Some visual novels are, and I hate to finally say this, works of art. The Fruit of Grisaia springs to mind as an example. Books and graphic novels can be works of art, so I suppose a visual novel can too. I’m still not going to say anything about games as a whole, however. The point’s neither here nor there, as we’re not talking about one of those games today; we’re talking about Sakura Swim Club.
Sakura Swim Club is about…ugh, who are we even kidding? It’s about pictures of impossibly cute anime girls in swimsuits, the latest in the always fascinating Sakura series of visual novel series. There’s a plot, I guess. You play Kaede, a new transfer student who becomes the third member of a swim club consisting of light-haired Hiromi and dark-haired Mieko. Kaede is completely unlikable, essentially he’s one of those guys who does poorly in school and claims that it’s because he doesn’t want to.
He’s there largely to whine about stuff and stumble into compromising situations with the swim club girls, both of whom have generic tragic backstories. Eventually they go to the National Swimming Championships. Do they win?! They do. Yeah, I know you’re not playing this to find out either. You’re playing it for swimsuit pictures.
This is a kinetic novel, so you won’t be making choices or striving for various endings; it’s reading the same story all the way through. The writing is on par with previous Sakura games, meaning it’s not going to blow your mind. The swimsuit pictures, the real reason you’d be looking into buying this game, are very nice and done in the same style as previous Sakura games.
One thing that bears mention: there are apparently sex scenes, which will require patching the game and aren’t something I was particularly interested in seeing. Honestly, given the whole point of the Sakura series – and if I haven’t outright said it in my previous reviews of these games, I’m sure you can guess what it is – you’d be better off finding somewhere that sells the explicit version if that’s what you’re after.
So, as a means of delivering swimsuit pictures, Sakura Swim Club is perfectly acceptable. As a means of enriching one’s mind through intellectual pursuits…not so much. But that’s not what it’s trying to do, and therefore it gets a Yay for accomplishing its stated mission successfully. Sometimes I love the rating system we’ve got here!