Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadaeus~ is a fantasy/RPG Japanese otome game developed by Otomate. The game was released in Japan in 2016 for the PS Vita, prior to it’s English language release by Aksys Games on April 28th. I’d heard some mixed reviews about this game from folks who played the Japanese version, but I like to give games the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to major localizations and releases (Norn9 does not count)… Period Cube is a commercial release, full retail: $39.99 USD on Amazon (affiliate link), which isn’t all that bad for what the game has to offer, especially when importing the Japanese version is double, if not triple that amount.
I seriously thought I’d be done with Period Cube by now, I honestly hoped that I would be, but life has been getting in the way of my gaming. I’m still working my way through the game ( a full review is still a ways off), but I’ve already cleared four routes and I have more than a few thoughts about the game… namely, WTF is with this MC?!! Plus, it’s good to get my ranting out of the way now… There may be some spoilers, but since I’m still playing through the game, there shouldn’t be any major plot reveals…
- Genre: Sci-fi | Fantasy | Romance
- Platform: Amazon
- Developer: Otomate
“Searching for clues about your missing brother, you and your childhood friend Hiroya begin playing an online RPG called “Arcadia.”
You’re suddenly enveloped in a flash of light, and awaken to find yourself in a mysterious fantasy world. You discover you’ve been sent inside of the game, and learn that the only way out is to complete it. In a deadly world on the verge of collapse, you become the “Almighty,” the key to clearing Arcadia, and the secret weapon everyone is after.
You and your companions undertake a perilous journey, where love grows as the world falls apart.”
I’m probably not the first person to say this, nor will I be the last, but this game gave me some serious Sword Art Online vibes. A bunch of gamers get trapped in an RPG and in order to save themselves must clear a ridiculously hard multilevel dungeon full of Nintendo hard monsters and bosses. There’s even the bit about the characters being unconscious in the real world while their minds are schmoozing it up in the virtual game world…
The game might as well be called Sword Art Online: The Otome, just trade game savvy protagonist Kirito for a Mary Sue Heroine without even the most basic game knowledge, and it’s the same damn thing! But, it’s cool, I’m not mad, nope, because I was cool with the premise, it’s nice to see an otome game that deals with something other than samurai and ninjas (though I do love me some smexy samurai and ninjas) so + 1 for originality!
Kazuha Hanamiya (The Heroine)
However, the one thing I could not in good conscience overlook or excuse was the MC, Kazuha… WHAT THE WHOLE FUCK?! I have played otome games with “weak” MCs, and in the grand scheme of things, Kazuha isn’t the worst otome game heroine, but sweet christmas, I’d be lying if I said she didn’t make me want to bash my head against a wall during some of the routes. She is in high school, so a lot of her naivete is due to her age, but goddamnit is it too much to ask for an MC that has a bit more backbone? World experience? Can tie her own damn shoes? I mean, really, I don’t ask for much, just, you know, substance.
I wanted to like her, believe me, I did, she’s not horrible and I found her perseverance in the face of adversity commendable, but she was about as vanilla as they get. Every boy in the game practically throws themselves at her and all she does is blush and sputter…. but her outfit is cute….
But, that wasn’t the end of my MC woes, not by a long shot! I could almost forgive her for being a Mary Sue, but I could not stand her complete and utter lack of gaming knowledge. I get not knowing about games, I get having to learn the mechanics and whatnot, that’s normal.
But, what I can’t stand by is the fact that this MC lacks even the most basic knowledge of video games, to the point that I had to wonder if Iffy and Aksys were making some kind of ass backwards commentary about women in games. Like homegirl didn’t even know what a player was, and God forbid she has to help in a fight… I don’t think my eyes have ever rolled so far back in my head before… just wow. Some routes portray her better than others, but as a whole Kazuha just broke my heart.
The Love Interests
There are a total of six male love interests in this game and they range from, “LOVE OF MY LIFE, MARRY ME NOW!” to “This is an abusive relationship” to “UMMMM, No thank you, I’ll just stay single”, but when the MC has the personality of a wet tissue, you kind of have to over compensate somewhere. So far I’ve made it through four routes (Astrum, Hiroya, Demento, and Libera), I would have been farther in the game by now, but I made the mistake of playing Demento’s route early on and I needed a few days to recover.
Out of all of the routes I’ve completed, I have to say that my boy Astrum is hands down my favorite, he had me at “EEP”. Now, I’d be lying if I said my interest in him wasn’t at least partially based on the fact that he is the token megane character in the game, but as a whole, Astrum has one of the better routes in the game.
Unlike tons of tsun, Hiroya who flat out refuses to let the MC so much as lift a finger, Astrum actually lets the MC help out every now and again in battle, granted he does go out of his way to make sure that she is never in any real danger, but I’ll take what I can get. In Arcadia, Astrum is a capable leader and one of the top players in World V, but in the real world, he’s an awkward blushing mess, that gets winded when he talks too much. I’m giggling just thinking about it, because real world Astrum is so damn cute!!
But, I absolutely, positively, hated Demento’s route, in fact, I am still trying to figure out why they thought he even deserved a route in the first place…. glorified extra indeed! There were supporting characters that were more deserving of a route that that prick, but alas it was not to be… It’s funny, his route is only three chapters long and even that was too damn long!
I should have known there was going to be some bro-con in this from the start, I mean it’s kind of in the synopsis, but that doesn’t mean I was ready for what they threw at me. I have nothing against bro-con when it’s done right, but when the brother in questing is a sociopath, that drags innocent people into a virtual game so that he can sacrifice their souls… that’s where I draw the line. Perhaps I’ll like him more after I play his route, but as it stands…. *shakes head*
Art and Soundtrack
The art was done by the same artist that worked on the Black Wolves series of games and I have to say I really like the style. The character designs are much more lean and sleek, and the colors are softer, but still fairly vibrant. I really liked that there were animated sprites, it was a nice touch that added a bit of life to the characters. I mean, how cute is it that Hiroya’s wolf ears moved?! The CGs and animated backgrounds were lovely, though I will admit that compared with the character sprites, some of the CGs aged down the characters quite a bit *cough* Kazuha looks 12 *cough*
I wasn’t especially sold on the RPG aspects of the game though, rather than feeling like epic battle sequences, they used the same visual novel elements from the rest of the game. I guess I was expecting something closer to what we got with the Rhyme battles in DRAMAtical Murder. But, since those scenes didn’t make up much of the gameplay I suppose I can understand why they weren’t given as much attention.
I liked the soundtrack for the most part was light and airy, with a faster paced track during the battle sequences. Overall, I really liked the music in the game especially the opening and ending themes, but my favorites were the town themes since they had more of RPG feel than the chorus heavy tracks.
Alright, so the “final” verdict, for a major game release this is a solid game, most of the characters are likeable and even the characters that I didn’t care much for had their merits (except Demento, his route was a shit show from start to finish). The MC leaves much to be desired, but depending on which route your on, she can range from being a passable heroine to being a complete waste of space.
I liked that there were RPG elements and visual novel elements built into the gameplay, but I found the RPG battle sequences lacking. But, in contrast the visuals and soundtrack were stunning!
I’m looking forward to playing the second half of the game, though I will admit, I’m not looking forward to the brother’s route since he hasn’t left a very good impression on me in the other routes, but who knows my opinion has been known to change (not often, but it happens).