Maybe I've just gotten so used to smartphones that not much impresses me anymore. I'm not saying to myself, "Wow! Look how far smartphones have come!" as much as I used to. It feels good to say it again. Playing Ren'ai Replay has definitely reinspired a long-lost sense of awe in me.
Recently released by Bushiroad, Ren'ai Replay is a love sim based around the idea of revisiting the "one that got away" and giving it another shot. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but the level of overall polish, in the gameplay, in-app pay system, characters, performances, etc., is absolutely outstanding.
Some readers might be questioning how a love sim could hope to be popular without offering any particularly innovative features or gameplay styles. To this, I'd say that Ren'ai Replay actually serves as an extension to previous love games, making it easy for both existing fans as well as newcomers to enjoy.
I've gotten a little ahead of myself here, so first let's take a look at the basics of the game.
You take the shoes of a protagonist who is revisiting his high school memories. First, you choose who will be the target of your affections.
You can follow your memories with any of the three characters even after you start playing with one of them.
There are a number of actions you can perform from the main menu. The three shown above are the first ones you should get to know when playing.
Start the game by tapping 会いに行く (go meet the girl) to get started.
Talking is how you progress in the game. You have to choose the right way to respond to the girl in order to get her to like you. Once her affection hits a certain level, the game enters story mode.
There's also a special "chance time" where the girl's affection level rises 120-150% faster than normal.
The game features dating events that happen at random intervals and in real time. There is an alarm function that reminds you when you're supposed to do the date, but I'd recommend keeping a mental note rather than using the alarm so that it doesn't go off when you're at school or work.
Ren'ai Replay basically involves talking with the girls, then watching the story progress. The game features some well-done LIVE2D animation and partial voice acting, as well as special release characters that are only available for limited periods.
There are two points you should keep in mind when playing:
- -A wifi connection is strongly recommended
- In-app purchases are pretty expensive
Each event and choice requires an internet connection, so access to wifi is preferable for a smooth play experience. Also, you must pay to save to a gallery (about 400 yen).
The action gauge in this game refills pretty quickly, meaning you should be able to enjoy this game without having to pay. However, the game's expertly handled sentimentality may have you reaching for your wallet more often than you would expect.
It wasn't so much the gameplay that hooked me in Ren'ai Replay; it was the storytelling that impressed me the most. You'll have to find out for yourself whether this game draws you in as much as it did to me. Just be careful how much money you end up spending.
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Device used: ELUGA power (P-07D)
Last updated: 12/7/2012
Price: free, with in-app purchases
Compatibility: Android 2.3 or higher
Translation by Jason Morgan