Here is my non-spoiler review of 7’scarlet. The only graphics I’ll show are the title screen, random screenshots of the interface, and a non-spoiler CG.
It’s August, in the season of summer. Our heroine, Hanamaki Ichiko, has come to the seclusive town of Okunezato. Her childhood friend, Kagutsuchi Hino (CV: Shimazaki Nobunaga), invited her to join him as part of a meet-up between the members of Okunezato Kinki Club. This particular website gathers people who are interested in the mysteries and legends of Okunezato. However, their real purpose is to search for her older brother, Hanate (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru), who went missing in Okunezato a year ago.
They arrive in Fuurinkan, the only hotel in the town, and meet the other members: Amari Isora (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya), Kushinada Toa (CV: Morikubo Shoutarou), Tatehira Sousuke (CV: Sawashiro Chiharu) and Susano Yua (CV: Saito Chiwa). Isora is a high school student, working as a live-in chef at the hotel’s restaurant during the summer break. Toa is an awkward otaku who loves cats. Sousuke is a medical university student. Yua happens to also be working at the hotel, and loves games. Despite Ichiko joining their meet-up at the last minute, they welcome her.
Strangely, the site owner who organised the meet-up doesn’t show up. Instead, Hirasaka Yuki (CV: Kobayashi Sanae), a genius middle-school student who is working in the hotel during the vacation, helps to smooth out the flow of their meeting. Other characters are: the hotel owner Murakumo Yuzuki (CV: Miki Shinichirou), the only and rather useless policeman Kukuri Yasuhisa (CV: Kishio Daisuke), a scenery photographer Tsukuyomi Kagura (CV: Takahashi Hiroki), and a very grumpy author Karasuma Chikage (CV: Yasumoto Hiroki).
Accidents happen one by one, which is unusual considering how peaceful the town usually is. At the same time, Ichiko learns about the numerous legends surrounding about the town – including zombies, and a mythical purple flower.
There is more information available on the website. But since this is a mystery and it is a relatively short play, I recommend just playing the game with minimal prior knowledge. The game locks routes in a certain way. I played in the order of: Hino, Isora, Toa, Sousuke, Yuzuki, Truth End, ???.
The common route is more or less the same flow of events, and your choices just determines which character route you will progress into. In each character route, you will learn more about that character’s past and conflict. The latter half of characters reveal more about the truth of the town as well. The five character routes each have a normal and good end. As mentioned, this game is quite short – so I easily completed this game under a week, given the fact that I only played it for a few hours at night; and some hours over the weekend.
I liked all the main characters, and it was nice that some of the sub-characters got more fleshed out as well. There are several mysteries in the game, so you really do need to play till the end to find out everything. However, I was disappointed that they did not put in more effort in tying in the mythology aspect though, as well as giving a better significance on some points. All of these could have been addressed better in the ??? route. After all, they already did this much to build up the mysteries surrounding the town – please go to the full extent then. It would also have been nice if they could explain the meaning behind the title “7’scarlet” haha. There were also a few inconsistency issues, but at least not major ones.
That being said, I enjoyed this game. The characters and interaction were great, and I felt attached to some of them despite the short playtime. Ichiko was okay, I suppose. There were a few moments in which I wanted to question her sense of danger and survival haha. Also, I raised an eyebrow at a certain scene in ??? route. Hmm. But otherwise, I liked her interaction with Yuzuki. My personal biases are Sousuke and Yuki. I did not expect to find my ideal partner-material and ideal son-material at the same time. Nice.
The art was decent, including the backgrounds. But my poor Sousuke got the least number of CGs – I’m disappointed sobs. Speaking of CGs, there could have been a bit more variety in the angles and composition. They did include some animation scenes though – such as the fireworks, and the passing scenery from the bus window. I thought that this was a nice touch, and wished that more otome games would make use of this. It does help to enhance your experience. (The best example I have encountered is a BL title, Taisho Mebiusline and its FD, but yes it was an amazing feature.)
The music was okay, and they made use of quite a few sfx-es. A few of those shocked me because I thought it was a huge revelation going on, but it was’t lol. I liked how each character had their own ending song – was mostly amused by Toa’s…because of reasons. I liked the opening song a lot, but the video that accompanied it felt weird? It was like an experimental music video of an animation student’s final project or something like that? Hmm. The cast did a great job, especially during the critical scenes. Kishio just sounds like himself, but I give it to him because it fits Yasuhisa’s character. But Miki really sounded just like himself – making Yuzuki sound older than he actually is…
The system is easy and straightforward, and you unlocks CGs, CG scene replays, and opening/ending videos. It’s strange how you cannot access the “TIPS” from the main menu, but you can do so when you’re playing. It basically lists extra information about the characters or the town – most of the times. You will need to go back and replay a certain character’s route to access an additional scene, in order to get all of the “TIPS”. So that save point is important if you want to obtain the platinum trophy.
Overall, 7’scarlet was a short but memorable game. Yes, one of the attractive aspects are the different mysteries. So if only they had further developed the mythology explanations and other points (which I can’t specify without mentioning any spoilers), it would have been a really great game. Since the stronger focus is on the story, the romance can feel rushed (and in one route, abrupt). But there are still adorable moments. I personally wished that we had bonus scenarios, so that I could enjoyed more of Sousuke and find out the reason behind his quirks.
Despite my complaints, I will recommend this game if you’re in the mood for some supernatural mystery otome game. This will be localised in English, and I hope that it will be handled well so that you can experience exactly what we went through!