Sakura Nova
Gameplay 6
Graphics 8
Sound 7

The setting and characters are all good, but nothing ever happens to really make you care about either. The game does feature a free patch to add back all the censored content, so anyone looking for a nukige title will probably enjoy Sakura Nova. Unfortunately, those looking for a memorable story or plan on playing without the patch are likely to be disappointed.

Gameplay: There are choices to be made and three different endings, but the story is a bit lacking.

Graphics: Like other titles in the Sakura series the visuals are beautiful, but static.

Sound: Not much to say about the music, but the voice acting is pretty good

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Sakura Nova

Developer: Winged Cloud | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

 The star of Sakura Nova, the latest visual novel from Winged Cloud, is a royal knight in training named Mikage. With aspirations of surpassing his father, one of the most respected knights in the kingdom, Mikage joins a prestigious academy. Unfortunately, our hero has a rather rocky start to his training after walking in on two cute girls while they are busy getting dressed. It turns out that the two, Kaguya and Arisa, are actually his fellow team members, which doesn’t do the harmony of the squad any good. Due to the friction caused by their clashing personalities the three decide to move in together in an effort to become more in-sync with each other. Of course, with this being a Winged Cloud title, the lead characters almost spend more time getting intimate with each other than performing their duties as knights.

Winged Cloud has garnered quite a reputation for their risqué visual novels, thanks to the abundance of fan-service and paper thin plots. Sakura Nova is no exception and, thanks to the free R-rated uncensor patch, it is also one of their titles that veers the closes to being nukige. This means that those looking for some lewd artwork will be very pleased, but anyone expecting much of a story would be better off with something else. Sakura Nova features interesting characters and a rather nice setting, but due to a lack of character development it fails to really capitalize on either. While Sakura Nova is one of the longer entries in the series, it is also one of the least memorable, at least in terms of the actual story.

The game basically follows the formula of the three heroes getting sent off on some training mission where the girls end up in trouble and Mikage saving them from peril. This is usually followed by a scene where one of the girls shower Mikage with gratitude by throwing herself at him. When playing the uncensored version of the game these scenes are quite explicit and leaves nothing to the imagination. However, despite the inclusion of slimes that can disintegrate clothes and tentacles that go where no tentacle should ever go, the H-scenes are a little lacking in variety. Perhaps we have become a little too jaded, but none of the H-scenes every really stood out as special. Even the harem ending feels a little out of the blue and could definitely have benefited more from a better build-up. The story does have a couple of humorous moments and it is overall very lighthearted, just like the other titles in the Sakura series.

Sakura Nova features three different endings, one for each girl and the aforementioned harem ending. The ending you receive is dependent on the choices you have to make during the game, but it isn’t always immediately apparent what effect choices will have. Getting to the different endings can take some trial-and-error, but luckily the game features a “skip” button to quickly get through previously read text. Visually the game looks great and lives up to the high standard set by the artwork in previous Winged Cloud titles. Although the cast of characters is rather limited, the girls all look very cute and there are some nice CGs as well. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t feature any animation and while the backgrounds like nice, the locations are rather limited.

While the music in Sakura Nova didn’t really grab our attention, it was nice to hear that all of the girls in the game are voiced by Japanese actresses. This is a really nice touch and definitely lends an extra bit of polish to the game. It is a little peculiar that some of the words uttered by the voice actresses during the H-scenes are censored with bleeps though as the text isn’t. The music, sound, ambience and voice volume can all be adjusted independently, but while the game features a CG gallery, it doesn’t have a jukebox option. Considering that none of the tracks are particularly memorable this isn’t too big of a loss. The interface is clean and functional, with text displayed at the bottom of the screen. Players can save or load at any time and there is an “auto” as well as “skip” button.

There is no doubt that, like the other Sakura titles by Winged Cloud, Sakura Nova is very easy on the eyes. It is a pity that the nice visuals are not backed up by a better story. We actually liked the characters, from Mikage who is actually quite a competent fighter trying to escape the shadow of his father, to the girls, both of whom have their own personality quirks. However, the story felt a little too disjointed to really draw us in and each scenario only serves as an excuse to dish up another H-scene. If that is all that you expect from Sakura Nova you’ll have fun, but if you want a visual novel with a story that will keep you hooked then there are better options available. There are enough titles in the series at this point for players to know more or less what they are getting themselves into though, so if you are a fan of the Sakura titles you should add this one to your library.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu/SteamOS
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL compatible card
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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