Nurse Love Addiction was developed by Kogado Studio, known for their bishōjo titles, and published by Degica Games, who are known for their extensive niche and Japanese game library. After originally launching on the PS Vita over in Japan, it was soon released on the PC in English and then made its way over to the PS Vita, here in the West, last year. I’ve not had the chance to previously try out either Nurse Love Addiction or Nurse Love Syndrome, so you can only imagine the elation I felt when they were coming to the Switch (which I’d just bought). As such, other than the brief synopsis I’ve read, this will be my first time experiencing the two visual novels.
As I’d already read the synopsis and was familiar with the story, I went in with what I thought was going to be a slice of life and heartwarming yuri narrative. However, what transpired wasn’t remotely close to my original thoughts and opinions on the title, and that is a great thing. Over the course of 30 – 40 hours I was at the end of every spectrum you could imagine with this game, something I’ve not felt for a visual novel for a long time.
The story starts off simple enough with Asuka Osachi who is trying to become a nurse, an unexpected direction for the ex-manager of the Jelly Fish Club. Asuka and her sister, Nao, have both joined Teito Nursing School in hopes of becoming nurses. This school is one of the main settings of the game and it is here you’ll learn of Asuka’s relationships with the main characters and others.
Being a yuri visual novel, a Japanese term for girls love, this will be a romance involving girl on girl, so you’ll know the kinds of relations to ensue. Given the fact the game only has 4 main characters, it allows for a greater sense of development than you see within Visual Novels with a bigger roster. Each character is fleshed out very well and all their routes are unique, exhilarating for some, and very memorable.
The main focus of Nurse Love Addiction is Asuka and her life. She has very little ambition, lazy, not good at studies, etc… The epitome of a quitter, if you will. The game starts off with how she has no need, or want, for aptitude tests nor job placements, it’s how she comes to manage the Jelly Fish Club.
This club is prevalent as she refers to it a lot throughout the game – liking it to how actual Jelly Fish just float there, going with the flow, they don’t take charge, they just float through life. That is until her friend’s bail on the club leaving her alone and unsure of what to do in life, so she picks a career based on the writing she drew when she was a toddler saying she wants to become a nurse. It is from here that Nao dedicates herself to helping her sister and even joining her into getting accepted into Teito Nursing School, which is where this game will take place for the majority of the game.
Nurse Love Addiction is a visual novel in the truest sense, that of a novel, no puzzles, point and clicks, or interactive scenes. This does not mean it’s any less enticing than other VN’s, in fact, quite the opposite! Without spoiling too much, you have emotional traumas, love, betrayal, grief, varied sexual roles, varied fetishes, culturally accepted practices in Japan, and things that’ll turn your stomach. If you can name a plot twist, this game probably has it!
Each character’s route fully fleshes out both Asuka and the route you’re on, all whilst cross-referencing the others. This ties everything together beautifully but at no time does any route feel like things have been left out, a complex thing to do but Nurse Love Addiction handled it exceptionally well.
Being a visual novel, the visuals are a very important aspect of the gameplay. Nurse Love Addiction on the switch is pure eye candy; the backdrops, characters, settings, details and pretty much everything is really crisp and highly detailed on the Switch’s screen. A lot of VN’s today go for the CGI/3D looking route and although it works, I’m a fan of the older 2D and hand-drawn styles. This is where the game shines, the models are done somewhere between original anime cels and newly done CGI, which is a beautiful melody that contrasts stunningly with the backgrounds.
You’ll notice all the details are done with precision; blush has that cross-hatching effect, the facial expressions are done through their eyes with great detail, and the characters themselves seem to fit their drawn personas perfectly! This makes all those fan service shots more than rewarding. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there are decisions that don’t quite make sense…
Whilst in the academy you’re paired with a group of six people, in which Asuka becomes best friends with all of them, yet only four are technically ‘main’ characters. Because of this, only the four out of six are drawn – you never see the twins, you just read and hear their interactions. I’d understand it more if the case was that they’re ‘side characters’ but in Nurse Love Addiction the side characters, such as the beach girls, the doujinshi con people, the assistant nurse you meet, and more, all get drawn in other scenes.
Also, there’s a lack of animation as all the characters are static images, so any speaking isn’t mouthed and movement is done via a stop-motion effect – but, this compliments the art direction they went with so it doesn’t detract any magic the game has to offer.
Continuing on with the visual novel aspect, this game has a light level of decision making. With only four main characters there isn’t really a lot of branches to spread out from, making this an approachable title for newcomers – setting the sexual-content aside. Nurse Love Addiction is also fully voice acted (in Japanese) and done remarkably well, with every character having great depth and ranges of emotion within their acting – the VA’s nail the emotional changes with their voices every time.
That being said, there are some drawbacks but not with the voice acting, with the subtitling of the voice acting. Nurse Love Addiction doesn’t provide subtitles within the scene change/chapter change cards – even though the rest of the game plays fine with English text over Japanese voices. Basically, between each scene you get a chibi art-styled character with a backdrop and a Japanese voice-over yet no English subtitles, this leaves you at a loss of the foreshadowing to come.
Speaking of losses, whenever you complete a route in this game it unlocks bonus features… which are Japanese Audio only, once again, leaving you with a disappointment as your main reward is almost inaccessible if you don’t understand Japanese.
Most people, when they buy a game, read a synopsis or a small article about said game. If you take a look at Nurse Love Addiction‘s synopsis you’ll get “Follow Asuka Osachi, a ditzy girl training to become a nurse at Teito Nursing School. Experience her story with her classmates as they discover love, medicine, and adulthood.” It isn’t to say that that isn’t the main premise of the game, but it is and it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of this game but it felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. I was expecting something between a slice-of-life with romance/yuri and with that kind of synopsis, the first 50% of the game is as expected.
The problem is that once you become accustomed to the game and you have a feel for it, the rug is ripped out beneath your feet. This is a typical thing in visual novels to have plot twists and huge drama to entice you into the story, but they usually fit the genre, unlike Nurse Love Addiction. By the time you’ve finished the narrative, its become a slice-of-life, yuri, romance, mystery, drama, thriller, supernatural, sci-fi, and action – basically it’s a jumble of everything and it’s just too overbearing to accept. What was once a realistic and ambitious story that you could connect to, ends up being overreaching and farfetched, leaving you with a sense of detachment.
Without spoiling too much, I’ll talk about the main nursing premise and the theme it applies itself to. The game did a wonderful display of what nursing is and it includes terminology, history, important figures, it really gives you a sense of understanding when it comes to nursing. One thing about nursing though is that it’s a medical field, a broad career with a vast vocabulary that often needs clarification for the layman. Nurse Love Addiction does not supply that whereas its commonplace for visual novels today to have a glossary section or interactive words mid-play, this game forewent it. This leaves you with playing and guessing or keeping a medical encyclopedia within arm’s reach at all times, which shouldn’t be a thing these days.
Nurse Love Addiction, though definitely more than meets the eye, is still a welcome addition to anyone’s Visual Novel library. As long as you don’t take it at face value and keep an open mind, it’ll be a very enjoyable 30-40 hours of an adventure. Its strongest points are the shock value and twists that don’t normally accompany Visual Novels and the deep character development. If you’re looking for a VN that’s longer than most with some good controversial material, then Nurse Love Addiction is exactly what the doctor prescribes.
Nurse Love Addiction£35.99
- - Aesthetically stunning
- - Remarkable character development
- - Great length for a Visual Novel
- - Top class voice acting
- - Lack of English subtitles at times
- - The story for certain people can be a turn-off
- - The bonus content isn’t accessible for non-native speakers
- - For the length, it’s not too interactive or many choices