I played a few Otome games a year ago, and I’m playing a couple again. Perhaps there is something about fall that makes me want to play Otome games. Before I move on to the games I am currently playing (spoiler alert! there might be sushi and ninjas involved), I thought I would go back and write about my favorite game to date, Love Letter from Thief X.
There’s something about the premise that really appeals to me, even more than games involving pirates and ninjas, as hard as it may seem. In this game, the heroine works in a museum and finds herself caught up in a ring of Robin Hood-like thieves. It is vaguely like that great Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole move “How to Steal a Million”, except there’s no Givenchy costumes and instead of Peter O’Toole, you get six Japanese dudes.
The heroine of this game works in a museum. Her great-grandfather was the Japanese equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci. One day when she’s at work after hours, she runs into two thieves. She bumps into a display case as she chases after them, almost toppling a statute on top of her. One of the thieves saves her from being brained by the bronze. They notice that she’s wearing an heirloom ring from her great-grandfather, then quickly run away as the police approach. There are rumors floating around about a ring of thieves known as the Black Foxes, and the heroine wonders if the strange men she encountered are part of the group.
The next day the heroine finds herself meeting two other strange men who are also part of the secret band of thieves. She finds herself at a bar where they all hang out, told that she’s the key to unlocking the secret of her great-grandfather’s legacy, and has to pick a thief to accompany her at all times in her new role as a member of the Black Foxes.
There’s Riki, the arrogant leader:
Takuto, a socially inept computer genius.
Takuto and the heroine often get into fights over who ate the last serving of pork noodles.
Hiro, an androgynous art student and master of disguise:
and Kenshi, the boy next door:
You can also play storylines with Atsumu, the oddly superstitious older boss of the gang, and Tatsuro, an old childhood friend of the heroine’s who happens to be a police detective tracking down the Black Foxes.
Depending on the route you pick, you get a different scenario for the mystery the Black Foxes need the heroine to solve. Sometimes they are chasing paintings, an advanced scientific invention, an Indiana Jones style lost city, or a precious artifact. I played through all the routes on this game, although I haven’t invested the time and money to play the many sequels, epilogues, and special stories.
There are a lot of similarities in the personalities of the characters to Pirates in Love. In particular, Riki and Eduardo and Atsumu and Morgan were a bit similar. This was the first Otome game where I’ve been interested in playing every route, and it was interesting to see the variations on the story with each character. Riki’s story is good if you enjoy the whole clumsy maiden with a chaebol dynamic that pops up so often in k-dramas, and there’s even a bit of second lead syndrome as Riki and Takuto struggle a bit over the heroine’s affections. Takuto’s story was probably the most emotionally intense. Kenshi’s storyline was simple but sweet. Atsumu’s storyline delves into issues that unfold when you have a leading man who is superficial on the service because he’s dealing with a tragic past. I was happy to play through all the stories, but Hiro and Tatsuro were a bit less entertaining for me.
There’s plenty of humor throughout. I know that many otome game aficionados aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of Voltage Games, but if you aren’t able to play games in Japanese, at least the translation quality is good, you do get plenty of chapters for the $4.99 per game route you’re playing, and the storylines are generally entertaining. This has been my favorite otome game so far, and I would rank Pirates in Love second. I always meant for these reviews to turn into a regular feature! We’ll see what I can manage with the few games I just started playing recently. If you have suggestions for games for me to check out, please let me know. I know that Alice in the Country of Hearts was just released in English, but the translation quality seems so bad, I’m not sure if I can stomach paying for any chapters.