Olympia Soiréeis the latest in Aksys Games’ lineup of localized otome games from Japanese publisher Otomate, and it comes with an extremely high pedigree. Featuring art from acclaimed otome game artist Satoi (Diabolik Lovers, Ozmafia!!, Nil Admirari), a team including Nil Admiari‘s director Tanabe Wataru and scenario writer Yuma Katagiri, and an all-star cast of voice actors and a compelling fantasy narrative, it’s no wonder this release came with a lot of fanfare!
In Olympia Soirée, you play as Olympia, a young woman who is the last remaining survivor of her clan, and as a result, is the sole bearer of her clan’s duty to perform a ritual dance to keep the sun shining on the world. On her 18th birthday, she is finally able to enter society as a woman of marriageable age. However, the world is governed by a strict class structure, where people of different color clans are segregated and treated differently based on the color they are born into, with “colorless” people and criminals who break the class rules relegated to the underground world of Yomi.
My Dear Frankenstein is the latest English localization from Moonchime Studios, arriving just in time for spooky season. Developed by Japanese indie team Number7, this point-and-click adventure visual novel features a gothic tale inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and is available for PC and Mac as a digital download for $4.99 USD. If you’re looking for an atmospheric adventure game that deals with some dark themes without scares, this quaint game is the perfect Halloween romp.
Neko Works, creators of the popular NEKOPARA series of visual novels about cute catgirls in cafes, made more than a few catboy fans very excited and then extremely disappointed back in 2019 when they revealed NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise as an April Fool’s joke. But two years later, in a surprising turn of events, Neko Works announced that they were making the game “for real” due to fan interest! The free game was released today and I’ve had the pleasure to play through all the routes. I’m happy to report that it is indeed very cute and earnest, showing that Neko Works can cater to catboy as well as catgirl lovers.
In NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise, you’re a young adult woman who has taken over running her late grandfather’s cafe (sound familiar?). To help you run the cafe are four live-in catboy employees who apparently go to school to learn how to be good catboys and prepare for a life of being owned by a human. In terms of story, it’s pretty rudimentary and really just a setting for you to watch cute interactions with the characters, as the game can be completed in 2 or so hours, depending on your reading speed. But despite this, I found myself surprisingly charmed by the four different characters and was really happy to find Catboys Paradise to be an earnest, polished experience despite its origins as an April Fool’s joke.
Of the four characters, I most enjoyed the route for “rare” male calico Dill, who loves fashion and makeup and is the “younger brother” type of the group. Fennel, the glasses-wearing butler-like cat who enjoys things like reading and Japanese history, was also a highlight. Each character has two CGs, and the routes involve getting to know them better as you and your employees learn the ins and outs of running a business on the fly. None of the routes have any real closure to them, but instead act as introductions to the world and characters, making the game feel almost like the prologue chapter of an otome game. Even so, the writing (with a solid English translation!), art, and voice acting were all so charming that I didn’t mind playing through the equivalent of a video game candy bar (short and sweet!).
Catboys Paradise doesn’t have any player choices outside of which character’s route to read through, but it includes a fun variety of reactions from the player’s perspective such as nodding in response to things the characters say. But since the experience is free and so short, I’ll refrain from saying much more and encourage you to go check it out for yourself on PC, iOS or Android. Keep in mind that unlike the NEKOPARA games, which have adult content, this game is a completely PG experience.
I hope that NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise does well for Neko Works and encourages them to do more content with male characters in the future! If they keep up this level of polish, they have the potential to make some really enjoyable titles.
MARS RED is a multimedia vampire narrative set in Taisho Era Japan originally conceived as a stage play by Bun-O Fujisawa performed in 2015. The story focuses on a secret vampire military unit of vampire hunters known as Code Zero and is currently in a rather delayed renaissance with the release of a manga in 2020, followed by an anime and a video game adaptation released in English for mobile phones on May 20, 2021. The game, titled MARS RED: Edge of the Nightmare, features an all-new storyline written by Bun-O Fujisawa and stars a character absent from the anime named Yatsufusa Yuki.
Café Enchanté is the latest in a growing list of otome game localizations for the Nintendo Switch by Aksys Games, and right off the bat, it had me hook, line, and sinker. Coffee? Check. Monster boys? Check. Stellar development team? Check. With gorgeous art by Yuuya (Cupid Parasite), a scenario by staff who also worked on Code Realize, and a narrative centering around a quaint cafe with other-worldly patrons, I had high hopes for this one right off the bat. Read on for my full, spoiler-free review!
DRAMAtical Murder may very well be the most well-known BL (boys’ love) game in Japan – it’s even inspired an anime adaptation and stage play! The third game from developer Nitro+CHiRAL, DRAMAtical Murder was originally released in 2012 and received a fan disc as well as a PS Vita port that removed the graphic 18+ content. Now, the game is finally available to purchase in English thanks to JAST BLUE as part of their ongoing endeavor to localize Nitro+CHiRAL’s complete game catalog.
Since I’d never played the Japanese release beyond the first few hours of the PS Vita version, I couldn’t wait to see if DRAMAtical Murder lived up to all of the praise!
If there’s one thing I like nearly as much as playing Monster Hunter, it’s looking at the series’ amazing art! TheMonster Hunter Illustrations books are gorgeous artbooks for people like me who can’t get enough of exactly that. As of this October, Udon Entertainment has localized the third book in the series, Monster Hunter Illustrations 3.