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Visual Novel / Hush Hush - Only Your Love Can Save Them

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Hush Hush - Only Your Love Can Save Them is a visual novel/management simulator created by Sad Panda Studios, the team behind both Crush Crush and Blush Blush. Following a Kickstarter campaign that was fully funded in three days and broke numerous stretch goals, a demo of the game was released during the 2022 Steam Next Fest, with an Early Access release on August 22, 2022, and version 1.0 releasing on April 20, 2023.

This visual novel has no connection whatsoever to the novel by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Tropes Present:

  • Adjustable Censorship: Although the visual novel is censored by default, it has a paid "18+ Uncensored DLC" add-on that enables the player to remove or restore censorship by toggling the in-game settings.
  • Alternate Continuity: While Crush Crush and Blush Blush occasionally mention events that occurred in each other, Hush Hush takes place in an entirely new continuity. These differences include:
    • Fumi is a police officer, instead of being a time-travelling assassin librarian.
    • William is a fortune teller instead of a veterinarian, and goes by the name "Mystic".
    • Dmitri works at the coffee house, assisting his sister there, rather than as a pottery instructor.
    • Alpha is (and always has been) a human idol singer, rather than an artificial intelligence.
  • Ambiguous Gender: While some situations point to the protagonist being maybe male (Eli's awkward gender reveal conversation, the protagonist stereotypically male behavior) the game actually never points it out: everyone refers to the main character with gender neutral pronouns, sex scenes never show the protagonist's body and the narration makes no mention of penetrative sex.
  • Ascended Extra: In Crush Crush, Lotus is a barista Phone Fling that had yet to be upgraded to a full-fledged date option at the time of this visual novel's demo, and whose later upgrade is intended to be unlocked via an Old Save Bonus with this visual novel. In Hush Hush, she's one of the most prominent side characters, as the café she and her brother Dmitri work at is where the protagonist can order coffee to upgrade their stats.
  • Big Bad: Dorian Reed, Elle's older stepbrother, the leader of the gang that Lilliana's a member of and the man responsible for the deaths of the 9 previous chosen.
  • Call-Back: The very first interaction the player has with a human character is Eli, who encounters the player right after catching a bird and notes how their encounter would likely be going a lot differently if it had instead collided with him, referencing the opening of Crush Crush.
  • The Cameo: Some of the other Crush Crush or Blush Blush characters not being focused on (even in a Demoted to Extra state) still appear as side characters or optional events. For example, Kelby is available in a side event with Lilianna, and there is an achievement tied to a scene where Lotus attempts to flirt with Nimh.
  • Canon Foreigner: This visual novel introduces brand-new characters related to those introduced in their previous titles but never mentioned/seen before, such as Elle's suave, pink-haired brother Dorian Reed.
  • Crossdresser: At the start, the protagonist encounters a person on the beach with rainbow-colored hair wearing a yellow sundress, who some people might mistake for Iro... and then the actual Iro calls out to them, revealing that it's her brother Eli wearing one of her outfits.
  • Dark Secret: The game's store page mentions that "each girl has a potentially dangerous secret" and having to "save them from a gruesome fate" by dating them and discovering/solving their problems, hence the subtitle/tagline "Only Your Love Can Save Them". For example, Cassie has become part of a dangerous gang in order to earn some money.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the game retains the series' trademark silliness and lighthearted dialogue, the overarching plot is much more serious. If the player character fails to keep the main girls happy, they will die in hilarious or horrifying ways. As the story progresses, the player can uncovered more and more of each girls' secrets, continually painting a clearer picture of the tragic and traumatic events they faced in their past and how said events continue to haunt them in the present.
  • Demoted to Extra: The visual novel has five "main" romances: Cassie, Mio, Quill, Elle, and Iro. Interaction with other girls from the main cast of Crush Crush that appear in this story, such as Bonnibel and Fumi, are reduced to "side character dates" that do not affect the story's plot.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Every dateable girl (and boy) plus Lotus, Dimitri, Alice and many others, happily mention their previous flings with both the same and the opposite sex. Even Elle, easily the most traditional girl of the cast, mentions having erotic dreams with Bonnibel and enjoying them.
  • Evil Pays Better: Every dark karma job pays better than its counterpart good karma job.
  • Evil Is Easy: Dark karma skill checks generally have much lower requirements than the corresponding good karma skill checks for the same situation.
  • Game-Over Man: If officer Fumi drops by your house at nighttime, get ready to load a saved game. This is averted once, during Quill's route, where she visits as part of the plot - and it's sure to give you a fright.
  • Gay Option: The characters that the protagonist can date and improve their relationships with include Elle, Cassie, Iro, Mio, Quill, Bonnibel, Alpha...and Eli.
  • Golden Ending: The "Ultimate" ending; according to the connected "Summa Cum Laude" Steam Achievement, it's reached by uncovering every Dark Secret of the main love interests, having zero Dark Karma in the Karma Meter, and trying to save The Rival.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Every event moves the in-game time of day ahead by one segment, and the game keeps track of how many days have passed because there is a time limit before disaster befalls the girls. Sometimes, this can lead to scheduling conflicts, such as two girls both texting you to ask you on a date at the same time; if you haven't already built up enough of a rapport with whoever's getting snubbed, they might break up with you as a result.
  • Karma Meter: The player's skills are grouped into two categories: Positives associated with Qpernikiss, such as Suave, Tech Savvy, Buff, Lucky, and Motivation, and Negatives associated with Thelima, such as Deception, Hacking, Violence, Manipulation, and Ruthlessness.
  • Matchmaker Quest: A series of events at the Queen Bean Coffee House begin with Dimitri begging the player to help teach Lotus, his timid and prickly sister, to find love. Should you accept to help, you'll be tasked with offering Lotus suggestions of what to do or say as various attractive customers come into the café. If Lotus succeeds in getting the phone numbers of said attractive customers, she'll reward you with her own special blend of coffee, which will increase all of your good karma stats by 1, 2 or 3 points.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The game begins with a tutorial hosted by the goddesses Qpernikiss and Thelima, with the latter being this story's adaptation of The Dark One from Crush Crush, who was only known by her title.
  • Non Standard Game Over: There is a potential early Game Over, and accompanying "Speed Run!" achievement, for refusing Qpernikiss and Thelima's request at the very start of the game.
  • Power-Up Food: Downplayed. You can get a coffee from the Queen Bean Coffee House every day, which will increase one of your good karma stats by a single point. It makes sense that coffee can increase one's motivation, maybe not as much one's tech savviness.
  • Press X to Die: While some Game Overs are either not easy to see coming, or at least can't really be blamed entirely on you, there are a handful of dialogue choices that are blatantly a bad idea:
    • On the way to Iro's Fourth Date, your character will be stopped by Fumi and Saji, Iro's dad, a police officer, who makes his mistrust of you very clear. If you try to threaten him with Ruthlessness or act flippant in his face about his desire to protect Iro, Fumi will arrest you on the spot, netting you a "generic" Game Over.
    • During Quill's Fourth Date, you can pop a paper bag aprops of nothing, creating a sound resembling a gunshot. Doing so is the easiest way to get Quill's "Tragic Death" Game Over.
    • Dorian, once he invites you to his mansion before Elle's Fifth Date, will shoot you dead if you refuse the money and then taunt him about him being unable to stop you.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Before her fifth date, Dorian will offer the player $50 000 to break up with Elle, so long as you do not prematurely anger him by revealing that you know about his history of abusing her. One possible response for this is to take the money... and hurl it into the fireplace in protest.
  • Suddenly Voiced: For long-time Crush Crush players, Hush Hush is the first time they can hear Lotus' voice.
  • Timed Mission: The player only has thirty one in-game days to date girls and help them with their problems before it's too late.
  • Undignified Death: It's possible for the main five love interests to die, and in incredibly stupid ways. Each death also has accompanying art of the dead character in Super-Deformed style. the deaths are:
    • Iro may either be eaten by a shark when she goes swimming after a shark warning or get killed in a crash when she tries practice on a motor cross track.
    • Cassie can get food poisoning from pizza or crushed to death by her items during a shopping binge.
    • Mio either gets shocked by an exposed wire while setting up an arcade game or overdoses on energy drinks during a gaming binge.
    • Elle can die of embarrassment after being asked about your relationship with her, or get abducted by aliens.
    • Quill can starve to death because you didn't feed her, or get electrocuted to death while climbing on a telephone pole.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Will says so several times during his daily SMS tips: the game is designed around Trial-and-Error Gameplay. It's easy to get yourself into a dead end you're unable to get out of because of wrong decisions made several in-game days before. Make sure to keep several saves.
  • Violation of Common Sense: At the Hospital location, during specific days, you can find a bottle of pills discarded on the ground. It's possible to either leave them where they are, simply give the bottle back to the ER's nurse, or down all pills inside. Eating the pills is the only option that gives you anything (to be precise, a stat boost), though to be fair, the game does acknowledge it's not the smartest decision you've ever took, and your character is described as suffering of stomach cramps regardless.
    • Late in the game, during Quill's Fourth Date, you are presented with a very scared Quill cowering in a corner, having a flashback episode. The rest of the game encourages you to never, ever challange Quill's delusions of being a cat, something that in Real Life is considered a generally solid advice, but if you try to avoid it at all costs, you'll eventually be forced (unless you have both some points in Ruthlessness and want to get a game over) to do just that, by pulling the cat ears off her head. This will actually make Quill snap out of it long enough to tell you more about how did she get in that state, though you will not unlock the secret needed for 100% Completion unless you have a high enough Lucky stat, and pull her ears off as soon as the option is avaible.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: One of the very first events of the story is meeting siblings Eli and Iro at the beach, only for the latter to lose her bikini top while surfing; this event is censored unless the "18+ Uncensored DLC" has been purchased and enabled.