I started playing Sweet Pool last year and played it through the New Year. I think that was the way I spent my New Year’s Eve. Not that I complain. Anyway, consequently it was the first game I finished this year.
Sweet Pool is a Japanese BL visual novel with a supernatural horror theme. You play the game as Youji (the black haired one), a somewhat frail young guy who’s been hospitalized for a while and returns to school. But it doesn’t take long to notice that not everything is normal.
I pretty much loved everything about the game. This is a dark story but something I can still play with ease (I am too jumpy for most of the survival horror). And while Sweet Pool is a love story of sorts, it doesn’t really have a single happy end. Some of them are bittersweet or interesting, but it’s more like ‘Romeo&Juliet bathed in blood monsters’ than any romcom out there. One of the endings was – at least for me – devastating, still haunts me today.
The dark and gory themes as well as the sex(ual violence) might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you think you wont be grossed out by them, don’t miss out a chance to play a disturbing yet beautiful story. I personally don’t think the actual scenes were that bad, it’s not like a splatter movie by any means.
The choices in the game are made by simply choosing “instinct” or “reason” in important moments (see the first screenshot below). I’m not sure if it’s really a clever way to split the routes but the whole choosing screen is very lovely. When you hover over the red instinct, the whole screen starts throbbing with a heartbeat. The sound world in the game in general is good. The voice actors are great like in all Nitro+Chiral games I’ve played so far (all the conversations are voiced over while the narrator is silent) and the music is awesome, it suits the tone of the game perfectly.
There’s a new complete English patch coming from this game soon (I hope). I found the beta patch already very playable though. Unfortunately these games are not officially translated, but many thanks to the fans who bother doing the job for us.
Earlier I mentioned those ‘things’ I have. Well, here’s one: a huge thing for Zenya (he’s the blond haired weirdo in almost all of the pictures). The character is so crazy that it’s both funny and sad, I just love him. And his “theme song” is awesome, it’s my ring tone at the moment. I often just stopped midgame to listen to it and enjoy the beauty of Zenya.