Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle, or just Renai Royale for short is the latest moege visual novel localized and published by NekoNyan. This comedy developed by ASa Project lets you romance four main heroines, along with a few other options.
Love’s a Battlefield
Renai Royale starts with the protagonist Hirotaka being teased over his lack of a girlfriend. Pushed to the limit, he runs off and asks out the first girl he sees with big breasts – the student council president, Shione. While she’s interested, she doesn’t let on and he runs off.
This is soon followed by a transfer student coming into his class with a shocking introduction. Mari lets everyone there know that she loves Hirotaka. She publicly stakes her claim and lets everyone know that she’s his childhood friend. Soon enough, another girl from his past joins the class as another transfer student. This sparks a massive conflict with an idol, and his younger sister joining in the war to win his heart.
It’s worth noting that while this is a romantic comedy, the comedy is certainly the focus here and the romance is sometimes absurd. It has frequent fourth-wall breaks, with characters pointing out that it’s an eroge and occasionally making fun of tropes. It had me frequently laughing out loud. It’s not one to buy for a dramatic love story, but instead one to laugh as the characters snipe at each other.
One thing I’d like to highlight here is that with a couple of exceptions, I never felt like the characters were great as romantic interests. They all have prominent bad qualities, whether purposely annoying, snide, obsessive, or just plain incompetent. This is also what makes it so funny though.
Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle is very much a character-focused moege. Hirotaka is your average student and his story isn’t too eventful. We follow along as he spends time with the heroines, attends student council meetings, and helps in the lead-up to the school’s winter festival. Most of his drama isn’t so much about events in the present but is more about his interactions and past with the other characters.
Mari is the main heroine here and she’s one of the biggest factors in pushing things along. Not only is she the initial spark, but she moves into Hirotaka’s family home, plays a large role in why he acts a certain way, and causes a number of issues.
Almost all of the other characters openly dislike Mari. Whether it’s for daring to try and take Hirotaka, for her hilarious but annoying behavior, or just for being too pink. The other heroines attack her; in multiple cases, literally attack her. I can sympathize with them.
Mari’s soundtrack is called ‘Blazing Fastball’ and this is how she feels. I like Mari’s overly positive attitude and she has some funny lines – “You’re so flippant~! So flippant, you could win gold in gymnastics~!” as one. But that same positive attitude also has her never accept no for an answer and she really pushes herself into your space, stating childhood-friend rights in all situations which can get annoying. She once says “modesty is for losers” as she claims all your time while others try to remain considerate (to an extent) – this sums her up. That and being the butt of a lot of the jokes.
Number One Idol
Yuna is the other girl from Hirotaka’s past. Seemingly more mature at first, we soon find out that she’s not as calm as she seems. While normally kind, she can be competitive and catty. In particular, she seems to work against Renna, another idol heroine, and she has a bone to pick with Mari.
Unusually, she is technically a sub-heroine. That said, while Yuna doesn’t have as many CGs as the full heroines, she does have a fairly lengthy route compared to sub-heroines in other visual novels. How her past links with Hirotaka’s feels just as important if not more so than how Mari’s does, so did feel unusual that she’s not a full heroine.
Yuna was one of my favorites as an actual romance option. Not only does she have my favorite visual design, but I enjoyed how we explored the background through her story, how aggressively she puts the others down, and her focus on her dream. Her story focused more on romance than some others. She also has a particularly strong showing in Renna’s route.
Second Banana Idol
Renna is my favorite of the full heroines in Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle. Often described as sly or two-faced, she’s cloyingly sweet towards Hirotaka, acting innocent as she takes any opportunity to get closer to him. Despite being very forward, she’s actually quite innocent in some ways. Much like Yuna, she can also act quite catty to anyone who gets in her way.
Linking in with Yuna’s story, she’s the second member of their idol group and she feels it too. Yuna is the number one and part of her route is trying to overcome that hurdle. I enjoyed seeing her take on the challenge, along with it filling in some of Yuna’s history. Again similarly to Yuna, this felt more like a romance than outright comedy.
Whenever Shione appeared on screen, it almost always felt like a comedy act with her deadpan maid Ao there to call out her idiocy. The Student Council president acts as if she is the perfect high-class lady, but she’s actually selfish and immature. She acts confident in public but often is very self-conscious. Her maid Ao takes care of almost all her work while claiming that all Shione has going for her is her large bust.
The comedy duo was one of the funniest things about Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle. The way that Ao’s stirred the pot to create more chaos made things much more lively, along with Shione’s responses. Not to say there wasn’t the odd sweet moment too.
A Little Sister is Fine Too
Nonaka felt like an odd decision for Hirotaka to make. She was clearly lusting for him from the start, despite noting that she was a blood-related little sister. He never seemed to show any interest in her though, even when presented with a clear and direct invitation. It is a comedy though and it did somewhat explain why, so it’s forgivable.
She’s the heroine I’d vote as most likely to snap and stab whoever takes Hirotaka away from her. Frequently going into a dark mode with ominous music, she’s harsh with almost everyone and is prone to saying things she shouldn’t out loud, such as wishing Mari would drop dead. This route is the most absurd of the main routes. There are no real consequences for your choice, even in one particular situation where there would be an obvious one. She certainly has no hesitation about the relationship either, barely acknowledging the taboo.
Never Give Up When The Going Gets Tough
One thing I appreciated about Renai Royale is that the start of a character’s route isn’t the end of the story for everyone else. Choose Mari? You can be sure that Renna, Shione, and Nonaka will be there to tell you that you made the wrong choice. While one heroine has won the battle, the others certainly don’t feel that the war is over.
The major appeal of Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle lies in the last part of the title – Love’s a Battle. The continuation of some level of conflict helps to keep things entertaining the whole way through, along with their individual storylines.
What Are You Talking About Nii-san? I’m Eighteen Years or Older…
Much like the other NekoNyan titles, Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle removes adult content on Steam. This includes removing the sex scenes, cropping suggestive CGs, and the occasional missing sprite or CG. As always, this content can be restored by installing the adult patch found on the NekoNyan store. Alternatively, you can buy the uncensored version directly on storefronts such as Denpasoft.
In the full version, most routes have relatively vanilla content, with a couple of exceptions. ‘Borrowing’ Hirotaka pops up in a couple of routes, but other than that it’s primarily fairly normal content, such as oral, boob jobs, and a bit of cosplay. As well as adult scenes, there are nude sprites. There are no mosaics on the CGs, but sprites have a small white censorship circle.
Nonaka’s route is somewhat of an exception. Aside from the blood-related aspect, they add in some more ‘fetish’ interests, including tights and public urination.
Outside of the main heroines, there’s an adult scene with every one of the female characters other than Renna’s mother. While I’ll not spoil it, some appear during the normal routes and some have their own very short sub-routes. It was nice to see the sub-heroines be given some extra attention here. One was a complete surprise to the point of being absurd, but that itself fits this visual novel. If you’d like to find out more about the routes and endings, check out our guide for Renai Royale.
Each main heroine has six adult scenes in their route, with Yuna having three and other sub-heroines having one each.
Silly Sprites and Ominous Music
Much like ASa Project’s Koikari: Love for Hire, Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle includes high-quality artwork, if at a resolution of only 1280×720. It includes 74 regular CG and 10 Super-deformed CG in the full version.
The sprites come to life with plenty of movement and expression changes, including mid-dialogue. The sheer amount of expressions is impressive too – Mari alone has 33, including some absolutely absurd-looking ones. Not that even side-characters are left out, with the male best friend having 21.
The story is accompanied by 31 pieces of music, which includes multiple vocal tracks. Some of Nonaka’s dark moments have some particularly ominous backing sound to really get the idea across.
The voice acting fits in well, with it expressing their personality. You can really tell that some of these remarks are catty snipes at each other, just from the tone. It’s fully voiced aside from the main character, with even side characters having spoken parts.
As localization choices are always a hot topic, I’ll note that Renai Royale does aim more toward niche fans. It includes Japanese terms including senpai, kohai, Nii-san, and even osasanajimi. I felt it’s a good choice based on the type of visual novel and those likely to read it – a dictionary feature would’ve been a nice bonus though, as it did include a couple of terms that even visual novel fans may not understand.
Renai X Royale – Love’s a Battle had me laughing from start to finish. It won’t be for everyone with its fourth-wall breaking and focus on comedic characters over romance routes, but it’s a ton of fun. I really appreciated how even side characters had their moments to shine too.
RENAI X ROYALE – LOVE’S A BATTLE IS RECOMMENDED
Want to see more Visual Novels? How about our review of Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire? Or if you’d like to find out more about the routes and endings, check out our guide for Renai Royale.
Many thanks go to NekoNyan for a PC 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.