As I write this, the year is coming to an end, but the cold of winter is certainly not. A love story about a maid and her master sounds like a solid choice to warm up the heart. Maid for Loving You directly shares its main attraction in the name. It explores the intricacies that come with daily life, but it seems at times that the game wasn’t ‘maid’ for some of the points it sets up. This review was done with an +18 patch installed, so bear in mind some scenes and comments might not reflect in the unpatched Steam version.
Your New Maid
The story follows a simple salaryman called Yuuma Kitami. He is a man with a simple routine of waking up, going to work, going back home to sleep, and then repeating it all. One cold winter night, his routine is interrupted by a weird sight. Lying unconscious near his house was a mysterious woman, pale as the snow she had fallen in.
Yuuma brings the girl inside to make sure she doesn’t die from the cold. The next day, he wakes up to see the girl ready to work. She introduces herself as Eve and his personal maid from that point onward. With the choice of letting her go back to the streets alone or letting her stay in his house for a bit, Yuuma finds himself with a peculiar roommate.
At first glance, it’s a simple premise: A young man meets a girl under unusual circumstances. The story revolves around finding out more about her backstory and who she is. It’s a plot not uncommon in anime. The game knows its audience, as a lot of interactions revolve around the daily routine with a maid and the tropes around anime maids. Adding more depth to this somewhat is how Maid for Loving You uses the “Another View” moments. I appreciated that these put us in Eve’s point of view, which helps us see the plot in a wider view, despite these scenes and the visual novel itself being short.
A Developing Relationship
One issue I have with Maid for Loving You is how the speed at which the main pairing gets closer feels unusual. It seems like it takes one step forward and then two steps back at times. My main gripe is how Yuuma rapidly switches between getting embarrassed or proactive about his relationship with Eve. At times even hand-holding can make him shy, while at others he’s far more comfortable with being intimate. Then he returns to getting easily embarrassed. In another visual novel, this might be attributed simply to development over time, but it feels weird in a shorter game like this one which only takes about 5 hours. Maid for Loving You is a slow-burn romance, except when it seems like time is running short. At that point, it feels like it rushes, skipping to the next stage of the relationship.
The Single Twist
Another thing about the story I would like to mention is about the plot twist that occurs midway through. I enjoyed the fact that it was implemented into the story, but also feel it was a tool that could’ve been more explored. The game introduces this twist to us by using a change of perspective along with a new character that is a relative of Eve’s, showing where she came from. However, that perspective and sudden appearance don’t get explored much. Even the characters themselves don’t ask or answer many questions about it. I did enjoy the idea and I like how it was used, but I feel like it could’ve been made into something simpler if they weren’t going to explore it anyway. In the end, it just left me wanting more.
Characters Maid For You
Maid for Loving You, befitting a shorter game and more contained story, has a small cast. Of the named characters, there are Yuuma, Eve, and Eve’s relative.
Yuuma himself lands at a weird spot for me because he felt like two characters at the same time. This feeling is due to the earlier mention of hitting the accelerator to move forward in the relationship and then taking a few steps back soon after. He is an earnest man that is honest with himself about his desires, which I appreciate, and I even felt sympathetic with him when he talks about his work issues. The dichotomy here is that there are also moments when he felt much less mature. Also, it might be to make the +18 scenes spicier but going from easily getting his cheeks red to guiding his sexual relationship with Eve as if he was used to it felt totally off.
Eve is quite good at her role, dealing with the usual maid tasks of providing for her master. Outside of that, I am very thankful they also developed her further. Her passion for food and even interacting with other vendors in the market felt like good breaks, which made her feel much more like a character rather than just a walking maid trope. The post-credit scene with her is also super sweet, and I always enjoy seeing what happens after the main story is over. To me, it’s a pleasure to see how the world moves past after we stop interacting with the plot.
The only problem lies with Eve’s relative, mentioned as part of the plot twist. She enters the story along the midway point but doesn’t bring much to the table as she has very few scenes. I think my main gripes with her development lie in her character execution. It feels like she is only used as a vehicle for an exposition dump, rather than a character at times. I can’t say I dislike her, but she was lacking.
While I did have some complaints about the story, the art direction is something I can’t complain about. The CGs in this game are really pretty and I quite enjoy the design of the characters. Eve is particularly notable here, as she’s on screen for the majority of the time. Her character design is really pretty and I love the different outfits they gave her.
While simple, the backgrounds are also quite well done. They mix in with the overall style of the game naturally. Overall, it felt like it really was just a simple life and environment that suddenly changed one day with Eve.
Sounds of a Maid
I am going to dedicate one entire paragraph to Eve’s voice actor, Kumiko Yokote. She deserves it. Yuuma, our protagonist, isn’t voiced but Eve is fully voiced, even in the +18 parts. I had to take my headphones off a few times just to breathe: I was that blown away by the quality of the voicing. I can certainly say Eve’s character was partially carried by her VA, and please, as a general tip, play this game with headphones.
However, I do have some mixed feelings about the OST. The game has 9 themes, along with an opening and ending that bring it to 11. The latter two are quite good, I even listened to them after finishing the game itself. The rest of the OST is also quite good. It has jazz for the spicy scenes which is a classic that you can’t go wrong with. A minor gripe is at the start of the game, the choice of music used could have been better. A portion where the calming music was used could be a bit shorter, as it did give me a feeling of a slow start, which is shared with the story itself. Changing this may have helped with the flow.
Maid to Service You
This is the part that I believe most of you are curious about: as mentioned, the game has a +18 patch that can be installed quite easily. There isn’t much adult content at the start of the game, but it really ramps up past the half-way point. In a way, it becomes part of the story’s development.
The adult scenes are really well done, and aside from a single exception, all of them explore different expressions of love. I can appreciate the diversity shown here. I would recommend anyone playing Maid for Loving You install the adult patch.
Finally, I’ll mention that this game has a great ‘EXTRA’ portion. In it, you can see all of the CGs in the game, +18 or not. It also lets you replay some important scenes, which helped me to revisit the key moments in the plot. And yes, it also let me revisit the ‘plot’ too. All the themes are available to listen to there as well, so it’s worth a visit to listen to them after finishing the game for some nostalgia. Trying to remember when each was used was good fun after the credits
Overall, I think Maid for Loving You is a good experience for those interested in anime maid culture. For everyone else, it’s also a short story about two people finding solace in one another in a tiring world and a developing heart. There are some issues and I do believe the start of the game can be a turn-off for people who aren’t too much into the tropes, but it’s worth it for those who can stick through it. Overall, it’s a good recommendation for a short, 5-hour journey.
MAID FOR LOVING YOU IS RECOMMENDED
If you are looking for another visual novel, you may enjoy Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire or Otome Domain. We have also covered a wide variety of visual novels both original to English and localized from Japanese, which you can check out here.
Many thanks go to Love Lab for a PC review code for this title.
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Nick has been gaming for quite a while, a decade now! His first console was the DS but the first one played extensively was the Nintendo 64. He loves a huge variety of games, favourite genres include RPG, platforming, metroidvanias and visual novels. No longer a member of the NookGaming team, but still here in spirit. Follow him on @NickMendz.