Circus Reviews - Lucky Me, Lucky You
After spending the month of March being rather busy with NaNoReNo and a big resurgence into poetry, I realized that it had been quite some time since I'd reviewed a game, and also that some devs I really like did stuff for NaNoReNo too and I wouldn't mind playing those! Lucky Me, Lucky You centers around Nanami Okada, who is depressed following an unexpected breakup. Her best friend, Ryo, attempts to cheer her up with some questionable porn tapes stolen from a flatmate, and within them Nanami spots her first crush, idol Misae Morishita. Nanami impulsively decides to track down Misae and confess her long-ago feelings, dragging an unwilling Ryo along with her.
There are a few characters, but mostly we follow the pair of Nanami and Ryo. Nanami is exactly the kind of snarky, verbose heroine I like to read about, although I'm sure if I met her in reality I'd want to strangle her. She's shallow, self-centered, and, well...It should be obvious to the reader why her last girlfriend dumped her, even if Nanami can't quite figure it out. She is not a flat character, however, and does end up learning and growing throughout the story. Ryo is likeable enough...and male, which you probably can't tell from the photo. I couldn't either, and had no clue until I read the game description. Ryo is a guy who just likes to dress up as a girl sometimes for no real reason. This part of his character doesn't really lead to anything plot-wise; it's just kind of...there. I don't particularly mind; I'm a fan of living your life regardless of other people's opinions as long as you aren't hurting anyone. The backgrounds are all filtered photographs, which makes the game's character sprites stand out, Nanami especially. It's not really a bad effect, but it kind of gives the impression that the game is going to be much darker than it turns out to be. These photographs all feel like pictures of a crapsack world, not quite like the actual setting.
I like the GUI and it matches well with the background art. Sometimes I would have liked to have had the character's name above the text when they're speaking; in places it gets a bit confusing as to whether it's Nanami or Ryo who's talking, although usually it's not too hard to figure out and that's more of a personal preference anyway. The story doesn't have any surprises plot-wise, but there were a couple of things about it I found particularly refreshing. It treats Nanami's quest and the way it ends with complete realism. Also, Nanami and Ryo do not end up getting together in the end. (I don't consider that a spoiler because it's established very early on that Nanami and Ryo are both gay, and since they're not the same gender, well, them together wouldn't work.) Having two people who have been best friends forever suddenly fall in love is a common and often irritating trope, and it was so nice not to see it here. All in all, a respectable NaNoReNo entry that I found quite enjoyable to read. Perhaps it doesn't have any big surprises, but it makes for a nice tale about friendship, facing your problems, and thinking things through.
Lucky Me, Lucky You is available on itch.io. Final verdict: The game looks bleaker than it is and the story contains no real surprises, but Lucky Me, Lucky You is carried through by an entertaining main character and refreshingly realistic treatment of its subject matter. Lucky Me, Lucky You is developed by ebi-hime. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this review.