Sympathy Kiss Review [Switch] – A Love Letter to Nori…

My Sympathy Kiss review discusses the game’s strong points, why I had such a good time playing it, and why I now have a crush on Nori.

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It’s no secret that I’m the Otome fan of the Gamezebo team. It probably stems from my love of anime and romance fiction that I’ve had since I was a teenager. So, to nobody’s surprise, I jumped at the chance to review Sympathy Kiss. I’d already heard about it on the grapevine and was interested in the overall aesthetic of the game in general. However, it was one character that caught my attention the most…

An Unconventional Meeting

Let me introduce you to Nori, a rather controversial choice amongst players. He’s definitely not for everyone, and I admit the main reason I picked him first was because of his alternative style (I’m a sucker for long hair, piercings, and tattoos, okay?).

However, the deeper I got into the game, I felt myself growing more fond of his personality and backstory. I hate to sound cliche, but Nori is one of the more misunderstood characters. If you haven’t played through his route, you won’t get the finer details that explain his initial questionable behaviour.

Simple Yet Intuitive Gameplay

Enough about Nori for now! Let’s talk about how the game plays in general. It’s an Otome through and through, with simple mechanics, and a heavy focus on the narrative. That isn’t a negative, of course, as that’s what we expect when it comes to this genre.

The game also supports touchscreen controls, allowing you to tap the screen to progress dialogue and select options. While I appreciate the addition, I ended up sticking with the button and thumbstick controls.

Another plus was the inclusion of a Dictionary function, which is where you can brush up on your knowledge as you play through. Even the menu screen is intuitive, with a lovely drawing of stationary, plants, and the available options placed onto a tablet’s screen – it is a work-based romance story after all.

The Work and Love System

screenshot of nori and akari playing video games together, as he sits behind her and wraps his arms around her as they both hold game controllers, he has his eyes closed while laughing

I love the addition of the Work and Love balance system, which determines the type of ending that you get when finishing a character’s route. Certain choices will either increase your Work level or your Love level, and to reach the ‘perfect ending’ you need to balance both of them.

It’s self-explanatory, but if your Love level is higher you get the Love ending, if your Work level is higher you get the Work ending, and if both levels are the same, you get the perfect ending. If you want the full romance experience, it’s best to aim for the perfect ending and the love ending.

Thoughts on Akari, the MC

Story-wise, I felt myself rooting for the main character, Akari. Pushing the romance aside, she’s a hard-working designer at a company called Estario.

With office drama, projects to work on, and her personal life, it’s easy to immerse yourself in her life. Did she make some silly decisions? Yes. Is she human? Yes. Some of her actions, I wouldn’t do myself, but that’s the whole point of a piece of fiction, so I let it slide.

The running joke is that Akari’s eyes are completely hidden at all times in every piece of art, which is a controversial trope in Otome games. This is a detail that is supposed to allow you to put yourself in her shoes, but most of the time it looks a little off. Still, it doesn’t ruin the game for me, it’s just more of a pet peeve.

Why I Chose Nori (Duh, Just Look at Him)

screenshot from sympathy kiss of the character nori smiling as he lays in bed under the bed sheets

Now, allow me to ramble on a little more about my new fictional crush. The appeal of Otome games is the chance to connect and get to know the characters more. I was genuinely invested in Nori’s route, as I wanted to see how his character progressed, and the romance of course.

All I can say is, that I wasn’t disappointed by the special art scenes that you can unlock by playing through his route (if you know, you know). Peak romance fiction with a fantastic payoff, if you will. I was successful in reaching the Perfect Ending on my first playthrough, so I admittedly got the best final scene.

I wasn’t expecting some of the more romantic scenes to get as steamy as they did, but from an Otome fan standpoint, it was much appreciated. Some games in the genre skirt around the more mature sides of adult relationships, but Sympathy Kiss didn’t hold back.

Did I take lots of screenshots during the later scenes? Of course. In all seriousness though, at this point in the story, it was heartwarming to see the progression of Akari and Nori’s relationship. It was an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least!

A Lingering Feeling Not Yet Concluded

screenshot from sympathy kiss of the perfect ending with nori as he puts akari's hand to his lips, his chest tattoo on show, as he rests his head on a pillow

This is the beauty of Otome games. On the outside, they may look like nothing but surface-level fan service, but they’re so much more than that. You’re given the opportunity to get to know an entire roster of characters, how they think, how they feel, with a variety of personality types.

Even though I reached the ideal ending with Nori, I won’t be stopping there. There’s a great selection of characters, each with 3 endings, offering up hours of gameplay.

I have a feeling that Sympathy Kiss, and its characters, will remain a core memory in my mind for a long while. Especially since Nori has somehow managed to make it into my ‘top pookies’ list.

I’m so happy that Sympathy Kiss includes more mature themes, as it makes it a lot easier to immerse yourself in the game’s world when you’re an adult yourself.

In conclusion, I had a blast playing Sympathy Kiss, and I can’t wait to dive back in to reach other endings. This Otome game has given me yet another fictional man to love, and for that, I highly recommend it.

Download the game now via the official Nintendo page!

The good

  • Likable characters (yes, not just Nori)
  • Beautiful art and backgrounds
  • Interesting character plotlines and the overall story is good
  • Takes a more mature approach to romantic relationships

The bad

  • MC (Akari) makes some questionable choices sometimes
90 out of 100

Editor
With experience writing for GameRant and in SEO copywriting, Adele loves to combine her adoration for gaming and writing. She'll talk your ear off about anything fantasy, and if she's not typing away at her desk, she's probably playing an RPG somewhere.