Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Otomate
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
Players: 1
Online: No

I honestly don?t know whether to commend or criticize Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly for bucking trends. So, I think, I?ll do both.

This isn?t the sort of thing I?d expect to be saying about a game developed by Otomate. After all, they?ve generally made fairly straightforward otome romance games — very good ones, as titles like Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms and Bad Apple Wars demonstrate, but still undeniably and identifiably romance games when you get right down to it. So, to play a game like Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, where the romance arguably comes second, is a little bit of a shock.

Given the set-up, this probably sounds surprising. After all, the main character is a girl (Beniyuri) trapped in a mansion with four mysterious-but-cute boys/stereotypes, and as you play through the game each of the boys reveal their personalities as they flirt with her. If that?s not the basic premise behind literally every other romance game, I don?t know what is.

Things, however, are complicated by the fact that the five characters (and various supporting characters) are trapped by monsters. In fact, the game?s focus is more on solving the mystery of how these characters came to be trapped and, more importantly (from their point of view) figuring out how they can get out. While you can certainly play up the romance angle if you want to, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly also makes it possible for you to ignore it entirely if you so choose. It?s a surprising choice, but I?d argue that it also works, given how engaging the plot is.

Or, I should say, mostly is. See, the big problem with Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is that it contains a lot of fluff. If you want to advance the story, the game forces you to watch bonus episodes that consist of little more than Beniyuri and co. sitting around the mansion. It adds nothing to the story, and, to make matters worse, you have to replay chapters over and over in order to earn points to unlock the bonus chapters. The story would?ve been worked just fine without it, and it all just feels like a bunch of unnecessary padding.

That said, there?s skip button for a reason. As long as you don?t mind using it a little more than you?d usually use it in a visual novel, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is totally worth checking out.

Aksys Games provided us with a Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B