Oh looks: it’s Pillow Fight.
We’re starting to build a history with these folks. To date, they’ve been involved with three visual novels I’ve either reviewed or featured here on VNs Now and those pieces have a habit of ending…poorly. If you’ve read my feature on Who We Are Now, the mini-rant about groups using an ideology as a selling point are these guys full-stop. What they want to do isn’t impossible mind you: in fact, today may be the day they pull it off. However, as we’ll see in the demo for Two Scoops, it’ll come down to its final execution: as always really.
Two Scoops reminds me a lot of another Otome demo I profiled a while back: Konbini Life. There’s little spectacular about the main character’s life and it seems narrowly focused on her time at her job and the interactions she has with the people there. Unlike Konbini Life, Two Scoops plays their characters pretty straight (pun not intended). There aren’t any flamboyant foreign models or salarymen otaku coming in for a cone of mint chocolate chip. Instead, there appeal comes from the spectrum of diversity this developer likes to use: reflecting various sexualities, genders and races but sticking to familiar dating game tropes. And this, ironically enough, is where things get interesting.
Simply put, not enough was included with this demo to get a solid bead on any of the characters or the overall plot of the game. You get very broad strokes but that’s it. If I had to hazard a guess, it falls into the same category as the rest of its IPs: a relatively simple premise with the main draw being its ‘diverse cast’. Others in its catalog that went along this route tended to fall apart as the stories they were telling could not stand on their own. This one might though, since the basics of its story are well-established tropes that are hard to fumble in the current visual novel environment.
If you missed what I just said there, allow me to repeat. This thing could be alright BECAUSE it’s such a cliched idea.
As much as the thought repels my critical instinct, the truth is that the demo has little else going for it other than the thread of hope that is its basic tropes and relatively fun characters. Don’t get me wrong, Maya is way too good for the crap I am sure she’ll put up with in this game and I want Malik voiced by Big E (this Big E) for a reason. But, outside of that initial charm, there really isn’t much else here to serve as a draw. It feels like everyone involved are just going to stand around until the player stumbles onto whatever romantic path they choose to go on.
To take it back to Konbini Life for a second, the draw comes from its oddball circumstances. The main character there works overnight at a convenience store, so the only people who are out at that hour not only have their own eccentricities, but have little else to do. A relationship potentially forming from that off-kilter situation is appealing and because it’s the middle of the night, they usually have lived through the full day well before they run into that particular store at that particular moment.
I realize this is a personal preference on my end, but I always enjoy that attention to detail: that these characters have a life and other things to do that don’t fit into their romantic route with the protagonist. It adds dimension and makes whatever romance happens feel more natural instead of just fanservice for the Otome faithful. Because the demo is so bare bones, I have no real way of knowing how it’ll pan out in the full game. But, better to note it early and hope for the best and not gnaw my teeth later, I suppose.
That’s really all I have for you guys on this one. Two Scoops is an incredibly safe title just going by the demo and that may well be the best direction for it. If it can manage to flesh out the characters enough to where it doesn’t feel like a stereotypical Otome game, it could do well for itself. At the moment, it’s just kind of vanilla (heh, vanilla) and using the same strategy other titles from this producers have used to sell their wares. And ironically enough, I’m not even asking for them to switch said strategy up any. The cast is fine, but the story still comes first. And right now, there’s no indication on whether or not Pillow Fight has embraced that.
And maybe that’s what Pillow Fight needs right now, yeah? Not a home run and definitely not a strike-out. Just a solid line drive to show they’re more than the sum of their ideology? It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out. I only wish I could say that interest way born from the title itself because, for me, this one is just Meh.
If you’d like to check out Two Scoops for yourselves, you can get more information here. JP3: OUT.