Game Reviews Shuffle! Visual Novel

Shuffle! Review: Choose Your Lover

| By: Maifate

General Information:

  • System                    PC & PS2
  • Release Date        January 30, 2004
  • Developer             Navel
  • Publisher               Navel & Kadokawa Shoten (Japan)
    YumeHaven & MangaGamer (English)

This visual novel is about romance with daily school life theme. Players will get to bonding with several heroines with different race and personality. And please note that this visual novel has some mature scenes, although that won’t get evaluated in this review.

Below is the game opening

Story

Shuffle! Screenshot

Shuffle! Screenshot

Shuffle! follows the romantic life of Tsuchimi Rin a Japanese high schooler, who finds himself being sought after by a variety of girls. The world of Shuffle! consists of humans living in harmony with gods and devils after 10 years ago, ‘The Opening’ the incident that made the doors to the different worlds opened in human world. That’s when different strains started living in this world. Player task is to choose a lover from five girls with different background the game offers.

My opinion about the story is just so-so. A romance with school setting. I think it’s more interesting when it gets to heroine’s path.

Score: 3

Gameplay

Shuffle! Screenshot

The gameplay consists of reading and listening to the conversations provided. And every so often, players will be given from multiple-choice. The choices selected determine who will be main protagonist’s destined love. The choices which favor to whom are very obvious and it’s not hard to get your target at all. At a certain point in the visual novel, a translucent image of the destined heroine appears when the day changes indicating who the main protagonist has fallen in love with (like in the image below).

Shuffle! Screenshot

After it goes towards one of the main heroines’ path, the multiple-choice become almost nonexistent. Because this visual novel depends solely on the player choice, it has many slots to make save (total 100 slots) so you won’t need to worry about save space. Also, there are quick load/save to consider. Near the end of the game, two mature scenes will occur. After some more conversations the story will end.

Score: 1

Characters

Shuffle! Characters

Shuffle! Main Protagonist

Rin Tsuchimi

A normal seventeen-years-old, second-year high school student and the male protagonist in this story. Since he lost his parents in his childhood, he has been living with Kaede Fuyou. He is caring, forgiving, and can sacrifice himself, especially towards the girl he (in this game, the player) will choose.

Kaede Fuyou

She is in the same class as Rin. The impression I get from her is she is so wife material. She is pretty, she likes to take care of Rin, good at cooking, and can do laundry too. She bears a one-sided love towards Rin.

Asa Shigure

She is in her third-year of high school. Rin and Kaede knows her since middle school. She loves to say “hello” in English, especially when greeting Rin. She is tomboyish, energetic, cheerful and an excellent cook (the leader of the cooking club). When you go to her route, she showed her weak constitution  and more girly side.

Lisianthus

An energetic and enthusiastic girl who is able to start a conversation with anyone. She comes to the human world as a possible marriage candidate for Rin and as the daughter of the Lord of Gods, thankful for his kindness to her in the past. She is typically cheerful and insensitive. Not out of character if you go to her route.

Nerine

A reserved girl with a beautiful voice and a capable user of magic. She had a similar encounter like Lisianthus with Rin, she also comes to the human world to be a marriage candidate for Rin as the daughter of the Lord of Devils. If you go to her route, you can hear her singing. And she’s dangerous because she will use her magic if she’s mad, but at least now she can control her power.

Primula

She is a homunculus that was created by the collaboration of the world of Devils and Gods. Primula has extraordinary magical power. She is usually expressionless and carries a stuffed cat around. She’s your typical loli type who didn’t talk much but began to gradually changed to be more human if you choose her route.

Character developments are obviously shown when player get to the heroine’s path. By digging into their path, player will then see the problem each heroines’ face and indulge into their drama. I would say each heroine has their own dramatic moments. After you finished one, you’ll want to see the other heroines’ ending. Characters’ interaction and Shuffle!’s setting gives this peaceful feeling, because no one seek to start conflict with each other, even when they’re supposed to be rival in love.

Score: 5

Graphic & Sound

 

Shuffle! Screenshot

Shuffle! Visual Novel

For a visual novel that was released back in 2004, it still has a nice graphic. Player can also change the text color in this visual novel to their liking. The voice acting and soundtracks are good by average. It has several songs that gives a strong impression. In every comedic scene, it will have funny sound effect to gives more punch.

Score: 4

Additional Appeal

Shuffle!

No additional appeal. After the visual novel has been completed at least once, players can view CG (computer graphics) artwork they have seen, see mature scenes and endings for characters they have viewed, and listen to the soundtrack they have heard in the game.

Score: 1

Replay value

Shuffle! Screenshot

Medium replay value. Although replaying is not a must, if player wanted to explore, there are total five heroines’ endings to see, each with their own unique problem. Also the existence of skip button increasing replay value, because you can set skip all unread messages or not.

Score: 3

Summary

Shuffle!

Pros

+ High school daily life theme

+ Only good endings

+ Many pretty heroines with distinctive background to choose

+ Nice graphic

+ Mature content

+ Light storyline with some touching and comedic moments

Cons

– Not suitable for players who are looking for exciting storyline

– Not suitable for players who likes to explore multiple choices (not hard to get the heroines’ ending)

Final Score: 2.9/5

Story: 3

Gameplay: 1

Characters: 5

Graphic & Sound: 4

Additional Appeal: 1

Replay Value: 3

By the time this review is written, Shuffle! got a total 2661 votes, with a score 6.85 out of 10 from the Visual Novel Database (vndb) website.

Conclusion

If you love or in a mood for light story with everyday life theme, then this visual novel is for you. It has quite many heroines with different personality and traits. And good news, this visual novel only has good endings, and it’s very easy to get the heroines, failproof.

Shuffle! is already available for PC & PS2.

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