The Language of Love is a clichéd visual novel that proves mostly annoying.

In the interest of transparency, I took this title only because it sat in our review queue too long unclaimed. While I enjoy visual novels and games with lots of reading, romance ones aren’t usually my thing. For instance, one of this title’s features is “A cute single mother!” something that might have appealed to me as a teenage boy, but not as a married man. I’m not the audience for this title, so take some of my criticisms with this context in mind.

The main character, Mitsuki, makes a feeble first impression. He’s a whiny lead who thinks he’s old at 23. He’s put little effort into his university studies. He’s thinking inwards, only of himself. Heck, he can’t even take a compliment without being insulted. While he grows somewhat throughout the story, it’s mainly to impress the neighbor girl he’s attracted to. The developer missed an opportunity for returning home for a visit; the backstory of helping his injured mother had much potential.

The best character is his neighbor’s six-year-old daughter, Tama. She’s a “cute little bastard,” but saying she’s a brat is probably putting it mildly. She’s peculiarly manipulative and rude. Her discipline comes in the form of threats to eat vegetables or bribing her with sweets. The poor kid deserves better parenting. I would’ve loved to see more growth with her because it was hard not to root for her, even when she’s calling Mitsuki smelly and stupid.

I finished this title in five hours or so. Somehow it managed to feel both long and rushed. I do give credit that some nonessential scenes were handled in a short manner to wisely keep the flow. But a lot of the same discussions between Mitsuki and Kyouko kept happening, with only mild changes. It got quite tiresome. These poor insular people could genuinely benefit by talking to an older person, or maybe a counselor or minister; this gets touched upon, albeit briefly. Mitsuki has a conversation with his mother over the phone, and Tama’s school friend has an older mother. But both get relegated to the wayside in almost cameo appearances.

Limited characters is an issue, but not the only one. The Language of Love has no choices, and thus no replay value. It’s passive, except to hit a button or tap the touch screen to advance the story; this might work were the plot aces, but that’s not the case. So, this one fares poorly compared to other VNs on the Switch. 

While the art is well-drawn, animation is almost non-existent. Some characters aren’t even full screen, limited to odd portraits in the corner of the screen. There are no vocals of any kind, either.  

Lastly, despite the edits to secure a Teen rating, this is still a Mature game in my estimation. A few scenes make that clear. The ESRB missed the mark in this case.

I can’t spoil the ending, but I will say I was disappointed by how it copped out to a cliché. Pushing Tama to the side makes you notice all the more that these are mid 20s characters acting like kids reverting to irresponsible choices. The post-credit scene wasn’t enough as a cleanup act; it felt unfinished. This title especially needed to land the ending.

Occasionally there was a bit of alluring writing. An ear cleaning scene was something I found bizarre, yet also kind of sweet and memorable. Mitsuki cooking for Tama is another positive. Despite my overall letdown, the writing was a breezy read, which is worth something.

The Language of Love makes perfunctory attempts at depth but gives way to more casual fluff. The writing is repetitive, and the character choices cliched. Skip it.