Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ follows our heroine, Kazuha, who is sucked into the online RPG “Arcadia” to find her brother who’s gone missing. Trapped in a world with Hiroya, her childhood friend, they find that they’re being forced to clear the game to be able to return to the real world. You guessed it, if they die in-game then they die in the real world, too.
Kazuha is mostly a self-insert character and it’s hard not to feel as if she’s being walked over by some of the guys in the game, but otherwise she just wants the best for everyone — she’s also the most powerful weapon in the game, but has never played a game before so you’ve got to feel pretty bad for the poor heroine. The story plods along nicely but being an Otome game, romance is a big focus and you’ll have plenty of bachelors to choose from. Some of the men are definitely a tad too aggressive — I can apply elixir myself Astrum, you massive pervert! In the end I couldn’t really bring myself to hate anyone other than Dementos though, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Period: Cube. Be warned though, you might want a guide if you want to end up on a specific characters route as it can be pretty vague — I ended up on one I didn’t one at least, and thought the options I chose were to push them away but alas, that’s how the cookie crumbles…
Arcadia is clearly supposed to be an MMO and the game helpfully explains each term you might not know in its tips, and Kazuha isn’t a gamer so this is a good chance to have its world explained. I like the effort put into the world and that it did well in depicting an MMO, with an interesting backstory that I wish was fleshed out a little bit more. Being a visual novel you expect to be reading a lot and making decisions, but one cool thing that Period: Cube does that’s unique is allowing you to make choices in battle — sadly, this is rarely used and is just another decision to make that has an effect on which route you’ll end up on.
Wonderful Japanese artist Kuyoyuki worked as a character designer and artist on Period: Cube, and it’s undeniably a gorgeous game. Character designs are elegant and creative, making the most of the angel and demon teams in Arcadia — one glance still tells you it’s an Otome game, though! It’s colourful and sticks to 2D art, and its CG images make for some great Vita wallpapers. Considering that the visuals are unsurprisingly important to a visual novel (of course, they don’t make a good game on their own), Period: Cube thankfully manages to be pleasant and a feast for the eyes. The Japanese voice-acting is excellent and the only option available, and its whimsical music is a joy to listen to — I’ve no idea what the name is, but there’s on recurring piano piece which I love, and the ending theme is mesmerising. Vocalists Yura Mari and Joelle have stunning voices.
Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ is yet another engaging Otome visual novel on Vita, and one that is easy to recommend if you’re already into the genre. Otome games are aimed primarily at women but if you’re male, you shouldn’t let you put this off, even if you buy it once it’s on sale. The likes of Idea Factory International and Aksys Game are absolutely killing it right now in terms of Otome localisations, and they’ve got plenty more lined up for release. I know I’ll be supporting them.