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Winter Novel Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Winter Novel is a sweet story that won't take long to experience, which is perfect for fans of visual novels who don't want to get tied down to a lengthy read. It's a little predictable and I wish there was more variety to the visuals, but the likable cast helped me get through the journey. Whether or not it makes me want to dive into reviewing other visual novels is a completely different story. Rating: 57%
Winter Novel
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
Last year, I reviewed a game called The Fruit of Grisaia. It was a visual novel about teenage angst, make-out sessions, bitchy backstabbing, cannibalism and lots of erotic bathing scenes. It wasn't my thing, and not just because it dealt with the sexual escapades of teenagers. That experience made me realize that I don't have the time or patience to play visual novels, so I decided to leave those reviews for other people.

As it turns out, my vow to avoid visual novels only lasted fifteen months. When Winter Novel landed on my desk, I was immediately taken by the unique ASCII art style and likable characters. It wasn't attempting to recreate the fantasies of school girls, but rather tell a sweet love story about two cynical souls who have a lot more in common than they initially think. And best of all, it only takes an hour to experience their journey.


Winter Novel centers around a lonely young woman named Svetlana who hates her job at the bank and feels life is slowly passing her by. When her tyrannical boss puts Svetlana in charge of redesigning the company website, she's forced to team up with Vlad, a freelance designer who is used to working by himself in the comfort of his own home.

These two don't hit it off at first, with Vlad having trouble acclimating to the 9 to 5 grind and Svetlana overwhelmed by the amount of work being piled on her. She has good reason to feel overwhelmed, as we quickly discover that her boss is scamming the system, attempting to use a loophole to get out of paying for expensive computer work. The website team has been set up to fail an impossible task.

Winter Novel plays out over the course of a week, showing how Vlad and Svetlana slowly grow closer as the job becomes increasingly tougher. They bond over their love of fantasy books, milk chocolate and being overworked by a borderline abusive boss. It's a familiar story, but it's handled well and both characters are easy to relate to.

This is not the type of visual novel where you make choices and solve puzzles. There's a linear story here that you read one line at a time, which certainly won't appeal to gamers looking for fact action. This is a game specifically targeting fans of visual novels who are looking for a short and sweet little love story set in a bank. If you're not a fan of visual novels, I doubt Winter Novel will do much to change your mind.

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Although I largely enjoyed taking the journey, I do wish the story was a little less predictable. This isn't one of those visual novels where there's a twist around every corner; Winter Novel pretty much plays out how you expect. The dialog is a little corny and the situation isn't very original, but its heart is in the right spot and the story is easy to relate to. What I didn't like were the typos, which involved misspelling simple words like "a lot" and "polite."

While the story may not be very original, the unique visual style goes a long way to set it apart from the typical anime-inspired visual novel. I like the ASCII look, even though it wasn't always clear what Vlad and Svetlana are standing in front of. If you want to really challenge your eyes, try playing through the game with the colors turned off.

Winter Novel is a sweet story that won't take long to experience, which is perfect for fans of visual novels who don't want to get tied down to a lengthy read. It's a little predictable and I wish there was more variety to the visuals, but the likable cast helped me get through the journey. Whether or not it makes me want to dive into reviewing other visual novels is a completely different story.
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