Note: This is a review of the Japanese version of the game; this game has been localised by Aksys Games under the title of ” Period Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~”.
Title: Period Cube ~Torikago no Amadeus~
Original Title: ピリオドキューブ ～鳥籠のアマデウス～
Release Date: 19th May 2016
Length: ~21 Hours
Links: Official Site , VNDB
The story begins with the protagonist Kazuha leaving for school on a normal day. While walking with her friend, she is approached by her childhood friend Hiroya who asks her if she’s been speaking to her brother (Shiki) recently. Kazuha replies that although they’re still very close she hasn’t been speaking to him as much since he moved out and went off to university but that, on reflection, he really hasn’t been in contact for a while. Hiroya explains that he and Shiki both play the MMORPG named “Arcadia” and Shiki has failed to reply to any of his messages for a long time. The two agree to go and visit Shiki’s apartment after school that day as tomorrow is the start of their school break.
The pair make their way to Shiki’s apartment and find the door unlocked. When they enter they are greeted by an apartment that looks as though nobody has ever lived in it. The only thing of note is a computer monitor displaying “Accessing the World V”.
Hiroya is shocked to see this and explains that Arcadia only has 25 servers (aka “worlds”) named after the Roman alphabet with the sole exception of World V which has gained almost urban legend status within the online community and doesn’t supposedly exist.
Kazuha and Hiroya decide to look for Shiki in Arcadia together and Hiroya goes home to load up his own character. Kazuha decides to stay at her brother’s apartment and makes a new character with Hiroya’s help. When she clicks the Start button there is a bright flash of light and Kazuha awakens in a dark, unfamiliar forest. It turns out that trying to access “World V” sucks the player’s soul into the game and it becomes a deadly world where you die in real life if you run out of HP and that you are unable to escape from until the final boss is beaten in the final dungeon – the “Ark”. When she finds Hiroya again, it is revealed that Kazuha is somehow classed as an item in the game – the legendary Divine Sword “Amadeus” and must now keep herself safe from players who wish to use her for their own gain while still searching for her brother. Will she manage to escape or is this game only filled with dead ends?
Kazuha is a pretty average girl who cares deeply for her older brother and would do anything to find him. Even though she is dragged into Arcadia she tries to stay positive and tries her best, despite being a complete beginner to RPGs. While she may not be very good on the front lines, she becomes a valuable ally as a minstrel who can boost stats by playing the harp. Her only downfall is that she can be naive at times and too trusting of strangers.
Hiroya (CV Okamoto Nobuhiko)
Tachibana Hiroya is the childhood friend of Kazuha and Shiki, although he hasn’t been as close to Kazuha as of late. He is pretty brusque towards Kazuha but in reality he cares about her deeply. Hiroya blames himself for taking Kazuha into World V and would put his own life on the line to protect her. He really enjoys playing Arcadia and gets excited when he sees rare items.
Radius (CV Maeno Tomoaki)
Radius is a cold guy with a sharp tongue whom is never afraid to say what is on his mind. Being one of the strongest people in the game, he refuses to join other parties and tries to interact with other players as little as possible. Despite this, he can sometimes show a slightly more tender side once you get to know him. He’s the wielder of the Demonic Sword “Gracies”. In real-life, he is called “Aijou Rei” and is a popular idol.
Libera (CV Hanae Natsuki)
Libera is a cute yet mischievous girl who dislikes fighting and chooses to stay in town most of the time. She is very flirty and uses her charms to win over many men, who always give her presents of gold and equipment. She meets Kazuha while out looking for rare items and she becomes good friends with Kazuha once she realises that Kazuha is actually the Divine Sword. In real-life, Libera is actually a boy called “Yuuki Riku”, who has been in and out of hospitals throughout his life due to his weak constitution.
Astrum (CV Sakurai Takahiro)
Astrum is the leader of the Angels and is one of the most powerful and famous people playing the game. He is very arrogant and tends to speak in a very archaic way, which people mock him for. He is the wielder of the Seraphic Sword “Lumen”. Astrum wishes to obtain the Divine Sword above all else so aggressively pursues Kazuha. In real-life, “Asou Tooru” is an anti-social university student who cares little for people (or their feelings) and is always angry at the fact he ranks second in exams at university, with Shiki always being first.
Zain (CV Hirakawa Daisuke)
Zain is a young man that Kazuha finds sleeping next to a lake while escaping from an enemy. He has no memories apart from the vague sense that he must protect Kazuha at all costs. It turns out that he’s a NPC from one of the towns but he has started to become self-aware after spending time with Kazuha.
Poyo-Poyo (CV Toriumi Kousuke)
Poyo-Poyo is a mysterious monster/information broker who meets Kazuha in a cave and leads her to safety. He claims to be on the side of justice and is an ally to “cute girls”. Poyo-Poyo aids Kazuha on her quest to find her brother without charge but what are his real intentions?
Demento (CV Umehara Yuuichirou)
Demento used to be an angel but after becoming bored in the game he started murdering other players, leading to him being demoted to a “Fallen Angel” and being branded with the status of “Player Killer” (PK). He wishes to steal Kazuha from her allies in order to clear the final dungeon and then trap all of the other players within the game. In real-life, “Karasuba Minato” works part-time at the local convenience store and is bored with the tedious monotony of his life.
Opening: Ibara no Rakuen – Joelle
Ending: Hikari sasu Toki – Yura Mari
The game contains 19 BGM, which were composed by Ozawa Takumi who has worked on various other TV shows.
Character design and artwork were both handled by illustrator “Kuroyuki” whom is probably better know for her work on Gekka Ryouran Romance and the Black Wolves Saga series.
The game features 3 different title screens, which vary depending on what time of day it is. If you wait long enough, a little Poyo-Poyo may whirl across your screen!
So, is this actually an otomate game? I mean it has the Sweet Fuse/Bakudan Handan director but the artist and main scenario writer have mainly worked with rejet. (Please note that Seki Ryouko is only credited with the “main scenario” and “plot”, the “route scenario” is credited to an “Aoki Saya” whom I cannot find any information about so maybe they’re a newbie or its an alias.) The game also features the closest thing to a “rejet onii-chan” that you’re going to get without actually playing a rejet game, haha.
This game technically has a common route, although it only lasts a chapter and is literally one of the shortest chapters in the game.
As you can see above, the character routes split off into groups in the first half of chapter one and then into the actual character routes in the second half of chapter one. The Hiroya/Libera route actually splits off into Poyo-Poyo’s route as well but his route is locked until you finish Astrum, Libera and Hiroya’s routes. Astrum’s route also splits off into Demento’s route in chapter five. All of the routes are 6 chapters long and have two endings: Good & Merry Bad.
I actually really enjoyed the premise of this game and most of the routes were decent enough to read. Unfortunately, the same plot device drives all of the routes and this kind of makes the whole thing quite predictable and formulaic. The resolutions were quite unique to each route and I admit that I found some quite novel (Libera & Zain routes specifically). I have to credit the fact that the Merry Bad endings, while short, were actually fairly interesting and Kazuha was pretty good in them. Demento’s “route” is a JOKE. Honestly, it only took me 45 minutes to get both endings (and I watched the ED movie!!). The route follows the same formula and structure of the other 6 routes but the climax and resolution are so bad that I was actually just sitting there like “that’s it?????”. It makes me quite angry because he could have been an interesting character but he should have just been left as a sub character if they didn’t want to take the time to develop his route and personality properly. It’s a shame because if you’re going to add in a character that isn’t in the original drama CD series then they need to make an impact (like Hidaka in PsychicEmotion6). Otherwise, I’d rather have just cut his route out of the game and given the other 6 characters an extra CG each.
This game’s strongest point is easily its characters: from the Kuudere Idol Radius to embarrassingly awkward Tooru, the complicated but beautiful Zain, the mischievous and snarky Libera and the ever faithful childhood friend Hiroya there’s bound to be someone in here that everyone likes. Personally, Hiroya was my favourite – I just love the whole childhood friend trope anyway and his devotion to Kazuha was so adorable. It’s also definitely worth playing this game if you like older brothers because Shiki is really something else. You know your game is going to be trash when they point out that Shiki and Kazuha are not blood-related right in the prologue.
This game also had a bunch of really awesome sub characters: with all four members of Forte: flirty Jocus, salary man Mergo, shy Miseria and adorable leader Ira being really awesome. I’d love to have been able to meet them all in real life too!
I actually found Kazuha to be decent as well, although I really disliked how at the start Hiroya was all like “Of course you wouldn’t know about Arcadia, girls aren’t really into RPGs, right?”. I can understand why they made the protagonist a complete beginner (to widen the game’s audience) but as a fan of RPGs it was quite frustrating to see. I also wished that Kazuha took the time to learn and level up during the game as she ends most routes between levels 5-8, which is pathetic.
The music in this game is great and I especially enjoyed track 16 “Battle -finale-” which was (you guessed it) played during the final boss fights. It sounded like something straight out of a high budget RPG.
Voice acting was top-notch, there’s a couple of my faves in there: (Okamoto Nobuhiko & Hanae Natsuki). I actually only bought this game for Hanae so I’m glad that I enjoyed his voice acting. Sakurai Takahiro was especially good as Astrum – he always pulls off these slightly comedic roles sooooo well! It was nice to see Masuda Toshiki (Mergo) & Morikubo Shoutarou (Jocus) as sub characters also.
Artwork was well…Inconsistent?? This is the first game I’ve played that has been illustrated by Kuroyuki but I’ve seen some of her other artwork and it looks a lot better than this? I’m not entirely convinced that the CGs weren’t drawn by Otomate’s in-house staff (which scarily seems to be becoming the norm). The kiss CGs are especially terrible: I’m really peeved because there’s only 2 decent kiss CGs (out of a possible 13) and one of them belongs to Demento. I.Am.So.Salty.
BG art was average for the real world but Arcadia’s backgrounds were GORGEOUS.
Whoever worked on the programming team for this game seriously deserves a pay rise. The characters are animated slightly so along with the usual blinking & lip syncing they almost look as though they’re breathing which was pretty cool! I just kept staring at Hiroya’s adorable wolf ears moving gently. There’s also some subtle animation in the backgrounds which was really nice and brought the setting to life.
Period Cube is also one of precious few otome games with the option to jump skip which saves a lot of time (why can’t all games have this??). Combine this with the fact that you can use the “History” flowchart to jump between chapters and you literally spend like 2 minutes getting to the point where the route splits into good/bad endings compared with like 10 minutes in a normal game. The game was also very responsive to touch controls and you could fully navigate and play the game just with the touch screen which is also unusual but very much appreciated! I wouldn’t hesitate to call this the otome game with the best programming that I’ve seen so far.
My Score: 7/10
While there are definitely problems with formulaic routes, inconsistent artwork and Demento’s route being absolutely horrendous, I wouldn’t completely write off this game. There’s plenty of fun to be had in many of the routes and an abundance of cute scenes. This is definitely a game that you play for the characters so if you’re interested in a couple then I’d totally recommend playing! The true route of the game was also interesting, although the resolution was fairly convenient but it still made me tear up a little right at the end!
I know that this series is based off/already has a drama CD series so I might try and check out some of those volumes if I have the time.
It’s also worth pointing out that this game is a little on the shorter side (mostly due to the tiny common route) but was very addictive to read and only took me roughly a week to plough through, which is pretty impressive given my recent record with games.
Hiroya > Poyo-Poyo > Astrum = Radius > Libera > Zain > Demento
I’d recommend doing each branch off of the common route one at a time, it’s up to you whether you do the Radius/Zain or Astrum/Demento branch first but leave the Libera/Hiroya branch until last (and probably read Libera’s route first too). You’ll get a notification once Poyo-Poyo’s route is unlocked.
TLDR; If you’re looking for a short and sweet game with a good older brother character then buy this!
I know I would rather post on Fridays but I wanted to get this review out before the English version comes out (so I can justify buying the JP version to myself 😛 ). I have already finished MG#4 too so I’ll hopefully post that review on Friday!
Thanks for reading!
Loved your review! I def agree that Demento’s route was a joke and that one needs to go through the routes from other branches to prevent the formulaic nature to it. I also wish Kazuha was more useful than she was but the bad ends made up for that.
Would I be able to use some of your character cgs in my review?
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Yes, it’s quite unusual to see a heroine who changes so much in the bad ends but it certainly made them more interesting! *sigh* Demento… I’d like to forget that he was in the game haha.
How far through the game are you?
Yep sure go ahead 😀 I can’t wait to read your review when it’s out!
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Haha it was actually the best part about the game sometimes. Demento is like air. He was so underdeveloped and so sudden it’s like he passed by and that was all rofl.
I’m on my 3rd route rn with Libera haha and so far I haven’t loved anyone yet 😦
Aw thank you!! I stupidly forgot my vita cord that lets you share screenshots to your pc for my trip. I wanted to ask instead of just taking images from google.
Would you like me to credit the cgs I use from here?
I’m really sorry for the late reply!
Aww that’s a shame 😦 A lot of people seem to adore Astrum and Radius though so maybe you’ll have more luck with them 😀
Ah, that’s easily done, but feel free to use any CGs/screenshots or whatever, no need to credit. Hope your having a nice trip!
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Don’t worry haha we all have lives outside of our blogs so don’t ever feel sorry for a late reply ^^
Yea that seems to be the case. I haven’t gotten to them yet but so far I like Libera a lot.
And wow thank you so much, Amy!
Played this game in English – it was a lot of fun…at first, the repeated storyline that you mentioned got old quickly and I just fast forwarded Zain and Poyo-Poyo because I couldn’t be bothered playing it anymore (I’ll probably revisit in the future :D:D) – Hiroya and Tooru were my favourites, I absolutely love the precious childhood friend and dorky guy routes 🙂