Sakura Santa
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 6

Sakura Santa doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of story or gameplay, but it is a lighthearted and enjoyable title. Like all Sakura titles it is a little short and lacking in depth for our tastes, but the art is great and features no shortage of fanservice. Players looking for something different from Winged Cloud will be disappointed, but everyone who enjoys the Sakura titles will like this festive themed one.

Gameplay: A typical Sakura title, so fans will know exactly what to expect.

Graphics: Only a few girls and handful of locations, but everything looks great.

Sound: No voice acting and the music is rather unremarkable

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Sakura Santa

Developer: Winged Cloud | Publisher: MangaGamer | Release Date: 2015| Genre: Visual Novel | Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam / MangaGamer

Sakura Santa, the latest release from Winged Cloud, introduces us to Koji. He is facing his first Christmas alone after moving away from home to attend the University of his dreams. Koji has no problem attaining good grades, but making new friends proved to be a little harder than he anticipated. Tired of spending time along in his apartment Koji goes for a walk that leads him to a local shrine. With nothing to lose he makes an offering and wishes for someone to spend Christmas with in order to banish his loneliness. Much to his surprise Koji finds that his wish appears to be granted as within no time three beautiful women are all vying for his time. It is then up to players to decide who Koji will spend his time with in the days leading up to Christmas, a task made harder by the fact that all three girls are quite beautiful.

With eight visual novels and a clicker game released on Steam already Winged Cloud has built up a reputation for rapid releases. The Sakura titles always feature plenty of eye candy, but unfortunately the storylines often take a backseat to the fan service. Players looking for something new from Winged Cloud now that they have partnered with MangaGamer will have to wait for the release of Sakura Dungeon though as Sakura Santa is a typical Sakura title.

Each day in the game players are provided with three choices representing the three girls Koji can spend time with. Akina is a feisty fox spirit who guards the shrine where Koji made his wish and she loves nothing more than teasing the protagonist. Then there is Itsumi, a childhood friend of Koji who is now working at a cafe in the same city as him. Koji lost contact with her after she moved away during childhood, but the two were very close and it is clear that she still has feelings for him. Last up is Santa! No, not the big bellied, bearded patriarch of Christmas, but his innocent and adorable daughter. Santa is as clumsy as she is beautiful, but quickly wins over Koji with her cuteness. Each of these girls feature a couple of their own scenes and an ending, but there is also a fourth route where Koji spends time with all of them together.

With its small cast and handful of locations Sakura Santa can be completed rather quickly. It is a pity that the storylines were not fleshed out more as the characters actually had a lot of potential. There is definitely more to each one than meets the eyes, but due to the short scenarios even big issues are resolved very quickly. This gives the game a bit of a rushed feel, which is a pity. It took us about three hours to complete all four routes through the game, which is about par for the course as far as Sakura titles are concerned.

Despite an abundance of fan service Sakura Santa does not contain any actual sexual content. Despite the lack of sex scenes or outright nudity the three girls regularly end up in compromising situations where they bare plenty of flesh. Some of these scenes are quite funny and Koji is a self-confessed pervert with no qualms about ogling girls, so he takes full advantage of these situations. This makes for an interesting change from the typical visual novel lead who develops a nosebleed at any sign of naked skin!

As with most Winged Cloud releases the visuals in Sakura Santa are top notch. The girls all look very cute and get to show off all their curves in the CGs. Unfortunately, the game features no animations, which makes it appear dated compared to titles like the NEKOPARA series. There are also only a handful of backgrounds, but these are all well drawn and detailed. For such a holiday themed title we were expecting the music to be a bit more festive, but all of the tunes sound like standard visual novel fare. None of the audio tracks are bad, but on the other hand there isn’t a single tune that really stands out as catchy or special in any way. Sakura Santa also does not feature any type of voice acting for any of the characters. With such a small cast it would have been nice for the girls to be voiced.

Overall Sakura Santa is a fairly typical Winged Cloud release, so fans should already know exactly what to expect. For a game where you can fall in love with Santa’s daughter the story is surprisingly touching in places, but don’t expect too much from the writing. Anyone looking for adult content can also skip Sakura Santa as the couple of ecchi in the game never crosses over into hentai. However, the Sakura series has always been driven by fanservice, so it would be unfair to criticize it for delivering more of what people expect.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: 10.6+
  • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Processor: 1 GB RAM
  • Memory: 200 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720

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