Actually I suspect D3 Publisher intentionally made them not-so-likeable because of the kind of game this is. Unlike most otome games, Storm Lover offers a lot of flexible (or should I say ‘loose’) dating options so you can date guys without actually being locked into a route until the game ends.
You can date Kyosuke for a month, dump him for Yuto, flirt with other guys until Yuto leaves you for another girl, win Yuto back, woo Kyosuke again on the side then leave Yuto for him, date Kyosuke for another month then ditch him for Tatsumi/Mio/Rikka/anyone else once and for all. You do have to get your final guy early enough to see his story events or risk breaking up after the ending (as I found out when I left Kyosuke for Mio in February) but otherwise you can get a perfectly good ending with the last guy not matter how many guys you’ve dated that year.
If Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 gave you a harem of unwitting ex-boyfriends, Storm Lover gives you a harem of ex-boyfriends who know they’re ex-boyfriends but can’t help loving you anyway. Apparently you even get a special ending for loving and leaving all 6 main guys. Think you might get a kick out of that? Enough people did that the game got a remake (Storm Lover -> Storm Lover Kai!!), a fandisk (Natsukoi!) and a sequel in very short order. Personally it wasn’t really my thing. You either have to like at least one of the guys enough to date, or you have to enjoy teenage melodrama enough to create your own dating merry-go-round. Neither case applies to me, so I was left out in the cold.
Not liking any one guy enough also made just sticking to one guy extremely boring, which isn’t surprising because the game isn’t intended for the faithful among us. Go to school, come home, go to his place, make out, go on a date, make out, go to school, come home. BORING. Kyosuke had some backstory about being a boxer in junior high and quitting, so at some point MC drags him back to the gym so he can start again, then some gangsters kidnap MC right before Kyosuke’s pro test and he comes to save her. Blah blah I love you, blah blah. Love scenes are just annoying when you’re not into the guy.
tl;dr – If you don’t mind relationship drama, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like any of the guys. If you do like any of the guys then you can straight up date them and forget the drama (though as I said fidelity is made dull on purpose). But if, like, me you don’t like the guys but don’t particularly want to date around, then Storm Lover doesn’t have much to offer you. But then again, that applies to any otome/romance game ever made, so I guess I don’t need to tell you that.
Let me close with a quick rundown of Storm Lover’s gameplay. I heard someone describe it as Tokimemo Girl’s Side Lite. More like very, very Lite, but it does have some gameplay in there. Some. Anyway, I’ll explain the few things you can do with the aim of my trusty screenshots, but before that, here’s a tl;dr of why I wasn’t so crazy about the game, in case you don’t care about the system and want to quit here.
- The guys are too similar in looks and personality. And they all like the same kind of girl.
- The one guy I wanted, Souma Takashi, is not actually dateable (you can sort of get his ending, but it doesn’t even come with a CG). I wouldn’t have minded Tsukasa-sensei either, but you can only get him on a second playthrough and I’m not playing this twice.
- They’re all a little weird, but not in a good way. Just kind of ‘off’.
- The character designs do nothing for me.
- The guys fall in love too quickly.
- They fall in super-love with you too quickly. That’s “baka couple” mode where the guy whispers sweet nothings into your ears all the time. It’s not romantic when it’s so easy to get to that stage.
- The guys are really nice and friendly right from the start, so it doesn’t feel particularly different when they start liking you (because they like you to begin with) or when you start dating. You have to get to “baka couple” mode to tell the difference.
- Dates are boring. Go, eat, kiss, come home.
- Dating one guy is like dating any other. In theory they like different date spots like in TMGS, but in practice there are only like 6 spots in the game and pretty much the same stuff happens at all of them.
- Too much making out, especially in inappropriate places like the library and the local cafe.
- After dumping a guy, you can woo him back and dump him again. Why would anyone date a girl who threw them over for another guy just two months ago? They seem dumb, or maybe MC is just that special.
- Events are frequent, which is good. Events are boring, which is bad.
- Characters behave exactly the same way in scripted school events, even if you just dumped one of them the night before. E.g. The farewell party in Feb. plays out the same when I’m dating Kyosuke and when I’m dating Mio after ditching Kyosuke. You’d expect there to be a little awkwardness, at least.
- You can only buy stuff for guys, nothing for yourself.
- It’s a stat-raising game, but stats mean nothing. Studying isn’t even animated.
Now on to the system explanation. First useless stuff like the school calendar.
It’s useless. Any important event like Valentine’s Day will either play out automatically or the game will remind you. Its only possible use is to remind you when exams are coming up, but the anonymous school bulletin board does that as well. The bulletin board is also useless otherwise:
It usually contains ‘news’ like who’s going out with who and who likes who, what your guy’s favorite color is, etc. I suspect YOU’RE the one posting all those anonymous scoops, otherwise how could the whole school know you’re going out with XYZ barely 5 seconds after he confessed? In private? You’re a horrible person, and these are your horrible starting stats:
The blue bars are subjects: Japanese, Math & Science, English, History, P.E. and Art. The little white line after the bars is the minimum you have to reach so you don’t fail that subject in the next exam. Failing even one class means you have to take remedial classes, which means you’ll miss whatever event the game has lined up that holiday. Each guy also has 1 stat they want you to excel in so you can get a special event. Apart from that your stats are useless and can be safely ignored. That said, raising them is so easy and mechanical that you can max your stats out with 6 months to spare, so it’s your choice.
Btw, the 10,000 yen shows money you can spend buying presents for your boyfriend. He’ll usually wear the stuff you give him, which is cool, but presents start from 10,000 yen ($84) a pop. What kind of high school girl spends that kind of money on a boy? @_@ Anyway, back to the explanations. The school map:
You see a guy’s icon, you click the guy’s icon, you talk to the guy. That’s half the game right there. You can also exercise on the school grounds to raise your P.E. stat or study in the library to raise your other stats. You can talk to any guy/girl you like, but if you talk to a female rival when things aren’t going well between you and your boyfriend, she’ll attempt to steal him. And if there’s a guy who really likes you, he might show up when you’re talking to your boyfriend just to needle him.
I’m surprised anyone gets time to study when they’re so busy chasing each other’s tails, but that’s high school for you. Talking to guys is a straightforward affair – just talk until an option comes up and try to pick the right one. Once in a long while, instead of standard choice, you’ll get a “Feelings” option instead:
Pick an option to show how you’re feeling instead (Tokyo Majin Gakuen has a LOT to answer for). If you pick wrongly you can save and reload at any time, but in any case there are soooo many opportunities to text/talk to guys that you can let a few mistakes slide.
Last thing to mention, the Route Select map:
Here’s where you pick who gets to walk you to school every month. If you have a boyfriend, he expects to be the lucky one, but you can pick someone else instead (boyfy will not be pleased). Even better, you can choose a route that includes both boyfy and a close male friend for a little extra drama (boyfy will not be pleased). Or you can just screw it all and walk by yourself. Rawr, who needs a man anyway?
And that’s Storm Lover in nutshell: stalk a guy by text and in person until he asks you out/you ask him out, then date him. If you don’t like him, date someone else. If you don’t like him either, date someone else again. It definitely offers something different from the standard lovey-dovey otome package. Whether that “something different” is to your liking or not is entirely up to you.