Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles Review

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CODE REALIZE: WINTERTIDE MIRACLES

Release Date:  February 14, 2019 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita, PS4
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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I literally took my time playing this FD, knowing it’s the last (physical) otome game that will ever grace localization in the PS Vita.

Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles (Shirogane no Kiseki) is the second fandisc of the series, Code Realize. This game contains varieties of alternate and after stories that happened after the events of the last fandisc, Future Blessings.

 

This fandisc contains the following stories:

  • Cantarella (Side Story) – Walkthrough available here.
  • Finis’s Epilogue
  • Sholme’s Epilogue
  • Love Triangle Stories (Short Stories)
  • Wintertide Miracles “First Christmas” (Alternate Stories)
  • Special Epilogues (Epilogues for White Rose’s stories in Future Blessings)

 

ART AND MUSIC
I know this is probably redundant as I’ve gushed about it a few times in my reviews for Guardian of Rebirth and Future Blessings. But, the artist Miko has done it again! I could not for the life of me, describe how incredibly beautiful the CGs are for this fandisc. There were also new sprites available for all the main and side characters, wearing their cozy winter outfits. Even Queen Victoria gets a new sprite wearing her expensive royal fur faux garb!

What I also loved about this fandisc were the new BGMs added for the series, they were all unforgettable and were specially made for the game’s Yuletide theme. One song that really stood out to me was the second Ending theme (Finis’ and Sholmes’ ED) “Beside You” by the artist SHOJI. Listen to the full track below:

***I purchased the whole soundtrack for Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles in iTunes. Link here.

 

NEW CHARACTERS

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Cantarella (CV: Mamiko Noto) – Fuuka (Persona 4), Kotomi Ichinose (Clannad), Inia Sestina (MuV Luv), Felicita (Arcana Famiglia), Marvis Vermilion  (Fairy Tale)

Miles Strand (CV: Keiji Fujiwara) – Kagura Mutsuki (Blazblue), Jiro Hyuuga (Binary Star), Reno (Final Fantasy), Kiriya (Senran Kagura), Sakuya Tougane (Psycho Pass)

Baron of Aiguille (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki) – Akito (Norn9), Thor (Kamigami no Asobi), Suou Hana (Ayakashi Gohan), Katsuragi Naomasa (Yunohana Spring), Kashika Galle (Cendrillon Palika)

 

SIDE STORIES AND AFTER STORIES
I did Cantarella’s route first, followed by Finis and Sholme’s epilogues, then knocked out the love triangle dates before I played the main course, that is the “First Christmas” alternate stories for Wintertide Miracles. I myself, enjoyed this play order, though I would suggest playing whatever story you feel like playing first because that’s the whole point of a fandisc! lol

 

CANTARELLA (Another Story)
This story happened somewhere in the middle of Guardian of Rebirth’s common route. On their way home, after watching a performance at the Royal Opera House, Cardia and the rest of Lupin’s gang witnessed an attempted kidnapping of the Opera House’s beloved songstress, Cantarella. They’ve managed to save her as well as send her perpetrator running for the hills. They then took Cantarella to her home for safety measures, which lead the gang to meet her so-called “father” Miles. In this story, Cardia finds a friend in Cantarella and later on, discovers her true identity as both their existence managed to connect each other’s fates.

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Just like “Lupin’s Gang’s” (side) story in Future Blessings, Cantarella’s route offers new likable characters and an interesting new plot for us to follow. Although I’ve very much enjoyed this story (for what it is), I didn’t like how the writers threw in these important characters on the third game, since canonically they don’t matter anymore as the main plot officially ended in Future Blessings. I would rather have this as an alternate story than a side story because It felt kind of unfair for Cantarella, Miles, and Auguille to get dissed like that after this little episode. lol Unless they’re planning on a third fandisc! (laughs)

Although the choices you make in Cantarella’s route, will not change the whole outcome of her story. It will, however, change a few scenes and dialogues in the game depending on the guy (main characters) your choices are inclined to. You can view my walkthrough for this route here.

 

FINIS’ EPILOGUE (After Story)
This after story took place right after the end of Finis’s route in Future Blessings. 

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Six months have passed since Cardia managed to save his little brother, Finis from the unfortunate Nautilus incident in London. During this time, both twins return to their home in Wales and spend each day cleaning and repairing their old abandoned house while enhancing their bond as siblings. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose when one of Isaac Beckford’s invention called the “Knockers” have been spotted destroying a couple of buildings in London. It was made clear in the story, that these supposed-to-be-quarantined inventions of Isaac were “wrongly” activated by accident and it is now, up to the  Beckford twins (Finis’ most especially, since he’s fully knowledgeable when it comes to their father’s inventions) to stop this heaving uproar that threatened London its peaceful days.

This was probably one of my favorite After Stories in the series. Not only we get to see Finis in his true nature, as Cardia’s adorable cinnamon roll lil’ brother. We also get to see Lupin’s Gang and the Gordon Family in action as they help out clear the disruption in the streets of London during the main incident. ***This epilogue was very heartwarming and I absolutely enjoyed seeing Finis’ soft side while he deliberately declares threats whenever one of the main bois flirts with his sister! *chuckles* (´ ω `♡)

 

HERLOCK SHOLME’S EPILOGUE (After Story)
This after story took place right after the end of Sholme’s route in Future Blessings. 

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It’s been half a year since Sholmes defeated his arch nemesis, James Moriaty (in Code realize Future Blessings). During this story, Cardia becomes part of Sholmes’ Detective agency together with his partner John Watson. The three of them fight crimes for the cause of good, even to the extent of ‘trying‘ to stop Lupin, the gentleman thief’s planned diamond heist of the prized jewel called “Mermaid’s Tear”.  Though try as they might, Lupin, as cunning as he is, still gets the upper hand and was able to escape with ease together with his genius engineer assistant, Impey. I know this was just a filler episode but it was kind of weird seeing Cardia as their enemy for once, but oh well…

Anyway, Sholmes actual main story revolved around finding a cure to Cardia’s poison.  As the Horologium still present in Cardia’s body, this fact still poses a threat that one day it will activate again, killing her along with the demise of London and its people. With this complication at hand, Sholmes gathered his A-team geniuses in the field of science and medicine; Victor Frankenstein, Dr. John Watson, Impey Barbicane and even the deviant genius scientist Nemo, who apparently now lives in a tiny cardboard box located in sewers (laughs) 😂 Poor guy! As all of them try their hardest to conduct research on a formula that will counteract the horologium’s poison, more problems seep into the picture that eventually causes Sholmes and Cardia make one life-threatening decision.

I like how Sholmes’ epilogue was narrated in a fairytale-esque kind of way. I enjoyed the story’s fluff content though, to be honest, this is probably the weakest story in the game (imo) as there really wasn’t anything “new” going on. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of Sholmes, I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time discovering a few surprising sides of our favorite hot daddy detective. 

 

FIRST CHRISTMAS “Wintertide Miracles” (Alternate Stories)
These are “after stories” that happened right after Finis’ route in Future Blessings. It’s merely an alternate story where our heroine Cardia finds love during the Yuletide season. We get one story for every five main characters. What’s really special about these stories is that Cardia falls in love with one of the guys while his brother is alive! …THIS couldn’t be any more perfect, ❤️ I almost wished this was headcanon!

 

Spoiler Warning: I will only be posting each story’s premise but I’m putting up my spoiler banner just in case.

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Victor Frankenstein
After Isaac Beckford’s Nautilus incident that wreaked havoc in the city of London six months ago. Victor ended up opening a clinic located in the downtown part of London in order to help as many people as possible at a cheaper cost.

Victor’s main story started when one day he receives a mail from his parents in Switzerland telling him to settle down. He, in reply, told them he has no plans in getting married anytime soon but then started talking about how he’s currently interested with this ‘one girl’ and went all out writing two whole pages regarding his feelings for Cardia. (´ ε ` )♡ Without thinking of any repercussions, he sends the letter back to his parents judging its only the right thing to do as he’s speaking honestly from his heart. uwu. The next few days, he receives a reply letter from his mom saying they’re coming to London for Christmas so they can meet their son, Vic’s girlfriend. 🤣

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In result, a panicked Victor travels to Wales to ask Cardia to be his “pretend” girlfriend just for Christmas while his parents are in town. 😂

***This was by far the cutest, most endearing “First Christmas” story I’ve read among the selections and I absolutely enjoyed it to bits! Besides its overwhelming fluffy contents, we also get to see Victor introducing Cardia to his parents (in CG!).

 

Saint Germain
Six months after the Nautilus Incident, Saint Germain, visits Idea’s leader Omnibus and reports that both Finis and Cardia, Isaac Beckford’s “problematic twins” are now living peacefully in Wales as normal human beings and are no longer a threat to humanity. As one of Idea’s faithful apostle, he awaits for Omnibus next order but was surprised to hear her tell him to take a long sweet vacation instead.

Still dumbfounded by their leader’s words, Saint Germain goes back to the mansion to find something to do with his newly acquired free time but since everyone in Lupin’s gang went about their own lives after London’s incident, he was left as the only resident in his house. This made him feel lonely and he admits to himself how much he misses the rowdy group clamoring inside the premise of his mansion. What’s more, is that he longs to see the face of his beloved, who he has not seen since his last visit in Wales.

This made him decide to write invitation letters to the group for a Christmas “Get-together” party. Though unsure if his anticipated guests would actually make it to the planned event. Saint Germain waits with hopeful eyes to see the faces of his precious friends again.

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***The part where he waits for his friends actually made me tear 😭. Why are Saint Germain’s stories always melancholic? Why?! Thank goodness, this ended really REALLY happy. I would also like to gush on the fact that this is the only episode in the whole series where we get to see Guinevere outside her armor! Seriously, you absolutely can’t miss this!

 

Abraham Van Helsing
After London’s Nautilus incident, Van decides to travel with Delly all over United Kingdom in search for survivors of the Vampire War.

During their travels, the duo hears about the upcoming Christmas festival in London and decides to come home for the occasion as well as attend the gang’s Christmas party at Saint Germain’s mansion. They haven’t seen everyone in a while, so this decision made Van and Delly both excited. While at it, Delly proposes to take a side trip to Wales before coming to London and see the Beckford twins. Van agrees with him with Cardia in mind. ( ´ ▽ ` )

A few days have passed and they both arrived at Cardia and Finis’ home in Wales only to be disheartened to see the twins not being around. But with optimism as their friend, Van and Delly decided to wait. Night falls, and finally, Cardia and Finis arrived in the most unfashionable way ever (their automobile almost came crashing towards the duo) 😂 Everyone says their greetings when Cardia noticed that Van and Delly have been waiting out in the cold for too long, so she insisted they stay for the night.

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The supposed-to-be one night stay turned into days and the group eventually decided to go to London together. While still in Wales, Cardia wanted to make everyone Christmas presents in the form of knitting and Van insisted on helping her with it.

***I love this! (/▽\*) This surprising side of Van Helsing is all I ever wanted. I’m so glad to see him happy, always smiling and in his positive beaming self. It’s so refreshing! I need more happy-ray-of-sunshine Van Helsing in my life!

 

Impey Barbicane
Half a year has passed since the Nautilus incident in London and Impey visits the deviant scientist Nemo in prison from time to time as he plans to re-invent the gravity alleviator and is currently taking notes on Nemo’s advise while at it.

One day, In Saint Germain’s mansion, Saint tells Impey they received word from Van and Delly saying they’ll be back in London for Christmas. Since Lupin and Victor are already residing in the city, they decided to might as well invite Cardia and Finis in order for the gang to reunite once more this Yuletide season.

Meanwhile, in Wales, Cardia, (while fixing their automobile) thinks of how Impey’s constant declaration of love for her makes her heart feel woozy. She gets confused because she’s sure she loves Impey back but also “loves” the other members of Lupin’ s gang as well as her brother Finis. With this train of thought, she pesters her little bro and forced him to say the phrase “I love you” (to her), to which a blushing Finis, with all the effort, reluctantly did. 😂 But then yo girl was like “Oh but why does it feel different when Impey says it?” 😂 😂 😂 ROFL. This was adorably hilarious! I just can’t! 😂 

Later that day, they received a package from London in the form of a miniature Impey doll with a recording of Impey, Saint Germain and Lupin’s voice telling the siblings to come home for Christmas.

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***I really enjoyed reading this one! I love how Cardia was strongly forward of wanting to explore her own feelings as she tries to discover the different meanings of “love”.  …and seeing Impey immensely blush time and again was such an awesome treat, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear! Another plus point was that we get to see Nemo give love advises to yo boi and that, to me was the icing on the cake in this story! (laughs)

 

Arsene Lupin
After the Nautilus incident in London six months ago, Lupin is back doing his thievery schemes like the proud gentleman thief he is.

One day while on a mission to steal a prized necklace from a corrupt Duke’s estate, he ends up being chased by Leonhartd as usual and just when he was about to execute his dashing escape, he gets distracted (by thoughts of Cardia) and gets shot by a rubber bullet instead. This, not only surprised Lupin himself but his perpetrators, Leonhardt, and his men were also perplexed at how they were able to take out the famed gentleman thief in one easy shot. In the end, an injured Lupin still managed to get away as he limped his way back to safety.

Back at the mansion, Victor along with Impey confronts Lupin saying he’s not being his usual self lately and asks him to perhaps, take a rain check from work (theft missions). A week later, Saint Germain chimes in, telling him the same and suggests that perhaps he’s longing for “someone”.  Taking in the Count’s advise to heart, Lupin begins to think of Cardia and how her absence is taking a toll on him. He then concedes with his true feelings and finally admits he misses her badly and the only way to cure this yearning is to see her face to face. So he starts writing the ‘perfect’ love letter for his beloved lady. 😂

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***I must say, this after-story has the best CGs, as expected from the game’s headcanon boi. Just like Lupin’s uwu story in Future Blessings, it had its glorious romantic moments between the couple. As far as I see it, the game is clearly biased on Lupin’s story… the kabedon scene and that loooong kiss at the end, come on!  I couldn’t ask for more!

 

TRIANGLE DATES (More CGs!)
These are short stories which involve scenarios of Cardia spending her day with two main characters in the series. Although these are rather shorter stories compared to the ‘Wintertide Miracles’ selection, I was really impressed by how exceptionally good these little episodes were. You think you’ve had enough doki-dokis? Try this one on for size!

graphics-kawaii-small-223230Here’s a list of all the Love Triangle episodes (you can play it in any order):

  • Lupin and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Impey pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Van pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Lupin and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Impey pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Van and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Impey and Victor pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Impey and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Victor and Saint Germain pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11

Secret Episodes:

  • Delly and Sisi pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Aliester and Nemo pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11
  • Hansel and John Watsonpixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11pixel-hearts-png-11

 

SPECIAL EPILOGUES
These are short epilogue stories continuing the last events of Future Blessings (White Rose). These will unlock last, after finishing all of the above’s selections.

 

2019-02-26-213609IMPEY
It’s been a few days and Impey hasn’t returned home after going on a work-related project (fixing airships and submarine engines in London).  Cardia was left alone in the mansion and although she knows Impey will come back soon, she thought of surprising him by gathering a lot of research documents related to their ‘moon-project’. She leaves for Wales to collect any information her father might have written in the past that can possibly help with the project. Not to ruin the surprise for her hardworking husband, she leaves a note that says “I’m going”.

Impey arrives at home, finds the note then begins to panic thinking Cardia has left him.😂 So he hurries and follows her to Wales to clear out this whole silly misunderstanding.

 

2019-02-26-232213LUPIN
Cardia and Lupin go on a picnic at their secret place which has a great view of the industrial city of London and Lupin suggest that it’s about time to go on a honeymoon. Next few days, he takes Cardia to his birth city, Paris. There, they visit and the grave of his master, Theophraste and both of them said their prayers. They also ran into the head of the French police whom Lupin coined as someone equivalent to ossan Leonhartd. They had everyone (French police) chase them for fun and the couple gallantly escaped in style.

 

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VAN
Cardia and Van are finally getting married and Shirley helps Cardia put on her wedding dress. Cardia decided to step outside the church so she could practice walking in her high-heel shoes when a bunch of men in black suits kidnaps her and takes her to another wedding location. There she finds an impatient man wearing a groom’s outfit who urges her to walk down the aisle with him. Cardia remembers the combat techniques her husband taught her and throws the man to the floor. Meanwhile, a worried and upset Van bursts out through the church door and started taking down the men in suits Liam Neeson style! 😂 😂 😂 Before things get worse, the gang stops Van and explains this was all a misunderstanding as the kidnappers and groom were actually actors and the bride actress never showed up for rehearsals so they thought Cardia was her by mistake.

The Moral of the Story: Don’t mess with this couple… ever! 😂

 

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VICTOR
Cardia is now working as Victor’s assistant in the Royal Society and they spend their days doing research in Victor’s lab. Though they call themselves husband and wife, they realize that they never really had an actual wedding ceremony. So Victor asks Cardia if she wants to have a proper wedding and she says yes. A few days later, they began their search for a church in London but couldn’t find any since it’s peak season. Queen Victoria, along with Leonhardt notices Victor’s sullen expression and asks him what’s wrong, Victor tells them their circumstance and a snarky Victoria promises to help him only if he can prove to her how much he really wanted the wedding. After their deal, Victor comes home later than usual as he’s working extra hard to get her beloved wife that perfect wedding she deserves. Finally, the day has come for Victor to propose to Cardia and Victoria granted them permission to use the newly renovated St. Paul’s Cathedral. They got married in front of their friends and the Queen, and Cardia couldn’t be any happier.

 

2019-02-24-180658SAINT GERMAIN
Cardia is now free of her poison and she and Saint Germain return to London so they can hold their wedding ceremony. The Count buys the ship “Gloria” from their mafia adventures in Lupin’s Gang (Future Blessings) episode and tells her this will be their venue. A day before their promised wedding, Hansel takes Cardia to the enchanted forest and there they meet with Saint Germain and the leader of Idea herself, Omnibus. The old lady gives them her blessing, saying they will no longer be in the watchful eye of Idea and Saint Germain is now finally, freeee!  The couple both said their thanks to Omnibus. They got married in their luxurious ship the next day and all of their friends are with them happily celebrating the couple’s most special commemoration.

 

Will I be able to enjoy this game even if I haven’t played Future Blessings?
There were a lot of characters and events in Future Blessings that were present and added to this game, so I don’t think it’s a good idea to skip Future Blessings in the series. In addition, the main “Wintertide Miracles” stories continue from the last events of Finis’s route in Future Blessings, so, all the more reason not to skip the first fandisc.

Localization
There were a couple of typo mistakes that I couldn’t really overlook which makes me think that perhaps because of it’s promised released date on Valentines Day, the game was rather rushed and there wasn’t a lot of time spent dedicated solely on proofreading it. ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? \(^▽^)/
My overall play length for Code Realize Wintertide Miracles was a good 10-15 hours. Despite me trying to make the game last forever for about at least, two weeks, I finished it pretty quickly because I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Cantarella’s side story was way better than the gang’s Mafia adventures in Future Blessings and I sure did wish the ‘Cantarella-characters’ would’ve made a cameo in the special epilogues, because seriouslywhat a waste of good characters to be squeezed in, on the third game. ┐(‘~` )┌

Finis wins best boi in my book. This was one of the things I really appreciated most in this FD, and I’m sure most Code Realize hardcore fans would agree. Finis’ character finally gets justice! We get to see more of his adorable side as Cardia’s little brother while maintaining his hostile and dubious personality 😂. Who would’ve thought this boy is such a tsun-tsun! ❤

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Do I recommend this game? YES (esp. to all Code Realize fans)
Take note, this game is the series’ second fandisc. So literally, one cannot play it all willy-nilly without fully playing it’s first two predecessors. Personally, I’ve enjoyed this game a lot but that’s because I’m already a huge fan of the series. Perhaps to those who aren’t into Code Realize, you probably won’t enjoy this as much.

With the production of PS Vita consoles and games, completely shutting down worldwide this year, Code Realize Wintertide Miracles was such a special treat for us otome fans ~ esp. now, where there is scarcity of otoge releases in the West.

The game’s romantic Christmas theme really took this one up a notch and the newly added side stories are really something to look forward to. If you already like Code Realize, loved it’s main casts and wished for more adventures with them, Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles is definitely worth the purchase.

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

Nightshade Review (Nintendo Switch)

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NIGHTSHADE

Release Date:  December 20, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Red Entertainment / LANTERN ROOMS
Publishers: D3Publisher
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
ESRB Rating: (Mature) 17+

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Walkthroughs:

  1. Goemon
  2. Chojiro
  3. Hanzo
  4. Kuroyuki
  5. Gekkamaru
  6. Common Route

 

PROLOGUE (from Nightshade’s official site)
During the Sengoku Period the two main factions of ninja clans, Iga and Kōga, warred against each other for decades.
In the year 1593, Nobunaga Oda started the Tenshō Iga war, decimating most of the Iga ninjas in the process. The very few that survived were absorbed into the Kōga clan, despite their past rivalries. After 17 years the Sengoku Period finally came to an end, and Japan was unified.

Enju (Protagonist), daughter of Kandō Ueno, the Head of the Kōga clan, spends her days training diligently in hope of becoming a full-fledged ninja like her peers. At long last, she is assigned to her first mission but finds herself caught in a dark conspiracy.

 

ART AND MUSIC
One of Nightshade’s prominent features that’ll easily make an impression among otome fans, is its art style. The game credits non-other than the famous illustrator, Teita who’s fairly popular for her other works such as Norn9, the Juuzaengi  Engetsu Sangokuden saga and the recently released visual novel, Charade Maniacs.

I wish I could say the same for the game’s musical score. The OP theme was nice but wasn’t memorable at all. The END theme (Good End) however, “Taezaru Hana”  by MIKOTO was pretty soothing that I ended up purchasing the track in iTunes. Listen to the full song below:

 

Voice Acting
Nightshade honestly has the best seiyuu lineup. The voice acting was, in fact, one of the major highlights of the game. The VAs really did an amazing job capturing your emotions. I was already expecting this much from their topnotch VA list, but they did more than stellar performances with this game! Every seiyuu involved were magnificent, even the side character, Ieyasu Tokugawa (voiced by Koki Miyata, who’s famous for his role as Ukyo in Amnesia), did an amazing job portraying his cunning personality.

 

Hikaru Midorikawa ♥ “Goemon Ishikawa” – Tamahome (Fushigi Yuugi Suzaku Ibun), Zenya (Sweet Pool), Ayato (Diabolik Lovers), Hanate (7’Scarlet), Yutaka Nabari (Nil Admirari)

Wataru Hatano “Gekkemaru” – Asato (Lamento Beyond the Void), Lindo (Dance with the Devils), Kotarou (Hakuoki), Sakiyama Youji (Sweet Pool), Yuuto (Storm Lover)

Hiro Shimono “Kuroyuki – Shou Kurusu (Utapri), Senri Ichinose (Norn9), Sou Kiryuu (Harukanaru Toki no Naka De 5), Ricchie (Black Wolves Saga), Ray Blackwell (Ikerev)

Kenjiro Tsuda “Hanzo Hattori” – Chikage Kazama (Hakuoki), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)

Kosuke Toriumi “Chojiro Momochi” – Hajime Saito (Hakuoki), Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (Spoiler Free)

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I must say, I love all of the characters and their routes that it was hard for me to pick a favorite. If you’re concerned with plot spoilers in your first playthrough, my recommendation would be to play the routes in the following order (from least to greatest in spoiler content):  Goemon – Hanzo – Chojiro – Kuroyuki – Gekkamaru. For enjoyability, I’d recommend playing in the same order. Goemon and Hanzo were the lighter routes, Chojiro was angst from start to finish and the brothers (Kuroyuki and Gekkamaru) have more plot revelations than you’d  expect. I would also strongly recommend saving Gekkamaru’s route for last, trust me when I say, this makes your last playthrough more worthwhile. 😉

 

GOEMON ISHIKAWA

  • The Japanese Robin Hood
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True to his name in history books, Goemon Ishikawa is the legendary Japanese outlaw who stole gold and other valuables from the rich to give to the poor. He’s very popular among the townspeople due to his ingenious thieving schemes. He is known to send prior notices to his targets before he robs them off their treasures. Goemon is also a highly skilled ninja who has the wit of a brilliant tactician.

Playing Goemon’s route first was a good choice since his story was the lightest among the bachelors in the game, plus I haven’t fallen in love with Midorikawa’s voice in a while, so there’s also that ha! I find Goemon’s story really refreshing due to his carefree personality and charismatic nature. Because of this, it was so easy to like this character from the get-go. Going down his route will let you discover a few revelations regarding Goemon’s past, where he came from and how he ended up as the notorious thief he is now. His route also offers  a couple of plot twists and although it was a little predictable towards the end, it was executed really well where it didn’t feel awkward nor forced. As far as the romance goes, Goemon is a straight up, ladykiller. It was fun to see his relationship with Enju develop all throughout his route. His playful teasing and his easy-going personality will have you falling for him in no time.

 

HANZO HATTORI

  • Mr. stoic ninja
  • kuudere

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Besides, being Lord Ieyasu Tokugawa’s personal guard, Hanzo is also the Tokugawa clan’s shinobi leader. Because of his resounding title as the strongest ninja history has ever known, he is very popular among all the shinobi clans in Japan. He is normally calm and collected but will not hesitate to become ruthless for the success of his mission.

Hanzo is the oldest among the bachelors (and I absolutely love him!) He is, I believe 33 years old, making quite an age gap between him and the heroine Enju, but LOL this is Toyotomi-Tokugawa (Edo 1600’s – 1800’s) period we’re talking about, where huge age gaps among couples are very common… But age aside, let me tell you… Hanzo’s route completely took me by surprise! I have no words! *Breaths heavily* I guess, I was already eyeing this character from the start since Kenjiro Tsuda voiced him. But I wasn’t expecting his arc to be this good that it literally caught me off guard. He ended up becoming my favorite of the entire game!

At first, he started as the very straightforward stoic kind, who’s only doing his master, Lord Tokugawa’s bidding. But after a few encounters where he teams up with the heroine and helps her survive, he begins to slightly soften up, giving us a glimpse of his true adorable fluffy nature. Both Hanzo and Enju go through tremendous character development in this route, especially the heroine. I just love seeing Enju prove herself time and again how much she wanted to make it as a true shinobi while she constantly faces hardships every step of the way (she’s freakin’ cool!) I also love seeing Hanzo unexpectedly supporting her through her struggles. It’s as if, rather than saving her all the time, he wants her to learn to depend on herself instead; and to me, this relationship was truly very refreshing, not to mention absolutely heartwarming. Expect a lot of badass back to back action scenes in this route, where Hanzo and Enju kick some ninja ass!

 

CHOJIRO MOMOCHI

  • Big Brother
  • Angst! Angst! Angst!

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Chojiro is the son of the late leader of Iga, Tanba Momochi . After losing his family and clan in the Tensho Iga War at the age of five, he joined the Koga clan along with the other Iga survivors. Chojiro is also the heroine’s cousin as well as her mentor/trainer. He is a man of a few words and he completely devotes himself to his missions without questions.

I made a mistake playing Chojiro’s route earlier in the game as I wasn’t ready for a sudden whirlwind of angst! At the start, Chojiro’s personality was very closed off, its almost as if he has built a wall before him to keep others away. Because of his tragic past, he doesn’t want to get attached to anyone, afraid he’d lose them at the blink of an eye just like how he lost his parents when he was young. This makes his relationship with Enju a little less intimate from the beginning. As the heroine tries her best to get a closer reach of him, he waves his feelings off because he’s conflicted between succeeding his missions as a shinobi versus his own desire to help Enju and stay by her side.

Chojiro’s route was also the most tragic in the game!😭 Ya’ll better prepare those tissues! Romantic wise, his story was not my favorite. The drama just out-weights the romance on this one. I do love the writing in his route though. It seriously gave me an emotional breakdown I wasn’t prepared for. 😅I suggest playing his route in the middle to get the angst out of the way. This, also kinda gives you more room to recuperate from the heavy drama before jumping into an even more dramatic finish as you do Gekka’s route last.

 

KUROYUKI

  • clever, cunning
  • soft yand

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Kuroyuki is Gekkamaru’s younger brother. Right after he was born, both boys became orphans and were taken in by Enju’s family. He was sent away on an extended mission when he was eight, by the heroine’s father Kando Ueno, who’s also the leader and head chief of the Koga clan. Kuroyuki is also the same age as Enju (16).

Not much is revealed about this character other than he is Gekkamaru’s brother who was sent on a secret mission when he was eight years old. Where did he go? What was he doing for the last eight years he was gone? It was rather questionable how his character (in other routes) always comes and goes sporadically in the plot.

I couldn’t really expound more on Kuroyuki’s arc without entering spoiler territory but going down his route will let you discover one interesting revelation about him and the game’s overarching plot. It was quite satisfying to play Yuki’s route because finally! we get to fill in some plot holes. I fell in love with his story for the same reasons some people are calling it out for. It wasn’t light nor easy-going as Goemon’s or Hanzo’s, it wasn’t tragic as Chojiro’s or Gekkamaru’s. It was dark and I probably wouldn’t have it in any other way. Kudos to Hiro Shimono for breathing extra life to this character!

 

GEKKAMARU

  • best boi
  • puppy eyes
  • true route ish?

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After losing his family at the age of three, Gekkamaru was adopted by the heroine’s parents along with his younger brother Kuroyuki. Gekkamaru was assigned to be Enju’s trusted bodyguard when they were young and has proven his loyalty and devotion through time by sticking to his role as Enju’s protector. He is wholeheartedly committed to his master (Enju) to a point where he becomes too overprotective of her.

So after going through all kinds of heaps and hooplas of playing and suffering each of the character routes in the game, Im finally down on my last one, Gekkamaru. I know you can just play his route whenever but I chose to do his story last for the experience. ohoho!

…and I have no regrets!😭 Gekkamaru’s route started with pure dramatic fluff as expected. It was just so precious and endearing to see how far this man would go for the sake of the heroine. His loyalty and dedication for Enju was such a pure bliss that it even pains me to see him doing too much😭. His route was a combination of action, romance, a side of humor and a whole lot of drama as he and the heroine struggled to survive by each other’s side. I thought to myself, “This story couldn’t get any better or worse, could it?” but then angst hits the fan through plot twists after plot twists (during the last chapters) and this was where the story really picked up. I was at lost for words. I felt really sad, angry and confused. His route put me through a tidal wave of emotions, I had to pause the game for a while, sit in a corner to get my head straight and my breathing in check! lmao! Gekkamaru’s route is like a slow burn, heart-rending gut punch and I absolutely loved it.

 

ENJU UENO (Main Heroine)

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Enju is a strong heroine and I adore her to bits. Unfortunately, her potentiality to become an even better shinobi was wasted in some routes because of the whole damsel in distress scenarios, with the exception on Hanzo’s and Gekkamaru’s route ~ these were the only story arcs where the heroine was able to hone her skills as a ninja and show us her true strengths.

Enju Ueno was literally, thrown to the wolves when she got caught up into this despicable game of survival, out of the blue. Not only that, but the ordeal she went through of betrayal, loss, and sorrow was absolutely too much to handle for someone her age. Still, despite all the hardships, she chose to live and survive. I was thoroughly impressed by her determination which I believe was one of her strongest points. YES, this is one badass heroine right here folks!

 

Side Characters

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Ennosuke (Left) – The fastest ninja in the Koga clan. He’s not romanceable, and I don’t think I’d want him as a dateable character either, heh. I love his friendly banters with Kyara.

Kyara (Right) – Proud, graceful, responsible, and badass on the battlefield. Her weapon of choice is a “chigirigi” which is similar to the “morning star” in medieval age weaponry. I ship her with Ennosuke. AlsoSaori Hayami voices her, so this to me was a plus!

Kasumi (Center) – the cutest, most adorable ninja…ever! She’s the youngest of Chojiro’s disciples. Looks up to Enju and Kyara as her older sisters. I love her so much! *must protecc*

 

SYSTEM AND LOCALIZATION
I purchased the physical copy of Nightshade (proxy shipped) which lets you choose three language options to start the game with (English, Chinese, Japanese). I can say, that the localization was fairly decent. I didn’t play the PC version, but I asked a few people who owned both PC and Switch copy and as far as their answers go, D3Publisher did not change the English translations for Nightshade on the Switch. They changed the fonts though! D3Publisher is known to deliver decent game localizations. They’re not the best but they’re not disappointing either. I’ve spotted a couple of minor typos in the game, but it’s NOT something that would ruin the whole experience for you.

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The Switch system was very comfortable and very easy to navigate from the jump. They even offer a “rewind” option for you to backtrack scenarios, which to me, was a saving grace. This way, making the correct save files became a piece of cake. The Nintendo Switch version also contains the game’s DLC “Special Content”. These are extra fluff episodes that happened in the middle of a character’s story. They also come with a special CG (one for each story).

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・
It took me a total of 30 hours to finish the game, and none of these 1800 minutes spent were wasted. Yes, I loved every bit of it.

Although the story was set in the Sengoku “Warring” period of Japan. Instead of the usual cliche battleground premise, that’s normally used in Sengoku themed animes and VNs. Nightshade’s story focused more on the darker side of politics during the said period. The indirect “battle royale” theme, I admit, was quite bracing and very well paced, at that. It was something I never expected to actually work in an otome game.

Besides Nightshade’s gorgeous artwork, I wanted to compliment the game’s stunning special effects, such as the leaves falling in the BG, flower petals scattering about  (whenever Enju uses her ninjitsu), and the moving sprites (which played exceptionally well during fight scenes). The voice acting for Nightshade blew me away and I couldn’t have wished for a better seiyuu lineup. I guess my only gripe here was Enju’s inconsistency as the heroine. In some routes, she’s badass while in others, she’s weak and very dependent. Her characteristics as a whole seem to vary depending on who’s the guy she’s with. I still love her as the main protagonist though!

While I’ve enjoyed playing all the routes in Nightshade and their respective stories, the ones that made an impression on me were Hanzo’s, Goemon’s and Gekkamaru’s. Chojiro’s was good but it was too angsty for my taste and while Kuroyuki’s story drove me to the edge of my seat, this is the route where Enju is at her weakest.

Do I recommend this game? YES
This is the first ever english otome game in the Switch that I would no doubt recommend to everyone at the drop of a hat. I’m so glad I’ve waited for this port, despite all the STEAM sales that have gone by the previous years 😂 (laughs). To be honest, I was even quite sad when I finished it 😅 and wished there was more content for me to delve into. If you’re having second thoughts whether or not it’s worth shelling out 48 bux to get this game in your Nintendo Switch Library. Here’s my advice: GET IT! This one’s definitely a gem and imo, almost up to par with the big titles (like Code Realize, Hakuoki, CxM). If you want an otome game with impressive storyline and characters you can’t ever get enough of, I can’t recommend Nightshade enough!

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

London Detective Mysteria Review

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LONDON DETECTIVE MYSTERIA

Release Date:  December 18, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Karin Entertainment
Publishers:  XSEED Games
Platforms:  PS VITA, PC (Soon)
ESRB Rating: (Mature) 17+

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Walkthroughs:

  1. William H. Watson
  2. Herlock Holmes
  3. Kenichirou Akechi
  4. Jack Millers
  5. Jean Lupin Jr.
  6. Sarah Marple (Charmed End)
  7. Seiji Kobayashi (Charmed End)
  8. Baker Street Boys End
  9. Grand End

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

Fun Fact: Originally published in the year 2013 by Karin Entertainment as “Eikoku Tantei Mysteria” for the Playstation Portable (Japan), the game was later remade in 2016 for the PS Vita with a few minor changes (regarding the game’s artist and voice actors).

As XSEED’s first otome title. London Detective Mysteria has gained an overwhelming hype from otome fans when they first announced it’s localization during their panel in Anime Expo (2018). But has the game really lived up to its hype? We’ll get to that in a bit…

 

ART AND MUSIC
The game credits two artists responsible for the London Detective Mysteria’s BG art and character designs, Natsu Mimura and Shiroma. The epilogue’s CGs were different than the ones in the main routes and Watson apparently is the only character who gets a new sprite. I’m not sure which artist did which, but as per Shiroma’s official site, I believe she did the epilogue CG’s (PSV ver.) while Mimura did the main (PSP ver.). That aside, both artists did an amazing job as the overall artwork for Mysteria was exceptionally beautiful.

The game mostly made use of fanfare-ish  music to match that 19th-Century-London vibe. The overall soundtrack of Mysteria was great though it wasn’t memorable to me. I did like the Ending theme though! You can listen to the game’s soundtrack (sample only) here.

Voice Acting
I didn’t like Emily Whiteley’s voice. Her VA sounded “airy” as if she’s always panting and running out of breath. Her “Kyaah“, “Eeep“, “Ngh” sounds were annoying as hell and I didn’t feel any emotions when she’s saying her lines. I’ve looked up other projects by her voice actress, and it appears that she’s only had a few (and very minor character roles at that). Perhaps if her VA had more gigs and projects, her acting might’ve improved??  ALSO… Maybe it’s just me, but I think Holmes’ voice sounded muffled and out of character. ┐(︶▽︶)┌

Natsumi Ooshita “Emily Whiteley” – schoolgirl1 (Dance with the Devils), schoolgirl2 (Shinmai Maou no Testament) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Masamoto Nakazawa “Jack Millers” – Clear (DRAMAtical Murder), Giancarlo (LuckyDog1), Moriya Keiichi (Omega Vampire), Souichirou Iseya (Yoshiwara Higanbana)

Shirai Yusuke “William H. Watson” – Kumagai Chitose (Beast Darling!),  Blanc Lapin (IkeRev), Amemura Ramuda (Hypnosis Microphone), Eltcreed Valentin (Steam Prison), Hiraizumi Miki (FLML)

Chihiro Suzuki “Herlock Holmes” – Akira Kamio (Prince of Tennis), Noel Valmore (Wand of Fortune), Oshiba Hagane (Tokyo Babel), Kuuso no Mikoto (Scarlet Fate)

Masaya Matsukaze  “Jean Lupin Jr.” – Ootori Kyouya (Ouran High School Host Club), Hagakure Yasuhiro (Danganropa Series), Souryo (Dot Kareshi)

Hiraoki Miura “Akechi Kenichirou” – Hido Takafumi (Kin’iro No Corda), Mishiro Takumi (Storm Lover), Uesugi Kenshin (Ikemen Sengoku), Takayuki (Yunohana Spring!)

Yoshitaka Yamaya “Kobayashi” – Mitsunari Ishida (Ikemen Sengoku), Aki Miyoujin (lol) (Sweet Punishment), Kensuke Asagi (World End Syndrome)

Yuuki Ono “Pollock” / “Edward Moriaty”  – Hamelin (Ozmafia), Saeki Yuzuru (CollarxMalice), So Minjye (Possession Magenta), Kangatari (Arata the Legend)

 

MAIN ROUTES AND CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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The starter routes of the game are Watson’s, Holmes’s and Akechi’s. Jack and Lupin’s route will only unlock after finishing the “Destined End” of any of the other three former bachelors. There’s no specific route order for you to follow (spoiler-wise), but if you want recommendations, I suggest playing in this order: Watson / Holmes – Akechi – Jack – Lupin.

 

WILLIAM H. WATSON

  • Dr. John Watson’s son
  • Beastmaster Animal Lover
  • #sunshineboi1

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Similar to their fathers’ relationship. Watson Jr. acts as Holmes Jr.’s assistant as well as his best buddy. Although their personalities are the total opposite, Holmes and Watson have this strong bond of trust that benefits both lads when working as a team. As the son of a famous doctor, Watson is also very proficient when it comes to medicine and first aid. He’s a headstrong character with an admirable physical strength that comes in handy when a combat situation arises.

I wanted to love Watson’s route as much as I love his character and his VA Shirai lol. Sadly, his story falls rather boring and was convoluted with a lot of events that were all happening at the same time. At some point in his route, Watson went into the “woe is me” phase, thinking he’s not strong enough to protect the heroine from danger. Well love, if the heroine can just stay out of danger for at least an hour or two, maybe you wouldn’t have to worry as much. lol 😏 Romantic-wise, Watson’s character grew on me. You can tell that he’s already head-over-heels in love with Emily, even from the start and I thought their childhood encounter (memory) was really sweet. (´ ε ` )♡ All in all, this boi was a ray of sunshine! An awesome character, that was wasted on such a bland, mediocre story.

 

HERLOCK HOLMES JR.

  • tsunjerk
  • pride issues

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Holmes Jr. is the son of London’s most famous detective Sherlock Holmes. That said, he takes after his father’s outstanding wit in solving cases as well as his stubbornness. Since Holmes is a man of logic, he usually looks down on Emily’s way of solving cases through an intuition-based approach and shows no mercy in calling her out for it.

The only thing to look forward in Holmes’s route is his CGs. While his CGs make him look hot, his sprite looked weird that it was hard for me to take him seriously (laughs). Holmes was an all-around jerk in his route too, not only to Emily but also to other characters in the game. His insecurities of always getting compared to his rockstar dad pretty much drained my interest. At some point in his route, when the cards took a turn against his favor, he was too prideful to ask for help from his father nor let his friends lend him a hand. ( ̄ヘ ̄) His douchebaggery was a bit too much that it ticked me off from the experience. Oh, well!

 

AKECHI KENICHIROU

  • Foreign exchange samurai student
  • perfectionist

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Akechi is an exchange student from Japan. He’s a brilliantly knowing young lad who’s detective skills are almost up to par with Holmes Jr. He is very observant and has the habit of taking down notes whenever he learns something new from his schoolmates and the people around him. He’s also very skilled with the katana, his weapon of choice.

‘Finally, a route that does not disappoint’ was my first reaction when I first finished Akechi’s ‘destined end’. The pacing was really good where it started off with the normal fluff E.g; Akechi confronting bullies at school and Emily crushing on him hard lol, then escalated into the main conflict where Emily (due to her never-ending nosiness), gets kidnapped and Akechi, with his trusted assistant Kobayashi, have to fight off some bad guys to rescue her. The romance, I have to say, was really cute, especially in his Good Ending, where he and the heroine romantically admit their feelings for each other (´ ω `♡) . His After Story was also adorable that I would probably consider it, one of the best in the game. If you enjoy some endearing fluffy content, this route would be something to look forward to. 😉

 

JACK MILLERS

  • ‘Jack the Ripper’ but not really
  • star-crossed lover

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Jack is an East Ender, whose known to be fortunate enough to attend in Harrington’s Academy’s detective school. Although he keeps to himself at all times, he’s used to being talked behind his back by his schoolmates because of his “different” (East End) upbringing. He possesses a sharp mind but remains to have no apathy towards everyone around him.

Jack’s route was all I ever wanted from this game. It was full of angst and drama as expected, and I wouldn’t have it in any other way (^0^). In terms of story, I like how each character (In Jack’s route) was introduced in a manner where it didn’t feel rushed. I also loved how Jack’s romance with the heroine was portrayed as if it were the archetypal Romeo and Juliet (star-crossed lover) trope. Emily wasn’t a complete idiot in this route and to my surprise, made a couple of mature decisions for once! (laughs) His After Story was a little sad and as much as I wanted to see my son, Jack, have a happy ending with rainbows and butterflies, I find the “bittersweet end” an appropriate finish to his story.

 

JEAN LUPIN JR.

  • nerd by day, gentleman thief by night
  • mama’s boi

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As the son, of Arsene Lupin, the famous gentleman thief from France, Lupin Jr. lives up to his father’s reputation as a master of disguise whose thieving is often for a good cause, while operating on the wrong side of the law.

Lupin Jr. was the sole eye-candy of this game. His CGs were just gorgeous and even his character sprite was a sight for sore eyes! His route, however, left me a mixture of feelings. The romance was on point and I liked how his story started, but little by little you’ll begin to notice, how the events have gone from interesting to underwhelming, you just can’t wait to finish it.😪  I did like how Papa Lupin was such an exuberant character,😂 and their father-and-son banters were enjoyable to watch so to speak. To be quite honest, I wasn’t too impressed with Lupin’s overall story but I’m sure, due to the games clear bias on this character, Lupin Jr. will be a fan favorite to many. Though to me, his route was a letdown. His Oedipus complex just didn’t sit with me well lol  ┐(︶▽︶)┌ 

 

EMILY WHITELEY

  • Main heroine

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So after a couple of aggravating instances where I almost dropped the game due to the heroine’s shortcomings, I gave Emily a chance for the sake of completing Jack and Lupin’s route. While I’m glad she played out well in Jack’s story, for the rest of the game, Emily stayed an absolute disappointment.

Ms. Whiteley has a knack of sticking her nose and diving headfirst to obvious danger (she does this in almost ALL the routes of the game). She winds up getting rescued by either Pendleton or her love interest, ends up apologizing in tears, only to commit the same mistakes over and over again. I’m not sure if it’s her naivety or her sheer lack of common sense that makes her a total idiot. Perhaps, both! (⇀‸↼‶) I wasn’t too impressed with her voice actress either. Her character design was beautiful though! ❤️

 

SIDE CHARACTERS (Warning: Some Spoilers!)

2019-01-08-030541 SEIJI KOBAYASHI
The Friendzone Route
Kobayashi is #sunshineboi2. As Akechi’s assistant, he gets a lot of badass fight scenes in the game. Overall, a great NPC who got copped out of romance. His Charmed End consists of Emily friend-zoning him before he returned to Japan.😪

 

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SARAH MARPLE
The BFF Route
Marple is Emily’s closest girl schoolmate. She loves tea and baking pastries. Her Charmed End consists of Emily and her having tea together in the countryside and doing all kinds of girly things.

 

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MISS HUDSON
Pure Annoyance
There’s nothing significant about this character other than her introductory chapter, “The Littlest Landlady”. Take her out of the picture and the game still remains as it is. Her chapter was a waste of time.

 

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RALPH PENDLETON
The True MVP of LDM
As the loyal butler of House Whiteley, this character has gone through all kinds of shit just to protect Emily from the danger she puts herself through. The fact that we never got any kind of backstory about him, was a big letdown and downright disappointing.

 

SYSTEM AND LOCALIZATION
The system was comfortable enough that it didn’t give me any setbacks in finishing the entire game. I find the scenario list extremely helpful for completionists like me, who’d want to unlock all the game’s endings. My only gripe was that there was no option to backtrack a scene. There is a text backlog which you can always visit in any case you missed a dialogue but there’s no way for you to go back to that particular scene. This became remarkably difficult while I was trying to make the correct save files.

Localization was excellently done as expected from XSEED Games. I could probably only spot very few typos and spelling errors which you can surely overlook due to them being very minor. The game’s translation was made to match the setting’s Victorian Era. You can tell that besides from just purely translating the game there was a lot of research done to it as well and I really appreciate that with localization companies. However, I’d like to point out that doing too much can also become a little off-putting. There was a point in the game where the heavy purple prose on dialogues turned me off, especially during the fight scenes where every kick and punch comes with a fancy monologue. (>﹏<) The accents of East Ender characters were either necessary or unnecessary. I understand that this was obviously to distinguish those who live within the Poor District of London, to those in the City Proper. But I’m a total dumbass and I f’nd ‘t ‘ard  t’  an d’ur sta’n lines leik dis’. LOL

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (´-ω-`)
With the heavy prose on writing and a very lengthy gameplay which will take you approximately 40-50 hours to beat the entire game, London Detective Mysteria became a chore to finish. It literally took me a month to complete it myself, and I wasn’t even being lazy or anything of the sort.

Story-wise, I was surprised how the main plot that was initially introduced (Emily trying to solve the case of her parent’s murder) was left untouched in each of the main character’s route. The fact that you have to unlock the “true ending” to know the story behind Emily’s parents was such an inconvenience. It was a mess! It didn’t help that the prologue and common route was overwhelmingly long and I believe some irrelevant chapters were unnecessary (E.g. “Ms. Hudson’s”chapter). I expected Emily to step up as a detective but all throughout the game she remained amateurish in solving no-brainer cases. If anything, she was extremely lucky (as most generic heroines are). I did like how some of the stories in the game brought up realistic events that were very common in the 19th century. Themes such as discrimination among Eastern foreigners and the segregation between the rich and poor were a few examples.

The characters that left an impression on me were Akechi, Jack and Watson. Akechi’s route was cute and tackled a few topics on cultural differences between the East and the West, it was an enjoyable read. Jack’s route tugged my heartstrings and made me cry (he wins ‘best boi’ in my book). Watson’s route was boring but he was such a delightful character, it’s hard to ignore his charm ha! (*’▽’*) The mystery cases in the common route were mere “child’s play” but the main target audience for this game are young teens so that’s to be expected.

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Do I Recommend this Game? YES but only if it’s on SALE.
If you’re a completionist, finishing the game can become a tedious task, so pick this one up at your own risk. Maybe if  London Detective Mysteria wasn’t too overhyped, I would not have been seriously disappointed after finishing it.

Still, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad game altogether. The game’s art was astonishing and remains it’s best winning point, and there’s a selection of characters you will surely love. The story, however, is very mediocre and monotonous where one full gameplay is definitely enough to perhaps satisfy your thirst for new otoges in the dying VITA console.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10

End of the Year Awards – Best and Worst of 2018

Before this year ends, I decided to squeeze in a last minute End-of-the-Year-Awards post for Best and Worst Otome content in 2018. I really just thought of this last night and figured, I should at least do a couple-o’ honorary mentions to the games I’ve fully enjoyed playing this year, as well as the ones that I didn’t lol.

A total of nine new otome games (localized) were released this year (for the Nintendo Switch and PS Vita). The following awards are only limited to console game releases in 2018, I won’t include previous ones from 2017 and further back.

  1. Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (PS Vita)
  2. Code Realize Future Blessings (PS Vita)
  3. Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (PS Vita)
  4. 7’Scarlet (PS Vita)
  5. Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk (PS Vita)
  6. Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku (Nintendo Switch)
  7. Iris School of Wizardry – Vinculum Hearts (Nintendo Switch)
  8. Kitty Love (Nintendo Switch)
  9. London Detective Mysteria (PS Vita)

 

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BEST AND WORST HEROINE

Let’s start with the main characters. As someone who moves the plot forward, I think it’s really important for the game to have a protagonist that’s worth our time, someone we can easily understand, relate and connect to. It’s great that more game developers today are starting to realize that a heroine with a fleshed out personality is better than the typical self-insert Mary Sue.

BEST

Jed / Eiar (Hands Down!)
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk

2018-07-06-232619

If there’s truly one heroine that deserves all levels of respect and appreciation, Jed would be our girl. All throughout the game, this heroine could not catch a break and took most of all the hard beating. But guess what, she handled everything to the end without even relying on others for help. She’s kind, independent, and best of all got some backbone worthy of praise.  If you’ve played PAH, you’d most definitely agree that JED is our BEST protagonist for 2018.

 

WORST

Emily Whiteley
London Detective Mysteria

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This one is perhaps debatable but the reason I chose Emily Whiteley THE worst heroine of the bunch, is that her nosiness annoyed me to no end. Emily will deliberately stick her nose to all kinds of obvious danger, then gets rescued by either Pendleton (her faithful butler) or her love interest. She ends up in tears and apologizes only to commit the same mistakes over and over again (she does this in all routes! no kidding!). One can argue that she’s only 16 and knows no better but pfft! let’s be real, (even during the 19th century) sixteen is the adolescent age where one learns the freakin’ art of common sense! I was on the verge of dropping the game because of how aggravating Emily is but gave it another chance anyway for the sake of Jack Miller and Lupin Jr. 

 

BEST AND WORST HUSBANDO

BEST

Impey Barbicane
Code Realize: Future Blessings

2018-06-20-013735  As a Van Helsing bias, it pains me to not write his name as best husbando for 2018…lol But, Impey definitely stole the spotlight with his After Story in Code Realize Future Blessings. Looking back a few months ago when I first played the first (localized) Code Realize Fandisk, As much as I’ve enjoyed all of the characters’ After stories in White Rose, it was Impey’s that made me pathetically grin all the way from start to finish. Ha! (°◡°♡)

 

WORST

“IRIS” / LEONORE
Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts

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(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Not only does this guy have an upsetting split personality that turns him into a  murderer with a massive thirst for blood. In his endless (bad) ending, you’ll also get to discover that he’s your *cough* half-brother *cough*. Admittedly, I’ve enjoyed his route because it was dark and mysterious at the start (Plus, I loved Nobuhiko Okamato voicing him), but his ending (bad ending particularly) left a sour taste in my mouth. …and to think Iris was the game’s “true” route. ヽ( `д´*)ノ

 

BEST AND WORST ROUTE

BEST

Toshizo Hijikata
Hakuoki Edo Blossoms

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Hijikata’s route was probably the most satisfying story-driven route an otome game has to offer. While other route endings in Hakuoki Edo Blossoms deviates from the Shinsengumi’s story. Hijikata remains THE Shinsengumi story to the bitter end.. and it is absolutely enthralling! Besides realizing his romantic feelings for Chizuru, his route (including his prequel in Kyoto Winds) also tells the full tale of the Shinsengumi; as the last samurais in Japan.

 

WORST

Cyril Grundy
Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts

2018101920422200-81E0EDFD327B7E2B19F0CB0D479724C6(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
This route was absolutely the worst because no matter which ending you unlock and finish, Cyril ends up dying in the game leaving you husbando-less. It is pretty sad and angsty that I wouldn’t even recommend playing his route unless you’re up for some forced tears. That aside, his relationship with the heroine was also more of like a little brother than a love interest. ┐( ̄ヘ ̄;)┌

 

BEST AND WORST ROMANTIC (GOOD) ENDING

BEST

Sanosuke Harada
Hakuoki Edo Blossoms

2018-09-23-094747 (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
...And another Hakuoki character lol! You can tell by now how much of a die-hard Hakuoki fan I am. (laughs) To make this explanation short, Harada has the fluffiest route in Edo Blossoms. Besides him being the only character confident enough to *cough* take Chizuru to bed *cough* amidst the ongoing Boshin War, his ending was also the most endearing as Sano was finally able to get his wish of living a peaceful life with his own family after Japan’s warring period settled down.

 

WORST

Akito
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku

2018100712553600-BEA6E66402D097882F0C2894299135DD(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Whew! Where do I even begin with this game?! Not only this route presented really awful conflicts that don’t make any sense. Akito’s happy ending also had all the wtf moments that’ll leave you speechless. His good ending consists of you destroying the entire fox village (after choosing to seal the fox ancestor in your magatama to save Akito’s life) and Akito brings up of reviving his village by marrying you and making lots and lots of half-fox-half-human babies. lol (งಠ_ಠ)ง Gambatte?

 

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BEST NON-ROMANCEABLE CHARACTER

 

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RALPH PENDLETON (´♡‿♡`)
London Detective Mysteria

I’m still salty that we never get to romance this amazing, handsome, faithful butler who’s always at the ready for Ms. Whiteley’s beck and call! (not even a backstory was given!) SIGH (–_–)

 

RUNNER UPS:

67183 OLGAR
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk

 

77967

HANSEL HEXENHAUS
Code Realize Future Blessings

 

 

 

lineNOW MOVING ON TO THE  BEST AND WORST GAME TITLES

 

BEST OTOME GAME SOUNDTRACK

Lovesick (7’Scarlet 2nd OP song)
This was a tough one. Although I’m usually a huge fan of Big Otomate Title’s soundtracks (such as Code Realize’s and Hakuoki’s). This year, Showtaro Morikubo won my heart with his OP song in 7’SCARLET “Lovesick” Listen to the track below! 

 

WORST OTOME GAME SOUNDTRACK:

NONE (Most of the Switch Games are mobile ports so it’s a little unfair to compare them to original console games that have complete sets of OP and END themes).

 

BEST AND WORST OTOME GAME LOCALIZATION

BEST

XSEED
London Detective Mysteria

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As expected, XSEED always deliver great localizations with most of their visual novels (e.g. Corpse Party Series, Fate/Extella). They did an impressive job with LDM, making its translation a resounding match for its 19th-century setting.

 

 

WORST

slide_keyvisual4 Digimerce
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku 

The game was initially released with machine translations making it almost impossible to read. The good news is that they recently uploaded a patch to fix this localization mess so it might be a little less of a crappy experience if you play this game now compared to playing it back then.

BEST (NEW) OTOME GAME OF 2018

7’SCARLET

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If there was one new game, I’ve fully enjoyed playing this year. It was definitely 7’SCARLET. Sure, the game has its flaws but the plot is definitely a must read and one gripping experience per se. You can read my full (spoiler free) review here.

(NOTE: I didn’t count CR Future Blessings nor Edo Blossoms off of this nominations since, Future Blessings is a fandisk of a game I already love and Edo Blossoms is the sequel (Part 2) of Hakouki Kyoto Winds, again, a game I’m already a fan of).  

 

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR 2018

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 7.43.59 PM.png**Trust me, I still have a lot of things  I want to say and add to this post but it’s almost time to retire for the evening and enjoy the New Year fireworks with a glass of champagne! ☆⌒(>。<) I hope I can be more creative next year with these End-of-the-Year-Awards, but in the meantime, this will do for now. (´ ε ` )
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!! 

NORN9 Var Commons Review

Norn9 Wallpaper 1

NORN9: VAR COMMONS

Release Date:  November 3, 2015 (North America)
Developers: Otomate, Regista
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS VITA
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

0000BUTTON

 

Walkthroughs:

  1. Kakeru
  2. Senri
  3. Sakuya
  4. Masamune
  5. Heishi
  6. Istuki
  7. Akito
  8. Ron
  9. Natsuhiko
  10. Common Route

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

I purchased this game last year but kept putting off playing it for all kinds of odd unintended reasons like *cough* a broken vita charger. Plus, I had an overwhelming otome game backlogs this year that I totally forgot about this amazing title that’s been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and a half. Finally, the time has come for me to dive into the world of  N O R N !

 

ART AND MUSIC
Arguably, there are two artists responsible for NORN9’s overall artwork. First is Satoi, (for the game’s chibi character designs) – a Japanese Illustrator who’s incredibly famous for her other popular works (E.g. Diabolik Lovers, Nil Admirari, Ozmafia!, Re: Birthday Song). Now, she’s currently working on her next project with Otomate “Olympia Soiree” which will hit the Nintendo Switch otome market (Japan) in 2019.  Next artist is, Teita who’s responsible for the original character designs of NORN9. Teita has also done her fair share of producing beautiful character designs of today’s most popular otome games in the market. One of her prominent works is Nightshade “Hyakka Hyakurou” and the recently released Otomate title, Charade Maniacs.

Another notable aspect of  NORN9 Var Commons is its outstanding soundtrack. Almost all the BGMs perfectly matched the game’s unique setting and the OP and Ending themes were incredibly remarkable.

Fun Fact: The vocals for the game’s OP, Nagi Yanagi also voiced the side character Aion. If you’ve watched the anime adaptation of Amnesia Memories, Nagi Yanagi also sang the series’ OP song “Zoetrope”.

Listen to my fav. Norn9 Var Commons track below, ‘Sunadokei wa Sora no Sora’!

 

Voice Acting
What distinguished Norn9 Var Commons from other otome games was their voiced heroine/s. I’m a huge fan myself, for voiced MCs in otoges, (this is why I’m an absolute sucker for the Psychedelica Series). Voice actors breathe life to a character and it’s definitely a huge advantage in a game whenever the main protagonist gets a VA. It not only contributes to the likability of her character but it also fleshes out her role more in the story.

Ayumi Fujimura “Koharu” – Ruri (Reine des Fleurs), Iwami Aki (Muv-Luv), Neferpitou (Hunter x Hunter)

Ayahi Takagahi “Mikoto Kuga” – Lisbeth/Rika Shinozaki (SAO), Kotoha (Arata the Legend), Young Son Hak (Akatsuki no Yona)

Asami Seto “Nanami Shiranui” – Akira Mado (Tokyo Ghoul),  Yui Michimiya (Haikyu!!), Ichiyō Higuchi (Bunguo Stray Dogs)

Daisuki Ono “Natsuhiko Azuma” – Ryouma Sakamoto (Hakuoki), Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv)

Hiro Shimono “Senri Ichinose” – Shou Kurusu (Utapri), Kuroyuki (Nightshade), Sou Kiryuu (Harukanaru Toki no Naka De 5), Ricchie (Black Wolves Saga)

Koji Yusa “Itsuki Kagami” – Sanosuke Harada (Hakuoki)Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Tomokazu Sugita “Ron Muroboshi” – Takuma (Hiro no Kakera), Oda Nobunaga (Ikemen Sengoku), Rabbit Head (Bad Apple Wars), Reine des Fluers (Hubert), Sasuke Sarutobi (Kurenai)

Mitsuki Saiga “Sakuya Nijo” – Dantalion (Tokyo Babel), Ashley Curtis (Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts)

Hiroyuki Yoshino “Heishi Otomaru” Heisuke Toudou (Hakuoki), Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga)

Takuya Sato “Masamune Toya” – Yuuma Kuga (Million Dollar Boyfriend), Katakura Kojuurou (Sengoku Night Blood), Ryonosuke Tsunashi (Idolish7)

Yuki Kaji “Kakeru Yuiga” – Finis (Code Realize), Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kazue Souma (Hakuoki), Rath Vogart (Black Wolves Saga) Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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Although all the routes follow through the same storyline, there are some characters that are best played in the later part of the game. If you’re like me who’s concerned about major spoilers when picking which routes to start in a game, I’ve prepared a few suggestions of Norn9 Var Commons’ route order below:

1st Option (from least spoiler content to greatest):
: Heishi — Senri — Sakuya — Kakeru — Masamune — Itsuki — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

2nd Option (from least spoiler content to greatest w/ enjoyable pace):
:Kakeru — Heishi — Senri — Sakuya — Istuki — Masamune — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

3rd Option (I’ve enjoyed and played mine in this order):
:Kakeru — Senri — Sakuya — Masamune — Heishi — Istuki — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

If you’d rather deviate with the suggested order above, make sure to play either Senri, Heishi, Sakuya, Kakeru first. Then Masamune, Itsuki in the middle but be sure to play the last three routes in this order: Akito – Ron – Natsuhiko (as finale).

 

Heroines

2018-12-02-090822KOHARU

While playing the prologue as Sorata, Koharu is the first main character you’ll get in contact within the story. She has a very meek and gentle personality and because she lived her life in entire seclusion, she’s initially very innocent and gullible to a point of ignorance. Despite this, Koharu remains kindhearted to everyone she meets. She’s also one of the most powerful espers to aboard the NORN ship.

My first impression with Koharu was that I thought she’s going to be one of those bland naive heroines who’s gonna get dragged around by the guys in the story. Luckily, she didn’t turn out as a doormat and went through a really awesome character development in all of her (three) routes. Though, I have to admit her naivety is actually one of her charms!  Koharu is such a darling of a character and I  believe that she’s one of the strongest protagonists in the game.

 

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MIKOTO KUGA

Mikoto is the oldest of the three heroines. She acts very mature and has a strong sense of responsibility for taking care of the other heroines (Koharu and Nanami). It is also because of her esper powers that she feels the need to protect others to a point where she pushes herself to her limit every day and abandons her own safety. Because she was born into a noble family she can be really uptight and bossy sometimes.

I remember really hating Mikoto’s character at first. She is a tsundere A-type heroine and her harsh rejections towards her love interests can be really off-putting sometimes (esp. to poor Itsuki) but I’ll be damned if her character depth and development wasn’t paced so well. Unpopular Opinion, but Mikoto was perhaps my fav. heroine in Norn9 as her character really shined all throughout her (three) routes, plus she gets all the cool guys (particularly, Natsuhiko and Istuki) (laughs). 

 

 

2018-11-25-232744 NANAMI SHIRANUI

Nanami Shiranui’s family comes from a long line of a famous shinobi (ninja) descendant, dating back to very old times. Although her family does not live and practice a shinobi’s lifestyle anymore, they became famous because of Nanami’s esper powers which eventually rose them back to fame as they make a living out of her special “gift”. 

Nanami is perhaps the most popular and the most loved heroine in Norn9. Perhaps it’s because of her kuudere nature that makes it impossible for you not to like her character. She’s very reserved and polite and carries around a kunai which she uses from time to time, in any case, her love interest tries to make advances on her lol. Out of the three heroines, Nanami was my least fav. since her personality in the game is defined depending on the route she’s in. She’s also the weakest heroine by far when compared to the other two which is totally understandable since her powers aren’t combative but I felt like she could’ve been more strong-willed in the game as far as making her own decisions and taking matters into her own hands (lol she’s still fun to play though, this is just me griping! haha). ┐(︶▽︶)┌ 

 

The Guys

2018-10-29-100428 KAKERU YUIGA

Kakeru is a bright and strong-willed young lad who’s esper powers can control and summon greenery (plants). He is sometimes known to be sadistic especially when playfully bullying Senri in the ship. He wears a metal cuff in his left ear as a memento of his father.

Kakeru’s route went from smooth sailing with just pure rabu-rabu (love-dovey) scenes with Koharu to a major train wreck near the end. I did not expect the sudden turn of events in his route. Perhaps, its because I played him first that’s why I was caught off guard? I liked Kakeru as a character of the game but as a love interest? Nah. His route left me a little unsatisfied since it concluded on an open-ended finish (most of the NORN9 endings are like this). If it wasn’t for Yuki Kaji voicing him, I probably would not enjoy his route as much as I thought I’ve had. ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

2018-10-29-100529 SENRI ICHINOSE

Senri is a shut-in pessimistic boy who prefers to stay in his room for days rather than socialize with everyone in the Norn ship. His distrust towards everyone stems from how he was treated in the past. He enjoys and feels more relaxed being in the water since no one can chase after him in there.

I’ve actually enjoyed Senri’s route a lot, surprisingly! I didn’t expect his character to become extremely likable that he out-shined the other two (Kakeru and Masamune) in Koharu’s harem. I also believe he’s the best match for Koharu in the game. It’s really cute how both their characters complement each other so well. Also, kudos to Hiro Shimono for his awesome delivery with Senri’s lines. Funny enough, in some routes, I find Senri’s sarcastic dialogues a comic relief or an icebreaker to the immense drama or angst in the NORN9’s overarching story. 

 

2018-11-17-114952 MASAMUNE TOYA

Masamune is perhaps the oldest esper in the Norn ship. Because of this, he not only acts as the big-bro for the younger members but also as a reliable young adult, who keeps peace and order in the ship. He possesses a wide spectrum of knowledge and is the only member who’s responsible for reporting all activities inside the Norn to The WORLD. Despite this, his downside is that he can become unnecessarily clumsy sometimes because he’s not too skillful with his hands (when it comes to ship repairs etc.).

I’m not sure how I feel about Masamune’s route as I didn’t really get that kind of genuine connection between him and Koharu. Maybe it’s the age gap? At one point, Koharu just out of the blue developed this crush for Masamune and Masamune returning the favor by liking her back (or maybe he was just thirsty?? lol) ...And because Masamune’s an older character, he gets a lot of *cough* sexytime *cough* scenes with lil miss innocent (Koharu). This is either a yay or nay in his route depending on your preferences (ʘ‿ʘ)/. Ngl, I may have enjoyed some of his horny urges because I’m just trash like that. lmao

 

2018-11-11-091917SAKUYA NIJO

Sakuya is Mikoto’s childhood friend. Just like her, he comes from a noble family and was described in the game as a really handsome young man. He’s also very protective towards Mikoto to a point where he’ll happily risk his life for her sake.

Probably my least fav. route in the game was Sakuya’s. This route was such a drag because the whole childhood friend trope was just too much to bear in his story. At the start, I felt that Sakuya was Mikoto’s very own lapdog who follows her around, anticipating for a treat – it was too painful to watch! Then we have Mikoto telling him, he must not fall in love with anyone (esp. to her) so she tries to push him away because they need to fulfill certain “vow” they made when they were kids. Like, I totally get the whole tragic story behind their said “vows” but this went on for the entirety of his route, I just couldn’t wait for it to end tbh! Perhaps to someone who enjoys a good ol’ cliche childhood-friend-love-story, this is route is probably for you. But because I was the least bit interested in Sakuya and his story, completing his route merely became a chore. ( ̄ヘ ̄)

 

2018-11-23-004259ITSUKI KAGAMI

A handsome young man who’s earned his title as the biggest flirt in the NORN ship. Because Itsuki grew up in the red light district, he’s developed this playful personality and is very good with his flowery words to woo women. Istuki is also very smart and cunning though he’d rather joke around telling lies than speak his mind and his true feelings. Due to his very lax facade, almost no one ever takes him seriously.

Istuki is one of my fav. characters in NORN9. I guess I have a weakness for cheeky charmers with purple highlights! (not to mention my extreme bias in Koji Yusa’s sexy voice) ha! (°◡°♡) I had a few good laughs playing Itsuki’s story, his playful flirtings were, of course, the highlights of his entire route. lol^^. If you enjoy a steamy romance with a little angst, Itsuki is one for the taking. Though his story didn’t really contribute too much with the game’s underlying plot.

 

2018-11-19-095657 HEISHI OTOMARU

Heishi is the most energetic esper to aboard the NORN ship. He’s also the friendliest of all the members and the mood maker of the team. He possesses the ability of telepathy, although it is very unstable, as his personal thoughts and feelings often leak out.

Heishi was my least fav. guy in Nanami’s harem, though, I remember liking his story at the start because he looked so cute together with Nanami. Plus, he has his own BG (flute) music which I find really soothing. (laughs)^^ Heishi’s route also has the least spoilery content of the game’s overall plot, so I think it’s a good idea to play his story as a starter.

 

2018-11-25-193610 AKITO SHUKURI

The roughest, rudest esper to aboard in the NORN ship yet everyone respects him because he’s merely the best cook in the team. Akito also treats Nanami, cruelly for some reason which you’ll get to discover why ~going down his route. Although he fronts a violent persona, Akito is seriously afraid of the hiyokos in the ship lol, this is one weakness of his, which everyone finds extremely amusing.

Akito is a tsundere (who’s got no chill) and I absolutely love him! haha His route was also interesting enough as it didn’t follow through the overarching story of NORN9 and focused mainly on his backstory with the heroine, Nanami. His route also had a lot of major spoilers so be sure NOT to play him first in the game. I believe Akito is Nanami’s true route, though I personally feel that Nanami isn’t a good match for Akito?? oh well… 

 

2018-11-28-031154 RON MUROBOSHI

Ron is another older member amongst aboard the NORN ship. He usually just keeps to himself and doesn’t really contribute much during their occasional meetings. He doesn’t talk about himself at all, so no one knows much about him. Though he’s one of the earlier members to join the NORN, he can never remember anyone’s names nor cares to remember them at all.

Ron is prob the worst route in the game. No contest! You really can’t justify this character’s actions. He’s an all-around major jerkass! But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t attracted to this insensitive bonehead of character! haha

garbage

So, yeah here I am trying to question myself for my horrible taste in (2D) men and the game’s attempt to giving this character a route that forces a sad excuse of a “romantic” finish up our throats. lol The fact that Nanami just quickly fell in love with him despite his violent and “abusive” actions towards her was literally a giant exacerbated question mark. I tip my hat to Sugita’s voice acting for making this character such a wild treat.haha

 

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NATSUHIKO AZUMA 

Natsuhiko is considered one of the antagonist in the story (depending who’s route you’re in). Due to certain reasons, he’s after the lives of those aboard the Norn ship. As a scientist, he’s very good at inventing, handling machines, and a specialist at controlling and maneuvering ships.

Natsuhiko is the BEST canon boy of the game. Since most routes concluded with open-ended scenarios when it comes to the game’s overall plot, Natsuhiko is the only route that really made sense as far as covering the whole NORN9 story, the “WORLD” organization and how the espers came to be. Here, we finally get a couple of backstories and action-packed scenes where Natsuhiko has proven himself best boi and a rockstar pilot. His route also does NOT hold back when it comes to *cough* steamy love scenes *cough*. It’s pretty rewarding to finally play his route after all the cliffhangers and the loose threads that were previously presented in the game. I’m glad I played Natsuhiko’s story last too, otherwise, the other routes that’ll come after him would just be totally irrelevant

 

2018-12-16-193656 SORATA SUZUHARA

Wait… who? Oh, right! Sorata! The main protagonist of NORN9! 

One major con was that the game totally failed to mention Sorata in most routes to a point where you’d be oblivious to the fact that he apparently still exist.  Sorata actually has his own story and by playing his epilogue, you’ll be able to finally understand how on earth did this young boy ended up as the main protagonist of this otome game?! (Thank god!) Ha..ha…haaah!

 

2018-11-17-120018 SETSU TAKISHIMA

Okay, Setsu is just a side character of the game but I felt the need to include him in this review because his character was just hilarious! Setsu is an extreme masochist and he’d do anything, for you to spit disgust on his face. The dude, gets off on some good violent slapping, I kid you not! I guess there’s a tiny voice inside of me that wished for a Setsu route just for shits and giggles. lmao

 

MINI GAMES

  • NORN9 QUEST – this mini-game will only be available after you’ve completed the game’s prologue.  It can be accessed under “New Contents” when you hover over the option that says “???”, you’ll have to tap the ship from the top right of the screen to play it. You don’t necessarily need to play this mini-game but getting 5,000 points in it will unlock a PS Trophy. This can become a major pain if you’re a completionist like me as the game points you’ll get depends on sheer luck.

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  • NORN+ENSEMBLE – If you were wondering about those KEYWORDS that appear on your screen as you unlock a chapter in a route, they are for this mini-game.  The Norn + Ensemble can be accessed in the EXTRAS menu. This game, lets you mix and match character lines to simulate a conversation when you press PLAY after arranging the keywords together. Don’t even bother playing this mini-game. The NORN+Ensemble PS Trophy automatically unlocks after completing all of the game’s ending anyway.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? ♡ (˘▽˘)
It took me a whole month to complete the entire game. This is mainly my fault for playing it during the holidays where I barely have any time for gaming. With three character routes for each of the three heroines, the game lets you finish a whopping nine routes in total, excluding Sorata’s Epilogue story. So yeah, NORN9 Var Commons isn’t a short gameplay and will definitely take a lot of your time.

Story-wise, I actually love the game’s concept. The whole core plot of getting to decide on the world “Reset” was interesting at the start but because there was an overwhelming amount of characters in the game, the story became overly repetitive which kind of gets a bit mundane sometimes (esp. to characters that don’t really interest you). How the overarching story-line was presented was a complete mess as some routes contradict each other and leave you a lot of questions and plot holes to piece together. This really didn’t bother me at first, but as I write this review I began reflecting on the game’s major plot holes that were left open-ended on each story and I’m just here thinking, the “whys” and “hows”… ┐(‘~` )┌  I guess, Its safe to conclude that the game intended for each route to have its own alternate reality.

My favorite heroine was Mikoto, her character development was phenomenal especially in Natsuhiko’s route, next is Koharu because even though she’s a total air-head, she’s at least got some backbone. Least fav. was Nanami, she’s not a bad heroine, but I find her personality too boring for my taste. My favorite routes were Itsuki, Akito, and Natsuhiko with a special mention to Ron for having an absolute garbage route I’ve shamelessly enjoyed. („ಡωಡ„)

Do I recommend this game? YES
Despite a few gripes I’ve stated above. I’ve quite enjoyed playing NORN9 Var Commons as a whole. It definitely presents a really unique sci-fi story as well as a solid game-play which never cops you out of interesting new characters to love. I recommend picking this game up if you haven’t yet.  Its story may not be perfect, but its still beautifully done and the game still stands out as one of the better otome titles that were localized throughout the years. 

 

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

Otome Games in Nintendo Switch (English)

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Since the Vita apocalypse has finally dawned upon us, a lot of otome fans in the west were left hangin’ after Sony’s big announcement on shutting down production of physical PS Vita games. With this shocking news set to place, localization companies such as Idea Factory Intl. and Aksys Games, who are known for bringing popular otome titles to the west has ceased to announce any otome games this year. Discounting Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles ofc! (the only confirmed Otomate title that will have a physical release this coming 2019).

So where does that leave us otome fans?
While there are still a lot of otome games that are digitally making their way to the west through different media (PC, Steam, mobile, and Switch), this post will be touching  on the ones that are available in the Nintendo Switch console.

Below I’ll be listing down all otome titles that are currently available in the Eshop (NA and EU):

 

The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya

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Game Review
Voiced? NO
Price: 19.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Comments: I personally, liked this game because of its *cough* steamy content and beautiful art. Some routes were great, while others were boring. It is a bit expensive though for a non voiced tittle.
Recommended routes: Kagura, Kagerou, Takao.

 

 

The Men of Yoshiwara: Oghiya

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 14.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: In terms of the game’s sound and mechanics, I find this one better than the first Yoshiwara series. Story-wise, I’ve only finished Takigawa’s route so I can’t really spell out any thoughts if this game was better than its predecessor. I do like Oghiya MC more than Kikuya MC.

 

 

The Charming Empire

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Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 4/10

Comments: The only things I liked about this game were the voice actors and the artwork. The story was super bland and most of the routes ended in a rush.
Recommended Routes: Kei Yoshimine, Soshi Amazaki

 

 

Pub Encounters “Dandy Shot”

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 16.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: I kept putting this game down for some reason lol. I’ve been hearing a few mixed reviews regarding Dandy Shot (Pub Encounters). Most of the reviews were actually quite good, as long as you don’t mind romancing older men (chuckles). I’ve only finished Yuze Ryunosuke’s route, he’s the tsundere and his story wasn’t so bad.

 

 

Destiny Princess

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 14.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: One gripe I have for this game was that, because it was a mobile port the CGs on the Switch looked really weird and stretched. The game has an interesting prologue and I’ve actually enjoyed its steamy content.^^; I’ve finished three routes so far. Some were good, while others were meh.
Recommended Routes: Nobunaga

 

 

The Amazing Shinsengumi

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 11.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments:  I’ve played the game’s prologue and it was boring as heck. I haven’t started a route yet but based on hearsay (from the otome community), this game apparently borders a bit on “rapey” scenarios? Haha if you’re someone who’s uncomfortable with that, it may be best to stay out of this game.^^;;

 

 

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku

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Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 3/10

Comments: This game had great voice acting. That’s it. The story is bad and translations are the worst.
**Edit: A recent patch update was released for this game fixing the horrid translations.

 

 

Gakuen Club

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Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Comments: This game wasn’t so bad. It had some good routes worth checking out and the art style was really beautiful. But since all the main characters were younger high school teens, the game didn’t appeal to me as much.
Recommended Routes: Saku Takizawa, Toma Sakai

 

 

Iris School of Wizardry – Vinculum Hearts

H2x1_NSwitchDS_IrisSchoolofWizardryVinculumHearts_image1600wGame Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Comments: Just like Ayakoi, the translations were pretty bad in this game but the story itself was fairly decent. I loved the game’s shoujo manga art style and I believe I’ve enjoyed a couple of routes on this one.
Recommended Routes: Matias, A-Jay, Iris
***Edit: A recent patch was released fixing the game’s English translations! ^^

 

 

Kitty Love – Way to look for love

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Game Review
Voiced: YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 6/10

Comments: Again, the game’s english subs needed proofreading. However, I was able to chug it all up because the story was so cute. The game’s art style, music, voice acting, and enjoyable stories were its redeeming qualities.
Recommended Routes: Kohei, Takuma

 

 

Nightshade

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Voiced: YES
Price: 47.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 8/10

Comments: (Edited) If you’re having second thoughts whether or not it’s worth shelling out 50 bux to get this game in your Switch Library. Here’s my advice: GET IT! If you haven’t played the game yet, this one’s definitely a gem. When it comes to the character arcs and story-line, I cannot recommend Nightshade enough! Ask other Nightshade fans and they’ll tell you the same thing! ha! (*´▽`*)
Recommended Routes: ALL

 

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There you have it! So far, these are the current (English) Otome games available on the Switch Console. There’s probably a couple more Operahouse (mobile) games that’ll be ported to the switch soon (I’m pretty sure they’re working on Spiral Memoria right now and possibly Yumemidori Nostalgia) but no official news has been released yet, so this is all just mere speculation. *wink*

While Otomate, Japan’s leading company in producing otome games are slowly but surely moving to the Nintendo Switch as their main visual novel console going forward, there has yet to be any announcement whether any of their old and new titles (for the Switch) are getting localized.

If you’re curious which games (Non-Otomate titles included) are currently available in the Switch eshop Japan, here’s a list below for both physical and digital releases:

(The list below does not include the games that were already localized)

  1. Code Realize Saiko no Hanataba – link here
  2. Hakuoki Shinkai Fuka Den – link here
  3. NORN9 LOFN – link here
  4. Beast Darling! (Digital) – link here
  5. Nil Admirari no Tenbin – link here
  6. Cendrillon PalikA – link here
  7. Sangoku Koi Senki – link here
  8. Yoshiwara Hinganbana – link here
  9. Nightshade “Hyakka Hyakurou” – link here
  10. Kiniro no Corda Octave – link here
  11. Yunohana Spring! “Mellow Times” – (Feb. 28, 2019) link here
  12. Harukanaru Toki no Naka De 6 – (Mar. 14, 2019) link here
  13. Diabolik Lovers “Chaos Lineage” – (Mar. 28, 2019) link here
  14. Beastmaster and Prince – (Mar. 30, 2019) link here
  15. Taishou x Alice (Apr. 18, 2019) link here
  16. Reine des Fleurs (Apr. 25, 2019) link here
  17. Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku (May 16, 2019)
  18. Shiritsu Verbara Gakuen ~ Rose of Versailles (May 23, 2019) 
  19. Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku Kinema Mosaic (June 20, 2019)
  20. CLOCK ZERO ~Shuuen no Ichibyou (June 27, 2019)
  21. Tlicolity Eyes: Twinkle Snowtime  (July 18, 2019)
  22. Katakoi Contrast: Collection of Branch (August 22, 2019)
  23. Jakou no Lyla: Trap of Musk  (September 19, 2019)

For other Otomate upcoming 2019 titles, you can refer to these following posts:

If you think I’ve missed on some other titles (I’m pretty sure I did lol), please do let me know so I can update this list.

Kitty Love – Way to look for love Review (Nintendo Switch)

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KITTY LOVE – WAY TO LOOK FOR LOVE

Release Date: Novemeber 1, 2018 (North America)
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: E (10+)

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Just like Iris School of Wizardry ~ Vinculum Hearts, the game Kitty Love or Nyan Love “Watashi no Koi no Mitsukekata” (original title), was recently released to the Nintendo Switch console this year, although the game has been around since the year 2014 as a mobile port.

 

Walkthroughs:

 

STORY
Honoka Shinota (main protagonist) works at a flower shop and spends every day working hard at her job.
Then one night, at the park she always visits, an odd-eyed black cat cursed her into becoming a cat at night and human by morning.
“There’s only one way to break the curse”, the black cat said… and it is…

――True love’s kiss.

 

If you’re curious about the game’s localization, specifically, if the english subs have improved, my answer is nada. It is the same ol’ inconsistent subs from the last game Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts. A couple of typos and misspellings, some misused prepositions, a few lost pronouns here and there, you get the gist! It is tolerable so to speak and you can still follow through the plot if you have the patience for it, that is. lol ヾ(´∀`) Ha…haha…
Did this throw you off? If not, please continue reading.^^

 

ART AND MUSIC
The game’s artwork and character design were beautifully done by Japanese illustrator, Nami Hidaka – you can view her official page here. If you’ve played a couple of OperaHouse’s otomes before, you’ll recognize some of their bg stock images that were re-used in this game (totally understandable for a game that used to be a mobile port).

The theme was really cute – that I found myself humming the OP and Ending theme a couple of times. lol

Voice Acting

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Soma Saito “Takuma Suguri”  Mineo Enomoto (Collar x Malice), Levi (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Sota (Possession Magenta)

Atsushi Tamaru “Kohei Natsume” Tsukimi (Koroshiya to Strawberry), Kasuga (Variable Barricade)

Hiroki Yasumoto “Shogo Fujimoto” – Razel (Lamento Beyond the Void), Karasuma (7’scarlet), Hyuga Shinobu (KLAP)

Maeno Tomoaki “Kyosuke Kawahara” Arsene Lupin (Code Realize), Onigashima Houou (Kenka Banchou Otome), Keisuke Sanjou (Collar x Malice)

Sakurai Takahiro “Narumi Saijo” Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Astrum (Period Cube), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (Minor Spoilers)
There’s no recommended route order in the game, However, just be sure to play Saijo’s story last, to avoid unwanted plot spoilers in the beginning. I played and enjoyed mine in this following order: Takuma — Kohei — Kyosuke — Shogo — Saijo.

I promise to keep the spoiler contents to a minimum below, but I’m still putting up my spoiler banner to remind ya’lls to proceed and skim with caution.^^ 

spoilersss

 

TAKUMA SUGURI

  • Flower shop owner
  • Loves Chinese food
  • Secret past

Takuma is the owner of “Flora”, the flower shop Honoka works at. He is a warm, friendly and understanding boss who seems to be very gentle upfront. In almost every route in the game, he remains supportive towards the heroine (to a point, where he even acts as a wingman for the other guys, in their respective routes).

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I played Takuma’s route first because I am forever thirsty for Soma Saito and he seemed like a good character to start (as suggested by the game). Despite his bright and gentle demeanor, I was anticipating some yandere tendencies in his route as he appears to be hiding something deviant up his sleeve. To my surprise (or rather disappointment, lol) Takuma is not yandere nor even close to one (laughs). He was, however, revealed to be a delinquent in his past, which made him reluctant towards admitting his feelings for Honoka, fearing she will never accept him and that he’s not deserving of someone like her because of his previous “bad record” Aww. What I really liked in Takuma’s route was how his romantic relationship for Honoka developed. It was so endearing to see him realize his feelings for the heroine as he tells cat Honoka at night how he’s beginning to fall in love with human Honoka. (*≧ω≦*) The fluff content of this route was pretty up there and his “happy ending” was surprisingly badass and def something to look forward to.

 

KOHEI NATSUME 

  • The childhood friend
  • Tsundere

Kohei is Honoka’s childhood friend. Because they grew up together in the same hometown, the heroine thinks of him as her big brother. In reality, Kohei secretly has a crush on Honoka, but decides to keep his feelings under wraps afraid it might ruin their friendship.

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Kohei’s route was full of fluffy surprises and was probably my favorite in the game. I’m usually not a fan of the cliche “childhood friend trope” but if there was one that was done right, Kohei’s story def takes the cake! Kohei and Honoka’s relationship build up was paced really well – it was so adorable – that I was grinning the whole time playing his route. Kohei Natsume’s tsundere nature makes him a darling of a character and it was so fun seeing him secretly hide his fascinations for all the neko he comes across with. It is also in this route, that the heroine reveals a traumatic past experience that involves her relationship with cats. Though Kohei’s happy ending is the best ending for his route, his normal ending was fairly as good as the other, so really, it doesn’t matter which ending you unlock as both of them were quite satisfying, so to speak. ♡(。- ω -) Out of all the guys, Kohei was perhaps the biggest cat mom of the bunch! He even owns a membership ID at this cat cafe by his workplace.

 

KYOSUKE KAWAHARA

  • Club Viola’s #1 host
  • Loves musical instruments

Kyosuke works as a host at Club Viola. He often visits Honoka’s flower shop to buy bouquets for his lady clients in the club. Besides his secret love for cats, he’s also secretly passionate about making music.

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In his route, Kyo, through cat Honoka’s support made him realize his true calling as a musician instead of a club host. I think one of the main highlights in Kyosuke’s route was his playful banters with human Honoka which I believe, eventually brought them closer together in his story. This is also the only route where the main guy gets into a nasty rivalry with a (spriteless) side character, who almost harassed the heroine out of spite. I like Kyosuke’s character development for the most part as he shares his deep passion for music with cat Honoka, and at the same time continues to care about human Honoka, despite her shady disappearing acts (while she turns into a cat at night). My only gripe about this route was that it had the most awful translations in the game that even the fluff content nor Maeno’s adorable voice acting couldn’t make up for it. Ah well… ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

SHOGO FUJIMOTO

  • Mr. Kuudere Police man
  • Loves kawaii things

Shogo is the quiet police officer who often visits Honoka’s flower shop on his patrol route. Despite his stoic appearance, Shogo actually likes cute things and even collects adorable little knick-knacks (like knitting accessories and cat albums), he normally keeps in his room.

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I find Shogo’s route a little amusing because contrary to his serious manly appearance (not to mention his deep sexy voice, that makes you weak in the knees uwu), inside, is just one big fluffy husbando who finds interest in everything kawaii. The guy has a set of pink flowered china at home for goodness sake! Bless him! (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚ During his route, an old lady who found cat Honaka in the streets took her to the police station after she transformed into a kitty for the first time. There she meets Shogo, who immediately took a liking at neko Honoka because of her cute appearance. After finding out Shogo’s unlikely adorable side, Honoka became more curious of the man so she decides to visit him every night (in her kitty form) at the police box he’s stationed.  Shogo’s story was cute although I wasn’t quite convinced why he fell in love with human Honoka that fast??? But hey, he broke Honocat’s curse with his luscious kiss in the end and that’s all that matters. Nyanhaha!

 

NARUMI SAIJO

  • The mysterious flower artist
  • Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Saijo-san is the famous flower arranger artist who’s a regular customer at “Flora”, the flower shop where our main heroine works. He seems aloof at times and has this mysterious aura surrounding him. ***I couldn’t really talk more about his route without going into spoiler territory, so brace yourself!

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If Sakurai’s voice didn’t obviously give it away for you, hopefully, his character’s eyes did (laughs). Saijo Narumi is the odd-eyed black neko who in the prologue gave Honoka her cat-curse. His main reason for doing so was that a long time ago, his owner/master married a woman who was typically only using the poor guy for money, then one day abruptly left him for someone wealthier. As a result, his master grew sick, heartbroken and eventually died. Upon witnessing the cruel nature of the woman that betrayed his master, Saijo developed this seething hatred for (human) women, became a nekomata and randomly, out of spite cursed someone (Honoka) with the belief that because she’s a woman, she can easily break the spell by choosing a guy to fall in love with(ಠ_ಠ). Uhh..not cool mr.cat person sir! In the process of watching Honoka struggle with her curse every day, Saijo realized he made an awful mistake as he became aware that not all women are the same.

For some reason, Saijo’s route was the only story that had angst… and I wasn’t ready for it! lol Both his endings were left a little open-ended and although I liked that it was bittersweet, I’d much prefer the other route’s fluffy endings better.^^

 

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HONOKA SHINOTA (Main Heroine)
Seriously though, what’s not to like about a cat MC?! (chuckles) But in all honesty, I actually quite enjoyed playing Honoka as the main protagonist of this game. After turning into a cat at night, she could’ve just stayed at home and waited until she transforms back into her human form in the morning but nah brah… I think Ima go check out what my guy’s doing at his house…lmao! My kind of heroine! Her curiosity is definitely a winner!

 

 

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
It took me about 10-11 hours to finish the entire game. Each route has eight chapters which you can literally finish in two hours sitting. This actually worked perfectly for me since I prefer my lighthearted novels short. Story-wise, I absolutely loved it! I am just weak for cat daddies guys who adore cats and I believe this is one of the game’s prominent charms that’ll instantly draw your attention. Each story was just too cute, I think I’ve enjoyed all of the routes but the ones that stood out to me the most were Kohei’s and Takuma’s.^^

The hype was real with Kitty Love and I’m glad I’ve played this game. It was very lighthearted with little to no angst at all. As someone who’s been playing darker themed visual novels for so long, this was definitely a great switch up!  The art, music, outstanding VA’s, not to mention, the cute neko lovin’ stories were definitely the game’s highlights. If it wasn’t for the bad translations, Kitty Love would’ve been close to purrrrfection! Nyan.

Do I recommend this game? YES
Get it for the story, get it for the fluff content that’ll definitely put a smile on your face, get it to support otoge localizations. But get it, only if you have the patience to sit through the game’s lack of proofreading (you have been warned! lol). If not for the aforementioned issue, I would’ve rated this game a 7, but for now…

 

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10


a game copy was provided by the publisher _ developer for this review