period cube: ~shackles of amadeus~
platform: playstation vita
release date (en): april 28 2017
warning: spoilers ahead!
please jump to my final thoughts for a spoiler-free opinion!
it's no secret that i like otome games; as cliche or ridiculous their plots are, there's something fun about the inaneness of it all that keeps me buying a bunch of the titles that get released. i was on the fence about period cube shortly after it's release due to all the mixed reception it had received from both japanese and western fans alike. however, ultimately i decided to get it just to support the company if nothing else, as honestly they're doing a great job in bringing this slightly niche genre to the west.
this review is going to be a work in progress until i finish the game, because i like to write down my thoughts while my thoughts and opinions of the routes are still fresh in my mind! (pics to be added when i can plug in my vita LOL)
i was fresh off finishing code:realize when i booted up period cube at 2 in the morning, and immediately i could see that the title screen and interface were so much nicer than the former. as someone who used to be addicted to mmorpgs in my younger days, having the interface look like a online game menu was a very nice touch, if not a bit meta LOL;;
the in-game menus are also one of the coolest parts of the game imo. the status menu which has its main purpose as an affection gauge checker, also shows a character's hp, mp and equipped items. it's a really nice touch that every time a character uses a spell or gets damaged in the story, their stats will also change accordingly. i found myself constantly checking their statuses just to see how close they were to dying lmao. the title screen also changes background according to the time on your console's clock, which was something i found cool. the music and art are also very nice and colourful, which is something that can very well make or break a game.
the main character, kazuha, has quite a cute design too, although i haven't heard great things about her. i will try my best to discern my own opinion of her, however!
the common route in this game is incredibly short. essentially it's only the first chapter, in which you make 3 decisions which shove you onto one path or another. it's pretty hard to tell which option is going to put you on whose route, unlike other games where you choose to spend time with a particular character as a flag. honestly if i could change one thing about this game it would be this, because how am i supposed to know if using my knife or harp is going to put me onto the route of the guy i'm after!? the plot failed to really interest me too, perhaps because it's so similar to sword art online.
it's also a little bit frustrating, with just kazuha showcasing how much of a noob she is at this game and playing very well into the useless damsel in distress that she appears to be. like, come on girl, there's surely more you can do about the monster coming after you than stand there and have an internal monologue! lord. i'm honestly praying that the routes or the guys can make up for the rather lacklustre first moments of the game.
CV: nobuhiko okamoto
hiroya is the staple childhood friend interest that is in nearly every otome game i've ever played. to add fuel to the fire of cliche, he's a childhood friend which kazuha hasn't talked to for several years, after an accident caused them to drift apart several years prior.
hiroya's route is quite straightforward, and touches briefly on the overarching plot of the game. in fact, it touches so much on the larger plot that i was wondering if i was spoiling myself by playing his route first, despite the fact that the official recommended order places him first. one gripe that's common to most people playing this game is how unrealistically quickly the relationships grow between kazuha and her love interests, with the exception of hiroya. because he'd known kazuha beforehand, his affection towards her and subsequent romance feels the most natural and the least creepy, imo. i did get incredibly weirded out early on in the route, however, when kazuha gets injured and hiroya gets all pissy about her not telling him about it. in what world is it a good idea to solve your issues by pushing her down onto a bed and licking her wound? like, buddy, i get that you're a catboy right now, but i really think you should keep your tongue to yourself for now smh.
i think that hiroya's character design and class are very cute - his ears twitch in his character sprite! i like that he's not just a mage or sword user either, because him being a boxer is.. kind of unique i suppose? it's not a common class in many games, so as a gamer it makes me appreciate the skills he'd possess. his voice actor also does an amazing job; he sounds boyish, but also quite mature at the same time. there's something incredibly moe about your childhood friend acting tough to protect you using 'ore' while his voice is slightly squeaky and shounen-like! >u<
the good ending to his route seemed extremely anticlimactic to me, with everything being resolved in about 0.5 seconds and no consequences whatsoever. there is also a bunch of plot holes that left me confused more than anything else, which was quite disappointing. his bad ending was very nice though, and that's saying something as i'm usually someone who avoids bad endings like a plague! maybe my tastes have changed lately, but i really liked the queen/servant dynamic that they adopted, because i can see how hiroya's devotion towards kazuha could easily have evolved into that given their circumstances.
despite the lack of meaningful plot resolution and rather vanilla relationship dynamic, i did enjoy reading through hiroya's route and found it a nice introduction to the game. obviously however if hiroya was any less likeable of a character than he currently is, it would have been a disaster - talk about being your own hero.
route rating: 2/5
character rating: 3/5
overall rating: 2.5/5