It’s been so long since I talked about Otome games.
Recently, I downloaded two Otome games: Otome Chat Connection and WANNABE CHALLENGE. After spending some time playing both games, I realized how creative the gameplay has become. Or maybe I’m just behind in the game.
I used to play a lot of Voltage Inc. games. These games had the traditional gameplay mechanics. You tap through the storyline and choices. The money maker was paying to read the entire story of a route or additional storylines.
Nowadays, I see more paid choices. While the storyline is free, you must pay to select specific choices.
Some games go the extra mile to make their user interface design shine. One of the best designs I saw was from maybe: Interactive Stories.
I only played one story on there, and the design was so pretty. This game had paid choices. You could also dress up your character and the boys, which could unlock better choices and reactions from the characters.
There are still many games using the traditional gameplay mechanics with a few tweaks like the one I mentioned above. But I’ve also been seeing some that use mini-games to advance the storyline.
Obey Me! is an example of this. In a nutshell, you collect cards to get higher points in a dancing game. The higher the card’s level, the more points you’ll get. The art on these cards is also amazing.
In the beginning, the mini-games were pretty easy, so you could advance quickly. But, of course, it gets harder, and you’re pretty much forced to level up your cards, or you can’t advance. If you love the story, it’s tempting to spend money. I got up to a point where it became a tedious grind to level up cards.
This kind of gameplay is like a combination of traditional and innovative mechanics. The storyline is what gets you hooked, and the mini-games are the money grabber.
Other examples of this type are WANNABE CHALLENGE and Mr. Queen’s Love Choice. You eventually need high-level cards to reach a certain goal and pass the challenge.
At first, I found this gameplay interesting since the mini-games relate to the main story. I didn’t mind it until it just became tedious like Obey Me! But, if Obey Me! or WANNABE CHALLENGE had traditional mechanics, would I have been any less annoyed? Probably not.
The chapters in some of these games are concise, especially as you advance. If mini-games were involved, it takes only like two minutes to finish reading, and you’re back to the grind. This also applies to Mr. Queen’s Love Choice.
Let’s talk about another kind of gameplay before I start to rant.
I really enjoy the gameplay of Otome Chat Connection and Mystic Messenger. Because the story advances over text, you feel more immersed in the game.
Texting is just second-nature to us now. So, this gameplay feels more “realistic.” In Mystic Messenger, the money grabber is unlocking stories, a similar tactic to the traditional methods.
I haven’t finished a route in Otome Chat Connection, but it looks like the first three stories are completely free. This is also a tactic in Mystic Messenger. I really want the emoticons they used in Mystic Messenger.
Another game I really enjoyed that had this chat-like interface is Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumours. What’s awesome about this app is that it’s completely free. But this game isn’t an Otome game. It’s a visual novel. You do make choices throughout the story, and these choices depend on whether you live or die.
The biggest benefit of this chat-like interface is that it’s easy to read. I found that I got a better understanding of a character’s personality when it’s delivered this way. Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumours show that you don’t need to put the story in a phone-like setting to make it text-like. A story in any setting could do it.
WANNABE CHALLENGE actually does this quite well too. The text is delivered to the reader in short sentences. Sometimes it appears in different places, depending on the context. That was a nice experience.
I’m going to end this post by rooting for more chat-like interfaces. I noticed that more games are adopting this style, and it makes for a great reading experience. If you have awesome art and an intuitive user interface, the game will really shine.