In the last year, Otome fans have been caught in limbo. The slow-building downfall of the Playstation Vita came to a head with the announcement that no more physical copies of games would be produced in the West. At the same time, the Nintendo Switch has gained incredible momentum and has cemented itself as the ‘must-have’ console. So where does that leave otome fans? I’ve seen many a discussion on whether its worth investing in a Nintendo Switch for otome games, and responses are often mixed. I thought it’d be worth throwing my own two cents in. First off, let’s have a look at what’s currently available, then what’s happening in Japan and finally my suggestions.
Otome Games on the E-Shop
At the time of writing this, there is a pretty healthy amount of D3 Publisher otome games on the E-Shop. But, unfortunately, D3 otome games have a pretty mixed reputation. For example, ‘Gakuen Club’, one of their more expensive titles, have been described on Steam as bland and even games with positive reviews like ‘Pub Encounter’ has been criticised for grammar and typos. Probably my biggest reservation on D3 games on Switch is that if you just wait for Steam Summer/Winter sales you can get them for a third of the price. For example, I purchased ‘Pub Encounter’ $5.93 last December, significantly cheaper than the price pictured above.
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku – Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit
A month ago, Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku caught my attention as the first non-D3 otome to appear on the e-shop. My hopes were cut short when I had a look at the reviews for this game. The game seems to have been translated with a machine, to be hones the art isn’t incredible and it’s really expensive ($25 USD)!! It’s clear this game is definitely not up to the standard otome fans expect and deserve.
Am I finishing this section with a little bit of hope? You can bet on it! About a week ago it was confirmed that otome game ‘Kitty Love’ would be getting an English translation added. To be honest I don’t know much about the game, it seems to be about a cat who is saved by one of five handsome guys and turns into a human? The graphics look really cute, and I sincerely hope that they do a good job. I also sincerely hope that this game won’t break the bank, and will be reasonably price. This game is now out, review over here.
What’s Going on in Japan
Time and time again, localisation companies have said that they will follow the trends that happen in Japan. The major otome developer company in Japan is called ‘Otomate’, under the larger company ‘Idea Factory’. Over the last few days the ‘Otomate 2018 Party’ was held where Otomate announced their release plans for 2019. During the even they announced the port of many of their most popular titles to the Nintendo Switch including Beastmaster and Prince (a game that many Western fans have wanted localised and even had a Kickstarter). There are also a number of new titles coming to the switch! You can see the full list of planned Switch releases over here.
My Recommendations/ Predictions
As I was putting this article together I thought rather than just hypothesising everything it would be best to contact the companies involved directly. I sent emails to the press departments of otome localisation companies but only heard back from Idea Factory International. They informed me that they have no plans on localizing another Otome game at this moment. They do have an upcoming Switch and PS4 release called Super Neptunia, so they’re definitely looking at the Switch as a platform, and (my opinion) i Switch otome releases aren’t an impossiblity.
On the other side of the coin, the playstation vita is still a very popular console in Japan. I can imagine that any new games will be available on both consoles rather than just one or the other. If they’re translating a game I can’t see any harm releasing a digital download through the playstation store for playstation products. Now that physical cartridges are no longer being produced I do not think they will need to be worried about cost.
Another consideration is that companies are starting to realise that not everyone has access to super expensive consoles. Idea Factory International has released a number of their otome games on Steam such as Hakuoki and Amnesia, with plans to release the new Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. MangaGamer has even stepped up and announced the localisation of two new games for computer – an R18+ one and a regular one called ‘Steam Prison’. Some games are even available on mobile like Amnesia on the iTunes App store. I believe companies see that making games more accessible to players is where the real money is at.
So final suggestion – don’t buy a Switch if you just want to play otome on it. I’d recommend to wait a year or even two to see if there are any exclusives coming out, and weigh up your options then. For the moment, there are more than enough otome games you can play with a Steam account, some even free.