Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is an otome visual novel unlike all the others we recently played. And trust us, we have played a ton. During the trailer, other than vibrant colors and butterflies flying everywhere, there was much to be questioned as to what this game was actually going to be about. As we began the journey, it started off like any other one we’ve played in the past. The first thing we noticed that was different immediately was that the heroine actually has a voice! Yes, that’s right. If you prefer the more silent protagonist option, you are given a choice to turn off her voice and continue that way. Because of how the narration progresses, we actually enjoyed the fact that she had a voice and therefore left it on.
Title: Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Idea Factory
Available On: PlayStation Vita
Reviewed On: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Game Provided By Aksys Games for the Purpose of This Review
As we were playing through the game, we noticed that the darkness of the world and art style used reminded us a lot of Bad Apple Wars. Especially with the fact that you are in the unseen world, or the world between life and death. You can choose to either forget yourself and move on toward death or try and remember who you are and fight to go back to the land of the living. Instead of collecting bad apples, you are collecting shards from a kaleidoscope all around a mansion that you are currently stuck in.
Throughout the story, you run into multiple different characters all suffering from amnesia, and it becomes a driving force to regain your memories to find out who these guys are and so you don’t end up losing yourself in the process. Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is a very dark game, accompanied by a soundtrack with eerie music constantly playing in the background. If you like the darker side of otome visual novels or creepy aesthetics, you will really enjoy this one.
Let’s dive into the gameplay. As we said before, it starts off like any other visual novel. Reading a ton of text and dialogue and getting to understand some of the lore and backstory. That’s something we love about visual novels. Not having to really “play” a game to the point we can kick back, read a great story, and interact with whichever love interest we decide to pursue on that given day. Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly takes a drastic approach in gameplay.
Within the first 30 minutes you are about to be attacked by a monster. You are then given a screen and instructed on how to play and that you need to shoot the butterflies to advance and get points. Which okay that’s different but no big deal. Until it then took us to the flow chart and we saw that the points you get from killing the butterflies are used to unlock mini-stories you had to pick from to advance the story. Now since it doesn’t tell you which mini stories to pick, it was hard during the first playthrough to really know if what you were choosing is the right choice until the end when it told you which ending you received. We also weren’t able to have a choice in love interests during the first time through.
We have personally never been a fan of visual novels that make you unlock flowcharts to choose which route to take or story to progress in. In our opinion, this takes away from the story as a whole and made the process feel choppy at times and somewhat hard to follow. Which in turn then takes away from your concentration on the narrative and directly affects your connection with the characters and potential love interests. If you fail to unlock the correct mini-story in the flowcharts, dialogues and cutscenes later in the game may not make sense at all as there was something critically important you could have not yet seen. To make matters worse, it’s still possible to go back and unlock that mini-story after seeing a cutscene, and then the entire story just becomes a jumbled mess. To us, this lack of direction made Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly sloppy to play and really hindered our enjoyment level.
Another aspect worth mentioning, it’s clear who the developers intended to be the main characters based on the amount of time spent on those individual characters’ stories. Certain playthroughs that we did ended so quick that we were left with multiple questions unanswered, and it almost felt as if certain routes were rushed. Because of this, if you’re looking for an otome visual novel with love interests and interactions on the same level of Code: Realize, Collar X Malice, and Hakuoki.. this will feel very flat to you. After doing every route possible and seeing everything the game has to offer, we just didn’t feel as connected to the characters as we have with past games due to the feeling of routes being rushed. That’s not saying we didn’t feel anything, however.
We feel as though Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly does offer a story with multiple twists and turns that will put you on a roller coaster of emotions. During our first playthrough, we ended up getting very emotional at the end of the route. That’s what we love about otome visual novels. Feeling those emotions and getting truly sucked into the perspective of the character. Fantastic stories that have the ability to make you emotional. The story as an overall idea was great. The individual character routes definitely needed some more polish and less-rushed.
Even though Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly wasn’t our favorite otome visual novel, in the end, it wasn’t terrible. The great storytelling makes up for the radical departure in terms of gameplay and the lack of intimate moments found throughout the story. If you are looking for a good story, consider giving this one a chance. If you play these games strictly for dating, love, and intimacy with a plethora of different choices, you may find yourself a little disappointed in the end.
6.0 / 10