Hey Blerdy Tribe, it’s another wonderful otome release day! This time around we are celebrating the release of 2022’s most anticipated otome game, Variable Barricade! Wealthy heiress, Hibari Tojo absolutely does not want to get married. But, fate has other plans for her when her eccentric grandfather saddles her with four handsome (and problematic) suitor. Her beaus include, a walking debt generator, a suspected gambling addict, a kept-man, and a man alleged to have participated in marriage fraud…one has to wonder what her grandfather is thinking?!
As her suitors try to win her hand by any means necessary, Hibari endures endless everyday trials and temptations. Despite their shady pasts, the more time she spends with them, the more she wonders if there is more to these men than meets the eye…
This is one of the most fun games of the year and if you’re still on the fence about picking up a copy of the game for yourself, here are five reasons you should play Variable Barricade!
Lighthearted Comedy Story, with a Lot of Heart
Right out the gate Variable Barricade gives off rom-com shojo anime vibes. Hibari is a wealthy teen heiress who wants nothing to do with marriage or love, only to have her eccentric grandfather saddle her with four deadbeat suitors. To help foster feelings of love between her and these questionable fellas, the five are forced to live together under the watchful eye of Hibari’s overprotective (and equally handsome) butler—let the whacky hijinks ensue as she does her damndest to resist their romantic advances! Oh, what’s a girl to do when four hotties are practically throwing themselves at her feet (can I have this problem)?
A lot of the humor comes from the guys doing something ridiculous only to be met by Hibari’s stone cold rejection. From Nayuta constantly begging to be stepped on to Ichiya’s cornball flirting, Hibari has her hands full with her unwanted suitors. But, as the story progresses and you get to know everyone, there’s a surprising amount of wholesome feel good moments too!
Romance or Reason? You Decide with the Barricade Battle Mini Game
Variable Barricade has a fun mini game called, Barricade Battles, where the love interests armed with weapons literally have to break down Hibari’s emotional barricades to win her heart! Every choice you make throughout the game is tied in with either Reason or Romance—reason builds up Hibari’s defenses, while romance equips her “hero” with a weapon he can use to whack at her barricades during the mini game (RPG style~). It’s super cute and I will admit it’s hilarious making the “wrong” choices watching the chibi hero’s whack at a big ass castle wall with an axe.
The Suitors are the Supportive Bros We Deserve
So, technically all the suitors are competing for the chance to marry Hibari, so you’d imagine there’d be a bit of in-fighting, but surprisingly all the guys get on pretty well. The bromance is strong with these guys and I LOVE IT! The love interests feel more like brothers than complete strangers—Ichiya is the house mom, cooking all the meals; Taiga is the papa, keeping everyone in line with his tough love wisdom; Shion is the older sister, who is over it all but secretly loves being included; and Nayuta is the
pet dog the over excitable kid brother.
In most otome games once you settle into a route, the other LIs kind of fade into the background, but in Variable Barricade all of the LIs are integral parts of the story all the way up until the end. Some of my FAVORITE moments in the game were when all the guys are together, whether they’re teasing each other or helping one another woo Hibari. Yes, you read that right, when it becomes clear that Hibari has picked her beau, the LIs help each other out by giving advice, setting up elaborate date plans, or just cheering each other when they hit a snag in their courtship. The LIs also take on a supportive role with Hibari as well, giving her advice or just hanging out with her when she needs someone. By the time the credits role you get the sense that everyone has become really good friends who probably meet up from time to time to hang out.
Supportive Besties Give Me Life
Being an otome heroine can be a very lonely experience, since the focus is on their relationships with the love interests, we usually don’t get to see them hanging out with friends or family. Thankfully, Variable Barricade has both! At the start of the game, Hibari has a relationship (albeit strained) with her grandfather and two supportive friends/confidants in her personal butler, Kasuga and her otaku bestie, Tsumugi and as the story progresses she picks up a second girlfriend, Arimura. When the going gets tough and the stress of juggling suitors gets to be too much, Hibari has supportive friends that she can turn to for advice, love, and laughs.
Both girls have very distinctive personalities—Tsumugi is a gothic lolita loving otaku with rather sappy romantic notions, while Arimura is a bit more worldly and has a very lax definition of love (and isn’t above giving a bit of tough love). Even if they don’t always agree, their girl talk moments are the best and remind me a lot of conversations I have had with my own IRL friends and I definitely hope more otome games give us more besties like Tsumugi and Arimura!
Tsundere Princess Hibari Tojo is Best Girl
And the biggest reason to play Variable Barricade is the leading lady, tsundere princess, Hibari Tojo! When I say I love Hibari, I mean it, she should be the gold standard for otome heroines. She may be young, she may be a bit naïve, but she isn’t above putting her unruly suitors in their place when they get out of line. She can be a bit prickly, but deep down she’s super shy and has a hard time making friends. As the heiress to the Tojo family, she is used to folks getting close to her because her status, so she tends to keep most folks at arms length, but when she does let someone in, she is in it for the long haul.
It’s super cute watching her slowly warm to the guys, kinda like a feisty kitty finally showing you a bit of affection after scratching you to hell. It’s so rare for us to get a tsundere heroine and I absolutely adore Hibari (read: I DEMAND MORE TSUN BUN OTOME HEROINES)!
What Are You Waiting For? Go Play Variable Barricade!
There is a lot to love about Variable Barricade that you absolutely do not want to miss out on! So, if you’re looking for a fun rom-com otome game to add to your gaming library, definitely give Aksys Games’s newest localization a buy and fall in love with tsundere princess Hibari and her questionable suitors!
If you still need more convincing, check out my spoiler free review: Variable Barricade (Spoiler Free Review) – First Impressions
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