In a lot of anime and manga related media, there are plenty of staples that come as no surprise to fans. Whether it’s hot springs or panty shots, certain moments just get a shrug since they’re the norm. Sakura Succubus 4 decides to transport us right back to a location we previously went to in Sakura Succubus 1, but this time with the whole entourage: the beach!
Sakura Succubus 4 is the first of the Sakura Succubus games to not introduce a new girl to join the ranks. Rather, this installment takes the time to establish some one-on-one (or two-on-one in some cases) moments with Hiroki and the rest of the girls. And it was actually an enjoyable time to be had. Of course, you have your typical fanservice moments. But more than that, you also have some heart-to-heart moments with the women.
Whether it’s Hiroki discussing the logistics of introducing the women to his parents later on, the more vulnerable sides of characters such as Marina and Ayu, or just how difficult it can be juggling the affections of five different women, it is actually a breath of fresh air to read through some of these moments and come out actually satisfied with how things turned out. Of course, Sakura Succubus won’t be seen as the cream of the crop when it comes to visual novel writing. But, it is a step in the right direction of establishing these relationships rather than treating Sakura Succubus as a means to introduce droves of attractive anime girls.
The gameplay aspects (or lack thereof) have not changed from the other three Sakura Succubus games. Sakura Succubus is a kinetic visual novel, which means that any choices made do not affect the ending of the game. There are some choices that appear as you play through, but all that results are minor dialogue options. You are able to save at any point during the game, so you can theoretically save before making any choices and witness all of the dialogue options in one sitting if you’re patient enough to do so.
Given that Sakura Succubus 4 takes place entirely on the beach, there are a lot of swimsuits and casual outfits to take in. While we have seen some characters, such as Cosmos and Ayu, in more casual clothing across the other Sakura Succubus games, Hifumi and Yue are not as common, so it’s nice to see the difference in appearance for them. Similar to the vulnerable moments written into the story, it lets us see another side of the characters we don’t typically get to witness. But of course, most of the characters have at least one new outfit to see.
A concern that did come up with Sakura Succubus 3 was the fact that older CGs had been used a couple of times throughout that game. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that Sakura Succubus 4 takes place completely on a beach, but all CGs that the player can see are new. Hopefully that remains the fact once things shift back to the city with Sakura Succubus 5.
One thing that hasn’t changed however, is how dull the music choice is for Sakura Succubus. Once again, all of the music selections tend to blend together, whether it’s a wacky upbeat tune or a more mellow piano piece. Although, there did appear to be a new song thrown in, which did come as a surprise, as the OST for the previous three games has been reused.
Overall, Sakura Succubus 4 was actually a pleasant surprise. While it is still fanservice galore (also played on the Switch with no graphic scenes), the writing actually took a turn that was not expected. It was worrisome that a new girl was introduced with each new iteration, so taking a break from adding new characters and investing in the current cast was definitely a good choice. Whether that will remain the same is up in the air (although given the cover image for Sakura Succubus 5, my bets are leaning towards no…). If you have been more than willing to stick it out with Sakura Succubus, you’ll probably be happy with Sakura Succubus 4 if you’re looking for more focused time with a particular girl. But otherwise, it’s hard to really recommend Sakura Succubus 4 just out of the blue, especially if you have no former attachment to any of these characters.