Key art of Quintessential Quintuplets on Nintendo Switch

Review: The Quintessential Quintuplets Double Pack (Nintendo Switch)

Every guy's dream, something, something...

10 mins read

I am genuinely surprised by the launch of the two Quintessential Quintuplets games in this “double pack” (Memories of a Quintessential Summer and Five Memories Spent With You). They’ve been published by MAGES, one of the legends of visual novel development. They’ve also been published by Spike Chunsoft, one of the better-resourced publishers of Japanese games, and are based on an anime that has some genuine popularity behind it.

Yet both games were announced a week before they were dropped unceremoniously on digital storefronts, and have apparently missed just about everyone’s attention. At the time of writing this, there is not a single Metacritic media review OR user review for either game. On Steam, the games have just 38 and 35 user reviews, respectively. Sure those reviews are very positive overall, but talk about crashing and burning.

It’s a pity, because both of these games are wonderfully good fun in their own way. One’s a pretty traditional visual novel, and the other’s one of those “build up the stats of characters to earn the good endings” style “management” visual novels. But really both are pure fan service (both in terms of simply being designed to delight fans and to put the characters in swimsuits) and are similar in quality.

Screenshot of Quintessential Quintuplets Double Pack

For those who haven’t had any experience with The Quintessential Quintuplets, be aware that both games assume that you’re familiar with the characters and have watched at least the anime to its conclusion. You probably should do that anyway, because it’s a lot of fun. In simple terms, it’s a harem anime. The protagonist is a guy who is very smart and good at school, and the five sisters that the title refers to are all very, very bad at study. Our protagonist is roped into acting as a tutor for the girls, and the predictable hilarity and hijinks ensue.

What separates Quintessential Quintuplets from others in the genre is that the characterisation and humour is genuinely good fun and relatively subtle, and the fan service, while present, is also toned right down when compared to what many other harem anime aims for. Throw in more than a few touching, sentimental moments through the narrative arc, and the overall series is more wholesome and sweet than anything else, and while you’re inevitably going to have a “best girl” (Yotsuba. It’s Yotsuba), these are not the kind of characters that have been designed as Rule 34 bait.

I mean, I assume there is Rule 34 “art” featuring each of these characters (I haven’t bothered checking, to be honest), but the intent of the anime and how most people will respond to it is a little different to how most fanservicey anime go out of their way to titillate. Here it’s just playful silliness.

Quintessential Quintuplets Double Pack screenshot

Anyhow, this isn’t meant to be a review of the anime. Back to the games. Memories of a Quintessential Summer is the more “game-like” one. The concept is simple – the protagonist and his harem decide to relax on a tropical island that the girl’s father owns (oh, yeah, he’s absolutely filthy rich, by the way – that’s a major plot hook). Unfortunately, once they get there a typhoon comes through and strands them. What was meant to be a short weekend becomes a two-week imprisonment until a rescue boat can get to them, and they just don’t have enough supplies to last that long.

So what you need to do is three things: Firstly, make sure you have enough food to survive, by sending the girls out to various points on the island to collect meat (best not to ask how), fish, fruit, water and vegetables, and then cook it into delicious meals to keep everyone’s spirits up. Then you need to ensure that each girl will pass her exams when she gets off the island (never stop studying!). And finally, you need to take some time out to go and play with the girls, because that was the original intent of the trip, after all.

What this translates into is a lot of stat management. Each day is split into three phases, and every action that you take will raise a girl’s stats in one area, but lower it in another. Your job is to carefully balance everything out to get the best ending. It’s nothing you haven’t played in plenty of other visual novels in the past (or the likes of Princess Maker), but it’s a popular choice for visual novels for a reason. It’s fun.

Screenshot from Quintessential Quintuplets

The second game – Five Memories Spent With You – is a more traditional visual novel, and more committed to the fan service. The concept of this one is also simple: This time around you’ve confessed your love for one of the girls (Yotsuba. Again, it’s Yotsuba). Then you all go on a trip to Okinawa together to have some fun and deepen your relationship with your best girl. This simply involves choosing the protagonist’s response from a list of options at various points in the story. Choose the right one and his points increase. Get enough points and get a happy ending.

Five Memories Spent With You doesn’t hide why it exists – you’ll see your favourite girl (and all her sisters) in their bikinis within the first hour, but what you’re really building up to is the wedding dress scene. It’s quite sweet when it comes.

Both visual novels are written and translated well. The personalities of all the characters match with anime and manga well, and the presentation is lovely too. MAGES really does have some of the most talented artists in the business. With both Quintessential Quintuplets titles, they’ve opted for a fairly simple and minimalist approach to art (and bouncing between these and the recent Cupid Parasite has been a contrast I tell you what). I really like the approach here as the clean lines really help to focus you on the characterisation that the designs support.

However, there is one weird quirk that I never quite got over as I played – the male protagonist’s sprite is a different scale to each of the girls. Not in the CGs, mind you, as you can see above. Just in the normal VN sections. He is shown torso up, while they are thigh up, and thanks to perspective it looks like he’s about twice as tall and three times as wide as them. It would have been better to shove his face in a profile box in the text box, or give his sprite the same proportions as the girls, because as it is, this inconsistency in sprite scale damages the cohesiveness of the presentation of both games.

That one foible aside, Five Memories Spent With You is a sweet little game and a chance to see Yotsuba in her wedding dress. Memories of a Quintessential Summer is a chance to be stranded on an island with her. It’s hard to complain about that.

Memories of a Quintessential Summer:

Five Memories Spent With You:

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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