7’scarlet is a mystery otome game and one of the most recent localizations to make its way Stateside. The game follows Ichiko Hanamaki, a college student whose brother disappeared a year prior to the start of the game while visiting the town of Okunezato. While investigating the town, Ichiko and her childhood friend Hino stumble upon a strange website detailing several mysteries surrounding the town and decide to participate in an online meetup hosted by a few of the site’s members. Once in Okunezato, Ichiko and Hino meet the rest of the Okunezato Supernatural Club and begin investigating the strange goings on in the town. But, when a series of mysterious deaths began to take place, the town’s dark past is slowly revealed.
When I picked up 7’scarlet, I wasn’t expecting to stick with it as long as I did, let alone finish the damn thing. I fully intended on just playing one route and tucking the game safely back into my backlog. Sadly, the route I was most interested in playing is the second to last route in the game (I’m not including the True End or the Secret Route). Pro tip: A sure fire way to get me to play all the way through a game is to stick the megane routes at the end of the game. So, I powered through all the routes until I could finally romance the bespectacled hottie of my dreams and by that point I figured why not just go balls out and finish the game. Now that I have that coveted PSN 7’scarlet Completion trophy, I’m ready to give my thoughts on the game.
- Genre: Mystery | Suspense | Romance
- Available: PS Vita and Steam
- Cost: $39.99
- Similar Games: Code Realize | Psychadelica series
The remote town of Okunezato is shaped like a crescent moon and shrouded in dark myths and legends. Take on the role of a brave young woman journeying into the unknown to uncover dangerous truths and locate her missing brother with her childhood friend. They find the area rife with mystery and populated by intriguing characters, each harboring their own hidden motivations. Encounter heart-racing twists and turns as you dig deeper into the story.
You’ll explore the town caged by nature, Okunezato, and learn its many legends and folklores, and you’ll help your friend Kagutsuchi Hino discover the mystery behind the disappearance of her older brother. Follow the footsteps of Kagutsuchi’s older brother in 7’scarlet.Synopsis
In 7’scarlet there are five potential love interests and one secret love interest. Each route deals with the overarching mystery elements of the game to varying degrees with the earlier routes focusing more on romance and the latter routes focusing on the Revenants and the mysteries surrounding Okunezato. Suggested play order is as follows:
Hino → Isora → Toa → Sosuke → Yuzuki → Toa’s True End → Hanate (Secret Ending)
Hino… Hino… Hino… you were doomed from the start, since I hate childhood friend routes! Hino is Ichiko’s childhood friend, who has spent the past X amount of years harboring a one-sided love for our clueless heroine. He’s athletic, playing for their college’s futsal (soccer on a hard court) team, because of this he has an enormous appetite and can usually be found stuffing his face. He’s a nice enough guy, but, he’s about as generic an otome love interest as you can get. He gets jealous easily, especially when anyone gets close to his future waifu and he’s just an all around average joe schmoe hero type.
His route doesn’t really go into the revenant plotline at all save for a few passing mentions here and there, but, they do attempt to investigate Ichiko’s brother’s disappearance, with mixed results. His route focuses more on the crazed killer that has his sights set on Ichiko, which parallels a similar incident that happened when they were kids. Apparently, Ichiko is a danger magnet, so when she was a kid, she and Hino wandered into the lair of a local serial killer, who snatches Ichiko and tells baby Hino to shoot him or else he’ll snap her neck. Hino pisses his pants and onii-chan has to step in and save the day. The incident has left Hino with a fear of guns so it would only stand to reason that his route would end with the exact same situation, because why be original when you can just rehash the same stuff over and over again? This route was a mess really, and a lot of loose ends were left hanging by the end of it, but, Hino get’s the girl so I suppose it wasn’t a total loss…
The only thing I hate more than childhood friend romances are fucking yanderes! So already, 7’scarlet is 0 for 2… Isora is the jail bait chef of the Fuurinkan Hotel and a resident of Okunezato. I will give credit where credit is due, compared with Hino’s route, Isora actually started off just fine. He’s a friendly (albeit a little too flirty) guy who single-handedly runs the Fukurin Cafe because Yuzuki is
too cheap to hire anyone else such an ass that he fired everyone else. When he was a kid his parents owned a popular restaurant in town, that flourished until the Murakumo’s shut down the hot spring industry in town and forced several business to go under. With the restaurant gone, his parents were forced to work for the Murakumo family at the Fuurinkan Hotel, until his dad died and his mom worked her self to… sickness? So now, Isora is working in their place to help pay his mother’s mounting hospital bills despite his loathing for the Murakumo’s and everything they stand for…
Ichiko is once again the target of a crazed serial killer, but, unlike Hino, Isora takes a more hands on approach. Now, this is where Isora gives Toma from Amnesia a run for his money… After Ichiko is attacked by the killer, Isora kidnaps her and takes her to an underground bunker he’s fitted with all the comforts of home, save windows. He keeps her locked up for days, weeks, months… the timeline is kind of screwy only visiting in the morning, afternoon, and evening to cook her delicious meals and check on her injuries. She literally has no contact with the outside world and anytime she asks about the world outside, Isora gets really defensive and controlling. I don’t like yanderes at the best of times, but, Isora really takes the cake and of course at the end of it all everything is forgiven… because TRUE FUCKING LOVE…
I really wasn’t expecting to like Toa all that much, quiet, shy guys aren’t my thing and not even my love of megane men was enough to change that. Then throw in his Hannah Montana routine and I was prepared to write this one off as just average. Famous person masquerading as a regular Joe Schmo is an otome staple and let’s be real those Clark Kent glasses aren’t fooling anyone. But, despite my ambivalence, I found myself really drawn to Toa, he’s unassuming, courteous, and even with his popstar persona, A-TO, just a really down to earth guy and his love of cats is just so precious. Which given the trainwrecks that were Hino and Isora’s routes, was like a breath of fresh air. Like Hino’s and Isora’s routes you don’t really delve too deeply into the Revenant plot line, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t a few breadcrumbs sprinkled here and there… it’s only after you play the True Ending that Toa’s route really kicks off.
Spoiler Thoughts on Toa’s Route (Click to reveal)
Now this was the character I was most looking forward to, megane characters are my bias and I fully admit to that and Sosuke Tatehira is like my ultimate megane man; dark hair, intelligent, glasses… Visually he’s perfect. This is one of the best routes in the game, Sosuke is doesn’t feature as prominently in the previous three routes so we really don’t know all that much about him other than he’s a medical student and that he’s kind of a nerd. So there’s this mystery surrounding him that serves as a great complement to the other mystery elements of the story. We go into his route with the same amount of information Ichiko does and as we progress through the story we learn more and more about him and how he fits in with everything else. The relationship builds slowly, developing naturally from start to finish, you really believe that Ichiko and Sosuke are falling in love with one another. However, the romance plays second fiddle to some pretty big revelations surrounding the Revenants and the mysteries of Okunezato.
Toa’s route was like the preamble to the Revenant heavy routes, still relatively light (True ending notwithstanding) but with just enough mystery to remind you that there’s more going on under the surface. In Hino and Isora’s routes the Revenants were little more than a background threat with little to no bearings on the rest of the plot, Sousuke’s route is where shit really hits the fan. We finally start getting answers about the secret goings on of the city, including the Murakumo’s vigilance committee who are actually a front for a group of murder zombie hunters called the Ensepulchers. This route definitely goes a long way in making up for the lack of information in the previous three routes with an endless stream of info dumps and plot reveals. But, even better than that, we see Ichiko taking an active role in the story, the events of the story aren’t just happening to her, she’s an active participant working alongside her chosen beau to get to the bottom of the murder mysteries plot.
Yuzuki is the owner of the Fuurinkan Hotel and the heir apparent to the Murakumo dynesty… and he’s a bit of an ass, he’s cold and detached and he and his family are directly responsible for most if not all of the secret goings on of the city. Both Toa and Isora harbor deep grudges against him and his family and given the way he treats everyone early on it’s no wonder he’s so hated. On top of that he is openly hostile to Ichika in just about every route of the game. He’s an absolute monster, through and through… I fully expected to hate his guts too, but, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yuzuki is actually the sweetest character in the game, he puts the safety of others before himself, even if that makes him out to be the bad guy.
Sosuke’s route kicked off the more mystery heavy storylines, but, Yuzuki’s route is where everything escalates. Sousuke’s route was very much an outsider looking in, on the secrets surrounding the Revenants, the Ensepulchers, and Okunezato; however, because both Sousuke and Ichiko are considered “outsiders” there are distinct limitations on how far their investigations can go. Yuzuki on the other hand is at the center of everything. As the son and heir of the the Murakumo head, he pretty much knows everything going on in Okunezato. It doesn’t take long for the plot to hit the ground running as Ichiko is drawn to Yuzuki because he appears to know more about her brother’s disappearance than he’s letting on… and boy does he ever. This route ties together just about everything we’ve learned in the previous four routes, but takes it to another level, filling in the gaps and tying up loose ends.
Hanate Yatsukami aka Hanate Hanamaki aka Onii-chan, is Ichiko’s missing older brother and the McGuffin that kickstarts the plot. A year prior to the game, Hanate traveled to Okunezato and seemingly vanished off of the face of the earth, heartsick, Ichiko and Hino make their way to the town in hopes of discovering what happened to Hanate. At the conclusion of most of the previous routes he is assumed to be dead because there is literally no trace of him, so Ichiko skips off into the sunset with her chosen love interest and Hanate is forgotten. However, unknown to everyone, Hanate is in fact alive and like Toa a Revenant that has been masquerading as Ichiko’s brother for years under the guise of protecting her from wayward Revanents that might attack her. Apparently Ichiko is the Bella Swan of 7’scarlet, her life force is especially attractive to Revenants… they explain that she is their Ambrosia or Albino for short. Killing her grants a Revenant everlasting life, which explains why her life has been in danger in just about every other route in the game.
I don’t know what it is about otome games and brothers… but, seriously, 7’scarlet is yet another game that ends with a little brocon luv… *sigh* So, let’s start with the positives: this route reveals everything. We learn EVERYTHING, about the Revenants, the Ensepulchers, the secrets of Okunezato, Ichika’s brother, and of course Ichika herself. This route wraps everything up in a nice neat bow, so if you have been itching to get to the bottom of the mystery side of things then this is the motherload. I’m not a fan of brother complexes at the best of times (part of the reason I’ve been dragging my feet with Period Cube), so you can imagine just how much I enjoyed this particular incest-y route. And before anyone says it, I am aware that he isn’t her blood related sibling. HOWEVER, that doesn’t excuse the fact that he is a thousands of year old murder zombie pretending to be her dear sweet onii-chan gets a pass for him perving on a young girl. I don’t care how romantic you try to make it. Thankfully he and the rest of the murder zombies die at the end of the game and everyone’s memories get wiped, so I’m not forced to sit through anymore icky bro (not-bro) incest romance plot.
Depending on how invested you are in the mystery plotline will more or less determine your enjoyment of each route. I enjoyed the routes that had a better balance of romance and the Revenant storyline, whereas the routes that completely ignored the Revenant plotline were a bit of a snooze-fest for me. But, all in all, I’m done with 7’scarlet, and as a whole it was a pretty solid game.
Overall Thoughts on 7’scarlet
The premise is pretty cool; Girl goes to town to find brother, gets sucked into some crazy small town creepy shit and either A) decides to say fuck it to the creepy shit and choose love with a super hot stranger or B) delve into the mysteries of the town and continue looking for her probably dead brother… and also find love with a super hot stranger.
You realize pretty early on that there is some pretty shady shit going on in Okunezato, since everyone seems pretty tight lipped about anything having to do with the town’s history and most folks seem pretty wary of strangers. So, you can only imagine how excited the denizens of Okunezato are to have a bunch of 20 somethings snooping around asking questions about missing persons and possible cover ups. It doesn’t take long for the town heads to catch wind of the Scooby Gang and try to shut them down, but, for the most part they are largely ignored until a string of mysterious murders start happening and that’s what really kick starts the the plot. Some believe the murders are the work of a crazed serial killer, while others believe that the murders are caused by Revenants, and no this is not the 2015 epic that finally got Leo is Oscar…
In Okunezato, there is a legend that says that once a year at the end of the rainy season, the dead come back to life, so, you know zombies. But, there’s a twist, unlike the more traditional “need brains” zombies, Revenants are normal in almost every way the only catch is their unquenchable desire to kill people and not in the way you’d expect a zombie to murder someone. Rather, Revenants use conventional means to kill their prey; drowning, stabbing, choking, etc. So, these murder zombies appear in town once a year and go on a free for all killing spree, unless they are taken out by the town’s vigilance committee, a group of zombie hunting ninjas. Everyone seems to know about this, but most of the town just thinks it’s the stuff of legend and dismiss the notion that murder zombies are real. Spoiler alert, they’re real.
Though each route deals with the Revenants differently. The first two routes (Hino and Isora) completely ignore the Revenant storyline focusing more on finding out more about Ichiko’s brother and fending off this guy that keeps trying to kill Ichiko (no big deal or anything). While the last three routes and the secret route delve more deeply into the secrets of the town and the Revenants (though in varying degrees). So if you’re interested in uncovering the truth about the murder zombies completing the game is a must, since no one route gives you the entire story.
Let me be clear right now, if I had stopped playing the game before the True End and Hanate’s route I’d have been a happy camper, but, no I just had to keep playing. The mystery elements are intriguing and I absolutely love how each route builds on the others revealing just enough to keep you on the hook until the big reveal at the end of the game. However, there were some plot elements that just fell flat for me like the surprise bro-con romance and the fact that Ichiko is like catnip for Revenants. But, those didn’t bother me as much since the pacing for everything was well done and the reveals were genuinely suspenseful. The idea of combining horror/mystery and romance is one that I wouldn’t expect from a mainstream otome game. Both elements were handled with the same care throughout the story, though I will readily admit that the earlier routes tended to favor the romance subplots while the latter routes delved more deeply into the mystery plot points.
While I enjoyed 7’Scarlet my feelings about the overall game are pretty mixed. There is no denying this is one of the more well rounded otome games out there. The mystery was well paced and definitely one of the highlights of the game and well worth the price of admission on it’s own and the romance in most routes was believable and developed organically. This was also complemented by the phenomenal voice cast and the equally powerful soundtrack.
There were a lot of great elements that really come together well, however, where 7’scarlet falls apart is in the Secret Ending. The bro-cest in the Secret Ending just kind of soured the entire experience for me. Then there’s the fact that the more interesting routes were locked at the start of the game. This isn’t uncommon, most mainstream otome games restrict the play order early on to retain a more linear overall narrative, but, seeing as the first two love interests were the boring ‘I’ve been in love with you my whole life’ childhood friend and the ‘I’m secretly a yandere’ pastry chef, 7’scarlet wasn’t off to the most exciting start. It get’s better, believe me it does, but, if you are like me and tend to leave games half finished, you’ll miss out on all the great things 7’scarlet has to offer. This is a game you have to finish.