Nurse Love Syndrome is a rather odd release. I say that because we already have a game from the same series titled Nurse Love Addiction available. The catch though is that Syndrome actually came out well before Addiction did in Japan, so we’ve only been able to play the second in the series until now. In fact, this is why I’ve held off on picking up Addiction, as I wanted to play the original even if the characters between the two are different. Regardless, now that I have played Syndrome, I can now say that it will definitely not disappoint yuri fans.
Nice common route. In most slice-of-life games like this, I usually end up criticizing the common route for its poor pacing, but that was actually not the case here in Nurse Love Syndrome. The common route here is divided up into a series of different scenarios, some of which could definitely stand on their own, but all of which help in further fleshing out the different characters and setting up the overall mystery. Yes, despite the fact that this appears to be just your everyday slice-of-life yuri story, there actually is a mystery element to it that is hinted at numerous times throughout the common route.
Outside of those hints though, the different scenarios are presented in such a way that none of them really felt like they were dragging on. Sure, the quality between them did vary (some more than others, more on that later), but even if I did not particularly enjoy a certain scenario, it would always end and move on to the next before I completely lost interest. In fact, I actually managed to sit through a five hour reading session on just the common route, something I rarely do with similar games. It was a nonconventional setup, but it definitely worked in the game’s favor.
Interesting setting for the genre. Part of the reason why the common route works the way it does is simply due to the setting it takes place in. Not only is the vast majority of the game set in a hospital environment, but our protagonist is a nurse working in said hospital. Looking at the VNDB tag for Nurse Protagonist shows that we really don’t have a lot of games that take advantage of it, and most of those that do are just hentai games. It makes for some really interesting scenarios, especially given that the protagonist is new to the job. As such, the reader kinda learns along with her. In reading, I slowly came to realize that being a nurse is a lot more difficult than I previously thought, something the game really does a good job showing. All of this provides for a very refreshing read compared to what we usually see in the genre.
Polished translation. Nurse Love Syndrome is a very polished game when it comes to its English text. Throughout the entire common route and character routes that I played, I only came across one typo. The overall translation was incredibly well-polished, not just with regards to typos, but with grammar as well. Granted, visual novels are supposed to strive for having no typos or grammar issues, but most ship with several, so I feel like the hard work here definitely deserves some praise. I cannot speak for the actual quality of the translation from Japanese to English, but the English text that is here is at least incredibly well-polished and easy to read.
Massive UI. One problem that I noticed immediately upon loading up the game was the massive UI that it has. Normally, a visual novel’s text box takes up maybe a quarter of the screen, but here in Nurse Love Syndrome, it actually takes up more than a third of the screen. Granted, this was a visual novel ported from the PSP, where a big UI was necessary, but it should have definitely been changed for this PC port. In fact, just last week we had a Corpse Party game also ported from the PSP that had a much more manageable UI.
The reason this big UI is such an issue is because the font is equally big to match it. In fact, I had to actually play most of the game while leaning back in my chair simply because it would have been hard to read otherwise. If there were options to customize the game font, this would not be a problem, but even if there were, it’s still no reason to have such a massive textbox on-screen.
Repetitive tropes. While I did praise the game’s common route overall, it does not come without some issues. Nurse Love Syndrome makes heavy use of a variety of different anime and VN tropes, some good, and some not so good. While I’m not one to complain about the inclusion of such tropes in the first place, what I did not like was how often the game repeated some of them. For example, the game repeatedly makes use of tropes regarding underwear choice, breast size, and alcohol, including the infamous “getting drunk after just a little bit of alcohol” trope. Granted, some of those are just part of the genre when it comes to yuri, but the constant use of such tropes does grow a bit tiresome.
Character route drama overload. With regards to how the game handles its drama, I like to compare it to that of a dump truck. As it goes along, it slowly leaves behind bits and pieces of drama, even dropping a few hints towards the game’s mystery-side. However, when you get to the character routes, the game just dumps the rest of the drama right there, leaving behind a massive, messily written drama-fest in place of a properly-paced character route. Really, some of this drama was just so out of place that it was hard to tell if I was even playing the same game. Given the quality of the game’s common route, this was an incredibly jarring change of pace, one that made for some rather lackluster character routes.
Despite the jarring shift between the common route and character routes, Nurse Love Syndrome is still a decent read overall. The common route is nice, the translation is polished, and the setting makes for an interesting change of pace compared to what we usually get from the genre. Still, the game does suffer from its repetitive use of certain tropes and its oversized UI, but it’s worth checking out regardless, especially for fans of yuri.
You can buy Nurse Love Syndrome on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.