If you’re looking for an otome game that has a dark and dangerous story, and romance that’ll keep you on your toes, look no further than Collar X Malice. Although it has a slow start, those who persevere through the beginning will be rewarded with an engaging story, despite some flaws such as somewhat generic choices for the possible love interests and the rather niche genre.
With a novelty/niche game like Collar X Malice most of the gameplay will be in the form of reading or listening to the story. Choices will pop up from time to time for you to decide the outcome of the story, but it’s mostly going to be a fancy picture book play-by-play.
This gorgeously drawn and written visual novel takes place in Shinjuku Japan. Due to some unsettling events, a mysterious group of terrorists have poured fear into the hearts of the people. Once each month, on a day dubbed X-day, a broadcast is aired in the middle of downtown Shinjuku. The broadcast features a live execution of kidnapped police officers. Disgusted by their actions, officer Hoshino, our lovely female protagonist, cannot sit by and continue to let this happen.
At the beginning of the story, our beautiful heroine is called out by a suspicious message, to a local park. Unbeknownst to her, she is suddenly kidnapped and taken to a secluded area. As she wakes, she finds herself trapped with a mysterious collar attached to her neck. As a warning, she is threatened to figure out the plan behind the X-days before the ‘dead’line, with failure resulting in her death. Feeling scared and helpless, she is saved by a group of unknown and beautiful men. With their help, she will have to team up and stop the madness from spreading.
As I played through this game I became engrossed in its deep, shadowy tale. It felt like I had the choice to play either the good cop or the bad cop, choosing to either be the good cop and ignore my capture by following the law and risk the chance of being killed, or be the bad cop by going behind the law and working with an outside group of vigilantes. Each choice you make will affect your ending. Along the way, your decision could lead you to romancing one of the five available bachelors. Even in times of despair, there’s always time for a little loving.
Each bachelor follows along the stereotypical basis of “which to choose?”. You have your main pretty boy who will do ALMOST anything to protect you, the jokester, the rude one with the abrasive attitude, the genius, and the aloof one. All of whom could be made to fall at your feet given the right choices.
The styling and graphics of Collar X Malice has an in-depth and evolving meaning over the course of the story. Every moment is drawn to fit the emotion of the scenario, whether it be a beautiful day in the police station filled with lively officers, or a dark rundown place with an eerie sense of apprehension. The moments are picture perfect for the given still-drawn images.