The Nardio Visual Novel Review
IS Sakura Santa WORTH YOUR TIME?
Yes it is!
WHAT DID WE THINK WITHOUT SPOILING IT?
Sakura Santa is a fun light hearted and kinda pervy Christmas visual novel/dating game.
Sakura Santa was exactly what I was looking for this week. I needed a Christmas themed visual novel that wouldn’t take to long and I was also curious about jumping into the Sakura games universe. Bam two birds and one affordable Christmas visual novel.
The Sakura series of visual novels always seemed to focus on titillation and erotic visual novel experiences that feature busty and or scantily clad women. There a bunch of these games on Steam and the reviews are hilarious and glowing. I was always curious about these VN’s. Were they smart fleshed out experiences that embraced sex and were geared towards adults? Were they shallow stories just there for masturbation fodder lacking any real or coherent plot? Were they even complete experiences? I know a bunch of these sorts of games on Steam have been censored to be allowed onto the store. Often times players need to go to external sites to get the 18+ patches that give players the true X-rated experience. I had a lot of questions, but thankfully Sakura Santa was just released the day I started searching and it was on sale for $2.50. Done.
Sakura Santa was light hearted tale of a guy who was stuck alone for the holidays and desperately wished that to have a friend for Christmas. As luck would have it he runs into three beautiful women who all befriend him soon enough and want to spend the holidays with him.
During the course of the visual novel you are able to spend time with each of them for a time or just focus on one and save the others for another play through. I choose the latter and was treated to four interesting experiences. I think just focusing on one just one woman at a time during each play through gave me a better individual story each time.
Unfortunately Sakura Santa doesn’t organically incorporate the other women in the story besides the initial meetings so it felt a bit disjointed later on. For example, when Santa for example doesn’t come by for Christmas when you are focused on the Akani route or reconnecting with your childhood friend. It was implied and or flat out said that you will see these characters later on during the holidays but they aren’t there unless you seek them out. This was kinda weird. Sure it’s a bit nit picky, but I feel like the creators of this could have worked all of the characters into this to make them all a part of the experience. Maybe have two of them help you with the third and or let you just choose to interact with them on a platonic level. Maybe I’m asking too much from a series known for T&A, but I was expecting more. That said the stories were all enjoyable. The fourth route was my fave after completing the first three.
Speaking of T&A how is it? Well, it’s kinda funny. The sexuality of the characters is always in your face. I just kinda got used to it early on. Trust me, you can’t avoid it.
The fox character’s overly sexual outbursts felt the most natural since it was written well into the character, the other two, less and less so. Along the way expect them to fall down in suggestive poses and have themselves in very revealing outfits. Considering what they are wearing when you initially meet them it’s kinda funny that they can end up wearing even less. See that picture of a santa girl above? That is one of your possible romantic choices and that is how you are introduced to her.
That said Sakura Santa never felt full on smutty or overly forced. OK, kinda forced… Ok it tried really hard at times, but I was still expecting more. Maybe it’s the years of watching anime, reading manga and actually watching and reading way more perverted and outright sexually explicit material, but Sakura Santa seemed adorably tame to me. This would have turned me on a lot more if I were still 12 and not a few weeks past 35. I found it more funny and predictable and honestly a little cheezy than hot.
O sure of course she spilled drinks on herself. Of course she got tied up and is in that position. Of course she wants to show you her breasts. All of the big sexy pages here come right outta sex tropes 101. They were more fun than shocking or sexy for me. It was done in such a silly way that I just found myself chuckling because I saw every situation coming from a mile away. Thankfully the writing in Sakura Santa reflected this. Each woman presented themselves and reacted differently to these crazy situations happening. The protagonist you play as calls it out a lot and seems to laugh at it as much as I did. Sakura Santa was a tongue and cheek experience that flaunted a bit of sex but still had a sense of humor and managed to tell some interesting stories.
I’m glad I wasn’t stuck with another protagonist who was taken aback, shocked and embarrassed as is the norm with most of these stories. Here we are treated to an adult in college who calls out the silliness while appreciating what he sees. In the end he finds himself looking for a relationship, not some quick sex or a panty shot. I appreciated that.
As far as needing to download any extra stuff, Sakura Santa is a complete experience as is. There is no extra 18+ ultra nudie or porn filled pack to add to the “experience”. If the rest of the Sakura games on Steam are this tame maybe I’ll give some more of them a chance later on.
Sakura Santa is supposed to be normally priced at $10.oo and it just about feels right. I got about two hours worth of enjoyment from this VN with a few breaks. Sure it could have used a lot more art and it is lacking voice acting. But it was an enjoyable experience, albeit a very short one. I really feel as if this could have been a longer game. As is though I still had fun with it.
The art is nice and the backgrounds are interesting, but there are a lot of times in Sakura Santa where stuff happens in the story but isn’t shown on screen. I think having more CG panels and character panels reflecting what was happening could have gone a long way in making the game feel a lot more worth it’s full priced value. The same can be said for additional dialogs and choices in game. Sakura Santa is a pretty short game can be finished pretty fast even with doing all of the extra paths. I think Sakura Santa would work best as a $5.00 visual novel. I worry that this is going to get a lot of complaints once the sale ends. The $2.50 sale is perfection for right now if you want a quick and fun VN.
Get this if you want a fun, short and light hearted holiday visual novel and are ok with a T&A filled cliché dating game that doesn’t take itself seriously. Don’t get this if you are looking for a long and drawn out experience that will make ya think.
Agree? Disagree? Write your comments below
BASIC INFO & WEBLINKS:
- Sakura Santa Steam Page
- $9.99 Regularly On Steam
- Creator Winged Cloud on Twitter
- Creator Winged Cloud on Patreon