What is Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus?
Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus is a romantic visual novel 'otome' game - an almost exclusively story-driven adventure that plays out much more like a choose your own adventure book than a traditional game. The story follows a young girl by the name of Kazuha Hanamiya, whose brother has recently up and disappeared. Tipped off by a friend that her brother may have become trapped in the online role-playing game, Arcadia, Kazuha heads into the dangerous and deadly digital world, where dying in game means dying in real life, as she sets about trying to track down her missing sibling, meeting up with all kinds of colourful characters - and eligible bachelors - along the way.
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How do you play Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus?
As it's more of an interactive story than a traditional game, most of your time in Period Cube will be spent simply sitting back and watching the story unfold, as you read through the conversations and story exposition, occasionally choosing an option when prompted to help steer your game towards a particular bachelor and ending. There's seven different guys to pick from, all with their own unique stories to play through, and good and bed endings to experience to boot. Depending on the options you pick and choose in the first chapter or so, you'll end up going down a particular characters' route. By picking the right conversation response, or choosing the correct move in 'battle' (which are also interactive stories), you'll grow closer with your guy - and the better you're getting on with each guy by the end, the more chance you have of getting the good ending. Miss out on some affection points, and you may find yourself heading for the bad end - a somewhat sinister conclusion to the tale instead.
How easy is Period Cube: Shackles of Amadeus to pick up and play?
As Period Cube is essentially a digital choose your own adventure book, the only real difficulty to speak of here is in the reading. Considering its video game-esque setting, the narrative is littered with buzz words and key phrases, and, while a handy in game dictionary can help you out, its still very much a game that requires a solid reading ability.
- "You experienced something unpleasant. I shall reiterate my concerns to my subordinates."
- "To top it off, there are different and far greater spawn points and enemies here compared to the ordinary servers."
- "Y-you seem to have the wrong idea, poyo. Poyo-poyo is no plushie, poyo..."
Like most games of its ilk, Period Cube is a teen romance story, and some degree of mature content - sex references, bad language, some gore - is fairly par for the course. However, Period Cube does manage to edge itself into the slightly more adult territory thanks to some relatively extensive innuendo and morally questionable scenes. One scene shows a male character with his hand digitally embedded in the protagonist's chest via some weird ritual, although from reading the accompanying text, you'd think it was something much more risque - "Ahh… It feels so nice… So this is what it's like inside you...", "I felt something, heavy and sticky, pulsing into me where the two of us were joined, filling my body up.", "Just do the same thing Zain did when he entered you.". In another route, a male character is applying cream to your battle wounds when he asks you to "spread your legs a little. If you keep your knees together so tightly, I won't be able to reach in between.", while many a guy gets a little obsessive about the idea of touching the protagonist - "I really do wish to touch you further. Don't be scared. I won't hurt you. I'll be extremely gentle."
But where things arguably get the most mature is the one route that is effectively romancing your brother, who likes to put the protagonist to sleep, then strip and touch her in various places, unbeknownst to her, muttering to himself in the process - "Ah, your calves are soft… And here, I want to touch the inside so much. Really. If I could, I'd touch and kiss the front, the back, inside, outside and all the areas I don't know.". In one scene towards the end he pins the protagonist to the bed in a rage, pulling off her shirt to expose her bra-covered chest,declaring that "I have to touch you to make you clean, and mark that you're mine, so that no one will lay a hand on you again.".
As the world of Period Cube is a bit of a deadly, dangerous one, violence does crop up from time to time, during the course of the story. "Battles" against the game's wolf-like enemies are fairly tame - however, some of the more story-centric scenes can be a bit more grisly; the screen flashes red accompanied by a squelch noise when key characters are hit, sometimes showing still pictures of characters stained with blood. Some characters go on a bit of a frenzied killing spree at times, hacking at their victims with knives, accompanied by somewhat violent text descriptions such as "Hey, you see this? My knife is eating up your stomach.", and "Hahaha! Awesome! How about I stab you somewhere we can see an even bigger gush of blood!" One particularly gory scene shows a still of two characters impaled on an enemy monster's horn, passing straight through their stomachs and out the other side, accompanied by large spurts of blood, while a another shows characters impaled on swords made of bright white light, although in this scene there's no blood. One ending also gives you a glimpse of a throne room plastered in blood splatters.
Finally, bad language does crop up throughout the story, running the gamut from crap, ass and pussy to sh*t, f*ck and b*tch/b*stard.
Format Reviewed: PS Vita