Local indie developers Yangyang Mobile are currently hard at work developing their sophomore title, Love Esquire, and they've kindly given us some hands-on time with the dating sim/RPG/visual novel. You play as a lowly unnamed squire, and the goal is to lose your V-card to one of the game's lovely lasses—with only four months to go before war reaches your kingdom, you best have good time management skills because there are stats to build, dialogue trees to navigate, and "porinqs" to slay.
For the unfamiliar, visual novels like Love Esquire are exactly as they sound: lots of reading with pretty pictures—in this case, hot anime waifus. VN's are the kind of relaxing games you can play (and save and stop) at basically any time—perfect since this will be coming out on mobile along with PC. The main consideration in the game is your limited amount of time daily to build stats, talk to the girls, travel around the map, and engage in light RPG combat.
The writing is good and the polished voice acting (outsourced to a foreign studio with seasoned VA's!) is a treat. Gameplay-wise, it can feel a bit slow at first when the plot of each girl you meet hasn't kicked in yet and you're grinding for stats.
The character designs fit cozily into the usual harem anime stereotypes and while the medieval setting may not be the usual male dream scenario (like Doki Doki Literature Club) you'll surely be picking a favorite waifu early on. Our money is on the stepsister Amelie in case you were wondering! Or perhaps the timid nurse who will surely transform into a naughty nurse later on.
In case you were wondering, this is not a hentai game that you can only play under the sheets at 2AM. So while things may get a bit saucy, we won't be veering into mosaic territory, okay?
Being a locally made game and all, maybe you're expecting to clash with some manananggal in the forest or Lapu-Lapu to show up as a boss or something, but so far we haven't seen anything like that. This is a title for an international audience and we're happy to report that if you didn't know that Yangyang was a Filipino studio then you'd have no idea (no using Pinoy Pride as a crutch here).
At the end of our demo experience, our main takeaway is that it's refreshing to play something light and comedic like this in between all the "heavier" games out there. If you're looking for a new VN to try—or to play one for the first time—give Love Esquire a look because trying to get laid is infinitely relatable, of course. Love Esquire is still in its early state and you can back Yangyang on Kickstarter to help them finish the game!