Nadia Cerezo   Nice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
36 year-old French gaymer and chivo huntress
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Steam Replay 2022
Replay 2022
Favorite Game
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A Summer’s End - Hong Kong 1986 is a yuri visual novel taking place in Hong Kong in 1986 (which absolutely could not be guessed from the title, right?). You play as Michelle, a young office lady who meets Sam, a lesbian who falls for her at first sight. Your choices will determine whether their romance is but a summer fling or goes well beyond the titular end of summer.

Optional adult scenes can be added via a free patch.

  • AMAZING 80s-inspired soundtrack. Seriously, I've never wanted to buy a game's soundtrack this badly... fingers crossed for it to be released at some point
  • Flawless art reminiscent of 80s anime and manga. Dev blog says Kimagure Orange Road was an influence, but it reminds me a lot of more of Tsukasa Hojo (Cat's Eye and City Hunter especially)
  • Great story which will, depending on player choices, either be uplifting and empowering or bittersweet, but will remain (almost painfully) realistic either way
  • Gorgeous characters (seriously everybody is drop-dead gorgeous, even the guys)
  • Aesthetically flawless 80s-inspired GUI
  • Huge variety of clothes, poses, backgrounds and items
  • Optional, tasteful and super hot adult scenes
  • Superb gallery featuring unlockable bonus pictures, some of which don't even appear in-game
  • One of my favorite narrative techniques ever: after a cliffhanger, the story gets rewinded and retold from the perspective of Sam and it gives you so much more insight into her thoughts, feelings and background

  • Wonky skip function that sometimes stops on seen text and sometimes doesn't on unseen text...
  • Feels very short, partly because the yuri genre tends to take its sweet time with any romantic development, also partly because there is so much more that could have been told about the two main characters (dev blog indicates more will indeed be told in some fashion, though apparently not via visual novels), but mainly because the experience is so expertly put together, I really did not want it to end (and neither did many of my fellow reviewers, apparently)
  • No soundtrack available for purchase and no in-game jukebox to listen to the tunes outside of the story... which is a shame given the amazing tunes this game features
  • No achievements or trading cards (feel free to look down on me for mentioning those, but I'm an achievement and badge hunter and I would sincerely love to add this game's achievements and badge to my collection, sue me)
  • Process to install the optional adult patch is a bit convoluted (look for the INSTALLATION GUIDE FOR OPTIONAL ADULT CONTENT PATCH section on this official webpage for precise instructions:


Full disclosure: I was born in 1986 (not even kidding), though nowhere near Hong Kong. I'm sure my nostalgia for the late 80s and early 90s has made my experience with the game even more magical. See, that music style, those outfits, that technology, they remind me of my childhood, so even though the story is quite mature, it still evokes a deep sense of familiarity in me. Kudos to the devs for bringing the 80s back to life in such a precise and powerful fashion.

Even fuller disclosure: I am a lesbian and a yuri fangirl and those two things aren't necessarily all that related (by that I mean I could have been a lesbian and have no interest in yuri or be a straight yuri fangirl). This game appealed to the lesbian in me a lot more than it did the yuri fangirl for good reason: the romance is incredibly realistic. Pretty much none of the tropes of the yuri genre are to be found here. There's very little blushing, no endless wondering what feelings are, no red string of fate pushing the protagonists towards each other against their will, no piles of overt displays of affection that anyone could misunderstand as friendly rather than flirty... Most impressive of all is that it's actually Michelle (who is the straight-coded, innocent, traditionalist, serious, tsundere, passive/bottom character) who very proactively pursues Sam (who is the queer-coded, out, extraverted, modern, artistic, athletic, free-spirited, active/top character), though the yuri genre would pretty much prescribe the opposite...

Putting those considerations aside, this game is a must-play for you if you meet one (or more) of the following criteria:
  • You feel nostlagia for the 80s or like them for some other reason (or lack thereof)
  • You enjoy good, mature, realistic romance stories and are at least open-minded about LGBTQ+ issues
  • You've watched the trailers and thought the soundtrack and artwork were awesome

One last thing I feel I need to mention but couldn't figure whether to put as a Pro or Con is the underlying discussion about Hong Kong's political relationship with China. It's not a main theme of the game, but there is enough material to make one think some more about what that situation might represent for the people of Hong Kong. For me, it's a Pro, since I always enjoy getting to know more about viewpoints/cultures/opinions I know little about. Your mileage may vary depending on the intensity of your feelings and convictions about that issue, but rest assured that it is a minor theme in the game and, in my opinion, should not ruin your experience.

All in all, this is an amazing piece of art that deserves heaps of praise and I cannot wait to see what Oracle and Bone produce next.
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