[Nintendo Switch] Lover Pretend Review

by Dusk Fox

Lover Pretend from Aksys Games and Otomate is a rom-com Otome visual novel worth checking out on Nintendo Switch. Find out why in our Lover Pretend review!

Lover Pretend from Aksys Games and Otomate is a rom-com Otome visual novel worth checking out on Nintendo Switch. Sometimes, a life-or-death high stake dramatic story is not what you’re looking for. Sometimes, you might crave a more chill, slice-of-life approach, but still with some motivation behind it. So how does this sound for that? In Lover Pretend, you’ll be playing as Chiyuki, a college student with two very important goals and dreams: becoming a scriptwriter, just like her mother, and finding her estranged father.

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Very important tasks, but streamlined enough, right? But as life would have it, maybe love is in the middle of the path that fate holds. Will this help her achieve her dreams? Or would it just be easier to pretend this isn’t really love? Now let’s do some digging. Right out of the gate, the art is stunning. Every single CG is a joy to see. Heck, every SCENE is eye candy with this type of quality. And it won’t just be your eyes that have a feast as the voice acting is top-notch quality as well, with an enjoyable music selection as well.

The story may not be your usual be-all and end-all high-stakes intense story and characters that are more common in the Otome genre. This one is a little more laid back, with enjoyable, funny characters and shenanigans in life situations that feel more like a weekend rom-com than a great life-changing drama. This is not to say there are no common tropes in this one!

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The love interests do feature some of the usual suspects of the genre, which include Kazuma, Chiyuki’s energetic childhood friend who’s now working alongside her at her latest job in production. There’s Harumi, the son of the director of said production, who may come off as a strict and elegant person at first… but is actually a HUGE nerd! You’ll also run into Yukito, your usual playboy pretty boy model who is really a gentleman at heart. Riku is the son of a famous actor that shows a lot of talent and is caring and kind to his fans… yet he may have more to him than what appearances show. And finally, there’s also a secret route available after finishing the other four that… may not be everyone’s cup of tea. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.

Now, seems like everything is great, right? A good time with good characters with good art. What’s not to like? Well… it does underdeliver in what is supposed to set it apart from other visual novels in the Otome genre: the Pretend Time gameplay mechanic. For this, you enter a little questionnaire according to the situation you’re in at the moment. Since it features time-sensitive answers, it can be… annoying at best and a down-right disservice at worst.

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It feels like something they did to justify the premise and make the game unique, but it just ends up feeling shoehorned and can take you out of the story. There’s also the Backstages feature, which lets you in on conversations between characters where the main character is not present to offer more information, other perspectives, and just very nice banter that feels oddly forgotten. I could be in a gaming session for an hour and suddenly remember, “oh right, those are there,” because there are no clear indicators for unlocking and reviewing them.

Having said that, Lover Pretend is still an overall nice and enjoyable time on Nintendo Switch. Will it change your life? Probably not. Will it be a nice title to enjoy on a relaxing weekend where you’d just like to experience a comforting, low-stakes game? Absolutely! Lover Pretend is out on Nintendo Switch with a $49.99 asking price, and it’s one that fans of the genre will dig.

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This Lover Pretend review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Aksys Games.

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