2017 is, without a doubt, the year of otome! There are lots of upcoming otome games to look forward to, some of which will be released this year and others of which have just been announced! With such a wide variety of romance-themed visual novels appearing on the market, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of my favourite upcoming otome games and make sure no otome fans miss out! All of these games have been picked up by English publishers, meaning English-speaking fans will be able to enjoy every single game listed below! Prepare to be spoilt by handsome bachelors, dazzling art and intriguing storylines!
For those of you who don’t know what an otome game is (and if so, where have you been all this time?), I’ll take a quick moment to explain the basics. An otome game features a female protagonist whose goal is to fall in love with one of the game’s various available bachelors. These games are usually aimed at women, but you would be wrong to think that men can’t enjoy the genre too! They tend to be depicted as visual novels with anime graphics, meaning progress is marked by selecting the right textual choice. They may also include stat-raising mechanics or mini games, depending on the game. They have multiple endings, one for winning the heart of each bachelor, and can have various age ratings from E (Everyone) to 18+. Feel free to check out my Top 10 English Otome Games from last year to get a better idea of this booming market.
Period Cube: Torikago no Amadeus
In search of your older brother’s whereabouts, you join the online RPG, “Arcadia” in search of clues. Having lost consciousness after being drawn into a mysterious light, you wake up within the game’s fantasy world! Confused and shaken by your strange yet familiar surroundings, you learn that the only way to escape this world of life-or-death is to clear the game. As the gameworld begins to crumble and fall apart, you gain the status of the “Shinken” (divine sword), key to clearing the game, and become targeted by hordes of enemies.
Visual novels with MMO themes have always been rather appealing to me. Even if you’ve never played one, many anime fans will be familiar with these online games through titles like Sword Art Online and Accel World, and indeed they prove to be very popular across the globe. Surprisingly, the heroine herself isn’t too familiar with the concept, which makes her godly powers and ineptitude at gaming pretty amusing. My only concern is whether the heroine’s lacklustre skills morph into something that can be considered annoying, such as a lack of common sense. The synopsis sounds highly interesting however and, so long as we get some decent characterisation to go with the handsomely drawn bachelors, should certainly be worth a playthrough.
Period Cube: Torikago no Amadeus is developed by Idea Factory and will be published in English by Aksys Games. A release date has been set for Spring 2017 for the PlayStation Vita.
Collar x Malice
“Who put this collar on me?”
The protagonist is a policewoman who works in Shinjuku, which had become a dangerous city after a series of brutal incidents popularly referred to as the “X-Day Incident”.
She had been busy working in her assigned area everyday in order to keep it safe. But one night, an unknown assailant attacked her and placed a collar built in with poison around her neck.
Amidst the chaos and right before the protagonist’s eyes were men with suspicious backgrounds. They’re all part of an organisation composed of former police officers and have taken it upon themselves to investigate the brutal cases.
Without knowing whether she should trust these men or not, she suddenly became the person who held the key to this massive case.
In order to remove the collar that places her at the edge of death and to liberate Shinjuku from the malice that binds it, she cooperates; beginning to investigate the incidents with the men.
Who holds her life in their hands?
Will Shinjuku ever return to its former glory?
Is anyone getting Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors flashbacks? A sudden urge to play Danganronpa? No? Just me? Collar x Malice appears to have a murderous, investigative edge to it. So long as the detective work doesn’t get too bogged down with dates and facts, having a serious mystery to solve should be an exciting experience. Having a policewoman protagonist also makes a welcome change from the more common high school heroine. Players will be able to romance a profiler, a swat team member, a secret service agent and other members of law enforcement while simultaneously trying to figure out who put such a deadly collar around their necks! Can any of these bachelors really be trusted?
Collar x Malice is developed by Idea Factory and will be published in English by Aksys Games. The game is set to release sometime this year for the PlayStation Vita.
Bad Apple Wars
Bad Apple Wars follows the story of a young girl who gets herself into a terrible accident on the way to her first day of school. Upon waking from her accident, she finds herself standing before NEVAEH Academy, a school for those whose souls were left behind after death. From there she must make a decision: Join the Delinquents or the Disciplinary Committee. Each group believes that upon graduation, you will be able to resume your old life. Both groups have a different means to that end, however, with the Delinquents believing that ‘death’ is another word for ‘graduation’. They purposely break the school rules in order to be expelled, a feat that can only be achieved by eating the ‘forbidden apple’, which is considered the ultimate school crime. The Disciplinary Committee subdue and punish delinquents. They believe that graduation can only be achieved through good behaviour and wear strange masks to hide their faces. With such radically different views, it is perhaps no wonder why the two groups are constantly at war.
Perhaps I’m still on a Fire Emblem Fates high, but the idea of a heroine suddenly having to choose between one group or the other sounds very thrilling! There also seems to be an Alice in Wonderland theme going around, with the heroine being greeted by a man wearing a rabbit head upon arriving at the academy (which hilariously had me thinking of Tony from Princess Debut). The contents of this game are rather bittersweet however, so you may need to bring a tissue or two when playing this game! So let’s see, an emotional story full of teenagers questioning the realities of life and death… Well, it worked for Persona, right? Just what could go wrong!
Bad Apple Wars is developed by Idea Factory and will be published in English by Aksys Games. It will release sometime this year for the PlayStation Vita.
Code: Realize Future Blessings
Code: Realize Future Blessings is the fan disc for Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~. It features after stories for the main cast and new routes for Herlock Sholmes and Finis! Code: Realize is an excellent otome game and indeed it is my favourite to be localised by Aksys Games so far. You can find my review of this wondrous steampunk game starring a strong heroine, here. Meet brand new characters and fall in love all over again with this much-needed continuation of a fantastic otome game!
Code: Realize Future Blessings is developed by Idea Factory and will be published in English by Aksys Games. It will release sometime this year for the PlayStation Vita.
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
A remastered telling of the beloved Hakuoki series that focusses on the story set in Kyoto.
Hakuoki was first developed and released in 2008. New players, as well as players that have grown with the franchise, can discover the beauty and richness of its story with new, innovative features all presented on the PlayStation Vita system.
Never-before-seen episodes and character routes have been added to the original version of the game, introducing more romanceable targets, new minor characters, and plenty of new paths to seek for yourself!
Take a glimpse into the world of Hakuoki, as it was originally intended!
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds contains the original Hakuoki game (of which you can read my review of here), plus plenty of bonus content. It showcases new character routes and more intriguing stories. If you are a fan of Hakuoki, then you definitely don’t want to miss out on this! Many fans have been holding onto hope that they might one day get to romance Shinpachi Nagakura, Susumu Yamazaki and Keisuke Sannan. Well, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds might finally provide those chances! Fingers crossed!
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds is developed by Idea Factory and will be published in English by Idea Factory International. It has a release date of Spring 2017 for the PlayStation Vita.
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome
Ema Tachibana is a tall, gloomy and unsociable girl with a bad case of resting bitch-face. With all that working against her, she’s never really had any friends. That didn’t really change when she started at a new school. Everyone kept their distance because they were scared of her.
But Ema herself was quite content with that state of affairs. She was all set to spend the rest of her time until graduation invisible as ever.
That is until two men turned her life upside down…
“I’ve finally found you. You are my… my one and only muse!”
Miki Hiraizumi—recently returned to Japan from abroad, he’s loved making clothes ever since he was a little kid. He has a strong desire to help make charming, unusual women shine. (Also a bit of a masochist.)
“Listen, you may be nothing but a little shrew right now, but even you have some potential to shine. I’ll just have to polish you up.”
And Saito Shinjou—he frequently finds himself bored because things have always come easy to him. He wants to find a way to do something so big, it’ll change the world. (He’s also a bit of a sadist.)
These two ambitious and attractive fellows decide to give Ema Tachibana a makeover!
“No… I’m not really interested…”
But Ema has other ideas.
After seeing that there is indeed a market for otome games (thanks to the success of Ozmafia, of which you can read my review of here), Manga Gamer is now treating otoge fans to their first 18+ otome game, Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome! This off-beat romantic comedy features two bachelors: A masochist fashion designer named Miki Hiraizumi and a sadistic photographer called Saito Shinjou. Ema Tachibana may be their muse, but she is far from happy about it! This funny, erotic visual novel is sure to provide plenty of laughs and some seriously heart pounding scenes! 18+ otome games are a bit of a rarity to the English market, which is even more of a reason to show your support and get excited for this one-of-a-kind otome!
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is developed by Kalmia8 and will be published in English by Manga Gamer. The 18+ version will be available to purchase through Manga Gamer’s website, whereas an All Ages version will be available to buy via Steam. It is hoped that the game will be released sometime this year.
The Bell Chimes for Gold
The heroine, Maria is a skilled herbalist.
She saved up money in order to get married with her master, but he ended up using the money to marry another woman, dumping the heroine.
He went as far as saying: “you can buy a man with the money you earn from your skill.”
This helped Maria decide what to do next.
“OK. If one can get a man with money, I will buy one and get married!”
Five men, who have fallen quite low, are available to her.
The difference from ordinary otome games is that the heroine has a lot of guts! She leads and helps the men get over their miserable situations.
The Bell Chimes for Gold is a unique otome game in that it features tough, middle-aged men. Although bachelors of an older generation are not unheard of in otome (D3 Publisher’s Pub Encounter would be a prime example of this), they are indeed uncommon, and usually still fit into the bishōnen stereotype of ‘slim beauties’. The creator of The Bell Chimes for Gold thus wanted to make something different, and indeed the differences do not stop at appearances alone. Not only does the game feature 18+ content (how amazing is it that we are getting two eroge otome games coming onto the English market?), but the story is far from a traditional otome fairy tale. All of the bachelors are in a lot of debt, and so you, as the heroine, come to their rescue by buying them out of their hardships! This is one business-savvy heroine, for sure! Choose between a naïve elf, an alcoholic swordsman, a thief with a gambling addiction, an aristocratic priest and a perverted necromancer to find your happily ever after!
The Bell Chimes for Gold is created by Ossan Club, a Japanese indie developer. It has in the past tried to fund an English language localisation for the game through Indiegogo, but without success. The game was announced to be picked up by Sekai Project via twitter earlier this week however, meaning English-speaking fans will be able to enjoy the game soon! Sekai Project revealed The Bell Chimes for Gold as their ‘first game of our new otome game brand’ (I guess Creature Romances: ~for the Ladies~ is taking a bit of a backseat in this case), and assures fans that more information will be coming soon.
As the heroine of this Visual Romantic Novel, your journey begins as you wake up in a world of darkness. You have no memory of who you are or where you are. Confronted by a bizarre world, you begin to wander aimlessly, hoping that you might come across something to reawaken your memories. Suddenly, you feel a strange presence grabbing your legs, and you sprint away in fear. You wish for nothing more than to escape this world.
As you continue your journey, you encounter a handsome young man with a unfriendly attitude. He has also lost his memory entirely, except for the name “Alice,” by which he introduces himself. He then refers to you by the family name “Alice.” This young man does not show any interest in traveling with you, but you succeed in convincing him to accompany you.
The plot thickens as you stumble upon glowing crystals with reflective surfaces. As you touch one, it ignites into a bright glow. The light dies down, and before you appear the images of two staggeringly handsome young men, reflected on opposite sides of the crystal. Their names are “Cinderella” and “Red Riding Hood.” Alice requests that you select one, and your romantic adventure commences. Lead each prince through their unique storylines and lead them to fairy tale endings.
E2 Gaming announced last year that it will be bringing Taisho Alice to English-speaking fans. The company has been heavily criticised upon day one of the news, largely due to its lack of knowledge surrounding the otome fanbase and its poor presentation of the game. The above screenshots do little to ease the fears of fans, with localisation quality seeming to be a worrying issue. Nonetheless, the game itself sounds interesting and features some lovely art. It is my hope that, after a few more dedicated checks made by E2 Gaming (which I also hope is the reasoning behind Taisho Alice’s delayed release date), otome fans will receive an entertaining visual novel with little flaws.
Taisho Alice is set to release March this year. Developed by Primula, all four of the game’s titles will be released in English by E2 Gaming for the PC.
During the Sengoku Period the two main factions of ninja clans, Iga and Kōga, warred against each other for decades.
In the year 1593, Nobunaga Oda started the Tenshō Iga war, decimating most of the Iga ninjas in the process.
The very few that survived were absorbed into the Kōga clan, despite their past rivalries.
After 17 years the Sengoku Period finally came to an end, and Japan was unified.
Enju (Protagonist), daughter of Kandō Ueno, the Head of the Kōga clan, spends her days training diligently in hope of becoming a full-fledged ninja like her peers.
At long last she is assigned to her first mission, but finds herself caught in a dark conspiracy――.
Fans of Hakuoki and Ninja Love are sure to be intrigued by this latest otome game from D3 Publisher: Nightshade. It features five ninjas whose character designs are created by Teita, an artist well known for her role in the otome game, Norn9 Var Commons (of which you can read my review of here). Play as Enju, a diligent daughter of the Kōga clan, whilst pursuing one of five available bachelors and uncovering a dark truth!
Nightshade is developed by Red Entertainment Corporation (also known for developing Kenka Banchou Otome) and will be published in English by D3 Publisher. Originally created for the PlayStation Vita in Japan, the English version of Nightshade will be released for the PC via Steam. It has a release date of springtime this year.
I think we can all agree that there are many great otome games currently in the pipeline! It is also worth mentioning that, along with well-known localisation companies bringing us sensational new visual novels to play, smaller indie developers are also spreading the otome love with their own upcoming releases. For example, Spirit Parade by Lettuce Waltz, Purrfectly Ever After by and Weeev and Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem by Azalyne Studios are all highly polished otome games that I personally cannot wait for! You should definitely check them out if you haven’t already! With so many otome games on the horizon, otome fans will soon be spoilt for choice! Let’s hope that this otome momentum carries on well into next year, and that fans continue to show their support by purchasing the games and letting publishers know we appreciate all their efforts!
- Chess of Blades is on Kickstarter! - June 9, 2017
- Top 5 Bizarre English Otome Games - June 5, 2017
- Upcoming English Otome Games You Don’t Want to Miss! - January 15, 2017