Muv-Luv is a visual novel developed by Japanese company ixtl Inc. and published in the West by PQube.
From the very start you can pick between Muv-Luv Extra and Unlimited. Extra is the first part and Unlimited is the second half of this two-part story. In the Vita version of the game you can select the second half without ever having completed Extra, unlike in earlier versions of the game.
Extra follows the oblivious Takeru and his childhood friend Sumika. His parents are away on a trip so Sumika and Takeru go shopping for supplies for his parent’s holiday. During their day out we get to find out a lot about the characters of the duo. The pair are very rowdy and carefree, frequently bickering public over all manner of trivial things. The story is slow-moving but filled to the brim with character development and dripping with anime style Clichés. It’s just about the most anime-esk thing you could ask for.
While Extra is focused on character development, Unlimited sees things go from being light-hearted to being seemingly more serious as the world is suddenly a far more grim place in the second half. In spite of the more gloomy setting though, the dialogue is still very light in tone. It is also more of a mysterious story than the first half, so those that didn’t enjoy the more romantic comedy style of the first half, may enjoy Unlimited more.
The artwork is both high quality vibrant, but the character designs are fairly generic. the artwork frequently changes between a more basic crayon chibi style and back to the more regular mature look to keep things fresh. The character art often changes expressions as you progress which makes the scenes feel quite lively. The backgrounds also constantly change, making this perhaps the lively and least static visual novel out there.
The dialouge is presented in a subtitle format rather than in text boxes, making the game feel more like an anime and giving extra room for the artwork. Some people may be put off by the strong sexual content as some of the visuals are certainly not suitable for viewing in public.
The music is over all nicely done, however there are a lot of different versions of the main theme and it can get very repetitive. It feels like the sort of background music you’d expect to hear during an anime, but less varied. Disappointingly, there is no option for an English dub, but you can turn off individual character’s voices which is nice if you find one to be especially jarring.
An affection point system is used by the game to decide how the story will unfold, the choices you make will effect the amount of affection points each girl has with Takeru. Most of the menus can be navigated by touch, but it was slightly disappointing that some menu functions only work using the buttons. There are some nice features such as an auto-read mode which sets the scenes to play without needing to press anything to advance the dialogue. There’s also a back-log in case you miss anything.
If you’re a big-time anime fan then you are going to love Muv-Luv, however this is certainly not a game people who dislike anime are going to enjoy. Every part of how this game is presented, from the subtitle look of the text to how the characters act, simply screams anime. For a visual novel it even feels animated and almost seems more like you’re watching rather than reading through something at times.
Muv-Luv (Playstation Vita) - 6/10
– Good artwork
– Feels like watching an anime
– Very Cliché
– Repetitive music
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