Published on March 12th, 2012 | by Ryan0
Soundtrack Review: New Love Plus
To refer to the Love Plus games as simple dating sims would be understating the impact the series has had not only sales-wise in Japan, but on the lives of the players themselves. The first iteration of Love Plus was released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS. In the game, you choose one of three high school girls to become your virtual girlfriend. Once you have settled on your high school sweetheart, you can send her emails, call her using the DS microphone, study together, and even touch her with the DS touch screen, awkwardly similar to Nintendogs.
The formula was so popular that it inspired a sequel, the beautifully redundantly-titled Love Plus +. One of the major additions to this game was a SOS button that a player could use if they were contemplating real life suicide. When pressed, the player’s virtual girlfriend would attempt to talk them out of taking their life. Seriously. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine other ways Love Plus has crept into Japanese society and culture such as man-Love Plus-girl-marriage and resorts that players can attend with their Love Plus girlfriends.
Love Plus is bizarre, fascinating, and honestly, a little bit baffling. It also has some great music, and New Love Plus, the recently released (on Valentine’s Day, of course) 3DS title is no exception. The soundtrack for the game is available as a standard two-disc set or as part of a 23,980 yen ($290 USD) system bundle (which you had to win a lottery on Konami’s official site to be able to purchase).
The soundtrack opens with an instrumental version of the game’s main theme, appropriately titled ãƒ¡ã‚¤ãƒ³ãƒ†ãƒ¼ãƒž (Main Theme). This charming, airy electro-pop track is fun and inviting; a great introduction to the game and soundtrack.
What follows is primarily a collection of subtle piano melodies, for more intimate moments with your girl (emotionally intimate that is; the LP games hold steadfast to a very PG-rated, idealized interpretation of romance). These tracks are good for what they are, but the strongest tracks on the discs, however, are the light guitar numbers. These breezy songs (which sadly are not available on any video sites for sharing purposes at the time of this writing) are somewhat evocative of some PS1-era RPG music and quite welcome. The soundtrack also contains pure sugary synth-pop such as Imitation Girl and inexplicably weird tracks like CARTOON, but these two CDs are primarily comprised of the aforementioned light piano and guitar melodies.
It’s unlikely that there will ever be an English-language version of Love Plus released (in any official capacity at least; fan-translations do exist). The games are too text-heavy for all but the most Japanese-fluent importers, so most Westerners will never have a chance to experience the strange and intriguing phenomenon of Love Plus. The soundtrack however, is quite a bit more accessible and proof of the universal language of music.