Voltage Inc. games make up about 45% of my gaming backlog. The company was my first introduction to the world of otome games and over the years I have amassed quite a few stories from each of the many, many Otome Romance titles they produce. Because I have so many stories I tend to have a hard time deciding which routes to play… So, rather than making the agonizing decision on my own, I ran a Twitter poll and let you guys decide for me. Unfortunately, that backfired since the poll ended in a tie between Diary of a Step Sister and Love Brings You Home, so I still had to choose in the end and I went with the latter.
Love Brings You Home is one of the “newer” Otome Romance titles, having been released exclusively on the Love 365 app and not as one of the standalone apps (at least here in the west). Given all the fantasy romance games I’ve been playing lately, I was looking forward to diving into something with a slice-of-life vibe and Love Brings You Home was exactly what I was looking for; something grounded in reality (at least for an otome game). If I had to sum this game up in one word, it would be ‘wholesome’, no gimmicks just a wholesome romance…
In Love Brings You Home, you play as a young woman who lives alone in her late grandmother’s seaside home in Gokurakuji. You’re overworked and underappreciated by your manager, Mr. Kato, who sends you on ridiculous errands and constantly turns down your project ideas. Of course, your hectic work life leaves no room for romance and you come home every night to an empty house.
All you want is for someone to recognize your hard work and to support you through the ups and downs of your life. Someone who’ll listen to your problems and make you feel better when everything gets to be too much. One day your wish comes true, when a handsome man suddenly shows up on your doorstep…
The game has five potential love interests to choose from, each of whom you meet randomly throughout the prologue. Unlike the usual Voltage game where the love interests are either all super elites or “way too perfect” there is a nice bit of variety among the Love Brings You Home love interests.
Love Brings You Home combines the wholesome romance of Finally in Love Again with the convenient cohabitation of Our Two Bedroom Story, but with a bit of a twist. Voltage does a bit of a gender role reversal in this game that I wish more otome games would explore. Rather than having the MC support/help the love interests, it’s the other way around. Usually in otome games you have a bunch of flawed love interests who through the power of love develop into halfway decent human beings. In Love Brings You Home it’s the MC that experiences the most character growth, becoming more confident and assertive as the story progresses. Of course the love interests have their own conflicts and issues that drive the story, but we see the guys taking on a more supportive role that usually would have been filled by the MC.
They cook and clean for the MC, so she comes home after a long day of work to a clean house and a warm meal. They listen to her vent about her day at work and I mean listen, not pretend to listen… actually listen. When she needs someone to comfort her after a long hard day of adulting, they’re there for her. Not every route is perfect, Arata’s route had me about ready to pull out my hair, but Taiyo’s route was absolutely perfect! This is the otome fantasy women really want, not controlling bastards that do whatever they want (or maybe that’s just me). That said, Love Brings You Home is not without its… well for lack of a better term “flaws”.
Arata and Taiyo’s routes are like night and day, while fundamentally they follow the same story points, the execution couldn’t be more different, so your mileage may vary. Taiyo was perfect from start to finish, a sweet heartwarming story that hit my right in the feels. Whereas in Arata’s route he kind of bulldozes his way into her life and gradually develops into a decent human being. If you’re not used to kuudere and tsundere types, you’ll most likely hate his route, and even as someone that likes those types of guys I found myself rolling my eyes at Arata’s toxic bluntness…
On the flip side, this game has one of the most relatable Voltage MCs. She is the perfect balance between the usual genki MCs of traditional otome and the strong independent MCs of Western romance games. She’s optimistic, but not so much so that it seems unrealistic, but she also isn’t as jaded as the MC from Liar Uncover the Truth. She’s working an unfulfilling job with a jerk boss who doesn’t appreciate anything she does and treats her like a personal assistant. She feels undervalued at work despite going above and beyond the call of duty, which drains what little energy she has and leaves her feeling exhausted and listless. She has a small supportive circle of friends, who she turns to for advice, but she doesn’t want to burden them with her problems. She’s not actively looking for a relationship, but she isn’t completely closed off to the idea and rather than a passionate romance, she wants someone who will make her feel appreciated and secure. She’s not necessarily looking for someone to save her from her problems, but rather, someone who will just be there with her, as a source of comfort and support.
Love Brings You Home is definitely a welcome change from the usual Voltage formula, it’s more grounded in reality but with just enough fantasy to make the experience exciting. The MC is one of the best to come out of Voltage in a while and I think a lot of players will relate to her troubles. Each route poses a different scenario, but the game’s message is always the same; fulfillment and happiness comes from within.
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