There’s nothing quite like owning physical goods, but they can be expensive and shelf space can come at a premium. Every month, Hardcore Gamer picks a premium collectible from our cavernous swag vaults and tells you whether it’s worth a spot in your Collector’s Cabinet.
Visual novels might not be for everyone, but for fans of the genre, there is an absolute treasure trove of titles to collect. Interestingly enough, many continue to receive physical releases on PC despite such editions on PC becoming rarer in general (or effectively becoming a different method of transportation for Steam keys). One of the newest limited editions on the block is Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- available exclusively through the Japanese-focused online storefront J-List. They’ve produced a number of physical visual novel editions in the past, including the previously featured Sonicomi: Communication with Sonico. Folks who grabbed that edition may spy a manner of similarities between the two products. Let’s get into what comes with Flowers -Le volume sur printemps-. Get ready for a heavy dose of yuri.
Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- was developed by Innocent Grey, a company known for their amazing artwork. As such, it only makes sense that this entire collector’s piece is adorned with gorgeous visuals. The cover showcases our schoolgirl protagonists with a delicate doily motif surrounding them. This, as well as the pastel green coloration of the box, are repeated throughout the package. Once the box is open, there are two different DVD-sized boxes within. One is in fact the game’s DVD case, while another is a mostly nondescript box with the logo on it. Inside that box are two acrylic figures and three dual-sided postcards. The box itself can be used a means to display the figures with a postcard behind them, or simply hold both objects when not in use.
For those who have never seen them, acrylic figures are basically flat clear plastic with artwork printed on them that shows through on both sides. They’re absolutely not figures in the traditional sense, being 2D and all. In any case, both figures are 3.5 inches tall and come with stands. The two figures are about half as tall as the one included with Sonicomi: Communication with Sonico. This is probably due to the fact that the Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- limited edition required two characters rather than one, but is still a little disappointing. The postcards are apparently meant to be used for display behind the figures. After all, multiple of the scenes simply display in-game backdrops. Given the small size of them, however, it seems only the most diehard yuri fans would consider making a display out of these goodies.
Then there’s the DVD case and its contents. Once unsealed, you’ll be greeted by another doily-esque pattern on the otherwise bare disc. A manual and actual “Steam card” are also included within. The manual is hardly anything at all, as it’s a single page leaflet detailing the process of installation. It’s very important to note something about the game disc as well as Steam key. When you open up a modern PC release and find a Steam code within, it generally means that registering through Steam is required to play the title. That’s not actually the case here. Instead of forcing gamers to opt into the Steam system, JAST USA has given folks the opportunity to choose how they wish to enjoy the game.
Yes, Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- is on Steam. However, the disc itself carries all the core gameplay data and may be used to install the title directly to your PC (without any Steam interference). This is great news for people monitoring data caps. Of course, many of us adore the convenience of Steam. That’s why the key is included as well. Anyone who doesn’t care about disc-based installation – or doesn’t even own a disc drive – can simply key the code into their Steam account, download, and begin playing. Allowing consumers two options for playing their games is a great move, and hopefully JAST/J-List continue doing so in the future.
With all that said, aside from the pretty outer box, Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- feels like a bit of a disappointing limited edition. Instead of coming up with something new, it appears JAST USA are resting on using the same style of content between physical visual novel editions. It would be much more exciting to see them design editions based more off the games themselves, such as what Rice Digital are doing. As such, I would opt against picking up Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- in physical format unless you desperately need it. The boxed copy costs $39.95, while simply purchasing through Steam will set you back $19.99 instead.
Want to look through the rest of our Collector’s Cabinet? Head right here.