Back in 2014 an anime aired that went by the name Is the Order a Rabbit? (or GochiUsa). This anime featured a cute cast, a nice café setting, and a rabbit mascot. Love’s Sweet Garnish is basically the visual novel version of this, but with a comfy, romantic twist.
Note: This is a review of the all-ages version available on Steam. An 18+ patch is available for this version, but it is not a free patch.
Comfy common route. Love’s Sweet Garnish is an incredibly comfy visual novel. This includes the characters, storyline, music, and, of course, the setting. The majority of the game takes place in a small café run by the protagonist. The story begins with the opening of this café and then follows the daily activities of its staff. Whether it be training new waitresses or figuring out what new item to add to the menu, the setting makes the game (and more specifically, the common route) a very relaxing read. In fact, I would say that the common route carried the experience due to just how relaxing it was to read through.
Language switching feature. I quite like this language switching trend that I have been seeing with recent visual novel releases. Not only does Love’s Sweet Garnish allow swapping between English and Japanese at any time, but it also allows swapping to and from Chinese. It is definitely a wise decision to include such a translation, especially when considering the size of that market, but I really respect the publisher for including all of these translations in one package. There are many visual novels that are released twice on Steam, one for Chinese and one for English. Having both of them in one package just makes it that much easier for the player and is also an added bonus for those learning any of the languages included, especially so because the language used in this game is rather low-level.
Auto-mode specifications. This is the first visual novel I have played that offers advanced auto-mode customization. By advanced, I mean allowing the player to go so far as to adjust the timing of the game’s auto mode in seconds and per letter. As a result, I was able to time the game’s auto-mode with my reading speed, something that I usually struggle with doing so on other visual novels. This is just one of the game’s many settings, but it is so useful to me that I felt it deserved its own shout-out. It is a whole lot better than just a regular auto-mode slider and is a feature I would like to see included in more visual novels.
Unnecessary character drama. Unfortunately, the beauty that is the common route does not last through the two character routes. The game becomes a romantic drama during these routes, which is not a problem in itself, but the way the game goes about it is just annoying. The drama contained within these two routes just felt unnecessary and completely out of place with the rest of the game. I would even describe it as “drama for the sake of drama”. Both routes introduced this drama and wrapped it up so quickly that it made me wonder why it was even included in the first place. The game would have been much better off had it followed the route of a pure love story. That or it could have at least allowed time for the drama to develop naturally, rather than forcing it on the player all of a sudden.
Word wrapping issues. Love’s Sweet Garnish has some rather odd word wrapping issues. There are a few lines where words are cut off in the middle and continued in the next line, rather than just being moved entirely to that next line. However, the problem is much more apparent with punctuation marks. If such a mark does not fit on a line, it will be moved to the next line by itself. This includes question marks, exclamation marks, quotations, etc. It was quite common to see whole lines occupied by just a single punctuation mark. It is a small issue, but occurred often enough for it to become mildly annoying. For a game that does not allow font or size customization, one would normally expect the font included to not have such issues.
Love’s Sweet Garnish is definitely a more relaxing read than anything. The common route is excellent and the language-switching feature is a plus too. The character routes contain some unnecessary drama though, but not enough to completely sour the experience. I do recommend the game, but do note that if you intend to play the 18+ version, you will have to either buy the full 18+ version outside of steam or pay extra for an 18+ patch.
You can buy Love’s Sweet Garnish on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.