This game sat in my Steam library for years. I think I got it back in 2014, when it first released.
This is not a spoiler-free review. This game is old. If you haven’t played through this and want to experience it on your own, just look at the time it took me to finish the entire game and draw your own conclusion from that. (Hint: There is a lot of reading. I mean it.)
The only reason I got it was one, it was free, and two, I recognized the background artist, arsenixc. I had been following them actively during that time and I saw some of the drawings in real time (or, at least, as they published them on their DeviantArt).
I have to admit. When I first got the game, I was in my mid-teens. The reason why I played it was because of my basic understanding of visual novels. They’re dating sims. You get some nice CGs that you can stare at because you are young and don’t know how to use the Internet yet.
This was my second ever visual novel, though I would hardly count the first one since I skipped all of the dialogue just to get to the good parts. I clicked through about fifty minutes of it the day I got it, got bored, and promptly stopped playing.
Recently, however, I noticed a couple of visual novels on a Steam background website I was on. Going through my library, I found this game again. Painstakingly, I read through all of the dialogue that I skipped, went through all the routes, got all of the endings (yes, I mean all of them), as well as played through the short fan-made sequel Frosty Kiss to boot.
As you can see from the screenshots, I had spent 38.5 hours in the main game and got all of the achievements. In addition to that, I spent another 34 minutes in the sequel and got all of the achievements for that, too.
So, what did I think of it?
This is a visual novel. I can’t comment much on the controls because it’s just clicking and reading, but by god, there’s a lot of reading. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “It’s a visual novel, of course there’s going to be reading!”
Not reading like this, dude. It takes so long for them to get to the point. The protagonist goes into these long inner monologue tangents that aren’t even remotely interesting. It loses me there. I hate wasting my time, especially if I have to read about philosophy. Also, given that I stopped playing the first time around, you can tell just how slow this entire thing is. It takes so long for the main story to even get to the point (the summer camp), and even longer to properly start the game.
Since this is released in 2014 (even though I played Doki Doki Literature Club first), I would say its twist is new. Though I’ve heard that YOU and ME and HER: A Love Story is the inspiration for DDLC, I’m not sure about the history of visual novels and who started the trend. Still, there were a lot of moments where I was genuinely invested in the truth behind the entire thing and what’s really going on. I knew there was more to the story from the beginning, when the protagonist Semyon is transported to a summer camp and no one seems to tell him anything, but it goes deeper than that.
I am left scratching my head more often than not, and the reason they give isn’t really that solid, but I was so tired from reading their longwinded dialogue that I just accepted it as it is.
Every time I go through a new route, new information is given to us, though the vanilla girls don’t really reveal too much other than their existence. The good endings for each girl is not satisfying, per se, but they’re also not that bad either. They leave a soft feeling of hope in you, I think. The best good ending out of all the girls has to be with Lena (the yandere), though her ending is also the most unique one as it’s vastly different from the other girls. Ranked after Lena would be, in my opinion, Slavya (vanilla option), Ulyana (or as I like to call her, Child CCP), and Alisa (the tsundere, also best girl 1). There are secret paths and special routes, too, but those endings don’t really count in this.
In similar fashion, the bad endings for this game leave you with a lingering sensation of longing, and maybe some bitterness in your throat if you do them after the good endings. Since Lena has the best ending out of all of the good endings, it makes ironic sense for her to have the worst ending out of all the bad endings. Oh, and there should be a trigger warning for her bad ending.
The special endings are another story and I think they carry most of the game. Like many other dating sims, you can choose to be a loner by having an even amount or not enough of points for all the datable characters. This is the only special ending that you can get without completing a normal route to begin with, and it counts towards unlocking one of the special endings.
And like all special endings, the Semyon ending reveals a lot about the backstory. Some actions tie into later paths and when you go through the final, final ending, you would go, “Oh, my god,” at the realization.
In my opinion, since Miku is a joke character, her ending is also a joke, too. Other than the part of the story where you have to go to the old camp (which, by the way, Alisa ruined for me), it’s the closest time the game crosses genre to a horror game. I didn’t expect any of it. Even if it’s a joke, it fucked me up. This path is also the only overt evidence we get that Lena is the yandere, with the only other hint lying in Slavya’s route, when we see Lena holding something that glints in the moonlight as she (assumedly) catches us after doing the deed.
Then, we have the other special ending. Throughout the game, there’s a hint of a character that we never got to see, only hear and hear about. In this special ending, we finally get to meet her. While she explains a lot of the story to the best of her ability, it still leaves me confused. Her ending also has a “good” and “bad,” unlike Miku’s which is linear. Her good and bad variants are actually both good, so it should be “good” and “better.” Though, after listening to her explanation, you’re going to feel really weird about the “good” ending.
Finally, we have the final, final ending. The lovely librarian Zhenya (best girl 2) that I had complained about being undatable on the first day. I am a sucker for tsunderes, rocker girls, and girls with glasses. This is, without a doubt, the most satisfying but even more longwinded ending of the game. It’s the only ending other than Alisa’s that made me smile and it’s the only ending that got me rooting for the “villain” of the story. To unlock this ending, you have to have romanced each girl once and seen their endings (regardless of good or bad). This includes the special routes. However, I am not sure if you need to do both the endings for the secret character. You don’t make any choices in this one, you just read. You start it by going into settings, mods and user’s scenarios, then clicking on, “One Pioneer’s Story.”
My only wish is to also be able to keep the special Zhenya backgrounds as they are very, very adorable. I think this ending also redeems the “villain” a little (but no excuse for the attempted r*pe of my best girl!!!) and give some more insight as to why he is the way he is, though I can already sympathize with him after meeting him for the first time in the Semyon route.
Over all, there are moments where I got scared, laughed out loud, bored out of my mind, cringed my neck away, and also intrigued. This game’s got it all. Is it worth the time I put into it? No. Did I like it? Yes.
Three and a half stars out of five.
Thoughts on the Girls
Best girl of the base game, 9/10. A little tsundere who wants to act tough but is actually a big baby. You’re the only one who gets to rein her in. That is intoxicating power. Your little groupie. The only one who is strong enough to break out of the camp’s coding for her. Reacts to things like a normal person would, albeit a person with a terrible temper. Could be a little less whiny, though. Artificial conflict between her and Lena.
Vanilla. Girl next door. The first character you meet face to face is always the vanilla choice, and she is the first character you meet face to face. Very understanding, too understanding. There’s a reason why she’s the second in command after the camp leader. 6/10. Stop being so perfect and kind and understanding, you’re letting everyone walk over you.
8/10 in Miku’s route. RIP, you were really funny and I can’t see you the same anymore, nya.
NOT a fan. 3/10. She tricked me on the first two days, made me think she was the quiet bookworm (hits the same place in my heart as girls with glasses do), but she is anything but. She is a LIAR, all she wants is your shlong. You can see through her act the second day onwards. Do not fall for her schemes. Do not pick strawberries with her. Literally guilts you when you say you want some time. Artificial conflict with Alisa.
1/10 in Miku’s route. You can go to hell for doing that to my sweet, sweet Alisa.
Let’s be honest here, no one’s first choice was her. God, I hope no one’s first choice was her. 6/10, little rascal, a literal child. Would take care of like a little sister. And ONLY a little sister. Definitely on some kind of list for going through her ending, even though nothing happens and she’s at least eighteen in the real world. The game gives contradicting portrayals of how old this kid actually is.
Comic relief. 7/10. Definitely not a reference or a rip-off of some other Miku with teal hair and absurd pigtails. Airheaded. Ramble-master. Doesn’t actually sing in Japanese.
5/10 in her route. Nightmare fuel generator, but really funny when paired with “Slavya.” No, Miku is not actually her real name. Yes, you’re the reason why she’s called Miku.
I love you. 10/10.
5/10. Funky. Takes “go fuck yourself” to a whole new level.
Frosty Kiss is an unofficial sequel to Everlasting Summer. It’s set a year after the girls rescued Semyon from the camp, hence the “Harem” ending is the canon ending. Zhenya also exists in this world, even though in her ending they are getting married, so I guess this is the lame Semyon that didn’t get engaged to Zhenya.
Even though this sequel treats the “Harem” ending as canon, they completely changed the characters’ appearances. They now look exactly like they did at the camp, even though their looks in the base game’s real world is so much better.
It’s a short sequel, so nothing much can be said. The translation job is worse than Everlasting Summer, though that is to be expected. I would really like it more if they kept the “Harem” look and also gave them more personality since it’s established in the base game that Semyon interacts with the reduced versions of the girls in the majority of his time at the camp.
Anyway, it’s more content with the girls and the happy ending that we never got to see in the base game, so it’s a fun half an hour game.
And, to part, the CG that we were robbed from.