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)
Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly pretty much revolves around the themes 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
Psychedelica BB’s art style is one of the game’s most appealing factor. I just loved looking at the colorful aesthetics that sort of imbues the surreal world of the setting’s dream-like state. We have none other than the artist/illustrator Satol Yuiga to thank for that. I’m looking forward to seeing 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 beautiful soundtrack. All the BGMs blended well with the mystifying atmosphere the gameplay tries to convey. Here’s my fav track below!
One thing I noticed at the start of the game was the voiced heroine. It’s not every day your main protagonist gets a VA so I was very enthused to hear Beniyuri’s voice! I’m a big fan of Mai Nakahara in the visual novel Clannad, so I have nothing but praises for this seiyuu.
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 feel free to deviate whichever character you want to play first. Just 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.
Characters (SPOILER FREE)
- Big Bro
- Route Message: “Acceptance”
It is almost impossible not to do Kagiha’s route first nor unravel his story at the beginning, as he was very much involved in Psychedelica BB’s common story as well as the rest of the routes in this game. Kagiha is considered the oniisan of the bunch. He acts very mature and is always looking out after the members of the group. He’s also genuinely affectionate and gentle towards the heroine.
Kagiha’s story was very emotional. 😢 I cried after finishing his route. The angst in his story was pretty up there and I’m almost certain you’ll be bawling your eyes out in no time like me, once you finish all his endings.
- Route Message: “Letting Go”
I’m 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 so you’ll have no problems running his route smoothly.
Just like Kagiha, Hikage’s character was also very involved in the Common Story. His route actually caught me off guard on my first playthrough. I wasn’t expecting it’d get so good.
His route also features a few easter eggs in the game that I really enjoyed. An example was the picture book about the “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly”. I honestly thought this fable somewhat defines Hikage’s true feelings and anguish towards his past and present.
- Hates the sound of rain
- Lone Wolf
- Route Message: “Guilt“
Yamato was my favorite among all the main casts since he was the most realistic character in the game. Although he comes across as rude and unfriendly at first, he, later on, softens up after he spends time with Beniyuri and regains parts and pieces of his memories.
I think it is a prerequisite to unlock the ‘Real World Ending’ first before jumping into Yamato’s route, since his story delved into a lot of things that explains his actions in the manor. E.g; why he’s always so desperate to go back to the real world, as well as why he hates the sound of rain.
Yamato was also a very flawed character from the get-go. His story gravitates towards his feelings of guilt and despair due to his past actions, which he fully regrets. I believe it was Yamato’s story that got me really invested in the game all because of how humanly relatable he is.
- Route Message: “Trust”
Monshiro is the mysterious kitsune mask-wearing stranger who appeared at the start of the game rescuing Beniyuri and Hikage from the manor’s lurking monsters. He is one odd character that kept reappearing in the Common story.
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 quite difficult for him to interact with others, making his gestures a little awkward whenever he attempts to make friends with others. His route was another emotional ride. It was paced so good that I was at the edge of my seat the entire time playing through 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 the heroine 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.
I enjoyed all of his endings, including his ominous ‘bad end’ (lol). It was also very satisfying to unlock his ‘good ending’ as it redeemed Karasuba’s genuine side which to me was more humane and good-natured.
BENIYURI (Main Heroine)
Beniyuri is a kind and optimistic protagonist. I admire her strength, patience, and most of all, her strong will to seek out the truth.
That aside, this heroine can also become a bit nosy, reckless, and way too trusting, unaware that her lack of judgment can hurt her in the long run. She may not be the best heroine there is, but I don’t think she was that bad either.
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 this 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’ll only get to play this mini-game in 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
My gameplay for Psychedelica BB was a bit short. I believe I finished the entire game within 25-30 hours.
Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is one noteworthy visual novel with a story so good it’s beautifully haunting. In terms of storytelling, this game doesn’t hold back in hitting you with all the FEELS, and I appreciate how the story, for the most part, touched a lot of valuable lessons in life that will get you reflecting on how we generally grow as human beings.
The romance in this game took a backseat and perhaps was given less emphasis due to the overarching plot’s heavy melancholic theme. Most of the endings were rather bittersweet than “happy”. No doubt, Psychedelica BB will make you cry… I personally had no issues with this, but if you’re looking for an otome game that’s rather lighthearted in its narratives, you will probably be disappointed with this one.
Do I Recommend this game? YES
If you can deal with heavy themes such as death, grief, and catharsis, I think you will love and enjoy this game as I have. If you prefer a visual novel with a very “human” story and don’t mind a more developed and grounded plot at the cost of less romance, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is definitely worth picking up.