Syrup Ultimate Sweet
Switch version tested
Review code provided
I have to be honest. When I first watched the trailer for Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet, it was the promise of partial nudity that swayed my decision to download it. You might think this an extremely shallow reason to play a game, and hey, you’d be right. But we’re all in lockdown for the foreseeable future and desperate times call for desperate measures. It turns out the only nudity involved a person made out of gelatine, but like I said, desperate times and all that.
In truth, I’d had my eye on this game for a while before we were kindly offered a review code. The artwork was right up my street, and the trailer made Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet look like tons of fun, the kind that kids have in candy shops, or so I’m told. But what is it actually about? And what does the dev think the ultimate sweet actually is, and why is it an Irn Bru bar? (don’t kid yourselves, this is the best sweet).
It turns out, the game is actually about a mystical world where sweets are made using magical powers, except in the one particular shop run by an alchemist Candy. Seconded by her friend and assistant Pastille, the twosome run a popular ‘alternative’ sweetie store called Atelier Sweets which is disrupted by the sudden appearance of a very pink (and very naked) Golem candy. Taken aback by the new arrival, the two set out on a quest to figure out who created the Golem and why they decided to leave it in Candy’s store in the first place.
The game is your typical visual novel sim, in which players must read the story as it happens, occasionally making decisions along the way that will ultimately effect the way the story pans out. Unlike a lot of games in this genre, Syrup – which is how I plan to refer to the game from this point on, in case I vomit at the sheer amount of times I have to say sweet in this review – is a lot less linear and restrictive in its gameplay, and actually comes with 10 completely different endings – not all of which are good.
Storywise, the game is also fun enough that it doesn’t get really boring really quickly, and the aforementioned visuals are akin to what it feels like to look at the world when you’re trippin’ on sugar. Perhaps though, Syrup could have benefited from some audio to help move the game along – or even some animated cut scenes would have at least given it that Professor Layton feel. As it is, the game only has a cutesy soundtrack that I quickly found annoying and had to mute. Sure this is essentially a book, but let’s not forget it’s also a video game.
There is genuine replay value with Syrup, especially with the 10 variations on the finale, but it turns out the game is only a PEGI 3 and despite all the cuteness and sickly sweet shenanigans that are initially appealing, it lacks enough appeal for old men like myself to pick it up for a second or third time, never mind a tenth. But hey, I guess I’m not the target audience so perhaps if I was 7 I’d feel differently about the whole experience. I’d also have to go to bed really early and run the risk of catching nits at school, so who’s the real winner here folks?
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet has an uncandy ability to lure you in with the promise of being a Mars-vellous fun adventure. But I don’t wish to sugar coat this. If you’re a kid then you might make a real confection with the characters, but for older players parting with your hard-earned cash for a game like this might be a bit more of a gumball.
TBG Score: 5/10
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 04/03/2020
No. of Players: 1
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Download link: eShop