Collar X Malice is one of those visual novel games that offers you a new and exciting twist on your normal love based visual novels. With most visual novels you play more as a damsel in distress who is always barely escaping death by the guy who you eventually grow feelings for throughout the game. This game is definitely far from that. As you start out you play as Ichika Hoshino who is an independent dispatcher for the police force. You help your fellow co-workers unravel cases and try to figure out who are behind the X-Day executions and you want to help stop them. When you are not out fighting crime you are home taking care of your brother, making food, or going out for drinks with your friend Yuzuru Saeki who you work with and enjoying your everyday life. It is nice that they take time out of the intensity of the game and really spend time showing that this is indeed her real life and she has real problems like we all do. Having a game like this show real life problems and a slow romance grow into something so simple and sweet makes it still feel like an escape from reality yet on a more realistic side. Read on for our full Collar X Malice review.

Title: Collar X Malice

Publisher: Aksys Games

Developer: Idea Factory

Available On: PlayStation Vita

Reviewed On: PlayStation Vita

Release Date: July 28, 2017

Game Provided by the Publisher for the Sake of This Review

To better explain the storyline without spoiling anything, X-day is when crime becomes an all time high and no one is safe. While you go meet up with one of your coworkers, you are then kidnapped and put in a bad situation where you are later rescued by three retired police officers who are fighting against the master mind of X-Day themselves. At this point you will definitely start to enjoy the faster pace of the game because the beginning felt like it was going slow. After being kidnapped you are informed of only having a month to figure out who is behind X-Day, otherwise your life will be taken. Your five love interests in this game are Aiji Yanagi who is the main guy and pretty much in charge of everyone, Kei Okazaki who works with you in the police department as Security Police in the force, Mineo Enomoto who is the more goofy one in the group, Takeru Sasazuka who is the genius hacker, and Kageyuki Shiraishi who works with the CSI helping the police and because you now have to figure who the criminal is as well, you begin to work together.

The actual game play itself is definitely different from other visual novels. The fact that you are able to not only play as the girl but also the male and listen to his side of a situation is amazing and I wish more visual novel games did that. Fans wish we could hear what the guy is thinking and especially at the romance scenes and now that this game has done that, it’s even easier to start to grow attraction and feelings for the male character. It also allows us to see both yourself and your love interest grow separately and also together as a couple, making the love feel more realistic and heartwarming.

Once you get past the first chapters depending on what X-day murder case you decide to work on, the game will then go off of who that person was and it’s a completely different story for the most part because of the month you chose to look into. So be sure that you are paying attention to your choices and pick accordingly. With each playthrough that you go through you slowly but surely start to get more answers through all the twists and turns this game takes you through. Although at first when everything is being introduced it might feel overwhelming as you try to remember every incident but no need to worry. The game will continue to reintroduce what happened and they also add the incidents onto your game menu so you can look back on it whenever you need to refresh what is going on.

Instead of doing love points right away to see how far you are in the relationship, the game has what they call “Trust Points.” Because this is a detective based game you will be asked questions by your love interest and sometimes when you answer them all correctly their trust in you goes up. The questions are all easy so getting them to trust you is very simple. Once you max out your trust points at that point you unlock your love meter that you then start from scratch and have to refill.

The art style and storyline are amazing. The art style in the pictures are ones you find yourself looking at for a moment because they did a fantastic job with their details on all the facial expressions, writing, and even the music that plays during those parts. For the most part the game has a simple jazz song playing in the background as you progress through the story.

Collar x Malice is one we at Level Down Games will highly recommend and be adding onto one of out top favorite visual novels. The story, gameplay, art style, love interest, and a fresh take on how a visual novel should be… this is one I will always recommend to my friends and family who are looking for a new game to play. If you decide to play this game for yourself you will not be disappointed.