XSEED Games has just released their first otome game localisation, ‘London Detective Mysteria’. First published in 2013 by Karin Entertainment and Marvelous Interaction, the game is set at the turn of the 19th century, and follows a young noble woman on a quest to bring her parent’s murderers to justice. After winning the Queen’s favour, our heroine enrols into the Harrington Academy Detective Program, and so begins her story of murder, intrigue and…love?
Number of Romance Options: 5 guys + 2 shorter charmed route
Recommended Route Order: TBD (But I recommended starting with Watson or Holmes)
First playthrough time: 8 hours
Total Play Time: ~35 – 40 hours
Like most visual novels, the game features very little gameplay. At various points in the story you can choose dialogue/thoughts/actions to increase affection with certain characters or boost your Detective ranking. Choices are timed, butit’s pretty easy to skip forwards or backwards if you choose incorrectly. However, I did have issues with this skip function where it froze if I skipped too many times and I had to exit and reload the game. There is also a feature in the game where you can save bits of information to answer investigation questions later on, this also doubles as a voice recorder so save those love confessions!
One major criticism of the game is that the common route is about 70% of the game. The game’s common route goes for about nine chapters, there’s only five chapters dedicated to each route. While there is a lot of detail in those five chapters, it did feel like playing two very different games. The first nine chapters are all silly, slice-of-life funny school times and then the last five are crammed full of dark themes, chasing after murderers and confessing your love to one another. It’s a really stark contrast, that throws the game off-balance.
Translation wise I can definitely see the love and attention that this game has been given. There were next to no grammar or spelling mistakes, and I really liked the way it read like a novel from the Romanticism era. Sometimes it did teeter on purple prose, but it’s barely worth mentioning. One thing that I did have mixed feelings on was the way Jack’s and people from the East End’s lines had been translated. On the one hand I can appreciate the translator’s efforts to recreate the cockney accent into text, but on the hand I did sometimes struggle to work out what was being said. I think if the game had some audio cues in English to match the cockney text, then it would have really worked.
I found a majority of the characters quite charming, there were even a few side characters I wanted routes for. For the love interests, I found the very detailed common route was a great way to get to know them. But their individual routes showed a side I could never have guessed, like I said above, a roller coaster of emotions. One character I never did warm up to was Holmes, but then again I tend to feel all Sherlock/ Herlock’s are major twats, so that’s just a personal bias. I would also have liked a bit more information on our butler Pendalton, especially since he features so prominently in the game, but not much information is given on him.
I didn’t really mind the MC, compared to many other otome heroines, she has a stronger voice, and does try to stand up for herself (with varying results). Some people may find her naive and frustrating for always getting herself in trouble, but I just saw her as a young girl, learning about a world different from her own and trying her best to help others.
Two aspects of the game that really stood out to me were the music and art. The music was flawless in creating the game’s atmosphere from soft romantic moments to horrifying and tense murder scenes. I just wish the game had a music box where I could re-listen to some of the songs.
As I mentioned in my demo review, I was blow away but how detailed the background images were. I was lucky enough to visit London in 2014 and I felt like I was back there, especially the ones of Buckingham palace. I did have a few issues with the sprites, some characters looked very washed out and for some reason one of Jack’s sprites made him look like he had no neck. In fact I wasn’t a major fan of Jack’s design at all, nor Holmes’, Holmes in particular just looked very odd and unattractive.
One small thing that really bugged me throughout my playthrough of the game was the constant joking about MC’s weight and how much she eats. I didn’t find any of the jokes funny, from Pendelton tightening her corset too tight to Holmes telling her she’ll be bigger than a pig, it was just really gross. But, unfortunately, it was a theme I’ve seen in quite a lot of games, and one that will forever irk me.
Overall, ‘London Detective Mysteria’, was an exciting venture for XSEED Games, and I sincerely hope they continue to localise more otome games. Their localisation of the game was truly enjoyable to read, and shows the love and care that should be shown to translating. Unfortunately, they can only work with what they had. The common route could have easily been cut down into two or three chapters, to give more space for the love interests to shine. While the MC was strong, as far as otome heroines go, the jokes about her weight were unnecessary and constant. London Detective Mysteria is an interesting and fun otome game, but is pulled down by many issues.
A massive thank you to XSEED Games for providing me with a review copy of the game.