Lover Pretend


Review by · January 29, 2023

Sometimes pretending to be something else leads us down an unexpected path. That’s the central premise for the individual routes of the otome visual novel Lover Pretend, in which protagonist Chiyuki Ueda pretends to be in various romantic relationships and will, perhaps, ultimately find unexpected true love. The result is an enjoyable game rife with everyday drama and tenderness in equal measure.

Chiyuki Ueda is a college student aspiring to one day be a screenwriter like her late mother. However, she has one massive flaw in her repartee of writing skills: she’s incapable of writing romantic scenes. Her professor offers her the chance to be his assistant for an upcoming film project, hoping it would provide her with valuable career experience for her future. Unbeknownst to him, Chiyuki has another reason to accept his proposal. She never knew her father, and several people working on this new movie might have past connections to help her figure out his identity. Can she discover the mystery behind who her father is while also helping behind the scenes of the movie? She could even get some real-life experience to help with her romance writing. With those ideas swirling through her mind, Chiyuki takes on the job and encounters some colorful characters.

Lover Pretend is a traditional VN for those well-versed in the genre. The player scrolls through lines of text and dialogue until a choice pops up that can impact how the story plays out. The impact often occurs by changing the affection stats for the different love interests, four of whom have readily available routes and a fifth secret character route once you complete the first four. Essential terms get glossary notes, and there’s a history log you can peruse should you need a refresher on an event or line, but that’s mostly the crux of the game.

A CG screenshot of the four main love interests and protagonist Chiyuki in Lover Pretend.
The characters are the heart and soul of the game.

The only gameplay “gimmick” in Lover Pretend differentiating it from a standard VN is what is aptly called Pretend Time. Pretend Time is a timed sequence of questions where Chiyuki must help “convince” other characters of something, such as when you need to show proof of a supposed fake relationship. These segments are presented as an onscreen jigsaw puzzle, with you uncovering more of the picture with every correct response. The game keeps track of your score at the end of a Pretend Time round, with success netting you higher affection points and putting you once more on the path to a better ending.

Failing a Pretend Time can lead to a lousy conclusion. It’s an exciting concept but could be more fleshed out since you only have two responses to pick, and it boils down to choosing dialogue choices in a timed fashion. You can skip Pretend Times you’ve already gone through after playing through the game once and tailor your success rate for them, which makes getting to different endings quicker. You also have a plethora of extras, such as an art gallery, character backlogs, story maps, affection level charts, and the soundtrack.

A Pretend Time screenshot from Lover Pretend, asking the player's motivation for dating a certain character.
Pretend Time segments are timed question mini-games.

As far as otome games go, Lover Pretend is an enjoyable slice-of-life title reminiscent of playing through an interactive romantic drama. The love interests are all relatively likable and have interesting backstories you gradually uncover as you progress through the standard route and their narratives. However, from a personal stance, I prefer the secret character route to remain platonic due to its power imbalance issues. Playboy model Sena is a character type I’m usually not a fan of in otome games, but he has a lot of hidden depth and became a standout in the cast for me.

I wasn’t entirely sure I’d really like Riku’s route, given how the “fake relationship” aspect starts with what amounts to blackmail. Still, it cemented itself as one of my favorite routes once the plot progressed and actual feelings developed. Chiyuki herself is a wonderful heroine, and I found her lack of knowledge regarding romance and her conflicting emotions regarding her absent father to be quite relatable. The supporting cast is also full of memorable characters. I appreciated that the game always treated everyone on its roster with great care and respect.

A dialogue screenshot with Asagi and Hanai from Lover Pretend.
The dialogue can be quite amusing!

Graphics-wise, Lover Pretend is a beautiful VN with eye-catching character designs. The character portraits are expressive. One of my biggest complaints with the title is that Chiyuki’s screen time is limited to the CG art featuring her, giving less time to her character design. Backgrounds are bright and colorful, and the UI is equally vibrant and never becomes distracting. The voice acting is in Japanese, giving everyone expressive performances. The soundtrack isn’t groundbreaking, but it is catchy, and fits the mood of each scene well. From a script stance, Lover Pretend has an excellent translation. There are hardly any typos or grammatical errors, which is impressive, considering how text-heavy the title is! One could find the less severe stakes of the story somewhat dull, but it was a nice breath of fresh air compared to some more intense otome games out there.

Lover Pretend is a fun, enjoyable slice-of-life narrative for romance fans with some pleasant character-driven story moments throughout its run. It’s an overall solid visual novel if that’s the kind you’re in the mood for, and it put a smile on my face more often than not when I was playing it. I’d recommend it to otome fans for that reason alone, as it adds another great VN in the sub-genre to the Switch’s already extensive lineup!


Wonderfully localized script, gorgeous visual presentation, likable cast of characters, extras galore.


The plot might not be high stakes enough for some, Pretend Time gimmick isn't as fleshed out as it could be.

Bottom Line

Lover Pretend is another enjoyable otome VN on the Nintendo Switch.

Overall Score 84
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Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling is a reviewer for RPGFan. She is a lover of RPGs, Visual Novels, and Fighting Games. Once she gets onto a subject she truly feels strongly about, like her favorite games, she can ramble on and on endlessly. Coffee helps keep her world going round.