In the aftermath of the Steam winter sales I find myself with a surplus of games that I do not remember buying. Many of them I don’t really remember having seen or heard of before. But apparently they sounded good for some reason at some point and I can comfort myself with the possibility that maybe someday they’ll come in handy and at least they don’t take up physical space like the switchblades and belt buckles and basketball cards still following me around from my Ebay phase.
But my game library is an overwhelming mess right now, and I don’t really know where to start, so I’ve been clicking on things based on the titles I should probably be most embarrassed by?
First I tried Barbie & Her Sisters Puppy Rescue, which was NOT as good as it sounds. I played for about 20 minutes before I could figure out how to get off my bike to go find the puppies, then I rescued one puppy and gave it flea treatment, and I feel like in that time I saw about all the game has to offer. Strike one. Next up: Magical Diary: Horse Hall, which was supposedly a Gay American Hogwarts Dating Sim, but everybody was terrible and I played it through two entire times without managing to ever romance anybody. The magic bits were interesting but there were only a couple of them. Strike two.
This left me with nowhere else to turn. It was time to finally try the most embarrassing game in my library: Nurse Love Addiction.
Nurse Love Addiction, according to the blurb on the store page that I didn’t read until after I bought the game, is a visual novel about going to nursing school and discovering “love, medicine and adulthood.” I will tell you that this description does not properly prepare a person for what they will experience in this game. This is like the video game version of the completely-disappeared-off-the-internet Faberry fanfiction Wool Blankets, which was possibly the best fanfiction ever written by the way so if you have a copy please send it to me.
But at the beginning, things go pretty much as expected. In the grand style of most dating SIMs before it, you begin the game waking up for your first day at a new school. You are Asuka, an aimless but good-hearted airhead who has decided to go to nursing school because she found a scribble written in one of her childhood picture books that literally just said “I am going to be a nurse.” You share a dorm room with your sister, Nao, who has followed you to nursing school because she correctly believes you to be incapable of taking care of yourself. I immediately distrusted her because her name reminds me of Nanao, who is arguably the villain of arguably the worst game ever made (Robot Alchemic Drive). My instincts were CORRECT, by the way.
At school, you immediately learn two important facts: 1) that nursing school is actually kind of hard, and 2) that you have four love interests. There’s Kaede Ohara, your teacher, who is kind of boring and not really connected to the rest of the plot as far as I can tell. She appears to be not a criminal, but she does have a secret that I never found out because I didn’t pursue her romance path. Sakuya is a rich mean girl, and Itsuki is a flirty mean girl, and they are “lovers,” but evidently not for long. Itsuke also casually mentions having attempted to sexually assault Sakuya in the past and doesn’t really seem to respect consent and personal space in general. Not great! And then there’s Nao.
Yup. And, like, I don’t know man. It doesn’t spoil much to say that it eventually turns out that you’re not biological siblings, but, like, naw. I would have really liked it if there were a NO INCEST button you could click at the beginning and just not have to play those parts? Because this game is like 95% visual novel, with only a few choices along the way, and even if you click NO THANK YOU every time Nao is aggressively inappropriate, your character is still kind of into it, and like, I just want to discover medicine and love and adulthood; I didn’t sign up for this.
ANYWAY. The first roughly two-thirds of the game is the same no matter what route you go down, with some minor changes depending on certain actions, but basically you learn basic nurse stuff (making beds! giving baths!) and get to know your classmates. And also there’s peeing, and not peeing. And talking about peeing, and being scolded for peeing. The middle of this game is kind of a lot about pee to be honest. And again, there are no choices really. So at one point Asuka heroically decides to pee her pants in the middle of the hallway at her first day working in an actual hospital, and then the next 20 minutes of the game is spent being reprimanded by multiple people and having it explained to you why it’s not a good idea to pee in the hallway of your job? And I’m just like, don’t look at me! I know this stuff! I didn’t tell her to do it, I was yelling at my computer because I could not stop her from doing it!
And I really was yelling at the screen. Because somehow, this incest pee game got me engaged as hell? I’m really rooting for Asuka to become a nurse! And she’s developing friendships that are actually compelling. And I spend as little time with Nao as possible. Things are going good and we’re gonna mess it all up somewhat literally by peeing on the floor?
The pee stuff was never actually a sex thing, but it was kind of like how in highschool I used to bring up Angelina Jolie in every conversation no matter what it was about until my friends were like, “Okay dude. We get it.”
But the writing is weird and legitimately funny. And even though the voice acting is entirely in Japanese, which I do not speak or understand at all, some of the line readings had me cracking up. The story drags on a little, but mostly that was because I really wanted to know how it was all going to end. And now that I’m writing this, I’m realizing that the middle of the game might have been kind of boring without the pee stuff? Maybe it’s the golden thread that ties the whole thing together. Or maybe I’m just desensitized in retrospect.
Because the peeing and the incest part of the game is downright mundane in comparison to what comes next. Things take A TURN. Actually they take a few turns that turn out to be fake turns, but then they do in fact turn. There are mysteries, superpowers, violence, cosplay, and potentially even some romantic cannibalism if you make the wrong (right?) choices.
I wound up getting a “good” ending, which involved me marrying my beloved’s evil twin after her body rejected a kidney transplant from her sister that had contained her sister’s soul. And eventually we have a daughter that turns out to be the sister I was in love with who previously lived in the internal organs but now she’s reincarnated and five years old and aggressively hits on me, the me who is her mother. It’s terrible! How is this a “good ending”? There were so many points in the game where I found myself saying out loud, “I never asked for this!”
This game costs $40. That is way too much money, I don’t recommend spending that. I got it on sale for I think $27.99, and that’s still probably too much money, to be honest. I think the price is so high because the game is relatively long for this genre (about ten hours to complete it once, which includes a lot of skipping dialogue at times when I was feeling antsy), and it’s fully voice-acted, which is kind of wild given how much dialogue there is. If it ever goes on sale for like $15-$20 I’d say that’s worth paying, if for some reason you want to subject yourself to this nightmare.
But the weird truth of the matter is that for all of the ways I regretted playing it a lot of the time, I genuinely liked this game. There was so much plot. I really thought it was going to just be trashy and scandalous, and it WAS, but in VERY unexpected (if not always welcome) ways. Honestly it was kind of chaste. There were zero boobs, unless I missed some, which isn’t something that normally happens to me. It was an experience for sure, that I am unlikely to ever repeat but will look back on with a fond(ish) feeling of “Well. That happened.”
I didn’t know I needed to go on this journey with you, but I sure did, Dufrau; I sure did.
I got to do the best “Um, ACTUALLY” of my life when Andrei asked if I was playing a “nudey game”. UM, ACTUALLY, THIS IS AN INCEST AND PEE GAME?
This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Comedy gold from beginning to end. I made my wife sit down and read this because I wanted to explain why I was laughing so hard.
I got a Steam notification that you were playing this game and at first I was like “I do NOT want to know” but I was wrong because turns out I did indeed want to know, so thank you for sharing this with us.
But what if this is what “love, medicine and adulthood” is really about, and we have just been doing it wrong?
But legit though if anybody has a copy of Wool Blankets saved somewhere I really do want it.
At this point, I don’t even want to read it anymore. I feel like nothing could live up to the way you’ve described it.
I am really curious about Wool Blankets now.
Oh you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.
I’m also very curious about it. I hope someone finds it.
I’ve typed and deleted my comment so many times because I am just not sure what to say gosh there are so many possibilities I guess maybe just thank you for playing this maybe? Like I really needed to know this existed.
If I had it on a disk I would mail it to my friends, it would be just like that funny comedy The Ring.
Does anyone know of any good queer-girl visual novels, particularly ones that run on Linux and are actually available in the US? I have a list of visual novels I’d still like to read/play but that fail one or the other of those criteria.
Not exactly a visual novel, there’s way more gameplay, but I like Black Closet a lot. Looks like it’s available on Linux
Seconding the rec for Black Closet! It’s a lot of fun.
I know of a few yuri visual novels with official English language release:
-A Kiss For The Petals: The New Generation! (18+)
-A Kiss For The Petals – Remembering How We Met
-Kindred Spirits on the Roof (I’m not sure this one runs on Linux though)
Lady killer in a bind is a good one, I just finished it. It has a pretty interesting story line and lots of interaction.
“little lily princess” is innocent and cute and available on linux! there’s also “once upon a windswept night”, which is pretty short but free.
The Itch.io yuri game jams had some cool stuff
The Visual Novel Database (vndb.org) allows you to filter visual novels by platform, region/language, and tag. (I may spend an unhealthy amount of time hunting down queer VNs myself.)
If you choose to use that, the tags I generally use for this kind of stuff are Girls Love Only and Shoujo Ai. Yuri, if you want sex, but idk, there’s a lot of male gazey garbage in there, so you have to filter well.
Um…as for recommendations.
A lot of the good ones don’t seem to be available on Linux. A Little Lily Princess is cute, if a bit untraditional/gamey for a VN. I like Love, Guitars, and the Nashville Skyline, even if it’s a bit short. Both of those are on Steam.
It’s not natively readable on Linux (or Mac…geez) but if possible I would really, really, really recommend, if you haven’t already, trying to procure Kindred Spirits on the Roof. It’s really, really good and delivers perfectly in the queer girl department.
Of course, Don’t Take It Personally Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story is a classic. I haven’t read Ladykiller In a Bind but it might be worth checking out?
I’m a huge stickler for the A Kiss For The Petals series (it may have been very important to me when I was a sad gay teenager, so I’m possibly biased) and it seems like the two AKFP VNs that’ve been officially released in English are available for Linux. One of them has an (I think, I’m not at that point in it yet) unavoidable incest route so I’d skip it if that’s not your thing. The other is All Ages, somewhat cheap-ish on Steam if I remember correctly, and cute, though it’s shorter. Also, no incest.
The first is called A Kiss For The Petals: New Generation and the second Remembering How We Met.
I don’t know if I can send links in these comments but here’s vndb for filters on for English, Linux, and Girls Love Only, if you want to look for yourself:
Oh jeez. Linux running queer gal VN lover here, I speak Japanese though (half Japanese, grew up there), and can’t remember which ones have english options. Once I’m home I’ll check it out for ya! And you can always use Wine, if there’s not a linux option, shouldn’t be too slow for VNs.
sorry, after hatoful boyfriend i’m not sure i can handle another game like this.
Thank you for playing this and writing about it, it was so much fun to read. Part of me wants to play it to experience that weirdness for myself, but it does sound a little too long for me.
I loved this review. THANK YOU.
Debating whether I should purchase this for myself. There’s just a lot to think about here.
I do not play video games but this was the best thing I have read in a very long time.
Is it bad that I was really hoping you were going to tell us about the romantic cannibalism?
So many different images popped into my head reading that and oh god part of me wants to make a really bad joke about literal pussy eating…
Damnit dufrau what have you done to me? I didn’t sign up for this! >.<
As a Registered Nurse I have so many feelings about this. So…many…
My experience reading this was largely intrigue and laughter, with small hints of feeling offended. Probably because I’ve had more than one person in my life literally ask me “Why did you have to go to university for 5 years to learn to make beds and give baths?”
Basically this game looks like the best/worst and I’m so glad you shared it with us.
“our little puddles connect” FTW.
Thank you, my heart is beaming with happiness rt now