With the otome game world currently seeing lots of change, I decided to pick up Beast Darling for my brand new(ish now?) Switch to see how games play, as well as to get a feel for how games will work from now on. Honestly I expected to finish this way earlier so I could also talk about what the otome game experience on Switch is like albeit with a subpar game which I expected to be pretty subpar to begin with. Needless to say I was too slow and now Cendrillon palikA is out so I dunno how useful this opinion would be, but whatever, moving on.
Beast Darling follows the heroine, Kazuki (Katsuki?) Kazuha, who from a young age has always had the uncontrollable ability of attracting animals. For as long as she could remember, this has caused her to be a societal outcast, without even attention from her own parents. One day her parents move overseas, but instead of following them, Kazuha decides to stay in Japan, living and working while studying. However, due to her ability, she’s kicked out of her home and job. When her pet cat, Futaba, brings her a pamphlet for Gaou Academy, she goes to have a look after being attracted by the dorms. When she arrives, she’s immediately attacked by a violent boy with lion ears. She learns that everyone at that dorm carry animal curses, which make them sprout animal ears and take on that animals’ traits. There she learns that her animal attracting ability is also able to calm the onset of the curses in these boys. After seeing a little too much, she’s forced to transfer to Gaou Academy and stay in the dorms with the boys. To make sure their secret isn’t spilled, one of the five trouble-making boys are assigned to watch over her.
Beast Darling for Switch is a port of the mobile game of the same name, without all the ticket/mission BS…And honestly it really is just that.
There are no story dependent choices in the game and there is always at least two choices in each chapter, just like a normal ticketed game, which increases the affection of your dude. When the affection is a certain level, you unlock the happy end, or the beast (bad) end if its not high enough. Because of this, it also means you have to restart from the beginning or however many bad choices earlier to get the beast end because there’s no affection gauge, so its impossible to tell which end you’re heading for. The only way I knew I was getting the happy end was because there’s an indicator that you chose the choice that made your dude happy every time (a love catch). There’s also no extra content for full comping (getting the happy end and the good end) so that kind of sucked.
At the end of most chapters, a GAO chat screen pops up, which is like an in-game version of Line. Sometimes there’s a voiced message from your dude as well right at the end, which is sweet but er, mainly gimmicky and serves no real purpose honestly.
The Switch version is part voiced, I assume just like the mobile version, because every other feature is also just as a mobile game would be.
At first, the prologue is fully voiced (save for heroine and side chars) so I was tricked into thinking it was a voiced game, but come the actual individual char routes, it was very sparsely voiced. Most of the time you’re sitting there listening to the same three BGMs playing and it gets tiring.
I should’ve known it wouldn’t be fully voiced since the price was sort of cheap compared to say, the OperaHouse games which are all fully voiced and probably about the same quality. I normally don’t mind unvoiced games, but when they market the game with chars voiced by Kaji Yuki, KENN, Sakai Koudai, Shirai Yuusuke and Jinya Haruka…………you kinda expect to hear their voices for more than 5 minutes in total, you know? It’s the fact that they weren’t really upfront about this info at all that kind of got me annoyed.
Without spoiling, it’s kind of ordinary. Not super good, deep or interesting, but not particularly horrible. It really doesn’t leave much of an impression because it’s one of those games that brings up interesting plot points, but never quite fleshes them out and everything is resolved quite simply.
Spoiler territory spoiler territory spoiler territory
- The thing I mentioned about Kazuha’s parents not caring about her earlier, it seems to be there more as a convenience rather than plot point because it’s never really expanded on aside from one or two lines in two of the five routes from memory
- Kyousuke’s route is the closest to a truth route we’ll get because it explains how the dudes can get rid of the curse, but never really delves into the specifics of how it works, how it started etc. aside from the usual brush-aside “this is all we know because reasons“
- Shirou’s route has Futaba and Kaname’s history revealed a tiny weensy bit but leaves you with more questions than answers because it just shows that Futaba is super over-powered yet does jack all until it’s convenient to wrap up the story
- There’s family drama behind Shishio but in Shishio’s route it was kind of just, terrible father does terrible things but for some reason later on its just explained away as terrible father is actually not so terrible because he was doing it all for his son. Honestly though, the fucker chains up his son and locks him in their house because he’s afraid of the shame Shishio would bring when he goes on a violent rampage, and that’s after he verbally abuses him constantly throughout his life. Somehow we’re just meant to accept that it was actually for Shishio’s own good despite Kazuha freaking out. Wat.
- The whole drama behind Chitose was that sometimes, he forgets entire days/periods, and ends up forgetting who the heroine is a couple of times. Since they use GAO chat……it means they use smartphones, so like take some photos..or something….hell even without smartphones he could do a whole Memento-esque thing and like, write down stuff in a diary or something because he knows he’s forgetting shit.
End spoilers end spoilers end spoilers
Overall the story is like, sort of interesting, sort of uninteresting but underdeveloped as per usual. By the last route, I was just dragging myself through it. It had some good moments, but most of it was quite forgettable. Though for what it’s worth, there weren’t that many glaring plot holes that ruin your entire experience of the game like some games have.
Also judging from my playtime, it says I finished the game in 15 hours~ which averages 3 hours a route x 5 guys. I’m pretty sure I just left my Switch on a couple of times as well so I’d wager the game is even shorter.
Each route has about 5? CGs, which is quite a lot for a mobile game. All the ones I’m used to have about two, one at the beginning and one at the ending. (´◉◞౪◟◉)…?? But if you view it as a port, then yeah, that’s pretty lacking. It’s also kind of awkward because the CGs are all in portrait smartphone dimensions which doesn’t fit the Switch screen, so they let you navigate up and down or zoom out with borders. Each one actually has the heroine and the heroine has eyes so its fine for the most part ( ･ิω･ิ).
Needless to say they’re just renders of photos the staff found somewhere, which is probably…par with other cheap mobile games. I found this particular example pretty hilarious though, you thought I wouldn’t recognise the park? You were wrong.
This is probably where the switch shines the most, compared to Vita or PSP. Like the Vita, Switch has touch functionality which makes it wonderful for mindlessly reading the text. Then with the detachable joy cons, the Switch is so godly. I could put up the screen and lie on my bed watching the screen and just pressing O without having to hold up the entire console like you would with Vita and PSP. It’s like, super lazy, which is fantastic. I can never go back.
There’s also so many buttons, I can’t wait to see what Koei does with the Switch since they had to use annoying button combos for quick save and quick load etc. Now it should just be one button (́◉◞౪◟◉)!!!
The Switch even has a dedicated button for screen shotting and it can record videos. I found this so remarkable. Maybe I’m just easily impressed……..which speaks volumes about the story in that case.
The user interface for Beast Darling was quite bare bones….
Sound controls and text speed, that’s it for the customisation options. Text speed is only fast and slow; I usually read my VNs with all the text appearing at once because I’m impatient, so for this I ended up double-tapping A non-stop which got annoying.
Aside from that there’s no skip to next choice, which would’ve saved me so much time in getting the Beast ends…. and the only available skip is actually a force skip, no option to change to skip read only, but it was…..pretty fast. And only works if you hold it down, like the old Quinrose games lol.
At the very least I guess, at least it wasn’t buggy……..
- Err….the story was easy to digest?
- Part-voice without disclosure
- No proper skip function/jump to next option
- It really is just a rip straight from the app
Okay now for final thoughts:
Plot ranking of routes (best plot to lolwtf?):
However if I ranked chars alone…:
But really the difference between how much I cared about each char was rather tiny.
So in this case I’d recommend people play in the order:
1 and 2 are interchangeable as long as you play them in sets, but Kyousuke is def better left for last…………but it really doesn’t matter all that much. Like everything about this game doesn’t really matter.
Not sure what to play next （´≝◞⊖◟≝｀)……………………………………………………..