Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Genre: Visual Novel
Platform: Switch, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: March 4th, 2020
Price: $4.99 / €4.99 / £4.99
A code was provided for review purposes.
Ratalaika Games have become one of the most prolific publishers for small indie games over the past couple of years, and earlier this year they decided to step further into the visual novel genre. Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet, developed by NomnomNami, is one of their first releases under their new umbrella. For those unfamiliar with the genre, a visual novel isn’t a typical video game, but instead more of an interactive story with a big focus on narrative.
Syrup and Friends
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet takes place in an obviously fictional town filled with candy and magic. The lead protagonist Syrup is a scientist who believes in facts and statistics over the magic that the rest of the town stands behind. Her goal is to create the “ultimate sweet,” which would be the perfect piece of candy concocted without any magical help or guidance. Along the way, the player will meet an array of personable characters such as Pastille the shopkeeper, Butterscotch the witch, Toffee the cat, and a handful more. While Syrup is the main character, most of the story is centered around this surprising candy golem named Gumdrop who appears in the basement out of nowhere.
Throughout this visual novel, a player will come across many different decisions on what to do and how to interact with others. Each decision made will have its impact on the outcome of the story, and this release has a total of ten different endings. It’s both comical and charming to see how certain decisions impact certain characters and what reactions they elicit.
Some endings will have overlaps in their stories, so the game allows the player to skip through certain scenes they have already encountered in prior playthroughs. This comes as a double-edged sword, as it will help the more impatient players skip along to new content, but it also makes the game go by far more quickly (which would only be ideal for the achievement hunters). By the last couple of endings, a player can merely skip most of the narrative until they reach each decision.
As a whole, the story has its charm, but it’s fairly average. It’s cute, in a kid-friendly way, and most of this visual novel seems as though it would be best suited for a younger audience; however, the partial nudity does bump up the game’s age rating, causing a conflict with the idea that it’s geared towards children. For the older players, it drags on and can be a bore for the most part, especially when trying to knock out each ending to perfect the game. In short, it’s hard to gauge exactly who the target audience is for this release.
Overall, Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a decent game in a niche genre. Visually, it’s attractive and colourful, but it isn’t all that substantial in content. It’s certainly going to be a great fit for some players, but many would be better off spending their time elsewhere; however, it does serve as a simple entry into the visual novel genre for those looking to dip their toes.