Choose your Vampire Lover
It’s not everyday a junior college student meets three attractive vampires. So, what makes you special? Awakening of the Eclipse, an Otome romance game from Genius Inc., has quite the story to tell. Step into a world of past lives and romance.
‘When the Sun Blinks and the Earth Moves’
The local legend in your hometown tells of a vampire waking from a 500-year sleep, but it’s only a story. However, when observing an eclipse, a small earthquake knocks you off your feet and into a man’s arms. He introduces himself as Drake and seems nice, but he feels…off. So begins your adventure in Awakening of the Eclipse. You’re a junior in college dutifully going to class when your mundane life is interrupted by three beautiful men. The first, Drake, is a somber, red-eyed amnesiac with long flowing black hair, dressed to the nines in a dark suit. He not only prevents you from falling, he protects you from Richard, a side character intending to kill you. The other two men, Caleb and Marcus, are brothers with polar opposite personalities. Caleb is kind and bookish, while Marcus is blunt and rash. They all seem to know you, but how?
Awakening of the Eclipse has chapters, each with choices that impact the story. Chapters cost Story Tickets, and you start with three. As for the choices, there are two: normal and Premium. Premium choices unlock exclusive scenes and improve your relationship with a love interest, thus they cost Rubies. You start with 30 Rubies and can get more either by purchasing them or playing a minigame. The minigame is a slot machine where you must get three images in a row, like three sevens or three cherries. If you do get three in a row, you’re rewarded with Points that look like coins. Different pictures earn different amounts of Points, for example three to thirteen. With nothing to tell you what pictures will earn what rewards, the only solution is to keep playing. Points can be tripled after watching an ad and can be exchanged for Rubies.
Right Idea, Poor Execution
Though Awakening of the Eclipse is pretty, it ultimately trips over its own feet. Character design and background art is gorgeous and colorful, and the writing hooks you from the very beginning. But a game should be more than just stunning visuals and well-written words. I found that this game went the pay-to-play route when I hit a paywall at the end of the second chapter. By that I mean the Premium choice cost a lot more Rubies, and I didn’t have nearly enough. While playing the slots minigame was helpful, the exchange rate wasn’t. 12 Points for one ruby, 60 Points for five, 120 Points for ten? How is this even remotely fair? It’s as if the game forces you to spend real money just so the story can move in a positive direction. Considering how the normal (i.e. ‘bad’) choices are free, I’m not surprised.
Another complaint is that minor characters look more like silhouettes than people. No copy-paste characters with different hair colors and missing eyes, just what are essentially grey ghosts. Did the developers at Genius Inc. spend too much time on backgrounds or something? They have an overabundance of games, like Twilight Fangs and Immortal Heart, don’t they realize this comes off as kinda lazy? And honestly, your character talking to someone that’s barely there is a bit unnerving. I really wanted to follow this game to the end, but it’s too much of a hassle to even consider trying.
Pretty but Stale
Awakening of the Eclipse is a beautiful dating sim hindered by its unnecessary microtransactions. Amazing art and top tier writing can’t save this game having fallen into its unfortunately common situation. Why would a company need players to spend real money in any of their games if they’ve made more than one? As I said, I wanted to see where this game led, but I just can’t.
Is it Hardcore?
Pay-to-play games are never appealing, even if they are pretty. It’s hard to understand why companies keep making them.