Disclaimer: Review copy was provided by Sekai Project
Sunrider Academy is a game developed by Love in Space that tries to combine time management with certain visual novel aspects. I had no previous familiarity with the series as a whole since this adaptation is a result of the success that its predecessor, Sunrider experienced. This title showed promise, as I was curious how they would be able to combine these elements successfully. Sadly, my enthusiasm was short lived, and my preliminary expectations were instantly tempered.
The first hour of this game is the most enjoyable, and this is mostly contributed to the amount of story elements present during that time. The protagonist Kato, is a student in the prestigious institution of Sunrider Academy. Here, he has the thankless position of Vice-President to his name. His childhood friend Ava acts as President of the student council and doesn’t hold any punches in providing him more work that he needs to accomplish. He has been given the task of managing three trouble clubs that are down on their payments and risk disbandment. Coincidentally, presidents of these clubs are all female and an earlier bet with his little sister to find a girlfriend this year made his options limited. The captains and his childhood friend are the only options possible, as he tries to manage these clubs and schoolwork during this year. The female companions are the industry standard and show a lack of innovation that is customary in most titles.
The usual stereotypes apply here and are described in common personalities such as the shy one, the loudmouth, the quiet mysterious girl, and the bossy personality. These characteristics undergo only minor character development and no significant alteration in interaction occurs. The premise itself does explain the reasons why these characters have their current personality. However, these explanations lack depth and are mostly superficial. This superficial nature is largely contributed to the games focus on time management. This management occurs in every aspect of the game and is purely focused on numeric values. No real variety is portrayed in managing your life and these clubs, as it remains repetitive throughout the game. The longevity of this title doesn’t help either, and the developer could have easily divided the management aspect in half for a more bearable play trough. My main complaint is the lack of story elements that did not impact the management aspect. More Interaction between both styles would have helped in this regard, but this doesn’t change the fact that the management and visual novel aspects are depicted as oil and water.
Such clear distinction between those styles is painfully evident in some story-crucial scenes, as certain characters appear to be emotionally hurt. This doesn’t impact the experience in a meaningful way. The protagonist and the characters still go to school without a worry in the world and show little to no emotion, until the next story scene requires such emotion. SunriderAcademy would have been a far more joyful play-through if they removed the management aspect and purely concentrated on the story.
The only redeeming quality is the game’s sound and art. Various audio segments set the tone for each scene, and I was surprised by the catchy tune that never felt out of place. The art present in the game is great as well, and I can’t find any fault in the representation of these scenes. Sadly, players have to grind for a long time in order to access the lewd scenes, and those scenes aren’t plentiful. It is disappointing to see such good art having been put in the backseat in favor of the management aspect.
Sunrider Academy is a disappointing experience that I will jokingly call detrimental to one’s health. Repetitive and bland time management combined with only a few quality story and lewd scenes are not enough to warrant a good score, and I would only recommend this title to hardcore fans of the series. Anyone else should give this title a wide berth, and focus their attention on quality games.
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