Release Date: October 13, 2017 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms: PS VITA
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)
BAD APPLE WARS was originally first released on November 19, 2015, in Japan. Aksys Games, who’s known for localizing a few Otomate titles in the West initially announced Bad Apple Wars during their panel in 2017’s Anime Expo. The game was supposed to release September 29, 2017 (North America and Europe), but was later pushed to October 13, 2017 due to some delays.
Read the game’s synopsis here.
ART AND MUSIC
The game’s artwork was very unique compared to the usual shojo otome art, and it is one of the reasons why I’m absolutely fascinated by this artist’s style. The character design was done by Japanese illustrator, “Suou” スオウ who’s also famous for her other works, such as “ALICE-ALICE” aka Alice in the Forbidden World. You can find the artist’s official pixiv site here.
Another highlight of Bad Apple Wars is the game’s solid soundtrack. While the OP track “Mirror, Mirror” was rather catchy, I found the game’s bgms even more jammin’. Listen to my fav track below!
Sakurai Takahiro “Alma” – Astrum (Period Cube), Uruki (Genbu Kaiden Kagami no Miko), Mejojo von (Black Wolves Saga), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)
Akira Ishida “Shikishima” – Kent (Amnesia Memories), Zara Skeens (Black Wolves Saga), Tokita Shuya (Clock Zero), Unknown Guy (Period Cube)
Junichi Suwabe “Higa” – Van Helsing (Code Realize), Ren (Utapri), Jae-ha (Akatsuki No Yona), Nobushige Sanada (Kurenai)
Hanae Natsuki “Satoru” – Libera (Period Cube), Sera Akito (Collar x Malice), Yuki (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Shirota (Possession Magenta)
Shinnosuke Tachibana “White Mask” – Louis Howard (Midnight Cinderella), Kousei (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss), Suruga Akito (KLAP)
Shin’ichirou Miki “Bucket-head sensei” – Toshizo Hijikata (Hakuoki), Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)
Kouji Yusa “Gas-mask sensei” – Sanosuke Harada (Hakuoki), Itsuki Kagami (Norn9), Bernardo (Luckydog1)
Tomokazu Sugita “Rabbit head” – Takuma (Hiro no Kakera), Gin (Gintama), Ron Muroboshi (Norn9), Nobunaga (Ikesen), Reine des Fluers (Hubert), Sasuke Sarutobi (Kurenai)
MAIN CHARACTERS (Spoiler Free)
At the start of the Common Route, you are prompted to choose a side; The Good Apples or The Bad Apples. Gameplay-wise, I strongly recommend picking the Bad Apple’s side first and do the Good Apples routes last. For a specific route order, I suggest playing: Higa — Shikishima — Alma — Satoru — White Mask.
- Soul Totem: Baseball
- those abs doe
Higa is the tall bad boy from the Bad Apples faction. He carries with him a white baseball (as his soul totem), that can explode like a bomb and can sometimes transform into a baseball bat. He greatly respects Alma, calls him “aniki” (brother), and acts as Alma’s right hand.
Higa is one of my favorite characters in BAW, maybe because I started with his route first or perhaps I’m just totally biased when it comes to Suwabe’s voice acting? lol. His route, on the other hand, was a little lacking as far as how his story was presented. Although I enjoyed his cute little moments with the heroine in NEVAEH Academy, I think his happy ending was a little rushed. I actually, had to re-read his epilogue just to make sure I understood what was going on. His back story did tug my heartstrings though! Higa, in general, was a great character in the game and it would’ve been nice if his ending was given more thought and was explained better. (￣□￣」)
- Soul Totem: Sketchbook and paintbrush
- the frustrated artist
- Why so emo?
Shikishima neither belongs to the Good Apples nor the Bad Apples’ faction. Rather, he is considered an “Odd Apple” in NEVAEH Academy. He does his own thing and rarely participates in breaking the school rules but does not care for them at all either. He speaks in a friendly but slightly formal tone and is prone to nature-based metaphors.
I never understood this character until the last chapters of his story… He is just soooo abstract, it’s hard to figure him out. Shikishima is also a very reserved character (and very emo lol), and this made his romance with the heroine annoyingly dry and nearly forced. It’s a shame since Shikishima seemed like a real potential deep character to boot, and his backstory could’ve worked if not for the huge amount of plot holes. I like that Shikishima was a curious persona in the game but his character development, not to mention, his “happy” ending” – was poorly executed ruining the entirety of his route (for me anyway). ┐(︶▽︶)┌
- Soul Totem: Red thread
- the leader of the band
Alma is the leader and brains of the Bad Apples. He gets a lot of respect from everyone in their faction because he’s always coming up with ingenious plans whenever their group decides to break the 7 Unbreakable Rules of NEVAEH Academy. Although he possesses an emotionless poker face, he is a man of great charisma – one of the many reasons why everyone deeply trusts him and his leadership.
Alma’s route was a looong one compared to the other two previous Bad Apple routes (Higa and Shikishima). TBH, I wanted to like his route as much as I like his character but perhaps his story just didn’t appeal to me as much??? There were a lot of fluff contents to enjoy, E.g ~ him spending time with the heroine Rinka, in NEVAEH Academy. But it reveal anything, that would explain more about BAW’s overall story – and this was such a letdown as I was expecting some sort of plot twist in this route – WHICH NEVER HAPPENED. (*°ｰ°)ﾉ I guess the best part of Alma’s story (which I enjoyed so much) was his ending, YES, his good ending! Plus the CG!!! It was so fluffy that I forgot all about the plot holes and just snickered happily all throughout the end credits. Ha!
- Soul Totem: Reference Book
- ❤ “choco banana!”
Satoru is the younger student who was admitted to NEVAEH Academy, together with the heroine. He is very obsessed with studying and would frantically spend all his time reading his guidebook as if his life depends on it. He is very naive and is unaware of his surroundings but at the same time couldn’t care less about it either. His soul totem is a reference book that seems to have vast information on an unlimited number of things, ranging from vocabulary to world history.
Satoru’s route was my favorite in BAW. His story had good pacing, great character development for both him and the heroine, and contained the best fluff and drama scenes that kept me entertained. To be perfectly honest I never really deemed Satoru’s character interesting until I played his route. His romance with Rinka however, is more of like a “nakama” compared to a lover’s relationship, I guess this is because he’s a few years younger than her. Also, kudos to Hanae Natsuki for doing an amazing job portraying Satoru, I probably shed a few tears during his monologues. ha! This route was definitely fun, it hit the nail right on the head in stirring up my emotions.
- Weapon of choice: Prefect’s Ruler
- Soul Totem: Beads (necklace)
- true route???
White Mask is the head of the prefects in NEVAEH Academy. He is a mysterious character who’s obsessed with correcting the Bad Apples. His weapon of choice is an (electric?) ruler that zaps students, causing them to be in a complete depressive state. He wears a prefect’s uniform & a faceless white mask and he possesses a very strict attitude.
While White Mask was hinted to be the true route of Bad Apple Wars, I find it very hard to comprehend that his story was indeed the grand finale of the entire game because it gave me so many questions left unanswered. Just like Alma’s route, his story was lengthier than the others. He had a long backstory and, he gets to spend a lot of time with the heroine for that needed relationship boost. Maybe as a stand-alone route, his story can be considered really good for what it is, but I wouldn’t dare call it the true ending of BAW. Despite this, I like White Mask as a character and as an LI, and I may have shed some tears when I read his backstory. lol I just wished there was more to his ending than angst and romance.
Perhaps one of the dullest protagonists I’ve ever played. Rinka has no kind of background, characteristics, personality, or anything of the sort. Then again, her monologues were always so clear to depict her “empty” state. Making me wonder… Is Rinka designed as some sort of personification of the reader or player? Putting yourself in the protagonist’s shoes is somehow common in dating sims, (especially in mobile games) and although sometimes this setup may work for some, more times than not, IT DOESN’T when it comes to visual novels. It technically kills the likability of a character making the game experience less enjoyable. With Rinka, I wouldn’t say she’s bad protag altogether, she is however very boring to play because of the “self-insert factor”.
TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE
Playing Bad Apple Wars was a love-hate kind of experience for me. I really liked how the game started. How the NEAVEH universe was introduced and how the main and side characters were uniquely presented in the story. These aspects alone piqued my interest in the game. However, my excitement sort of died down in the middle of the repetitive playthroughs and the open-ended routes.
The fun play of the “afterlife story” in BAW really had potential and I think it would’ve been so much better if the endings were coherently explained well instead of leaving them hanging in the dark. For the most part, I think the game is still enjoyable If you’re able to find a character that interests you and willing to overlook some plot inconsistencies of the story, not to mention the blandness of the main protagonist.
Overall, I wouldn’t consider Bad Apple Wars a substandard for an otome game / visual novel in general. In fact, I would still recommend it to players that aren’t picky with otoges and just wants a good visual novel to pass the time. Story-wise, this game may not be perfect but it certainly still has some redeemable qualities to look forward to such as its outstanding art style, soundtrack, and really fun characters that’ll bring you angst and romance all in one gameplay. So…by all means, pick this game up and give it a chance~! ♡( ◡‿◡ )