Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles Review

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CODE REALIZE: WINTERTIDE MIRACLES

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

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

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

 

This fandisc contains the following stories:

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

 

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

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

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

 

NEW CHARACTERS

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Secret Episodes:

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAILER

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

Nightshade Review (Nintendo Switch)

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NIGHTSHADE

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

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Walkthroughs:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (Spoiler Free)

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

 

GOEMON ISHIKAWA

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

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

 

HANZO HATTORI

  • Mr. stoic ninja
  • kuudere

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

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

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

 

CHOJIRO MOMOCHI

  • Big Brother
  • Angst! Angst! Angst!

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

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

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

 

KUROYUKI

  • clever, cunning
  • soft yand

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

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

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

 

GEKKAMARU

  • best boi
  • puppy eyes
  • true route ish?

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

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

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

 

ENJU UENO (Main Heroine)

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Enju is a strong heroine and I adore her to bits. Unfortunately, her potentiality to become an even better shinobi was wasted in some routes because of the whole damsel in distress scenarios, with the exception on Hanzo’s and Gekkamaru’s route ~ these were 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 delve into. If you’re having second thoughts whether or not it’s worth shelling out 48 bux to get this game in your Nintendo Switch Library. Here’s my advice: GET IT! This one’s definitely a gem and imo, almost up to par with the big titles (like Code Realize, Hakuoki, CxM). If you want an otome game with impressive storyline and characters you can’t ever get enough of, I can’t recommend Nightshade enough!

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

London Detective Mysteria Review

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LONDON DETECTIVE MYSTERIA

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

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Walkthroughs:

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

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MAIN ROUTES AND CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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

 

WILLIAM H. WATSON

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

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

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

 

HERLOCK HOLMES JR.

  • tsunjerk
  • daddy issues

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

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

 

AKECHI KENICHIROU

  • Foreign exchange samurai student
  • perfectionist

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

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

 

JACK MILLERS

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

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

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

 

JEAN LUPIN JR.

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

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

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

 

EMILY WHITELEY

  • Main heroine

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

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

 

SIDE CHARACTERS (Warning: Some Spoilers!)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAILER

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10

NORN9 Var Commons Review

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NORN9: VAR COMMONS

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

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Walkthroughs:

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

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heroines

2018-12-02-090822KOHARU

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

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

 

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MIKOTO KUGA

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

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

 

 

2018-11-25-232744 NANAMI SHIRANUI

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

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

 

The Guys

2018-10-29-100428 KAKERU YUIGA

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

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

 

2018-10-29-100529 SENRI ICHINOSE

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

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

 

2018-11-17-114952 MASAMUNE TOYA

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

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

 

2018-11-11-091917SAKUYA NIJO

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

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

 

2018-11-23-004259ITSUKI KAGAMI

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

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

 

2018-11-19-095657 HEISHI OTOMARU

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

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

 

2018-11-25-193610 AKITO SHUKURI

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

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

 

2018-11-28-031154 RON MUROBOSHI

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

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

garbage

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

 

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NATSUHIKO AZUMA 

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

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

 

2018-12-16-193656 SORATA SUZUHARA

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

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

 

2018-11-17-120018 SETSU TAKISHIMA

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

 

MINI GAMES

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

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

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

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

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

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

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

 

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

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

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KITTY LOVE – WAY TO LOOK FOR LOVE

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

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

 

Walkthroughs:

 

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

――True love’s kiss.

 

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

 

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

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

Voice Acting

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

spoilersss

 

TAKUMA SUGURI

  • Flower shop owner
  • Loves Chinese food
  • Secret past

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

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

 

KOHEI NATSUME 

  • The childhood friend
  • Tsundere

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

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

 

KYOSUKE KAWAHARA

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

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

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

 

SHOGO FUJIMOTO

  • Mr. Kuudere Police man
  • Loves kawaii things

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

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

 

NARUMI SAIJO

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

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

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

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

 

honoka

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

 

 

 

TRAILER

 

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

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

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

 

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10


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


 

Hakuoki Edo Blossoms Review

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HAKUOKI EDO BLOSSOMS

Release Date:  March 13, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Design Factory
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International
Platforms:  PS VITA, Steam (PC)
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Read the game’s prologue here.

Walkthroughs:

 

ART AND MUSIC
As previously stated in my Kyoto Winds review, there were three artists involved in Hakuoki’s artwork. Kazuki YoneMiko, and Shiki Sakigumi. Most of the CGs are the same ones you get in the PS3 version of the game (Demon of the Fleeting Blossoms). The OP and ending themes for Edo Blossom were also done by the same composer and performed by the same artist of the game’s prequel. Listen to Edo Blossoms’ beautiful OP “Kaze no Nakade Saku Hana” on the track below:

 

CHARACTERS AND ROUTES (Spoiler Free)
I played the routes in the order that was suggested in the game (started with Hijikata and did Kazama last). Because it’s a sequel, there’s really no specific route order you need to follow as you will still be able to enjoy the stories regardless of which route you start or finish. My suggestion is to divide your favorites, where you play a fav guy first but also finish with another fav. so you’ll have that lasting “uwu” impression. (laughs) (*/ω\)

 

2018-10-02-213022TOSHIZO HIJIKATA
CV: Shinichirou Miki  –  Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Hijikata’s story was the longest in Edo Blossoms (five chapters), it’s also the only route with most endings (seven endings). 

Just like Kyoto Winds, Hijikata’s route was mainly the story of the Shinsengumi itself. It follows through the Shinsengumi’s activities the day they arrived in Edo and ended with their defeat in the Boshin war. One of the highlights of this route is Hijikata’s strong determination to fight for what he truly believes in despite standing on the losing end. Seeing this man’s strong resolution and willpower, scene after scene was rather awe-inspiring so to speak (it made me tear, sob!). I also loved how his romantic relationship with Chizuru developed in the long run, where It didn’t felt forced nor rushed. If anything, I thought it was actually very realistic. Hijikata longing for Chizuru was just so cute!

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-213603 SOUJI OKITA
CV: Shotaro Morikubo – Impey Barbicane (Code Realize), Jocus (Period Cube), Toa (7’scarlet)

Unlike Hijikata’s route, Okita’s story was more detached to the Shinsengumi’s activities as it picked up from where it left off in Kyoto Winds (Chizuru stays with Okita at Dr. Matsumoto’s place in Edo, to help him recover from his illness). I like how stubborn Okita’s character was but then goes meek every time Chizuru calls him out. Finally! the heroine tames this sadistic hunk! It was great how their relationship dynamics worked out for the best as they progressed through the story. I also felt real chemistry between the two of them – Okita’s route is probably one of the better ones when it comes to romance. Moreover, I wanted to comment on Morikubo’s awesome portrayal of Souji’s character, his voice acting really stood out in this game. He’s done this character justice and I have no words! Recalling the scene of Okita’s breakdown really shook my emotions to the core! (applause)

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

SAITO HAJIME 2018-10-02-213901
CV: Kousuke Toriumi – Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)

To those who are Saito biased, you will definitely enjoy his route. For the most part, Saito continues his adorable kuudere nature as he juggles overworking himself to experiencing fatigue while keeping a watchful eye on Chizuru’s well being. His route had a couple of surprises that got me all ‘woah(Hint: Ear fetishes lol). My only gripe was that their romance didn’t surface until his last chapters and it is only because of Chizuru’s forwardness that this man was finally able to admit his feelings for her. But I guess this works out for some?

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-214225HEISUKE TOUDOU
CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki – Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga), Heishi (Norn9)

Heisuke was such a great character in Edo Blossoms.  I liked him as an NPC in almost all the routes in the game. His own story, however, wasn’t too satisfying – if you ask me. Because he’s one of the first Shinsengumi rasetsu (fury), he spends a lot of time wallowing in grief and deep regrets (thinking about his life choices), questioning the “what ifs” and a whole lot of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. This went on probably for the mere half of his route where Chizuru tries her hardest to lift Mr. Down-in-the-dumps’ spirits up. It was sad and annoying at the same time but I’m glad it didn’t last. There’s still good chemistry between him and Chizuru so, this is one saving grace that didn’t get me all disinterested with his story.

Story: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SANOSUKE HARADA
CV: Koji Yusa – Itsuki (Norn9), Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Oh boy! Get your fans ready, turn on the AC as it’s about to get hot in here! (//ω//)

As I’ve said in my Kyoto Winds review, If you want romance, Harada is definitely one for the taking! There’s certainly a good story in Harada’s route but man, I got so distracted by all the fluff content on this one, it’s too inevitable to ignore (chuckles). It was funny how Chizuru secretly hides her crush with yo boi’, saying things like “this man is so handsome and caring, I will never be worthy of him and his glorylmao! …At the same time, Sano being such a big flirt and all won’t stop doting on the heroine… I…just…can’t… take it! Their relationship was too adorable! Sano’s route is def one of the best routes to look forward to in Edo Blossoms and his ‘good end’ was one of the most satisfying endings in the game. Make no mistake about that.

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: OH YES!!!

 

2018-10-02-214616 SHINPACHI NAGAKURA
CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro – 
Toshi Maeda (Sengoku Basara), Rikimaru (Tenchu 2), Taliesin (Tears to Tiara)

While Shinpachi Nagakura remains one of the most likable characters in the series. Just like Heisuke, his route falls rather short in terms of both story and romance. Mostly, Shinpachi spends a lot of time loathing on the fact that he’s become a fury (Recalling, the incident in Kyoto Winds, where he was forced to drink the water of life due to unavoidable circumstances). With this, Chizuru guiltily blames herself for Shinpachi’s suffering and wants to support him in any way she can. In return, Shinpachi still pushes her away and goes into a complete depressive mode to a point that he becomes a hermit for weeks (ಠ_ಠ) – lol I’m not even kidding! Because of this, he becomes too distant with the heroine, that I literally can’t feel any intimate connection between the two of ’em. It took him four whole chapters to suddenly admit his feelings for Chizuru which for some reason felt rushed (to me anyway). ┐(‘~` )┌

Story: 2/5
Romance: 2/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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KEISUKE SANAN
CV: Nobuo Tobita – Straizo (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Kan Soo-Jin (Akatsuki no Yona), Capt. Gordon (Disgea)

Sanan’s character in Edo Blossoms can either become your ally or the antagonist causing all the mayhem, depending on whose route you’re on. I remember Sanan giving me the creeps when I played his route in Kyoto Winds. Luckily, he redeemed himself in this sequel and I’m so glad how his story turned out. I should warn you, his route was one emotional ride. Sanan was such a complex character where at one point you literally can’t stand him and on another, you just can’t help but fall for him (°ロ°) It’s madness, I tell ya! After playing his route in EB, I now, clearly understand why Sanan’s character has a solid unwavering fan base. *Tips hat*

Story: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SUSUMU YAMAZAKI
CV: Takayuki Suzuki – Daedalus Munto (Demonion Series), Oota Hiroo (Koiken Otome)

WarningKyoto Winds Spoiler below!
I was so ecstatic to play Yamazaki’s route because unlike the other romanceable characters in Kyoto Winds, Yamazaki was the only one who didn’t make it to Edo. (╥﹏╥) (Hint: He died in the battlefield). Yamazaki (in Kyoto Winds) only survived in two routes: his and Okita’s. That said, Playing Yamazaki’s route was such a treat in Edo Blossoms, because… you know, he’s alive and breathing for a change! (cackles). His route was rather short though, I remember finishing it way too quick compared to others. Needless to say, I love Yamazaki’s character to bits. I still hold my ground when I say, he’s such a good match for Chizuru,  both of them complement each other really well. His good ending was a little predictable but gosh, it was too perfect, I wouldn’t have it in any other way!

Story: 3/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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HACHIRO IBA
CV: Mamoru Miyano – Akito (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tokiya (Utapri), Okabi Rintarou (Steins Gate)

I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reviews regarding Iba’s route in Edo Blossoms from western gamers. We either hate him or love him in his route. Why tho? Is it because of his obsessive crush with Chizuru, or is it because of his rapey demon hand? lol As an Iba bias,(˙꒳​˙) I don’t really find his route, in any way shape or form, offensive nor creepy, towards the main protagonist. The reason for his “odd” behavior was thoroughly explained in his story and was even foreshadowed a few times during his first chapters. OR perhaps, I just really have awful taste in men (lmao) To be quite honest, I’ve actually enjoyed Iba’s route fully. I thought it was pretty good. It was dark, yes but his character depth was strikingly beautiful. I love how Iba struggles with his own demons but at the same time continues to fight for his beliefs echoing Hijikata & the Shinsengumi’s dedication and willpower. He has the nicest bittersweet ending and (i think) it could’ve been better if they’ve extended his epilogue.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-215520 KAZUE SOUMA
CV: Yuki Kaji – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kakeru (Norn9), Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

I like describing Souma’s route as the amazing race to get to Hijikata (laughs). Because this was literally what went down for the first three chapters of his story (considering, an entire route in EB only consist 4 of chapters total). I felt that Souma’s story got a bit mundane in the middle but then picked up really quick on the fourth chapter. As I’ve griped before in Kyoto Winds, I still couldn’t feel any chemistry between him and Chizuru (ノД`). Although I loved that there was comic relief in the last chapters of his story. – the whole gang playfully teasing the lovers and Iba getting extremely jealous – oh boy! that was one good laugh. His ending was really sweet too (their reuniting scene was so precious). It’s one of my least favorite routes in EB but it wasn’t bad altogether. Also, kudos to Yuki  Kaji for breathing life into this character. His voice acting was indeed one of the highlights in this route.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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RYOUMA SAKAMOTO
CV: Daisuke Ono – Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv), Azuma Natsuhiko (Norn9)

Sakamoto’s story in Kyoto Winds was interesting enough to get me all hyped up with his route in EB. Sadly, to my disappointment, the intriguing factor of Ryouma’s character died down as his whole route was wasted chasing after his buddy Nakaoka and his band of evil furies from Tosa. There was nothing new of the sort that’ll get you compelled to keep going in his story. I honestly could not wait for it to end. Though I wanted to point out that it was his good ending that uniquely redeemed his route from dullness. I believe others may still probably enjoy Sakamoto’s route. This one just didn’t stick out to me in the game.

Story: 2/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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CHIKAGE KAZAMA
CV: Kenjiro Tsuda – Hattori Hanzo (Nightshade), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)

I am literally a Kazama bias, that’s why I picked his route to play last. He is arrogant, selfish, and judgmental towards humans, the perfect husbando! (laughs). Again, just like his role in Kyoto Winds, Kazama can either be your enemy or your ally in the game depending on whose route you’re at. In Edo Blossoms, he becomes Chizuru’s bodyguard as she journeys following the tracks of the Shinsengumi. He may not be upfront with his feelings towards the heroine, but you can clearly tell that his actions are genuinely all for her well being. It was such a treat seeing Kazama’s changed nature towards Chizuru. Like how he always ask her first, what her plan is and what she wants to do. I also enjoyed their couple banters with each other like how Chizuru calls him out when he had too much sake to drink. (´▽ `) It was cute to witness their relationship blossoming as they spend more time together. Plus, this is the only route where you can see Amagiri giving love advises and epic wingman talks to the heroine. lol

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

Will I enjoy Edo Blossoms, even if I haven’t played Kyoto Winds?
Maybe if you’re only in for the romance, then perhaps you might? Though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of playing the sequel without delving into the main story first. Edo Blossoms is part two and the continuation of Kyoto Winds, so I’d always advise against playing it first if you haven’t touched Kyoto Winds at all. Perhaps if you’ve played the older Hakuoki games then you’ll probably get the gist of the story. Otherwise, you will be missing out on a whole lot of stuff.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
Edo Blossom’s transition from Kyoto Winds was pretty smooth sailing as it immediately picked up the previous game’s premise. While the main plot and drama were built-up in Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms breaks the ice as it brought the conclusion to each of the route’s cliffhangers. Also, unlike its prequel, Edo Blossoms does not contain a long repetitive common story so you can rest easy on this fact if you were bogged down from completing the last game by it.

I may have gushed about it in my Kyoto Winds review, but the writing for this remake was indeed, outstanding. The writers did a great job telling Hakuoki’s gripping story while building each characters’ individuality and of course their relationship with the main protagonist, and I believe this is what most of us fans, craved for. We want to connect, sympathize and know these characters more. Out of the twelve main casts, the routes that left an impression on me the most were Hijikata, Harada, Iba, and Kazama. Needless to say, each character has their own personalities that stood out individually from the other. Heck, even the side characters shined in this sequel. My personal favs would be Kyo Shiranui (he’s awesome in Harada’s route), Keisuke Otori (he’s really hilarious in Hijikata and Souma’s route) and of course our beloved chief Isami Kondou, who’s probably brought us the most tears in this sequel.

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To me, Edo Blossoms was a great read per se. I would definitely recommend this game to those who’ve played KW and the older Hakuoki games. Although, I wanna stress out the fact that this sequel’s angst was a bit overwhelming and while it worked out for me (I love torturing myself with immense angst lol), it may not work for some, esp. if you’re more inclined to enjoy light-hearted fluffy novels.

Overall, I would still give Hakuoki Edo Blossoms an A rating for its compelling story, brilliant characters that shone individually, an artwork to die for and for being one of the best visual novels that realistically tells the story of the last samurais in Japan: The Shinsengumi – of course, if you’re secretly a hopeless romantic like me, the romance factor is definitely a plus.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 8/10

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku Review (Nintendo Switch)

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AYAKASHI KOI GIKYOKU

Release Date: August 2, 2018 (North America)
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Prologue
You were invited by your cousin to watch a live concert by a Visual Kei band called FOX EAR. As the band members stepped onto the stage and played their music, Your magatama (tear-shaped pendant), an ornament you’ve inherited from your ancestors that was passed around for generations started to give off a strange massive light. You fell unconscious during the sudden turn of events and eventually found yourself waking up in the backstage surrounded by five handsome fox dudes. Apparently, the members of FOX EARS are real-life mythical creatures and they’ve come to take the magatama from you. OH NO! …But instead of taking it by force, they’ve decided to make you fall for them so you can surrender the magatama at your own will and pace. Who will you choose to fall in love & trust the powers of the magatama with? The decision lies in your hands.. (⁎˃ᆺ˂)

 

Alright, so I’m gonna cut to the chase and say, playing this game made me appreciate The Charming Empire more. That game may have weak content, but the localization was pristine. This one, however, hit rock bottom.

 

A LOCALISATION MESS

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I’m talking about broken english that appears to come from a machine translation. The grammar and sentence structure doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a shame since the fluff content of this game is pretty normal and the VAs were top tier. However, incorporating it with horrible translations defeats the purpose of enjoying a visual novel in general.

The game allows you to choose a language to play it with at the start though, so if you know kanji, I strongly recommend playing it in Japanese instead, (It’s less painful that way)…

EDIT: A recent patch update was released fixing the game’s machine translations.

 

ART AND MUSIC
I like how each of the characters has their own theme (bgms) that seem to match their personalities. Keisuke’s smooth jazzy theme was my fav. ( ´ ω ` ). The artwork was also worthy of praise, imo. I think it is fairly above average compared to other recent otome projects these days. Heck, I even liked this game’s trailer.

Voice Acting

Daisuke Hirakawa “Keisuke” – Saint Germain (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica AH), Zain (Period Cube), Laito (Diabolik Lovers)

Ryouhei Kimura “Kasumi” Shiraishi (Collar x Malice), Kou (Diabolik Lovers), Ukai Shougo (Nil Admirari), Roche (Neo Angelique Abyss)

Natsuki Hanae “Yuki” Libera (Period Cube), Akito Sera (Collar x Malice), Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Jonah (Ikerev)

Mamoru Miyano “Akito” Hachiro Iba♥ (Hakuoki), Tokiya (Utapri), Sou Tamaki (Ouran High School Host Club), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tamahome (Suzaku Ibun)

Shinnosuke Tachibana “Kousei” Louis Howard (Midnight Cinderella), White Mask (Bad Apple Wars), Tomoe♥ (Kamisama Kiss)

 

Main Characters and Walkthroughs
Story-wise, I would recommend playing the routes in the order below.

1)Kousei
2)Kasumi
3)Yuki
4)Keisuke
5)Akito

 

spoilersss

KOUSEI

  • Bassist
  • Tsundere
  • Best cook

Kousei / Kosei plays the bass guitar of the band FOX EAR. He’s also the band’s leader lol I actually thought it was Akito since he’s the ‘lead’ vocalist/guitarist but eh, it’s actually Kousei, surprise! The fact that this info was dumped almost at the end chapters of his story had my face twitching like (⊙_⊙) haha. Kosei also possesses a very stiff and perfectionist attitude where he can lose his cool at times.

In his route, Kousei puts a lot of pressure on himself & tries his absolute best when it comes to writing songs and creating new music for the band. It was revealed in the middle of his story that this attitude stems from being raised by very uptight (fox) parents, who hates humans and who are always comparing him to Akito. During his events, you, as the heroine tried to support him and make him rely on the other band members more rather than carry his burdens on his own.

I liked Kousei as a character, his tsundere nature was charming for the most part. His route, however, didn’t really make sense to me. There was a point in his story where several conflicts were all piled up together and was resolved in the most stupid fashion ever… And as much as I wanted to expound on this, I fear that this review will only get more confusing because this whole route was totally baffling as hell!  It was not good. Top it off with horrible translation, finishing this route became a nightmare! ヽ( `д´*)ノ  The CGs were nice though!

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KASUMI

  • Rhythm guitarist
  • Sweet Gentleman
  • Akito’s sickly twin brother

Kasumi plays the rhythm guitar in the band. He’s Akito’s younger brother who’s always looking out for your best interest. Unlike his older twin bro, (who’s got no chill lol) Kasumi is always calm and composed. Almost the perfect gentleman. His downside is that he was born with a weak body who can’t control his massive power inside.

I enjoyed Kasumi’s character build up. The fluff content at the beginning of his route was really adorable and I love hearing Ryohei’s gentle voice. His route, on the other hand, wasn’t any better than Kousei’s. In his story, Kasumi became really sick and weak and the only way to save him is for you to marry his brother Akito so he can use the magatama as the next chief of the fox village to save Kasumi’s health as well as make their village prosper. Kasumi, who wasn’t in favor of your arranged marriage with oniisan, kidnapped you (with consent lol), took you to an abandoned shack in the middle of the woods and asked you to stay with him there until his last breath. This angsty conflict was resolved by you wishing hard on the magatama to keep Kasumi well and alive. The magatama, (knowing how much you love Kasumi), responds to your prayer by granting him a vigorous health the next day. You went back to the village with him and he arranges a meeting with his parents and Akito and they all agree to make Kasumi the next village chief and your new husband, and both of you lived happily ever after. Wow, okay! so now comes the question…; why did you ever agreed to marry Akito, when you could’ve just talked it out in the first place? Beats me! It’s as if this wrench was thrown out there in the open just to have a stupid conflict that can be merely resolved by common sense! lol 

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YUKI / “U/KI”

  • Drummer
  • Cheerful
  • bipolar

First of all, the main character’s original name is YUKI, but for some reason, the english translation thinks it’s cool to replace “Yu” with “U/” …YESS “U/ki” is more trendy and fresh!! lmao.

Yuki plays the drums in the band. He is one cheerful persona and is also known to be a “genius” among the members of FOX EAR (he’s good in composing songs and writing lyrics on a whim). One interesting factor about Yuki is his split personality where he can be friendly to you at one point and in a split second becomes really ill-tempered and grumpy.

In the early part of his route, Yuki is revealed to be a half fox and half human. Because he’s not pure-blooded, it is quite difficult for him to contain his mythical powers. Hence explaining his bipolar tendency. As a temporary remedy, Yuki tries to control his powers through kendo training, to keep his wild side in check. But whenever he spends time with you, he struggles in keeping his emotions straight and goes into a frenzy of outrage after getting upset or jealous over other guys acting sweet towards you. Because he’s in a constant battle with himself every time, he tries to distance himself from you, afraid that he might hurt you in the long run. Nevertheless, you were able to confront him with this issue through the help of your trustee magatama.

The conflict in his story arises, when the elders of the fox village decided to meddle into your relationship with Yuki, saying things like ‘they cannot accept a half fox to receive the power of the magatama’. They went as far as putting up a fight with everyone and eventually took Yuki to the fox village and imprisoned him in the dungeons.

With the help of all the members in Fox Ear, you were able to get to Yuki’s prison cell and managed to come face to face with one of the fox elders. By praying hard on the magatama you unknowingly summoned/ unsealed the great fox inside it and him being the great fox and all confronted the elders, telling them they shouldn’t degrade someone just because he is half fox. After the incident, the elders suddenly had an epiphany, 😂  realized they were wrong, said they were sorry and eventually let go of Yuki. You and Yuki went back to the human world safe and sound and lived happily ever after. OK, I’m not sure if this resolved Yuki’s uncontrollable powers though, it wasn’t really clear to me but given that the fox ancestor of the magatama was unsealed, I guess this cured Yuki’s problem too? ┐(︶▽︶)┌ Who knows?

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KEISUKE / “K-SUKE”

  • Keyboardist
  • Mysterious
  • White fox

Keisuke is the keyboardist of FOX EAR. He is a happy-go-lucky character and acts as an older brother to the rest of the band members. Besides his mysterious personality, Keisuke is also a big flirt and will always tease you every chance he gets.

The real conflict in his route began when Pierose, another Visual Kei band consisting of other mythical creatures; raccoon, snake, cat, and a lion?? came into the picture and threw shade at Keisuke in front of the other band members. Here, they revealed that Keisuke is actually a white fox who’s been working together with a human master. I’m just gonna assume they meant, he’s the ‘kitsune’ shrine familiar? By working with humans, you are branded as a traitor to your fellow fox citizens. Now that his dark past was revealed, everyone was left with a sour taste in their mouth and they (the rest of FOX EAR) eventually decided to kick Keisuke out of the band and told him not to go near you nor the magatama. Some friendship huh? 

Anyway, a couple of flashbacks were shown consecutively about how “Byakuya” (the fox ancestor who was sealed in the magatama) and your ancestor, the Ying Yang master met. These scenes give you a clearer picture on what actually went down a thousand years ago (hint: they are this game’s OTP). The flashbacks also explained who Keisuke really was and how he became the white fox who worked alongside your ancestors. I’m not gonna go into full detail on these events because of too many spoilers… Though I have to say, this route was REALLY angsty but lol I’ve actually quite enjoyed it. (Surprisingly) haha.

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AKITO

  • Lead guitarist
  • Needs to get some chill
  • Jerk

BAHH! Okay last route, I can’t believe I’m almost done writing this review. Tbh it really hurts my head whenever I try to recollect the events of this game…(×﹏×)

So Akito plays the lead guitar of FOX EAR. He’s also the most unfriendly among the band members and he absolutely detests human beings. He was raised to believe that humans are sly creatures that cannot be trusted. He acts like a jerk towards you but because of your persistent attitude of wanting to get to know him, he starts warming up to you and eventually falls in love. You see, this dude’s a tsundere by nature. lol

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In his story, Pierose, who wanted to break FOX EAR’s career, kidnapped you by luring you into Akito’s apartment during one of their live concerts. Despite being warned not to go out on your own nor trust anyone, just like most regular MCs who lead themselves to slaughter, you took Pierose’s bait. The instant you reached Akito’s apartment,  the mythical cat (one of Pierose’s member) catches you by surprise and abruptly ties you up with some magical vines to keep you from moving. To add insult to injury, he magically transports you to the concert location of FOX EAR, suspends you in mid-air and makes you fall on stage. Akito, seeing the love of his life at the brink of her death, used his powers to leap high enough from the stage to catch you, preventing you from hitting the ground. He does this in front of thousands of people – and now everyone started freaking out saying “FOX EAR are monsters!” Rofl. I don’t really get this part, they could’ve just told everyone off that it was all an act but since they needed some conflict in this story, this was apparently necessary lol.

Eventually, the band broke up and everyone was in hiding. You, on the other hand, ended up with Akito in a small shack in the middle of the woods. This was a good 2-3 weeks after the controversy. Both of ya’ll try to live as lowkey as possible (e.g. you doing the laundry by the river and Akito chops some firewood lol) when another conflict occurs as Keisuke suddenly appears, threatens to hurt you and forces Akito to unseal “Byakuya” the fox ancestor in your magatama. Akito, who’s now madly in love with you was like “don’t hurt her” …so he goes and break the seal ~ and in an instant, he was overflowing with uncontrollable power and the only way to stop it is for you to seal it again through a holy arrow. Keisuke realized his mistake, and helps you with this but also tells you that the fox village will go extinct ones Byakuya is sealed again. You thought about it for a moment but then you realized how much you love Akito and you don’t wanna be separated from him so you decided to go with the plan and shot the magic arrow straignt into Akito’s heart sealing the fox ancestor, turning back everything to normal again. His ending involves both of you together with Keisuke thinking of ways to revive the fox village. (Hint: Akito wants to have lots and lots of fox babies w/ you lol). 

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS (҂ `з´ )
Playtime would be a good 2 hours to finish one whole route. Though to be honest, I had wished it was shorter as I feel like some of the content were kind of forced and completely unnecessary. They did establish a good amount of fluff to get you connected with the characters but I just couldn’t take the forced angst. I have twitched my eyebrows on this a couple of times, It REALLY wasn’t necessary AT ALL.image I like that they made use of the usual Japanese folklore about kitsunes, shrine familiars and mythical creatures… but how it was initiated was all over the place!(*°ー°)ノ

Do I recommend this game?
(Edited)
The fact that the publishers released a patch fixing the horrid translations was cool and all but I’m not really sure If I thoroughly enjoyed this game at all. I guess, first impressions indeed, lasts sometimes (laughs). I probably sound like a broken record for repeating this again and again but the best part of this game was their full house A+ VAs, Mamoru Miyano, Daisuke Hirakawa, Ryohei Kimura, Natsuki Hanae, etc. It has always been a guilty pleasure of mine listening to their voices. However, in terms of plot and story content, this game was still a miss for me.

Now that Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku is playable with decent english subs, I’m sure you can enjoy the game this time around without getting totally aggravated by the mess that is google/bing translate. I still don’t think it’s worth the full price though. If you wanna give this game a chance, pick this one up, whenever it goes on SALE.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 3/10


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