An Everyday Love (Demo) | First Impressions | Game Review

An Everyday Love: Find out what it takes to find (and keep) an ‘everyday love’ in this slice-of-life, contemporary otome game by indie developer, Hollow Rose Studios.

With an endearing art style and storylines rooted in realistic experiences, ‘An Everyday Love’ excels at creating a compassionate space to explore love and intimacy in the modern world, as you build relationships with three intriguing love interests while working your daily grind.

The protagonist will be relatable for a lot of otome fans – particularly those in their 20s and beyond – and the initial chapters available in the demo hint at a deeply emotional, yet grounded, tale of affection and acceptance that’s bound to tug at your heartstrings…

Game Name: An Everyday Love (Demo)
Developer: Hollow Rose Studios
Publisher: Hollow Rose Studios
Platform: itch.io
Age Rating: TBA
More information: here!

Release date: The full version of ‘An Everyday Love’ is scheduled for release later this year, in Autumn 2022.

Premise

“No matter how much you may have struggled in the past, maybe an everyday love is still possible for you…”

– An Everyday Love (itch.io page)

The first thing I noticed about ‘An Everyday Love’ was the art style. I love how its soft simplicity gives the game a cosy aesthetic that contributes to the overall ‘comfort game’ vibe – allowing the story to delve into deeply-rooted emotions and sensitive struggles, without becoming too dark, depressing, or melodramatic.

It’s the kind of game I can picture myself playing when I’m feeling down – wrapped up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea, ready to romance a 2D cutie who’ll resonate with my struggles and cheer me up with wholesome comfort character lines that relate to my personal experiences.

If you’re looking for an otome pick-me-up – and you enjoy slice-of-life stories that focus on interpersonal interactions over grand, dramatic adventures – then you’ll enjoy the intimate atmosphere of ‘An Everyday Love’ – crafted by muted pastel tones, soothing music, and poignant moments of meaningful, emotional connection.

Game Trailer

Characters

An Everyday Love’ features three love interests: Adrian (the genki, bubbly ‘puppy bf’), Ezra (the cool and analytical sweetheart), and Logan (the mysterious, flirtatious “gentleman”).

The demo offers a short prologue before branching into three routes – with one chapter of each route currently available, so you can get to know each of these love interests before the full release. It’s a great way to get a taste for the game in advance, and decide who to pursue once the full version becomes available…

Main Character (MC)

Name: Customizable (no default)
Pronouns: She/Her
Appearance: Customizable (3 skin tones, 2 hair types, 2 body types)
Voice Actor: N/A

I loved the MC in ‘An Everyday Love’ – she’s relatable, funny, and good at her job – with obvious intelligence and a creative streak that overtly contributes to her success at work.

There are hints in the demo that suggest part of the plot will revolve around the protagonist’s own character growth arc – rather than focusing solely on the love interests and their own trauma – which will appeal to otome gamers who prefer to play an MC with a fleshed out personality and canon backstory.

So far, her flaws seem integral to her character design and growth – rather than an unnecessary excuse to force plot drama – and I’m looking forward to seeing how her anxieties are incorporated into the romantic development of each route. I’m curious to find out how the story handles overcoming (or working around) these struggles, particularly as my current impression of the game is that the story tackles these difficult topics with care and compassion.

All in all, the MC seems to be well-designed in the sense that she will appeal to the game’s target audience – providing both a protagonist that players can identify with, and a fleshed out character in her own right that will still appeal to players who don’t necessarily find her as relatable, but who enjoy playing otome games with more established and nuanced main characters.

Adrian Reyes

Name: Adrian Reyes
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: N/A
Tropes: Genki / “wah-wah boyfriend” / Deredere
Dynamic with MC: Energetic, supportive personal trainer with a “megawatt smile” and an adorable blush ❤

“The upbeat and easily flustered personal trainer. Despite his easy-going nature, he doesn’t appreciate being condescended to and values your willingness to accept him and his eccentricities…”

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Adrian’s character as much as I did, but I was pleasantly surprised. He seemed a bit too sweet and upbeat for my usual tastes, but he ended up completely captivating my heart – even in this brief demo.

I’m intrigued to find out more about his character (particularly the ‘bad five months’ alluded to in Chapter 1), and there were glimpses of a more serious side beneath his ‘adorkable’, puppy-like attitude that I’m curious to explore further in the full release.

His route also had the most overt ‘spicy’ moments, and he’ll likely appeal to players who prefer to take a more proactive role in the relationship. His awkward blushing makes him a prime target for teasing, and I loved that MC wasn’t afraid to joke around with him.

Ezra Hale

Name: Ezra Hale
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: N/A
Tropes: Megane / Tensai / Kuudere
Dynamic with MC: Serious, but sweet – Ezra seems to share MC’s difficulties in making friends…

“The serious analyst who’s known for being direct and meticulous. He previously worked for a larger company and left without an explanation, his private life unknown to his co-workers. Still, he’s not unkind and seems to respect your work ethic.”

Ezra was a little difficult to get a read on at first, but I loved how his relationship with MC developed naturally and organically. He seems like he’ll be more of a slow-burn than Adrian and Logan, but I get the sense that he’ll be worth the wait. He’s also a great ‘friendship’ option if you’re looking for a more platonic experience, as I could easily see him and MC becoming workplace buddies.

He has a lot in common with the protagonist – more so than the other love interests – which made their budding relationship feel more relatable. However, I’m curious to see whether Ezra’s relationship with MC encourages the same personal growth as the other routes – as Adrian and Logan both presented some interesting potential challenges to MC’s current day-to-day monotony, which could force her out of her shell and into a more fulfilling future.

Logan Williamson

Name: Logan Williamson
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: N/A
Tropes: “Gentleman” / Flirt / Trickster
Dynamic with MC: Elegant and charming to everyone else, but a fuckboy flirt and wicked tease to MC.

“The polite but mysterious senior manager who’s widely admired by his colleagues… even as they simultaneously gossip about how his uncle, the CEO, may have given him the role. His reserved demeanor belies a perceptive eye that can intuit the emotions of those around him . . . including you.”

I hate him almost as much as I love him – The game straight up calls you out as a masochist when you start his route, with MC saying, “Do I WANT to suffer?” – which, I mean… yes. Yes I do (apparently). One of my favourite archetypes is the sadistic, insufferable tease – so I had a blast in Logan’s route, and I highly recommend him to anyone else whose love language is affectionate bullying.

I played Logan’s route first and – after playing Ezra and Adrian’s routes – I feel like his Chapter One was slightly less eventful in terms of memorable scenes. His character is the most mysterious, so it makes sense that it will take a little while to get to know him, but the plot of the initial chapter consisted mostly of a series of smaller, daily interactions, rather than one big moment that stood out after finishing the demo.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I’ll be interested to see how different the experience is in the full release, once his confusing behaviour can be explained in more detail. As I said, I love the teasing – but I think otome gamers who aren’t into that sort of dynamic may not find much in the initial chapter that makes Logan appeal to them, even if there’s plenty to come in the remainder of the story.

Honourable Mention – Bestie Amara

Amara isn’t one of the love interests – she’s the protagonist’s best friend and former roommate – but she absolutely stole the spotlight whenever she appeared in the scene. Her energetic personality adds a complementary dash of light-hearted humour that perfectly balances some of the heavier aspects of the game.

She does seem to have her own struggles, but her friendship with MC provides a solid foundation of support that they can both rely on as they cope with their problems and help each other grow. Otome games (in general) don’t often feature deep friendships between the protagonist and other women, as the focus tends to be on romantic relationships, rather than platonic or familial ones.

This is another aspect that makes the game far more relatable than other, more melodramatic games in the otome industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some melodrama, but it’s nice to have grounded alternatives for when I’m craving some much-needed variety. Especially when they feature iconic besties, like Amara.

Story

“Being young is the best – you’re full of energy, relentlessly optimistic, and can take on as many risks as you want . . .  is a saying that has never applied to you. No, you’re tired and just trying to make it through each day. As a 24-year-old marketing assistant living in the city, day-to-day life is difficult enough, and you’ve had to put your dream of writing a novel on the wayside.

After your boss asks you to complete a new assignment at work, you unwittingly begin a new chapter in your life, allowing you to pursue romance, strengthen your friendships, and take a leap to fulfill your dream. The choices you make will determine your success. No matter how much you may have struggled in the past, maybe an everyday love is still possible for you…”

While there are standout plot moments in the story, they were often rooted in the daily lives of the main cast – rather than overarching world events and grand adventures. The focus of the game is on the character’s personal stories and the day-to-day interactions between them – which are designed to feel relatable and grounded in reality, without being too bleak or self-deprecating.

I really enjoyed this theme of vulnerability, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these plot hooks are further elaborated on in subsequent chapters. Despite the real emotions and relatable insecurities, ‘An Everyday Love’ didn’t feel too heavy or difficult to read.

It’s a cosy game, which – if the demo is anything to go by – will be perfect when you’re looking for something that will gently tap into those uncomfortable feelings, and treat them with care and understanding, all within a soft, comfortable, pastel-toned space.

As for criticisms, I don’t have many, but I did feel that the ‘Chapter One’ in each route breezed by a little quickly, as the game sometimes told me about events that happened off-screen during that initial week, rather than letting me experience them on-screen – particularly in Logan’s route.

That being said, the story is still intriguing, and I can’t wait to develop MC’s relationships with the cast in the full version of the game. I particularly loved seeing the budding relationship grow through the change in their daily interactions, which is fitting for a game called ‘An Everyday Love’.

Story Structure

‘An Everyday Love’ currently features a common prologue before branching off into three routes – with Chapter One of each route being available in the free demo, and the rest to come with the full release.

These initial chapters lay the groundwork for the rest of the story, while giving players a chance to experience the type of dynamic and relationship they can expect from each love interest.

I did feel that some parts could have been extended, but I’m also aware that I just really wanted more time with each of the characters – so that could be why I felt it was a little short. Besides, I’ve only played the free demo version so far, so I just need to be patient and wait for the full release!

Gameplay

Demo features:
☆ ~2-3 hours of content
☆ Customizable character selection (3 skin tones, 2 hair types, 2 body types)
☆ 3 CGs
☆ First chapter of each route
☆ New GUI/interface
☆ No spicy content, but plenty of teasing

If you’re familiar with visual novels (particularly indie games made with Ren’Py), then the controls and gameplay for ‘An Everyday Love’ will be fairly intuitive.

If you’re not so familiar with Ren’Py visual novels, then rest assured there’s nothing too complicated that you’ll need to learn prior to picking up the game. Essentially, you click the screen to read the next line of text, and occasionally you will be prompted to make player choices – the results of which will affect the outcome of the story.

I did feel that some of the menus and layouts were a little difficult to read – as the colour of the text and background were sometimes a bit too similar – but it didn’t take long for me to work out where everything was located, and there are several settings in the ‘Preferences’ page that can be adjusted to make the text easier to read.

There are several other accessibility options available – including settings for turning off flashing light/darkness and screenshake – so I recommend playing around with the preferences before you start, to ensure you get the most out of the game while you’re playing.

Full Release Features

With the full release of ‘An Everyday Love’, several new features will be added, along with the remainder of the story. These features include:

  • Wordcount – TBA (over ~150K), estimated ~5 hours gameplay for each full route.
  • CGs – Six special images per character (viewable through image gallery).
  • Customizable MC – Rename the main character and select her skin color and body type (3 skin tones, 2 hairstyles, and 2 body types). This character will appear in special CGs.
  • Choice Variation – Make choices that customize, advance, or deter romance and/or friendship.
  • Endings – A best ending, worst ending, and two neutral endings per character.
  • Bonus Stories – Two bonus stories for each love interest, unlocked through completing the best and worst endings for their respective routes.
  • Optional Spicy content (no graphic images, only written descriptions and not in the demo) –  Players can decide if they want a sweet or spicy romance without impacting the good/bad ending outcome. Consent is emphasized multiple times, allowing players to change their mind at multiple points, all with their own fluffy alternatives! In the main game, there are a bunch of inappropriate jokes and a couple of gags, so an older audience is still preferred regardless of whether or not the spicy content is explored.

Final Thoughts

Despite some of the sensitive topics introduced in this demo, ‘An Everyday Love’ deliberately creates a comfortable, cosy atmosphere that effectively softens the impact of these deep emotions – crafting a warm, compassionate space to explore relatable struggles, all while romancing a love interest that anyone could realistically imagine meeting in a modern, workplace environment.

I can’t wait to see where Hollow Rose Studios take the rest of the game, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the full game release in Autumn 2022!

You’ll like An Everyday Love if you like: soft and cosy aesthetics; otome games that focus on emotion-based stories and internal, character growth arcs; realistic, down-to-earth characters in a modern setting; stories that incorporate contemporary technology and dating styles; and relatable protagonists with established personalities and backstories.

Screenshots

Game Info

Game Name: An Everyday Love (Demo)
Developer: Hollow Rose Studios
Publisher: Hollow Rose Studios
Platform: itch.io
Age Rating: TBA
More information: here!

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