New Love Plus (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By 14.02.2012 3

Review for New Love Plus on Nintendo 3DS

The idea of dating a virtual character in a videogame may sound like a strange commitment to the majority of you. Ask yourself this, would you really find it possible to date someone who technically doesn’t exist and still have a meaningful relationship? Well, apparently so in Japanese culture, with the “Dating Sim” genre of videogames continuously selling in high quantities and having done so for a long time. The story is, of course, different here in the West, with developers shying away from releasing such games, why this is, however, is another matter entirely. Konami has apparently started market research in the US, though, for its popular dating sim, Love Plus. For those unaware of the franchise, Konami has previously released two games for the Nintendo DS in which the aim was to try and persuade cute Japanese school girls to date you, hoping to eventually lead into a full blown romance.

The Love Plus series has particularly been a huge success with Japanese men and it’s now known as one of the most sophisticated dating simulations available. In fact, wives and girlfriends complained on Japanese message boards, saying the game was so engaging that it left their partners neglecting families and other responsibilities. Divorces have also stemmed from this, as well as the complete opposite, with one man even marrying his virtual girlfriend!

Despite this controversy, though, Konami is now bringing the franchise onto the Nintendo 3DS for the first time, with New Love Plus. Releasing aptly on Valentine’s Day in Japan, New Love Plus further improves upon the familiar formula with new content also being added. The same three girls make a return -- Rinko, Manaka, and Nene, or, as New Love Plus Producer Akari Uchida likes to call them, “his daughters.” Like before, the aim here is to gradually build up a friendship with one of the young ladies and then attempt to develop the situation further, ultimately leading into a passionate relationship.

With the extra power of the 3DS and its new features, Konami has taken advantage of these and put them to use to create a more engaging experience for the player. One of the most notable new additions uses the inner-camera of the 3DS to impressively recognise your face. This feature is dubbed the “Boyfriend Lock” and helps keep strangers from trying to flirt with your virtual girlfriend. For example, if the 3DS system is left unattended and an unfamiliar person tries to seduce the lovely lady, she will simply say something along the lines of “Who are you?” and act confused. On top of this, an Augmented Reality feature has been included where players can take a photo of any surroundings and the New Love Plus will analyse the image. Afterwards, the player’s virtual girlfriend will pop up and proceed to interact with the environment, such as peeping out from walls and waving or sitting down on surfaces. Both are clever usages of the 3DS, highlighting some of the system’s strengths that other developers could definitely take note of.

Screenshot for New Love Plus on Nintendo 3DS

StreetPass and SpotPass compatibility are included, too. As the in-game girlfriend is taken on dates, exploring the fictional city of Towano, there may be areas that prove to be more memorable than others for the loving couple. Connecting New Love Plus to the Internet allows for the exchange of personal experiences with others. By doing so, the city map will update to highlight successful and unsuccessful dating regions, which in turn affects the areas in-game. Shops will close down in less prominent areas due to lack of customers and the opposite can be said for more populated sectors, where businesses will begin to flourish. This all plays out in real-time too, since the game uses the 3DS system’s integrated calendar and clock. Due to this, New Love Plus has seasonal weather changes that can affect how the game plays out, as well as general city life.

Another new addition to New Love Plus is the ability to read books with your girlfriend. This takes place in a series of in-game events where a number of books can be read at a club. Some of the books included are Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and two Japanese novels, Boku no Measuring Spoon and Mōryō no Hako. After reading through them, thoughts can be shared with your girlfriend.

Screenshot for New Love Plus on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

As Japan gets its hands on this new Love Plus title on Valentine’s Day, single men can ponder depressingly about why Konami has yet to bring any of the games out here so they can spend a romantic evening with their DS or 3DS. Whilst the idea may seem culturally out of place in Western territories, there have been games with dating elements in them before, such as The Sims or Harvest Moon. With the rumour of Konami conducting research into the logistics of a possible US release, New Love Plus would be the perfect opportunity to introduce us to this very sophisticated and intelligent simulation title.

Developer

Konami

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Comments

AdamC3 (guest) 15.02.2012#1

First DS game sold 250,000 and its sequel, Love Plus + sold around 200,000, so signs are good. People queued for the launch of this, which is a big positive, and reports state all NINE special edition versions are sold out!

Dating games have always been a bit of a laugh imo - I just don't get that aspect of getting so deep into a "relationship" with these odd looking virtual girls. Japan, eh?

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I still want Senran Kagura over here... *sigh*

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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