UPDATE: Live play through of Strawberry Vinegar! (sorry the mic is really low!)
I have never encountered a game that was so bad for my diet. Strawberry Vinegar is an adorable visual novel about Sakuraba Rie, a nine-year-old girl, who learns about the power of friendship after she befriends five ponies after moving to…oops wrong story line. Sakuraba Rie actually makes friends with a curious, cute and hungry little demon, Licia.
Strawberry Vinegar takes us through the slice of life story of Rie as she manages school and her parents as best as any nine-year-old can. When we first meet Rie she is cynical and grumpy. Rie’s life is soon turned upside down after she discovers a young demon in her kitchen eating her cookies. Licia is an adorable demon with an insatiable appetite. Licia has traveled from Hell to Japan and straight into Rie’s kitchen to experience human life and, more importantly, food for a week-long vacation.
After tasting the delicious chocolate and vanilla checkerboard cookies (which would ruin a whole day of eating healthy for me), Licia tells Rei “Feed me, or I’ll reap your soul!” That pretty much convinces Rie to play host and off we go into a world of delicious foods and adorable artwork.
Strawberry Vinegar is completely to blame for any weight gain over the past week. This game had me buying cookies and I couldn’t help but eat anything I could get my hands on while I played! Especially sweet things. I had to screen capture some of the amazing, and amazingly drawn, foods for this review. Strawberry Vinegar features Japanese foods like takoyaki, tempura and cucumber salad. It also has American foods like apple rose tarts, cotton candy and shaved ice.
Besides the food; the characters, and really everything is very well drawn. The music is best described as light and cheery. (Steam has the soundtrack for $6.) The story line and dialog, though at times cliché, is cute and light hearted. The writers even put in some fun pop culture references to things like Disney’s Frozen.
So needless to say, I love Strawberry Vinegar even though my bathroom scale doesn’t. That said, here are the two downsides. There were a few spelling issues but they are small and very infrequent so it doesn’t impact the story or play in any way. What really got me was the yuri, as mild as it was. Don’t get me wrong, when I found out I could “romance” characters in Mass Effect my goal for the entire game quickly became to “romance” as many people as I could.
However in Strawberry Vinegar the yuri undertone, in my opinion, in not only unneeded but also off-putting. It became painfully obvious when they first introduced the idea of Rie sharing Licia’s “taste” of her already eaten takoyaki from her mouth.
I am not amused.
This comes out of virtually nowhere and, luckily, it leads nowhere since it is only mildly mentioned and Steam doesn’t allow that kind of content. I find it both kind of disturbing (considering the age of the characters) and distracting from the main storyline of friendship and food.
As a VN game, it’s pretty much as simple as point and click. You can edit some sounds and speed settings but for all intents and purposes: there’s nothing to see here folks!
Good for Kids?
So this one is a toughie. Technically there is no violence, language or nudity of any kind. Also, most of the story is light and fluffy. However, that slight bit of yuri between Rie and Licia puts me off of being 100% okay letting my ten-year-old brother play this the next time he comes over. That said nothing actually happens. So if you’re okay with the idea of the game having a bit of weirdly sudden over affection it’s pretty okay for kids and teens. In fact, it will likely get lost in the cuteness of everything else.
Strawberry Vinegar Game Review Final Thoughts
Overall Strawberry Cuteness… I mean Strawberry Vinegar is an adorable VN with good flow, amazing artwork and an adorable story of girls making friends despite soul reaping threats. Even though the bits of yuri are a bit off putting I wouldn’t say it’s enough to stop playing.
Strawberry Vinegar is currently being sold for $10 which seems like a good price considering the quality and price range of works published by Sekai Project.
Great art, story, music, and price makes Strawberry Vinegar a hot out of the over 88 out of 100!