Making Lovers is a visual novel by developer Smee and published by NekoNyan. It’s rather different from many visual novels in a number of ways. The most obvious of these is that it takes place after graduation from college. It’s a nice breath of air from the standard high school setting, as great as they can be.
I would describe this as a romance story with some comedy. It’s could be classified as a slice of life story, with most of the focus on the characters how the relationships are built between them. It contains quite a few jokes on sexual topics, as well as sexual scenes.
Speaking of the sexual scenes, if you are buying this game on Steam, a lot of the mature content has been cut out. A free 18+ patch can restore this, which can be found at NekoNyan Shop. Versions bought elsewhere such as Denpasoft or JAST USA are the full 18+ version. The sexual content itself is, for the most part, fairly standard with four or five sex scenes per character and is quite limited. It is completely uncensored without mosaics and goes slightly beyond vanilla with some mild fetish scenes.
One of the ways that Making Lovers differs from many visual novels is that it does not have one story, but five separate stories. I personally found this to be one of its strong points.
As the game starts, you are introduced to the story with your character being told to find a girlfriend by his parents. It establishes the style of comedy right away with his mother saying that even a ‘shitty first girlfriend who can take pain in bed’ is fine. Even if it’s a ‘level 1 slime’ type. You can sense both the lack of faith they have in him and the parent’s less than serious personalities. Then again, it does mention the main character as being into fetish porn games and generally being a degenerate. They might be attacking the game’s own players there…
Despite being classed as a degenerate, it shows the character having an adamant idea of romance. A relationship has to come from a destined encounter. His friend does try to put him in situations where he might find someone though.
Events happen and depending on choices made, you are very quickly locked onto a route. This all happens in the prologue and allows you to spend the majority of your playthrough experiencing a unique story for each route. If you’d like to learn about which choices you need to make and the optional extra scenes, check out our guide here.
While some scenes between routes may have similarities, you meet different people, find a different job and live in a different place. You generally don’t meet the other heroines whose route you did not choose. Sometimes the same side characters appear but in other contexts. In one route they may be coworkers. In another route, you may be their customer. In yet another route, you may be living nearby them.
While I do praise that each route is unique, the process of getting there wasn’t completely to my taste. It’s a minor complaint, but you barely get to know any of the heroines before being locked onto a route. You may not even have a chance to interact with them depending on your choices.
The routes are unique, but all follow similar themes – getting to know the woman that you are suddenly pushed into a relationship with, finding a job, working and moving forward in life. That said, the tone of the routes changed depending on the choice of character.
I enjoyed all of the stories included in Making Lovers, though often for different reasons. Some were more calm and romantic, despite the main character’s perverted humor. Some were closer to a full-on comedy. Each one had something about it that I enjoyed, as did each character.
Making Lovers has five dateable heroines, each with a route that took me approximately three hours to clear. With the prologue clocking in at an hour, the game took me sixteen hours in total.
Karen is a former college classmate who we run into. She starts with some light tsundere tenancies – that is she is initially somewhat hostile, but also shows a warmer side at times. She’s very much the opposite of our character too, as she can be quite serious. This worked well to give her great chemistry with the main character’s perverted humor and had me laughing quite a lot. That combined with the circumstances which force them together and how it develops puts this as one of my favorite routes.
Mashiro does not make sense and that’s the charm of her character. She makes constant puns and pursues your character aggressively. This is basically the comedy route and unlike Karen, she can be very similar to our character – even in her hobby as a hardcore gamer. Surprisingly this was my other favorite route, but it won’t be for everybody. Her main appeal is how weird and whimsical she is.
Saki will appeal to those who love shy older women. Her route feels like it’s more of a sweet romance where two inexperienced people are finding their way together. She is also shown to be rather accomplished and knowledgable, despite her lack of experience with love. While this route lacked as much comedy, it stood out in the romance area.
Reina is a high-energy younger woman. She’s pushy and aggressive about what she wants, which is the main character who denies her attempts. She can be quite tricky to get what she wants. I initially found her character slightly annoying, as the character seemed to. That said, I grew to like her over time. Her route was enjoyable and the ending was particularly sweet.
Ako is the non-blood-related little sister. She’s a clingy bundle of sweetness to the main character, though we do see her being fairly harsh to some other people. I enjoyed seeing the history between the characters and the attempts to hide the relationship were quite amusing at times.
The writing was well done. It made good use of comedy, despite the difficulties this can cause in localization and the dialogue felt great. The editing in Making Lovers was high quality too, as I’ve come to expect from NekoNyan titles. That said, outside of the text itself I did sometimes notice symbols popping up infrequently. The majority of this was fixed by a patch early on, but some remain.
Graphics, Sound and Options
The artwork was high quality overall and there were approximately 80 CGs, not including variations. Sprites came in a variety of poses and outfits (or lack of) too, with some minor animations such as blinking eyes. A lot of effort was obviously put into making the game look good.
The music is well done with a good variety of 27 tracks. These cover quite a few different situations and fit well into the scenes. I really enjoyed the voicing too. All the characters other than the main character are all voiced and fit the characters. Even the side characters were cast well – Becky gets a special mention here.
The options are fairly robust, with individual volume controls per character, options surrounding font, dialogue and more. There are Steam achievements too for those who own the game on Steam.
I would personally recommend Making Lovers to visual novel fans who enjoy games with less focus on story, but more on characters and relationships. All of the characters are likable, all of the routes are interesting and production values are high all around. To most visual novel fans who enjoy slice of life, I would say this;
MAKING LOVERS IS RECOMMENDED
If you are looking for another more comedic visual novel, perhaps Sankaku Renai would be worth checking out. Or want more Making Lovers? Check out the fandisc. 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 the publisher NekoNyan for a review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.