Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare Review

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BLACK WOLVES SAGA ~ BLOODY NIGHTMARE

Release Date:  April 26, 2012 (Japan)
Developers:  Rejet, Otomate
Publishers:  Otomate
Platforms:  PC, PSP, PS Vita,
CERO Rating: D (+17)

0000BUTTON

 

This blog has been on hiatus for months (been playing too much rpgs that my otome gaming has been paused for as long as I can remember), but alas! Here we are, trying to get back on track for another otome review. Today, I’ll be reviewing, Black Wolves Saga (Bloody Nightmare). Take note, this will probably be my last PS Vita Otoge review. I will be covering otome games for the Switch going forward unless they’ll release a new one for the dead vita console which I highly doubt at this point.

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

The PS Vita version of BWS contains two games, Bloody Nightmare, and Last Hope. They basically follow the same story, except that Bloody Nightmare focuses more on the cat bois while Last Hope leans more on the wolf hubandos’ POVs. Please also note that this visual novel is ‘Japanese-only’ and does not have an official western release. That said, it took me months to finish this game because I can’t kanji 😭(sob!). Thankfully, there was an unofficial fansub released back in 2016 which was a huge help, if you’re like me who constantly struggles to understand certain kanji phrases. Don’t forget to give the translators a big thank you if you’re using their fansub!

I know this is kind of a hard pill to swallow, but since this is a Rejet game, I don’t think it’ll ever get localized. Rejet is *kind of* one of those companies that don’t like localizing their games due to piracy issues. ┐(‘~` )┌

 

ART AND MUSIC
Everyone who’s played Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ would instantly notice Black Wolves Saga’s similar art style, and yes! you’ve guessed it right! It’s done by the same illustrator, Kuruyoki.  I am a BIG fan of this artist, so I have nothing but full praises of her works. You can visit her Pixiv profile here.

Fun Fact: Black Wolves Saga’s opening theme, Dear Despair was performed by  (our beloved seiyuu) Yuki Kaji, who also voices the character, Rath in the game. Listen to this awesome OP track below:

 

Voice Acting

Kishou Taniyama “Guillan Guinor” – Ikki (Amnesia), Ren Tsukimori (Kiniro no Corda), Natsuki (Utapri), Gunji (Togainu no Chi), Vince Lugan (Jakou no Lyla)

Miki Shinichirou“Nesso Galland” – Hijikata (Hakuoki), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Toshiyuki Morikawa “Arles V. Felnoir” – Carla Tsukinami (Diabolik Lovers), Lizaru Shanasa (Jakou no Lyla), Moutoku (Sangoku Rinseki), Rai (Lamento Beyond the Void)

Yoshimasa Hosoya “Julian” – Yamato (Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly), Loki (Kamigami no Asobi), Yukimura Sanada (Ikemen Sengoku), Yusuke Asahina (Brothers Conflict), Kira Rintarou (Kenka Banchou Otome)

Yuki Kaji “Rath Vogart” – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Finis (Code Realize), Souma Kazue (Hakuoki), Kakeru (Norn9)

Hiroyuki Yoshino “Auger von Garibaldi” – Heisuke (Hakuoki), Heishi (Norn9), Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X)

Takahiro Sakurai “Mejojo von Garibaldi” – Ruki Mukami (Diabolik Lovers), Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Astrum (Period Cube), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

Akira Ishida “Zara Skeens” – Kent (Amnesia), Kotarou (Starry Sky), Kiryuu (Sangoku Renseki), Kuota (Yunohana Spring) 

 

MAIN CHARACTERS & ROUTES

I have to say I was overwhelmingly impressed by how deep most of the characters could go in their routes (especially dem cats). I think the stories are more inclined with their own development as a character rather than a romantic partner to the heroine. Truth be told, I actually found it fun deciphering and piecing together their true individual nature as well as their main goals regardless if it’s inherently aiming for a good cause or the worst turn of events.

My recommended route order would be the following:
Mejojo — Auger — Julian — Rath — Arles — Guillan — Zara — Nesso.

 

I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum but here’s my spoiler banner to remind you all to read or skim with caution!

spoilersss

 

MEJOJO VON GARIBALDI

  • major inferiority complex
  • Dom af

It doesn't matter, After all, you're mine 2

Mejojo von Garibaldi is the crown prince of Weblin. Fiona often describes him as this beautiful and perfect prince of the kingdom. However, despite his princely exterior, Mejojo seems rather self-important and single-minded. He also has this unhealthy obsession of wanting to obtain the heroine as his bride and will stop at nothing to see that through.

I picked Mejojo’s route first because all I ever thought of was “Sakurai voices him, this route must be immensely good”. Boi, was I wrong! LOL

Well, actually, let me take that back! (laughs). It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this route. In fact, I REALLY love Mejojo’s story! It’s his romance with the heroine (if there was any) that I had a love-hate relationship with. Mejojo was very possessive from the get-go and this possessiveness was consistent all throughout his route. He’s an absolute control freak and this was all explained in the common story as to why and apparently expounded more as you go further towards his endings.

I feel like his “feelings” for Fiona simply gravitated on the fact that she was a vessel of something he could never obtain before, and acquiring her was his way of satisfying a deeper accomplishment. More than anything, It’s as if the heroine became somewhat his trophy wife.  Both his good and bad endings have no redemption and I actually applaud the writers for portraying him as is.

As far as the heroine’s POV, at one point I can actually understand how she felt towards Mejojo. How Fiona still has this trickle of hope that she can one day, change him when in reality there really isn’t anything she can do. He will continuously show his good side, so long as she remains his possession. It’s very intriguing how this somehow resembles an abusive relationship in real life, where the ‘abusee’ tricks herself to believe that everything’s fine and that life is good with her partner when on the contrary, it clearly isn’t.

Anyway, I enjoy a good problematic character route and Mejojo’s story definitely takes the cake. This was actually one of my favorite routes in BWS (laughs). The complexity of his backstory vehemently piqued my interest for some reason that I found it fascinating how much substance this character has.

 

AUGER VON GARIBALDI

  • S&M
  • sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whip excite meee!♪

I want to taste more of you 2

Auger von Garibaldi is Mejojo’s younger twin brother. A care-free young lad who has no interest to rule Weblin and would rather spend all of his time doing his beloved older brother ‘s bidding regardless of how morally reprehensible they might be. He seems to enjoy it most that way. 

After finishing Mejojo’s story, I already knew what I was getting into, doing Auger’s route next. I can probably write a three-page essay about this character, explaining his rather, hedonistic actions but to make it less spoiler-ey, I have to say, Auger has THE most interesting personality of all the major characters in this game. There’s absolutely nothing romantic or anything of the sort in his route. I still think to this day about Auger’s driving force in doing all the questionable (not to mention disturbing) things he’s done and I could come up with a couple of theories that would possibly fall into the same category.  Total Madness.

His good and bad endings gave me several impressions of how far long gone his humanity has receded from view and if there are any shards of it left, there’s probably no way to put em all back to place. As to why Fiona chooses him in his route, I have absolutely no clue nor words to defend it since no sane person would ever fall in love with a sicko unless they are sickos themselves too! lmao.

I expected f*cked up events going through Auger’s story and his route definitely delivers it with flying colors! Again, I applaud the writers for not even making any effort on excusing Auger’s behavior because I believe, this was the point of his story. Cutthroats don’t need reasons to be ruthlessly cruel. This character literally belongs in an asylum with barred steel doors. Fall in love with him and you get Auger’s route in a nutshell.

 

JULIAN

  • broken cinnamon bun
  • Some major spoilers ahead!

But, uhh your lips tasted like roses, i like it2

Julian is a gardener in the kingdom of Weblin who also became Fiona’s caretaker and her only friend when she started living in the castle. He is a soft-spoken young man who’s very kind and gentle to the heroine. Although he’s a very polite persona upfront, it is apparent that he possesses a lurking dark mystery around him that makes Julian more than meets the eye.

It was kind of nice to get into Julian’s route, after clearing the problem twin’s out of the way. It was a breath of fresh air to finally see the heroine having great relationship dynamics with a love interest. But good gawd! His psychotic tendencies were pretty horrifying and I’m not even talking about his “broken state”.

Just like Mejojo and Auger’s route, Julian’s story was a terrific character study where you can definitely see great depths of an abnormal psychological background. It was safe to say that his instant switch from being a calm, cuddly bun-bun to a disturbing psychopath stems from the torture he received from Mejojo and Auger and that it only activates when they’re around. What’s funny is that going down his “true ending” gave me more chills and goosebumps than finishing his good and bad end. The game made it very clear that Julian’s broken-ness definitely took a toll on him all the way where he can never be fixed.

Julain’s True Ending
Yes, he remained loving and gentle to Fiona. His true ending could’ve never been a perfect romantic story for the heroine. She and her love are finally free from torment and Weblin is a non-chaotic place again. But, here’s the catch, is Julian really cured of his broken state? Is it safe to assume that with the help of the heroine, he was finally healed from the mental suffering he for so long endured? I think this demented ending was honestly clear of depicting a person who can anytime become unhinged, unknowingly. Can’t say I didn’t enjoy it fully! (laughs)

 

 

RATH VOGART

  • fluffy munchkin
  • a good boi

You I dont want you to die, thats whats on my mind

Rath Vogart is the younger brother of Arles V. Felnoir, the leader of the wolf pack. Rath was separated from his big brother after their family was slaughtered under the command of Mejojo and Auger during the time when the entire kingdom of Weblin turned against the wolf race. In the prologue, we can see both wolf brothers reuniting after many years.

Rath is a very quiet character and remains very impassive towards the world and almost everyone in BWS. He has pretty much accepted the unfortunate fate of the wolf race and that changing their destinies is never a possibility in his point of view. His body also suffers from Zodiva, an uncured illness that was said to have come from the wolves, threatening almost everyone in Weblin.

I’ll get straight to the point here and say, Rath’s route in Bloody Nightmare was completely copped out that it basically ended in the middle of his story! Wth! I want my money back! I guess this is due to the fact that ‘Bloody Nightmare’ merely focused on establishing the cat’s backstory while ‘Last Hope’ does the same for the wolves. I see what you did there Rejet! 

Though this game campaign positively worked in getting you really immersed in Weblin’s storyline, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed how Rath’s route ended. He didn’t even get to confess his feelings for Fiona sob! It’s a shame because he was also the character I was gunning for this whole time. He was such a mysterious, sweet and adorable character, (top it off with Yuki Kaji’s voice acting *cries*) and the build-up of his story was really interesting only to end up abruptly in an open-ended phase.

Guess, I’m gonna have to muscle through the kanji off Last Hope to know what actually happened next! (laughs)

 

 

ARLES V. FELNOIR

  • the silver wolf king
  • bittersweet

In my dream, I couldnt protect you. I dream that Mejojo and Auger will kill you

Arles is the leader of the wolf pack. He’s now known as the “King of the Wolves” after the wolf raid in Weblin. Before their unfortunate fate, he was a well-known knight in Weblin but was later labeled a traitor who fled the castle for his crimes. His main goal is to get revenge on the Garibaldi twins and ensure justice for his people. Despite Arles’s, hatred towards Weblin and his brooding anger for Mejojo, he still possesses a gentle personality towards his family and his wolf brethren. Hence why everyone in the wolf clan respects him and follow him as their leader.

I believe I have liked Arles’s character more than I expected in this game. His backstory, although frustratingly sad, was also really bittersweet. You’d be able to tell why the character resents everyone in the kingdom so much, that he’s turned himself into a murderous monster, just as how Mejojo has spread the lies around the country about the once fallen knight of Weblin.

The heroine, who later on finds out about Arles’s gentle side, develops a sense of attachment towards him which was seemingly believable even though they obviously lacked some relationship build-up in this route. Though I’ve quite enjoyed his interactions with Fiona, his scenes with her left me unsatisfied as it was always cut short. In the end, I kept wondering whether Arles’s feelings for her were genuinely true or was it all because she resembled his dead fiance, Elvira and that protecting her was some kind of redemption he needed to accomplish?

Same with Rath’s route, Arles’s story lacked so much in both depth and romance because Bloody Nightmare’s main focus is on the cat faction. Thankfully his good ending didn’t end as awful and short as Rath’s (or else I’ll go completely ballistic! *laughs*). In fact, I believe I’ve actually enjoyed how realistic it (his good end) turned out to be.

 

 

GUILLAN GUINOR

  • bloodlust-ish
  • oujidere?

Woah! You're one enthusiastic woman!

Guillan is Arles’ right hand or rather, the second-in-command captain of the wolf faction. Very little is known about this character’s past nor background except that Guillan is very loyal to the wolf clan. He respects Arles as his leader and even proves his devotion to his king (in Arles’s route).

Despite his bloodthirsty exterior, we can all assume that Guillan’s personality is actually rather childlike that the heroine has even pointed out how he looked cute when she pats his fur (in his wolf form) or whenever he asks for her praises.

Guillan literally acts like a kid or I guess, I should say, the playful cub in the wolf pack. He’s pretty much like this all throughout his route. Romantic wise, this is perhaps a yay or nay depending on your preferences. Do you really want to romance someone who acts like a child? lol I mean it’s cute and all, I even thought of it as adorable to some extent. My main problem with his route is the fact that he gets no kind of backstory. His sudden shift from a bloodthirsty mad man to being a cuddly puppy wasn’t really clear to me either. Did the writers just outright design Guillan’s personality like this from the jump?  I also wanted to know how he came about knowing Arles and why he devoted his life to following him. It may seem that Guillian’s little backstory will be covered in Last Hope, but since he’s an exclusive Bloody Nightmare love interest, I’m not too sure now (shrug).

His “True Ending” left me all (⊙_⊙)……….!

 

 

ZARA SKEENS

  • vanilla
  • childhood friend route

I love you too, my lady..png

Zara Skeens is a war orphan whom the earl, Edgar Galland, the heroine’s father took in many years ago. He was appointed as Fiona’s caretaker while she lived alone in the tower her father built for her. Although Zara was only a mere butler in the Galland family, he was treated as a brother by Nesso and Fiona, to a point where his closeness to the Galland siblings are compared to none.

Zara has a natural talent for medicines and herbology. It is also because of him that the heroine was able to stay healthy all this time despite being a Lobeira (a person with a very weak body).

What can I say? I really liked Zara’s route but it was *kind of* too vanilla for this game. I guess this is a good thing because almost all the routes so far have been very edgy, so going down Zara’s story was such a relief! All throughout his route, and even on other’s, Zara was able to remain level headed, witty and very refined that I actually trust he wouldn’t do anything bad towards the heroine.

His backstory, though it wasn’t explored much was still very satisfying to read. You’ll basically understand where his motivations are coming from and why he decided to remain loyal and faithful serving Fiona and the Galland family. His relationship with the heroine was clearly established by the writers as the usual childhood-friend trope and although I am usually not a fan of these tropes, Zara’s was done unexpectedly good. It was also nice to see Fiona, discovering her own true feelings for him instead of just thinking of Zara as her butler. I had so much fun playing his story that I believe this was the only route where I didn’t get to twitch my eyebrows due to any odd or weird occurrences the game throws at you 😂 (laughs). Oh and I love both his good and bad endings. Zara’s story is one example of vanilla routes done right in an otome game. Kudos!

 

 

NESSO GALLAND

  • oniisan route
  • implied yand?

Now then, shall we dance.png

Nesso is the heroine’s older half-brother. That being said, he was born of the Earl’s first late wife. Nesso is also Weblin’s strongest Royal Knight and captain of the Gefreiter, an elite band of soldiers known for their incredible strengths and achievements in the kingdom of Weblin. Because of this, Nesso is always away on missions and spends less time visiting his half-sister Fiona in her tower in Sharlmessen.

Nesso has absolutely no qualms of declaring his love for Fiona and would even talk about wanting to marry his half-sister one day, (this may be a bit ‘eye-rolling’ but this is apparently acceptable in the Black Wolves Saga lore). He’s also very overprotective and is greatly in favor of keeping Fiona in the tower for her own safety as well as to keep her away from Mejojo, whom he knew was obsessed with his little sister.

I liked Nesso as a character in general. His route, however, just didn’t work for me. Even though it was perfectly explained how this ain’t a taboo in BWS… I just can’t with incestual routes, nope! It was a shame because I do believe Nesso was a great character in the game but as a love interest? Hell naw. Some “romantic” events in his route only made me uncomfortable that I just couldn’t wait to finish it. Ha!

Setting the incest aside (lol), I believe what actually made me enjoy playing Nesso’s story was his voice actor, Shinichirou Miki (voice of Hijikata in Hakuoki). I’ve been a big fan of this seiyuu since the first Hakuoki franchise so I guess I’m just being biased here when I say I “enjoyed” the route even though it literally made me feel awkward. Har har! Oh well! ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

 

FIONA GALLAND (Main Heroine)

fiona

Born as a Lobeira (a person with a very weak body), Our heroine has been living in an enclosed tower of Sharlmessen for as long as she can remember. This was decided by her father, Edgar Galland and her half brother Nesso to keep Fiona away from harm and to preserve her weak body from contracting any disease that may end her life. Because of this, Fiona is completely oblivious to the madness and bloodshed that’s happening outside her home and all over the kingdom of Weblin.

I couldn’t really get myself to hate or dislike Fiona for her naivety and innocence because the game purposely implied her to be like that from the get-go knowing she grew up literally sheltered and ignorant to the darker side of life. I’ve expected her to be just another one of those standard otome heroines, but after finishing the entire Bloody Nightmare story, I strongly believe she isn’t. Quite the contrary, I feel that her character was well though-out. We sometimes judge heroines for their weakness and for making really dumb stupid decisions, but in Fiona’s case, it’s entirely different.

Her fate was already decided for her when she was born. People say, she could’ve been physically stronger but as a Lobeira, what choice could she possibly have? I also think her lack of common sense isn’t to blame for some of her mistakes (esp. on the twin’s route). Her sheltered upbringing played a big role with her being extremely naive and completely inexperienced and I think the writers were even relentless when showing this in the plot. Imagine growing up only knowing the good things in life (not to mention being confined in a secluded place due to health reasons), stepping into the real world for the first time literally means being thrown into the wolves…  or crazy cats for that matter! (Pun unintended haha)

 

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚
It took me such a long time to finish this game. Frankly speaking, this is entirely my fault after taking a break from otome gaming for months. However, gameplay-wise, I believe it’ll take you 30 hours to finish Black Wolves Saga Bloody Nightmare and another 20-30 hours to finish Last Hope. There were eight routes altogether and while I wouldn’t say it was a chore to finish, its linear storyline made it really mundane and repetitive after the third and fourth playthroughs.

Story-wise, I thought it was very good. The fantasy plot of Black Wolves Saga goes very deep in its roots regarding Weblin’s dark political history. However, since Bloody Nightmare’s all about the cat faction, I feel like the endings of other characters who aren’t, well… cats, were quite detached from the storyline. For example, in Zara and Nesso’s ending, it was never mentioned how Weblin’s ongoing war between factions was concluded. Did Auger and Mejojo completely eradicated the wolves existence? Where there any wolf survivors? Did Mejojo just let her bride which he was overly obsessed with for years, escape just like that?

Perhaps the writers intended for us to theorize our own closures and while I don’t mind this at all, I’d much prefer canon conclusions than letting my imagination run wild (cackles).

The routes/characters I liked in Bloody Nightmare were Rath, Arles, Zara and a special mention to my scum husbando, Mejojo lol. Rath and Arles’s route were cut short towards the end but I still enjoyed them nonetheless as main characters. Zara’s story was adorable and although his good ending was completely detached from the main plot-line, he still wins best boi in the romance category. Mejojo was a trash love interest but his story was extremely fun and interesting to explore.

 

Do I recommend this game? YES
I have to warn you though, this visual novel is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a nice fluffy, romantic otome story about cat bois and wolf husbandos look elsewhere as Black Wolves Saga ~ Bloody Nightmare is not that kind of otome game. I don’t even think it fits perfectly well as an “otome” title because the plot still works as it is, even if you take the romance out. That said, this game gives you that fascinating “ick” feeling when playing it. BWS is edgy and off the chain but I can assure you that the experience is definitely worth it especially if you’re into dark romantic thrillers in fiction.

If you’re curious enough to even consider picking this game up, I dare you to do it and experience the wild ride first hand. *wink*

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

Aksys Announces Old and New Otome Titles coming to the West in 2020! (Nintendo Switch)

New Otome Game Titles Coming to the West in 2020!

The wait is over ladies! As of today (July 5, 2019), Aksys Games confirmed several Otome titles that will grace the West in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch console.

During Aksys’ Anime Expo panel, the company who’s known to localize famous Otomate brand titles, have confirmed four games they’ll be bringing to the West in the next year.

Here’s a list of what we’ll have:

 

CODE REALIZE: Guardian of Rebirth and Future Blessings

cr boquet

Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth and it’s first fandisc, Code Realize: Future Blessings are finally getting a Nintendo Switch Port. First of all, I assumed they would just port the PS4 Game, Code Realize: Bouquet of Rainbows (which basically consist of the two games in a bundle), but sources tell me, it’s gonna be on separate cartridges (seems like it). The release date for Guardian of Rebirth will be on December 2019 while Future Blessings remains TBD in 2020.

If you’re new to the Code Realize Series, I’ve written reviews for both the first and second game, feel free to check em’ out below:

Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth Review
Code Realize: Future Blessings Review

 

 

COLLAR X MALICE AND COLLAR X MALICE UNLIMITED

cxmu

The famous crime-solving otome visual novel, Collar x Malice is finally getting a Switch port.  To those who are new to this title, CxM became very popular in the West due to its heart-pounding mystery type storyline topped with its alluring cast of characters that will leave you breathless all throughout the game. Not only that but the game’s first fandisc, Collar x Malice Unlimited is on its way too. Both games’ western release date for the N.Switch remains TBD in 2020.

CxM is my favorite otome title so I’m naturally excited about this. If you’re curious about this title, feel free to check out my review of the first game here.

 

 

PIOFIORE NO BANSHOU (WORKING TITLE)

piofiore

That’s right folks! This mafia themed otome game is finally gracing the West after getting a lot of well-received feedbacks from the Japanese market back when it was first released in 2018 for the PS Vita. Aksys, has yet to confirm the game’s official English title. Piofiore no Banshou’s western release date remains TBD in 2020.

Fun Fact: Piofiore no Banshou’s Nintendo Switch port in Japan, was recently announced this year (set to release on July 25, 2019) as well as it’s upcoming fandisc for 2020, Piofiore no Banshou – Episodio 1929.

Read the game’s synopsis here.
View the game trailer here.

 

CAFE ENCHANTE

bd55a23c7c28c0254de94ca547fcad8c840e17cf_s2_n1

This one actually made me scream. (°◡°♡)

Cafe Enchante or Gensou Kissa Enchante (Japanese Title) was initially announced back in 2018’s Otomate Party in Japan but it wasn’t until this year’s recent Otomate Party (JP) that we got to see more information about the game and it’s set of unique and interesting characters. Cafe Enchante’s release date in Japan will be on October 10, 2019, while the western release date remains TBD in 2020.

The game premise is about a young girl, Kotone Awaki (protagonist) who inherits her grandfather’s cafe only to discover that none of the patrons are human.

Fun Fact: This game’s scenario writer is Nao Kojima, a well-known screenwriter in the Otome Industry who’s fairly popular for his famous works: Hakuoki, Code Realize, and Variable Barricade. The game’s head illustrator is the artist Yuuya. You’ll find some of her works very familiar if you’ve played the titles:  Hanayaka Nari series, Dandy Shot “Pub Encounters” and Jakuo no Lyla.

View the game’s trailer here.

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Sources: Anime News Network

 

New Nintendo Switch Otomate Titles for 2019 and 2020

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 10.24.42 AM

Otomate has recently revealed a couple of upcoming new titles as well as new info and confirmed release dates of their previously announced games during the Otomate Party (2019) Event held in Tokyo International Convention Center, Japan.

There are currently twelve games (old and new) that were announced coming to the Nintendo Switch.

 

Spade no Kuni no Alice “Alice of the Spade Country”
Wonderful White World & Wonderful Black World

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.23.39 AM

Watch the game’s trailer here.

This new title is a revival of the Heart no Kuni no Alice series by Quinrose, now with the name Quinrose reborn under the Otomate brand.  It’s predecessors, Heart no Kuni no Alice (2007), Clover no Kuni no Alice (2007), Joker no Kuni no Alice (2009), Diamond no Kuni no Alice (2012) were originally released as QuinRose titles in the Playstation Portable before the company went bankrupt in 2015.

(Edit: Thanks to Miau for the tip!)

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.23.07 AM


 

 

CUPID PARASITE

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.19.45 AM

Watch the game’s trailer here.

Cupid Parasite is a love comedy otome game about a protagonist who’s a bridal matchmaker that’s also *secretly* a cupid (goddess) at the same time. Her goal is to help “five parasites” (five ikemens) who can’t find true love.


 

 

DAIROKU: AYAKASHIMORI

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.32.39 AM

Watch the game’s trailer here.

No further details have been revealed for this game, other than all the ikemens are “yokais” (non-human, demon/spirits). Seiyuus (Voice Actors) include Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Takahiro Sakurai, Yusuke Kobayashi, Ryouta Ohsaka.

Fun Fact: If you love the art for Bad Apple Wars, you will love this game’s character designs, as it’s created by the same artist Suou.


 

 

TOKEI SHIKAKE NO APOCALYPSE “CLOCKWORK APOCALYPSE”

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.14.34 AM

Watch the game’s trailer here.

Otomate teases us with a brief description of this new title as “A Story that starts with a Bad End”. Besides that, no further details have been revealed for this game yet.


 

 

PIOFIORE NO BANSHOU – EPISODIO 1929

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.16.41 AM

Watch the game’s trailer here.

This will be the first fandisc of 2018’s hit Otomate title Piofiore No Banshou. This fandisc will be written by Kazura Ringo and will be directed by Asahi Takamura. Both are the same screenwriter and director of the first game.


 

 

MEIJI KATSUGEKI HAIKARA 

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Watch the game’s trailer here.

The game is developed and supervised by Ichi Column, the popular game studio known for their hit Hanayaka Nari series. No further details have been revealed for this game other than its setting will be in the Meiji Period (😂just like how the title gives it away lol).

Here are all of the characters, full body screenshots below:

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AMNESIA SERIES
MEMORIES, CROWD AND LATER

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Watch the game’s trailer here.

Rejoice! Our favorite title, Amnesia Memories finally gets a Nintendo Switch Port. This game is confirmed to release September 12, 2019. Furthermore, the game’s first and second fandisc, Amnesia Crowd and Later, will also be making it’s way to the switch console. The bundled fandisc of Crowd and Later is set to release on October 3, 2019.


 

 

COLLAR X MALICE & COLLAR X MALICE UNLIMITED

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Watch the official announcement trailer here.

…And if the previous title didn’t satisfy you, get a load of this!

Collar x Malice and Collar x Malice Unlimited will be storming its way to the Nintendo Switch Otome market in 2020. In addition, an anime adaptation of the series is currently in the works! 


 

 

OLYMPIA SOIREE

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Watch the game’s new trailer here.

They’ve actually pre-announced this game during last year’s Otomate Party (2018). Sadly, this title’s release date was pushed back to 2020. The game was designed by the famous Japanese Illustrator Satoi who’s very popular for her famous works in Diabolik Lovers series, Re: Birthday Song series and Ozmafia.


 

 

BILSHANKA SENKI ~Genpeiden~

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Watch the game’s new trailer here.

Just like Olympia Soriee, this game was also pre-announced during last year’s Otomate party (2018). Bilshanka Senki Genpeiden is a collaboration between Red Entertainment and Otomate. Its release date was also pushed back to 2020.

The story premise takes place around the Heian period during the civil war of Genpei (1180-1185), opposing the two clans Yorimoto and Taira. Most of the main characters are inspired by real personalities of the time. The heroine is the last daughter of the Minamoto and is named Shanaou, birth name of the famous General Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

Seiyuus (Voice Actors) include Makoto Furukawa, Soma Saito, Kengo Kawanishi, Yuichiro Umehara, and Jun Fukuyama.


 

 

Gensou Kissa Enchanté 

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Watch the game’s new trailer here.

To end this roundup with a bang. Here, we have more deets and a confirmed release date for the game Gensou Kissa Enchante. The game premise is about a young girl, Kotone Awaki (protagonist) who inherits her grandfather’s cafe only to discover that none of the patrons are human.

Fun Fact: This game’s scenario writer is Nao Kojima, who’s widely known for his famous works: Hakuoki, Code Realize, and Variable Barricade. The game’s head illustrator is the ever popular Japanese artist Yuuya. You’ll find some of her works very familiar if you’ve played the titles:  Hanayaka Nari series, Dandy Shot “Pub Encounters” and Jakuo no Lyla.

Seiyuus (Voice Actors) include Kenji Akabane, Yuichiro Umehara, Kaito Ishikawa, Yuki Ono and Junichi Suwabe.

Interested? Check out these CG screenshots taken from the game’s trailer!  

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Does this game makes you thirs– er, hungry or what?! 😂 Gensou Kissa Enchante is confirmed to release on October 10, 2019.


 

Source: Otomate JP Official Website
Disclaimer: These games are only confirmed in Japan.

UPDATE: Aksys Games Announces Old and New Otome Titles Coming to the West in 2020

 

Enchanted In The Moonlight is now out in the Eshop!

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Game Title: Enchanted In The Moonlight
Release Date: June 13, 2019 (North America)
Developers:
Voltage Inc.
Publishers:
Voltage Inc.

The hit mobile otome game by Voltage  Inc. is now out in the Eshop (North America) and should now be available to purchase. Originally released as a mobile port back in June 2014, Enchanted In The Moonlight: Miyabi, Kyoga & Samon and Enchanted In The Moonlight: Kiryu, Chikage & Yukinojo can now be played in the Nintendo Switch Console.

Click here for Enchanted In The Moonlight: Miyabi, Kyoga & Samon downloadable content (Nintendo Eshop).

Click here for Enchanted In The Moonlight: Kiryu, Chikage & Yukinojo downloadable content (Nintendo Eshop).

STORY (Nintendo Eshop)

You’re an average, 25-year-old girl whose life consists of working at the local library, keeping up your family’s shrine, and not much else.

However, that all changes when gorgeous men save you from mysterious, malevolent forces! These men aren’t all they appear to be, though. They’re actually Ayakashi Spirits!

You discover that your blood is imbued with an ancient power, one that the spirit world covets, and these handsome strangers are willing to protect you… for a price, that is.

Are you ready to make a deal with these otherworldly creatures?

 

VOICED? NO

The two Voltage games are both available in Japanese and English language. According to Voltage’s official website, two more “unknown titles” are set to release for the Switch this year, so let’s all be on a lookout for it.

For more otome games available in the Nintendo Switch, click this link.

 

Source: Voltage Inc. Official Twitter

Backlogs and Updates (2019: Part 1)

First of all, If you have participated in my game raffle give-away, the winner has been announced (picked through randomizer), so be sure to check out the twitter post through this link. I also wanna thank everyone who participated. I had fun, and I’d love to do this every year. ^^

Life has been nuts lately, so I apologize for the inactivity.

Backlogs and Blog Updates

With very few to zero localized otome game releases this year, I’m currently taking a break from playing otoges to finish my RPG backlogs. My gaming buddies (from discord) and I are currently having a FF marathon. We’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while now. We’re actually just re-playing some of our all-time fav. Final Fantasy games so we can discuss, theorize about it after like diehard nerds we are.

I’m also finishing a few Visual Novels in my game backlogs, though I’m afraid I won’t be reviewing them unless they totally made an impression on me, like the recent one I just finished, WILL: A Wonderful World. You can find my review for this game here.

Current VN Backlogs:

  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (Not really too focused on this since I’ve already played the DS versions)
  • Steins Gate Elite
  • Our World is Ended (May 28) 

Of course, “taking a break” doesn’t necessarily mean I’m quitting otoge forever (no way I’m doing that), I still have a few games I needed to finish which are currently ‘paused’ at this time.

Otoge Backlogs:

  • PS VITA: Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare and Last Hope  (Still on Rath’s route)
  • PC: Steam Prison

 

FUTURE PLANS?

I’m thinking of opening this blog for guest posting. I have a couple of gamer friends who are actually more articulate and wayyy more knowledgeable than me when it comes to Visual Novels (lol) and I’ve been talking to them recently for a colab project, so here’s hoping it’ll pan out well. OR rather, we all get off our lazy asses and make this happen wwww  (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚

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With companies refusing to localize console otome games in the West nowadays. I am beginning to lose faith in the future of our niche. Are mobile games and the evil that is, micro-transactions our last resort? I really hope not. 

I’m also saddened, not to mention disappointed that the western otome community has been far long ignored all throughout these years. How it has been a constant struggle having to proxy ship almost every game and merchandise we can find available online, don’t even get me started with the shipping fees that’ll cost you an arm and leg. ha!

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I’m not even too sure now if we’re getting the newly ported otome games in the switch. Haha, it’s frustrating, I know… but oh well… ┐(‘~` )┌

Speaking of ports, Otome companies in Japan has been constantly on the move of porting their older games to the Switch console recently. This might be a good opportunity for localization companies to finally (by a shred of miracle) consider bringing these games to us, though at this point I honestly have very low hopes.  Anyways, I have updated the list of JP Otome games available to purchase right now as well as what’s coming soon in this post. If you’re curious, be sure to check it out.

 

RANDOM Q&A

There were a couple comments and questions I got through my contact page which I would like to address here in this post. First of, I always get excited when I receive emails from you all and even go all out on my replies. lmao …and while I’m still going to individually reply to everyone’s email, I’d figure I should answer the most repeated questions here:

  • Can I link your walkthroughs in my personal blog/tumblr/social media?

YES! By all means, go ahead!^^

  • Do you get paid to write your reviews?

NO. I do sometimes, get free game codes though!

  • Why don’t you have a patreon / ko-fi like other bloggers?

I don’t need money or any kind of financial aid right now, plus I don’t think all my fangirl ramblings are worth shelling dimes for! 😂 lmao. This blog was originally created as a means of relieving stress on my part. Tehee! If you want to support this site, a simple appreciative ‘thank you’ is enough to get me motivated to write more reviews. (´ ▽ `)

  • Will you be reviewing PC otome / visual novel games too?

Now that there aren’t any otome console games gracing the west, I was actually thinking, this might be the time to finally go through my PC backlogs though to be honest, the PC is probably my least fav. platform i’d want to play my visual novels with. So, yes. I just might start with Steam Prison soon.

 

Hey! Thanks for reading and for sticking around! Happy gaming! ♡

 

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
  • ladykiller

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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 as 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, I’m 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 probably the only arcs where Enju was able to hone her skills as a ninja and showed 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 explore. 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