School of Talent: SUZU-ROUTE – PC Review – by DarkLunarDude

Genre: Adventure Casual Indie Visual Novel
Developer: MyDearest
Publisher: MyDearest
Release Date: Feb 23, 2017

Academy or school-based visual novels, par from the course, tend to follow the same route of following school aged boys or girls in their everyday normals lives, usually involving a love sequence as novel goes on, but what if that was changed to be more like Romeo and Juliet? That is what you get with School of Talent: SUZU-ROUTE. chool of Talent: SUZU-ROUTE is a visual novel developed and published by MyDearest that follows a Romeo and Juliet like vibe with a good story behind it, memorable music and interesting plot twists.

Open up that textbook and let us learn about Talents as the story for Suzu focuses heavily on the Talents of the characters. We, the reader, join Kotaru who, while visiting a school festival, gets accidently wrangled into a drawing room and when his name comes up, he is offered a full scholarship to Mikage Academy, where only those with gifts from god or Talents are accepted into. He bounces the idea of going to Mikage or not going back and forth until, while walking home in the park, he hears a mysterious voice singing up on a hill. It is here we meet a mysterious girl dressed in white, singing a beautiful song, but when she realizes that she was being listened to by someone, she flees, dropping a pamphlet about Mikage Academy. It is then when Kotaru decides he will go to Mikage Academy, and after a transition to a year and a half later, we see the schools two rival groups, the White Lilies and the Black Roses, having friendly duels for competition. By this point however, Kotaru now has the title of Talentless, being he has no real talent, is forced to duel the girl from the hills some time ago, Yuki, who is now the leader of the White Lilies. I will end the story segment here as the rest of the tale can be a tad convoluted in terms of randomness but for a one run and done novel, the story is well told and interesting.

This doe not leave Suzu without flaws though, as I have one I want to speak about directly that made the story feel off: the Talent thing. I get from this stories perspective that Talents are a key element to the plot and that each person has their own unique one where Kotaru, who got in by chance, does not. However, the farther in the story goes, it is revealed that one could say his Talent is that of love, as his love for Yuki starts to show, but it has no actual effect in battles like shown in the start of the novel. I’m all for a good Romeo meets Juliet story, but when you throw the Talents into the matter, I feel that plot becomes undermined and more about the power struggle to prove his worth to his group, the Black Roses and to Yuki, who leads the White Lilies.

With art flowing straight from a good manga but in color, and the classical but memorable tones in the music, one could say Suzu was designed to utilize the best of both aspects. Visually, I would compare Suzu to that of a good manga in design, where the content is detailed but not so heavily detailed that the characters lose the focus. The backgrounds, which follow the best to that of a manga as they keep subtle details but let us know where we are, such as a classroom or a schoolyard for physical activities. The characters however, are where I find the art style is different as they follow more of the traditional anime style look. Each character has their own personality and look to them, giving them their own air of attitude like Yuki who early on is very studious and true to herself, but acts on knowledge rather than emotion. Each main and sub character is given a voice, however, so I do appreciate this from the developer as it made the difference when getting to know the characters.

If I had to say one thing about Suzu, it is that the music itself was memorable and in more than one way. Suzu does go the route of what I call traditional classic music for the most part, as you have mostly classical instruments like the piano but one fun twist to a few tunes in the soundtrack was the xylophone, alongside some wind and horn. These subtle but changed elements made the soundtrack feel very fresh. The sound effects, while very few in number, do work as intended where they are there to simulate walking up a hill or the hitting of a ball. These effects, while minimal, add to the depth of the soundtrack and your emersion factor. Now I do have one special thing I want to talk about for this novel, sound wise: that being the uniquely voiced song sung by Yuki in a number of areas of the novel. This song is beautifully voiced and done, adding to the fact that Yuki has this beautiful singing voice as part of her character that she hides or at least tries to hide. This song alone, made the novel more interesting and if they ever released the soundtrack for the novel, I would be on that train to buy it.

Overall, I found School of Talent: SUZU-ROUTE for its price to be a excellent visual novel and worth the read for just the characters and unique song alone. The well written story, interesting plot twist, solid use of graphic novel type backgrounds, unique characters and personalities, memorable music, well used sound effects and the unique song to Yuki made this novel a welcoming experience.

Pros:

  • A well written story
  • An interesting but somewhat expected plot twist
  • Nice use of graphic novel style backgrounds
  • Characters are unique with their own personalities
  • The music was memorable and fresh
  • The sound effects, while minor, were nicely used
  • The uniquely sung song done just for Yuki was beautiful and a nice touch
  • Character development was a nice touch for story

Cons:

  • The Talents element of story felt like a cheap addition sometimes
  • Some soundtracks, while good, were not as memorable
  • One route to complete

DarkLunarDude gives School of Talent: SUZU-ROUTE a Drastik Measure 9 out of 10 (90).

For the price of $8.99 on Steam, I can highly recommend this visual novel to just about anyone as for the price, you are getting very high quality content, but it is a one read and done novel so a nice read on a long bus ride or other trip. The special song for Yuki is also one of my favorite songs of all time from a novel to date and I really hope to see more stuff like this from MyDearest in the future.