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New Love Plus: Insanely popular Japanese dating sim returns

Konami's latest 3DS game is about... holding hands

The new issue of Nintendo Gamer is on sale now.

Having someone to whisper 'See you later'. It's... nice, isn't it?" Like the previous games in Konami's insanely popular DS dating series, New Love Plus is split into two parts: wooing a high-school student, then keeping her wooed; the thrill of the chase followed by painstaking maintenance. In other words, the first part is the fun part.

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The 3DS version is extremely similar to the last two games. The way it all works is the same: taking the role of a schoolboy, you must arrange your daily schedule to bring you into as much contact as possible with one of three girls, and boost certain aspects of your personality according to her tastes.

The girls are the same as in the previous games, too. Nene Anegasaki is a year older than you (and a girl) and is therefore more mature; Manaka Takane is the same age as you and likes sporty boys; and the younger, impossibly shy Rinko Kobayakawa is constantly connected to her iPod, mainlining a diet of British punk and obscure books. We went for Rinko. She's glum, but opens up once you've earnt her trust and shown her that you're smart.

IT MUST BE LOVE

You have 100 days to get a girlfriend or it's game over; we scored Rinko in about 60. Once you've chosen your girl you must resist the flirtations of the others - so when Manaka lost her purse we refused to help her find it lest Rinko found out. While grinding through those 60 days, focusing on our studies and helping out in the library to boost our Intelligence and Sensitivity ratings for Rinko, we got to spend more time together. Soon we were exchanging strangely robotic emails, bumping into one another in the convenience store and walking home together at night. And that's when she came out with the line that melted our heart: "Having someone to whisper 'See you later'. It's... nice, isn't it?"

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New Love Plus' core audience is the otaku, the hikikomori (extreme recluse) who never leaves his room to interact with other people and has never had a girlfriend. In Japan, Konami will deliver the game direct to your home, the literal definition of a 'mail-order bride' - as the saying goes on otaku messageboard 2channel, "Who needs real women when you have Love Plus?"

When you've finally won over the object of your affection and gone diving in for the kiss (via a simple tap of the touch screen), it's game over. And then the game really begins. But we'll have more on that side of things in our feature next issue...

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