Kanojo Step is the latest VN from Smee, a company famous (or infamous) for making old style first-generation charage (right down to being able to name the protagonist and having him be a non-person, as well as there either being no drama or only weak/easily resolved drama in the story). As such, I wasn't anticipating a blowout hit, and I didn't get it, of course. However, it did surprise me a bit in one aspect...
... and that was its comedy. Ok, most of it is cheesy and 'familiar', but the timing of the comedy (usually emanating from the protagonist, as he is a 'class clown' style protagonist) is pretty much perfect and frequent enough that I spent about sixty-percent of this VN laughing.
Unfortunately, the slice-of-life in this VN and the romance (which make up everything that isn't comedy) are... unimpressive. They chose to go with heroines that were surprisingly dependent and deredere after they and the protagonist get together, and that wasn't a bad choice. However, the simple fact is that there is a huge gap in the quality of narration and dialogue between parts meant to be funny and parts that are meant to be semi-serious. This is the first VN I've encountered in a while where I felt like going to sleep whenever I wasn't laughing... and that isn't even an exaggeration.
Part of this can be attributed to the fact that the common route pretty much gluts you on everyday slice-of-life, and by the time you hit the heroine routes, it feels like being handed an apple pie after having gorged yourself on six others only an hour before. Another part is that the way the everyday life parts are sectioned out is almost always the same, leaving you with a somewhat exaggerated sense of monotony. This, combined with the frequent meaningless choices and map movement systems (the classic type seen in a lot of older slice-of-life VNs that went out of style because they drove most people up the wall) made this a VN that reflected older styles... in a bad way.
For all the salt I just spat, this VN is actually fairly enjoyable most of the time... it's just that when it starts to feel monotonous, it really feels monotonous... Given a more story-driven plot combined with this same comedy and the complete elimination of the map movement aspects, it would have probably inched its way up into the top five percent of the charage I've played over the years. Unfortunately, those aspects made for a VN that was far less than it could have been, at least from my perspective.
Edit: Understand, the people who like the 'warm and fuzzy, devoid of any stains of negative emotion' charage will lap this up. If I were to design a VN engineered solely to prick at 'mainstream' Japanese VN otakus' desire for 'an ideal everyday youth' this would be what I would aim for. However, as a story, it is fatally boring, unoriginal, and lacking in any entertainment value outside of the comedy, which happens to be hilarious.