For nine-year-old Sakuraba Rie, all it took was a few simple words for her life to get turned upside down. Follow the story as you explore food, food, and a lot more food over the course of a few hours.
“Feed me, or I’ll reap your soul!”
I sure hope you aren’t hungry as we dive into this review, as Strawberry Vinegar is a game that will leave your mouth watering. One day while nine-year-old Sakuraba Rie is baking some cookies, a mysterious young demon shows up in her kitchen. Said demon happens to be eating said freshly baked cookies, and Rie isn’t very happy. That’s when this demon – Licia Dia Ivlis – tells her that Rie must make her sweets every day for a week, otherwise she will reap Rie’s soul. What follows this is a tale of a lot of food and a budding friendship between two young girls.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Strawberry Vinegar has a very strong food theme. This leads to the story being well written around said food. Although a single path of the story will only take you about 4-5 hours, these 4-5 hours will make you fall in love with the characters… and leave your mouth watering. Licia, the demon who will “reap Rie’s soul” if she isn’t fed sweets each day for a week, absolutely loves food. She’s planned every little bit of this trip to the “human world”. Well, except for some major details such as how she’ll get back, or how she’ll reap Rie’s soul.
The story in Strawberry Vinegar is well paced, not lingering on details for too long. The foods are described with great detail though, and this is on top of the mouth watering images you are presented. You’re also faced with the choice of which path you want to follow – this choice will typically involve what kind of food you want to make or get for Licia that day. These choices will ultimately lead you to one of six endings. While I only got two – the split point for them was easy to spot – I am still intrigued as to find the route to the others, even if it will continue to make me quite hungry.
The art in Strawberry Vinegar is absolutely fantastic. Like ebi-hime’s previous title that I have reviewed, Asphyxia, the art style is charming. While this game is nowhere near as dark themed as Asphyxia was, it still works beautifully. This art style blends beautifully into the CG images as well, especially the food. If the descriptions of the food don’t leave your mouth watering, the images will.
Strawberry Vinegar’s music also ends up working quite well, though sometimes I did get a little tired of hearing the same tracks in places. Despite that, the music does tend to fit the scenes well and will come in at the right times. Even if it did get a little old hearing some of the same tracks at times, I still felt it did fit well.
With all that said, I did spot a few odd typos on occasion. One such instance had “parents” in place of “patients” when they were talking about who would be at a hospital. These were pretty few and far between, however, and the developer is working to get rid of these typos. It was a nice breather from some games I’ve played recently though, that are typically just riddled with spelling and grammar errors.
So is Strawberry Vinegar worth it? If you’re a food lover, yes. If you like hints of female with female romance (more pronounced in the endings, at least the ones I got), then yes. If you like quality writing and art in your VNs, then yes once more. I quite enjoyed my time reading through Strawberry Vinegar and can gladly give it a high recommendation if you’re looking for a new visual novel to read.
Strawberry Vinegar Review Score
You have been warned though – this game will make you hungry.
I would like to thank Sekai Project for providing me with a copy of the game for review purposes.
Strawberry Vinegar is available now on Steam.