By now, if you know you know.
But in case you didn’t, Flowers -Le volume sur automne- is the third part of the highly acclaimed Flowers tetralogy. As such, it doesn’t make sense to jump into this particular visual novel before playing through part one (Flowers -Le volume sur printemps-) and part two (Flowers -Le volume sur été-). Therefore, I will at times speak of some spoilers from the first two parts in this review since I will assume you have already played through said parts. Turn back now if you wish to avoid any spoilers.
The series takes place in Saint Angraecum Academy, a private all-girls boarding school. In my opinion, there are two main draws to the series (three if you include the fact that the games never venture into overly erotic scenes). The first of the two more striking features belonging to the Flowers franchise is the overarching mystery theme and scenarios.
What I mean by that is there are two different types of mysteries. Firstly, there are the self-contained mysteries the protagonist must solve to progress the story. It just so happens these sort of cases can be solved logically if the player is paying close attention (or the player can brute force it with “save-scumming” or by consulting a guide). In other words, it’s expected for the player to “solve” these mysteries.
Secondly, there is the matter of the mysterious disappearance of Kousaka Mayuri that, as of part three, remains almost occult-like in nature. Details of what happened to her are still sparse and it’s treated as a tragedy that cannot be puzzled out by usual means. Naturally, the fanbase who haven’t played the fourth part are stuck making wild guesses and I imagine a good portion of the fans is invested in Flowers because they are curious about what happened (myself included).
I appreciate these mystery aspects because it keeps the player engaged. The game doesn’t hold your hand and you’re left racking your brain to progress through the mysteries you’re expected to solve. As a result, you feel rewarded once your efforts bear fruit. On the other hand, the mystery that remains unsolved until the fourth part is quite exciting as stated earlier.
The second, slightly more controversial incentive to dive into this franchise is the fact that most of the characters are very flawed and imperfect. While these schoolgirls (and staff) are all intelligent and even philosophical at times, they all are burdened by character defects which makes observing their interactions so intriguing for players. Part of the allure of Flowers, for me, is seeing these flawed girls awkwardly make connections with other imperfect girls and watching them change for the better.
This goes even for the protagonist of Flowers -Le volume sur automne-, the student council president Yatsushiro Yuzuriha. Prior to this part, she was framed as being the eccentric yet competent superwoman who could do almost anything besides cook. Yet, now that we get to peer into her inner thoughts in automne, we learn that she’s also riddled with her shortcomings. This also goes for her canon love interest, student council vice-president Komikado Nerine. So in that sense, the second charm point of the Flowers series is alive and very well in automne.
There’s not much for me to say in regards to visuals and music, I’d think. Visuals are gorgeous as always. Pairing soft classical music and yuri visual novels is a tried-and-true combination, and automne is no different in that regard.
Now here is where I admit I only played through the true end. Mixed feelings on it, by the way. Very much bittersweet but if you think about it, what happened had to happen. But personally speaking, Flowers -Le volume sur automne- came out during a very stressful period of time for me and I lacked the motivation to finish additional routes. That’s a personal failing on my end. Maybe in the future I will go back and see for myself what I’m missing out. As it stands, I can’t access the full Gallery, haha.
All in all, you sort of know what to expect from Flowers -Le volume sur automne- if you’ve played through printemps and été. Be that as it may, automne sheds some light on some of the more mysterious characters from the series. I had a good time with automne, but if you’re interested in Flowers you should really start with printemps.