Visual Novel Review: Synthetic Lover by HeartCoreDev

 
 

🌟One of my faves!🌟

Synthetic Lover is a sweet, touching, sexy (optional) visual novel about a biot companion developing emotions and leaving the facility where he works to figure out how to get back to normal, choosing between two men who have offered to help, and experiencing human life, and maybe even love, along the way.


Synthetic Lover promo image showing a long-haired blonde man, a perfectly dressed and coiffed grey-haired man on a phone, a man with long red hair with black tips holding a large gun, and a woman with purple hair holding a tablet.

Official Description:

In the year 2066, biologically engineered humanoids—‘biots’—make up a large percentage of the workforce.

The protagonist is one such biot and, like the rest of his colleagues, he lives to serve a single purpose: to fulfill his pre-programmed vocation. In his case, that is to be a companion in an adult entertainment center known as Dollhouse.

Servants exist as lifeless dolls until activated upon request, a biot’s self-awareness and free will are sealed off by design. That is how the protagonist’s days go until crossing paths with an opportunistic thief and a mysterious device in his possession…

Synthetic Lover is a sci-fi story about an individual who discovers the challenges of being human. During his journey, he navigates through the ups and downs of an imperfect life while trying to avoid conflict with a powerful organization, learning to understand emotions, forming friendships, and possibly finding love along the way.

More Info:

You can get more info and download the game here on Steam, here on itch.io, or here on the official website!

Long Review:

This visual novel took a bit of time to grow on me, but I ADORED it by the end!

To get the basics out of the way first…

I enjoyed the story. Romance, friendship, action, character growth—a bit of everything! There are two plotlines, one for each romance option, and only the intro is the same. Once you’ve chosen that, your choices don’t have an effect on the overall plotline, but they do matter in regards to how it all turns out in the end.

The art was so nice, and there was lots of it. There was art for lots of characters (not just the few shown on the store page), lots of backgrounds, and lots of unlockable CGs. So many CGs, and they were so lovely!

The music was nice and added to the mood.

The game is fully voice-acted, and the voice actors did a great job.

Synthetic Lover screenshot showing Ian, Bastian, and Terrence standing in a club backroom. Ian, still named Unit-532, is saying, 'I have no way of knowing if you're telling the truth.'

Now for the things I really want to gush and squee about…

My first time, I got Bastian’s friendship ending. Then I started over to get the romance ending, and wow, it had so much more depth and character growth! It really elevated the VN from “pleasantly enjoyable” to “truly lovely and memorable” for me. The sex was incredibly hot, yes, but it really was more than that. The relationship was more than that too. These two were there for each other, put in the effort to try and understand each other, got to know each other. They also had some really fun banter. The flirting was so silly at one point especially, but in a way that felt so genuine and true to life, and it made me smile. The story took place over a short period of time, but so much happened during that time that I could absolutely believe and feel their feelings, and the romance was so sweet and made me smile so much and gave me some serious warm fuzzies. I didn’t even want to go back and do the bad endings because I knew they would make me extra sad after seeing how wonderful that ending was.

It’s funny, I started with Bastian because I was actually more interested in Terrence and was saving the best for last. But after seeing Bastian’s good romance ending, I knew there was no way Terrence’s would be better. That’s subjective, of course, but, for me, the Bastian romance just felt so perfect, like they absolutely belong together. Even the growth each character had, thanks to each other’s influence and support… Their journey from meeting to ending up together was so beautiful and believable and perfect.

Synthetic Lover screenshot showing Ian (long blonde hair) holding Bastian (long red hair) against his chest while Bastian sits on a desk looking worried and Ian stands between his legs.

That being said, I loved Terrence and his romance ending too. He had all these walls around himself and secrets he was keeping, but he was so understanding and thoughtful and good. Even when it would’ve been easy to get angry or upset and let that affect how he treated someone, he showed compassion instead. And it’s always enjoyable to see such a rigid, disciplined character start to come a bit undone, in the good way, with the right person. And though I am still partial to the Bastian romance, the Terrence romance was an absolutely lovely ending that also felt believable, just in a different way.

I also loved that I got to romance Karim! Because *whew* he is gorgeous. And even his romance ending was lovely and sweet and believable.

I swear every ending made me want to cry. The good endings were so sweet, and so touching, and so, so good and gave me such happy, warm, fuzzy feelings. The bad endings were so sad. Everything in this game was written in just the right way to make me feel.

I recommend downloading the 18+ DLC, if you’re comfortable with that. It’s not automatically in the game. It really is sexy, but I feel like the sex scenes also add a lot to the characters and their relationships. I don’t know if certain conversations are sort of worked around or removed completely without the sex.

My first playthrough to the end took about 4 hours. Completing the game with all the endings and achievements took me 10.5 hours total. Then I did Bastian’s romance ending one more time, just rereading the especially good and sweet parts, and almost cried again, but I’m getting off-topic. It may take you a bit longer if you listen to all the voice acting, which I recommend doing because it’s wonderful! I did purposefully listen to some of it. It’s just, I can read faster, and I didn’t want to stare at the screen for too long because I get headaches.

Overall, this was an incredibly sweet, touching, sexy visual novel about lovable characters and, as long as you make the right choices, happy endings!

*Source/Cost: I purchased this on sale for $16.24 on itch.io.*

Short Review:

– Enjoyable story.
– So much amazing art.
– Nice music to enhance the mood.
– Full voice acting.
– Lovable, good characters.
– Lovely, beautiful, believable romances.
– So many feels that made me want to cry, for both happy and sad reasons.
– Overall, an incredibly sweet, touching, sexy VN!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Fully accessible for blind / visually impaired players and screen reader users, as far as I can tell, though there are some issues. There’s full voice acting for dialogue and Ren’Py self-voicing mode (press V to toggle) for everything else, including menus. However, it says, “H to hide interface,” each time self-voicing finishes the text on-screen (it doesn’t happen with voice acted text), and if you press enter before it finishes and the next bit is voice acted, it will overlap. Also the intro has overlapping TTS and voice acting, but that’s brief. I’d say it’s playable, if you can deal with the repeated phrase.

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you played Synthetic Lover?
Have you ever played a game that made you cry because of the cuteness or gave you the warm fuzzies?

 
 
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Your Thoughts

 

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  1. Greg

    I always love this premise. Give me all the synthetic people learning to be human. 🙂 And the writing sounds fantastic.