Sorairo そらいろ [NekoNeko Soft]
Foreword: Cover is worryingly fanservice-ish , but with Micchi and Accany praise it should not be a problem, right?
You start off as Kenji, a pretty ordinary kid (yes you start off as a kid) who’s visiting his aunt during the holidays with his father. There, he meets his cousin Ai, a quiet girl who is just one year younger than him. They were left together in the house so they went out to the nearby sea to play.
But because Ai was so quiet, Kenji decided to play alone in the sea while Ai looked at him from the beach. Going back home, Ai lied to her mother that they had fun together. This continued right up till the end of the summer holidays.
Feeling really guilty, Kenji decided to be more friendly towards her. The next year, he took the initiative and played with her. Another year passes by and he came over to her town for the holidays. They are already extremely good friends and look forward to each others company.
Then the bombshell was dropped. Their parents were getting married. But they were still young and didn’t really understand what was happening. The only thing they knew was that they are now siblings. Kenji now stays in the same town as Ai and lives together with her. New neighbors, new friends and new adventures await.
Character Design rating: 6/10
Protagonist rating: 5/10
Story rating: 6/10
Game quality: 7/10
Overall rating: 6/10
I actually have to retract masterpiece nomination for Sorairo. I don't have complaints about strong sides numerated by Accany (art, cuteness, child to teenage transformation, strong ending), but he just turns a blind eye to all negative traits, and there are some seriously flawed elements in here that often make reading unbearable.
I was driven here by art here and expected experience akin to Reconquista or Amber Quartz. Instead, what I got was spiritual continuation of Lamune. Same world 20 years later. Basically, Sorairo main heroine Tomosaka Suzuka is a daughter of Tomosaka Tsubame from Lamune. This legacy business reminds me of horrible Summer Radish Vacation, and that's a bad comparison to undertake here. In a way it's also return to the origins of NekoNeko Soft, particularly, Mizuiro where past + present system was first utilized. Game starts with childhood period, and from the start it's all about pants, bras, bloomers and taking bath together with all three loli girls. This huge fanservice tilt kills all the seriousness for me. And many of these pervy situations get reflected later in the adolescence period. Game throws at us dozens of choices with the only meaning - to determine which girl world image will be produced on the adolescence period. Basically, heroines other than chosen in childhood can't get their full romantic endings, just half-friendship endings. And this is main feature of the game - to include six additional normal endings in addition to romantic ones.
I already started complaining, so let's recall weak points. Too complex structure with 11 endings for 3 heroines and dozens of useless choices. Too much fanservice for me to bear. Loli heroines that I could not really attach to. Many events are similar creating sense of artificiality. H event usually happens early in each route. The whole work is about admiring innocent loli girls, so don't expect anything deep happening.
Among good sides is generally good SOL with all heroines communicating among themselves. Girls personalities are different, but bright and positive. Abundant number of endings kills excitement, but provides sense of completeness and more detailed depiction of each heroine from different sides. Romance endings of each heroine are paid additional attention to provide a better impression with Tsubame one being the strongest. Most events happen near the sea or on a sunny day, so positive atmosphere is created. As Accany puts it, you will probably enjoy this game unless you're some anti-SOL freak. Guess that's me. I would not play it if I knew it was Lamune + Mizuiro fusion. After Natsu no Ame the contrast is especially huge. I'd like it much more if there were only true routes and more compact simple structure.