Today marks the 20th Anniversary of Voltage Inc, the Japanese developer behind the popular Otome Romance line of mobile otome games. There have been many ups and downs over the years and some questionable choices by the company, but despite that, Voltage remains one of the leading producers of mobile otome games content.
Voltage was my first introduction into the wonderful world of Japanese otome and over five years later I still find myself going back their games again and again. There is something special about the characters and stories they create, each one with a charm all their own. They’ve since moved all their standalone apps to their Love 365: Find Your Story platform app, and they’re still releasing new titles. They’ve even ported two of their most popular games, Enchanted in the Moonlight and Star Crossed Myth to the Nintendo Switch and this is only the beginning…
So to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Voltage Inc. I wanted to go through their current line up of games and list out my 10 favorite Voltage Inc. Otome Romance titles. There are over 50 titles available in English, and more on the way… so, you can bet this it was hard to narrow it down to just ten. With 20 years of games to shift through, these are my favorite Voltage Inc. games!
I love, love, LOVE this game so much! A supernatural romance with the 12 gods of the zodiac, need I say more? The story follows the romance between a normal mortal woman and one of 12 gods sent to Earth to absolve their sins. Each of the main love interests is a god based on one of the 12 astrological signs, and they all embody certain characteristics of the signs they represent. This is one of the few Voltage games where I love all of the characters, though I am partial to the Department of Punishments gods, since they seem to have more compelling conflicts.
This is one of their older titles, and I am so glad that Voltage decided to revive it after the move to Love 365! Older Voltage games tend to age poorly, but, Love Letter From Thief X is one of the few games that I can play over and over again without getting bored! The game follows a museum curator who gets “stolen” by a band of infamous art thieves known as the Black Foxes. She helps them out on missions and eventually becomes one of the gang, and just the chemistry between all of the characters is perfect!
I love all of the love interests in this game, though Takuto is the love of my life! He is the perfect tsundere and no one can change my mind! Not to mention, Love Letter From Thief X has everything; a little comedy, action, adventure, mystery, drama, and of course romance! This game is seriously the total package!!
An oldie, but a goodie… Be My Princess is not the perfect otome game, but I love it warts and all! So, there are a lot of iterations of this game that tweak the story a bit, but the basic premise is that you’re a commoner who finds herself in a forbidden romance with a prince from one of several prominent kingdoms (there’s also a chance to date their butlers too). Out of all the versions of the game, Be My Princess PARTY has the best stories, but Be My Princess was the first one I played and the one that left the lasting impression. I love all the princes (except Kieth, he’s a butt), but Joshua is hands down my one true prince! But, seriously, all the princes are totally worth it!!
I also really like the way they handle the forbidden romance aspect of the game. There are real consequences for dating the princes and they aren’t always solved by the end of the route. On top of that this is the only Voltage game (at least that I can think of) that has an actual bad ending where you don’t get the guy and let me tell you that’s a huge deal!
I’ve played all of Voltage Inc.’s action-y titles, but out of all of them I hands down love Metro PD Close to You the best, it is the best at balancing the action heavy story lines with the romance. In the game you play as a rookie detective from a rural precinct who is transferred to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2nd Unit. There she works on real cases, while also proving that she has what it takes to be among the Metro PD’s elite!
Metro PD Close to You is one of the few titles where the MC plays an active role in the plot and isn’t just a damsel in distress that needs to be protected. While I’m not going to pretend that this is an accurate depiction of how police work is done, I do like that it doesn’t shy away from some of the more action-y story elements!
So, when Voltage announced this game, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit for a game about a boy band… it just felt so cliche, But, I bought a couple of routes anyway and I can honestly say, Scandal in the Spotlight is one of the best Voltage games… ever! I LOVE THIS REVANCE!! In the game you play as a script writer who gets roped into being the new songwriter for the boy band, REVANCE, when their actual songwriter drops off the face of the earth. But, of course it’s a secret, so you spend most of the time avoiding paparazzi and fans, while also struggling to write songs worthy of REVANCE.
The characters are all really fun, and subvert your expectations, like Kyo is billed as this flirty alpha male type, but in reality he is like the sweetest guy around! Iori looks like a prince but he’s a sadistic butt (and I secretly love it), but all the guys are like that and it makes for such a great experience because you never know what to expect. Also, they sing! I mean LET ME TELL YOU, I shelled out the extra cash for the end sets just so I could hear 1 minute of singing and it was WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!
I am a sucker for anything inspired by mythology and lore, so Enchanted in the Moonlight was right up my alley! I said this in my full review of the game and I’ll say it again, this is one of Voltage’s best games, so it’s no wonder it was the first game to get a Nintendo Switch port!
In the game you play as a young woman who finds her life turned upside down when she is attacked by malevolent Ayakashi drawn to her unique blood. A group of handsome Ayakashi come to your aid, but there protection comes at a price: they’ll protect you from evil Ayakashi that lust for your blood, but in exchange you must bear their child. It reminds me a lot of the shojo manga Black Bird with the way it balances supernatural politics, action, and the various lore associated with each of the ayakashi. Everything fits together nicely and the characters are some of my favorite in all Otome Romance line!!
The one thing I love more than a supernatural romance, is a historical romance! But, while everyone is living it up in the Sengoku and Bakumatsu periods, Rose in the Embers takes place in the Taisho period and I absolutely love the way the period blends modern Western ideals with traditional Japanese culture! As the name suggests, this is a Cinderella-esque title, where you play as a maid who is bought by a group of wealthy men… kind of like Kissed By The Baddest Bidder, but without the toxic abusive behavior.
Voltage has been neglecting this one, I guess it’s not as popular as some of their bigger games, but, the Taisho Era setting is definitely worth checking out. If not for a break from all the Shinsengumi titles flooding the otome games market.
So, either you love this one or you hate it… Our Two Bedroom Story isn’t as flashy as some of the other games on this list, but I welcome the more mundane premise. In the game your mother gets remarried and your new step brother happens to be one of your coworkers. To make things more awkward the two of you end up living in the same house, enter whacky cohabitation hijinks! Our Two Bedroom Story feels like a Korean drama, with the convenient cohabitation, but there are some genuinely great routes in this game each with their own central conflict outside of the whole “don’t tell anyone we live together” premise.
Our Two Bedroom Story is more of an office romance story, since most of the conflict comes from the fact that you’re dating a coworker (the step siblings thing is only an issue in Shusei;s route). It definitely reminded me a lot of Office Secrets, but more polished and much more wholesome…
Okay, so this was the first game to usher in the more mature Otome Romance titles, so everyone was buzzing about Irresistible Mistakes when it was announced. Usually Voltage MCs are mary sue’s that make a big deal about kissing their chosen love interests and if there is a sex scene, it usually takes place off screen or at the very end of the route. However, the whole premise of Irresistible Mistakes is that the MC has a one night stand with a stranger after getting drunk at a bar, only to discover that the guy is actually one of her coworkers… talk about awkward!
The characters in this game are older than the usual Voltage characters, so the way they deal with the one night stand is much more mature. It’s an awkward situation, but they don’t let it interfere with their work or how they live their lives. I went in expecting Irresistible Mistakes to be this sordid harlequin romance, but it was surprisingly relatable and steamy… but in a believable way.
Last, but certainly not least, My Forged Wedding… god I love this game! This is another one of their older titles that still remains pretty popular among the Voltage fandom. This was the second Voltage game I ever played and I fell in love with the story and the characters. I know I said Our Two Bedroom Story felt like a Korean drama, but this game takes home the gold for the most “Drama like Premise”. After graduating from university you move to the city in hopes of finding a job. Your uncle says he’s got a job for you, unbeknownst to you the gig is pretending to be the wife of one of his buddies. Each guy has a problem that requires him to pretend to be married to solve…
It sounds ridiculous, but this game is one of the more heartfelt titles in the Otome Romance lineup! Each of the guys has their reasons for pretending to be married and oddly enough they all work in context. As you delve into each route, you learn more about the guys and the true reason behind their fake marriage lie and some of them are really emotional…
You’ve finally made it.
You’re a doctor now, working at a major hospital in Tokyo, the very same hospital whose covered-up medical error caused your mother’s sudden death 12 years ago.
Since then, you’ve lived for that nothing but revenge.
But now… “No matter what happens, I’ll always love you”.
You feel yourself pulled towards his lips and you hesitate, your hand and the knife in it freeze for a moment.
Would forgiving this person be wrong?
Before there was Romance MD: Always on Call, there was the OG doctor romance, Kiss of Revenge. This game plays out more like a soap opera than anything else and it’s fricken awesome! The only reason this isn’t on the list is that all of the routes aside from the main guy’s route seem kind of weak and unnecessary…
You’re a pastry chef. You’ve been wrapped up in your job, and your love life has fallen by the wayside.
‘I don’t think I know how to do relationships anymore.’ You go to a singles event on your birthday and five attractive men profess their love for you!
A dramatic love story begins…
Like Irresistible Mistakes this one has a mature heroine, except she’s trying her hand at dating younger men. It’s a surprisingly heartwarming game about finding love in an unexpected place and definitely one of the more wholesome Voltage titles.
A group of devils suddenly appears, and they’re here to take your soul! You agree to give them everything in exchange for an extra 10 days to live.
Okay, so I low key love this game with everything that I have for one character, Shiki Kurobane. He is one of my favorite Voltage guys and the most adorable little tsun bun ever!! I seriously love this game so much because of him… and you know dating demons…
When I’m suggesting games for otome newbies, I always point them in the direction of Voltage Inc. They were the first company I discovered on my own otome journey and they have some great titles in their line up! Whether you’re looking for a fantasy romance with a foreign prince, or a thrilling love affair with a detective or even a comfortable courtship with a childhood friend Voltage Inc. has the romance story for you!
So, I wanted to take the time during their 20th Anniversary to show my appreciation for the great games Voltage has put out over the years. Despite some of their more questionable business practices in recent years, I really love Voltage Inc and their games. So, take some time out of your day to try out one of their Otome Romance games, you won’t be disappointed!
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