I've only played four routes so far: Jared, Shane, Paul, and PBG (listed in the order of how much I enjoyed them). But wow. This is by far one of the best otome/visual novel games that I have ever played.
The artwork and mechanics are lovely. The storyline is fully fleshed out, with wonderful dialogue, flawed but realistic and adorable characters, and an engaging series of events.
There are many choices in the game, and I felt that they all rightfully had significance on the ending. The pacing of the storyline is wonderful as well; the big competition day is the overhanging conflict of the game, and it remains so up all the way through the end. This team did an exceptional job of balancing romance, character development, and side stories with the central issue.
I loved playing as Hana, and was so pleasantly surprised by the development of her character. Her relationship with her father and her openness about her shy demeanor/experience being bullied was incredibly touching--bullying is a topic that I feel games/anime too often water down and take advantage of, but you guys did an amazing job bringing it home. I teared up while reading the letters between her and her amazing father, and was so proud to see her finally be so happy.
I also liked how Hana grows and evolves as a character depending on which route we take. I enjoyed Jared, Shane, and Paul's route so much because of how much Hana broke out of her shell and began to gain confidence in her instincts and self-worth--and how it varied for each boy. She didn't take Shane's hot-cold bullshit, called out Jared for being selfish, and walked out on Paul when he was being unreasonable. That was probably why I didn't enjoy PBG's route so much; I felt neither really grew as individuals while in a relationship with each other, that Hana stayed inside that shell.
Another route-specific complaint I have would be Paul's character development. I liked the story outline, but felt that his romantic feelings for Hana was too rushed. The redemption for all of his denial/insecurity over the class election didn't tie up all the ends--especially when I consider all of the tears Hana shed over him to Mai. A little more angst, a little more pining/jealousy, some more scenes and conversations...that would've hit the spot!
Also, Mai is possibly the best friend I've ever met--I could not agree more with her dialogue about why it was important to hold Jared accountable for his shitty actions. And the fact that she was willing to let Hana be happy with the boy she was crazy for? What an incredible, incredible friend. I was really happy to see in Jared's route that Mai and PBG get together; personally, I think they are a better couple than Hana and PBG, and their energies match each other so well. ^.^
Great, great, great, great (gosh I use that word too much to describe this game but it is so true) game. I've recommended this to so many people, and I will continue to do so! Will definitely come back to tip this amazing team when I get the funds haha.