Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a visual novel that recently made the jump to consoles from PC thanks to the efforts of artist NomNomNami and Ratalaika Games. It’s the story of a cynical scientist named Syrup who runs a candy shop where the candy is made by conventional means in a world full of magic.
It’s full of cute character designs and pleasant music. It’s the kind of game that most people will look past while browsing the tidal wave of new releases at any given time, especially in a month as packed with major releases as March. But it’s one they shouldn’t.
While I wouldn’t call it amazing, I would absolutely call Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet a pleasant surprise.
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet Review: Syrupy Sweet
Break out the oven mitts, this one’s still warm.
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a very simple game and could easily be enjoyed by anyone, as long as you don’t mind a solid read and not much else.
It’s a particularly uncomplicated visual novel where there really isn’t any gameplay; you’re merely permitted to select different dialogue options at set parts of the story that change the course of the plot.
You read through the story soaking in all the soft colors and cheery music, and every now and then, you get to make Syrup react in the way you feel would be appropriate to the situation, whether that be in accepting help from a character we might have reason to distrust, or in making a snap decision that could decide the fate of the candy shop.
For those unfamiliar with the genre, this is essentially a “choose your own adventure book” style of game, but it’s scaled down to only about three or four chapters.
Incidentally, “she can deal” is one of the best prompts
I’ve ever seen in a game, so thanks for that Nami.
I managed to start and finish a play-through of the game in just about 30 minutes, while also achieving what might have been the best possible ending on my first try.
This isn’t quite the downside that it might sound like, as the game has both fairly decent pacing despite its brevity — which allows the whole experience to feel complete and enjoyable — as well several different endings.
The different endings are the result of specific strings of actions you can take in the story, and the major branches occur throughout the story, which means every choice has fairly major consequences to what ending you might end up with.
This might all sound like fairly standard stuff for a budgeted visual novel title, but what really surprised me about Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet was just how effectively the game managed to charm me and draw me in.
Assemble Your Ingredients
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a game about characters more than anything else. Though there are only five main characters in the game, they are so likable it doesn’t matter that the cast is so small. It helps that their motivations are understandable and relatable.
Butterscotch breaking down in particular really made me feel things.
Syrup is a somewhat jaded and cynical person who has trouble letting others into her life. Gumdrop is learning what it means to be human and approaches everything with a joyful curiosity. Butterscotch is a shy witch and rival candy-maker who lacks confidence.
Pastille just wants the best for Syrup but doesn’t want to be too pushy about it. Toffee is a laid-back alley-cat-type who tries to act cool but cares for his master Butterscotch. Everybody has something going on.
Since the game lacks any form of voice acting, the writing and art have to work overtime to effectively convey character, and it really pulls it off.
The writing is pretty good on its own, but the cute and expressive art and character designs manage to work with writing to turn simple archetypes into much more relatable humans. All things being equal, I’m surprised I grew to be so fond of the game’s characters, and I’d be happy to see them again in another adventure.
- Cute and expressive art
- Solid if simple writing
- Branching story with multiple endings
- Only costs $5
- The best ending is quite easy to get, giving little reason to replay
- A single play-through is very short
- No voice acting or even really any sound effects
Playing Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a lot like trying a new candy bar. It might not be your new favorite, but you end up liking it a lot anyway, and maybe you’d end up buying another if you see it on the shelf again.
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is available now for PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PlayStation Vita.
If cute art and charming writing is worth the $5 entry fee, then I can easily recommend Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet. If you’re anything like me, you might be surprised just how fast you’re done with it, but you’ll still have enjoyed your time with it, and you may feel a warm, cozy feeling inside.
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet Review: Syrupy Sweet
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet is a lighthearted, decently-written, short and sweet visual novel with strong core values.What Our Ratings Mean