I’ve played through a lot of visual novels over the years, with many being high school romcoms, some action ones thrown in there, and of course mystery as well. Never have I played a VN that threw me right into pet ownership though, and not just any pet, but a wolf girl at that. How to Raise a Wolf Girl is an interesting VN in this regard, even if it does come with some problems.
Story that throws you right in. In the vast medium that is the visual novel, you’re usually treated to some sort of lengthy buildup before you actually get into the meat of the story. This oftentimes leads to some really long and drawn-out common routes, part of which may even feel like filler. However, with How to Raise a Wolf Girl, you’re not subjected to any of this. This is very much a visual novel that throws all of that out the window and kicks off things early, letting the player get right into what they got the game for: raising a wolf girl. This does make the game a shorter experience overall, but it’s still very refreshing to play a VN like this without having to spend hours getting to the “good part”.
Comfy storyline. Given the name of the game and the fact that it has the nudity and sexual content tags applied to it on Steam, one may go into it with the false impression that it will be something like Nekopara. While it is similar to some degree, it felt like How to Raise a Wolf Girl was more so focused on its slice of life elements. The result is a pretty comfy overall storyline, one free of too much drama, harem nonsense, and other gimmicks usually slapped into VNs like this. Sure, there is still a bit of drama and the game does have a free 18+ patch, but those elements felt light in comparison with the rest of the story. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s a pretty nice story experience overall.
Great settings menu. Over the past couple years, something I’ve noticed with Sekai Project releases is that they’ve been progressively getting better in the settings department. How to Raise a Wolf Girl provides a settings menu full of options to customize the experience, including all of the usuals like text speed, auto mode settings, and customizable character voices. It also includes a bunch of others not often seen in the medium, including custom font support, multiple languages that can even be displayed simultaneously, and even advanced text-to-speech options. It’s still missing a few options (like animation speed and advanced font configuration), but it’s much better than what we usually see in the medium and serves as a good example to follow for future releases.
Poor character development. Unfortunately, the game’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. While the storyline is indeed comfy and doesn’t waste your time getting into things, it comes at the expense of character development. By this, I mean that the game dedicates very little time to building up its characters, giving me little reason to feel anything for them. This is something that becomes painfully obvious later in the game, when the story suddenly gets a bit more serious and characters’ backstories become more important. When the game does go into these backstories, it is usually done in very brief segments, hardly enough to reinforce the story elements later in the game. It tries to find some sense of balance there, but unfortunately is unable to do so.
Rushed ending. I’m not one to complain about a visual novel’s length, so I don’t really mind that How to Raise a Wolf Girl takes just five hours to clear. What I don’t like, however, is a VN that is unable to properly close its story out, and unfortunately How to Raise a Wolf Girl is a prime example of that. That is because the story here simply ends. There’s little build up, no super-climatic moment, just a straight-up ending. It honestly comes out of nowhere, like the studio just had to suddenly wrap up work and ship the game. Sure, the overall story is fine, but the game could have definitely used a more conclusive ending.
Meaningless choices. Yet again I am reviewing another visual novel full of meaningless choices. For those unaware, these are choices that the player makes in the story that have no impact outside of changing a few lines of dialogue. Here in How to Raise a Wolf Girl, that is actually every single choice in the game. The player actually has no say in how the story goes, the choices are just thrown in there to give the player some sense of involvement. Again, some may not be bothered by this, but to me it just makes me wonder what the point is.
On one hand, How to Raise a Wolf Girl provides a very comfy story that doesn’t waste the player’s time. On the other though, that story is full of lackluster characters and an incredibly rushed ending, so it’s honestly a bit of a toss-up as to whether or not I’d recommend it. I would say that those tired of the same old high school slice of life VNs would enjoy the change of pace here, but for any newcomers to the medium, this would not be the best starting place.
You can buy How to Raise a Wolf Girl 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.