London Detective Mysteria Review

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LONDON DETECTIVE MYSTERIA

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

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Walkthroughs:

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

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MAIN ROUTES AND CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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

 

WILLIAM H. WATSON

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

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

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

 

HERLOCK HOLMES JR.

  • tsunjerk
  • pride issues

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

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

 

AKECHI KENICHIROU

  • Foreign exchange samurai student
  • perfectionist

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

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

 

JACK MILLERS

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

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

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

 

JEAN LUPIN JR.

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

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

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

 

EMILY WHITELEY

  • Main heroine

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

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

 

SIDE CHARACTERS (Warning: Some Spoilers!)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

TRAILER

 

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

Story-wise, I was surprised how the main plot that was initially introduced (Emily trying to solve the case of her parent’s murder) was left untouched in each of the main character’s route. The fact that you have to unlock the “true ending” to know the story behind Emily’s parents was such an inconvenience. It was a mess! It didn’t help that the prologue and common route was overwhelmingly long and I believe some irrelevant chapters were unnecessary (E.g. “Ms. Hudson’s”chapter). I expected Emily to step us 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 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 of how hilarious this character is. 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 on 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 (cackles). („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 in admitting his feelings towards Honoka, fearing she will never accept him and that he’s not deserving of someone like her because of his “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! lol He even has a membership ID at the neko cafe near 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 that his true calling was to become a musician instead of a club host. I think one of the main highlights in Kyosuke’s route was his playful teasing and banters with human Honoka which I believe 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 (as 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 found Honoka in the streets after she transformed into a kitty for the first time, and took her to the police station. 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, to get to know him better. 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 hopefully his character’s eyes did (laughs). Saijo Narumi is the odd-eyed black neko who in the prologue cursed Honoka to transform into a cat at night. 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 and one day abruptly left him for someone richer. 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 them, became a nekomata and randomly, out of spite cursed someone (Honoka) in 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 long run, he realized he made a grave mistake as he’s seen through Honoka’s struggles and 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

2018-09-11-204456

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

Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk Review

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PSYCHEDELICA OF THE ASHEN HAWK

Release Date: June 29, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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…and finally! The last title for Aksys’ Summer of Mystery Promo.

It’s a Witch-hunt!
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk holds true to its testimonials of a very engaging gameplay with a plot setting that’s intriguingly rather different compared to its prequel (Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly). With the game’s time period set to a Post-renaissance age, the story revolves around the ever famous “witch-hunt” phenomenon that was commonly popular in Early Modern History.

As part of the Psychedelica series where a melancholic finish is a known signature, do not expect to have ten folds of happy endings in this game. 

Walkthroughs:
Common Route Endings
ALL Main Character Endings

 

GAME SYNOPSIS
“In a town ruled by opposing clans and overshadowed by superstition and legend,
A child is born with the dreaded mark of a witch.
She conceals her identity until the theft of a mysterious relic
brings to light a series of staggering revelations.
The mysteries she will uncover could restore order
..or destroy everything that she knows..”

 

ART AND MUSIC
I like Satol Yuiga’s approach to this sequel’s art style. The artist showed a lot of emphasis on colder shades (different shades of black, gray, caramel brown, white), to highlight the game’s setting of ‘a town where winter never ends’.  The Kaleidoscope pattern on each of the character’s head annoyed me at first, but this was one of the easter eggs that got me really absorbed in the game.

The game’s soundtrack was also very new to me. From it’s brisk opening theme to it’s forlorn ending. Everything including the BGMs were incredibly surreal. I love the Middle Age vibe it’s rendering. I’ve included a sample of these tracks below (purchased from iTunes):

 

VOICE ACTING

Mutsumi Tamura “Jed / Eiar” – Kobayashi (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid) Camilla Pareto (Asterisk War)

Hino Satoshi “Lavan” – Toma (Amnesia), Noiz (DRAMAtical Murder), Leo Crawford (Midnight Cinderella)

Saito Souma “Levi” – Mineo Enomoto (Collar x Malice), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Sota (Possession Magenta)

Furukawa Makoto “Lugus” – Adage (Steam Prison), Kyle Ash (Ikerev), Clive (Million Dollar Boyfriend)

Daisuke Namikawa “Hugh” – Takeru Sazasuka (Collar x Malice), Kaga Akira (Clock Zero), Eigetsu/Yougetsu (Saiunkoku Monogatari), Komura Yuuichi (Hiiro no Kakera)

Daisuke Hirakawa “Tower Overlord” – Saint Germain (Code Realize), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), Zain (Period Cube), Nakaoka Shintarou (Hakuoki), Suguri Ohmi (Hiro no Kakera)

Kosuke Toriumi “Lawrence” – Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), Shiki (Period Cube), Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), John Watson (Code Realize Future Blessings)

Kaito Ishikawa “Elric” –  Alan Crawford (Midnight Cinderella), Tobio Kageyama (Haikyu!), Tenya Iida (My Hero Academia)

Morikawa Toshiyuki “Olgar” – Rai (Lamento Beyond the Void), Arles (Black Wolves Saga), Thoth (Kamigami no Asobi),

Oohara Sayaka “Francisca” – Margaret (Persona 4), Kela Hazel (Galaxy Angel)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)

2018-07-08-075809Some character’s true ending will only unlock after clearing another character’s route beforehand. For example, Levi’s ending will only unlock after finishing Lavan’s route. Following the walkthroughs, I’ve linked above is the easiest and most convenient way to unlock all of the game’s endings.

LAVAN

  • Lord of the Wolf Clan
  • Overprotective
  • One Sided Love

As the Wolf family’s first son, Lavan was raised to be the heir of their clan from day one. He’s a very charismatic, respectable man and almost everyone in town loves him. Besides his handsome features that gets him all stares from the ladies, he’s also exceptionally skilled in combat and loves collecting weapons (sword). Lavan is also the only guy in Jed’s harem who knows her cross-dressing secret. The game made this very obvious, so I don’t consider this as a spoiler. That said, I sort of feel bad seeing his unrequited love for Jed unfold as you read through chapters. I love Lavan’s interaction with the heroine in all his short story episodes though, it’s romantic fluff at its finest. Plus, his Masquerade CG is something to look forward to.

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LEVI

  • Cheerful
  • Short Tempered
  • Second Son Syndrome

Levi is the second son of the Wolf family. He’s also the head of the town’s vigilante committee. Although he can be a little short tempered at times (especially when provoked by the opposing faction), a lot of soldiers from the wolf clan respects him for his leadership. He thinks of Jed (the heroine) as his little brother and always seems to be in her favor. One thing I really like about Levi, is how accepting he is when it comes to his flawed characteristics. I also like how there isn’t much of the cliched ‘sibling rivalry’ between him and Lavan in the game. Their brotherly relationship seemed pretty solid all throughout the story.

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LUGUS

  • Lord of the Hawk Clan
  • Gap Moe
  • Best boi

As the only son of the present Hawk Lord, Olgar, Lugus is expected to do his tyrannical father’s bidding, such as collecting taxes from the townsmen. He doesn’t seem to care what the rest of the town thinks of him as long as he gets the work done, befitting their faction. Lugus displays a very cold, unfriendly persona upfront but get into his good side and you’ll discover a surprisingly adorable gentleman. Not only is he the poster-boy of the Psychedelica AH, he’s also the game’s bias as most of his short story episodes contain an overwhelming amount of doki-dokis compared to the rest of the guys in the game (laughs).

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HUGH 

  • Mysterious
  • “Traveler”
  • knows more than he lets on

Not much is really known about this character besides introducing himself as the mysterious traveler who took interest in the heroine’s story. Going through Hugh’s route gives you a lot of easter eggs in the Psychedelica lore. Tbh, Hugh’s character confused the hell out of me to a point where I had a million theories in my head that didn’t really panned out in the end. His character design was beautiful though, and I’m always a sucker for Daisuke Namikawa’s voice acting, so kudos to that!

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TOWER OVERLORD

  • Amnesiac
  • Free Spirited
  • Lazy

This eye-patched man lives with Jed in the town’s lonely white tower and acts as the heroine’s ‘guardian’. Although listed only as a side character of the game, I consider the tower overlord as one of the main important personas in Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Because of his free-spirited nature, his interactions with the heroine were always enjoyable. He’s also one of the few who knew about Jed’s real identity and would seldom tease her whenever she dresses up as a woman. Though this man deliberately wears an easygoing facade, inside his happy-go-lucky smiles lies a dark secret that brings about a deeper and more complicated character.

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JED / EIAR (Heroine)

  • Cross dressing MC
  • MVP
  • Best Girl

Born with the accursed red eye, our heroine was ill-fated as the descendant of an ominous witch, who was believed to have caused the town’s never-ending winter season. Because of this, she hides her true identity and decided to live her life as a man.

Alright, so if there’s any character in the game that truly deserves a high regard of respect, Jed would be your gal. I have never felt so sympathetic towards a character until Jed. All throughout the game, this heroine was too good – I couldn’t even put it to words. She’s kind, very independent and above all, doesn’t wallow on any BS. Truth be told, it was so aggravating playing her character not because she was mundane (she’s not!) but because she was such a good character, it pains me to see all this misfortune befalling on herimage. I was totally at a point where I just want to give her a comforting hug, and scream: “Please cut this heroine some slack!” image

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this heroine can take a beating too and can fight well with the sword

 

image MAPS
Aside from the flowchart, the game also allows you to navigate through TOWN MAPS where you can collect “Town Memories”and watch short episodes of sheer fluff goodness. Make sure to switch from Jed to Eiar  whenever you can as both characters offer different short stories.

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Town Memories – marked in PINK, with the magnifying glass icon. (you’ll need these to buy items from the antique shop by the tavern);  these are very short talk episodes with the town people.

Short Story Episodes – marked in BLUE, are short stories of the heroine’s encounter with the main & side characters of the game.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

Will I enjoy Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk even though I haven’t played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly?

Psychedelica AH somehow created its own new lore which can stand alone on its own. That being said, it can be enjoyed as it is, even if you haven’t played Psychedelica BB. However, I still (strongly) recommend playing the prequel beforehand as there were A LOT of references from Black Butterfly that were very significant in Ashen Hawk. Playing its prequel also adds up to the game’s enjoyment level.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? (*°▽°*)
With a lengthier gameplay this time, It did a great job of introducing the main characters and their corresponding motives at the beginning of the story. I also like how each chapter was gradually building its overarching plot, one that’s very engaging, – I actually had a hard time putting down the game for a while.  All the characters were very likable and I love how each of them (including the side characters) seem to have their own backstories to share as you progress through the game. Although still low in romance, the game did manage to take the fluff up a notch when compared to its predecessor (PBB).

But just like any other mystery themed visual novel, it had a couple of plot holes that left me asking more questions after completing the game. I was expecting a proper closure, like the one in Psychedelica BB, but sadly there wasn’t any, which sort of left me a little confused… Will there be another sequel that will give me answers? Please..I need to know!

Do I Recommend this game?
Consider this title a nice treat to those who’ve played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (whether or not you’ve enjoyed it). Ashen Hawk had great pacing and story build up, it won’t take you that long to get absorbed in the game. However, it doesn’t promise a merry ending with rainbows and sunshine, so EXPECT and brace yourself for the angst and unexpected plot twists.

I guess, if you view the Psychedelica series as a visual novel rather than an otoge, you may appreciate it more. Nyan.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly Review

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PSYCHEDELICA OF THE BLACK BUTTERFLY

Release Date: April 27, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

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Aksys Games promised to release three otome titles as part of their 2018’s Summer Mystery Bundle. As their first released title, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is an oddball among the usual otome labels that were recently localized this year.

Exploring the World In Between
As intriguing as the title sounds, this game draws you to a heart-rending story line of tragic mystery and offers one very unique way of playing it. That said, Psychedelica BB is not your average otome game. I’d like to think of it as one of those underrated visual novels that holds deeper meanings and weights  very powerful messages coming from it’s well written routes. I consider the added side romance as a nice fluff to lighten up the game’s rather dark theme.

Psychedelica BB pretty much revolves around the theme of ‘death’ and ‘grief’. So if you’re uncomfortable with these topics, this game is probably not for you.

Walkthrough:
Common Route (Best Ending and Real Word Ending)
All Character Routes and Endings

 

Read the story synopsis here.

 

ART AND MUSIC
The game’s art style is one of it’s most appealing factor. It had a very remarkable aesthetic sensation that imbues the surreal world of the setting’s dream-like state. We have the artist, Satol Yuiga to thank for that. Looking forward to more of her works in the upcoming game Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk (English loc.) this June.

Another aspect that captivates you to this game is its soundtrack. For the most part, I really enjoyed the game’s BGMs. It blended well with the mystifying atmosphere it’s trying to create. Here’s my fav track!

Voice Acting
One thing I noticed at the start of the game was the voiced heroine. It’s not every day that your main protagonist gets a VA so I was really excited how this one played out. Although I could not relate to Beniyuri (MC) on a personal level, I liked how her voice actor smoothly carries out her dialogues. It makes the player (you) really empathize with the character’s emotions.

Nakahara Mai “BENIYURI” – Nagisa (Clannad), Kaede Minami (Mirmu De Pon), Noi Kasahara (The Wallflower) 

Toriumi Kosuke “KAGIHA” –  Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Saitou Hajime (Hakuoki), Momochi Choujirou (Nightshade), Uesugi Kenshin (Sengoku Nightblood), Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Ikemen Sengoku)

Ishikawa Kaito “HIKAGE” – Alyn Crawford (Midnight Cinderella), Tobio Kageyama (Haikyu!), Tenya Iida (My Hero Academia)

Hosoya Yoshimasa “YAMATO” – Luka (Amnesia Crowd / World), Loki (Kamigami No Asobi),  Yukimura Sanada (Ikemen Sengoku) , Yusuke Asahina (Brother’s Conflict)

Matsuoka Yoshitsugu “MONSHIRO” – Arata (Arata The Legend), Takuru Miyashiro (CHAOS Child)

Tetsuya Kakihara♥ “KARASUBA” – Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Shin (Amnesia Memories), Toki Tanba (The Charming Empire), Isora (7’sCarlet) 

 

ROUTES AND MAIN CHARACTERS

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Recommended Play Order Below:

1)Common Route
2)Kagiha
3)Hikage
4)Yamato
5)Monshiro
6)Karasuba

Following the play order above is the easiest, most convenient way to unlocking all of the character’s endings as well as the common route’s best, good and real-world ending. I don’t think there’s a ‘True Route’ in this game so you can deviate whichever character you want to play first. However, be aware that when aiming for some of the character’s  “True Ending”, you are required to unlock another character’s route beforehand. For example, Yamato’s true ending can only be obtained if you’ve finished Kagiha’s route.

Also, I believe this game only had ONE Happy Ending. (sarcastic laugh) image No kidding! I mean it! I’m not saying the rest are bad either but they are definitely NOT ‘happy’ so to speak.

 

Characters (SPOILER FREE)

KAGIHA

  • Eldest
  • Big Bro of the group
  • Best Boy? (Almost)
  • Route Message: “Acceptance”

It is almost impossible to not do Kagiha’s route first nor unravel this character’s story as he was very much involved in the main plot (Common Route) and pretty much the rest of all the routes in this game. Kagiha is considered the big-brother-type character of the bunch. He’s usually the guy that puts a stop to playful fights between Karasuba and Yamato and he is genuinely very affectionate and gentle towards the heroine. Kagiha’s story was very emotional. This route focused a lot on the heavy drama that I’m almost certain will get your sensitive heart bawling in the end.image If you think Saint Germain’s route in Code Realize was heartbreaking, try this one on for size! 

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HIKAGE 

  • Leader
  • Strongest
  • Cunning
  • Route Message: “Letting Go of the Past”

I’m actually glad I played Hikage’s route second. The thing is, there are certain short stories you’ll need to watch to get this character’s ending. Tip: Knock out all of his short stories and clear Kagiha’s ending and you’ll have no problems running his route smoothly. Hikage’s character was also very much involved in the Common Route. His plot twist was really unexpected that I was actually caught off guard on my first playthrough. In his route, there were a few easter eggs that were brought up which I really enjoyed, like the picture book story about the “Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly” (Yes! the game title itself! Lol). IMO, the fable somehow explains Hikage’s true feelings and anguish towards his past and present.

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YAMATO

  • Cold, Irritable
  • Hates the sound of rain
  • Lone Wolf
  • Route Message: “Guilt

Yamato’s character was my favorite since he was the most realistic character in the game. He starts off as this really irritable jerk that always gets agitated during the game’s introduction but later on softens up after talking to Beniyuri and regaining parts of his memories. His behavior in the manor was deliberately explained during the real world ending (Why he’s always so desperate to go back to the real world, why he hates the sound of rain, etc.). This is why it is a prerequisite to unlock the Real World Ending first before jumping into his route. Yamato was also a very flawed character from the get-go (one, I can personally relate to),  his story merely gravitates towards his feelings of guilt and despair due to his past actions which he fully regrets. His story conclusion was either to wallow in guilt and grief (Bad End) or to continue moving forward (Good End).

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MONSHIRO

  • Fox masked
  • Mysterious
  • Aloof
  • Route Message: “Trust”

Another favorite character in Psychedelica BB. Monshiro is the mysterious fox masked stranger who appeared at the start of the game rescuing Beniyuri and Hikage from the manor’s lurking monsters. He is one peculiar character that kept reappearing in the common route trying to get close to the main protagonist by helping her in any way he can. He doesn’t talk much and appears to have an attachment towards Beniyuri and Yamato. Because he’s always used to being alone, it was very difficult for him to interact with others, making it very awkward whenever he does. Monshiro’s route probably had THE best pacing in the game~ I was at the edge of my seat while playing his story.

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KARASUBA

  • Biggest Flirt
  • Jerk
  • Yandere
  • Route Message: “Denial”

Karasuba is one happy go lucky character and the easiest going of the group. He’s usually found butting heads with Yamato at the beginning and continuously flirts with heroine all throughout the game. Despite his cheerful facade, Karasuba is actually one deep character and the jolly personality he’s fronting is his way of hiding the skeletons in his closet. Karasuba’s true ending was also the most difficult to unlock (to me anyway lol) as you had to watch almost all of the short stories and clear other routes beforehand. I did like all of his endings, including his ominous bad endingimage(laughs). I was also satisfied to unlock his good ending as it clearly redeems the character’s good side through the heroine’s help.

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BENIYURI (Main Heroine)

  • Trustworthy
  • Reckless
  • Character  Message: Repudiation (refusal to accept the truth)

beniyuri

Besides having the weirdest name I’ve come across with for an otome heroine, Beniyuri is a kind, patient and optimistic protagonist and I like her own strength and sense of determination in the game. That aside, this heroine can also become a bit nosy, reckless and way too trusting not knowing her naivety can hurt her in the long run.

Beniyuri may not be the best otome heroine, but still one great likable character in Psychedelica BB. 

 

 

FLOWCHART AND MINI GAME
Playing this game requires you to navigate through a flowchart system. I don’t really find this troublesome at all since it kind of works to the game’s advantage when trying to determine the story branches you’re in as well as getting to the endings you’re aiming for. I guess the only con I can point out regarding the flowchart system is that the side stories won’t automatically play when you’re going for a character’s route. You will need to load the flowchart and unlock the short stories to watch them separately. So to those who are fond of auto-plays, this may come out a bit bothersome, but you’ll get used to it eventually.

Butterfly Hunt Mini Game
You will only get to play this mini-game on chapters 2:2 and 4:1. The game requires you to hunt for ‘monsters‘ in the form of butterflies, locking targets to shoot them. The trick is to lock as many targets as you can before firing a shot, that way you’ll get more points than usual. You’ll need to aim for a score of A or S to unlock trophies (on PSVita). You’ll also need these points when unlocking short stories in the flowchart.

You will also get to choose who to pair up within this mini-game. All your partner ever does really, is cheer for you lol.  Ngl, hearing Tetsuya Kakihara (Karasuba) say “BANG!” motivates me greatly! Nyan.

 

GAME TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
The entire gameplay for Psychedelica BB is a bit short (20-30 hours) which kind of works for me since I’m not too fond of really long play runs. To me, PBB had good pacing and one REALLY impressive story-line that’ll get you all them FEELS. The game also offers great valuable lessons in life that got me deep in thought after playing it, and I really love it when a game does that.

Although the romance was given less emphasis, I still enjoyed playing Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly as a whole and wouldn’t mind playing it again… *cough* after I get this big lump of nail off my chest *cough* 

I will admit, it’s not my favorite but it did come close to my top ten. It’s a great game that fits its full pricing. If you’re a visual novel fan who enjoys a very “human” story with relatable characters and don’t mind melancholic endings, this one is definitely worth picking up.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10