A visual novel that was released back in October 2016, Negligee is a story of love and lingerie. Is it worth your time and money?
(Spoilers in this review)
Length: Short (5-10 hours)
Lewdness: 3/3 (Overt nudity and several lesbian sex scenes – assuming you apply the uncensored patch)
Price: 12.99 USD on Steam (19.99 should you purchase the DLC package)
The short answer is that it’s probably worth considering. However, Negligee is not an instant buy unlike some of the other yuri visual novels released in 2016 since it has a few shortcomings.
The main premises is that you are are now the manager of an underwear shop, Negligee, after an abrupt promotion due to the disappearance of the previous manager. However, that also means there’s an extreme shortage of employees so you’re forced to hang the iconic “Help Wanted” sign.
As a result, three beautiful women apply at the same time. And thanks to orders from your boss, you can only hire one of them to be your co-worker (and possible friend / lover. How scandalous!) Therefore you decide to hold a 4-day trial to determine who should get the job.
I should probably talk about the characters before I progress any further.
Hannah is a naive sweetheart who’s still trying to come to terms with her new position. Awkward and conflicted and unintentionally hilarious, Hannah proved to a really likeable main character! And apparently she was designed before work for the game had started, so it’s almost as if the game was designed for Hannah!
I was actually confused when I saw Charlotte’s profile after I had played through the game. You see, I usually ignore the promotional materials and just jump straight into the game so I’m not led astray by informed attributes. The thing is… the game did not touch upon the fact that Charlotte used to play basketball and I think it would have interesting to explore something the other girls would have never saw coming after their initial impressions of Charlotte. And we got a single in-game line about how Charlotte once had a girlfriend. That’s it. We would not have known if this was years or very recently should we not have these helpful character profiles at hand. I just felt like Charlotte’s interesting aspects were brushed aside and her characterization suffered as a result.
What you see with Jasmin is what you get. Although Jasmin definitely demonstrated her cool-headedness should you ask Jasmin to help you move boxes compared to Charlotte and Sophie, I wish we could have gotten to see more of her “savviness.” After all, Jasmin’s age and working experience are what distinguishes her from the other two candidates.
Sophie suffers from the same problem as Charlotte. It’s implied that she has lost control of her life with her stray comments about drinking and partying and struggling with school. However, we at least get a bit of a sneak peek of her problems in her bad end. She is definitely the mood maker of the game – I disliked how she kept purposefully getting Charlotte’s age wrong or how she kept making jabs at Jasmin’s history of working as a stripper, but Sophie definitely is a primary source of humor for Negligee since she basically talks like she’s a memelord.
Emily is Hannah’s superior. She periodically appears in the story via phone calls and video messaging as a side character, but she’s also a source of comedy for Negligee.
As you can tell from the profiles, the characters all look beautiful and the art as a whole is well-done. I didn’t see any instances of off-model characters The backgrounds were also detailed and pleasing to look at.
However, all of that just disappears whenever the character become animated during… intimate activities. Sure, it’s nice to see the girls move up and down in order to stimulate breathing and all, but they also look much less crisp compared to just still images. These instances of low-res animation (if memory serves me correctly, there are only five) are only viewable should players install the adult patch, by the way. No kissing scenes, by the way, which was a big blow for me.
I personally believe that the characters (the love interests, in particular) really suffer from the fact that the visual novel takes place over a few days. We don’t see or get to know the characters as well as I would have liked. I suppose it’s realistic considering how they’re all busy trying to work (and, to be honest, I don’t actually know the name of the woman I talk to at work, so I can sort of relate). I found myself relating the game to speed dating, actually, since our main character only gets to barely know the girls before she’s forced to choose who to hire.
Furthermore, some players may argue that the length of the visual novel should be reflective of the price and that customers would be playing too much for this game. There is definitely merit to this point of view, which hurts Negligee. On the bright side, the brevity of the visual novel means players can just sit down and enjoy a quick visual novel with a straightforward storyline (it took me around 4 hours to unlock everything) if you have a guide. Otherwise, good luck unlocking all 11 endings in a timely manner.
Speaking of which, I found the fact that there’s 11 endings to be amazing. There’s one terrible ending for everyone, one bad ending for each love interest, one good ending for each love interest, one bonus ending for each love interest, and one terrific ending for everyone! And the best ending (read: harem) is actually the true ending! As for the endings themselves, they’re the best attempts the developers could have done to wrap up each route, so they’re decent. I can’t really complain given what the developers had to work with (read: rushed routes due to the plot).
The soundtrack is unbelievably generic. Nothing to write home about here in the slightest. That’s probably the weakest point of this visual novel.
Finally, there’s two more things that bothered me that I just gotta say. I would have liked there to be a “Skip to the Next Choice” button since I found myself really using the “Load” button as well as the “Skip Forward” button. It could have saved players some time, wahaha. And it wouldn’t be a visual novel review if I didn’t point out the amount of typos within the game (it’s definitely noticeable but not too bad considering other visual novels).
For a developer that isn’t Japanese, Negligee art quality is very high. The amount of endings is also very impressive considering that there’s three love interests. However, the rushed nature of the game (due to how Charlotte, Sophie, and Jasmin are only given a week to convince Hannah that they’re the right fit for the job) causes the girls’ characterization to suffer. The OST is also incredibly boring.
The visual novel is definitely a step in the right direction for Dharker Studio, but I would recommend making sure you’ve played through all of the better yuri visual novels (there’s quite a few!) before picking up Negligee since all you’re really getting is pretty art and, if you install the adult patch, some low-resolution animated sex scenes.
If you’re interested in yuri visual novels that were produced by non-Japanese developers and are slighter more expensive than Negligee without its DLC package (12.99 USD), then you should give A Little Lily Princess and Highway Blossoms a shot first. A Little Lily Princess offers twice as many love interests (some are definitely not romantic love interests, it should be noted), better storytelling, and on-screen romance that doesn’t rely on a time skip to manifest. Highway Blossoms is a kinetic novel where players can just sit back and watch a great romantic story unfold. Both games also have beautiful art, just like Negligee.