Happy Monday! What better way to kick off the week than with a melanin friendly game!
While (slowly) making my way through all of this year’s Otome Jam submissions I stumbled across Chattercap’s yandere ex-boyfriend themed romance horror, Karamu and let’s just say I was not prepared for this ride! This is a yandere romance that will subvert all your expectations—I went through the full gambit of emotions and I still haven’t recovered.
“For me, a world with only you is enough.”
Two weeks ago, Nelli sent her long-term boyfriend, Raku, the following text: “I’m breaking up with you.” She has been successfully avoiding him ever since…until her bike chain breaks. He helps her, but now she’s trapped in a forest with only her broken bike, a cellphone with no reception, and her slightly creepy ex-boyfriend for company. He wants to talk, and one thing is clear: he really doesn’t want to break up. (He probably won’t take no for an answer.)
Karamu is an unexpected ride!
This year’s Otome Jam is full of so many amazing gems from some of the most talented indie developers out there. From newbies looking to make their mark to veterans honing their skills; there are so many fantastic titles to add to your play list. Chattercap’s horror romance visual novel, Karamu is a must play from this year’s crop of submissions. It’s a suspense filled ride, that will have you on the edge of your seat till the very end!
After breaking up with her boyfriend, Nelli has been successfully ducking and dodging him for two weeks. But, when her bike chain breaks during an early morning ride leaving her hurt, Raku appears at her side ready to help her out.
Suspicious, Nelli reluctantly agrees to let him treat her wounds at a nearby abandoned bus stop, but Raku has other plans. Raku wants to use this chance to win back Nelli’s heart… and he won’t take no for an answer.
Trapped and alone with her clingy ex, Nelli must keep her wits about her if she’s going to placate Raku just enough to make it out of this situation unharmed. Seems simple enough, but as we get to know more about Nelli and Raku, it becomes apparent that both of them have secrets they would do anything to keep hidden.
The dynamic between Raku and Nelli isn’t what it seems and as we delve into the details of their relationship we find that not every thing is as cut and dry as we might think. In fact the story goes to great pains to set Raku up as this menacing and suspicious figure, but as we get to know him we find that he can be surprisingly sympathetic and endearing. Sure his affections for Nelli are a bit much (okay oppressive AF), but he’s a good guy deep down.
While Nelli is set up to be a more sympathetic character, only for the game to cast doubt on her actions as the story progresses. I don’t want to give too much away, because not knowing what to expect is all a part of the fun with this game.
But, I will say, both Nelli and Raku are perfectly, imperfect for each other… in a twisted sort of way. Your mileage may vary on the romance front, and trust me when I say this isn’t just your run of the mill yandere romance (and do pay attention to the content warnings).
Intense is an understatement, Karamu is a nail-biter of an experience. While the game is advertised as a story about a clingy yandere ex-boyfriend, that is the least outrageous part of this game. I never thought I’d say this, but I found myself almost wishing for the safe protective bars of cage-kun.
Karamu is a story that plays on our very real fears and anxieties, twisting them into an intriguing (and at times unsettling) experience. With its atmospheric, intimate setting and twisted story, Karamu is a stand out among some of the other game jam games I’ve played. The addition of voice acting and Live2D animation breathe life into this story and its characters.
Each new twist and turn ramps up the tension, drawing us deeper into the web that is Nelli and Raku’s relationship—for better or worse.
More info on Chattercap
Chattercap is a solo a game dev with a love for interactive fiction and character-driven storytelling. They are currently working on the visual novel, “Actala: The Hero’s Shadow” completely solo–Act 1 is out now. They created Karamu in just two months for Otome Jam 2023!