Review: LoveKami -Useless Goddess-

Last year, visual novel publisher MoeNovel came out of the woodwork to release LoveKami -Divinity Stage- on Steam. As the English-language publishing branch of Pulltop, it only made sense to expect them to bring more of the LoveKami series westward after that point. That’s exactly what happened and now LoveKami -Useless Goddess- is available for PC gamers. There are a few things to note about this release. Despite sharing the series namesake, it’s not in any way a direct sequel to -Divinity Stage-. Basically, folks should view them as in the same universe. Both games feature a world where goddesses have come to Japan and are now living among the populace.

While the previous LoveKami focused on goddesses who were working toward becoming idols, this tale mostly eschews the whole idol thing. This visual novel also moves the setting from the Akihabara district into a sleepy small town named Kannagi. Well, it had been until recently. Lately, the city is constantly suffering from power outages and nobody seems to know why. Our protagonist Sho discovers the root cause when simply walking home one night from a convenience store. There he meets a woman with electrical powers – a goddess in fact – named Akane. The only problem is that she’s not able to control her own power, leading to continuous power outages whenever she gets emotionally charged. Goddesses who harm humans in any way are known as Aragami and simply aren’t welcome in society.

Akane’s guardian Inori appears and explains the situation’s severity to Sho as well as his landlord and childhood friend, Maika. If Akane can’t reign in her power and become a good goddess then she’ll be relegated to become a spirit which no longer manifests in the real world. She won’t die, but it’s a pretty similar result. In a fateful twist it also happens that Akane is the household goddess of the apartment where Sho lives. This is probably the most ridiculous aspect of the storyline but just run with it. If she disappears then the apartments will be left without care and apparently end up demolished. With both these facts weighing on his mind, Sho decides to take Akane’s rehabilitation into his own hands.

Thus begins a goddess-tinged slice of life tale with your expected dose of hijinks. With Sho being the only male in attendance, he’s regularly treated to fanservice between the trio of gals. He doesn’t (usually) revel in it, though, and tries to focus on the tasks at hand. Despite everyone doing their best to help Akane along her way she stumbles at times, leading to very light drama in the storyline. At about halfway through, an innocuous-seeming choice appears on screen. Visual novel fans will recognize this three-pronged dialogue option as pushing you down one of three routes: Akane, Inori or Maika. This is the only option in the game. So while it’s not a total kinetic novel, it’s pretty close to one.

Each path focuses on the human or goddess you’ve chosen and still features a handful of overlapping scenes between each. There’s no real set order to the routes so opt for whichever character you like most first. With that said, it does appear that one ending could lead into a sequel to LoveKami -Useless Goddess- with incredible ease. It’s just such a perfect setup! Even after completing each route you won’t rack up that much additional time. A complete playthrough should last anywhere from two to five hours, depending on your reading speed. It’s also important to note that this game was never available as an 18+ release. While some scenes are superbly sexual, they have never and presumably will never lead to any actual adult content.

As with most other visual novels, LoveKami -Useless Goddess- offers full voice acting for its female cast and leaves the protagonist without one. The Japanese voice acting leaves little room for complaint. The E-Mote Engine sprites actually look rather tame in this game instead of bouncing about every which way. You’ll also find a decent handful of CG sequences with high quality anime artwork. Still, it’s easier to assemble these aspects when the core game is as short as it is.

Although the writing is free of glaring typos, it does leave something to be desired. Most of the conversations come across in an “I’ve heard this all before” fashion. Even the colorful tale of wayward goddesses isn’t able to make dialogue terribly interesting. It also feels like the other characters lose all importance once you start down a specific route. Then that relationship becomes the only thing worth caring about which is quite the distressing statement for the narrative to make. Sure, young love is great, but don’t lose sight of your friends. Apparently things are different once goddesses get involved in the picture.


Closing Comments:

If you enjoyed LoveKami -Divinity Stage- then you may also dig this game. It just depends why you were enamored with the previous title. Those who were really into the whole idol aspect will find little in this narrative to hook them (beyond a very brief segment). If you just love this take on Japan where goddesses are klutzy, naughty and paradoxically naive then this visual novel should still be up your alley. There’s not a lot of deep storytelling or character development, but LoveKami -Useless Goddess- should satisfy folks looking to perk up a drab afternoon.

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LoveKami -Useless Goddess-