20 people found this review helpful
2
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 15.0 hrs on record
Posted: Mar 1 @ 2:55am
Updated: Mar 1 @ 2:59am
Product received for free

“The more you know about the world, the more insignificant your own existence becomes as you realize the world is a rolling boulder and we are ants in its path.”
-Michael

♪ Sing your song, little Sparrow 𓅪 Spin those tales of heroic deeds and tragedy.

Story Synopsis
A young alchemist lives in Anemone Valley, a small mining town. They work in an alchemy shop as an apprentice with an older woman named Elizabeth, who seems to be their guardian, although not by blood. As the player, you take on the role of this alchemist. You can choose from a few choices on how they look.

The alchemist gets involved with a spirit named Mime, who accidentally binds their souls together when the alchemist stumbles on a demon trying to hurt her, and gets killed for it. Mime brings the alchemist back to life, but at the cost of being bound together, which is taboo.

From the moment the alchemist and Mime are bound together, they begin to meet others who, originally on their own journeys, decide to join in on the adventure to help the town and stop it from getting overrun by demons. These 4 characters are romanceable, although the romance is extremely light.

I honestly slogged my way through this game over a few months. The story is really slow to build up and doesn’t feel like all that much really happens aside from a few scenes. It was only towards the end that it picks up some speed…and then just ends kind of abruptly. I did enjoy the banter between each character in the group though and each of them did grow on me. It was about the only thing that had me going. The ending options you get for the major outcome at the climax, were honestly kind of disappointing. I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of any of them. I did like the little blurbs about what happens with your companions after the climax. You will need to play the game multiple times to see all the different outcomes, but for the major climax ending, if you make the right choices you can get the option to choose between them and save before choosing.

Companions
The companions and their interactions were probably the only decent thing about the game, aside from the art. You’ve got Victoria the former Demon Hunter who is working as a knight, Ann the Academy Mage who is traveling to work on their thesis to become a professor, Michael the Wild Mage who is traveling to look for information to prove that the government is corrupt, Kaidan the Outlander who is from the mountains/caves and is on a specific quest at the request of his people, and of course, Mime the Spirit who has amnesia and doesn’t remember who she is. There are a few other side characters, like Quinn the mage that runs the flower shop and is an important character. The others are all decent, except for Goldner. He’s an ass and gets what he deserves if you win the trial.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3170893846

Voice Acting
The voice acting was really hit or miss. Mostly miss most of the time. Which is a shame because I know some of these voice actors can do a really good job. My assumption was the direction they were given. There were just so many unnecessary pauses and they spoke so darn slow. I normally like to let the full voice lines play out in games before moving on, but I had to skip some of them at times. Luckily not everything in this game is voiced. There are certain scenes/lines that are fully voiced while others are partial with simple words/phrases being said. There is an option for the voice volume, so I’m assuming you can basically turn the voices off, but I refrained from doing so since there were some well-spoken lines.

Art
The art is the only other thing that stands out for this game. The style for it is quite unique and is nice to look at. The character sprites have a certain glow to them based on their environment. If there’s a warm, orange light of a tavern nearby, a part of the character sprite is lit up by that orange. If it’s dark, the character sprite is dimmer and not as bright as it was during the day. Kaidan, due to being an Outlander, has neat glowing tattoos that also change between dim and bright and even colors based on his emotions, although I only remember it changing to one other color.

Choices & Puzzles
Having the option for different personality choices to choose from was actually really neat and cool, and you even get to know which ones you’ve been choosing on the save screen.I enjoyed seeing what my character's personality was like at the end. In case you’re curious, I ended up with: Kind, Faith, Acceptance, Confidence, Reason, Despair (honestly wasn’t a fan of the Despair versus Vengeance choice…neither really seemed to fit for me).

The puzzles do break up the gameplay some, but it gets incredibly repetitive and boring fast. Some of the instructions for the alchemy puzzle aren’t quite clear either, especially when it comes to the volatile ingredients. I honestly wish there had been an autoskip function for these puzzles, especially for subsequent playthroughs.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3170892110


Game Options
It's a shame that there’s not more quality of life options. There is a history log, an auto advance and a fast forward option. There’s no rewind option to go back to a previous line and the fast forward option skips everything. It doesn’t matter if you have read that line previously or not, it will skip past it. That makes going back to replay the game for certain scenes, not very fun in my opinion. I don’t want to spend my time trying to find the specific lines I haven’t seen yet if I can’t skip what I’ve already seen. I fast-forwarded through the game a second time to get Michael’s romance since he was who I was originally most interested in (I went with Kaidan the first time), and only stopped to read those parts specifically. I had originally wanted to do the same for Victoria and Ann, but after what felt like forever doing Michael, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. Michael’s romance was worth it to go through it again at least, even if it was an incredibly small part.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to recommend this game, which is why I’m giving it the thumbs down. If Steam allowed me, I would give it more of a neutral review. I think the story just isn’t there to keep you interested and engaged. The writing is well done, The characters are endearing and the art is great, but the plot is not up to par to keep someone playing. If I wasn’t such a completionist, I would have dropped this game real quick. The romance was so disappointing and it’s a shame that there is no CG gallery for those kiss CGs or even a way to hide the UI, as there are some cute sprite interactions at the end that I’d love a more clear view of.

I will say I’m a bit intrigued about the sequel and what all it will entail. It seems it’ll take place 7 years after this game and we will learn some more information that we didn’t get during this game (including who Mime exactly is), but I’m not a fan of not learning all information in one game and are to be left for sequels. The reason for this is sometimes sequels never make it out of development (or even make it into development) and I am also uncertain if I will get the sequel or not at this point. I’m hopeful that maybe the writers/devs have learned from this game and can take the great writing they had for the characters and choices and put that into a more interesting and intriguing plot that keeps the player engaged. I’ll definitely keep a look out when the sequel releases and make a decision then based on reviews.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=3170899227

Key was provided by the developer to Otome Lovers for review purposes.

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