Summary by Aksyss: Searching for clues about your missing brother, you and your childhood friend Hiroya begin playing an online RPG called “Arcadia.”
You’re suddenly enveloped in a flash of light, and awaken to find yourself in a mysterious fantasy world. You discover you’ve been sent inside of the game, and learn that the only way out is to complete it. In a deadly world on the verge of collapse, you become the “Almighty,” the key to clearing Arcadia, and the secret weapon everyone is after.
You and your companions undertake a perilous journey, where love grows as the world falls apart.
Platform: Playstation Vita
Story: While SAO catered towards Kirito amassing his own harem, Period Cube is essentially one Uguu cage of love. One that can only be enjoyed if not taken seriously. Set in modern day Japan, Kazuha’s older brother, Shiki, suddenly disappears, with only a few clues pointing towards a video game he’d been playing. There are rumors that joining one of Arcadia’s servers, World V, will lock the player into the game forever. Furthermore, there have been several cases of people falling into “Idiopathic Comas”, where one loses consciousness for no apparent reason. Believing her brother has fallen prey to Arcadia (despite not knowing where his unconscious body is) she and her childhood friend Hiroya decide to enter World V to see if they can find her brother. They quickly discover the rumors about being trapped in the game are true-but there is hope.
Three legendary items in the game guarantee clearing the Ark. And Kazuha happens to be one of them, the Almighty. She is the key to freeing players who make it through the Ark to God’s Heritage, where the winners can logout and return to the real world. The players are split between Angels and Demons, so whoever reaches God’s Heritage first wins freedom for everyone in their class. This creates a lot of tension between the Angels and Demons, preventing them from working together, which would have solved a lot of the problems that arose as the routes progressed. Though, it makes a lot of sense why none were willing to consider teaming up, especially when Kazuha learns that different classes are forbidden from joining each other’s parties.
Yet problems keep stacking up. Kazuha knows absolutely nothing about games and has no idea how to do anything as one of the most powerful players in the game. She’s constantly on the run, she’s level noob, and she can’t do much. Add in romance and Kazuha can’t make up her mind on what’s important: clearing the Ark, finding her brother, or getting her man.
Characters: Kazuha’s a noob when it comes to games. As such, she’s in constant danger, despite being the Almighty. She’ll make grand proclamations about how she’s going to do her best, become better, etc. and yet she barely manages to go up a few levels by the game’s end.
The bad endings seem to be the only times Kazuha does something, resulting in endings where she chooses to betray her friends to satisfy her love interest. It was interesting, but when an otoge like this one is set up so you want to get the good ending, and she barely does anything, it’s really a shame she only shines in the bad endings.
Her love interests were likewise dull, however, they at least had goals. Whereas Kazuha initially desires to find her brother, the events of the game force her to pick sides. It’s good to have development, and considering some of the revelations it makes sense for her to choose other things. However, most of those occur near the very end.
Each of the guys were your standard tropes. There really isn’t that much I can say about them because there wasn’t much to them. In a way it’s the fault of how short the game is. Perhaps the characters all could’ve been so much more than they were. Yet there are many short otoge that manage more than this. Sweet Fuse By Your Side and Yo-Jin-Bo, to name a few. We have Hiroya and Libera, who both play with the tsundere trope. Hiroya also takes on the childhood friend trope and Libera covers the shota one. Astrum is the oujisama, Radius is the mysterious ikeman, and Zain is the “sweet” pretty boy. You are also treated to Demento, whose best points are beating the crap out of Kazuha because apparently that’s love. Oh, and did I mention he’s a serial killer? Otomate really decided to give us the best of the best. Then you have the whole Oniichan trope going on throughout the game and that’s pretty much it. Nothing memorable.
Music: Wow, why was it so good? The battle themes were great and the boss theme was very good. If you had no idea it was a visual novel, I’m certain you would think it belonged to a really high-budget rpg. The opening and ending songs were likewise great.
Voices: I was pretty excited that Hirakawa Daisuke was here. He’s a fantastic seiyuu with a soothing, velvety voice which was perfect for Zain’s character. There was also Sakurai Takahiro as Astrum, which shocked the hell out of me since I’m playing Black Wolves Saga alongside this one. And oh boy, Mejojo from that game is a piece of crazy. So it was really surreal to play this game knowing that Astrum’s seiyuu was also Mejojo’s… Maeno Tomoaki voices Radius and he does a great job. We also have Okamoto Nobuhiko as Hiroya. He didn’t stand out to me in this game but he served his purpose. Hanae Natsuki voiced Libera, and well, in some aspects I guess he did alright when he was pretending to be a girl. But for me, the highlight of the performances was hands down Toriumi Kosuke. He had the perfect blend of seduction, crazy, and confidence. It’s a good thing he did so well too, considering the whole game was pretty much dependent on him. I also have to mention that Jocus, a side character (RIP MY <3) was voiced by Morikubo Shotaro. Ugh why can’t you be a love interest?? Just swap out Demento please. Way to waste Yuichiro Umehara’s lovely voice on Demento….
Gameplay: Simple controls and easy interface. I liked how we could go back through the story to quickly get a different ending and I wish we could do this in more games. There was a “skip to next choice” which I would like to see implemented in more otoge in the future. The battles were basic, “Choose x” and then the game would continue and branch off into routes depending on those. Kazuha never did much so don’t expect any rpg stuff. It’s a straight visual novel 😛
Art: The colors and backgrounds were gorgeous. The sprites moved and “breathed” on screen. However, the CGs were pretty disappointing, especially the kiss CGs. Apparently drawing two faces pressed against each other with the mouths slightly turned towards the player is the right way to kiss.
Intended Audience: Ehhhhh. I don’t really know. It’s definitely geared for the otoge fans and those who enjoyed SAO and want to experience that again but with a female’s POV. Considering how short the game was I’d say go for it if you need to kill time….but the writing was so bland, the routes were so lacking, and the heroine was so infuriatingly incompetent….I’m a huge advocate for supporting the heroine because many will forgive the love interests for any wrong they do but bash the heroine for her design or one wrong sentence. And yet, I can’t get behind Kazuha. The only time she actually proves she’s more than just a blank slate who’s only selling point was to be saved by the ikeman time and again was in her bad endings….and even then it was a drag to get to. I also like to advocate supporting the otome game industry especially because we rarely get them localized in English but wow. I have no idea. In some aspects the game showed promise but more often than not it was a disappointment. If you’ve had your eye on this, are an otoge or SAO fan, or just like collecting Vita games, then I’d say get it. Would I pay full price? No. Get it on sale.
However, it also depends on what you want. If you really like the oniichan stuff, the uguu cages of love, and all that, this just might be your game. Some of the MMO aspects were cool and some may find relating to that enjoyable. Is this a well written game with a great story? NOPE. Is it a short game with lots of plot holes, inconsistencies, and filled with some cute moments for each character? Yes. Excluding Demento. So it’s up to you, but just keep in mind this is not a well-written story. And sometimes that’s all one needs.
*If you want to see more detail on specific events in each route, you can visit my blog where I review otoge, drama cds, and dramas.*