Developer: âge, ixtl
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita
Tested on: PC
Muv-Luv – Review
Love is certainly a subject that is used in several games. Visual novels lend themselves very well for romance stories and Muv-Luv certainly took this opportunity. This game has originally been released in 2003 and has been popping up on several platforms since then. In this review, we had the chance to test both Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited.
The story takes us back in time, to a traditional Japan. Both Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited are situated in this country. In Muv-Luv Extra, the protagonist is a normal boy called Takeru Shirogane. Everything is okay until he wakes up with a gorgeous girl next to him. As this unexpected turn of events isn’t enough, his childhood friend Sumika Kagami walks in on them and thinks the worst. Her fury is palpable and Takeru gets the beating of a lifetime. It seems that the mystery woman is Meiya Mitsurugi, member of one of the most powerful families of Japan and she has set her eyes on our confused boy. The next events will determine who you will choose as your soulmate, as there are also some other ladies that are longing for your heart.
Muv-Luv Unlimited happens in a parallel universe, where we pick up where we left of with our good ‘ol Takeru. Things seem to be a bit different though, as neither Sumika or Meiya are there to wake him up. Going outside, it is clear that something is amiss. He finds out that Earth has been invaded by aliens called BETA or “Beings of the Extra Terrestrial origin which is Adversary of human race”. Although this setting might seem dark, romance can still bloom in this wrecked place.
Both games have quite a linear story, but this isn’t that bad for this type of games. In the end, you’ll be more interested in how your love blooms instead of the other events that are taking place.
As this is a visual novel , you will get a lot of images that show you what is happening. You won’t see Takeru, but always the interlocutors. Instead of one fluent motion, each text bubble is projected on a still image, although the expressions might change in between. You’ll be treated an anime-based style, which certainly fits the setting of the game. Next to the actual game, there is a gallery that holds all of your preciously obtained ‘cutscene’ images. Depending on which route you picked, you’ll get different ones of course.
There aren’t that much details in the environment, but that isn’t so bad as the characters take all the attention. The facial expressions are quite diverse which helps to get immersed in the story. There aren’t any graphical differences between Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited, making it easier to start the second instalment.
You’ll be visiting the same places mostly, each with their distinctive track. The tunes also depend on the setting though, but you’ll be mostly treated by some cheery tones. This might be different when you’re venturing in the ‘Unlimited’ scene, as the world is on the edge of extinction. In the end, the combination of the soundtrack with the Japanese voice-overs make it a perfect blend that will make you think you’re watching an anime episode.
If that isn’t enough, there are also some sound effects here and there that spice things up a bit. For instance, you’ll hear weapons clashing and engines roaring when you’re playing Valgern-On or the slaps you get from Sumika .
Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited are both visual novels that will suck you into two parallel worlds. Don’t expect any fighting or other actions in these instalments. The sole purpose of these games is finding a suitable partner while getting immersed into the story.
As you might expect, there isn’t that much to it control wise. The only real thing you can do is advance the conversations and events. Of course, you also need to make decisions at certain points of the story, which have their effect on your different relationships with the girls. Sometimes it’s easy to tell which one to pick if you want to woo someone specific, while it might be a lot harder to notice which route to take at other times. This is part of the game and it could be that your choice will have a negative effect. Don’t worry though, as there are loads and loads of save slots you can use. Both games share the same save files, but there are so many that you don’t need to be stingy when it comes to saving. It could mean that you can turn back in time and make another decision if necessary.
Depending on whom piqued your interests, you will get different cutscenes and special events. This means that there is a lot of replayability if you want to see all the different outcomes and gather every special cutscene image.
If you like romance visual novels and adore anime-style graphics, than Muv-Luv will certainly be something for you. Although you can only read conversations and make decisions now and then, the story is quite addictive and you’ll always want to know what happens next. The music and voice acting surely helps a lot to get sucked into this world full of love drama.