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
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:
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)
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.
Read the game’s synopsis here.
View the game trailer here.
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 is set to release in Japan 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.
Release Date:June 29, 2018 (North America) Developers:Idea Factory, Otomate Publishers:Idea Factory, Aksys Games Platforms:PS Vita ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
…and finally! The last title for Aksys’ Summer of Mystery Promo.
It’s a Witch-hunt! Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk holds true to its testimonials of a very engaging gameplay with a plot setting that’s intriguingly rather different compared to its prequel (Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly). With the game’s time period set to a Post-renaissance age, the story revolves around the ever famous “witch-hunt” phenomenon that was commonly popular in Early Modern History.
As part of the Psychedelica series where a melancholic finish is a known signature, do not expect to have ten folds of happy endings in this game.
GAME SYNOPSIS “In a town ruled by opposing clans and overshadowed by superstition and legend, A child is born with the dreaded mark of a witch. She conceals her identity until the theft of a mysterious relic
brings to light a series of staggering revelations. The mysteries she will uncover could restore order
..or destroy everything that she knows..”
ART AND MUSIC
I like Satol Yuiga’s approach to this sequel’s art style. The artist showed a lot of emphasis on colder shades (different shades of black, gray, caramel brown, white), to highlight the game’s setting of ‘a town where winter never ends’. The Kaleidoscope pattern on each of the character’s head annoyed me at first, but this was one of the easter eggs that got me really absorbed in the game.
The game’s soundtrack was also very new to me. From it’s brisk opening theme to it’s forlorn ending. Everything including the BGMs were incredibly surreal. I love the Middle Age vibe it’s rendering. I’ve included a sample of these tracks below (purchased from iTunes):
Morikawa Toshiyuki “Olgar” – Rai (Lamento Beyond the Void), Arles (Black Wolves Saga), Thoth (Kamigami no Asobi),
Oohara Sayaka “Francisca” – Margaret (Persona 4), Kela Hazel (Galaxy Angel)
MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)
Some character’s true ending will only unlock after clearing another character’s route beforehand. For example, Levi’s good end will only unlock after finishing Lavan’s route. Following the walkthroughs, I’ve linked above is the easiest and most convenient way to unlock all of the game’s endings.
Lord of the Wolf Clan
As the Wolf family’s first son, Lavan was raised to be the heir of their clan from day one. He’s a very charismatic, respectable man and almost everyone in town loves him. Besides his handsome features that gets him all dem stares from the ladies, he’s also exceptionally skilled in combat and loves collecting weapons (sword). Lavan is also the only guy in Jed’s harem who knows her cross-dressing secret. The game made this very obvious, so I don’t consider this as a spoiler. That said, I sort of feel bad seeing his unrequited love for Jed unfold as you read through chapters. I love Lavan’s interaction with the heroine in all his short story episodes though, it’s romantic fluff at its finest. Plus, his Masquerade CG is something to look forward to.
Second Son Syndrome
Levi is the second son of the Wolf family. He’s also the head of the town’s vigilante committee. Although he can be a little short tempered at times (especially when provoked by the opposing faction), a lot of soldiers from the wolf clan respects him for his leadership. He thinks of Jed (the heroine) as his little brother and is always looking out for her best interest. One thing I really like about Levi, is how accepting he is when it comes to his flawed characteristics. I also love how there isn’t much of the cliched ‘sibling rivalry’ between him and Lavan in the game. Their brotherly relationship seemed pretty solid all throughout the story.
Lord of the Hawk Clan
As the only son of the present Hawk Lord, Olgar, Lugus is expected to do his tyrannical father’s bidding, such as collecting taxes from the townsmen. He doesn’t seem to care what the rest of the town thinks of him as long as he gets the work done, befitting their faction. Lugus displays a very cold, unfriendly persona upfront but get into his good side and you’ll discover a surprisingly adorable gentleman. Not only is he the poster-boy of the Psychedelica AH, he’s also the game’s bias as most of his short story episodes contain an overwhelming amount of doki-dokis compared to the rest of the guys in the game (laughs).
knows more than he lets on
Not much is really known about this character besides introducing himself as the mysterious traveler who took interest in the heroine’s story. Going through Hugh’s route gives you a lot of easter eggs in the Psychedelica lore. Tbh, Hugh’s character confused the hell out of me to a point where I had a million theories in my head that didn’t really panned out in the end. His character design was beautiful though, and I’m always a sucker for Daisuke Namikawa’s voice acting, so there’s that! (￣ω￣)
This eye-patched man lives with Jed in the town’s lonely white tower and acts as the heroine’s ‘guardian‘. Although listed only as a side character of the game, I consider the tower overlord as one of the main important casts in Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Because of his free-spirited nature, his interactions with the heroine were always enjoyable. He’s also one of the few who knew about Jed’s real identity and would seldom tease her whenever she dresses up as a woman. Though this man deliberately wears an easygoing facade, inside his happy-go-lucky smiles lies a dark secret that brings about a deeper and more complicated character.
JED / EIAR (Heroine)
Cross dressing MC
Born with the accursed red eye, our heroine was ill-fated as the descendant of an ominous witch, who was believed to have caused the town’s never-ending winter season. Because of this, she hides her true identity and decided to live her life as a man.
Alright, so if there’s any character in the game that truly deserves high regard of respect, Jed would be your gal. I have never felt so sympathetic towards a character until Jed. All throughout the game, this heroine was too good – I couldn’t even put it to words. She’s kind, very independent and above all, doesn’t wallow on any BS. Truth be told, it was so aggravating playing her character not because she was mundane (she’s not!) but because she was such a good character, it pains me to see all this misfortune befalling on her.I was totally at a point where I just want to give her a comforting hug, and scream: “Please cut this heroine some slack!”
MAPS Aside from the flowchart, the game also allows you to navigate through TOWN MAPS where you can collect “Town Memories” and watch short episodes of sheer fluff goodness. Make sure to switch from Jed to Eiar whenever you can, as both characters offer different short stories.
Town Memories – marked in PINK, with the magnifying glass icon. These are very short episodes where you get to talk to random town folks. TIP: you’ll need these to buy items from the antique shop by the tavern.
Short Story Episodes – marked in BLUE, are random short stories where the heroine spends time with main & side characters of the game.
TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE
Will I enjoy Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk even though I haven’t played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly?
Psychedelica AH somehow created its own new lore which can stand alone on its own. That being said, it can be enjoyed as it is, even if you haven’t played Psychedelica BB. However, I still (strongly) recommend playing the prequel beforehand as there were A LOT of references from Black Butterfly that were very significant in Ashen Hawk. Playing its prequel first also adds up to the game’s enjoyment level.
OVERALL THOUGHTS? (*°▽°*)
With lengthier gameplay this time (30-35 hours), It did a great job introducing the main characters and their corresponding motives at the beginning of the story. I also like how each chapter was gradually building its overarching plot, one that’s very engaging. I actually had a hard time putting down the game for a while.
All the characters were very likable and I love how each of them (including the side characters) seem to have their own backstories to share as you progress through. Although still low in romance, the game did manage to take the fluff up a notch when compared to its predecessor (PBB).
But just like any other mystery themed visual novel, it had a couple of plot holes that left me asking more questions after completing the game. I was expecting a proper closure, like the one in Psychedelica BB, but sadly there wasn’t any, which sort of left me a little confused… Will there be another sequel that will give me answers? Please…I need to know!
Do I Recommend this game? Consider this title a nice treat to those who’ve played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. I myself, have profoundly enjoyed it. Ashen Hawk had great pacing and story build up. It won’t take you that long to get absorbed in the game. However, it doesn’t promise a merry ending with rainbows and butterflies, so EXPECT and brace yourself for the angst and unexpected plot twists.
I guess, if you view the Psychedelica series as a visual novel rather than an otoge, you may appreciate it more. (* ^ ω ^)
Romance and Folklore
Otome Visual Novels are either a hit or a miss when it comes to it’s story narratives. 7’scarlet did one hell of a job foregoing a simple but very intriguing mystery-type plot line while having a few romantic events as an additive to its overarching deep story.
With the help of its unique visuals and animations, playing 7’scarlet was close to watching your favorite anime series.
ART One of the things I really enjoyed while playing 7’scarlet was the game’s astonishing BG images. It’s just so pretty! more like wallpaper material! ( ´ ▽ ` ). The game’s artist was non-other than, Kurahana Chinatsu an illustrator who’s also famous for her other popular works such as the character designs for Uta no Prince-Sama, Lamento (Beyond the Void), and Togainu no Chi.
SOUNDTRACK AND VOICE ACTING
7’Scarlet has two opening themes, “World’s End Syndrome” and “LOVESICK”, you can unlock the latter after finishing a certain route in the game. The BGMs are good too, some are rather simple but very fitting for the game’s setting and transitions.Heck, I ended up buying the whole 7’scarlet soundtrack in iTunes.
One track that absolutely gave me the feels was the song called “Starry”. You can listen to it below:
1)Hino 2)Isora 3)Toa – only unlocks after finishing Hino and Isora’s good ending 4)Sosuke – only unlocks after finishing Toa’s good ending 5)Yuzuki – only unlocks after finishing all of the character’s good ending
Hino’s story was cute. Although it had very few spoilers regarding the game’s overarching plot, his route did a great job catering as “build-up” for the oncoming routes and mysteries you’ll get to unravel in the later part of the game. Hino was also rather, an amusing character. I enjoyed the fact that he was physically a jock on the outside but covertly the biggest dork on the inside (the guy fangirls on ‘kawaii’ things! lol). His romance was a bit more of the generic childhood-friend trope, which I’m not really a big fan of. His route wasn’t my favorite, but it was definitely a good start.
Just like Hino’s route, Isora’s story offers very few spoilers of the game’s underlying plot but was well written enough to create a very mysterious atmosphere of the town, Okunezato. Isora’s character was also deeper than what I expected and I wished the writers expounded more on the depth of his ‘actions’ (e.g. his hot tempers) rather than just throwing it out there for the heck of it. Despite this, I love Isora Amari’s story. It had great pacing, enough to give you that creep factor you seek in every mystery-themed visual novel. His romance, on the other hand, may not suit everyone’s preferences. Although I personally enjoyed it, I can understand how it may not work for some.
such a sweet boi!
So my first impression with Toa was: “Really?! I have to romance this clumsy nerd, seriously, game?”. Then I started playing his route just to get it over with and I did not expect the sudden turn of events!
As I’ve probably mentioned repeatedly in my previous reviews… I absolutely love it when a game catches you off guard, and this character’s arc takes the cake! I couldn’t talk more about his story without going into spoiler territory so I’ll leave it at this: Toa was such a great character and he deserves all the love in the world! Best boy (imo), one that’sdefinitely unforgettable. (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ
If there was one route that got me at the edge of my seat in 7’scarlet ~ it was definitely Sosuke’s. His story had great pacing where it started off very light then surprisingly escalated into a few puzzling events. His route also introduced a more definitive and deeper story regarding the mysteries surrounding the town of Okunezato. While the suspense was a little overwhelming in this route, I’ve got to say, the romance never took a back seat and I commend the writers for doing one hell of a job for this. His relationship with the heroine felt genuinely real and I love both his and Ichiko’s character development. I also loved the fact that Sosuke was such a neat freak and becomes very obsessive-compulsive about something so simple such as a goldfish scooping game! (rofl)
While the suspense was building up in Sosuke’s previous route, Yuzuki’s story, on the other hand, was a powerhouse of everything (thrill, drama, a few action-packed scenes, and some romantic fluffs) …And although it happened so fast, all at the same time, I was so happy that the events picked up pretty well and didn’t come out too forced nor too overwhelming with information. I personally love Yuzuki’s character. He is cold and irritable on the outside but inside his icy personality is one very warm, fluffy husbando! His story was probably the most compelling one as far as solving the mysteries of Okunezato go.
amnesiac heroine (explained in ??? ‘s route)
hates strawberries (explained in ??? ‘s route)
can’t swim (explained in ??? ‘s route)
Despite the the main protagonist’s naivety and recklessness to a point where you’d clearly have to question this heroine’s sense of danger (rofl), Ichiko Hanamaki had a couple of good points up her sleeve such as her strong will and determination to look for her disappeared older brother, in spite of being absolutely clueless on where to begin. Another enjoyable aspect was how this heroine sometimes gets shamelessly clumsy in declaring her love to the gentleman of her liking. She had a couple of funny moments that got me all “lol guuurl, wtf ” ~she’s definitely not the best MC all around (nor even close) but I had fun playing her.
And it gets better… So the story doesn’t really end there. After finishing Hino, Isora, Toa, Sosuke, and Yuzuki’s route. Two more routes unlock in this game.
Who is the culprit?
Another factor why this game was so entertaining to me was that it reminded me of playing Mafiascum.
As someone who’s been playing mafiascum online for a long time, the game’s conclusion was somewhat predictable but I’ve got to admit, it was one gripping read and the “True Ending” was painfully heartbreaking.
OVERALL THOUGHTS? ( ´ ▽ ` ) 7’scarlet is a very well written mystery themed visual novel. While the story was so simple, the events were paced so good that every chapter you unlock kept the suspense spellbinding enough to keep you going. Truth be told, I did not expect I’d get so attached to this game. It’s really one compelling read. I couldn’t get over it for maybe a week (laughs).
The animation and movie clips of 7’scarlet made this game more entertaining. Though without it, the game still excels as one of the better otome visual novels that were localized this year (story-wise). I guess my only gripe was that some of the main characters lacked development and I believe, there were a few instances where some scenes seemed a little shoehorned and weren’t necessary (e.g. some events in Isora’s story). I also wished they could’ve done more with the last secret route as the ending felt rushed and lacking. (shrug) Nonetheless, I still thoroughly enjoyed playing it and have no regrets purchasing the game at its full price.
This game is by no means, a dating sim. That said, I do believe that you have to get invested with the mystery plotline to enjoy 7’scarlet best.
Do I recommend this game? YES With its unforgettable story that will rob you of words, I feel like this game deserves some recognition. Really. If you fancy a visual novel where you get to solve urban legend cases while dating a few mysterious but handsome ikemens, 7’scarlet is a perfect choice.