After much deliberation and delay, Love Plus Every is here (again), and while it seems like the game took forever to come out, it has in fact been much longer for fans who have been longing for a new title in the franchise that first made its debut in 2009.
The original game revolutionised the dating simulation genre with features never seen before in its predecessors. While the early portions of the game follow the standard formula, it is towards the end post-confession where it transforms into an entirely new experience. In other titles, you pretty much win the game once you succeed in courting the girl (or guy) of your choice. In Love Plus however, it just means you begin the next phase of actually being a couple, which is unheard of then and is still not done by any other developer today.
It is worth noting again that this is not the first time Love Plus has made it to the smartphones, as there was spinoff featuring a new character. Fan reception was poor for the most part, and it didn’t take long for the game to be canned. A rather unfortunate outcome for a rather promising series. Fast forward to 2019, Love Plus Every hopes to reinvigorates the genre it once revolutionised. The subsequent sequels and updates following the original introduced incremental updates which improved the overall experience somewhat, but the technology then was not capable of keeping up with the game’s ambitions. Whether or not Love Plus Every lives up to expectations depends entirely on what you are expecting of it.
The too long; don’t read of it is that Love Plus Every is more or less a smartphone port of NEW Love Plus+, with some refinements. Any kareshi that has played it will be immediately familiar with what this game has to offer. All that is really new is the tacked on gacha mechanic, which is disappointingly unsurprising given the company we are dealing with and the platform the game is on.
In any case, here is the gist of Love Plus Every for those unfamiliar with the series. The game starts off like just about every other dating sim every made. After naming your self insert, you will go on your daily school life where you can then choose one of the three heroines to interact with. Each fulfill a specific archetype which will become immediately familiar. After the first few introductory chapters, you can then choose who you want a confession from.
Once you two become an item, this is where Love Plus Every really starts. You will be balancing between life as school student and your relationship with your girlfriend which involves a lot of grinding. The core of the game will see you having to clear a series of daily activities such as attending classes, going on your part time job and engaging in leisure activities. To do so, you will have to build a deck of five chracters cards that have their own score contribution. Each activity has a minimum score requirement that you have to fulfill with said deck. From grinding out at school, you will in turn unlock additional dating spots to take your girlfriend to, such as amusement parks and the aquarium.
Once you have one or two dating spots unlocked, you can then go on dates, which is what the Love Plus experience is all about. Here you will be engaging in actual dating activities that other games lack, and they range from idle conversation to more intimate physical skinship. In order to do the latter however, you will need to build up the affection meter to a point high enough that your girlfriend will become comfortable. Each performed action contributes to the affection meter and this is where the same deck of cards come into play again. Some cards do better than other in certain actions, so the idea here to a build decks that are capable of clearing daily objectives and building up the affection meter. Multiple decks will be the name of the game here, and to acquire said cards, you will have to turn to gacha. Cards all are you are drawing for, and they consist of a pool of only three girls, something unheard of in games today. Much of the art here is recycled from past material, although the rarer ones are designed from scratch for the game, which is expected.
And here we arrive at the game’s biggest issue. For a game that is all about the girls, there aren’t many to choose from. For series veterans, this isn’t an issue at all, since you only need one, but new players will perhaps find the limited choice perplexing. In other words, you will have to come into this game already liking (or expecting to like) the girls, because otherwise there is absolutely no point in playing this at all. Should you decide to invest yourself to the game, there is then the issue of there being very little content. For a mobile game that will constantly rely on player spending to thrive, there is no real compelling reason to do so, as there is no longer any urgency once you get past the confession stage nor is there any competitive element to it.
From the perspective of this series veteran who isn’t the biggest mobage spender, it is sufficient and satisfying just to interact with your girl again on a device that you will have on your person most of the times. The task cycle illustrated above becomes very repetitive even early on, and this will likely turn off more people who aren’t already invested in this series. While veterans will appreciate that this is more or less the same game as before, it is also more or less the same game as before. New players will find this game very lacking in terms of features and will likely move on to other things once they find its repetitive nature not to their liking. Konami bringing Love Plus back for us old people is definitely appreciated, but the conversion into a gacha title simply does not suit this title at all, while the lack of innovation and content will win over no one but the existing base of staunch supporters.