumi, covering the details of each title in the usual way that reviews on this site are written. The two titles will be reviewed separately, with screenshots, trailers and links to each game like usual.
Disclaimer: before I get into the reviews, I would like to thank Gamuzumi for providing the software that was used for this double feature piece. The provision of these titles has not influenced the contents of these reviews, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Mature Content Warning: the titles featured within this release contain coarse language, suggestive imagery and sexual content. If you are not into this type of content, are sensitive to any of the content listed above or are not within the recommended age range, please proceed at your own discretion.
Now with the introductions covered, let’s get into it.
Sakura Succubus IV
Overview – developed by Winged Cloud and published by Gamuzumi, Sakura Succubus is the latest entry in the series of the same name, focusing on the protagonist Hiroki who tries to live his life surrounded by a group of attractive succubi. This release is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, links to each version will be at the bottom of this review.
Story – Ogasawara Hiroki was once an ordinary man, until numerous beautiful succubi fell for him in droves, and soon he obtained quite the following! After narrowly escaping a lifetime of imprisonment in the succubus realm, Hiroki is ready to kick back and relax. Idol succubus Ayu invites him on a vacation to her private beach house in Okinawa, and Hiroki is happy to oblige. The other succubi come along for the ride, and a week of summertime fun begins.
Gameplay – Sakura Succubus IV follows the traditional visual novel style, with a branching narrative that changes depending on the choices made by the player during different path points. The way that the story will progress is dependent on these choices, with the girls reacting differently to the MC (main Character) based on the choices that are made.
The reactions of the girls will change along with their behavior during a scene if a poor choice has been made, with a smile turning to a frown or shock and even insulting the MC. There is even the possibility that entire scenes can be skipped if the wrong option is chosen, leading to special art scenes being missed and entire plot points having a different tone entirely.
The approach that this title takes to the way that narratives play out encourages multiple “playthroughs”, allowing the story to be explored in a different way each time. The different responses, jokes and plot threads make for an experience that is both rewarding and entertaining.
Presentation – the art style for this release is a delight with anime style portraits for each girl, rendered backgrounds and beautiful art set pieces for special scenes. The use of different expressions for the girls enhances the story segments, adding more depth to the narrative. The soundtrack has a vibrant tone throughout, bringing the scenes to life with the use of electronic sounds and orchestral style arrangements.
Final Thoughts – I had a great time during my time with Sakura Succubus IV, the character styles, story beats and overall comedy edge of the experience pulled me in very well. I found myself being drawn to specific characters as their plots were written superbly. But, the lack of voice over did detract from the power of the overall narrative, making some scenes lack weight.
With that said however, I can still easily recommend this to any visual novel fan. It features fun characters with their own unique personality, a setting that fits the overall tone well and plenty of options to explore through each route. I will be seeking out the other Sakura Succubus titles in the future as I very much enjoyed this.
In the end, I give Sakura Succubus IV a final score of 4/5. This is a great visual novel that tells a fantastic story, with a cast of characters that stand out from each other and plenty of options to explore with each run through. If you want to pick this up for yourself, links to each version are below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation version (HERE)
Dating Life: Miley X Emily
Overview – developed by Dharker Studios and published by Gamuzumi, Dating Life: Miley X Emily is a Yuri (lesbian) romance visual novel about two women who end up on a date by pure chance. This title is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, links to each version of the game will be available at the bottom of this review.
Story – Miley, a School Guidance Counselor goes on her first date in years. However, her partner might not be who she expected after she inputted her own details incorrectly, and it leads to an unexpected date between two usually heterosexual women. Despite the strange twist of fate and their own feelings, they decide to ‘just go with it’ and enjoy the night together.
Gameplay – in this visual novel, take on the role of Miley as she goes on her date with Emily, experiencing a romance story with branching paths. The story has several routes that will change depending on the choices that are made, at key points throughout the experience a choice must be made, allowing the narrative to progress.
The choices that are made will also cause the characters to react, from frowns to smiles and even blushes as the experience progresses, giving a possible indication of the outcome of choices. These choices can have positive or negative results, leading to a different outcome with each decision made during the story.
Like Sakura Succubus IV, these emotions/reactions enhance the story and give additional depth to the overall narrative that plays out during each route as there are several endings to experience. This adds additional replay value to experience each route in this VN.
Presentation – the art style of this title is fantastic, with expressive character interactions, beautifully crafted backgrounds and CG art scenes that feature intimate moments of a mature nature. The soundtrack consists of pop rock music, mixed with what sounds like lounge styled tunes. These tracks come together well and enhance the atmosphere that the story wants to portray with its imagery.
Final Thoughts – I very much enjoyed this release, although it was the shorter of the two titles I played for this feature, I did find myself going through the story several times to explore the different options. The length of the story is not a detriment as it is intended to be just a single night, which would have felt drawn out if it had been longer, which would have done a disservice as this is an excellently crafted romance story.
The only downside is the same as Sakura Succubus, a distinct lack of voice acting did cause the more intimate scenes to lose some of their impact, as there was only the background music to break up the silence. However, I would still be happy to recommend this title to anyone who is a fan of romance visual novels, especially the Yuri sub-genre as this a fantastic tale that can be enjoyed in any setting.
In the end, I give Dating Life: Miley X Emily a final score of 4/5. The story of this release is told fantastically in a way that doesn’t feel like it drags its feet, with wonderful artwork and a soundtrack that emphasizes the atmosphere that the narrative wants to build. If you want to check out this release for yourself, you will find links to each version of the game below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation version (HERE)