Investigate Your True Feelings
None can dispute that developer miHoYo took mobile gaming by storm in the last year with its hit Genshin Impact. Its style and playability have attracted a huge base for the studio, lending the opportunity to fund other genres’ titles. Most recently, Tears of Themis breaks with miHoYo’s open-world precedence in the form of a detective-themed visual novel. Its overwhelming charm and list of features lend to an engaging experience for gaming on the go.
Discover Inner Vision
Tears of Themis sets you as a rookie attorney studying under the most prolific lawyer in the city of Stellis. Without spoiling much, the story involves various trials and investigations that somehow involve some area of the protagonists’ personal life. As you progress, however, the connections between these events become far less tenuous. They even begin to bridge into other-worldly phenomena.
Throughout your legal campaign you come across old friends and flames that provide insight to new cases. Ultimately, this is largely an Otome game. You will choose romantic interests and follow the paths that connect you deeper into relationships. Still, there is quite a bit else that makes it feel like more of an intentional effort by the developers. This is as opposed to a copy and pasted cash grab re-skin of another visual novel.
Fight for Your Right
Despite being an edition of a hackneyed genre on mobile, Tears of Themis has enough to differentiate itself. In between dialogue sections are various investigative ventures. You must interview witnesses and suspects and discern evidence from information they provide. Eventually, you weave these threads into a concrete court case. Testimonies are well written and voiced in several different languages, adding equal parts quality and accessibility.
One major feature of this game is its debates feature in and out of the court. In a twist on the traditional Otome formula to promote the judicial themes, arguments occur intermittently to dialogue. These show up both in and outside of court scenes in the form of turn-based battles reminiscent of traditional RPG’s. After playing the tutorial, you begin to unlock cards that have different classifications of spoken response to defending NPC’s. By strategizing and utilizing the game’s weakness triangle, you wear out opponents in verbal debate. This breaks up the novel sections very nicely and don’t feel overtly gimmick-y.
Of course, it’s hard for any game to be completely without some weaker points. Largely, Tears of Themis suffers from its gacha mechanics sprinkled throughout. The sheer amount of in-game currency types is overwhelming. While most kinds that forward play do reallocate over time, you may hit a wall if you want to enjoy a longer session. Still, many of the microtransaction-based elements come in the form of cards for debates. These depict special story scenes and make bouts easier. It’s unfortunate that a studio that makes an embarrassment of riches in its other projects feels the need to monetize every outing on a platform.
Tears of Themis is a lovely game despite its hang ups. The characters are all beautifully drawn and unique in personality. Environments are richly depicted and rendered mostly in 3D, adding depth to what is normally a flat style of game. Above all, the writing is well done and will keep you engaged throughout your various, flustered encounters with others in the Stellis criminal justice system. If you’re looking for something that you want to play in bursts episodically, take the time on Tears of Themis. You never know, maybe this time you’ll be found guilty- guilty in the case of love (and blushing in social interactions with a childhood friend, but I digress).
Is It Hardcore?
Despite a few hang ups with gacha mechanics surrounding the in-game “combat,” Tears of Themis is a really enjoyable game. Its gameplay variety and style set it apart from other titles within the genre and gives players a lot to do in a unique world.