well I suppose he deserves it since he kills you in his route and in the true route but he’s still my fave haha
Okay, not otome, but definitely dating sim…ish.
Well, I guess I just want to rant/hear opinions.
Anyone big on skyrim here? If so, have you played through the skyrim romance mod?
So, I just played Ambers Magic Shop last night, and I have kind of…mixed feelings?
Like, I didn’t enjoy the gameplay too much- very repetitive, and it seemed like, in most instances, you could earn money by simply buying the main item four times from the market then selling it, and getting 30 extra gold for the entire deal. I wasn’t too big on how you also had to choose how you would earn your income, and that in some instances, people wouldn’t pay you, but you’d get bulk exp?
Doesn’t really make sense for me, I guess. I kinda think that if you had reputation built on quality and speed of work (and delivery), experience per item made, and money earned per delivery/item sold, it would make more sense.
It was dry, in that sense, repetitive, and after a while nearly impossible to keep up with all the high quality goods wanted when it was RNG spawning your goods half the time, when you go looking for them.
The romances themselves were pretty average, I think. Loren was handled better, methinks, more images, more personality, less stereotypes, and, honestly, more attractive characters.
I feel like all the men were much less attractive than the girls, Anders Reed, being the most attractive of the men. The art style also shifted pretty wildly between characters, Amber looking more Loren style, while everyone else was in a different style, and random NPCs looking completely different.
Also, much re-use of background images- from both Loren and SotW.
Writing was…meh? Romances were confusing- slow build in child age, suddenly Amber is ‘dating’ everyone in adult stage (though no dialogue about it whatsoever- also, forced polyamory I guess), and characters felt rather one dimensional. Cosa/Anders story nicely handled, Daniel’s was…okay. Lair and Lynn’s was rushed, Ruby’s was contrived and why does everyone insist on giving the lesbians long nails, good gravy, and Bernards final ‘issue’ (let’s call it that) came out of nowhere, very, very rushed through.
Amber was kind of blah in the child stage, and she just became ‘eh’ in the adult stage personality wise.
The dark elf conflict also felt like something that was there just because, and I can’t imagine how confusing it must be for people who haven’t played the previous Winter Wolves games. I get that they’re all set in the same universe, but they’re really starting to feel like a series more than anything.
Sexualization- this annoyed the heck out of me. In Loren, we had an option to turn this off or on. I would have appreciated this so much. It wasn’t that you saw ‘bits’, but the blatant over-sexing was worse than the more skin shown in Loren. Mother figures running around wet and practically naked, with bosoms spilling out of their dresses, also showing underwear (with Amber going OH NO MY MOM IS HOT (wtf game)), and so much character breaking to have sexy times do NOT get me started on Lair and Lynn in the library, when we established he’s an awkward potato, that just made me really uncomfortable.
Polyamory- Advertised as two polyamorous routes, but, really only one and I kinda get incest vibes , as the one with Lair and Lynn is where Lynn has both Lair and Amber, but they aren’t into each other- even though we just broke up and why did we have to, I’m so confused, if Amber can be in a poly relationship in the beginning with lots of people and they are cool with it, why can’t I carry on, gersh dern.
Choices- Badly handled. Basically boils down to- BE NICE. BE REALLY NICE. BE MEAN. BE REALLY MEAN. The problem with the alignment focus is that it takes away from character playing, because you end up just trying to max out the alignment instead of playing Amber as a character.
Endings- Rushed. Kinda leave you hanging. Kinda awkward.
Also- Big ol romance sexy picture with Cosma/Anders-Cosmima/Reed-, and that’s like the only route that has a secondary picture for sexy times on the light path? Really? You show our Mom flashing her knickers, and we can’t avoid it, but you can’t show Amber having some romantic time with her one(multiple) true love(s)?
TL;DR: If you want a poly romance REALLY BADLY, go for it.
For everyone who complains about the lack of BL games these days:
Cute art so far, very funny main character- NSFW, there is NO censoring in game.
This one has been on my wish list for awhile - definitely going to remove it after seeing this review. Sadly, Winter Wolves has only really had a gem in Loren. Everything else has seemed to be very disappointing.
Others have actually done fairly well and were well-regarded. However, Winter Wolves does give free demos for people to try their games before buying.
Was SoulSet really not mentioned here before?
It’s so good tho. 10/10, would recommend. Characters are great and the mystery element and how the game itself is made are really cool in that way that it encourages you to play almost every route to finally freaking see the whole picture of what’s happening here.
By the time I got to the secret ending, it was so damn satisfying, oh boy.
This and Hustle Cat must be my favorite visual novels out there. Aside from something like Loren The Amazon Princess and cough DMMD, maybe.
Has Changeling been mentioned yet by SteamBerry Studio? It’s in late stages of commercial development so not yet out, and by the looks of the updated demo ITS SOO AMAZING! It’s basically Fae Lore and supernatural based, but the art style is beautiful, and (blah blah blah) other game reviewy terms that mean it’s gonna be a masterpiece. . . So here’s the link https://steamberrystudio.tumblr.com/tagged/Updates
I’m not sure if this would be considered an otome game, but Butterfly Soup is a new visual novel that’s already become one of my favorites. It’s a story about friendship and romance between four Asian-American girls… it’s just really beautiful in so many ways and so funny too…
This one is kind of different but pretty fun. It’s based on that personality test.
Thank you for that one Mim, wow that one looks to be really, really fun. Foreplay kinks and fashion choices, I’ve never seen that offered all at once in a gay visual novel. Too bad I missed the Kickstarter for that one and I’m not really someone for Patreon.
A few of the other in development games (why must they all still be in development) I’m currently watching would be:
(managed to miss the Kickstarter for that one too. )
And the odd one out that actually doesn’t feature a male protag:
Seems as I get older I’m steadily moving away from much of the AAA gaming world and into things like this and CoG of course.
While that is without a doubt their top work to date, I did like Heirs and Graces very much, particularly Eloy’s route. Only the protagonists false modesty at the ending was kind of jarring for me, staying in his old servant’s room while he could at least move upstairs to Eloy’s guest suite. After all it’s got a much more comfy bed and cute & charming company.
I kind of want to see a sequel to it based of off the golden endings with the protagonist adjusting to their new lives as a noble with everything, the intrigue, backstabbing etc, that comes with that with their lover by their side. Sadly that’ll probably never happen.
I plan on getting Heirs and Graces when there’s a decent sale on it - paying ~$20 for a visual novel is tough to justify sometimes! I’m also not HUGE on BL - I’m heteronormative trash, unfortunately. I just wanna play a lady getting romanced by men with all the horrible tropes! I’ll make an exception for historical-themed BL though, just because I love medieval/regency/semi-historical fantasy ANYTHING with romance.
Btw please let me know what CoGs or Hosted Games I should be playing to scratch my otome itch. I play them 100% for the romance, tbh. (NOT WIPs though!!! I get too frustrated! lol)
Have you tried Evertree Inn? Two very cute male ro’s in that one and it does have a bit of a visual novel feel at times, or maybe that’s just me imagining Dandy, yeah that’s probably it.
Samurai of Hyuga may be worth checking out as you can be a female Ronin in that one.
As for Wip’s have a look over @RenaB 's “Model Citizens: Unmasked” Wip and @Seraphinite WIP, which features four very cute vampire guys and perhaps her completed Lady’s Choice game might suit you as well. Though I couldn’t really get into that one due to the very feminine protag.
Once it gets to the romance parts @Moreau 's “the Myrmidon” WIP would be worth checking out too.
Lastly “Keeper of the Sun and Moon” is almost bound to feature an ro you’ll like.
Oooooh I’ll have to give Evertree Inn a shot, along with Model Citizens: Unmasked.
@Seraphinite is the best. Love the Wayhaven Chronicles, am simply dying for the full release. Hits about all of my otome boxes. The Lady’s Choice is a favorite of mine as well.
I started The Myrmidon last night! Super well-written and too heartbreaking.
Besides my impatience I seem to have a hard time with WIPs because of having to re-play through them once there’s been an update. (Even ones with save options - somehow I manage to eff them up and lose my saves or something - I am technologically illiterate.)
What about Dream Daddy?
Be a dad. Meet other hot dads (and date them). Indulge in dad humor. Give your daughter life advice. You can even be a trans man - that’s pretty cool.
This one, Beyond Eden might be worth a look as well, unfortunately Steam is the only source I’ve been able to find for it.
Historical with themes of love/hate??? SIGN ME UP!!!
Yep, together with Chess of Blades and the Seiyuu Danshi game Mim linked they are probably my most anticipated non-Cog games of the year (with any luck they should all release this year as Seiyuu seems to be slated for a Holiday Season, December release).
Of course Beyond Eden has the distinct disadvantage that it will lead to me paying a penalty for being European and getting nickled and dimed by Steam.
Steam one of Europe’s top 2 Gaming enemies
I’ve gotten back into otome games recently, and I’ve got a lot of games to recommend! So be warned, super long post ahead.
For the PC
Nightshade: It’s pricey, at almost 40 CAD, but it’s worth it. Enju (MC) is a shinobi who just got assigned her first mission, and is now accused of murdering Toyotomi Hideyoshi. She is a bit young, I think 16 or 17, but the characters are all fantastic. I think there’s 60-70 CGs, fully-voiced (except for Enju), and the OST and sound effects are fantastic. Lots of angst, plot-heavy, with a slight dose of incest, per the typical Sengoku feel (1 RO is Enju’s cousin and teacher, and 2 others are her adopted brothers). Recommend playing Goemon / Hanzo / Kuroyuki / Chojiro / Gekkamaru for maximum angst. All the ROs are wonderful, though some may not like Kuroyuki. Also, to get all the CGs, you have to complete the Good Ending and the Bad Ending. However, if you just want the plot, the Bad Ending is not necessary. There’s sort of two plots to this game, which is why the recommend playing order is what it is. Each route builds and I remember when I finished Gekkamaru, I just sort of sat there for a good 10 minutes trying to wrap my head around it. Total gameplay would be anywhere between 20 to 50 hours, depending on whether you want full completion, and how fast you read.
Ozmafia: Same price as Nightshade, but again, worth it. Fuka (MC) has no memories, and is taken in by the Oz family. The town is run by the various mafia. Now, Fuka is a bit dumb at times, but there is a very good reason for it. Again, lots of CGs, must play all endings to obtain the CGs, but also to read the Epilogue. The OST is quite nice, and it is almost fully-voiced, and the voices are fantastic. The characters are what make Ozmafia so great, and how they interact with each other. No particular play order is recommended, but I would leave Soh last, and play Scarlet, Robin Hood, and Hamelin together. The only routes that can get touchy are the Brothel route and Robin Hood. The plot is sort of scattered about, so you have to complete all endings to really get it, but I would say the Oz boys, Hamelin, Soh, Caesar, and arguably Scarlet have the most to do with the overall plot. I hope whoever plays this will keep an open mind for Hamelin. #JusticeForHamelin #HamelinDidNothingWrong. Total gameplay could be anywhere between 30 to 60 hours, again, depending on how much you want to complete.
Cinderella Phenomenon: It’s free! And it’s one of my favourites. The player is Lucette, the cold princess, who receives the Fairytale Curse, and is now forgotten by her family, and without a penny. The music is nice, the graphics and CGs are lovely, and the characters are so very memorable and endearing. The recommended playing order is Rod / Karma / Rumpel / Fritz / Waltz, though I do believe that Karma and Rumpel can be switched around, and the last 2 are locked until you’ve completed 2 of the 3 other guys. Once you start Fritz’s route, it gets angsty. Each guy has 2 endings, and full completion is needed to obtain all the CGs, but to get the full plot, only the Good Ending is needed. Total gameplay is about 20 to 30 hours.
Ikemen Sengoku: Romances Across Time: A 5 ticket a day free-to-play game that I highly recommend. The MC is assertive, sassy, and a little bit reckless. All the characters are absolutely fantastic, and with 11 ROs, there’s bound to be 1 that you like (also, it seems that in Japan, they might be adding another 3 guys, bringing the number up to 14). It’s a time-travel game, and it takes place in an alternate Sengoku Japan, where somehow all of the famous warlords are still alive and handsome young men. It starts with MC saving Oda Nobunaga in the Honno-ji incident, and he takes a shining to her, and takes her back Azuchi. The game is partially voiced, has 3 CGs per route, and side stories that you can purchase or get through various gachas and draws. There is no Good/Bad Ending, rather, there is a Romantic Ending (sugary sweet, everyone is happy and nobody has to suffer), and a Dramatic Ending (heartbreak before the sweet romance). Personally, because I like hurting my heart, I prefer the Dramatic Endings, and if you max out the Love Meter, you can read an epilogue at the end, which is typically very cute and fluffy. If you finish both endings, you get a bonus voice clip and a bonus story. At the moment, Oda Nobunaga, Date Masamune, Sanada Yukimura, and Tokugawa Ieyasu have been released in the west. The game is lighthearted, in that it does not take itself too seriously, and the best features of this game, again, are the MC and the ROs. There is no overall plot, as each RO has his own story.
Destined to Love: Ikemen Samurai Romances: By the same company as Ikemen Sengoku, and the same layout. It’s another time-travel game, taking place in Kyoto during the Bakumatsu period. This time, there are 13 ROs, and the ones that have been released in the west are: Hijikata Toshizo, Saito Hajime, Katsura Kogoro, Sakamoto Ryoma, Keiki, Okita Soji, Shinomiya Kyo, and Kirisato. Again, the characters are what make this game, as they are all wonderful, and the plot is much heavier than Ikemen Sengoku. It doesn’t take place in an alternate timeline, so if you know your history, this game is pretty depressing. There are also 3 CGs per route, 2 different endings, though there is no real way to tell which is the better one. The His Affection Ending usually involves the RO doing or giving up something for the MC, while the My Affection Ending has the MC doing or giving up something for the RO. For example, Soji’s My Affection Ending tore my heart out, while the His Affection Ending was much sweeter and happier, however, Kirisato’s My Affection Ending was much more satisfying and happier than the His Affection Ending. Also, this game can be played either in the free-to-play mode, or in another app called ‘Otome Romance Novels’ where you can buy the route and read it whenever.
Love, Lies & a Heist: Can you tell that I really love this company? This game is only available through Otome Romance Novels, and you have to purchase each route to read it. At the moment, you can read Alexander, Logan Bradley, Ewan Bradley, and Luca Sinclair. This game is great, the MC is the predecessor of Ikemen Sengoku’s, and is very similar to her, only a bit less spunky. The game takes place in a Roaring 20’s-esque country, where the MC works as a waitress in a cafe. Again, the characters are fantastic, not only by themselves, but how they interact with each other. There is only 1 CG, and like Ikemen Sengoku, uses the Romantic/Dramatic Endings.
Several Shades of Sadism: MC is a concierge in a hotel, and gets assigned to work for 1 of 5 Kira brothers. Definitely not a game for everyone (rated M 17+ on Google Play), but if you don’t mind the themes, it’s fantastic. The brothers all are fantastic characters, with noticeable flaws and virtues, and all have some major daddy-issues. It’s a free-to-play 5 ticket game too, but I think that the slow pace works well with this game. Not plot-heavy, but rather, the story is mostly working through the guy’s issues.