What is Otome Exactly?
The Kabuki Phantom: Otome Game created by Genius Inc. developers known for a vast catalog of well-crafted Otome games. Genius delivers on their promise to its fanbase in creating yet another original Otome game with this latest entry. With an original story and stunning graphics, The Kabuki Phantom will make you raise your standards on visual novels. Genius Inc. also raises expectations of the Otome genre in general. Wait a second, what is an Otome game? I’ve never heard of that term. If you have your knowledge of Japanese culture is unmatched.
Otome games which translate into “maiden games” is a very popular game genre in Japan that’s primarily marketed towards women. The protagonist is usually a female who explores a colorful cast of male love interests over the course of an interactive digital novel. The Otome genre when done well is character driven and often expresses deep themes covering suggestive or traumatic story arcs.
A Stunning Visual Novel
You’re deep in despair and have fallen into a rut after finishing college. Your cool and generous uncle invites you to apprentice at his kabuki playhouse in Tokyo. Excited to try something new and get out of your rut, you quickly agree to apprentice at your uncle’s theater. You suddenly find yourself swept up in the colorful world of Japanese dance-drama along with your new colleagues. The story revolves around the romance of two handsome actors and the theater’s stern manager, who often questions your choices.
The Kabuki Phantom is not only well written but it is localized in a cohesive way. The twists and turns the story takes you on are something that will even impress a person with a creative writing degree. Not only is the art stunning, but the music is done in a way that makes you feel as if you are in a kabuki theater in Japan. However, The Kabuki Phantom is not all dance sequences and romantic ideas.
Mobile Gaming Woes
In any story-based game, the flow and pacing of the story are key Unfortunately, The Kabuki Phantom is a game that hides the best parts of its story behind a gem and story ticket-infused paywall. During a climactic part of the game, for example, Izumi, a character that I was attached to asked me a question and the game offered three dialogue choices. The dialogue option I wanted required gems I did not have at that moment. My option was to pick a dialogue choice I did not want or pay real-life money to unlock an extra part of the story.
In a story-driven game like The Kabuki Phantom, this disrupts the flow of the story and if you like more than one character it will cost you money. The other part that disrupted the story are tickets, another in-game currency. To start a chapter, you need to pay for one ticket. That is fine in the beginning unless you’re a fast reader. You’ll be waiting for another ticket unless you want to pay real-life money to buy more tickets. Most mobile games have at least one currency but for a visual novel, it is really disheartening. The Kabuki Phantom feels like it should be at a set price rather than one that hides story elements behind various paywalls. Like any good play, don’t hide the best parts behind the curtains.
Is It Hardcore?
Not by any means
A stunning visual novel in which the developers often pull on the strings of your wallet, like a good antagonist of a well-crafted story.