A Fan Returns
I’m excited to be reviewing this series. Wait, have I not looked at this already? Nah. This time I’m going to be looking at Summer Loop; it’s the fourth game in the “A Time with Dee Dee” series. It’s developed and published by Digitally Downloaded, more often known for its news and reviews. I’m excited to be reviewing this series. Wait, have I not looked at this already?
I’ve already reviewed the first three games so it’s only fair I continue on as the title of avid fan has been entrusted to me. I was quite curious to see how this installment would go as it was the first one written by a third party. It’s a nice change of pace but the theme of Dee Dee is always one that strikes at my curiosity thanks to the variety of themes they strike on. I also like the 101 lessons they have. It’s a favorite of mine so hey, what are we waiting for? Summer doesn’t last forever and neither will this review!
The story starts with a self-named protagonist who spent his summer holidays playing video games. It’s a relatable game as you can see. He is kind of regretting his decision though since he didn’t visit friends. On the very last day of summer, he is woken up by Dee Dee, who asks him to hang out at the beach. The plan is to go with Lo, a girl you met in a previous game. The game is no longer relatable to me. Shenanigans will ensue as the one chance for the perfect day during the whole summer has arrived. The usual happens, with a healthy dose of fanservice mixed with the appropriate innuendos. It’s a good old day in the desirable world of anime. That night, you finish the day with some games. Just before you fall asleep, Dee Dee will message you at exactly midnight. Seems weird to jump straight to the end of the day but bare with me.
A new day begins and you wake up to the last day of the summer. This is your only chance of meeting Dee Dee during this summer break. What is going on? Are you stuck in a time loop? Groundhog’s day is active and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it while playing Summer Loop. I was confused at first and thought that maybe I missed something. During one of the interactive gameplay moments, I actually redid it multiple times until I got it just right. Then I discovered it normally later on in the route. I wasted 40 minutes of my life. Just a pro-tip, continue being clueless and you‘ll eventually understand that “multiple time loops again and again” is a thing, and you’ll revisit everything.
More or less, this is a good story with a short middle section. It’s a bit barebone too I feel. I’m wondering if maybe it’s the new writer adapting. Nonetheless, it’s endearing to experience. Characters are still the quirky bunch as in previous games. I feel Lo was a bit sidelined in this volume though. It felt a bit lacking but Dee Dee’s development since the last volume is great to see. She’s getting bolder when she approaches the protagonist while still maintaining her chill personality.
Gameplay and Systems
Now onto gameplay; I felt that Summer Loop was a great growth from the previous Dee Dee games.
With more choices on how to branch your path and five different endings. This truly felt like a good experience, despite feeling it’s still too short to say it’s on normal visual novel standards. I was able to complete every route in about 3 hours. Despite that, a short experience can still provide you with some entertainment. And there’s the “teach me professor” part of these games that I feel are genuinely my favorite part in every game it appears. It brings such a rich knowledge of the subject and enhances my view of the game and in Dee Dee specifically, my outlook on life. I won’t spoil it for anyone that plays this game. I will tell you the philosophy school they portray honestly changed my mindset these last couple of days so that’s a bonus point for this game. You made me question my existence while staring at short skirts and beach episodes.
In the art department, I feel like it maintained consistently good quality. Models look pretty as per usual and despite not having much in the CG department, they were also of good or greater quality. I would love to see more though. There wasn’t music that particularly caught my attention but it set the atmosphere well enough for the most part. So, I feel it did its job.
Overall I am glad to see this game grow up from a simple demo from Vol 0 to now possessing four volumes. It’s a gift that I feel really happy about as a reviewer. To be able to be seeing the growing up on what can one day be a famous series. While Summer Loop or the Dee Dee series is not a masterpiece, it’s a quality franchise that constantly tries to improve over the predecessor. I feel Vol 3 is a step up from the past ones with room to grow even further. My time with Dee Dee is always a cheerful one, after all. I’m excited to be reviewing this series. Wait a minute…am I in a loop?!
Many thanks go to Digitally Downloaded 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.