Visual Novel Spotlight: Love Sniperon August 20, 2013 by Shadocchi
This fortnight’s spotlight features one of our smallest visual novels yet – Love Sniper. Coming in at around 10 minutes, it’s a short, quirky and comedic game by B Dash Suisen that was translated earlier this year. Help Heiji take aim and shoot for love with over ten possible endings, varying from bad to worse.
After a few months of long games by companies, I’m back to short Japanese indie games, this time with a very brief comedy title. Love Sniper puts you in the shoes of high school student Heiji Akagi right before he’s about to place a love letter in his crush’s locker. His crush, Ageha Shirogane, receives the letter but is reluctant to answer the somewhat timid confession. When a small apple-like love god shows up in front of Heiji, he decides to make Ageha fall in love with him a little more forcefully.
The entire game can be summarised by its catch line “Is this a galgame? No, it’s a gag-game” and doesn’t disappoint. The main aim of Love Sniper is to guide the quirky love mascot Picchu (not a Pokemon) into aiming his arrows of love to hit Ageha. Failing results in a number of bad ends, ranging from a lecture on morals to accidentally killing someone. The actual aim and shoot mechanic is stiff but there’s some fun in trying to find all the combinations to unlock the elusive ending where everything goes as planned.
Although the game is short and free, that doesn’t mean it’s stingy when it comes to art. Rather, Love Sniper has a certain charm to its presentation. The main two characters have an over-animated quality that makes reactions a little funnier. Nothing is spared on Picchu, the cupid character, who gets a number of small graphics to play around with. The backgrounds are filtered photographs but they don’t get in the way, especially since the game focuses on the more expressive characters.
Translation-wise, Love Sniper isn’t like Boku no Shokora‘s where Japanese punctuation is kept, but it does include Picchu’s voice quirk untranslated, which can be confusing if you’re not used to it. At times it can stumble a little with words but it doesn’t get in the way of playing. With thirteen possible ends to Heiji and Picchu’s short adventure, the range of situations can be surprisingly funny, though they seem more like four-panel comics in how things play out.
Love Sniper is a short and quirky game that should take up no more than about ten to twenty minutes of your time. If you’re looking for something brief for a few laughs and want a bit of charm, Heiji and Picchu are here for you. The translation can be a little off at times, but doesn’t get in the way of the four-panel comic style humour.