Never would I have imagined that I’d be playing a visual novel on my Xbox. Actually scratch that. Never would I have imagined that I’d be playing a visual novel on my Xbox and actually enjoy it.
Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet is a fun and well, sweet visual novel game. That being said it’s a visual novel game so it requires a lot of reading and a lot less gameplay. Games like these rely on their stories and Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet delivers. Our tale is set in a world where magic is practically everything. You’re first introduced to the main character Syrup, an alchemist responsible for making and selling candy in her shop. Syrup however isn’t just any alchemist though; she’s the only alchemist who makes her candies without using any drop of magic proving to others you don’t need magic to get by in life. The shop is also helped maintained by her assistance Pastille, a rather bashful, sweet fellow who has no problem with magic, unlike Syrup.
The game kicks into gear when one day Syrup finds a sentient golem girl made entirely of candy in her basement. Here, you are presented with your first decision – eat the candy girl, or don’t. Yeah, the game really doesn’t hold back with that one. The one thing I will praise visual novel games like these are the decisions you can make in them. I’m not talking about the decisions that just change dialogue but In Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet your choices actually change the whole narrative story branching off into different paths that lead to different endings. For instance, if you really didn’t feel like playing the game you can choose to eat the candy girl right from the start and earn yourself a bad ending and a nice little achievement for your troubles. That’s just the beginning though. Throughout the game you’ll be at various crossroads that will lead to various endings. Good ends, bad ends, and endings that I didn’t even think would be in the game.
One thing I wanted to add is with a name such as Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet you would think this game would be all rainbows and sunshine. At least I did, and god, was I wrong. This game isn’t really afraid to cross the boundary with its certain dark themes and humor. For example if you choose to eat the candy girl in the beginning the game actually goes into detail as you eat her candy entrails as she laughs cheering you on as she’s excited to be eaten. Once I got the achievement I wasn’t too thrilled and made sure to delete it from my activity feed. I then proceeded to ponder what was wrong with me.
While there are many choices, depending on how fast of a reader you are this game should only take you about an hour and a half to fully 100% and receive all the endings and achievements. In the short run replayability will be high, but in the long run I couldn’t see anybody returning to the game once you finish it.
The music in this game sets a happy go lucky tone for the game. It’s the type of music you would listen to if you were to study for an exam or read a book, which now that I think about it makes sense in this scenario. Graphically I like the design of the characters, especially Syrup. For some reason when I look at her I just see this badass scientist which in my opinion is awesome. Post-game, you get to view the different concept art and promotions of the game which was a nice addition to the game.
The things I didn’t like about Syrup was the amount of characters in the game and places you would go. The background in the game was also lacking. It would just be a solid color with some outlines of things such as tables and such. I feel like there could’ve been a lot more added that the game was missing and at times the game would feel empty and lacking.
Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet isn’t a game that is meant for everyone. It is a visual novel after all. For its short playtime, you get to experience a satisfying story with 10 different endings and outcomes. I myself enjoyed my time with it though. Playing this game reminded me how much of a guilty pleasure visual novels are of mine; maybe it will do the same for you.