Collar x Malice is the newest otome game localization to make its way to the Nintendo Switch—the console that is quickly making itself the hub for otome fans after the death of the Playstation Vita. Anyone who played the game back when it was released here in the west will tell you that Collar x Malice is one of the best otome games to make it’s way stateside—with it’s engaging story and stellar cast of characters—this is one of the games that I most recommend to folks looking to make the jump to otome games.
Collar x Malice is a detective mystery otome game that was published in Japan by Idea Factory under their Otomate brand of games in 2016. The following year in 2017, Aksys Games released an English language localization of the game for the PS Vita. Collar x Malice follows a rookie police officer who is unwittingly drawn into a series of gruesome crimes when she is kidnapped and collared by the terrorist organization, Adonis. It’s a race against the clock and failure isn’t an option. With her life on the line and the fate of the city hanging in the balance, Ichika must team up with a group five strangers—some of which are former police officers—in order to uncover the truth behind the X-Day Incidents and Adonis.
So, if you are still on the fence about whether or not to snag a copy of this game now that it’s available on the Swith, here are 5 reasons you should totally be playing Collar x Malice!
One of the biggest complaints folks have about otome games is that the heroine characters lack any real substance—and I will readily admit that most otome heroines are pretty bland. But, that isn’t the case in Collar x Malice, Ichika Hoshino is a certified BADASS! Despite being a rooking police officer, Ichika doesn’t just idly stand by and let Yanagi and the rest of his crew do all the heavy lifting—she is right there with them search for clues, interrogating suspects, and taking down bad guys! Sure she isn’t perfect, she has flaws, but what sets her apart is that she embraces her shortcomings and learns from her mistakes! Ichika has her own thoughts, ideas, and motivations—one of her most redeeming qualities is her unwavering sense of justice—she’s a fully realized character and that isn’t always the norm with otome game heroines.
This isn’t just some cutesy romance game, Collar x Malice is an immersive plot heavy otome game that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish! A rogue terrorist organization is carrying out a series of gruesome crimes in the name of “justice” and the law enforcement and even the government are powerless to stop them! It’s up to you and a group of private investigators to get to the bottom of the crimes, with every choice you get closer to the truth—visit crime scenes, search for clues, interrogate suspects! Collar x Malice is like an otome Ace Attorney where one wrong move can make the difference between life and death! You are an active participant in the events of the game which gives the player that much more agency in how the story unfolds.
What better reason is there to play an otome game if not for the harem of hotties—and on that front Collar x Malice has you covered! The love interests in this game are top notch and these are not little boys—these are men and they act like GROWN men. They don’t constantly neg Ichika (Sasazuka is the exception) and for the most part they work with her to investigate each of the X-Day crimes—they value her thoughts and ideas and for me that is far sexier than anything else. Each of the guys is either currently working for the police or previously worked in law enforcement so they have a strong sense of justice which they bring with them into their investigations. They have their own unique personalities and motivations and it’s fun seeing how that all comes into play in each route and the chemistry between the guys is great too!
Okay, so this is an otome game, so the romance is inevitable. BUT what I really enjoy about Collar x Malice is that the romance between Ichika and the guys develops gradually. It’s not love at first sight or even friendship—Ichika has to work to earn the trust of each of the love interests before anything romantic even happens, which makes the eventual “getting together” part that much more enjoyable, because it’s earned. Over the course of the story you see the growing pains of Ichika’s relationship with each of the guys, some of which don’t even like her at the start of the game.
Collar x Malice is one of those games that makes you think—not everything is as black and white as you think and as you play through each of the routes your opinion on everything going on changes. I started out thinking everything was one way and then half way through the game I found myself wondering if maybe I was wrong. And that sense of moral ambiguity carries over to the characters as well, especially Ichika, who you see have a bit of an ideological shift as she uncovers more about Adonis and the X-Day crimes. Not many otome games are as nuanced as this one and I like it, because it gets you invested in the story and these characters, simply for the fact that you’re going through these events along with them.
There are more than 5 reasons to play Collar x Malice, so go get you a copy and discover just how great this game is for yourself! Aksys isn’t paying me for this, I genuinely love this game and I cannot stop singing the praises of it and now, with this new Nintendo Switch port, more people will have the chance to play it! So, if you’ve been on the fence about giving an otome game a try, I HIGHLY recommend starting your journey with Collar x Malice.
Digital: Nintendo eShop
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