Placing on a charade means appearing on pretenses, and that’s the important premise of Concept Manufacturing unit’s otome visible novel Charade Maniacs. The story facilities round Hiyori Sena, a mean excessive schooler in a futuristic Japan. In the future she and her childhood buddy Tomose Banjo get kidnapped by a mysterious masked determine whereas strolling house from faculty. They get taken to a wierd new actuality named Arcadia. Hiyori, Tomose, and a number of other different abductees should act in dramas referred to as the Different World Stream or threat a deadly destiny referred to as a Lifeless Finish. As time passes, the actions wanted to satisfy a script’s necessities develop into more and more lethal, with hefty punishments awaiting those that can’t full them. If that wasn’t dangerous sufficient, there are traitors inside the disparate group’s midst. Will Hiyori and the others survive lengthy sufficient to return house, and who can she even belief when everybody seems to be hiding one thing?
Charade Maniacs is a suspenseful thriller kind of otome, much like Collar X Malice or 7’scarlet. In fact, discovering love remains to be a main aim of the story, however simply as vital is discovering the reality behind the Different World Steam and all of the solid’s ulterior motivations. You possibly can count on ruthless punishment video games or acted-out scenes relying on how the narrative progresses. I largely discovered uncovering the thriller drama parts of Charade Maniacs intriguing sufficient to wish to play all of the character routes, however the high quality of the romance parts is inconsistent.
The sport performs like a standard visible novel, as you step into the position of Hiyori as she goes about her days, shifting from dialogue to dialogue till reaching a choice level that impacts the path of the story or a personality’s affection ranking. There’s a useful glossary of phrases you’ll be able to peruse everytime you want, and you may skip by means of already-read textual content or save/load any time. Charade Maniacs additionally makes use of a useful in depth flowchart to maintain observe of narrative branching factors. Whereas initially intimidating, seeing as there are such a lot of routes in Charade Maniacs, it helps set you heading in the right direction for the hidden character routes. Nonetheless, that’s it so far as gameplay goes. Relating to extras, you’ll be able to peruse unlocked films and CGs in a gallery.
The widespread route for Charade Maniacs — the part earlier than reaching the purpose the place you end up on a selected character story route — is surprisingly prolonged. It solely differs barely relying on the key determination of which group Hiyori will work with. There’s the cleansing crew (comprised of overly-protective Tomose, game-loving Gyobu, and school pupil Futami), the cooking crew (which incorporates the innocent-acting Haiji, argumentative Ebana, and the mysterious Iochi), and the knowledge group (made up of the considerate Chigasaki, justice-loving Akase, and inquisitive Dazai). After deciding on one among these teams, your path narrows to its three members, with two routes available whereas one stays hidden/locked till you meet the conditions for accessing it. For example, if Hiyori joins the cooking group, she will see Ebana or Iochi’s route straight away, however you should play by means of one among their routes first after which undergo some decision-making hoops to unlock Haiji’s.
Sadly, Charade Maniacs is a main instance of “amount over high quality.” There are numerous bachelor routes to uncover, and never all characters are likable. By the very nature of the sport’s premise, you’ll be able to’t belief something you initially come throughout at face worth, as many plot twists make you see the characters in numerous lights. Generally, as with the blunt Ebana, you get a deeper understanding and appreciation for the characters by going by means of their respective routes. Different occasions, you get left with a combined sense of character. Such is the case with Iochi, as they do not-nice issues of their route however for comprehensible causes.
There are additionally characters you received’t like even from the start, and chances are you’ll battle with their routes totally. For instance, Tomose’s possessive angle in the direction of Hiyori made him not possible to heat as much as, particularly when he mentioned issues about how Hiyori owed him one thing (as a word: simply since you develop emotions for somebody doesn’t imply they owe you something in return!). Some routes are well-written and unimaginable, as a personality like Chigasaki stands out in his route, and his romance feels totally plausible. Sadly, not all of the routes are created equal in that regard. It doesn’t assist that Hiyori’s character adjustments drastically relying in your route, making her appear inconsistent and never a memorable otome heroine.
So far as the English script is anxious, I discover Charade Maniacs excellently localized with few errors. The soundscape by Tokyo Logic is Charade’s Maniacs’ largest power, with the background music tracks serving to to convey emotion throughout pivotal moments or ramp up the depth throughout high-stake plot reveals. The opening theme is ear sweet! The voice appearing is stellar as nicely, with everybody giving standout performances. Particular point out ought to go to the casting alternative of legendary voice actress Megumi Ogata as Iochi!
Visually, I’m of two mindsets on Charade Maniacs’ presentation. On the one hand, I like the character fashions for his or her complicated expressions and differing physique language throughout story scenes. The UI’s simplicity is efficient in presenting the story, particularly when it turns inexperienced to distinguish a drama episode. However the unlockable CG illustrations usually depart lots to the creativeness. Lots of them have an incomplete high quality, with unusual digital camera angles.
Charade Maniacs isn’t an ideal sport, but I wouldn’t name it horrible. Though I’m lukewarm about a number of the character routes, I genuinely loved others. Plus, the general thriller is compelling sufficient that I needed to unravel all of the mysteries offered to me. Charade Maniacs is perhaps price just a few playthroughs in the event you’re a fan of suspenseful thriller otome titles, as long as you don’t go into it anticipating greatness.