Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ Review

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PERIOD CUBE ~SHACKLES OF AMADEUS~

Release Date: April 28, 2017 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

With Period Cube’s MMORPG theme, I admit I was really enthused when I first started playing this title. Not because it had the same concept as Sword Art Online (forgive me but I couldn’t really get into the series, though I did played the Lost Song on PSVITA) but because this game, reminded me a lot of my childhood memories indulging on those sleepless nights playing mmorpgs like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV while getting ready for my finals the next morning (lol goodtimes!).

As someone who (cough) *used to be* an mmorpg addict, Period Cube’s introduction really piqued my interest as an otome game.

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

Walkthroughs:

1)Radius
2)Astrum
3)Demento
4)Zain
5)Hiroya
6)Libera
7)Poyo-Poyo

 

ART AND MUSIC
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Period Cube that initially caught my attention was the game’s beautiful art style, done by non other than the artist Kuroyuki, also known for her popular works; Gekka Ryouran Romance and Black Wolves Saga. You can visit her Pixiv profile here.

Fun Fact: Ibarano Rakuen, the game’s opening theme was performed by Joelle, an American – Japanese artist from Utah, USA. She also sang “Lucky Maria”, the end credits for the 1990’s hit American movie “TRICK”. You can visit the artist’s website here.

Voice Acting

Nobuhiko Okamoto “Hiroya” – Katsuki (My Hero Academia), Hansel (Code Realize), Manabu Souda (Collar x Malice), Kougami Akira (Nil Admirari), Lancelot (Ikerev), Shin-ah (Akatsuki no Yona)

Maeno Tomoaki “Radius Lupin (Code Realize), Camus (Utapri), Son Hak (Akatsuki no Yona), Keisuke Sanjou (Collar x Malice)

Sakurai Takahir “Astrum” – Mejojo von (Black Wolves Saga), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

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

Daisuke Hirakawa “Zain” Saint Germain (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Laito (Diabolik Lovers), Oomi (Hiro no Kakera)

Yuuichirou Umehara “Demento”Shingen Takeda (Ikesen),

Kousuke Toriumi “Shiki / Poyo-Poyo” – Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), John Watson (Code Realize), Kagiha/Lawrence (Psychedelica Series), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Ikesen)

Showtaro Morikubo “Jocus” Souji Okita (Hakuoki), Impey (Code Realize), Toa (7’scarlet), Reiji (Utapri)

Toshiki Masuda “Mergo”Ieyasu Tokugawa (Ikesen), Kei Yoshimine (The Charming Empire)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS

2018-07-26-220608In terms of spoiler content, from least to greatest ~ I strongly recommend playing the game in the route order below:

1)Radius
2)Astrum
3)Demento
4)Zain
5)Hiroya
6)Libera
7)Poyo-Poyo

 

spoilersss

Glossary:
Arcadiathe mmorpg game our main characters are playing.
World VThe server where Arcadia players are sucked into.
Ark – aka “dungeon” in mmorpg lore, where players need to clear in order to exit the game world.
Angels and Demons – the only two factions in Arcadia
Trinity of Swords – three most powerful weapons in Arcadia (Shadow’s Edge, Divine Blade of Light and the Almighty Amadeus)

 

RADIUS

  • Solo Player
  • Cold, Snob
  • Tsun tsun
  • IRL: Idol

The lone-wolf solo player of the demon faction. Radius holds an icy attitude towards everyone in Arcadia, including the heroine. He never joins a party and prefers to clear the ark on his own. He wields the Shadow’s Edge, one of the most powerful weapons in World V.

Although I liked Radius route for the most part, I find his romance with the heroine a little too forced. His story started somewhat interesting because of his tsundere nature, which i think was really cute. But he fell in love with Kazuha way too quick that I find it really hard to comprehend. He does have some fluffy moments with the heroine in the real world but If it wasn’t for Maeno’s irresistible voice acting, I probably would’ve not enjoyed this route as much as I did. ┐( -“-)┌

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ASTRUM

  • Clarius Guild Leader
  • Roleplaying level 110%
  • Panic Attacks
  • IRL: Nerdy Med school student

Astrum is the leader of the famous guild, Clarius. They are considered as Arcadia’s speed-runners when it comes to clearing difficult quests and dungeons. He posses the Divine Blade of Light, one of the Trinity of Swords in World V and almost everyone in the Angel faction respects him for his leadership and camaraderie.

Astrum is also well-known for his exaggerated role playing in Arcadia and its almost cringe-worthy to listen to his flamboyant lines in the game. I didn’t really deemed this character interesting at first, as I did with Radius but after meeting Astrum in real life as Toru, the nerdy med student who gets panic attacks whenever Kazuha talks to him, I was overwhelmed by how hilarious this character was, that I immediately started liking him. His route was very refreshing because of the added comic relief and I did not expect I’d enjoyed his route so much~ I actually think it’s one of the best in the game.

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DEMENTO

  • Bloodlust
  • Cold blooded murderer
  • IRL: Convenient Store clerk

The ruthless Arcadia gamer who loves PK’ing other players for fun. Demento’s race was changed to “Fallen” due to his uncontrollable lust of murdering other players (be it an Angel or a Demon) in World V. Because of his Fallen status, he has certain restrictions such as not being able to carry any kind of weapon other than his basic rubber daggers as well as not being able to enter certain location points (city) in Arcadia.

*Plays Bad Romance in the BG* My biggest problem with Demento’s route was that it lacked in character depth so much that I’ve asked myself over and over again “Why is this even a route?!” I mean, I love my trashy characters in otomes and I’m usually always in the front lines defending their sad excuse for an attitude (laughs) but Demento’s story was just a bad case of FUBAR. It would have been better if he had some sort of backstory that explained his bloodthirstiness and his hate for his life in the real world, but NOPE you aint gettin any of that here, no sir! ┐(︶▽︶)┌
What’s worse is that his route branches off from Astrum’s story so I literally power skipped everything except for the last two chapters. The only thing to look forward to in this route is Umehara’s voice. heh.

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ZAIN

  • NPC with feelings
  • Possessive
  • Yandere

Originally an NPC (Non Playable Character), Zain appears on other routes as someone who guides people around Adventure Town and provides players with quests. Since he’s computer generated, this character had no real life memories. However he was programmed (by the Arcadia makers) to protect Kazuha in World V which sort of conflicts his motives as a regular NPC.

In his route, Kazuha came accross Zain while she was separated from her friend Hiroya and was fleeing from a monster that was chasing after her. Zain (as programmed) saved the heroine momentarily after they met and assisted her in surviving the world of Arcadia. As Zain spent more time with Kazuha, he quickly becomes more attached to her which lead to his unhealthy “obsession”. Zain’s route had potential but because it had too many plot holes all piled up at the same time it became really confusing to me that I could barely get any connection with him. I love his character design though (I think he’s the prettiest bachelor of the bunch) and I love hearing Hirakawa’s pure innocent voice.

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HIROYA

  • the childhood friend
  • Reliable
  • Stubborn

In World V, Hiroya plays as a Boxer in the demon faction. He’s sometimes quite harsh with Kazuha but actually looks out for her in every way possible. Although his level is not up to par with most of the main characters in the game, he tries his best to protect the heroine from harm, even if it means putting his life on the line. IRL, Hiroya is Kazuha’s childhood friend who was with her when she got warped into World V.

Hiroya is that-one-character that gets copped out and friendzoned in almost all the routes in the game besides his. Poor guy! Because of this, I was so satisfied playing his route because, finally… he get’s a happy ending! (yay). I’m not really a fan of the childhood friend trope but I actually think his story was pretty good despite being predictable. Plus, his CGs were very lovely!

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LIBERA

  • Gender bender
  • Cunning
  • IRL: junior high school student

Libera is a “nekama” (male who plays a female character in online games / communities). He acts all ‘kawaii’ to get other male players give him provisions like a cool gear or some rare items for free by just batting his eyelashes (laughs). He’s not interested in doing any quests to increase his character level and just enjoys taking advantage of other players in Arcadia.

I don’t think anyone (in their right mind) actually thinks of Libera as a female character in the game as it was made very obvious from the get go (..and Hanae’s voice ain’t that feminine ya know!). Despite Libera’s cunning attitude towards the heroine, I actually like Libera’s character development. He’s smart and he typically knows what he’s doing. Although he makes it a point to prioritize his own self first above all else, I find it cute how he unintentionally risk his life to save Kazuha just in the nick of time.^^ I also enjoyed his moments with the heroine in the real world and I believe both of them are suited for each other, age and maturity level wise.

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POYO-POYO

  • Onii-san route
  • Obsessive
  • Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Poyo-Poyo is a small monster / fairy-ish intel character in Arcadia who from time to time helps the heroine and other players in World V. He’s also a mysterious character, one that kept re-appearing in most of the routes in the game. Almost every player in Arcadia knew him for his cute appearance and easy going nature. He also knows a lot of secrets in World V.

If Toriumi’s voice didn’t made it obvious for you. This cute little mascot is actually Shiki in disguise. Shiki is Kazuha’s missing brother and one of the makers of the world Arcadia.

Although it was made clear in the beginning that Shiki and Kazuha aren’t blood related, Idk, I guess I’m just not a fan of the brother-sister-romance trope, especially if both of you grew up together on the same household from day one. Not only that, Shiki’s character was also very obsessive with the heroine, all the more making this route really uncomfortable (to me anyway lol). But because he’s a 2D character, I forgive him.Despite this route’s creep factor, I think they did an okay job in justifying the story’s plot holes and cliffhangers in Shiki’s happy ending. I honestly did not enjoy this route personally, but I don’t think it was a bad “true” route altogether. ┐(°ヮ°)┌

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KAZUHA (main heroine)

  • Mary Sue
  • bland
  • dues ex machina

Kazuha is the most Mary Sue of all mary sues an otome game has to offer. I just can’t connect to this heroine on any level that it was so hard to play her character without getting ticked off (scratches head). She literally gets dragged around by all the guys in the game and becomes a doormat in almost every route. Not only that, but the fact that this heroine did not develop any kind of progress in the RPG world, status/level wise is so aggravating, It grew grey hairs all over my head! I can sense that there was an attempt for a character development but it failed in so many levels, it’s a darn shame because this character had a lot of potential in the mmorpg lore. But hey, because of her “Almighty” status (race) she can transform into something so powerful in the most convenient time possible because deus ex machina anyone? (face palm).image

*Deep Breath* Alright, so I may have seen worse heroines than Kazuha. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that this protagonist was a let down especially when the plot itself had a lot of opportunities for her character to do so much better in so many ways. (Shrug) ┐(︶▽︶)┌

On a side note, I absolutely love Kazuha’s character design. She’s just so cute!!! and her RPG costume as a Minstrel / Almighty was top tier.

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OTHER CHARACTERS
Besides the main ones, there were a few prominent side characters of the game that I think were more likable and would’ve possibly made better routes than the ones already lined up. Jocus and Mergo (for example), from the guild Forte were a few of the characters that would’ve made potential suitors for the heroine. Same goes for Sirent, from the angel faction. (^◔ᴥ◔^)

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?( ´ ∀ ` )ノ
To me, Period Cube was a great visual novel per se. When it comes to its art, music, game system and voice acting ~ it’s one decent title worthy of its price. I would recommend this game just for those aspects alone.

Story wise, it’s not perfect, it had a lot of plot holes that were left in the dark for the most part of the game which was really disappointing (e.g. Akashic Records). Some routes were a bit darker than I anticipated and It would’ve been nice if there was more focus on creating character depths among the romanceable bachelor’s stories (e.g. Demento’s route). But despite the few reasonable gripes I’ve stated above, I did enjoy playing this game as a whole and I’ve at least liked 4 routes (Radius, Astrum, Libera, Hiroya).

Overall, it’s a good title by Otomate, maybe not one for the books but definitely something worth picking up, imo. If you’re like me who doesn’t mind spending a little of that doe to support otoge localisations, I recommend giving this one a go.

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

 

 

It’s a Witch-hunt! 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)

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

Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk holds true to its testimonials of a very engaging game play with a plot setting that’s intriguingly rather different compared to it’s 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 on 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. Jed always puts her best foot forward and have always managed to bravely face any adversities in her way. 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 it’s 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 it’s prequel also adds up to the game’s enjoyment level.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?(*°▽°*)
With a lengthier gameplay this time, It did a great job introducing the main characters and their corresponding motives at the beginning of the story. I also like how each chapter was gradually building its overarching plot, one that’s very engaging, – I actually had a hard time putting down the game for 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 managed to take the fluff up a notch when compared to it’s 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

 

 

Pinky Promises ~ Kei Okazaki Review

CXM OKAZAKI

KEI OKAZAKI
Visual Novel: Collar x Malice
Age: 26
Skills: Judo, Kendo, Jujitsu, English
Likes: Horror Films, Bizarre Flavoured Food, Sleeping
VA: Kaji Yuuki

Click for his walkthrough here.
Click for Collar x Malice game review here.

Character Background
Kei is an active police officer who works as an SP (Special Police) currently assigned to ‘protect’/ monitor Aiji Yanagi and his team. He is usually calm and collected. He plays dumb when he actually has one very sharp mind. He literally doesn’t care what others might think of him from the get go, just as long as he’s able to do his desired course of action succesfully.

Personality
Kei is an odd duck, he can fall asleep just about anywhere, collects sleeping accessories because he believes that “the quality of sleep is more important than quantity”. He has the knack of trying bizarre flavoured foods and loves his horror film/series collection. Another one peculiar habit of his, is entering the agency’s office through the window (which is a few floors high). When it comes to personality and ideals, Kei’s character is also considered the opposite to Aiji Yanagi’s. While Aiji is more of the responsible level headed type guy, Kei is one heck of a reckless abandon case.

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Somebody SAVE this guy!ヽ(`д´;)/

 

spoilersss

Relationship with the heroine
Kei Okazaki is such a sweetheart ~ it would be so hard not fall for him in his route. Like srsly lol. It was really nice of him acting as Ichika’s personal bodyguard, making sure she’s in tip-top shape and promises to ALWAYS protect her with his life and all but his motivation at first was more of like a selfishly written death wish than genuine love. I find it really distressing how this man holds very little value of his life. It’s pitiful.

Not only does he want to protect Ichika, but he specifically wants to die protecting her so that his death has meaning.

0000Kei

 

OKAZAKI’S ROUTE
A heart pounding route that kept me at the edge of my seat, is one way to describe Kei’s story. Minus the squeeling and screaming, I’d have to say a relationship with this man is one hell of a ride and it’s infuriating (in a good way), I love it so much!

Admittedly, I really enjoyed this  route not because of his story (how it branched out in the game’s underlying plot) but because of Kei’s character.

Positive Points \(^▽^)/

  • Although he doesn’t act like it, Kei is very skilled in combat and probably the most reliable guy to depend on when it comes to the heroine’s safety.
  • He is stealthy which works on his advantage as an SP.
  • He’s very smart. He can read Adonis‘ train of thought in logical ways.
  • No matter the circumstances, this guy WILL protect you, come hell or high water.
  • He loves getting good quality of sleep and knows a couple of ways to relax best. The guy carries a purple eye mask in his pocket for goodness sake!
  • He’s very physical. *Internal Screaming* He loves holding hands, kisses, cuddles, making love spontaneously.
  • He’s a TEASE. (This is either a positive or negative point depending on how you look at it) In his route, he pins Ichika on the bed and suggested they make love while she’s still wearing the collar).
  • He’s ready to die for you. (Although, this can also be a negative aspect).
  • Although he hinted that he liked other people and had physical and romantic relationships before, he admittedly said that Ichika is the only one who he has ever felt THIS way towards.♥
  • He’s a sweet bean, in his route he buys Ichika a bouquet of flowers as a way of cheering her up and said it’s part of his protection duty.
  • He loves to smile, even if he’s in physical pain.
  • He’s good in dealing with teenagers. In Takeru’s route, he was able to get along well with  Ichika’s brother, Kazuki ~ that they even went to the agency’s christmas party together.
  • He’s a jealous man, which I think is adorable (although this can also be a negative factor too).
  • He’s a good senpai (to Yoshinari).
  • His vows are sacred. In his route, he initially believed that the heroine is worth dying for but in the end realized that she’s also worth living for.
  • He texts with emojis. (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚
  • Out of everyone in Collar x Malice, Kei Okazaki maxes your chances of survival. Best boy (imo).

 

Negative Points ┐(︶▽︶)┌

  • He’s a weirdo at first glance. (He’s my lovely weirdo)
  • He sleeps just about anywhere. In back alleys, outside the detective agency, outside Ichika’s apartment, in the park.
  • Despite acting nice, Kei’s attitude can often turn harsh. He reveals early on that he would give Ichika up for the sake of his duty without blinking an eye.
  • He loves bizarre flavored food such as chocolate-covered cucumbers, sea grape marshmallows, and roe-flavored biscuits because it piques his interests.
  • He’s a harsh senpai (to Yoshinari, poor guy!)
  • He admits that he lies all the time for the sake of successfully fulfilling his SP duties. Although in his route he did have a hard time lying to the heroine.
  • He’s looking for a honorable way to die.
  • He WANTS to die for you. (︶︹︺)
  • In one of his bad endings, he wanted to commit suicide because he failed to protect the heroine.
  • He easily risks his life away for the sake of protecting someone he thinks worthy of it.
  • He’s a jealous man. He got jealous of Aiji in his after story and got peeved with Shiraishi teasing the heroine in his route.

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Character Song
Out of all the character songs in Collar x Malice, Kei and Aiji’s stuck to me greatly. Kei’s theme is just so cute, i love it! Props to Yuki Kaji’s adorable singing voice.

 

10over10

Wait…. Did I just rated this man a perfect ten?! Oh ho ho ho
So, I may be a little bias on this score but I really do think Kei’s route in CxM was the steamiest? In the middle of his route, the guy pins you to bed and says “I won’t hold back any longer” to which the heroine ACCEPTS. I mean, Ichika DID think that that night will be their last together, so she was probably like “what the heck, let’s do this”. (Laughs) Also, in Kei’s after story – where he wakes up and finds a naked Ichika next to him sleeping, in his bed. This basically indicates that they’re already in “that (mature) kind”  of relationship. Plus… he did planted hickeys on her while she was sleeping. Kyaaah!*Fans self*

 

Code Realize: Future Blessings Review

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CODE REALIZE: FUTURE BLESSINGS

Release Date:  March 30, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita, PS4

 

Code Realize: Future Blessings are varieties of After stories that took place after the events of the first game, Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth.

 

Click to read the game’s synopsis here.

 

This game contains the following stories:

  • White Rose (After Stories) – no choices
  • Lupin’s Gang (Extra Story) – no choices
  • Finis Route (Extra Story) – walkthrough available
  • Herlock Sholmes Route (Extra Story) – walkthrough available

 

ART AND MUSIC tumblr_inline_mo53ftf30L1qz4rgp
Just like the previous game, Code Realize: Future Blessings offers beautiful artwork and character designs drawn by the popular Japanese illustrator “Miko” 

The game’s OP and ENDING theme were also arranged by the same composer (Anze Hijiri) and performed by the same artist (Mao) in Guardian of Rebirth. There are three ending themes that unlocks after playing the extra and after stories. My favorite would have to be “My Dearest” by Mao.

 

NEW CHARACTERS

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Darius Gordon (VA: Takaya Hashi ) – Lotus (Saint Seya), Kaichou (Hajime No Ippo)

Shirley Gordon (VA: Haruka Yamazaki) – HANA (Collar x Malice)

Avido Crudele (VA: Katsuyuki Konishi)Reiji (Diabolik Lovers) Xeno Gerald (Midnight Cinderella), Ritsu Kisaragi (Kiniro No Corda: Bluesky)

Hansel Hexenhaus (VA: Okamoto Nobuhiko) – Pearl (Black Wolves Saga), Hikaru (Brothers Conflict), Lancelot (Ikerev), Souda Manabo (Collar x Malice)

John H. Watson (VA: Kosuke Toriumi) – Rei Mikuni (Collar x Malice), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Saito Hajime (Hakuoki), Shuu (Diabolik Lovers), Kagiha (Psychedelica BB)

 

Recommended play order?
I don’t think there’s one, but I’ve mostly enjoyed playing the game in the order below:

1)Lupin’s Gang
2)Finis Route
3)Herlock Sholmes Route
4)Saint Germain (White Rose)
5)Victor (White Rose)
6)Van Helsing (White Rose)
7)Impey (White Rose)

8)Lupin (White Rose)

 

EXTRA AND AFTER STORIES (SPOILER FREE)

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Another Story: Lupin’s Gang
This happened somewhere in the middle of the common route in Guardian of Rebirth. While Cardia was test driving Impey’s newly repaired automobile in the city of London, she ran into a young girl who’s being chased by the Mafia.

Although this one offers more new likable characters and a lengthy play through, I find it the least enjoyable among the extra treats of Future Blessings. It does however, make a REALLY good side story. I enjoy seeing Cardia making new friends (a girl this time) and it was nice to see my CR boys in their black mafia outfits! I feel like “Lupin’s Gang” would make a good Code Realize OVA episode. One can only hope! haha

code realize

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 7/10

 

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Extra Story: Finis’ Route
The events in Finis’ story commenced right after the last chapter of Cardia’s common route in Guardian of Rebirth. As Cardia decided to leave Saint Germain’s mansion to return to her home in Wales, she’s surprised to find her supposed-to-be dead brother Finis waiting for her at their old abandoned house.

In this route, Cardia tries very hard to help her misguided twin brother Finis realize that they’re not just disposable living dolls but rather an individual capable of loving someone and receiving love in return. As a fan of family relationships in visual novels, I honestly enjoyed Finis’ story. It was very heart warming and I just love their brother-sister interactions with Cardia.

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: 7/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: NONE

 

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Extra Story: Herlock Sholmes Route
Just like Finis’ route, the events of Herlock Sholmes’ story followed after the last chapter of Cardia’s common route in Guardian of Rebirth.

Since Sholmes was one of the prominent characters in the last game that left quite an impression to fans, it was so refreshing to finally play this character’s very own romanceable route. Though it may not seem up to par with the main character’s canon routes, Sholmes’ story was surprisingly good and I love that we get to see a different (clumsy yet cute) side of this lovely private detective. image

New Characters: YES
Angst Level: 8/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 8/10

 

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After Story: White Rose
These are “After Stories” that took place right after each main characters’s true ending in Guardian of Rebirth. They do not offer choices, and the play times are rather short compared to the extra stories. You can literally finish a route in just about an hour and half.

SAINT GERMAIN
I think Saint Germain’s story, is a good starting route for White Rose as it tells a great introductory detail about getting rid of Cardia’s poison, which pretty much where the whole plot of this after story revolves around. Although playing his route was enjoyable, it is no where near as happy as the other characters’s stories. *COUGH* This is Saint Germain we’re talking about here afterall…(shrugs) This route, also shows Saint Germain’s possessive and jealous side which I find really adorable but somehow, melancholic at the same time.image

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New Characters: YES (Hermes Trismegistus)
Angst Level: 10/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 8/10

 

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
Following Victor’s True ending in Guardian of Rebirth, where he found a cure to counteract Cardia’s poison, his after story begins with him and the heroine, both living normal lives in Saint G’s mansion. Everything was peachy smooth in this after story until a conflict occurs ~ caused by our meddling friends from Idea. Ofcourse! Sigh

While the angst level in this route was pretty up there, it did have its funny moments and I pretty much enjoyed the “wingman talks” with Queen Victoria and Leondhartd ha! I also love how this route showed strong bonds of friendship between the couple and their dear friends who are ALWAYS ready to back them up, no questions asked.

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: 9/10
Enjoyment Level: 8/10
Fan Service: 7/10

 

VAN HELSING
Oh… boy…Oh boy…! Get ready for some intense fan girl squealing because this is all you’ll ever get from this routeimage. Van’s White Rose story was purely fan service and I absolutely love it! ha! *CACKLES* If you’re a Van Helsing trash like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this one, if not…well, you will probably get disappointed due to this story’s lack of plot.

In this route, we’ll get to see Van taking Cardia out on a date, holding hands while window shopping for a wedding dress, lots of kissing, lots of lovey-dovey scenes between him and the heroine. We’ll also get to see their first lover’s misunderstanding where the rest of the gang tries their vey best to help yo boi Helsing, be a little less emo. I have to say, I fully enjoyed Impey and Lupin’s “bro talks” and love advises as well as seeing Victor scolding our main vampire hunter not to make ‘their dear princess’ cry again. Awww.image

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We waited years to kiss this beautiful man!!!!

New Characters: NO
Angst Level: 8/10
Enjoyment Level: 9/10
Fan Service: 11/10

 

IMPEY BARBICANE
Impey’s story follows after his True Ending in Guardian of Rebirth where he furthers his research for a way to journey to the moon. Now, with the girl he loves at his side, our genius engineer is confident enough to make his long term goal happen. However, due to a couple of snags from his “moon project” he finds unexpected help from old acquaintances and of course his dear friends.

I expected Impey’s White Rose story to be as light-hearted and fun as his first route in Guardian of Rebirth but goodness me…! his story events in Future Blessings were beyond my expectations! It was so good that I felt the “Impey high” while playing it. haha!image Impey’s after story was probably THE best one in this game. (imo).

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 10/10

 

ARSENE LUPIN
Lupin’s white rose story is split into two parts, first one was of course, our long awaited fan service episode where we get to see the couple’s lovey-dovey relationship after their wedding. Second was Cardia wanting to know more about her father, Isaac Beckford.

Because I am all about the fan service in otome sequels image(laughs), I totally loved Lupin’s after story. Seeing Lupin all flustered and hearing our adorable heroine narrate her true honest feelings about the gentleman thief who stole her heart was absolutely delightful. The second after story on the other hand, was more on justification in relation to Isaac Beckford’s actions. Although it was already hinted in Guardian of Rebirth that Isaac wasn’t really the wicked man as he was portrayed in the game. This little portion in Future Blessings showed more of his good side, it’s as if the writers are telling us “Hey don’t hate him, he was a good guy” image – straight up! lol It also showed of Cardia Beckford’s happy family which was in a way, satisfying and was technically a nice conclusion to Future Blessing’s finale.

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New Characters: NO
Angst Level: NONE
Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 9/10

 

DELLY’S ROOM
These are very short episodes of Delacroix II “Delly”  day to day routine living in Saint Germain’s mansion. The episodes are automatically unlocked as you play through the extra and after stories of the game.

It’s about time they give some credit to our adorable little vampire king. I love all of these short episodes, but most of all I love all the CGs that comes with it! image

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Enjoyment Level: 10/10
Fan Service: 10/10 (wait til’ you unlock Delly’s last CG!)

 

GAME TRAILER / OPENING:

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?tumblr_inline_mrj6raI4O71qz4rgp
I love it! Story wise, it’s not as grand as the first game. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth, then you won’t be disappointed with Future Blessings. All the extras and after stories were exceptionally good and all the new characters were extremely likable ~ they grow on you. I have to say this was definitely one good purchase. For its content and enjoyment level I think it deserve’s an almost perfect rating of 9.^^

Thank you Otomate, Idea Factory and ofc Aksys Games for bringing these game titles to Europe and North America! Now let’s get the ball rolling and localize Silver Miracles next!!! PLS

Chlo’s Rating: 9/10

 

 

 

Romance and Folklore – 7’scarlet Review

NOTE: This review is SPOILER FREE.

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7’SCARLET

Release Date: May 25, 2018 (North America)
Developers:  Toybox Inc, Otomate
Publishers:  Idea Factory, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS Vita
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

As the second title released by Aksys Games for their Summer Mystery Bundle, 7’scarlet offers one gripping mystery-solving game play amplified with a cute touch of romance.

Walkthroughs:

Hino Kagutsuchi
Isora Amari
Toa Kushinada
Sosuke Tatehira
Yuzuki Murakumo
True Route & Final Character

 

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Otome Visual Novels are either a hit or a miss when it comes to it’s story narratives. 7’scarlet did one hell of a job foregoing a simple but very intriguing mystery-type plot line while having a few romantic events as an additive to its overarching deep story.

With the help of it’s unique visuals and animations, playing 7’scarlet was close to watching your favorite anime series.

 

imageART
One of the things I really enjoyed while playing 7’scarlet was its astonishing BG images. It’s just so pretty, it’s like wallpaper material! (giggle)image. The game’s artist was non other than, Kurahana Chinatsu an illustrator who’s also famous for her other popular works such as the character designs for Uta no Prince-Sama, Lamento (Beyond the Void), and Togainu no Chi.

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Looking at these lovely BG images reminded me of browsing through expensive art catalogs!

 

imageSOUNDTRACK AND VOICE ACTING
There are two opening themes, “World’s End Syndrome” and “LOVESICK”, you can unlock the latter after finishing a certain route in the game. The BGMs are good too, some are rather simple but very fitting for the game’s setting and transitions. Heck, I ended up buying the whole 7’scarlet soundtrack in iTunes.

And like any other Otomate titles, there will always be that one song you’ll end up getting stuck with. That one-song that gave you so much FEELS. In 7’scarlet, mine would have to be the song “Starry”.

 

Voice Acting

Nobunaga Shimazaki “Hino – Napoleon (Ikevamp), Kurogane Naoto (BlazBlue)Mitsuhide (Sengoku Nightblood)

Tetsuya Kakihara “Isora – Shin (Amnesia), Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Karasuba (Pyschedelica BB), Toki Tanba (Charming Empire)

Showtaro Morikubo “Toa – Impey (Code Realize), Reiji (Uta no Prince-sama), Okita (Hakuoki)

Chiharu Sawashiro “Sosuke – Shila (Snow White and the Red hair), Hero (Caligula Effect)

Shinichirou Miki “Yuzuki – Hijikata (Hakuoki), Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Bucket-Sensei (Bad Apple Wars)

Sanae Kobayashi “Yuki – Sara Nome (Macross Zero), Nagisa (Maid Sama)

Hiroki Yasumoto “Mr. Karasuma – Azrael (BlazBlue), Nidai Nekomaru (Danganropa V3), Hyuga (KLAP)

Hiroki Takahashi “Kagura Tsukuyomi – Rayne (Neo Angelique Abyss), Otohiko (Kamisama Kiss), Koujaku (DRAMAtical Murder)

Daisuke Kishio “Yasu Azusa (Diabolik Lovers), Mizushima Arata (Kiniro no Corda: Bluesky), Kuzuryuu (Danganropa V3)

Chiwa Saito “Yua – Aoi Asahina (Danganropa V3), Taokaka (BlazBlue), Domina (Period Cube), Fate (Caster)

 

imageMAIN CHARACTERS (SPOILER FREE)

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Recommended play order:

1)Hino
2)Isora
3)Toa – only unlocks after finishing Hino and Isora’s good ending
4)Sosuke – only unlocks after finishing Toa’s good ending
5)Yuzuki – only unlocks after finishing all of the character’s good ending

 

Hino Kagutsuchi

  • Childhood friend
  • Sporty
  • Dork

Hino’s story was cute. It had very few spoilers regarding the game’s overarching plot but his route did a good job catering as a story build-up for the oncoming routes you’ll get in to after finishing the first two recommended ones (his and Isora’s). I enjoyed the fact that Hino was physically a jock on the outside but covertly the biggest dork on the inside image(the guy fangirls on ‘kawaii’ things! lol). His romance was more into the generic childhood-friend trope, which I’m not really a big fan of. His route wasn’t my favorite, but it was definitely a good start, nevertheless.

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Isora Amari

  • Best Chef
  • Hot tempered
  • Jealous
  • Yandere

Just like Hino’s route, Isora’s story offers very few spoilers of the game’s underlying plot but was well written enough to create a very mysterious atmosphere of the town, Okunezato. Isora’s character, was also deeper than what I expected and I wished the writers expounded more on the depth of this character’s actions rather than just throwing it out there on the spot. Despite this, I love Isora Amari’s story. It had great pacing, enough to give you that creep factor you seek in every mystery-themed visual novel. His romance, on the other hand may not suit everyone’s preferences. Although I personally enjoyed it, I can understand how it may not work for some.
┐(︶▽︶)┌

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Toa Kushinada

  • Cat mom
  • Clumsy af
  • Color blind
  • such a sweet boi!

So my first impression with Toa was: “Really?! I have to romance this clumsy nerd, seriously, game?”. Then I started playing his route just to get it over with and oh my goodness! I did not expected the sudden turn of events! 

As I’ve probably mentioned repeatedly on my previous reviews… I absolutely love it when a game catches you off guard, and this route takes the cake! I was left speechless.  I couldn’t talk more about his story without going into spoiler territory so I’ll leave it at this: Toa was such a great character and he deserves all the love in the world! Best boy (imo), one that’s definitely unforgettable.image

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Sosuke Tatehira

  • Smart
  • Neat freak!
  • Best Doctor
  • OC!

If there was one route that got me at the edge of my seat in 7’scarlet ~ it was definitely Sosuke’s. His story had great pacing where it started off very light and warm then surprisingly escalated into a few bemusing affairs. His route also introduced a more definitive and deeper story regarding the mysteries surrounding the town of Okunezato. While the suspense was a little overwhelming in this route, I wanted to commend on how the romance never took a back seat in Sosuke’s story. His relationship with the heroine felt genuinely real and I love both his and Ichiko’s character development. I also loved the fact that Sosuke was such a neat freak and becomes very obsessive-compulsive about something so simple such as a goldfish scooping game! The perfect husbando, if you ask me! (chuckles)image

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Yuzuki Murakumo

  • Jerk Boss
  • Hot!!!
  • Intense
  • Tsundere

While the suspense was building up in Sosuke’s previous route, Yuzuki’s story on the other hand was a power house of everything (thrill, drama, a few action packed scenes and some romantic fluffs) …And although it happened so fast, all at the same time, I’ve got to say it was paced really well that it didn’t came out too forced nor too overwhelming with information. I personally love Yuzuki’s character. He’s cold and irritable on the outside but inside his icy personality is one very warm, fluffy husbando! image His story was probably the most compelling as far as solving the mysteries of Okunezato goes.

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Ichiko Hanamaki (You)

  • amnesiac heroine (explained in ??? ‘s route)
  • hates strawberries (explained in ??? ‘s route)
  • can’t swim (explained in ??? ‘s route)

hanamakiDespite the the main protagonist’s naivety and recklessness to a point where you’d clearly have to question this heroine’s sense of danger image (laughs), Ichiko Hanamaki had a couple of good points up her sleeve such as her strong will and determination to look for her disappeared older brother in spite of being absolutely clueless on where to begin. Another enjoyable aspect, was how this heroine sometimes gets shamelessly clumsy in declaring her love to the gentleman of her liking. She had a couple of funny moments that got me all “wtf lol” ~ so it was never a dull moment playing her as the MC.

 

 

And it gets better…
So the story doesn’t really end there. After finishing Hino, Isora, Toa, Sosuke, and Yuzuki’s route. Two more routes unlocks in this game.

Who is the culprit?image
Another factor why this game was so entertaining to me was that it reminded me of playing Mafiascum.

As someone who’s been playing mafiascum online for a long time, the game’s conclusion was somewhat predictable but I’ve got to admit, it was one gripping read and the “True Ending” was painfully heartbreaking.

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?tumblr_inline_mrj6raI4O71qz4rgp
7’scarlet is a very well written mystery themed visual novel. While the story was so simple, the events were paced so good that each tension as you unravel the mysteries remained suspenseful enough to keep you wanting for more.

Truth be told, I did not expect I’d get so emotionally attached to this game. It’s really one gripping read. I couldn’t get over it for maybe a week. lol  I guess my only gripe was that I wished they could’ve done more with the last secret route as the ending felt a little rushed and lacking. (shrug)

The animation and movie clips of 7’scarlet were an additional plus points. Though without it, the game still excels as one of the most compelling stories an otome game has to offer. Do I recommend this game? YES! If you’re looking for a good mystery-romance themed visual novel with great art, music, animation and one unforgettable story that will rob you of words, 7’scarlet is the perfect choice.

STARRY NIGHT.png

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

 

Exploring the World In Between – 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)

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.

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.

 

imageART AND MUSIC
The game’s art style is one of it’s most appealing factor. It had 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 it’s 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 everyday 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) 

 

imageROUTES 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)image

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 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
  • Cunnning
  • 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 play through. 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), this is why 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. I really love Monshiro’s character tbh (he is too pure for words!). Because he’s always used to being alone, it was seemingly difficult for him to interact with others, making it very awkward whenever he does. He reminded me of the character Shin-ah from the anime series, Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn). Beniyuri’s interaction with him also reminded me of Yona’s interaction with Shin-ah. 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 most easy going of the group. He’s usually found butting heads with Yamato at the beginning and continuously flirts with heroine all through out 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 of to accept the truth)

beniyuri

Besides having the weirdest name I’ve come across with for an otome heroine image, 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 are 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’s fond of auto-plays this may come out a bit bothersome, but you’ll get used to it eventually.

Butterfly Hunt Mini Gameimage
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 and then 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 with in this mini game. All your partner ever does really, is cheer for you lol. image Ngl, hearing Tetsuya Kakihara (Karasuba) say “BANG!” motivates me greatly! Nyan.

 

GAME TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

imageOVERALL THOUGHTS?
The entire gameplay for Psychedelica BB is a bit short which kind of works for me since I’m not too fond of really long play runs (because I procrastinate a lot lmao). To me, this game had good  pacing and one really REALLY impressive story line that got me all the 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 in this game, 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 five. It’s a great game that fits it’s full pricing. I also, highly recommend it to otome gamers and visual novel fans who enjoys a very “human” story with relatable characters and doesn’t mind melancholic endings.

 

Chlo’s Rating: 7/10

The Charming Empire Review

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THE CHARMING EMPIRE

DeveloperDogenzaka Lab, D3Publisher Inc.
Publisher: Dogenzaka Lab, D3Publisher 
Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Mobile (iOS and Android)
ESRB Rating: M+17 Mature

I bought this game for the same exact reason I bought The Men of Yoshiwara series: Kikuya and Oghiya: I needed more otome games in my Nintendo Switch Library. ^^;

 

STORY (From Nintendo Eshop Page)
“Our heroine, Amane Kosaka, was living a simple yet happy life in the countryside until one day she was suddenly taken away to live in the empire, summoned by her brother Soshi Amazaki — the current ruler. Though she was unaware of the underlying circumstances, she finds herself brought to this lively and palpable central city.
Living in the immaculate royal palace, our heroine comes to learn that the empire might not be as joyful as it seems.

Her brother is no longer the gentle man she once knew…
A corrupt organization secretly runs things behind the scenes…
The heroine’s fate guides her down the path of love.”

 

ART
The Charming Empire’s artwork was done by the artist, Fuji Mitsuya, a well known mangaka responsible for most of the beautiful art covers of popular JP Drama CDs (e.g. Midnight Jiangshi, Majestic Crown). If you admire her works, you’ll definitely love the CG’s for this game. Although they fall rather short as expected due to the game’s plot line, they were all undeniably beautiful.

 

MUSIC AND VOICE ACTING
I like how catchy The Charming Empire’s intro music was. Their BGMs were pretty good too, an improvement from what they had with the Yoshiwara series. But what initially attracted me the most to buying this game was their voice acting. Reading the list of cv’s below, I immediately recognized some of the famous voice actors from popular otome games I’ve recently played.

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Tetsuya Kakihara “Toki Tanba” – Victor Frankenstein (Code Realize), Shin (Amnesia), Karasuba (Psychedelica BB)

Toshiki Masuda “Kei Yoshimine” – Ieyasu Tokugawa (Ikemen Sengoku), Yukimura (SLBP), Iori (IDOLish7)

Takuya Eguchi “Koichiro Sera” – Kazuki Hoshino (Collar x Malice), Nomura (Hakouki), Nagi (IDOLish7)

Toshiyuki Toyonaga “Kagemitsu Togawa” – Junichirou (Bungou Stray Dogs), Yuri (Yuuri on Ice)

Kenjiro Tsuda “Soshi Amazaki” –  Chikage Kazama (Hakuoki), Hattori Hanzo (Nightshade)

 

ROUTES AND CHARACTERS
While playing the game, I noticed that each route mostly follows the exact same story pattern: You get whisked away to the capital – become a royalty – romance with the guy you choose – a rebellion occurs – conclusion. Although there were ‘some’ routes that offered a few plot twists, others were concluded far too easy and as simple as it can be.

All of the routes were short that it barely gets you that connection to the guy you’re romancing. If it weren’t for their profound voice acting, the stories would’ve fallen quite flat and somewhat boring due to zero character development.

Characters
The only recurring characters of the game are Sochi Amazaki and Kagemitsu. The rest of the guys only appear in their routes alone.

 

tumblr_inline_mo53fsoSXb1qz4rgp WARNING:  Few MINOR spoilers up ahead!

 

TOKI TANBABad boy, Robinhood, Best Cook, Baumkuchen!

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Toki is the handsome cafe owner you bumped into one day while you were secretly strolling off town. You became acquainted with him due to his friendly & flirtatious personality and eventually tried to help him out in his cafe by waitressing and washing the dishes (lol the things you do for a handsome stud)image. He is rather popular in town and is loved by his customers. He appears very kind towards you but actually has hidden motives which you’ll get to discover in the middle of his route.

Ngl, I only enjoyed Toki’s route because of Tetsuya Kakihara’s voice acting. His laugh reminds me of Fran-chan’s giggle in Code Realize! It’s too adorable SQUEE!

 

KEI YOSHIMINEHot tutor, Smart, Talented, Tsundere as hell, Prince Charming, Pinky Swear, Best Boy!

33237645_157470575104820_5910773910181249024_oKei would have to be my favorite route in this game. His story was very sweet and surprisingly had good pacing and a satisfying ending. Kei was a prince abducted from a land which Soshi’s family conquered and destroyed. He became a captive in the capital after that and currently now living as your private tutor with a fiery grudge against your own brother. Unlike the other main characters and their respective routes, Kei was probably the only one that developed a realistic romance with the heroine. His story didn’t felt too rushed and the bonding between him and the MC was more genuine. Kei’s story is also a good choice for a first route in this game.

 

KOICHIRO SERASilent, Cold, Serious, The Bodyguard, Samurai, Best Soldier, Sketchy af

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Sera is your faithful bodyguard who will watch you 24 hours a day and will never leave your side, ever! In his route, he was appointed by your brother Soshi, as your trusty bodyguard who needs to be with you wherever you go. This man is very devoted when it comes to his job. His bushido code is prioritizing your protection 24/7. I felt bad while I was playing his route mainly because of how Sera was starving himself just to watch over you (the guy eats one riceball every meal) imageSob! During his story, it was revealed that he was part of the rebellion group in a pursuit to overthrow your brother’s regime. I didn’t quite liked how it felt as if he was only using you so they can put an end to Soshi’s dictatorship. In the end, I felt like Sera’s feelings for you were a little too forced because there wasn’t any character development between him and the heroine during the transition of events. Oh well!

 

KAGEMITSU TOGAWAChildhood Friend, Substitute Tutor, Mr. Nice Guy, Boring.

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Kagemitsu is your childhood friend and also your brother Soshi’s best friend and right hand adviser. I was kind of interested with this character at first but was surprised on how bland his story was. Kagemitsu is your typical childhood-best-friend-type character and since you’ve always known him and liked him for the way he was, there’s literally  nothing more you can get from the relationship between him and the MC. Again, the romance felt too forced. The only interesting part about Kagemitsu’s route was how involved it was with Soshi’s underlying story. It may be better to play this character prior to Soshi since their stories felt somewhat connected.

 

SOSHI AMAZAKI Has Trust Issues, Cold, Cunning, Bipolar (but not really), Incest (but not really)

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Soshi probably has the most interesting story among the main characters. Mainly because he was considered the bad guy in other routes. Playing his route will get you to discover his side of the story. Soshi also offers a little bit of character development as he starts cold towards the MC (you) but then later on develops warms feelings as he tries to open up to the heroine. I kinda like Soshi’s story. It had a couple of plot twists and I was satisfied the way it ended. The only downside in his route was how pathetic the heroine was in this story that it gets overly annoying playing her character. (Rolls eye)

 

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?image
I really couldn’t say anything more other than how simple this game was. Perhaps if you’re looking for an easy short read that’s not too engaging (you can literally finish one route in an hour), this game is a good candidate.

Personally, I love the voice acting best as well as this game’s art style. But story wise, it’s painfully predictable that it  gets boring at times to a point where you literally don’t care how it ends. I really don’t think it’s worth the full price. So if you’re concerned with getting your money’s worth, I don’t recommend buying this game unless it’s on sale. Despite the mediocre story writing, the game had a few pros up it’s sleeve such as having very little typos, and I did enjoyed two routes (Kei and Soshi). I don’t regret buying this game for my Switch library since there aren’t a lot of localized otome games in the Nintendo Switch console yet. Also, if you’re a fan of the seiyus: Tetsuya Kakihara or Kenjiro Tsuda, this game won’t be so bad as you think it’d be.

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10