A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We Met
Reviewed on PC (Steam) – Also available on PC (DRM Free), Mobile (Japan Only)
Developed by Fuguriya – Published by Manga Gamer and St. Michael Girls’ School
While A Kiss For The Petals is not a new series, going back for almost a decade in Japan under its original name Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke o, this is the first time it has been translated into English for an official release thanks to the efforts of publisher Manga Gamer and the western fanbase of the series, including series enthusiast Craig P. Donson who worked directly on localizing Remember How We Met.
So what exactly is A Kiss For The Petals – and more specifically Remembering How We Met? It’s a visual novel about young girls falling in love while attending St. Michael’s High School, and the drama that these relationships cause. While Remembering How We Met is a release rated for ages 15 and up, the original series is mainly composed of erotic stories young adult audiences over the age of 18.
In Remembering How We Met we follow Azumi Risa and Ayase Miya, a couple from earlier entries in the series. While these two are already dating as the game opens up, as the title suggests we soon get a flashback to them remembering how they first met. It’s in this flashback where the rest of the story takes place, mainly through the eyes of Risa as the determined but frigid class representative trying to get Miya to behave like a proper student.
The story told is quite short, originally being written for the purpose of being played in short bursts on a smartphone in Japan. As such, the full length clocks in at about 3-4 hours in one sitting depending on how fast of a reader you are. Its pacing is odd at times too. There are large gaps with seemingly no development in our protagonists relationship only for a ton of things to get dumped on the reader out of nowhere.
And that’s a shame, since the key story is good and the two characters are enjoyable in many ways. Of course, they had to be since they’re the only characters in the story at all. Any character outside of Risa and Miya are so unimportant to their memories that they’re given no names or details beyond being labeled as “Girl A” or “Driver”. This goes beyond just characters too, with both Risa and Miya often referring to events, locations or statements that are never clarified or detailed.
The story ends somewhat abrupt, though I wouldn’t call it bad. It just suffers from the same pacing issues as the rest of the game. With all of this said, as the credits finally came on screen I did like what I had played. The writing is flawed, but the positives do outweigh the negatives thanks to the great characters in Risa and Miya.
The localization, which was redone entirely in the open source Ren’py engine, does a good job of translating the dialogue while keeping culture specific dialogue as clear as they can. Names are presented in Japanese order and honorary suffixes are kept in for essentially every bit of dialogue that uses them. There are a few odd word choices and phrases that did catch me off guard at times, but nothing that will make you not understand what’s going on.
In terms of gameplay, there’s not much to say. Remembering How We Met is (ironically) as straight as a Visual Novel can be. There are no choices for the reader and you’re never “playing” as an onlooker or character. It’s a story told for you at the rate you wish for it to be told with the world’s best bookmark in the form of saving and loading. The game features achievements and Steam trading cards as well if you’re into that.
Visually, the game looks great. Though the 4:3 aspect ratio might confuse newcomers to the genre, it doesn’t make the gorgeous backdrops and well drawn characters look any less great. There are more CG scenes (full screen drawings) than I thought, even if they too were oddly spread about like so much else in the game. The small moments where Risa and Miya become super deformed versions of themselves for comedic effect are great as well.
The music is nothing all that special. It does what it needs to do when it comes to setting the tone and the constantly repeating school theme will get stuck in your head after the first hour or two, but even so it’s not very interesting. The voice acting, on the other hand, is stellar. Kuroi Neko as Risa is lovely, especially when she gets to yell at Miya, who is beautifully voiced by Akimoto Nerine.
With the upcoming release of FLOWERS, Kindred Spirits of the Roof and many other Girls Love/Yuri visual novels in English speaking territories, it’s nice to see a beloved series like A Kiss For The Petals also hop on the trend. I hope we get to see some of the larger series entries from the past, and the future ones too, get released as well. For now, this is certainly a good start.