I finished Kaguya’s route in Taisho x Alice Episode II and I was blown away! Never have I felt so much from an otome game and never have I related so much to a fictional character. This post is my thoughts off the top of my head and has some spoilers.
Kaguya is a very tragic character and has a dark past that is hidden away. He dons a mask to hide his true self, who he hates. He is a people pleaser who has been hurt by others as a result. He took up self-harming as an unhealthy way to cope with his problems and I have to give a warning that it was more intense with this than I was expecting. His route also covers suicide.
I do, however, take some issue with how his problems were resolved. I won’t state how, as that would spoil the climax of the route, but Yurika (MC) does something that YOU SHOULD NEVER DO and it also portrays his problems as being completely solved after this.
Despite my problem with the ending, though, Kaguya’s route is one that made me feel A TON and I related to him heavily as a character. While I don’t think I’ll do a full review of Taisho x Alice, as I am playing through it quite slowly, I do recommend it if you can handle the triggers that are mentioned on the Steam pages for episodes II and III because my journey so far has been wonderful!
Recently, the new joseimuke localization team Moonchime Studio was created, and their first game to localize was a short, charming otome game called I Love You!, or in Japanese Suki Da! It was made by Shinogi Shiohara. I was very excited to see a new studio localizing a small, indie otome game.
I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t enjoy a game set in high school, as I’ve outgrown that setting, but I really enjoyed this game! All of the love interests were super cute (I especially liked Onodera and Tsuda) and I enjoyed teasing them as the self-inserty but domineering heroine.
My only (incredibly nitpicky) gripes about the game are that you can’t customize the heroine’s appearance, which I like to do for games with more self-inserty protagonists and that I would like to know more about the boy from the secret ending.
I recommend using the guide that comes with the game to get all of the different endings.
There is forever growing list of games that I want to play; however, I can never get to them all. Here are just a few of the ones that happen to be on my wish list, including ones that aren’t joseimuke. However, to be on this list, I made the requirement of at least having the option to play as a female character.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
I have been a fan of the Story of Seasons (formerly Harvest Moon) series since I was in middle school. This entry looks great and I can’t wait until I get to buy it, though I may wait until all of the DLC is out because I want to experience it all in full before getting tired of it. It also appears that Iris is going to be appearing as a marriage candidate in one of them, so I’ll finally be able to marry her, since same sex marriage wasn’t available in the series until the last entry, the Friends of Mineral Town remake.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the SecretFairy
I’m new to the the Atelier series and have still only played Atelier Escha & Logy and the first Atelier Ryza. I really enjoyed both of them! I can’t wait until I get to see Ryza and her friends again, along with all of the new characters!
Royal Alchemist is a indie otome/BL by Nifty Visuals. The art is pretty and the plot seems appealing. Before buying, I will probably actually get around to playing the demo to make sure that it plays well on my computer and to make sure that I do like it.
Rune Factory 5
Rune Factory is actually my favorite game series (though I don’t own the first and have still only played a bit of the second), so as you can imagine, I am very excited for Rune Factory 5. The series has done an excellent job at mixing farm/life sims and RPG elements. This is also the second entry in the series where you get the option to play as a girl from the start of the game. Everything I’ve seen about the game so far looks great and I can’t wait to play it!
I cannot wait for BUSTAFELLOWS! The heroine is voiced and seems really likable! The love interests all seem interesting, as well! I think that my favorite will be Scarecrow. The plot also sounds exciting and intriguing!
Variable Barricade also has a voiced heroine and she seems so fun to play. The love interests seem interesting and complex. I think that my favorite will be Ichiya! The fact that it’s a romantic comedy is very exciting! I also trust the writing of Kojima Nao (Hakuoki, Code:Realize, Cafe Enchante) and Nakayama Satomi (Code:Realize, Cafe Enchante).
And Many More…
That’s just six of the games that I want and there are so many more on my list, even of those that fit the criteria for this list.
Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is my second favorite otome game. I also finally got around to finishing Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk, which I also love even though it took me a long time. I will warn that both games are not very romantic when compared to other otome games, so I’m not sure how much I recommend them if you’re looking for an otome game. However, if you’re looking for a good visual novel, they’re great!
As she fell deeper and deeper into the darkness, she could hear the sound of rainfall. Also, she heard an animalistic cry.
When she woke up, the young girl found herself in a Western-style mansion. An unknown, terrible monster rushes to attack the confused girl. As the young girl ran away from the monster, she thought:
“Where is this place?” “Who am I, anyway?”
Having lost pretty much all of her memories, she eventually met and joined up with some men in the same circumstances as her. They all held weapons that were strange handguns. From there on out, with their lives at stake, they must participate in the “Black Butterfly Hunt”, and collect “Kaleidoscope Shards” possessed by those monsters.
Inside the Western-style mansion in which despair and betrayal swirls, will they be able to find hope in their futures?
Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly seems to have gotten mixed reviews among my peers, but I, personally, love it. It has its flaws, such as sexism from the love interests, but it’s still a 5 star game for me.
Beniyuri isn’t that different from most heroines as far as writing goes (however, I like most anyway), but the fact that they made her voiced added so much personality in my opinion. She is voiced by Mai Nakahara, who I also know as Nagisa from Clannad and Juvia from Fairy Tail.
It’s impossible for me to choose my favorite love interest. I adored Karasuba (mostly because he’s voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara…), Hikage (for spoiler reasons), and Monshiro (precious boy.) I also liked the other love interests, Yamato and Kagiha. The characters (with the exception of one) also all have a dynamic that I love.
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk
Platforms: PlayStation Vita|Steam
Content Warnings: Death, murder, suicide, fire
Psychedelic of the Ashen Hawk is a suspense-filled tale of a young woman who was born with an eye that gleams with a scarlet light. In order to avoid being cast out, she masquerades as a young boy and lives in a derelict tower on the outskirts of town. One day a mysterious treasuries stolen from the city church. Our heroine learns that not only do magic stones exist and are hidden within the city, but also the secret of her origins.
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk is not quite as great as Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly in my eyes, but many people enjoyed it much, much more. Personally, I think I just preferred the pacing and voice acting in Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly.
Jed/Eiar is another voiced heroine, and in this case an amazing one! Not only is she physically and emotionally strong, she has a realistic inner conflicts and flaws. She is voiced by Mutsumi Tamura who voiced Miss Kobayashi from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. She did a perfect job at voicing Jed!
My favorite characters are actually two different non love interests – Ashen Hawk (the Tower Overlord who lives with Jed) and Lawrence (Really kind, also spoilers). It’s hard to choose which of the love interests is my favorite, with Lavan, Levi, and Lugus all constantly battling for the title, though I think Lavan barely wins. Hugh is also interesting. For Jed, though, I think that she has the most chemistry with Lugus.
Both Psychedelica games have a great plot, themes, characters, music, and art (at least to my taste!) I personally really recommend them! If you are only interested in one or the other, they are playable on their own, but Ashen Hawk is much better if you’re at least somewhat familiar with Black Butterfly. Ashen Hawk’s True Ending also ties in with Black Butterfly in a way that will make fans of certain characters of Black Butterfly very happy.
I have not finished Hakuoki yet (routes done: Hijikata, Okita, Sanan, Iba, Sakamoto, Chikage), but Chizuru is one of my favorite heroines. She is a controversial one, but I adore her! I can’t say much about her without spoiling, but despite her often not being able to fight, she has complex emotions to uncover and she does her best to always support her love interests and/or the Shinsengumi. I like her especially well in Okita’s route. Overall, I find Chizuru to be a heroine that I relate to a lot.
Another game with a great heroine is Cafe Enchante. Kotone is a great heroine for seeming to just be an average, kind girl – but she’s more than that. She is strong in a very realistic manner, and accepts her love interests no matter what. She is incredibly brave in the face of danger that the other worlds (and this one) bring. She also has realistic flaws, such as struggling to be straightforward and being slightly selfish. She’s another heroine that I relate to, but I also look up to her for her bravery.
I’ve only finished Cinderella’s route in Taisho x Alice, along with playing a little bit of Red Riding Hood’s, but Yurika is another heroine that I adore! She is very smart at getting what she wants, which is something that I love about her. She has a sense of humor and knows how to tease her love interests. She knows how to stand up for herself. I enjoy that she is bilingual and, in the English version of the game, sometimes speaks in Japanese with the English word or phrase in parentheses (it is the opposite in the Japanese release.) #LifeGoals
Lucette Riella Britton
Lucette from Cinderella Phenomenon starts the game out as an “Ice Princess,” but with the help of a witch named Delora putting a curse on her and the help of new friends and love interests that come of that curse, she grows into a more kind person. She goes through amazing character development in each route!
I’ve mentioned before that Code:Realize is my favorite otome game, and a very large part of that is how great the heroine, Cardia, is. The story is about her poisonous body and her and her love interests trying to find a way to get rid of that poison – if you want to make the story a lot simpler. She is very lonely at the start of the game, as she has been locked in a house and forbidden from leaving from her father, but makes new friends out of the love interests who rescue her, who also teach her how to do things like fighting and self defense. The story does a great job of developing her along with the love interests (or her familial relationship with Finis if you play the fan disc, Future Blessings.) and their relationships. Also, I wish I could marry her.
That’s all of my favorite heroines! My favorites tend to fall into three different categories – ones I can relate to, ones I look up to, and ones that are just as important to the story as their love interests.
Something that I’m working on doing is finishing up some otome gamess that I still need to finish. I’m going to not buy other visual novels (other than what I mentioned here) until I finish (or drop) these otome games.
I’m still in chapter 2 of 7’scarlet. I’m enjoying it so far and plan to finish it. The plot is intriguing so far and I adore the art and voice cast. I’m playing it blind, so I’m excited to see which route I get, though I’m hoping for Isora as he is voiced by my favorite seiyuu, Tetsuya Kakihara.
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk
The last time I played Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk, I completed chapter 5 and there was a twist that really surprised me. I’m loving the love interests and Jed/Eiar is a fantastic protagonist. I also really love the wintry environment and the art. So far, Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk has been a wonderful experience that I hope stays wonderful and that I enjoy it as much as I did Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly.
Okay. I adore Hakuoki, but there’s just SO MUCH OF IT! I have enjoyed the routes that I’ve played so far (Hijikata, Okita, Sanan, Iba, Sakamoto, and Kazama). I am currently playing Harada’s route. Kazama is my second favorite otome love interest and Chizuru is somewhere in my top five heroines, though I do understand why she’s a controversial one. Okita’s route is probably my favorite route of all time and was beautifully done. Something that has held me back from finishing is that I don’t like Idea Factory’s translation, as many lines seem out of character or odd, but this game is beautifully written and I can’t wait to play even more.
I have a confession: I only bought this game for Satoi’s art. I’m going through all of Caramia’s routes first, as that’s the order on the guide that I’m using on Steam. My favorite characters so far are Caesar and Pashet. So far, I am enjoying this game, but I do know that it is a controversial one.
Taisho x Alice
I played Cinderella’s route and loved it! Arisu is also shaping up to be one of my favorite heroines. The voice acting is incredible and so is the art. I really have nothing bad to say about this game except that the translator probably made a few choices I wouldn’t agree with, but even then, the translation is overall great, in my opinion! I can’t wait to finish my current routes in other games so I can get back to this one and play the next route and then buy and play Episode 2!
And that’s it! There are also a few other otome games I need to finish (Collar x Malice and Cinderella Phenomenon Evermore), but I’m not going to let those two keep me from buying new ones. I stick to one otome game for PC and one for Switch at a time, but I’m currently doing two at a time for PC since Cinderella Phenomenon Evermore is merely a fan disk. Collar x Malice is the only unfinished otome game on my Switch that I didn’t decide to drop, though I may give Best Friend Forever another chance.
There are a good amount of otome games coming out this year, and I want to highlight a few that I’m excited for. I may not be able to buy all of them when they first come out, as I’m trying to save some money, but do know that I want all of these.
Code:Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is my favorite otome game, but as I don’t have a PlayStation Vita or PlayStation 4, this will be my first time playing Code:Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ and I can’t wait to see more of these lovely characters. I also really love winter and the holiday season, so you can imagine how excited I am by this title.
We finally have a big name console release of an otome game from a publisher other than Aksys! I know Aksys is controversial, but no matter what you think of them, competition is good, and so is the fact that we’re getting more otome games. This also looks like a fantastic title and it has a voiced heroine which is something that I love. I can’t wait to fall in love with this story and its characters!
With one of the writer’s, Kojima Nao, having worked on Hakuoki, Code:Realize, and Cafe Enchante, and Nakayama Satomi having worked on Code:Realize and Cafe Enchante, I have very high hopes for this otome game. It is also a romantic comedy, my favorite genre. Like BUSTAFELLOWS, this game also features a voiced heroine, which is, once again, something I love.
I already mentioned this one in my Otome Games I Want in English post, so I’ll be brief here: I love Satoi’s art and the plot sounds great. I’ll also state that the characters that most interest me are Olympia, herself, Himuka, and Rikku.
Steam Prison is an otome game that I have heard a lot of good about, but have never played and when it was announced that it would get a Switch version, it went off my Steam wishlist immediately. I love the Switch for otome games (and games in general), so I knew that I had to get it for Switch. The art looks fantastic, the heroine seems great, and I hear great things about the localization!
And that’s it – the five most exciting otome games for me this year! Sadly, there are no indie games on here, as I’m not sure about the release date of most of the upcoming ones I have an interest in, but if anyone has some recommendations that they know are coming this year, I would love to make a separate post for indie otome games!
Ota Kisaki from Kissed by the Baddest Bidder is a rather controversial character in a rather controversial otome game. He treats the heroine like a dog because he reminds him of his old dog, Koro. Not everyone is into this obviously. I am. His route is not a good representation of puppy play, but my love for him stands anyway for many reasons.
Ota puts on a mask as an “Angelic Artist” for the media and fans so he can be well-liked, but in reality he is somewhat rude and helping with the black market auctions run in Tres Spades hotel that he joined because he faced extreme boredom. He fits under the “haraguro” archetype (though not the most extreme example), which is one of my favorite types of characters.
Something that I find interesting about Ota is that his kink is only really present for the heroine. He treats her like a dog because she reminds him of Koro in her mannerisms and appearance – “big round eyes and chestnut hair” – not because he’s into puppy play for just anyone.
I don’t feel that I can say anymore without spoiling anything, but Ota also gets WONDERFUL character development in his later seasons. I think that his season 3 is where he starts getting more likable to a general audience and not just those of us with… interesting taste. Every story he gets I grow to love him more.
Content Warnings for this visual novel: Death, Murder, Cannibalism
Café Enchanté is an otome game written by some of the same writers as my favorite otome game, Code: Realize. With the same team, I had very high expectations. The recommended route order is Canus-Ignis-Kaoru-Il-Misyr, which I will be following in this review. This review is spoiler-free.
When Kotone inherits her grandfather’s Tokyo café, she discovers the shop holds more secrets than anyone could imagine. The café is a meeting spot for beings from multiple, mystical worlds. You’ll meet the king of demons, a humanoid beast, a fallen angel, and more. And when government agents monitoring non-human activities show up at your door, your new café is about to become a lot more colorful.
-via Aksys Games
Kotone Awaki (Heroine – First name changeable)
Kotone isn’t the best heroine ever, but I still love her. She has understandable flaws that I can relate to, such as struggling to be straightforward; however, she overcomes these flaws when it’s time for her to do so. She’s also very driven and hardworking, doing her best to take care of the cafe and its customers. She is very emotionally strong and doesn’t let her fears hold her back. She can be a little bit selfish, which is a turn off for some, but I personally like it as one of her flaws.
I thought it would be hard for me to get over Canus not having a head, but I actually adjusted super quickly. Canus is such a gentleman and has a very interesting back story and conflicts. His route doesn’t have a ton of romantic moments, but when it does, it is VERY romantic. He also always wants to protect others, especially Kotone, which is one of my favorite qualities to come out of a love interest.
Ignis’ route is so good! It was very painful to get through, though. Like Canus, Ignis has an interesting back story and conflicts. Once again, the route doesn’t have a ton of romantic moments, but I felt very satisfied with what I got and they were all so good. I felt that Ignis and Kotone had amazing chemistry and was just waiting so hard for them to confess. He is also a protective love interest, which is, once again, something that I love.
I had mixed feelings about Kaoru at first, as I didn’t like his attitude towards non-humans, but those feelings changed in the second part of his route. His route is also a lot more romantic than the others which made me happy. I really liked his treatment of Kotone, as well, and Junichi Suwabe’s voice made it even better whenever he called her cute. I also REALLY LIKED Kotone in this route. She was so good.
Il Fado de Rie
I’ve loved Il from the start! His relatable love of otome games was the start, but the reason for his love of them was truly great. He once again had a good back story, and I loved his connection with Misyr and one of the side characters. His route also got really sad at some points, but there were also a lot of fun, cute moments.
Misyr’s route is the true route. Misyr is also my favorite of the love interests, although he’s on the lower end of who I like with Kotone. Misyr’s route wraps everything up so nicely and is the happiest ending for everyone except Kotone. It also made me really want a fan disc for a better ending for Kotone and it made me want a route for the main “villain.”
Both main characters and side characters are likable
The love interests all RESPECT Kotone
The climax of each route is really good
A lot of typos and switching names
Text is hard to read sometimes
A plot hole in Canus’ route, unless I missed something