NOTE: This review is SPOILER FREE.
Release Date: May 25, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Toybox Inc, Otomate
Publishers: Aksys Games
Platforms: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
As the second title released by Aksys Games for their Summer of Mystery Promotion, 7’scarlet offers one gripping mystery-solving gameplay amplified with a cute touch of romance.
Read the game’s synopsis here.
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.
One of the things I really enjoyed while playing 7’scarlet was the game’s astonishing BG images. It’s just so pretty! ( ´ ▽ ` ). 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:
Nobunaga Shimazaki “Hino“ – Napoleon (Ikevamp), Kurogane Naoto (BlazBlue), Mitsuhide (Sengoku Nightblood)
Tetsuya Kakihara “Isora“ – Shin (Amnesia), Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Karasuba (Pyschedelica BB), Toki Tanba (Charming Empire)
Showtaro Morikubo “Toa“ – Impey (Code Realize), Reiji (Uta no Prince-sama), Okita (Hakuoki)
Chiharu Sawashiro “Sosuke“ – Shila (Snow White and the Red hair), Hero (Caligula Effect)
Shinichirou Miki “Yuzuki“ – Hijikata (Hakuoki), Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Bucket-Sensei (Bad Apple Wars)
Sanae Kobayashi “Yuki“ – Sara Nome (Macross Zero), Nagisa (Maid Sama)
Hiroki Yasumoto “Mr. Karasuma“ – Azrael (BlazBlue), Nidai Nekomaru (Danganropa V3), Hyuga (KLAP)
Hiroki Takahashi “Kagura Tsukuyomi“ – Rayne (Neo Angelique Abyss), Otohiko (Kamisama Kiss), Koujaku (DRAMAtical Murder)
Daisuke Kishio “Yasu“ – Azusa (Diabolik Lovers), Mizushima Arata (Kiniro no Corda: Bluesky), Kuzuryuu (Danganropa V3)
Chiwa Saito “Yua“ – Aoi Asahina (Danganropa V3), Taokaka (BlazBlue), Domina (Period Cube), Fate (Caster)
MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)
Recommended play order:
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
- Childhood friend
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.
- Best Chef
- Hot tempered
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.
- Cat mom
- Color blind
- 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’s definitely unforgettable. (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ
- Neat freak!
- Best Doctor
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)
- Intense boss
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.
Ichiko Hanamaki (You)
- 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 (esp. in Isora’s story). I also wished they did 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.