PSYCHEDELICA OF THE BLACK BUTTERFLY
Release Date: April 27, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Aksys Games promised to release three otome titles as part of their 2018’s Summer Mystery Promo. As their first released title, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is an oddball among the usual otome labels that were recently localized this year.
Exploring the World In Between
As intriguing as the title sounds, this game draws you to a heart-rending story line of tragic mystery and offers one very unique way of playing it. That said, Psychedelica BB is not your average otome game. I’d like to think of it as one of those underrated visual novels that holds deeper meanings and weights very powerful messages coming from it’s well written routes. I consider the added side romance as a nice fluff to lighten up the game’s rather dark theme.
Psychedelica BB pretty much revolves around the theme of ‘death’ and ‘grief’. So if you’re uncomfortable with these topics, this game is probably not for you.
Read the story synopsis here.
ART AND MUSIC
The game’s art style is one of it’s most appealing factor. It had a very remarkable aesthetic sensation that imbues the surreal world of the setting’s dream-like state. We have the artist, Satol Yuiga to thank for that. Looking forward to more of her works in the upcoming game Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk this June.
Another aspect that captivates you to this game is its soundtrack. For the most part, I really enjoyed the game’s BGMs. It blended well with the mystifying atmosphere it’s trying to create. Here’s my fav track!
One thing I noticed at the start of the game was the voiced heroine. It’s not every day that your main protagonist gets a VA so I was really excited how this one played out. Although I could not relate to Beniyuri (MC) on a personal level, I liked how her voice actor smoothly carries out her dialogues. It makes the player (you) really empathize with the character’s emotions.
Nakahara Mai “BENIYURI” – Nagisa (Clannad), Kaede Minami (Mirmu De Pon), Noi Kasahara (The Wallflower)
Toriumi Kosuke “KAGIHA” – Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Saitou Hajime (Hakuoki), Momochi Choujirou (Nightshade), Uesugi Kenshin (Sengoku Nightblood), Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Ikemen Sengoku)
Ishikawa Kaito “HIKAGE” – Alyn Crawford (Midnight Cinderella), Tobio Kageyama (Haikyu!), Tenya Iida (My Hero Academia)
Hosoya Yoshimasa “YAMATO” – Luka (Amnesia Crowd / World), Loki (Kamigami No Asobi), Yukimura Sanada (Ikemen Sengoku) , Yusuke Asahina (Brother’s Conflict)
Matsuoka Yoshitsugu “MONSHIRO” – Arata (Arata The Legend), Takuru Miyashiro (CHAOS Child)
Tetsuya Kakihara♥ “KARASUBA” – Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Shin (Amnesia Memories), Toki Tanba (The Charming Empire), Isora (7’sCarlet)
ROUTES AND MAIN CHARACTERS
Recommended Play Order Below:
Following the play order above is the easiest, most convenient way to unlock all of the character’s endings as well as the common route’s best, good and real-world ending. I don’t think there’s a ‘True Route’ in this game so you can deviate whichever character you want to play first. However, be aware that when aiming for some of the character’s “True Ending”, you are required to unlock another character’s route beforehand. For example, Yamato’s true ending can only be obtained if you’ve finished Kagiha’s route.
Also, I believe this game only had ONE Happy Ending. (sarcastic laugh) No kidding! I’m not saying the rest are bad either but they are definitely NOT ‘happy’ so to speak.
Characters (SPOILER FREE)
- Big Bro
- Route Message: “Acceptance”
It is almost impossible not to do Kagiha’s route first nor unravel this character’s story as he was very much involved in the main plot (Common Route) and pretty much the rest of all the routes in this game. Kagiha is considered the big-brother-type character of the bunch. He’s usually that guy that puts a stop to playful fights (initiated by Karasuba and Yamato). He’s also genuinely very affectionate and gentle towards the heroine.
Kagiha’s story was very emotional. I cried after finishing his route. It’s pretty up there with the heavy drama that I’m almost certain will get your hearts bawling in the end. If you think Saint Germain’s route in Code Realize was heartbreaking, try this one on for size!
- Route Message: “Letting Go of the Past”
I’m actually glad I played Hikage’s route second. The thing is, there are certain short stories you’ll need to watch to get this character’s ending. Tip: Knock out all of his short stories and clear Kagiha’s ending and you’ll have no problems running his route smoothly. Hikage’s character was also very much involved in the Common Route. His plot twist was really unexpected that I was actually caught off guard on my first playthrough. In his route, there were a few easter eggs that were brought up which I really enjoyed, like the picture book story about the “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly” (Yes! the game title itself! lol). IMO, the fable somehow explains Hikage’s true feelings and anguish towards his past and present.
- Hates the sound of rain
- Lone Wolf
- Route Message: “Guilt“
Yamato’s character was my favorite since he was the most realistic character in the game. He starts off as this really irritable persona who’s always getting agitated during the game’s premise, but later on softens up after talking to Beniyuri and regaining parts of his memories. His behavior in the manor was deliberately explained during the real world ending (Why he’s always so desperate to go back to the real world, why he hates the sound of rain, etc.). This is why it is a prerequisite to unlock the Real World Ending first before jumping into his route. Yamato was also a very flawed character from the get-go (one, I can personally relate to), his story merely gravitates towards his feelings of guilt and despair due to his past actions which he fully regrets. His story conclusion was either to wallow in guilt and grief (Bad End) or to continue moving forward (Good End).
- Fox boi
- Route Message: “Trust”
Another favorite character of mine, in Psychedelica BB. Monshiro is the mysterious fox masked stranger who appeared at the start of the game rescuing Beniyuri and Hikage from the manor’s lurking monsters. He is one peculiar character that kept reappearing in the common route trying to get close to the main protagonist by helping her in any way he can. He doesn’t talk much and appears to have an attachment towards Beniyuri and Yamato. Because he’s always used to being alone, it was very difficult for him to interact with others, making it a little awkward whenever he does.
Monshiro’s route probably had THE best pacing in the game~ I was at the edge of my seat while playing his story.
- Biggest Flirt
- Route Message: “Denial”
Karasuba is one happy go lucky character and the easiest going of the group. He’s usually found butting heads with Yamato and continuously flirts with heroine all throughout the story. Despite his cheerful facade, Karasuba is actually one deep character and the jolly personality he’s fronting is his way of hiding the skeletons in his closet. Karasuba’s true ending was also the most difficult to unlock (to me anyway lol) as you’re required to watch almost all of the short stories and clear other routes beforehand. I did like all of his endings, including his ominous bad ending(laughs). I was also satisfied to unlock his good ending as it clearly redeems the character’s good side through the heroine’s help.
BENIYURI (Main Heroine)
- Character Message: Repudiation (refusal to accept the truth)
Besides having the weirdest name I’ve come across with for an otome heroine, Beniyuri is a kind, patient and optimistic protagonist and I like her own strength and sense of determination in the game. That aside, this heroine can also become a bit nosy, reckless and way too trusting not knowing her naivety can hurt her in the long run.
Beniyuri may not be the best otome heroine, but still one great likable character in Psychedelica BB.
FLOWCHART AND MINI GAME
Playing this game requires you to navigate through a flowchart system. I don’t really find this troublesome at all since it kind of works to the game’s advantage when trying to determine the story branches you’re in as well as getting to the endings you’re aiming for. I guess the only con I can point out regarding the flowchart system is that the side stories won’t automatically play when you’re going for a character’s route. You will need to load the flowchart and unlock the short stories to watch them separately. So to those who are fond of auto-plays, this may come out a bit bothersome, but you’ll get used to it eventually.
Butterfly Hunt Mini Game
You will only get to play this mini-game on chapters 2:2 and 4:1. The game requires you to hunt for ‘monsters‘ in the form of butterflies, locking targets to shoot them. The trick is to lock as many targets as you can before firing a shot, that way you’ll get more points than usual. You’ll need to aim for a score of A or S to unlock trophies (on PSVita). You’ll also need these points when unlocking short stories in the flowchart.
You will also get to choose who to pair up within this mini-game. All your partner ever does really, is cheer for you lol.
GAME TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE
The entire gameplay for Psychedelica BB is a bit short (20-30 hours) which kind of works for me since I’m not too fond of really long play runs. To me, PBB is a game with good pacing and one REALLY impressive story-line that’ll get you all them FEELS. It also offers great valuable lessons in life that got me deep in thought after finishing the game, and I really love it when a visual novel does that.
Although the romance was given less emphasis, I still enjoyed playing Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly as a whole and wouldn’t mind playing it again… *cough* after I get this big lump of nail off my chest *cough*
I will admit, it’s not my favorite but it did come close to my top five. It may be underrated (as it seems), but I believe this is one great game that fits its full pricing. If you’re a visual novel fan who enjoys a very “human” story with relatable characters and don’t mind melancholic endings, this one is definitely worth picking up.