Love Isn’t for Everyone
Say No to Rom-Coms! is a light-hearted visual novel. Featuring bishoujo game genre aesthetics that are the main USP of its developer, this visual novel’s premise is a tried and tested one. However, it does feature an engaging story. The main highlight of Say No to Rom-Coms! is how players can choose their love interest. In that sense, the visual novel smartly deferred this choice towards the end.
Romance for Non-Romantics
The most important part of a visual novel is its interactivity. While reading is usually considered a one-way activity, visual novels allow autonomy to the players/readers. There is a dual aspect of engagement to them, as one reads, interacts and moves through one of the opted choices.
Throughout the three seasons of Say No to Rom-Coms!, the plot unfolds, and you are required to decide the flow and quality of the narrative. This means using or opting for premium choices that offer a richer narrative. These choices open up the plot better. However, one can say that the visual novel’s paid choices are a bought reading experience. It is interesting to note that you might still know and go through the story without these premium choices, but it does leave you feeling like you missed something.
Primarily, unlike many romantic visual novels, Say No to Rom-Coms! seems a light romantic visual novel aimed at men. The story revolves around the player and their interactions with Mineko, Chizero and Aoi. Without giving too much of the plot away, this Android visual novel is set in a Japanese high school. This visual novel’s role-playing aspect allows for an interesting plot to unfold. The protagonist, aka you, seems to have had your heart broken, and you end up banding with Mineko to form an Anti-Romance Movement. Both of you create this school club and help Mineko become the school president. The story is clichéd enough, even though the plot’s basic premise is quite captivating.
It’s Your Choice
Almost all visual novels rely on dialogues to set the pace and exposition. Say No to Rom-Coms! is the same. The only difference, although nothing new, is the fact that one can end up choosing a romantic partner. This means effectively selecting an ending out of the other options. In that sense, this visual novel does have ‘a choose your own adventure sentiment’ to it. It’s just that the ‘adventure’ concerned here happens before the main choice is even expected. The story could have moved forward almost linearly, reaching the same conclusion, albeit with one of the three persons to be picked by the player.
I understand and respect the work done on the storyline. The game kept the plot layout pretty linear, with premium choices for a better story experience. The story did get interesting and reminded me of various Japanese rom-coms I have watched, especially those set in high schools. They are cheery and sweet to a fault, with a very predictable storyline. Say No to Rom-Coms! is exactly that, as well. It is great for a one-time play or as a casual read if you want to try different choices.
Is It Hardcore?
Say No to Rom-Coms! effectively introduces an anti-romantic plot in the most clichéd rom-com manner. However, the visual novel is only written well for a casual read, with a light-hearted caliber.