Hello all! It’s been such a long time since I’ve written a game review, but I’ll stick as close as possible to my original review style.
Here’s reviewing an otome game after so long… and it’s a complete disappointment, saved only by its efforts into sprite animations and beautiful GUI.
First up, what is Period:Cube about? (non-spoiler)
To put it simply, it’s a lousy ripoff of Sword Art Online, otome style, complete with the part about dying in real life should you die in the game. The heroine finds her brother missing for an extended period and investigates with her childhood friend Hiroya. But all of a sudden, they are sucked into the game Arcadia which has a server known as ‘World V’ that has rumours of keeping people trapped in the game. Exactly ripping off SAO, the people trapped in World V are told to clear a dungeon in order to fully return to their lives in the real world. To do so, they have to collect and wield / clear the dungeon with 3 swords: a Holy sword, a Demon sword and Amadeus, God’s sword (the heroine). Therefore, the heroine (or you) becomes the target object of the game.
My main thoughts:
The setting of the game was definitely a problem. SAO achieved what it could because it connected to the nerves of the player with a headgear and we all know nerve/brain damage = death. But Period:Cube is based on some form of programming (unexplained) which cannot possibly cause death in real life simply based on entrapping souls in a server by transforming them into data. How the souls were transported via a monitor screen is unknown as well, and I’d say lazy writing was the problem here because the focus was on surviving in Arcadia and getting back out again – no one really cared how it happened.
There were plenty of roll eye / wtf moment caused by the lazy writing. Every route had a Good or Bad end, and in every bad end either the heroine Kazuha or the love interest goes mad by killing everyone for the sake of Period:Cube. Wait a moment, are there really no other ways to end the game other than a sudden whim of madness? The heroine or love interest is always fine up to that moment, where he/she suddenly decides that everyone getting killed for the sake of their love interest is totally ok, despite previously acting all righteous and good.
Literally every route goes this way: Heroine meets dude -> They go to one of the cities -> Somehow or rather they start liking each other and idk why -> The dude molests / sexually assaults Kazuha -> They go to the final dungeon -> Return to the real world or go mad.
It was like playing 7 different routes of the same damn thing. The grinding was real.
The reactions of the heroine and her childhood friend upon being sucked into World V were also ghastly. As expected of any regular Otomate heroine, she doesn’t question why things happened to her or judges her next move, but simply accepts being sucked into the game like the staff at Tesco telling her that S’mores were sold out. Kay. The heroine is typical of lazy writing and fluid characterisation where phrases such as “You’re so cute” “You’re so kind” “You’re too sweet for your own good” delights her and forms the main romance elements of the romance adv. Surely sixteen-year-olds are not that stupid. Get a grip, Otomate!
I call BS on the romance which was composed mainly of her being molested / sexually advanced upon various times in the game by different love interests. She doesn’t give two hoots though, and ends up apologising or loving her abuser. Wait, what? I thought we were all over Dialovers already?
Another issue that stood out was how they were able to accept mini quests which when cleared, would allow them to go back to the real world for a few hours or a day, but no one speaks of being trapped in World V in the real world. NO ONE. The premise is that everyone fears being watched by the creator of Arcadia and there are rumours that they get killed if found out that they speak about World V in real life but no one has enough mental capacity to find roundabouts like writing notes, or realising that there is no omnipotent god in their real world. But hey, this isn’t Deathnote. It’s Otomate.
The story gets even more ridiculous with the appearance of a “Librarian” (Kanrinin) who looks after the Akashic Records. (The Akashic Records are the energetic records of all souls about their past lives, the present lives, and possible future lives. Each soul has its Akashic Records, like a series of books with each book representing one lifetime. The Hall (or Library) of the Akashic Records is where all souls’ Akashic Records are stored energetically.) – akashicrecordsofsouls.com
Wait, wtf, I thought we were talking about getting trapped in a game?! Where the hell did all these “traverse your soul” stuff come from?!
Art: Kuroyuki has definitely improved since BWS. Period Cube has many more poses instead of the side head dip poses that Kuroyuki is known for. CGs were great and the art suited the overall theme of the game.
The sprites were also animated with moving hair swaying in the wind and moving mouths to match the voices. Backgrounds were also animated wherever they could.
Interface: I loved this the most out of the whole game. The interface was just gorgeous, and day evening and night would give you a different background on the title screen, with poyo poyo flying around in the background if you stuck around too long on the options. The attention to the little details that match the theme of the game is something I really commend the creators for!
Music: 8/10 Contains typical rpg elements and has a good range of both dark and light/funny tunes. But none of them stood out much to me, except that they were pleasant tunes.
There are two main elements to the game: Amadeus gauge and Love meter. Amadeus gauge filled up during battles and served as a way to divide the routes (E.g, if you ran away from the monster you’d meet Radius and if you used the harp you’d meet Astrum). Pretty good thinking there.
My play sequence: Hiroya -> Radius -> Astrum -> Demento -> Zain -> Libera -> Poyo Poyo
I think it really doesn’t matter which route you play first, since the same information is swallowed and spat out again by different characters in every route. Poyo Poyo though, is locked until you finish the other 6 characters.
Completely uninteresting for me with very done-to-death love story elements and sexual assault. Some people will say that pushing a girl down against her will and licking her knees + undoing her shirt buttons does not equate to sexual assault because she simply closed her eyes and asked him to stop. But she said NO. I heard it!
But then, she actually apologises to him for not relying on him more and hurting him – are you #$%&-ing out of your mind, girl?!
While it doesn’t go any further than that, I was extremely disappointed with this scene and surprised to find that in a Otomate game. Doesn’t this kind of mentally unsound, rape-fantasy thing come from Rejet?
Additional fun fact: Hiroya tells her to shut up and she apologises and does, for real. Wow. I cannot. Someone please slap this girl awake and tell her to stop disgracing the female population. [Enters more feminist rage]
I moved on quickly from this tasteless route, wanting to get to Radius’, Astrum and Zain’s route quickly.
He is the Kirito of Period:Cube, the solo dude with a sought-after sword who refuses to party up with anyone and prefers to conquer dungeons on his own. A typical kuudere who randomly falls in love with the heroine because she is the heroine, I really liked Radius’ in-game character, but they had to spoil his real-life character by making him an idol/model in RL. I don’t know why they had to destroy a route that could have gone well. Like all other routes, this one was also filled with superficial romance and honeyed words that really don’t make up 99.999999% of real life romances out there. Moving on!
This was the route I enjoyed the most. A rare character in Otomate stories and standing out amongst the other crappy characters of this game, Astrum capitalises on ‘gap moe’. In the game, he is a confident, suave leader of the Angels, and who holds the Holy Sword. In real life though, he is a bespectacled guy with an inferior complex to the heroine’s brother who speaks in the most amusing way – Sakurai was a great choice for this character. This ‘gap’ made for alot of comedy in his route and a real enjoyment of the love interest for once, though how Astrum and Kazuha ended up liking each other is still a huge mystery. I also liked the conclusion of the game, where things was solved by Astrum’s nerd genius in the real world instead of in-game like all the other routes. It was refreshing. Also, bonus points for the lack of hentai attacks, apart from the hand-kissing thing, which was meant to give Astrum a more princely feel rather than that of a sexual predator like all the other guys are.
Too short, badly written, why does it even exist – After Astrum’s chapter 5, it branches off into Demento’s route, meaning you only get to see 2 chapters of Kazuha with Demento. Can we add on the fact that all she sees him do is kill people? But she falls in love with him anyway? But they still return to the real world and end up as lovers? I don’t get it. I really don’t.
The most ridiculous route of all, after Demento. I really liked the premise of having an NPC as a love interest since it would mean something about Kazuha and Zain being in different worlds eventually, since he is but data and pixels. But the writer destroyed this route entirely by having Demento’s soul/data mix with Zain’s, allowing Zain to live as Demento in the real world, taking over his name and part-time job… but keeping Zain’s own face. Wtf?! Add on Zain’s random bursts of cray we see throughout his route and sticking his hand into Kazuha’s chest to implant his feelings into her… Albeit creative when expressing the ‘madness’ in this route, the good ending was a huge, huge let down. Needless to say, the bad ending was like any other, killing everyone else and leaving only Zain and Kazuha alive inside the game. Sigh.
Sorry what happened here? I had it on auto-run and force skip the entire time. Next!
I expected less from this route with its crazy Oniichan romance and also since we knew in every other route that he was the mastermind of Arcadia, but it was better than I thought. Not the romance, but the endings. Every other route focused on how the couple lived either in the bad or good end, but this route showed some interaction with the other characters in both ends, which I felt was nice as a wrap-up for the game.
However. There is always a however. The sexual assaults in this route was much worse than the other routes. The heroine’s brother actually molested her every night as she slept and the heroine would never wake up to know it. That’s typical of our dumb self-insert heroines.
I have nothing more to say about this except that this game would suit people who are huge fans of Dialovers and the seiyuus. This game would have been much better if they took out certain elements like the sexual assault and Librarian for the Akashic Records, and of course, rewrite the heroine’s personality. She is a huge nightmare.
I was pretty interested in Cendrillion Papika untik the word ‘Oniichan’ came up, and pretty interested in Pio Fiore until the word ‘Mafia came up, so I’ll probably skip those for a while unless they have a mini game system, since I have lots of games to last me. I’m not expecting much from Otomate anymore and have honestly gotten kinda tired of romance games so I’ll be moving on to other games as I clear my otoge backlog in-between.
Next, I’ll be playing a game where a brother avenges the murder of his sister in a ‘voting game’. I’ve finished the prologue so far and I really like it! Finally something stimulating my brain for once! Though, just let me add- the smart hero of the game just shows how sexist Japan is, with the whole male=smart hero protecting others and female=bumbling idiot characterisation.
Please look forward to my review of the murder game!