[Indiegogo Campaign] Queen of Hearts


PROJECT: KOFI LINK
FREE VOICED DEMO LINK: DOWNLOAD HERE (PC & MAC)

Overview

Singapore indie game developer and start-up Tango Dream Games has launched the Indiegogo campaign for their first visual novel titled ‘Queen of Hearts’. Queen of Hearts is a romantic fantasy otome game, inspired by the likes of Japanese and Korean titles such as Nameless ~ The One Thing You Must Recall, Hakuoki and Amnesia.

The Indiegogo campaign features a playable Prelude demo, and previews of what to expect from the full game.

The full game will feature about 20-30 hours of play time, being composed of 5 love interests’ routes. The story will have branching paths depending on player choices. The full game is expected to include over 30 good and bad endings, over 100 backgrounds and CG art visuals, and an original soundtrack.

Set in a beautiful medieval world …

You play a 17-year-old girl who has just been betrothed – to none other than the king …

You are to journey to the palace to meet your fiance, escorted by five unusual companions …

Experience romance, laughter and magic along the way … but will you make all the right choices to find your ‘happily ever after’?

Demo Reviews

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Refer to the indiegogo campaign for further information on the love interest personalities!

Tango Dream Games needs support from their Indiegogo campaign to bring the full game to life. Backers receive a slight discount on the game itself and Indigogo-exclusive rewards, some of which allow them to be part of the Queen of Hearts in a small way!

Here are some of the expected rewards:

  • Good Endings only cheat guide

  • Digital Artbook
    How did they develop the characters? What was the inspiration behind the settings? What did the early and alternate designs look like? Tango Dream Games will share the stories and rationale behind the world and characters that they have created.

  • Original soundtrack (digital copy) for when you can’t get that song out of your head.

    Click here to listen on their website. 

  • Desktop wallpapers – As featured in the intro video.

  • Have a minor character in the game named after you! It can be your name, or you can dedicate it to someone else as a gift (Limited Slots). Or Tango Dream Games can even choose for you and make it a surprise. Note that some characters have a larger role than others. Learn more about the characters here.

  • Get a voiced shout-out from one of the 5 love interests! It can be your name, or you can dedicate it to someone else as a gift. The shout-out will feature in the credits at the end of the game (Limited Slots).

  • Become an Easter egg in the background art (one visual). Tango Dream Games can draw you, or one object that means a lot to you – a loved one, a pet, your home – you can get creative (Limited Slots)!
  • Early access – Tango Dream Games are aiming for the first route (or at least some chapters) to be ready in Q3 2019, and all routes to be completed in Q1 2020. Tango Dream Games will keep backers posted along the way, and will update with any changes in the timeline.

About

Tango Dream Games is a Singapore- registered start-up that aims to bring quality Western-geared romantic visual novels to the world.

Our name comes from how our visual novels aspire to be fun, flirty and passionate, just like tango – the dance. “Dream” is the expression of seeking to turn dream projects into reality.

Queen of Hearts is the the studio’s first visual novel, and the results of its Indiegogo campaign will be very important in determining if we can deliver more visual novels in future.

Links

Facebook @tangodreamgames

Instagram @tangodreamgames

Twitter @tangodreamgames

Tumblr @tangodreamgames

Email them at hello@tangodreamgames.com

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7’sCarlet Review

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RELEASE DATE: 2016
PUBLISHER: Idea Factory & Aksys Games
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: PS Vita (Japanese & English)
GAME LINK: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [PHYSICAL]
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Aksys Games

7’sCarlet is the second of three otome releases from Aksys Games as part of their summer mystery bundle. I have already reviewed the first of the three, ‘Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly‘ which I really enjoyed playing. It left quite the memorable impression on me and left me feeling excited for the following releases to come. To me, Psychedelica is a hidden gem amongst the English otome releases for 2018 and it really isn’t talked about enough.

7’sCarlet is quite similar in the sense that they’re both mystery/fantasy Visual Novels with overlapping themes such as the value of a human life, overcoming the past, and living without regrets. However, the universe is distinctly different and 7’sCarlet takes on a refreshingly unique approach to exploring these concepts.

Despite how similar the two titles may seem at first glance, they are two completely different games with dissimilar storylines and twists. If you think you have seen it all already in Psychedelica, then think again when it comes to 7’sCarlet. I was definitely surprised by some of the events that occurred and the secrets behind the heroine’s past within the town of Okunezato (based on real-world Karuizawa).

I definitely recommend 7’sCarlet if Psychedelica’s universe and storyline was not quite your cup of tea. It’s not as dark or tragic, and the modern-day setting as well as the standard otome gameplay may be more appealing to the average player. At the same time, it still incorporates a solid mystery, interesting characters and a captivating storyline.

Thank you to Aksys Games for collaborating with me on this review and providing a review copy of the game.

Storyline ★★★

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-The Story-
At the beginning of her school’s summer break, Ichiko Hanamaki, was invited by her classmate and childhood friend, Hino Kagutsuchi, to go to Okunezato, the place her brother was last seen alive. Hino came across a website called “Okunezato Supernatural Club,” a site dedicated to the mysterious events that have taken place within the town. Seeing it, Hino was adamant that Ichiko take advantage of the group attached to the site by attending their meet up in the town and maybe discover clues that will lead to the reason behind her brother’s disappearance.

The members of the Okunezato Supernatural Club have gathered at Fuurinkan Hotel, joined by the staff and long-term guests of the hotel: the chef, Isora Amari, the cat-obsessed fanboy, Toa Kushinada, the medical student, Sosuke Tatehira, and the surly owner of the hotel, Yuzuki Murakumo. Eventually the rest of the hotel staff and guests become involved in the emerging mysteries that arise following the club’s arrival into town.

As the entire crew settles in, the town begins to show its more sinister hidden face in the persistent whispers of the “Legend of the Revenants.” Combined with rumors of sacred grounds, flowers that only bloom within town, and the mystery surrounding her brother’s disappearance, the culmination of a seeming lifetime of events draws ever closer, though with a surprising twist—. (Official Website)

7’sCarlet is akin to a modern-day ghost story set in a quiet and mysterious town that harbours a dark and horrifying secret. Despite the seemingly harmonious and peaceful exterior, the town’s people are extremely wary and unwilling to talk to outsiders. People often disappear without a trace, and a string of unprecedented murders occur over the duration of the heroine’s stay in Okunezato.

Ichiko (Protagonist) soon discovers that even the police have no real authority or power, and can offer no answers regarding her brother’s disappearance. The allusive Murakumo Family have complete control over the town and for reasons unknown—are concealing the truth behind the increasing body count. The police are merely pawns enacting out their will and it’s a race against time to uncover the serial murderer before the death of the next victim. 

Despite the dangers of remaining in the town, Ichiko is unwilling to leave when there are still so many unanswered questions and potential leads on her brother’s disappearance. Just who is the culprit? What is their objective? What is the town’s dark secret that the Murakumo Family are so desperate to hide? Will Ichiko ever uncover the truth? Or will she become the next victim?

I really enjoyed the overarching plot and twists in 7’sCarlet, as it encompasses all the classic elements of a good murder mystery. Although the standalone routes weren’t by any means remarkable, they were great at building suspense and a sense of urgency to figure out the pieces of the puzzle in order to solve the mystery. The universe of 7’sCarlet grows increasingly more complex and interesting the further you delve into the storyline. This demonstrates solid world-building and good storyline pacing by the writers.

I really liked the balance between the darker themes of the storyline and the light-hearted romance in 7’sCarlet. The characters have great chemistry together as a group, and there’s plenty of hilarious and day-to-day events that the player can appreciate and enjoy over the course of the game. Unlike a lot of other psychological murder mysteries, 7’sCarlet isn’t a constant cycle of tragedy, angst and horror.

Because it strikes such a great balance between the two, it keeps the player both engaged in the universe and storyline. It also helps develop a strong attachment to the characters themselves, as they all play a vital role in the unravelling of the mystery.

Unfortunately, the story-telling in 7’sCarlet does have its inherent flaws and was unable to maintain the momentum from start to finish. Despite the great summer mystery atmosphere and suspense, it lacked subtlety in the writing overall. Key revelations such as the identity of the killer and their motives were quite poor. A critical aspect of a good psychological mystery is a multi-faceted ‘villain’, where the nature of their objectives fall into the shades of grey.

It draws forth questions of morality within the audience and creates a more dynamic story-telling experience. However, when their motive is essentially purely for the sake of committing evil and indulging in sin—it is difficult to relate to them at all, and their character as a whole becomes two-dimensional and lacklustre. It was also relatively easy to guess their identity after only one route, through using a logical process of elimination and from how suspicious they were in comparison to every other character.

Despite the entire game building up towards the final route of the story, it was poorly executed. It was a essentially a summary of convenient resolutions to the remaining questions and plot holes of 7’sCarlet, given all at once to the audience in a huge wall of text. The writing felt so disjointed and seperate to the rest of the game, due to how the writers decided to approach it. It was disappointing as the crux of the mystery did not match up to the momentum that was set throughout the game.

7’sCarlet is short-medium in length and would take around 15-20 hours to complete depending on your read speed. This is because it includes linear storytelling and majority of the characters share the same common route.

Character Development ★★★

Unfortunately, the character development does take a backseat to the overarching mystery in 7’sCarlet. Although there’s plenty of cute and romantic moments throughout the game, the characters and routes themselves were quite unmemorable. All of the character’s feelings towards Ichiko were due to their ‘coincidental’ past histories with one another. Their emotions and attachment towards her felt more like a projection of past feelings, rather than for the person she is in the present.

As a result, the relationships for the most part were two-dimensional and lacked substance due to the minimal development between the characters. The game is quite structured due to the nature of how the mystery unravels, so it’s very difficult to deviate from the set order as they only unlock after completing specific requirements. My recommended route order is: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ???

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!

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HINO KAGUTSUCHI: Ichiko’s beloved childhood friend whom she has spent her entire life with. All of her past memories involve Hino, as Ichiko believes that they have ‘coincidentally’ attended the same elementary/secondary school and college together. Hino is the one to suggest visiting Okunezato to attend the Supernatural Club Meeting, in order to find traces of her brother’s whereabouts. Hino is the most aware of how much Ichiko’s brother meant to her and truly puts her best interests first throughout the game.

Normally I’m not a fan of the childhood friend trope because of how over-saturated it is in otome games, but it was surprisingly one of my favourites in 7’sCarlet. Out of all the bachelors, Hino had the best chemistry with Ichiko due to how long they have known each another and from the past memories that they have shared together. The storyline and character development flowed the most seamlessly in Hino’s route and it was quite natural how their relationship with one another unfolded.

Despite how little it revealed for the overarching mystery, the ending was satisfying as Ichiko was still able to find peace and closure about her brother. She was able to finally look forward to the future and move on—bringing her soul-searching to an end. If it wasn’t for Hino, none of the events in the story would have even been possible.

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ISORA AMARI: The friendly and talented head-chef at the Fuurinkan Hotel, who has a flirtatious streak. Due to his approachable and charismatic demeanour, the townspeople are much more reciprocal to his questions regarding human disappearances. He is very forward in his affections towards Ichiko and she finds herself wanting to trust him. However, suspicion is soon cast on his character over the course of the storyline. Is his kind demeanour just a facade? Is there more to him than meets the eye? What is the nature of his past that drew him into a reclusive town like Okunezato?

I personally liked Isora’s character much more in the other storylines, rather than in his own route. His personality was far too inconsistent in how it would switch between hot and cold at a moment’s notice. It really made it difficult to believe his feelings for Ichiko were genuine, despite their past with one another. His actions towards her were completely fuelled by unexpected selfishness and paranoia that made little rational sense.

Although his intentions and course of action was ultimately for her own safety, the very least he could have done was to inform Ichiko of his plans rather than leaving her completely in the dark. It was ironic how he unfairly implored Ichiko to blindly trust him, when he was the most suspicious character up until that point in the storyline and only cast further doubt upon himself. It felt like the writers wanted to purposefully amp up the mystery and tension in the storyline, at the cost of Isora’s own character development.

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TOA KUSHINADA: A quiet, elusive and mysterious character who is much more than what he initially appears to be. Toa is a kind-hearted, soft, and gentle individual with subtle charms that are only effective in attracting cats at the beginning of the story. In comparison to the other bachelor routes, Toa’s story embodies the supernatural elements of 7’sCarlet with an unexpected and compelling twist.

Although Toa isn’t normally the character trope that stands out in otome games, his personality and endearing mannerisms really grew on me over the course of the storyline. He is a genuine and wholesome individual who deeply cares for the heroine, as her actions in the past have shaped and inspired him to become the person he is today. His storyline becomes quite deep and meaningful the more the heroine uncovers about him and his true self.

His route is quite slow initially due to his shyness and wariness of the heroine, so it can take a while to become immersed in his storyline and warm up to his character.  However, Toa’s route stands out from the others as it essentially incorporates all the best aspects of 7’sCarlet: an interesting mystery, heartwarming romantic moments between the couple as their feelings developed, and a dramatic psychological twist that really plays on the reader’s emotions.

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SOSUKE TATEHIRA: A distant and aloof medical student who appears to be investigating Okunezato for his own personal agenda. With an unknown motive and questionable origins, Sosuke’s role within the murder mystery is quickly cast under scrutiny and suspicion. His blunt, logical and calculative methods of deduction, as well as his thorough knowledge of the human body would in no doubt make him a skilled killer.

The romance and relationship pacing with Ichiko in Sousuke’s route is one of the best in 7’sCarlet. It developed quite naturally as Sosuke’s cold exterior noticeably thaws over the course of the route as his feelings develop for Ichiko. They had some very adorable moments as a couple that really showed the level of comfort and ease they felt with one another. I felt the writers focused more on developing the romance in Sosuke’s route, as he had a weaker connection to the heroine in the past in comparison to the other bachelors.

For Sosuke, the feelings weren’t there to begin with and had to be built from scratch. His storyline on the other hand, felt more like a lead up to the conclusion of the overarching plot rather than holding its own as a memorable standalone route. Although it answered a lot of the remaining questions of the mystery, it still withheld the final critical pieces of the puzzle. As a result, it felt lacklustre and was more so an extension of Yuzuki’s route because of how much overlap there was between the characters.

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YUZUKI MURAKUMO: The surly owner of the Fuurinkan Hotel who is never seen without a frown marring his expression. Despite the business profiting from the unusual amount of guests staying over the summer, Yuzuki is oddly displeased with the current lodgings at his hotel establishment. Yuzuki is the only heir to the mysterious and all-powerful Murakumo family who have presided over Okunezato with indisputable influence generation after generation. Even the police themselves are powerless to the Murakumo’s reign and have deeply rooted ties to the family itself.

Yuzuki is the last bachelor route to unlock as due to his birthright as the Murakumo heir—he holds all the answers that Ichiko seeks about the mysteries hidden within Okunezato and her past. As a result, it is the most ‘complete’ route as all the pieces of the puzzle are finally put together and the remaining questions are answered.

What stood out to me about Yuzuki’s route was the sense of agency Ichiko finally had to take the driver’s seat in finding out the truth about herself, her missing brother and the mysteries of the town. Yuzuki’s efforts do nothing to hinder her determination and resolve, and she is able to stand up for herself and what she believes is right. Ichiko is able to match Yuzuki’s pace and refuses to be left in the dark—forcing him to accept that she has a right to know the truth, and earning his respect.

At the same time, she doesn’t lose sight of her true self throughout the story. It is Ichiko’s gentle personality that eventually softens Yuzuki’s tough exterior and enables him to finally open up to her about himself. In the other routes, I felt Ichiko played the damsel in distress who was consistently helpless to the events of the story and had little to no character development from start to finish.

Ichiko finally redeemed herself in Yuzuki’s route, but it was disappointing to see the emergence of a silver lining to her personality only at the very conclusion of 7’sCarlet.

Design ★★★★

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The artwork in 7’sCarlet is absolutely gorgeous and without a doubt one of the highlights of the game. For me, it was the backgrounds that really stood out to me. There is just so much detail and variation for the different locations around Okunezato, which were pivotal to setting the scene for the overarching mystery. It really does create the ominous atmosphere of a small desolate ghost town through the pictured landscapes, artistic approach and colouring.

Kurahana Chinatsu’s signature drawing style is bold and eye-catching, and she definitely does not disappoint in 7’sCarlet. I did like all of the character’s designs, especially Ichiko as she definitely projects an eerie and mysterious vibe with her distinct eyes. Her line work, body poses and character proportions are very crisp and there’s very little to fault about it.

Many players have commented that they did not agree with the choice of colouring for the characters, as it did not suit the themes of the game. For me personally, then I did not mind the artistic differences. However, I would agree that they should’ve kept the artwork consistent between the characters and backgrounds as due to the artistic differences—it limited the variation in CGs.

To conceal how different the background art was to the colouring of the sprites, all the CGs for the most part were relatively close-up or half-shots of the characters. The backgrounds in the CGs were kept as simple or blurred out as possible, in comparison to the amount of detail shown in the regular art. This was quite disappointing, as it definitely hindered how much more variation there could have been in the artwork throughout the game.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★

The music and voice acting is another stand out aspect to 7’sCarlet and a clear exhibition of the game’s budget. The openings and endings of 7’sCarlet especially were very good, and the soundtrack really helped in solidifying the mysterious atmosphere of Okunezato. 7’sCarlet also had a prolific voice acting line up that breathed personality into the character cast and their story routes.

The voice acting within the romantic moments between the characters were done well, and I could definitely hear the palpable emotion in their lines that made the scenes much more convincing than they otherwise would have been. All the side characters were also voiced, which helped to develop a closer attachment to the people within the town and provide a clearer depiction of their personalities.

  • AMARI ISORA | VA: Kakihara Tetsuya |柿原 徹也
    Psychedelica series as Karasuba, Amnesia series as Shin, Code: Realize series as Viktor Frankenstein, and The Charming Empire as Toki Tanba
  • KUSHINADA TOA | VA: Morikubo Shoutarou |森久保 祥太郎
    Hakuoki series as Okita Souji, Code: Realize series as Impey Barbicane, Persona series as Hanamura Yosuke, and Naruto series as Shikamaru Nara
  • MURAKUMO YUZUKI | VA: Miki Shin’ichirou |三木 眞一郎
    Hakuoki series as Hijikata Toshizo, Black Wolves Saga series as Nesso Galland, Pokemon series as James, and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood as Roy Mustang
  • KUKURI YASUHISA | VA: Kishio Daisuke | 岸尾 だいすけ
    Vampire Knight series as Kaname Kuran, Hunter x Hunter as Hanzo, and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony as Kokichi Ouma

System ★★★★

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The system in 7’sCarlet is very standard of a common Visual Novel and simple to navigate. It incorporates all the basic functions such as save/load files, skip, gallery, settings, etc. I liked the scenario selection aspect of the game as it functioned both for replayability convenience and for progression of the mystery as you advanced through the game.

Each time you begin a new route, the prologue cinematic would add new continuations from where you last left off. These continuations slowly revealed more and more of the overarching mystery, which was great for setting the atmosphere of the game. It also left you wanting to know more, and to continue reading the story to find out the truth. I really liked the use of cinematics in 7’sCarlet as it definitely added an extra dimension to the gameplay and storyline.

I personally also liked the ‘tips’ feature of the game, as they were surprisingly quite lengthy to read and added great humour to the game. However, due to the length I would have preferred the important story tips to be incorporated into the storyline itself. It would have added a lot more fluidity and cohesiveness to the writing, rather than reading such important details to the plot as a random side-note.

Overall, it is one of the aspects that definitely could have improved the writing in 7’sCarlet, as it would have further developed the world-building of the game universe and characters.

Conclusion

In conclusion, 7’sCarlet does incorporate a solid mystery, interesting characters and a captivating storyline. It is not as dark, tragic or as angsty as the Psychedelica series that was localised as part of Aksys Game’s summer mystery bundle. It is more appealing to the general otome community as there is a greater focus on the romance between the characters and a friendlier interface for new players introduced to the visual novel genre.

7’sCarlet had a great concept with the budget and tools to make it an amazing visual novel, with its stunning visuals, graphics, voice acting and soundtrack. However, it fell short in its execution from reaching the potential of what could have been a stellar mystery. The development of the characters really took a backseat to the overarching storyline, and more romantic moments were incorporated into the writing to compensate.

It relied too heavily on feelings for the protagonist in the past, rather than developing the foundations of their relationship in the present. Despite the great summer mystery atmosphere and suspense, it lacked subtlety in the writing overall and was unable to maintain the momentum from start to finish. The conclusion was especially disappointing as well as their failure to create an interesting and multi-faceted villain.

In spite of these flaws, I still enjoyed playing the game as it was an enjoyable light read with endearing characters and solid assets in the artwork, soundtrack, and voice acting. If you’re looking for a more meaningful and thought provoking mystery, I definitely recommend the Psychedelica series over 7’sCarlet.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


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Written By Cherry

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly Review

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Release Date: 2015
Publisher: Idea Factory & Aksys Games
Platforms Available: PS Vita (Japanese & English)
Game Link: Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly – PS Vita [PHYSICAL]
Official Site: Aksys Games

Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is the first of three otome releases from Aksys Games as part of their summer mystery bundle. From first impressions, I didn’t know much about the game prior to playing. The only aspects that caught my eye was the appealing artwork, a voiced heroine and that it involved a shooter mini-game.

In comparison to their previously heavily marketed titles, I feel Psychedelica has quietly slipped under the radar and not many other websites/reviewers have spoken much about this game.  To my surprise, I was very impressed by the immersive storyline, captivating characters and the Psychedelica universe. It’s definitely a rare hidden gem amongst the English otome localisations of 2018, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

Thank you to Aksys Games for collaborating with me on this review and providing a review copy of the game.

* Please do not remove the watermark from the above image or use without credit, as the cover was manually edited myself using redrawn title text to overlay over the original Japanese artwork *

Storyline ★★★★

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-The Story-
The story begins with a young woman waking up within the confines of an unknown, mysterious mansion with no recollection of how she got there. Adding to her confusion, she can no longer remember her name or past. However, before she could come to grips with her predicament she is suddenly attacked by a grotesque monster and is forced to run for her life.

The protagonist eventually comes into contact with others who also have no recollections of their pasts or how they ended up at the mansion. With only the enigmatic command “Complete the Kaleidoscope” to guide their way, the group sets off to hunt down the mysterious black butterflies that envelop the monsters of the mansion and recover their lost memories. (Official Website)

Initially, Psychedelica can be quite the daunting game to fully understand and appreciate in the early stages of the storyline. You’re thrust into a bizarre world encroached in darkness, where danger lurks around every corner and any misstep could lead to your untimely demise. To make matters worse, you possess no memories of your former identity and are forced to blindly trust and cooperate with complete strangers.

Quite figuratively and literally, you’re left fumbling around in the dark grasping for the memories of your past and uncovering the secret of the mansion in order to return to the real world. The storyline takes on a non-linear approach, and you slowly come to piece together the fragments of Benyuri’s (Protagonist) memories as you progress through the game.

A lot of players have criticised the ‘flowchart’ format of Psychedelica, as it detracts from the main overarching storyline. I personally didn’t mind it, as I could see the direction and purpose behind the format. It reinforces the mystery aspect of the game, as you’re forced to piece together the fragments of her memories in a non-linear order.

The connections from the puzzle pieces slowly tie in with the main storyline arc, creating a unique and multi-faceted story-telling experience. For the most part, the memories are quite light-hearted to juxtapose with the dark themes of the Psychedelica universe. I thought it created a nice balance between the two and really strengthened your attachment as a reader to the characters upon returning back to the main storyline.

After playing through the game, I can really see why the main storyline is titled ‘the best ending’. The romance and otome aspect in Psychedelica takes a complete backseat to the main storyline, and is completely overshadowed—but surprisingly, not in a bad way. If you enjoy a Visual Novel that emphasises on romance, then Psychedelica may not be the game for you.

The main storyline is very well written in its execution, and was a rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end. It really hit home with its message, as well as seamlessly incorporating the fantasy elements of the game with the storyline.

If you’re a fan of mystery and angst, then you’ll definitely enjoy Psychedelica. To me, Psychedelica was everything that I had wanted Bad Apple Wars to be and more. Due to the fragmented game layout, it really leaves the reader wanting more as the mystery continues to thicken the further you progress in the game.

The pacing, revelation of the plot, suspense and twists were all just so well written. Although Psychedelica isn’t without it’s plot holes, I was still very satisfied with how everything was answered and tied together by the completion of the game. The game is quite short in length, and the character routes are significantly shorter than the main storyline arc itself.

Depending on your read speed, it would take on average 15-20hours to fully complete the game.

Character Development ★★★★

If it wasn’t for the great cast of characters in Psychedelica, the storyline would have been nowhere near as impactful. I loved how raw and real their emotions were written to be, as well as their interwoven backstories that led them to Psychedelica. You could really relate to every character’s pain and suffering, and I liked how every character dealt with loss and grief so differently.

It served as a direct reflection of the varying dimensions of the human psyche, and how people cope and handle hardships in different ways in real life. My only qualms with the game would be that some of the character routes were laughably short. Some were only two or three chapters long, which leaves little to no time dedicated to fleshing out their story further. The chapters essentially incorporated a few extra short fluffy moments, before it was the end of their route.

Fortunately, your attachments to the characters and their development is mainly explored in the main storyline rather than their own seperate routes. As a result, the lack of romance did not really impact my overall enjoyment of the game.

The game has a fairly static route order, and it’s quite difficult to stray from it as certain content/endings only unlock upon the completion of a previous bachelor. I highly recommend the following route order:  Kagiha → Yamato → Monshiro → Karasuba → Hikage.

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!

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BENIYURI: Although Beniyuri is by any means an outstanding heroine that falls outside of the standard otome trope, I still enjoyed playing as her throughout the game. Having a voiced protagonist really improved the overall game experience, and I’m not sure why this isn’t a common aspect yet in Visual Novels.

Although initially reckless and unable to defend herself in Psychedelica, Beniyuri tries her best to harness the power of her imagination to tackle the monsters alongside everyone else. With her own strength, she develops as a character over the progression of the story and slowly learns to face the darkness and grief hidden in her own memories. I could also understand as to why all the bachelors had feelings for Beniyuri, due to how much she had shaped and impacted their lives in the real world.

I liked how Beniyuri’s ways of coping with grief and overcoming her survivor’s guilt differed from route to route, depending on the bachelor. It exhibited the varying dimensions of grief, and how there were both positive and negative outcomes depending on how you approached it. Hearing her voice, pains and anguish throughout the game definitely helped to develop a stronger connection to her as a protagonist and a sense of empathy for what she has suffered and endured.

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KAGIHA: Kagiha is Beniyuri’s first love, and the older brother figure of the group. He has always been the voice of reason, the most mature and someone whom they could all depend on. Everything Kagiha has done, has always been for Beniyuri’s sake first and foremost. He is willing to turn a blind eye to all acts of sin, so long as he can uphold his promise to her and his desire to be with her forever.

Kagiha really got the short end of the stick in almost all departments, especially in his character route. Initially, I was quite surprised when his route ended because it all happened so quickly, and I thought to myself ‘No way that’s it, right?’ To my dismay, that really was it.

Out of the entire character cast, he was the only one unable to truly have a happy ending with the heroine because he no longer had a place with her in the real world. Although I was initially disappointed by how abruptly his story ended, after thinking it over I really enjoyed the direction the writers decided to take with it. It explores the notion of sacrifice, and the extreme lengths that one goes through when suffering from grief.

Kagiha represents the denial stage of grieving, and how he was willing to sacrifice absolutely anything—even the remaining shreds of his humanity, for a fleeting chance of being with the heroine. He comes to resent the monster that he has become, because despite knowing the futility and immorality behind his actions—he cannot accept his own death.  Although his ending initially confused me, I really liked how dark, tragic and realistic it was.

Rather than the cliche ‘reincarnation’ route where she is able to be with him as a different person in the real world, she chooses to stay with him in Psychedelica. Beniyuri chooses to sacrifice moving forward with her own life, and to remain in blissful denial of the truth. It is the only way that allows them to be together as their current selves and with the memories that they held dear. The ending is tragically moving in its own right as their love for another is built on the notion of sacrifice, and it is the closest they will ever be to attaining happiness as a couple.

As saddening as it is, it was befitting that Kagiha passed on in the best ending as it symbolised that the characters were finally able to move forward with their lives and come to terms with their past. In the alternative ending where his death had not occurred and they all happily lived together, it left nowhere near the same impact as the best ending. His story and character route were very tragic due to the inevitability of it all, but it was necessary due to the overarching themes of Psychedelica.

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YAMATO: Headstrong, easily irritable and somewhat of a lone wolf—Yamato has the most difficulty initially coming to accept the group and the world of Psychedelica. He and Karasuba are constantly at one another’s throats, but it is clear to everyone that they’re closer than they appear. Beniyuri soon discovers that beneath his rough exterior, he is a very kind and sensitive individual that best understands the grief that haunts her.

It makes the most sense as to why Yamato is the first to fall to despair, and slowly transforms into the monsters that prowl the halls of Psychedelica. Out of all the characters, he is the most overcome by guilt and despair as he faces it each and everyday in the real world. He regularly visits his brother Kazuya at the hospital, and laments how his actions directly caused the loss of his two dearest friends.

It is also why he is the most desperate to escape Psychedelica, after recovering fragments of his memories. I felt his character shone the most in the ‘real world’ route, as he is much more mellowed out and less aggressive in comparison to his Psychedelica counterpart. You truly get to know the real Yamato, and the reasons for his actions and behaviour up until that point in the storyline.

Beniyuri develops a strong connection to him, as she realises how they have both been battling the same demons of the past ever since that fateful day. It is through supporting each other that they are finally able to take a step forward with their lives, and time finally starts moving again. His bad ending is quite tragic, as in this route they both inevitably succumb to the weight of their grief and instead choose to relinquish their burdens and start all over again.

His route represents the all-too consuming nature of grief and guilt, and how it can completely dictate your life if left unaddressed.

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MONSHIRO: Beniyuri’s mysterious saviour who rescues her and Hikage upon awakening in Psychedelica. Not much is known about him initially, until his appearance in the second half of the storyline. The group is extremely wary of his presence, due to his allusive and strange nature. He is also remarkably powerful and adept at hunting the monsters, an indicator of his experience and how long he has resided in the realm of Psychedelica.

I absolutely adored his character, as it was just so endearing how much he clung to Beniyuri. It was understandable as to why, because of his immense loneliness from years of residing in darkness and without any human interaction. I view his story to be one of the canon routes of the game, alongside the best ending and Hikage’s route due to the nature and length of it.

I really enjoyed the twist and revelation of his real identity, as the build up and suspense for it was well written. I was very surprised and I didn’t expect it at all, yet at the same time it also made perfect sense. His feelings for Beniyuri are intensely passionate, and it’s believable because she was essentially his lifeline and reason for living in Psychedelica.

Without her, he would have long lost his sanity or fallen to the depths of despair. I also felt that as a heroine, Beniyuri was at her best rendition in Monshiro’s route. She shows conviction and true strength in entering the abyss alone, despite the almost certainty of being unable to return. It is from her feelings for Monshiro and desire to meet him halfway after waiting for so long alone, that allows her to finally believe in herself and comes to terms with the past.

She is able to pave a new path forward with her life, and this is what enables her to escape Psychedelica alongside Monshiro. Although I did like the lead up to his good ending, I felt that the conclusion itself was far too convenient. Through means unknown, Yamato and Karasubaa are able to return safely from Psychedelica and everyone lives happily ever after.

It left too many open-ended questions and weakened the impact of the best ending, as it is not the only route where everyone was able to return. His bad ending on the other hand, really suited the themes of his route and was definitely a tear-jerker.

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KARASUBA: Flirtatious, outgoing and always teasing Beniyuri—Karasuba lightens up the atmosphere of the group through his antics with Yamato. However, despite his seemingly easy-going nature; there is clearly more to him than meets the eye. There are instances where his personality takes on a cold edge that Beniyuri has never seen before, and there is a hint of biting malice in his words. This only further serves to fuel her curiosity to learn the truth behind the real Karasuba.

Despite his strong front and constant denials, Karasuba is suffering just as much as every character in Psychedelica. Out of resentment for his past self and to become stronger, he chooses to overcome his grief by working to better himself as a person in the real world. Despite attaining popularity, charisma and becoming an outspoken individual—Karasuba is unable to be truly happy with the changes.

To him, when it mattered most—he was a weak bystander who was paralysed by fear and unable to help his dearest friends.  His changes could not erase the memories of the past, despite how much he tried to look towards the future. Upon meeting Beniyuri once more, he becomes frustrated by her behaviour as she is cemented in the past.

She refuses to look at him as the person he is now, despite how much he has changed. His bad ending although disturbing, was quite an interesting take on the storyline. In a sense, Karasuba is able to do what he was unable to as a child—which is to protect her from all the hurt and suffering she has endured. They both choose to forget everything, and spend the rest of their idyllic days in Psychedelica.

Anyone who has suffered grief will have thought at least once, ‘if only I could forget the memories, as it would erase the pain I’m currently feeling’. Karasuba’s route explores the notion that even if one were to forget, would it truly lead to real happiness? Experiencing and enduring grief is apart of what it means to live, and shapes who you are as a person.

I enjoyed his good ending, as it is from his influence that Beniyuri is able to see the error of her ways. She realises how much she has missed by remaining stuck within the past, that she could not even see the person her dearest friend had become—even though he had been standing right before her eyes the entire time. Karasuba inspires her to catch up to him, to better herself as a person and to adopt the same outlook of looking towards the future.

His route overall was my least favourite due to how inconsistent his personality was, and the weak chemistry he had with Beniyuri. Despite the reasons used to justify for his actions as well as the nature of his past, it did little to redeem his character in my eyes.

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HIKAGE: Hikage is reliable, strong, trust-worthy and the natural-born leader of the group. He keeps everyone grounded and together, despite the initial tension amongst everyone after arriving in Psychedelica. However, Hikage is not the person he appears to be. He harbours the dark secret surrounding the mansion, and is the true ending of he game that reveals the answers to all the remaining mysteries of Psychedelica.

I didn’t expect the twist to Hikage’s character at all, and I really enjoyed the extra dimension it brought to storyline of Psychedelica. It was interesting to finally solve the final puzzle, that delved into the reasons as to why Hikage became so twisted as a character and his reasons for relentlessly pursuing the completion of the kaleidoscope. I enjoyed Beniyuri’s interactions with Usagi in the earlier half of the route, as the light-hearted tone balanced with the later angst of his story.

His route isn’t as romantic as the others, as it has a greater focus on explaining the plot and fleshing out Hikage’s character. Even until the very end, it is never truly confirmed what he felt for Beniyuri. Although there were some plot holes regarding the universe of Psychedelica, for the most part I was quite satisfied with how the plot unfolded as well as the explanations.

It tied in with the other routes well, and the plot holes weren’t anything detrimental that affected my enjoyment of the overall story. Normally I’m not a fan of the ‘reincarnation’ trope, but it was quite befitting in the case of Hikage’s ending. It was the only possible method for him to attain happiness alongside Usagi, and both had already passed on a long time ago.

By coming to accept his past and letting go of his long-harboured hatred and regrets, his soul is purified and he is finally able to move onto the afterlife. It is from this, that he and Usagi are able to reincarnate in the real world and experience the childhood they never had. I liked how despite meeting one another again in passing within the real world, there weren’t any direct romantic implications for Beniyuri and Hikage.

Psychedelica at its core isn’t a tragic romance, but a story about overcoming grief and moving towards the future. Everything Hikage has done has always been for the sake of his beloved sister, so it was befitting that his happy ending would be him reuniting with his sister rather than Beniyuri.

Design ★★★

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The artwork in Psychedelica is gorgeous, and definitely one of the highlights of the game. The art style really complemented the ethereal and fantasy-like nature of the universe, as well as the character designs. I liked the attentiveness to detail in the CGS depicting the monsters, and the backgrounds were beautifully drawn. A few of them definitely looked like a scene that could have come out of a painting.

Out of all the characters, I definitely liked Monshiro’s outfit best. It was very mysterious, yet it also captured the innocence of his character perfectly with the cute ears on his cape and the way the ribbon weaved through his clothes. My only criticism would be that there were definitely some discrepancies between some of the CGs and the character sprites.

I noticed in particular that the artist at times, doesn’t quite get the anatomy of the side profiles of faces or the correct body/face proportions. I felt this was more prominent in Karasuba’s CGs, in comparison to the other characters. The inconsistencies were quite noticeable in many of the CGs and it is something for the artist to definitely improve on for their future works.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★★

The music and voice acting were arguably the best aspects about Psychedelica. The soundtrack is beautiful, especially the piano instrumentals for the more emotional moments throughout the storyline. It set the mood of the scenes so well, and the voice acting is just as good. As I mentioned earlier, I really liked the fact that Beniyuri was voiced as it really strengthened your attachment to her as a character.

It was easier to relate to her pain and anguish that were conveyed through her voice,. It also made her seem less two-dimensional, as she was a more active participant in the storyline. I really would like to see this feature being more commonly implemented in future Visual Novels, as it just adds so much more to the game overall.

There is very little to criticise about the music and voice acting in Psychedelica, and I really was not disappointed at all throughout the entire game. It complemented the stellar writing and world-building of Psychedelica perfectly.

  • BENIYURI | VA: Nakahara Mai | 中原 麻衣
    Midori Days as Midori Kasugano, Strawberry Panic! as Nagisa Aoi, Clannad series as Nagisa Furukawa, Kamichama Karin as Karin Hanazono, and Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-Kun as Yu Kashima
  • KAGIHA | VA: Toriumi Kosuke | 鳥海 浩輔 
    Naruto series as Inuzuka Kiba, Hakuoki series as Saito Hajime, Nightshade as Chojiro Momochi and Danganronpa series as Kiyotaka Ishimaru
  • YAMATO | VA: Hosoya Yoshimasa | 細谷 佳正
    Black Wolves Saga series as Julian, Kenka Banchou Otome as Kira Rintarou, and Danganronpa series as Kazuichi Soda
  • MONSHIRO | VA: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu |松岡 禎丞
    RE: Birthday Song series as Ame, Taisho x Alice series as Alice, Sword Art Online series as Kirito, and No Game No Life as Sora
  • KARASUBA | VA: Kakihara Tetsuya |柿原 徹也
    Amnesia series as Shin, Code: Realize series as Viktor Frankenstein, and The Charming Empire as Toki Tanba

System ★★★★

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Contrary to popular opinion, I quite enjoyed the system in Psychedelica and could understand the direction behind it. It reinforces the mystery behind the universe and the fragmented nature of Beniyuri’s memories, as you’re forced to learn them piece by piece in a non-linear order. Although it does force the player to deviate from the storyline at certain points throughout the game, it created a nice balance between the light-hearted moments and angsty plot content.

When you do return back to the main storyline, your attachments to the characters are strengthened as you slowly learn more and more of their different backstories. If anything,  then I did wish they could have improved the order in which the episodes unlocked as some of them did not align with the main storyline at times.

There also wasn’t enough clarity in the gameplay that for some of the bachelors, you HAD to read all their character short stories prior to their route. If you didn’t, then the correct decision at their character branch would not appear in their route. You would then have no idea how to progress with the game, and become completely stuck as a result.

The mini-game was quite simple, but it again suffered from lack of clarity with the instructions. I only realised by my second or third playthrough that you could drag through the touch screen to select multiple butterflies, rather than individually clicking them on the screen. After that, it became incredibly easy to achieve an S Ranking in every mini-game segment.

On a positive note, the mini-game is very easy to play and even a complete rookie would be able to achieve an S with some practice. The point requirements to unlock the short stories are not very high either, so you’re not required to grind points very much at all. I played the mini-game whenever it appeared in the main storyline, and ended up with an excess of points by the end of the game.

In terms of graphics interface and UI, then I really liked the design for Psychedelica. It suited the themes and motifs of the game perfectly, and was very aesthetically pleasing to look at and easy to navigate. I also liked the butterfly motifs and visual animations that were prevalent throughout the game, as it definitely added to the atmosphere.

Conclusion

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In conclusion, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is a hidden gem amongst the English otome releases for 2018 and I’m really surprised it isn’t talked about more. It is well-written and refreshingly different from the games that I have played so far. Although it is initially difficult to become immersed in the storyline and universe, I highly recommend finishing the game at least once. The first playthrough in my opinion, is the most enjoyable and there’s a reason why it’s titled ‘the best ending’.

It just perfectly captures the themes and questions that Psychedelica attempts to explore and answer. I was very impressed with the world-building, character development, captivating plot and beautiful music and voice acting. The twist definitely caught me off guard, and I quite enjoyed the mystery elements of the game. If you’re looking for a standard otome that focuses more on romance, then this may not be the game for you.

In my opinion, then there is still a lot of romance throughout the story—but it pales in comparison to the actual plot itself and the character’s struggles to overcome their grief and the burdens of their past. At its core, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is a tragically moving tale that explores the themes of friendship, revenge, the fragility of life, inevitability of death and the impact of grief on the human psyche.

I highly recommend Psychedelica if you love a good mystery/fantasy story with plenty of twists and character angst to keep you on the edge of your seat. My next review will be on ‘7’sCarlet‘ which will most likely be posted in the following week or the beginning of June!

Overall Rating: 4/5


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Written By Cherry

 

7’sCarlet: Hino Kagutsuchi Walkthrough

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Official Website: Aksys Games
Game Link: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [Physical]
Game Review: 7’sCarlet – Review


General Tips

  • Strictly following this walkthrough will lead to 100% completion (108/108 Tips, Gallery, Scenario & Platinum Trophy).
  • Only Hino or Isora can be selected on the first playthrough.
  • The game is very structured. Bachelors/endings only unlock if you completed certain characters and criteria beforehand. Because of this, I highly suggest not straying from the suggested order.
  • Recommended route order: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ­???

General Route

  • Yeah, I’ll wake you up.
  • White Cat Brooch
  • I don’t like him that much.
  • I’m more of a dog person.
  • Hmmm… Did we meet…?
  • Hino Kagutsuchi
  • Take a bath
  • Go through the red curtain
  • Take a good look at the wind chimes
  • Swim in the river with Hino
  • Rest in your room (Only when Toa is available)
  • I’m honestly just on vacation.
  • Go with Hino

Character Route

Happy Ending

  • It looks good on you.
  • Want some shaved ice?
  • [SAVE 1] Go check on Hino
  • Go for a walk
  • [SAVE 2] Dry it with a handkerchief
  • Clean the baths with Hino
  • I can’t think of anyone.
  • Yeah, you’re right.
  • [SAVE 3] Continue looking for your brother
  • Examine the object housing the shrine deity
  • Examine the walls
  • Examine the floor

Normal Ending

  • [LOAD SAVE 3] Think it over for a bit
  • Examine the object housing the shrine deity
  • Examine the walls
  • Examine the floor

Bad Ending

  • [LOAD SAVE 3] Go back to Tokyo for now → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 1] Go thank Mr. Tsukuyomi
  • Tell him you came to look for your brother → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 2] Wash it off with water
  • Say you’ll take a bath tomorrow
  • Any of the first three choices
  • You seem kind of different.
  • Continue looking for your brother → Game Over

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Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

7’sCarlet: Yuzuki Murakumo Walkthrough

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Official Website: Aksys Games
Game Link: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [Physical]
Game Review: 7’sCarlet – Review


 General Tips

  • Strictly following this walkthrough will lead to 100% completion (108/108 Tips, Gallery, Scenario & Platinum Trophy).
  • Only Hino or Isora can be selected on the first playthrough.
  • The game is very structured. Bachelors/endings only unlock if you completed certain characters and criteria beforehand. Because of this, I highly suggest not straying from the suggested order.
  • Recommended route order: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ­???

Character Route

HAPPY ENDING

  • *Unlocks after completing Sosuke Tatehira’s Route*
  • Start a ‘New Game’ → Choose the Yuzuki Scenario
  • Those flowers are beautiful.
  • Ignore him
  • Stay silent
  • Be quiet
  • Back
  • [SAVE 1] I was so scared.
  • [SAVE 2] Ask him what happened to Tsuzuri
  • [SAVE 3] …I’m not sure.
  • Is it Yasu?
  • [SAVE 4] Throw something

NORMAL ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 3] I do.
  • Is it you, Yuzuki?
  • Throw something
  • [LOAD SAVE 3] *Extended Normal Ending (Unlocks after completing True Ending)* 
  • I do.
  • Is it you, Yuzuki?
  • Throw something
  • Stare at it

BAD ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 4] Run away → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 2] Ask him about the Ensepulchers → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 1] You’re late.
  • Ask him what happened to Tsuzuri
  • I do.
  • Is it you, Yuzuki?
  • Throw something → Game Over

TRUE ENDING

  • *Unlocks after completing Yuzuki Murakumo’s Route*
  • Start new game
  • Select true ending scenario
  • The women’s bath
  • [LOAD TOA SAVE 3] Why did you pick me?
  • Toa, let’s get out of here…!

??? ROUTE

  • Start new game
  • Select Hanate Yatsukami Route
  • Check the bell by the door
  • Check the staff room
  • Check the couch
  • Light a match (can select either option)

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Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

7’sCarlet: Sosuke Tatehira Walkthrough

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Official Website: Aksys Games
Game Link: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [Physical]
Game Review: 7’sCarlet – Review


 General Tips

  • Strictly following this walkthrough will lead to 100% completion (108/108 Tips, Gallery, Scenario & Platinum Trophy).
  • Only Hino or Isora can be selected on the first playthrough.
  • The game is very structured. Bachelors/endings only unlock if you completed certain characters and criteria beforehand. Because of this, I highly suggest not straying from the suggested order.
  • Recommended route order: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ­???

General Route

  • *Unlocks after completing Toa Kushinada’s route*
  • Wake yourself up.
  • Purple Flower Hair Ornament
  • I don’t like him that much.
  • I’m more of a dog person.
  • Hmmm… Did we meet…?
  • Sosuke Tatehira
  • Take a good look at the wind chimes
  • Take a walk with Sosuke
  • Go for a short walk
  • Walk a little while longer
  • I’m honestly just on vacation.
  • Go with Sosuke

Character Route

HAPPY ENDING

  • Are you bored?
  • Offer him your mizu-ame
  • Because you didn’t smile much.
  • Be happy
  • …silently put my hand on his.
  • I feel the same way.
  • [SAVE 1] Open the door
  • Sosuke
  • [SAVE 2] Stay here
  • Mr. Tsukuyomi

NORMAL ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 1] Be cautious
  • Hino
  • Stay here
  • Mr. Tsukuyomi

BAD ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 2] Go back to your room → Game Over

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Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

7’sCarlet: Toa Kushinada Walkthrough

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Official Website: Aksys Games
Game Link: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [Physical]
Game Review: 7’sCarlet – Review


 General Tips

  • Strictly following this walkthrough will lead to 100% completion (108/108 Tips, Gallery, Scenario & Platinum Trophy).
  • Only Hino or Isora can be selected on the first playthrough.
  • The game is very structured. Bachelors/endings only unlock if you completed certain characters and criteria beforehand. Because of this, I highly suggest not straying from the suggested order.
  • Recommended route order: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ­???

General Route

  • *Unlocks from second playthrough*
  • Wake yourself up.
  • White Cat Brooch
  • Yeah, I kind of like him.
  • Yeah, I do.
  • Hmmm… Did we meet…?
  • Toa Kushinada
  • Take a bath
  • Go through the blue curtain
  • Go to the Fuurin Cafe alone
  • Take a good look at the wind chimes
  • Talk with Toa
  • Go for a short walk
  • I’m honestly just on vacation.
  • Go with Toa

Character Route

HAPPY ENDING

  • You just seemed like you were having fun.
  • Try a bite from Toa’s skewer
  • You’re so kind, Toa.
  • Yeah, okay.
  • [SAVE 1] I’m glad you told me all that.
  • Ask if there’s anything you can do
  • [SAVE 2] Head to the tunnel
  • [SAVE 3] Why did you pick me? (Do not delete this save file)
  • Toa, let’s get out of here…!

NORMAL ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 3] How am I supposed to trust you?
  • ……

BAD ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 2] Go to the overlook → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 1] I hope the concert is a success.
  • Think about what you should do
  • Head to the tunnel
  • How am I supposed to trust you? → Game Over

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Do you enjoy reading the content of my website? Would you like to help support me in keeping the website up and running, as well as being able to devote more time to reviews and walkthroughs?

Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, as every little bit helps me out so much every month with website hosting costs. I am forever grateful to all my readers and supporters!


Written By Cherry

7’sCarlet: Isora Amari Walkthrough

2018-05-22-031224


Official Website: Aksys Games
Game Link: 7’sCarlet – PS Vita [Physical]
Game Review: 7’sCarlet – Review


 General Tips

  • Strictly following this walkthrough will lead to 100% completion (108/108 Tips, Gallery, Scenario & Platinum Trophy).
  • Only Hino or Isora can be selected on the first playthrough
  • The game is very structured. Bachelors/endings only unlock if you completed certain characters and criteria beforehand. Because of this, I highly suggest not straying from the suggested order.
  • Recommended route order: Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → True Ending → ­???

General Route

  • Wake yourself up.
  • Crescent Moon Pendant
  • Yeah, I kind of like him.
  • I’m more of a dog person.
  • Of course I remember.
  • Isora Amari
  • Talk a little longer with Yua
  • Help Isora
  • ……
  • Go with Isora

Character Route

HAPPY ENDING

  • Look away
  • I wanted to watch you cook.
  • Thank Isora
  • I trust you.
  • Go for a ride on a boat
  • After Yuki left…
  • [SAVE 1] I’ll get them.
  • [SAVE 2] Blindly trust him
  • [SAVE 3] Stay in the room

NORMAL ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 2] Ask him what’s going on
  • Stay in the room

BAD ENDING

  • [LOAD SAVE 1] Let’s get them together → Game Over
  • [LOAD SAVE 3] Leave the room → Game Over

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Written By Cherry

NEWS: MangaGamer White Day Sale

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MangaGamer recently announced some decent otome games that are on an amazing sale for the next five days. If you haven’t played these two titles yet, then I do recommend checking them out whilst they’re at a discounted price. Hopefully with more successful sales, it will encourage them to pick up an even greater number of otome titles in the future!

OZMAFIA!!!


DIGITAL EDITION (45% OFF)http://bit.ly/ozmafiadigital
LIMITED EDITION (25% OFF)http://bit.ly/ozmafiaphysical

Although I have yet to review this game (which I will get around to writing eventually), I did play it when it first got localized in english years ago. To this day, I believe it hasn’t aged poorly at all and still remains a solid contender against the newer otome localizations in recent years. The artwork, backgrounds, music, voice acting and character designs are absolutely gorgeous and you’ll be hard pressed to find many other english otome titles that mirrors OZMAFIA!!! in all these departments.

Unfortunately, the storyline, writing and character development definitely were not the strong points of this Visual Novel. However, regardless of the obvious flaws and weaknesses of the game—I still really enjoyed playing OZMAFIA!!! overall. Whilst I was very critical of the overarching storyline and the pacing/events of some routes, the beautiful artwork, music and characters were enough to win me over. If you’re a fan of fantasy and the Wizard of Oz setting, then you’ll absolutely love this title.

FASHIONING LITTLE MISS LONESOME


DIGITAL EDITION (20% OFF): http://bit.ly/flmldigital
PHYSICAL EDITION (PRE-ORDER)http://bit.ly/flmlphysical

If you would like to read my in-depth review on Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome, then you can read it here. As a warning, then this game does have two versions: all-ages and an R-18+ version.

This title is by no means one with an immersive storyline, complex characters or a universe/setting that you would become totally invested in. It’s a light-hearted, fun school-life comedy that is hilarious and absolutely ridiculous in almost every aspect imaginable. It’s meant to be the kind of otome game that you mindlessly read after a long day, something that doesn’t require a lot of time to play but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

I really enjoyed this game because I appreciated the satirical humor and it received a very good english localisation that really appeals to a western audience. It’s one of the very few otome games aimed at a adults, and I do recommend checking it out if you’re looking for something more mature and less vanilla than the current english otome titles on the market.

However, if you’re sensitive to body image jokes and borderline fat-shaming towards women—then this may not be the type of game for you. Although at its core, Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is not meant to be taken seriously at all; I can definitely understand how uncomfortable it can make some people feel.

So long as you’re able to separate the distinction between a game setting not being a direct reflection of reality, then Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is another fun pick up to try if you haven’t played it already!

Bad Apple Wars Review

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Release Date: 2015
Publisher: Idea Factory & Aksys Games
Platforms Available: PS Vita (Japanese & English)
Game Link: Bad Apple Wars – PS Vita [Physical]
Bad Apple Wars – PS Vita [Limited Edition]
Official Site: Aksys Games

It has been quite some time since my last review! If you would like an overall update on what I have been up to and my summary of the best and worst of 2017—you can read my post here which covers everything.

Bad Apple Wars was the final otome localisation from Aksys Games for 2017, as the fan disc Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ was pushed back to a tentative March 30th 2018 release. Their other announced titles such as Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ (Review) and Collar x Malice (Review) was released earlier in the year.

Although I did enjoy the game overall, I had some major issues with the overarching storyline and character development within Bad Apple Wars.

Storyline ★★★

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-The Story-

After a sudden car accident on her first day of school, the protagonist finds herself in the afterlife, standing before a strange school for lost souls. It is said that here, at NEVAEH Academy, any student who behaves and follows the rules will be able to graduate and start their life anew. After a man wearing a rabbit head informs her of her untimely demise, the confounded protagonist attends the school’s opening ceremony.

And then, suddenly—a loud blast tears through the auditorium. At that moment, a war breaks out between the Bad Apples, a group of delinquent students opposing the academy, and the Prefects, sworn enforcers of the school rules.

In the midst of the chaos, the protagonist comes across a red-haired young man. Without a shred of hesitation in his voice, he reaches his hand out and asks her: “Do you want to live?” (Official Website)

If you’re familiar with the anime ‘Angel Beats’, then Bad Apple Wars is essentially the more light-hearted and happier version of the original concept. NEVAEH Academy is akin to purgatory, a world that is neither heaven, hell or earth—where souls filled with regret from their past lives reside. They are unable to move onto the afterlife due to their past burdens and the students are given two options: relinquish their pain, identity and memories in order to be reincarnated, or face their regrets and have another chance to atone for their past mistakes.

However, the path to receiving another chance at life is a difficult one. It is filled with almost impossible challenges that no one at the academy has been able to overcome. Limitations are set in place to deter those daring enough to try, and the longer they stay within the world—they slowly begin to lose touch with their past and current self. Will the heroine choose to be a good apple in order to graduate and start life anew, or be a bad apple and fight in a seemingly hopeless cause to defy the hands of fate? 

The premise of the storyline is very interesting and immediately draws the reader into the bizarre universe. However, it falls terribly short of its potential and leaves so much more to be desired by the end of it all. It is a tragic romance at its core, and stirs your heartstrings upon the reveal of the bachelor’s pain, suffering and burdens prior to dying. But, there is the saying that too much of a good thing can eventually become a bad thing.

It felt like after a certain point in the storyline, the writers were pouring as many ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘tragic’ plot devices as possible for the sole purpose of inflicting despair within the readers. It overshadowed a lot of the more comedic and lighthearted moments throughout the storyline, and became noticeably stale by around the third playthrough.

This is due to the lengthy common route of the game that universally incorporates the same key events regardless of whether you choose to side with the ‘good apples’ or ‘bad apples’. It became very repetitive over several playthroughs, as the original emotional impact and shock factor fizzled away into essentially nothing by the end of the game. For such a short title, you would think that the common route wouldn’t take up so much of the playtime considering it is the same events over and over.

And yet, in my first playthrough the common route took 3-4 hrs (Ch 1-5) and the actual bachelor route (Ch6-9) took 1hr. Needless to say, this was one of the main contributions that led to the lacklustre plot and poor character/romance development. Although some events and dialogue did differ over each route, they didn’t contribute or reveal anything new or critical to the overarching storyline.

It was essentially a cycle of the same discovered information, and for such a complex setting like Bad Apple Wars—3 to 4 hrs is nowhere near the length of time needed to fully explain and flesh out the universe. As a result, it suffered from countless plot holes and confounding character timelines. This was due to the writers introducing unnecessary gimmicks to the storyline that was never further delved upon. The relationships and developments between the characters felt so rushed, as the bulk of the writing was devoted solely to the common route.

There is no proper ‘true ending’ that sheds some light on the true nature of NEVEAH Academy, despite White Mask and Alma being the main bachelors of both the Good/Bad Apples respectively. Whilst their routes were an improvement over some of the others, it still left so many open-ended questions and much to be desired in terms of romance with the heroine. For example: what exactly were the teacher’s roles at the academy? Who were they? How did the age timeline work? Is it a continuous cycle of life, death and reincarnation?

The total playtime for the entire game is around 20-25hrs, which is appalling considering it needed at least 30-40hrs to satisfactorily fill in all the missing pieces within the routes. I wouldn’t have minded the lengthy common route if it at least differed between the good/bad apples, as the heroine Rinka plays a different role in both sides of the story.

However, she ends up being near useless as a prefect and still befriends the bad apples regardless of her position. This renders the early decision almost obsolete, as the common route eventually leads into the same chain of events.

Despite my criticisms, I still enjoyed the storyline of Bad Apple Wars even with the glaringly obvious plot holes. It still had some good moments throughout the game that were tragically moving and carried a powerful moral message that left quite the memorable impression. It touches on the concepts of what it means to live, the fragility of human life, the thin line between hope and despair, to never lose sight of what’s important and the all-too consuming regret upon realising these things a little too late.

Character Development ★★

As I mentioned earlier, just the sole fact that every character route only had 1hr worth of playtime should already be ringing alarm bells. Needless to say, all the romances were poorly developed and I could not understand as to what made them fall in love or how they even developed such a connection with Rinka (Protagonist) by the end of their storylines. Rinka herself, is a major problem I had with the game which I will elaborate further on below.

It was just too little writing and time to fully flesh out their emotions to truly be realistic and believable. The short game length wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if the writing and pacing itself was done well. However, the writing for the routes were noticeably inconsistent in terms of quality and there were significant disparities between them. To my knowledge, this is due to the game encompassing 5-7 different writers.

I recommend two different route orders, depending on what you personally feel is best suited to you. For a more connected game experience, start off with the bad apples: Higa → Shikishima → Alma→ Satoru → White Mask. To have a better understanding of both sides of the storyline, then I recommend: Satoru → Higa → Shikishima → Alma → White Mask.

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!

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RINKA: Normally for most game protagonists no matter how bland their personality is, they will still have noticeably distinct traits that many of the characters comment on as their key strengths. For example: the most common ones are kindness, persistency, gentleness or a caring and cheerful nature. For the heroine of Bad Apple Wars, even after clearing the entire game—I found myself unable to describe her personality as a character at all.

Rinka is meant to be a ‘self-insert’ for the reader, and I usually have no issues with self-insertions for the protagonist. There is no one-dimension in how a story should be told, and some protagonist personality types work better for specific settings than others. However, my criticism of Rinka isn’t the fact that she is a ‘self-insert’ heroine—but rather it was poorly executed throughout the whole game.

She constantly laments throughout the storyline of how ’empty’ and ‘hollow’ she is as a person, without a single desire, goal or aspiration for herself. Her past life had been monotonous and lacklustre in every aspect, and she had passed on without ever finding anything she held dear.

My main issue with Rinka is how often the ’empty’ monologue occurred throughout the game, because being ’empty’ is not a description of a person or a personality trait at all. It made her un-relatable as a protagonist because it is impossible for a person to be completely empty. It’s ironic because she is meant to be a self-insert for the reader, and it’s so difficult to empathise or play as someone who has no dimensions as a character.

Rinka becomes so resigned to her situation with an ‘oh-woe-is-me’ attitude no matter which route you’re on. It’s only after she falls in love with the respective bachelor, that she finally finds something precious to her that she wishes to protect and considers worth living for. It felt like as a character, she was completely dependent on the bachelor and without anything redeeming of her own to contribute to the storyline.

She’s essentially a plot device, used only to further fuel the own bachelor’s development and route. By the end of the game, I honestly didn’t view her to be much of a protagonist at all. She develops minimally as a character and has no story or redeeming qualities of her own without the bachelor in the picture.

Considering majority of the characters all had some regret or reason from their past that rendered them unable to move on, it made no sense for Rinka to have little to no backstory whatsoever of her own. It further cast a negative light on her lack of personality, as even the secondary characters were more interesting to learn about than the protagonist herself.

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HIGA: Although initially quite gruff, rude and blunt towards Rinka—beneath Higa’s rough exterior is a kinder and softer side to him. He deeply respects Alma and views him as a brother figure due to the longstanding nature of their relationship, his abilities as a leader and as a manefestation of his past regrets in his previous life.

Out of all the bachelors, he is the most supportive and encouraging towards Rinka in her transition to NEVEAH Academy. It was quite noticeable how much Rinka had opened up and come out of her shell over the span of their blossoming friendship. On the other hand, I felt the romance was rather poorly developed and lacking in terms of believable intimacy.

Their relationship dynamic was more akin to an older brother-younger sister, due to Higa’s inherently protective nature. When his route began to show more promise of development between the two, he abruptly passes on and leaves their relationship completely open ended and without true closure. It was just so sudden and without any proper build up of momentum, that I was just left thinking ‘there is no way that is how it all ends?’

Due to their different timelines, their current relationship in NEVEAH Academy has no continuation as they both reincarnate again as different people. The ending just felt so tacked on and written solely for the sake of them ending up together. Because of how disjointed the writing and events of Higa’s route were, it really took away from his strengths as a character and was definitely my least favourite storyline.

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SHIKISHIMA: A mysterious, wandering artist who belongs to neither faction—Shikishima has been at NEVEAH Academy the longest out of all the bachelors, and from the oldest era of time. He immediately piques the player’s interest due to his whimsical yet relaxed approach to the events of the storyline. In comparison to the other bachelors who are filled with determination to escape from their fate—Shikishima is the complete opposite. He is almost completely void of emotions and seemingly content with remaining at the Academy forever.

Throughout his time there, he has seen many graduate and lose their sense of self. He believes that nothing good would be waiting for him, even if he returned to his previous life. As we soon learn, he has a traumatic and lonesome past which he chooses not to remember. In fact, he desires more than anyone to find his own sense of purpose.

Out of all the bachelors, Shikishima is the most complex and multi-faceted to learn about over the course of the storyline due to how reclusive and withdrawn he is as a character. He is a lost, lonesome soul where even until the end of his life—he found no one who truly understood him.

His route had so much more potential and aspects to be delved upon, but was unfortunately let down by the glaring loop holes within the overarching plot itself. Shikishima’s story suffered from the same core issues as Higa’s route. Due to the conflicting timelines, the writers created a contrived scenario written solely for the sake of Rinka and Shikishima ending up together in one form or another.

However, it’s worsened by the fact that Rinka retains her memories at NEVEAH Academy and promptly associates her feelings for the late Shikishima with his current reincarnation. It casts a negative light on their relationship in the present and Shikishima’s ending overall, as his reincarnation notices that Rinka’s feelings for him are not truly sincere.

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ALMA: A natural born leader, he is vigilant and the most determined to escape from the confines of NEVEAH Academy. Alma is the glue that keeps the group together and unified in their plans. He wholeheartedly has everyone’s trust and confidence in his abilities to succeed. Initially, Alma is stoic and difficult for Rinka to befriend due to his secretive nature.

Compared to the previous two routes, Alma’s relationship with Rinka is noticeably more romantic due to the increased amount of alone time they have together. As his route is one of the ‘canon’ storylines of the game (representing the bad apple faction), it is much better fleshed out in terms of both plot and character development.

However, it reuses the none too original angsty trope of a ‘deceased lover’ as his past and it is the reason that drives him to return to his previous life. Although it was executed better in comparison to Higa and Shikishima’s routes, if you’re not a fan of this plot device then you probably wouldn’t enjoy Alma’s storyline as much. There are no unique twist or new additions to the typical plot device, and it follows the common sequence of events to a T.

The reason as to why the dead girlfriend storyline isn’t as popular is because it always calls to question the sincerity of the bachelor’s feelings. Is he using her as a replacement, or as an outlet for his past lover? Is his initial attraction and desire to befriend her merely because of their similarities? Considering how little there is to like about Rinka, this aspect was only more prominent in Alma’s route.

Despite it being one of the canon routes of the game, the route’s main weakness was how little it contributed to the overarching storyline. It essentially didn’t reveal any new information that wasn’t already known in the previous bad apple routes, and had none of the aspects that I normally would expect from one of the main bachelors.

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SATORU: An obsessed student fixated with studying, examinations and achieving the best grades—Satoru is the only bachelor who is a newcomer to the academy that is from the same timeline as the protagonist. Initially, Rinka finds him difficult to deal with as he has absolutely zero interests outside of studying. He holds onto his books and notes like a lifeline and completely disregards anything that would not assist him with his examinations.

His storyline pacing is initially quite slow in comparison to the others, as many of Rinka’s attempts to socialise with him are completely rebuked and ignored. He also prefers isolation in comparison to the other bachelors, and does not choose a faction to side with. Many players had very divided views on Satoru’s route—people either absolutely loved it or absolutely hated it, and I can definitely see why.

Once Satoru eventually opens up to Rinka, their interactions are honestly so adorable and very fluffy in nature. As a couple, they have some of the best moments together in the game that really showcases how much they have both developed as characters and the progression of their romantic feelings for one another. As he belongs to neither faction, some of the events that occur are unique to him and different from the canon storylines of the game.

I felt that out of all the routes, his good and bad endings were definitely much better written in terms of logical flow and emotional impact. It also avoided the major timeline discrepancies. However, at the same time the first half of his storyline can ruin his character for a lot of players. It is very slow paced, and essentially a repetition of the same events over and over—Rinka approaches Satoru, he rebukes her, his only form of dialogue involves studying and he constantly becomes emotional the moment his book is taken away from him.

There’s very little substance to his character outside of that, and his tantrums become old and stale real quick. As a result, Rinka’s relationship to him is more akin to an older sister with her younger brother for the bulk of his route. It is this initial tone to their relationship that makes it difficult for some to perceive their relationship as truly of a ‘romantic’ nature. If you’re a fan of quiet and shyer guys who very gradually come out of their shell, then you would enjoy Satoru’s route much more than someone who prefers a more confident character who is self-assured and assertive.

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WHITE MASK: The enigmatic member of the disciplinary committee, he appears in all the routes as the main enemy of the bad apples. He is extremely serious and committed to his duties, as he truly believes it is his purpose to maintain order and that the correct method for people to graduate is to become a good apple. As a result, he detests the bad apples for their constant refusals to cooperate and does not hesitate to enact punishment on them for their deeds.

His actions inflict self-doubt within Rinka, as she finds herself unable to fully understand his methods and becomes disillusioned as a disciplinary committee member. However, due to the amount of time they spend together she finds herself becoming increasingly curious as to why he is so devoted to his cause, his true identity and what has twisted him beyond recognition.

As the unofficial ‘true route’ of the game, I was extremely excited to play his storyline. Out of all the characters, he was the most interesting by far and I honestly thought his route would answer all the underlying questions of Bad Apple Wars. To my disappointment, all the questions and plot holes were left completely open ended and the events of his route only served to further fuel my confusion with the game universe.

As the true ending, it was lacking in so many critical aspects such as plot coherency and writing flow. It fell very short of its potential to even marginally redeem the writing and overarching storyline of Bad Apple Wars. However, as a standalone route in terms of romance and character development—the chemistry and interactions between White Mask and Rinka were a major improvement from all the other bachelors.

The romance was better paced and palpable between the two during the critical moments within the game. It is clear why he falls in love with Rinka in comparison to the other bachelors, as she is persistent in her efforts to get to know him and the reasons as to why he has forgotten the past that has shaped his current identity. White Mask’s emotional burdens are much more traumatic in comparison to the other routes, and it is Rinka that encourages him to hope again and face the demons of his past.

Although I was by no means impressed with White Mask’s route due to how much more I expected from it, it was still my personal favourite from the game in comparison to the other storylines.

Design ★★★★

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The artwork in Bad Apple Wars definitely isn’t for everyone and it’s quite eye-catching at first glance. I personally really liked it despite the anatomical inconsistencies at times, since it suited the quirky and ‘distorted’ world of NEVAEH Academy. The artwork is bold, unique and with an inherently signature style that is both memorable and striking. I enjoyed all of the character designs, especially White Mask’s. There’s a lot of religious themes and motifs throughout the game regarding heaven and the after life within the artwork, which added a nice touch of atmosphere to the ominous universe.

I also liked how the protagonist had two different looks depending on which side she chose to be with. I was definitely more of a fan of the ‘good apple’ outfit and hairstyle. My only criticisms design-wise was the background artwork for Bad Apple Wars. They all felt very bland, two-dimensional and quite standard for the average high school setting. For an ‘undead school’ it was a little disappointing how ordinary it was, and it wasn’t as whacky and bizarre in comparison to the teacher designs.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★

I loved the soundtrack in Bad Apple Wars, and it was without a doubt the highlight of the game. It suited the theme and tones of the game perfectly, and you can definitely tell that the composers were greatly influenced by both the Danganronpa and Persona series. It was just so refreshing to listen to, and with an assortment of very different and unique tracks. I particularly enjoyed Sanzu’s song/the Ending track, as it was just so powerful and well used during a pivotal scene from the game. It set the mood perfectly, and reflected the inevitable foreshadowing and emotional turmoil of the characters.

Like most other Idea Factory titles, Bad Apple Wars encompassed a prolific voice acting line up. Whilst all of the voice actors emulated their characters well, I didn’t feel like there were any standout performances in this title in particular. Due to the character type limitations, all the characters had similar voices that were quite soft and in the same vocal range. Because of this, I felt it wasn’t a true representation of the voice actor’s talents in comparison to their more notable roles.

  • Alma | VA: Sakurai Takahiro | 櫻井 孝宏
    Danganronpa series as Kuwata Leon, Black wolves Saga series as Mejojo von Garibaldi, Grisaia series as Kazama Yuuji, Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ as Astrum, Naruto Shipuuden as Sasori, Final Fantasy series as Cloud Strife, Anohana as Atsumu Matsuyuki, and Psycho-pass as Shogo Makushima.
  • Higa | VA: Suwabe Jun’ichi | 諏訪部 順一
    Fate/Stay Night as Archer, YURII!!! On Ice as Victor, Black Butler as Undertaker and Code:Realize series as Abraham Van Helsing
  • Satoru | VA: Hanae Natsuki | 花江 夏樹
    Taisho x Alice series as Ookami, Collar x Malice as Sera Akito, Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ as Libera, Your Lie in April as Kosei Arima, Tokyo Ghoul series as Ken Kaneki, and Aldnoah Zero as Inaho Kaizuka
  • Shikishima | VA: Ishida Akira | 石田 彰
    Naruto series as Gaara, Danganronpa series as Byakuya Togami, Amnesia series as Kent, Ayakashi Gohan as Kimura Asagi and  Black Wolves Saga series as Zara Skeens

System ★★★★

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Bad Apple Wars has quite the interesting system interface for an Otome Visual Novel. Rather than implementing systematic decision options at varying points in the game, as you advance in each route and become closer to the bachelor—it unlocks a touch interface after the still-CG flashes several times. You must then ‘touch’ the bachelor on different parts of his body to continue with the storyline.

At a critical point in the route where you’re finally able to understand the bachelor’s true self—you literally see him stripped bare and you are able to truly ‘connect’ with him via touching the correct areas. If you touch the wrong areas, lightning appears on the screen and it will lead to the bad ending. The nudity in this aspect is negligible and completely blurred out for the most part, although I do understand that it can make some players uncomfortable.

I personally quite enjoyed the simple but effective system, as it essentially enables you to play the game without a walkthrough. The game is designed so that you cannot fail or miss any checkpoints, except for the ending route branches into the good and bad end respectively. It is also quite a symbolic representation of the character’s progression and relationship with the bachelor.

My main complaint about the system is that during the ‘critical moments’ the dialogue is not translated due to the original port not including coded text boxes in the scenes. Although this is not an issue if you understand Japanese, it definitely took away a lot of the emotional impact in the meaningful moment. This is quite disappointing, considering it’s such crucial turning point within the plot. I felt Aksys definitely should have at least provided text-based translations that players could read on the website, to supplement the scenes.

Other than that, then I did enjoy the other features of the system such as the basic animations, transitions and map movement. This was colour-coordinated to each respective bachelor’s theme, which made it extremely easy without trial and error to find where each person was located. At first glance, the choice of text font is a little difficult to read but your eyes do quickly adjust over time. Overall, it wasn’t too big of an issue and wouldn’t impede your enjoyment of the game.

Conclusion

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In conclusion, despite its inherent flaws—Bad Apple Wars isn’t a bad game. But is it a title that I would recommend to everyone? Probably not. After playing through the entire game myself, I can definitely see why it generated such mixed and divided reception amongst players. Whilst it did encompass some good moments throughout the storyline, an interesting line up of bachelors and fun side characters—the major flaws prevalent within the plot, poor character development and romance really hindered the potential of the game.

As I touched upon earlier, the glaring plot holes, open-ended questions and lack of explanations regarding the NEAVEH universe was far too great to overlook. The common route was quite lengthy and repetitive, which led to too little time and resources devoted to fully fleshing out the characters and their relationships to one another. Considering it is such a short game overall (20-25hrs total), it didn’t make much sense for the common route to take up majority of the playtime.

However, if you enjoy bittersweet, angsty and tragic romances you’ll probably still enjoy the game like I did. Despite my criticisms, I still had fun with the game and completed it fairly quickly. I do recommend picking it up on sale, if you’re a fan of the genre and artwork. The music and artwork within Bad Apple Wars were definitely the highlights of the game, and somewhat compensated for the faults in the writing and character development.

At full price considering the amount and quality of playtime you’re receiving, there are definitely better otome titles on PSN to choose from such as Code:Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Review) and Collar x Malice (Review).

Overall Rating: 3.5/5


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Written By Cherry