A Summer’s End – Hong Kong 1986 is a visual novel about a business woman discovering love, with a woman that’s everything she’s not.


At-a-glance


(Adult) Content?
Yes, (FxF) sexual tension. . . ?

Censorship?
Implied nudity.

Hours of Game-play?
Four or five hours (per ending).

Modding Support?
No.

Patch Available?
Download from Steam.



Foreword

When I first saw this game on the Steam store, I had little interest in reviewing it. To be frank, I was too cheap to pay full price for the title, and I’m not fond of visual novels. However, I received a request to review this game from the Wombat Trap Steam Group. I promptly purchased the game, and I wrote a review on May 4th, 2020.

As of June 2020, I have realized that I may of mis-installed the adult-patch. With that in mind, I will need to insure that I have correctly installed the adult-patch, and replay the game. My opinion on the game may change as a result of the patch.

Gameplay

. . . in a nutshell

Consult my article on visual novels.

out the shell. . .

There aren’t very many choices to make (in this particular read), but choices matter. What you do (or don’t) do will affect what happens in the story. Overall, this game is pretty linear — I don’t imagine subsequent playthroughs will yield much variety in the story.

Story

Michelle a young, hardworking secretary at an (unnamed) international publishing firm. Her life is a mundane one — everyday, work, sleep, rinse and repeat. That is, until one day she busts her (high) heels. Reduced to lowly sandals, everyone at work mocks her. Her supervisor directs her to nearby shoe cobbler — LOL, what a silly name. Anyways — there, Michelle meets the cobbler’s daughter, Sam. She has the appearance of an “artist”. Her messy hair, baggy jeans ‘n t-shirt are far cry from Michelle’s formal attire. It’ll take an hour before her shoes are finished undergoing repair, so she browses nearby establishments. She runs into Sam in a pet store, whom invites her to dinner.

This where the story enters the player’s reigns — the remainder of this section may differ from others’ experiences. Also, spoiler alert. I will discuss my entire playthrough.

After sharing dinner with Sam, Michelle learns that she has the hots for her (a kindling which will blaze into passion later on). She’s entranced by her care-free lifestyle. Sam is the antithesis to her all work, no play lifestyle. They meet up at a night club of sorts, where Sam tries to push Michelle’s boundaries. The night life comes as a major shock to Michelle — dancing, drinking, and socializing are far out of bounds to her.

If I were in Michelle’s situation, I’d die inside.

They eventually retire to Sam’s home, where she makes some heavy romantic advances on Michelle. Michelle is caught off guard, and she bails — but Sam’s kiss unlocks the lesbian inside of her. They spend the next day bonding, and spend the evening in bed. Problem being, Michelle can’t bear the thought of a relationship, so she bails (again).

For feck’s sakes Michelle.

Shortly afterwards, the story is told from Sam’s eyes, when she first met Michelle. We learn about her relationship with her father, and her dearest friend, Cecilia, a woman she considers her sister. After rereading the story (from Sam’s point of view), it’s back to the present.

This part of the story helps the reader gain an understanding of where Sam comes from, and what exactly she sees in Michelle.

After an outing with a nosy coworker, Sam confesses her love to Michelle, and this time, Michelle is all for it. They confirm each other’s mutual love, and they wind up dating. Unfortunately, Michelle’s mother ends up in the hospital, following a heated dispute with her. The recent turn of events have left her disdainful towards Michelle. Her relationships, old and new, reach a turning a point when she visits her mother, with Sam by her side.

. . . and that’s about it. At least, that’s how my game ended — with Michelle nestled beside her new lover.

Visuals

The titlescreen struck out to me — it’s not animated (which is a shame), but it looks wonderful. The darned thing is a work of art on its own. Even the submenus look great, all of them stylistically consistent. Audio and display preferences can be adjusted from “Settings”. “Gallery” is what is sounds like — a spot for you to review (previously encountered) CGs. For a textual tutorial (on controls), you can hit “Keys” from the main menu.

There are a fair number of background CGs in this title. Most visual novels are really stingy with their backgrounds. The character portraits look good, and there’s a some variety in the clothes they wear. However, they appear very samey — if you compare characters side by side, you’ll see what I mean. It’s as if the artist used a template, and drew over for each new character. Don’t get me wrong, the CGs looked wonderful. . . but even then the characters often looked like the same people.

At one point, a set of real videos was used as a transition. I dunno what that was about, totally threw me off.

The Goods

If you’re looking for sexy time, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. During my playthrough, I didn’t encounter a single sexy-time scene. This is not an erotic visual novel — rather, this is a tale of romance, minus the goodies.

. . . expect female-on-female sexual content.

Verdict

Wait for a sale, but do pick this title up if you’re a fan of lesbian love, in a not sexual way. There are tons of useless details in this story — each character engages in gobs of small talk, with little to no relevance to the big picture. But I like it. It brings life to each character, and it fluffs up the title. Personally, I didn’t like either character. Michelle is an over educated prude, and Sam too pushy. Despite not liking either character very much, the relationship between them, well. . .

. . . it was fire.