Sweetest Monster
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Sweetest Monster is the latest release from ebi-hime, which means interesting characters and memorable situations. It is defintely a much darker title than what you might think, but one that kept us hooked right to the very end. At only about 40,000 words it is slightly shorter than the average visual novel, but the story is good and the price very reasonable. Anyone looking for something with a bit more substance than the typical lighthearted cat-girl visual novels should definitely give this kinetic novel a try.

Gameplay: Beautifully written and definitely very memorable despite the lack of choices or story branches.

Graphics: The game only features a limited amount of character sprites and backgrounds, but they are all great.

Sound: There is no voice acting, but the background music and sound effects are of a very high standard

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Sweetest Monster

Developer: ebi-hime | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Indie | Website: n/a | Purchase: Steam

There is definitely a trend amongst visual novel developers to create feel-good tales that are filled with fan-service and fluff. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, as sometimes it is nice to just escape into worlds with adorable cat girls and lighthearted situations. However, anyone that goes into Sweetest Monster, a kinetic visual novel from ebi-hime, expecting something like the Nekopara or Sakura series is in for a bit of a shock. Yes, this is a title that contains fanservice, sexual content and even some outright nudity, but each instance actually serves a purpose and are not merely tacked on in a cynical effort to generate more sales.

The protagonist of Sweetest Monster is Robin Hawkins, a middle aged music teacher who is going through a very rough patch. Not only is he drifting further apart from his wife, Sally, but also his daughter Melody. After yet another fight with Sally, Robin storms off into the night to clear his head and this is where his world is turned upside down. During his stroll he encounters a beautiful girl named Bell, who has some mysterious ties to his past. Even stranger, Bell is not an ordinary human, but instead a catgirl. Robin isn’t sure what is real and what is a dream after crossing paths with Bell, but one thing is for sure, she has her sights set on him and will stop at nothing to be at his side.

Of course, there is a lot more to the tale, which is about 40,000 words in length, but to say anything more would be criminal. The story might be a little on the short side, but it is beautifully written, very gripping and features some jaw dropping revelations. So, while Sweetest Monster features a cute catgirl and has elements of a love story, it also has some very creepy undertones that will leave you on edge during even the most innocent scenes. Kudos to the writer for managing to blend these different genres into a story that isn’t just cohesive, but also very engaging. Since this is a kinetic novel, there are no choices, branching stories or alternate endings, but adding any of these would have diluted the powerful story.

Sweetest Monster uses the Ren’py engine and while it was obviously created with a very limited budget, it certainly doesn’t feel like a low budget title. The visuals look beautiful thanks to some great character sprites and interesting backgrounds. The color palette used for the different scenes also add a lot to the mood of the game and the CGs look great, despite there only being about eleven of them scattered throughout the game. The fact that the story is contained to only a handful of locations doesn’t limit it in any way and the author has such a way with words that she is able to paint quite a vivid picture of the events taking place even while the actual visuals are largely static.

The game doesn’t feature any voice acting, but personally, we find this preferable to poor voice acting that could easily have ruined the story and atmosphere. There isn’t a ton of musical tracks either, but the eight tunes you’ll hear in the background are all really good and definitely contribute to the unique feel of the game. Likewise, the sound effects are really good and some of the clips, such as the wind and rain are downright shiver inducing when playing with a good pair of headphones.

Although Sweetest Monster doesn’t have a lot of replay value, you do unlock some nice extras after completing the game. These include an art gallery for viewing the CGs, music box for listening to the background tracks and “Author’s Notes”, which offer some great insights about the story and characters. The game also features three achievements, which can all be netted by simply finishing the story, along with some nice trading cards. A word of caution when crafting badges though, as one of the backgrounds is actually a bit of a spoiler, so make sure you complete the game first.

At the end of the day, Sweetest Monster is certainly not the longest or most lavish kinetic novel that we have ever played, but there is no doubt that its story will be one we won’t soon forget. It is probably not going to be a title for everyone and some of the content definitely pushes a few boundaries, but if you are looking for something that really stands out in this crowded genre then this comes highly recommended. Just do yourself a favor and avoid any spoilers before playing or it won’t have the same impact.

System Requirements

  • OS: Win XP+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX® 9 Compatible Graphics Card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card
  • OS: MacOS
  • Processor: Any 64 bit processor
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL compatible card
  • Storage: 300 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Any audio output
  • OS: x86/x86_64
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL compatible card
  • Storage: 300 MB available space

Related posts

Pinball Arcade – Core Pack

Pinball Arcade - Core Pack

Although one of the tables in the core pack is already available for free, it is more than worth it for the other three. Theatre of Magic is perfect for introducing newcomers to the addictive nature of pinball while Ripley's Believe It or Not has something for everyone. Even Black Hole which looks pretty basic by today's standards has some very unique gameplay elements to keep you hooked. Overall a very solid selection of tables that looks and plays great. Gameplay: Four great tables, packed with hours of addictive gameplay. Graphics: Faithful reproductions of classic tables. Sound: Distinctive audio with some great speech samples and effects.

Eye Of The Beholder

Eye Of The Beholder

As far as classic DOS era First Person Role Playing Games go you can do a lot worse than this AD&D effort. It doesn't hold your hand and isn't afraid to put up a stiff challenge, but overall it aged well and still offers hours of enjoyment. Gameplay: Challenging but also entertaining and addictive. Graphics: All things considered, not bad. Sound: Very limited music and feeble sound effects.

The Purring Quest

The Purring Quest

The Purring Quest has a few flaws, including a rather limited amount of levels, but it is hard not to be charmed by the delightful protagonist and moving story. The hand drawn visuals and animations definitely stand out, but the game is genuinely fun as well. It might not feature a lot of innovations in terms of gameplay or puzzles, but there is no doubt that it was a labor of love for the creators and something all cat fans will enjoy. Gameplay: The controls are a little stiff, but this doesn’t detract too much from the fun. Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn visuals and some stellar animations. Sound: The orchestral soundtrack is quite epic.

Beat Hazard

Beat Hazard

If you are tired of boring licensed tracks by bands you've never heard of and dull brown shooters then Beat Hazard is a revelation. The ability to play to your own music collection is nice and the visuals, while over the top, are certainly colorful. It's not something you are going to be constantly playing, but you will find yourself coming back to it. Gameplay: As long as you have music you'll have fun. Graphics: Retina searing bursts of color. Sound: Depending on your taste this is obviously the best part of the game.

G-senjou no Maou – The Devil on G-String

G-senjou no Maou - The Devil on G-String

The story of G-senjou no Maou - The Devil on G-String is definitely the best part, but despite its age the game doesn’t disappoint when it comes to visuals and audio either. The adult scenes did not make the cut, but even without them the game is still one of the best in the genre. Players who enjoy intelligent and well written stories with plenty of twists and turns should not miss out on G-senjou no Maou - The Devil on G-String. Gameplay: This is a very long visual novel with wildly different routes and plenty of great characters. Graphics: It is a pity that the CGs had to be cropped for widescreen, but the game still looks great despite its age. Sound: The voice overs cost extra, but are worth the high price and the soundtrack is equally brilliant.

Zuma’s Revenge

Zuma's Revenge

If you enjoyed the original game then you will love this sequel. It doesn't change the addictive formula in any drastic way but it does offer a polished and compelling experience. Expect to sink more hours into this one than you may think. Gameplay: Every bit as addictive and engrossing as the original. Graphics: While not spectacular the visuals are very polished. Sound: Similar to the original.

Leave a comment

two × 2 =