After rising to infamy overnight with Sakura Spirit, developer Winged Cloud went on to cement their place as the kings of fanservice on Steam with a new game based in a different setting, but with much the same to offer in terms of barely dressed anime babes. The second title in the Sakura series improves upon the first, but is still lacking in terms of story and characterization. However, the art is as wonderful ever, and there are plenty of shiny boobs for people more interested in fanservice than plot.
Our protagonist in this second visual novel from developer Winged Cloud is a typical ‘normal’ but lonely guy, who just happens to be a super special snowflake who has terrifying nightmares and headaches that herald the coming of something dark and mysterious. One day a monster appears out of nowhere to attack him, and two girls step in to save him; these are his ‘guardian angels’, who turn out to be girls with powerful magical abilities and very skimpy outfits. Of course, they then have to enrol in his school to keep and eye on him, and so starts his new life of demon fights and accidental nudity.
There is an attempt at a mystery in this game and, while it’s not particularly riveting, it’s enough to keep you reading. It’s lighthearted and silly just like Sakura Spirit, but, while it still has plenty of walking-in-on-the-girl-while-changing scenes, its attempts at humour come across as less juvenile. Unfortunately, it’s still too short at just two hours long to have any real impact, and in the end there are no real explanations about anything. A more exciting and satisfying ending that really pulled the story together would have done a lot to improve it overall. Additionally, Winged Cloud really needs to get themselves a decent editor. While the writing is better and feels more cohesive than Sakura Spirit, it still suffers from a plethora grammatical mistakes and awkward phrasing.
With two main girls instead of four, there is more time to get to know them, although Sayaka and Hikari still feel like mere cardboard cutouts with the former being chirpy and outgoing, and the latter a more reticent tsundere type. The addition of Yuzuki added a new facet, and I enjoyed the interactions with her and wish she’d had more screen time to develop her character. However, what the girls lack in personality is more than made up for with… other assets.
The art is as shiny as ever with a soft but still vibrant colour palette, and effort has clearly gone into the graphics in terms of both sprites and CGs. That being said, I do wish that more attention had been paid to the backgrounds. There is one scene in particular where it’s supposed to be raining, yet the background still shows a sunny scene; it would be such an easy thing to fix and would noticeably up the overall quality. There are some great CGs of the girls in various states of undress both alone and together that push the Steam boundaries on explicit content to their limits and, while there is no content that would receive an 18+ rating, this is a game you’ll probably want to play in private.
Some people complain about the amount of fanservice in the Sakura titles, but for me it’s what keeps me playing these games. As I’ve already stressed above, the plot isn’t anything to write home about, so if it wasn’t for the art and fanservice there wouldn’t be any particular reason for people to play them. Sakura Angels is a step up from the first entry in the series, but Winged Cloud still has a lot to work on if they want to produce polished visual novels with actual substance to them.