NOTE: This review is SPOILER FREE.
Release Date: May 25, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Toybox Inc, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
As the second title released by Aksys Games for their Summer Mystery Bundle, 7’scarlet offers one gripping mystery-solving gameplay amplified with a cute touch of romance.
Read the game’s synopsis here.
Romance and Folklore
Otome Visual Novels are either a hit or a miss when it comes to it’s story narratives. 7’scarlet did one hell of a job foregoing a simple but very intriguing mystery-type plot line while having a few romantic events as an additive to its overarching deep story.
With the help of its unique visuals and animations, playing 7’scarlet was close to watching your favorite anime series.
One of the things I really enjoyed while playing 7’scarlet was its astonishing BG images. It’s just so pretty, it’s like wallpaper material! (giggle). The game’s artist was non-other than, Kurahana Chinatsu an illustrator who’s also famous for her other popular works such as the character designs for Uta no Prince-Sama, Lamento (Beyond the Void), and Togainu no Chi.
Looking at these lovely BG images reminded me of browsing through expensive art catalogs!
SOUNDTRACK AND VOICE ACTING
There are two opening themes, “World’s End Syndrome” and “LOVESICK”, you can unlock the latter after finishing a certain route in the game. The BGMs are good too, some are rather simple but very fitting for the game’s setting and transitions. Heck, I ended up buying the whole 7’scarlet soundtrack in iTunes.
And like any other Otomate titles, there will always be that one song you’ll end up getting stuck with. That one-song that gave you so much FEELS. In 7’scarlet, mine would have to be the song “Starry”.
Nobunaga Shimazaki “Hino“ – Napoleon (Ikevamp), Kurogane Naoto (BlazBlue), Mitsuhide (Sengoku Nightblood)
Tetsuya Kakihara “Isora“ – Shin (Amnesia), Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Karasuba (Pyschedelica BB), Toki Tanba (Charming Empire)
Showtaro Morikubo “Toa“ – Impey (Code Realize), Reiji (Uta no Prince-sama), Okita (Hakuoki)
Chiharu Sawashiro “Sosuke“ – Shila (Snow White and the Red hair), Hero (Caligula Effect)
Shinichirou Miki “Yuzuki“ – Hijikata (Hakuoki), Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Bucket-Sensei (Bad Apple Wars)
Sanae Kobayashi “Yuki“ – Sara Nome (Macross Zero), Nagisa (Maid Sama)
Hiroki Yasumoto “Mr. Karasuma“ – Azrael (BlazBlue), Nidai Nekomaru (Danganropa V3), Hyuga (KLAP)
Hiroki Takahashi “Kagura Tsukuyomi“ – Rayne (Neo Angelique Abyss), Otohiko (Kamisama Kiss), Koujaku (DRAMAtical Murder)
Daisuke Kishio “Yasu“ – Azusa (Diabolik Lovers), Mizushima Arata (Kiniro no Corda: Bluesky), Kuzuryuu (Danganropa V3)
Chiwa Saito “Yua“ – Aoi Asahina (Danganropa V3), Taokaka (BlazBlue), Domina (Period Cube), Fate (Caster)
MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)
Recommended play order:
3)Toa – only unlocks after finishing Hino and Isora’s good ending
4)Sosuke – only unlocks after finishing Toa’s good ending
5)Yuzuki – only unlocks after finishing all of the character’s good ending
- Childhood friend
Hino’s story was cute. It had very few spoilers regarding the game’s overarching plot but his route did a good job catering as a story build-up for the oncoming routes you’ll get in to after finishing the first two recommended ones (his and Isora’s). I enjoyed the fact that Hino was physically a jock on the outside but covertly the biggest dork on the inside (the guy fangirls on ‘kawaii’ things! lol). His romance was more into the generic childhood-friend trope, which I’m not really a big fan of. His route wasn’t my favorite, but it was definitely a good start.
- Best Chef
- Hot tempered
Just like Hino’s route, Isora’s story offers very few spoilers of the game’s underlying plot but was well written enough to create a very mysterious atmosphere of the town, Okunezato. Isora’s character was also deeper than what I expected and I wished the writers expounded more on the depth of this character’s actions rather than just throwing it out there on the spot. Despite this, I love Isora Amari’s story. It had great pacing, enough to give you that creep factor you seek in every mystery-themed visual novel. His romance, on the other hand, may not suit everyone’s preferences. Although I personally enjoyed it, I can understand how it may not work for some.
- Cat mom
- Clumsy af
- Color blind
- such a sweet boi!
So my first impression with Toa was: “Really?! I have to romance this clumsy nerd, seriously, game?”. Then I started playing his route just to get it over with and oh my goodness! I did not expect the sudden turn of events!
As I’ve probably mentioned repeatedly in my previous reviews… I absolutely love it when a game catches you off guard, and this route takes the cake! I was left speechless. I couldn’t talk more about his story without going into spoiler territory so I’ll leave it at this: Toa was such a great character and he deserves all the love in the world! Best boy (imo), one that’s definitely unforgettable.
- Neat freak!
- Best Doctor
If there was one route that got me at the edge of my seat in 7’scarlet ~ it was definitely Sosuke’s. His story had great pacing where it started off very light and warm then surprisingly escalated into a few bemusing affairs. His route also introduced a more definitive and deeper story regarding the mysteries surrounding the town of Okunezato. While the suspense was a little overwhelming in this route, I wanted to comment on how the romance never took a back seat in Sosuke’s story. His relationship with the heroine felt genuinely real and I love both his and Ichiko’s character development. I also loved the fact that Sosuke was such a neat freak and becomes very obsessive-compulsive about something so simple such as a goldfish scooping game! The perfect husbando, if you ask me! (chuckles)
- Jerk Boss
While the suspense was building up in Sosuke’s previous route, Yuzuki’s story, on the other hand, was a powerhouse of everything (thrill, drama, a few action-packed scenes, and some romantic fluffs) …And although it happened so fast, all at the same time, I’ve got to say it was paced really well that it didn’t come out too forced nor too overwhelming with information. I personally love Yuzuki’s character. He’s cold and irritable on the outside but inside his icy personality is one very warm, fluffy husbando! His story was probably the most compelling as far as solving the mysteries of Okunezato goes.
Ichiko Hanamaki (You)
- amnesiac heroine (explained in ??? ‘s route)
- hates strawberries (explained in ??? ‘s route)
- can’t swim (explained in ??? ‘s route)
Despite the the main protagonist’s naivety and recklessness to a point where you’d clearly have to question this heroine’s sense of danger (laughs), Ichiko Hanamaki had a couple of good points up her sleeve such as her strong will and determination to look for her disappeared older brother in spite of being absolutely clueless on where to begin. Another enjoyable aspect was how this heroine sometimes gets shamelessly clumsy in declaring her love to the gentleman of her liking. She had a couple of funny moments that got me all “wtf lol” ~ so it was never a dull moment playing her as the MC.
And it gets better…
So the story doesn’t really end there. After finishing Hino, Isora, Toa, Sosuke, and Yuzuki’s route. Two more routes unlock in this game.
Who is the culprit?
Another factor why this game was so entertaining to me was that it reminded me of playing Mafiascum.
As someone who’s been playing mafiascum online for a long time, the game’s conclusion was somewhat predictable but I’ve got to admit, it was one gripping read and the “True Ending” was painfully heartbreaking.
OVERALL THOUGHTS? ( ´ ▽ ` )
7’scarlet is a very well written mystery themed visual novel. While the story was so simple, the events were paced so good that each tension as you unravel the mysteries remained suspenseful enough to keep you wanting for more.
Truth be told, I did not expect I’d get so emotionally attached to this game. It’s really one gripping read. I couldn’t get over it for maybe a week (laughs). I guess my only gripe was that I wished they could’ve done more with the last secret route as the ending felt a little rushed and lacking. (shrug)
The animation and movie clips of 7’scarlet made this game more entertaining. Though without it, the game still excels as one of the most compelling stories an otome game has to offer. Do I recommend this game? YES! If you’re looking for a good mystery-romance themed visual novel with great art, music, animation and one unforgettable story that will rob you of words, 7’scarlet is a perfect choice.