PERIOD CUBE ~SHACKLES OF AMADEUS~
Release Date: April 28, 2017 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
With Period Cube’s MMORPG theme, I admit I was really enthused when I first started playing this title. Not because it had the same concept as Sword Art Online (forgive me but I couldn’t really get into the series, though I did play the Lost Song on PSVITA) but because this game, reminded me a lot of my childhood – indulging on those sleepless nights playing mmorpgs like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV while getting ready for my finals the next morning (lol goodtimes!).
As someone who (cough) *used to be* an mmorpg addict, Period Cube’s introduction really piqued my interest as an otome game.
Read the game’s synopsis here.
ART AND MUSIC
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Period Cube that initially caught my attention was the game’s beautiful art style, done by non-other than the artist Kuroyuki, also known for her popular works; Gekka Ryouran Romance and Black Wolves Saga. You can visit her Pixiv profile here.
Fun Fact: Ibarano Rakuen, the game’s opening theme was performed by Joelle, an American – Japanese artist from Utah, USA. She also sang “Lucky Maria”, the end credits for the 1990’s hit American movie “TRICK”. You can visit the artist’s website here.
Nobuhiko Okamoto “Hiroya” – Katsuki (My Hero Academia), Hansel (Code Realize), Manabu Souda (Collar x Malice), Kougami Akira (Nil Admirari), Lancelot (Ikerev), Shin-ah (Akatsuki no Yona)
Maeno Tomoaki “Radius“ – Lupin (Code Realize), Camus (Utapri), Son Hak (Akatsuki no Yona), Keisuke Sanjou (Collar x Malice)
Takahiro Sakurai “Astrum” – Mejojo von (Black Wolves Saga), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)
Hanae Natsuki “Libera” – Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Sera Akito (Collar x Malice), Jonah (Ikerev)
Daisuke Hirakawa “Zain” – Saint Germain (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), Oomi (Hiro no Kakera)
Yuuichirou Umehara “Demento”– Shingen Takeda (Ikemen Sengoku), Shinobu Kurosawa (Dynamic Chord)
Kousuke Toriumi “Shiki / Poyo-Poyo” – Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), John Watson (Code Realize), Kagiha/Lawrence (Psychedelica Series), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ikesen)
Showtaro Morikubo “Jocus” – Souji Okita (Hakuoki), Impey (Code Realize), Toa (7’scarlet), Reiji (Utapri)
Toshiki Masuda “Mergo” – Ieyasu Tokugawa (Ikesen), Kei Yoshimine (The Charming Empire)
In terms of spoiler content, from least to greatest ~ I strongly recommend playing the game in the route order below:
Arcadia – the mmorpg game our main characters are playing.
World V – The server where Arcadia players are sucked into.
Ark – aka “dungeon” in mmorpg lore, where players need to clear in order to exit the game world.
Angels and Demons – the only two factions in Arcadia
Trinity of Swords – three most powerful weapons in Arcadia (Shadow’s Edge, Divine Blade of Light and the Almighty Amadeus)
- Solo Player
- Cold, Snob
- Tsun tsun
- IRL: Idol
The lone-wolf solo player of the demon faction. Radius holds an icy attitude towards everyone in Arcadia, including the heroine. He never joins a party and prefers to clear the ark on his own. He wields the Shadow’s Edge, one of the most powerful weapons in World V.
Although I liked Radius route, for the most part, I find his romance with the heroine a little too forced. His story started somewhat interesting because of his tsundere nature, which I think was really cute. But he fell in love with Kazuha way too quickly that I find it really hard to believe (like why tho?). He does have some fluffy moments with the heroine in the real world and his overall progress as a character was a tad better than the other bachelors but If it wasn’t for Maeno’s irresistible voice acting, I probably would’ve not enjoyed this route as much as I did. ┐( -“-)┌
- Clarius Guild Leader
- Roleplaying level 110%
- Panic Attacks
- IRL: Nerdy Med school student
Astrum is the leader of the famous guild, Clarius. They are considered as Arcadia’s speed-runners when it comes to clearing difficult quests and dungeons. He posses the Divine Blade of Light, one of the Trinity of Swords in World V and almost everyone in the Angel faction respects him for his leadership and camaraderie.
Astrum is also well-known for his exaggerated role-playing in Arcadia and listening to his flamboyant lines (in the game) was pretty much cringe-worthy lol. I didn’t really deem this character interesting at first, as I did with Radius but after meeting Astrum in real life as Toru, the nerdy med student who gets panic attacks whenever Kazuha talks to him, I was overwhelmed by how hilarious this guy was, that I immediately started liking him (laughs). His route was a breath of fresh air due to the added comic relief and I did not expect I’d enjoy him so much. Best route in the game (imo)!
- Cold blooded murderer
- IRL: Convenient Store clerk
The ruthless Arcadia gamer who loves PK’ing other players for fun. Demento’s race was changed to “Fallen” due to his uncontrollable lust of murdering other players (be it an Angel or a Demon) in World V. Because of his Fallen status, he has certain restrictions such as not being able to carry any kind of weapon other than his basic rubber daggers as well as not being able to enter certain location points (city) in Arcadia.
*Plays Bad Romance in the BG* My biggest problem with Demento’s route was that it lacked in character depth so much that I’ve asked myself over and over again “Why is this even a route?!” I mean, I love my trashy characters in otomes and I’m usually always in the front lines defending their sad excuse for an attitude (laughs) but Demento’s story was just a bad case of FUBAR. It would have been better if he had some sort of backstory that explained his bloodthirstiness and his hate for his life in the real world, but NOPE you ain’t gettin any of that here, no sir! ┐(︶▽︶)┌
What’s worse is that his route branches off from Astrum’s story so I literally power skipped everything except for the last two chapters. The only thing to look forward to in this route is Umehara’s voice. heh.
- NPC with feelings
Originally an NPC (Non Playable Character), Zain appears in other routes as someone who guides people around Adventure Town and provides players with quests. Since he’s computer generated, this character had no real life memories. However, he was programmed (by the Arcadia makers) to protect Kazuha in World V which sort of conflicts his motives as a regular NPC.
In his route, Kazuha came across Zain while she was fleeing from a monster after getting separated from her friend, Hiroya. Zain (as programmed) saved the heroine momentarily after they met and assisted her in surviving the world of Arcadia. As Zain spent more time with Kazuha, he quickly becomes more attached to her which lead to his unhealthy “obsession”. (*°ｰ°)ﾉ
Zain’s route was dark. It had potential at first, but since there were too many plot holes all piled up at the same time, it eventually got really confusing that I could barely get any connection with him. I love his character design though (I think he’s the prettiest bachelor of the bunch) and I love hearing Hirakawa’s pure innocent voice.
- the childhood friend
In World V, Hiroya plays as a Boxer in the demon faction. He’s sometimes quite harsh with Kazuha but actually looks out for her in every way possible. Although his user level is not up to par with most of the main characters in the game, he tries his best to protect the heroine from harm, even if it means putting his life on the line. IRL, Hiroya is Kazuha’s childhood friend who was with her when she got warped into World V.
Hiroya is that-one-character that gets copped out and friendzoned in almost every route of the game besides his. Poor guy! Due to this, It was so satisfying to play his story because, finally… he gets a happy ending! (yay). I’m not really a fan of the childhood friend trope but I actually think one was pretty good despite being predictable. Plus, his CGs were very lovely!
- Gender bender
- IRL: junior high school student
Libera is a “nekama” (a male who plays a female character in online games/communities). He acts all ‘kawaii’ and batts his eyelashes to get other male players supply him provisions like a cool gear or a rare item for free (laughs). He’s not interested in doing any quests to increase his user level and just enjoys taking advantage of other players in Arcadia.
I don’t think anyone (in their right mind) actually thinks of Libera as a female character in the game as it was made very obvious from the get-go (..and I don’t think Hanae’s voice is feminine at all). Despite Libera’s cunning attitude towards the heroine, I actually like his character development. He is a smart young boy who typically knows what he’s doing. Although he makes it a point to prioritize his own self first above all else, I find it cute how he unintentionally risks his life to save Kazuha just in the nick of time.^^ I also enjoyed his moments with the heroine in the real world and I believe both of them complement each other really well (as far as age and maturity go).
- Onii-san route
- Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!
Poyo-Poyo is a small monster / fairy-ish intel character in Arcadia who from time to time helps the heroine and other players in World V. Almost every player in Arcadia knew him for his cute appearance and easy going nature. He also knows a lot of secrets in World V.
If Toriumi’s voice didn’t make this obvious. This cute little mascot is actually Shiki in disguise. Shiki is Kazuha’s missing brother and one of the makers of the world Arcadia.
Although it was made clear in the beginning that Shiki and Kazuha aren’t blood-related, Idk, I guess I’m just not a fan of the brother-sister-romance trope, especially if both of you grew up together on the same roof from day one. Not only that, but Shiki’s character was also very obsessive with the heroine, all the more making this route really uncomfortable (to me anyway lol).
But because he’s a 2D character, I forgive him. Despite this route’s creep factor, I think it did an okay job in justifying the story’s plot holes and cliffhangers in Shiki’s happy ending. I honestly did not enjoy this route personally, but I don’t think it was a bad “true” route altogether. ┐(°ヮ°)┌
KAZUHA (main heroine)
- Mary Sue
- dues ex machina
Kazuha is the most Mary Sue of all mary sues in the history of otome heroines. It was so hard to play her character without getting ticked off (scratches head). She literally gets dragged around by all the guys in the game and becomes a doormat in almost every route. Not only that, but the fact that this heroine did not develop any kind of progress in the RPG world, status/level wise is so aggravating, It grew grey hairs all over my head! I can sense that there was an attempt for character development but it failed in so many levels, it’s a darn shame because this character had a lot of potential in the mmorpg lore. But hey, because of her “Almighty” status (race) she can transform into something so powerful in the most convenient time possible because…ya know! deus ex machina! Ha..haha (facepalm).
*Deep Breath* Alright, so I may have seen worse heroines than Kazuha. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that this protagonist was a let down especially when the plot itself had a lot of opportunities for her character to do so much better in so many ways. (Shrug)
On a side note, I absolutely love Kazuha’s character design. She’s just so cute!!! and her RPG costume as a Minstrel / Almighty was top tier.
Besides the main ones, there were a few prominent side characters in the game that I think was more likable and would’ve possibly made better routes than the current line up. Jocus and Mergo (for example), from the guild Forte would’ve made potential suitors for the heroine. Same goes for Sirent, from the angel faction. (^◔ᴥ◔^)
TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE
OVERALL THOUGHTS? ( ´ ∀ ` )ﾉ
To me, Period Cube was a great visual novel per se. When it comes to its art, music, game system and voice acting ~ it’s one decent title worthy of its price. I would recommend this game just for those aspects alone.
In terms of story content, it held a lot of plot holes that were left unexplained for the most part of the game which was really disappointing (e.g. Akashic Records). Some routes were a bit darker than I anticipated and It would’ve been nice if there was some sort of depth given to these romanceable bachelors (e.g. Demento and Zain). But despite the few reasonable gripes I’ve stated above, I did enjoy playing this game as a whole and I’ve at least liked 3 routes (Astrum, Libera, Hiroya).
Do I recommend this game? YES, but only if it’s on sale.
Overall, it’s a good title by Otomate, maybe not one for the books but definitely something worth picking up, imo. If you’re like me who doesn’t mind spending a little of that doe to support otoge localisations, I recommend giving this one a go.