Title: RearPheles -Red of Another-
Original Title: リアフェレス ~レッド オブ アナザー~
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Length: ~23 Hours
Links: Official Site, VNDB
The story begins with the heroine returning to school after the summer break and being happy to hang out with all of her friends again. Everything is going great except for the fact that she has these weird dreams every night. The dreams begin innocently enough with a girl picking flowers in the woods but then she ends up meeting and being chased by a wolf . The heroine always wakes up in a panic in the middle of the chase but writes the dreams off as her thinking too much about her favourite fairytale – Little Red Riding Hood.
One day after the heroine is finished helping out at the library after school she comes across an accident and has to take a different path home, through quieter back streets. She starts to feel as though someone is following her and becomes very anxious to get home. She then hears a voice behind her say “I’ve found you~” and turns around to come face-to-face with a wolf straight out of a story book.
The heroine runs away from the wolf straight into the local park but is cornered by him. He exclaims that he’s going to eat her but before he can get a chance, there’s a flash of light and a young girl appears before them both brandishing a shotgun and a large pair of scissors. This young girl announces that she’s going to protect the heroine at all costs and for the wolf to back down. After firing a few warning shots, the wolf backs off but swears that he’ll be back to eat her at some point.
Upon closer inspection, the heroine realises that the girl looks an awful lot like Red Riding Hood from her beloved picture book. Red Riding Hood explains that she has come from the picture book to stop the wolf for once and for all. She also says that she’ll need to stay with the heroine in order to protect her at all times so thus begins the heroine’s new life. Will she manage to keep herself safe and help Red Riding Hood find the wolf?
Heroine (Name Changeable)
The heroine is a bookworm, whom especially loves the “Little Red Riding Hood” fairytale. She is outgoing and always willing to help someone in need, although can be naive and easily deceived at times. She is part of the school’s Library Committee and helps out most days after school. She can also be clumsy at times.
Rokuhara Itsuki (CV Ishikawa Kaito)
Itsuki is a classmate of the heroine and is the sole heir to the Rokuhara fortune, although he is unaware of the extent of his wealth. He’s also a bookworm and is a member of the library committee. He has the best grades in their year group and is well liked by all. Itsuki even has his own fan club though, unfortunately, he actually suffers from gynophobia (fear of women) and the only girl he can speak to comfortably is the heroine as they’ve bonded over their love of books.
Chitose Kotarou (CV Eguchi Takuya)
Kotarou is the childhood friend of the protagonist and has been hopelessly in love with her for years but is too embarrassed to admit it. He’s a bit of an idiot and hates studying, although he makes up for this with his athletic ability and friendly personality. Kotarou is also a great cook and occasionally brings in lunch for everyone. He is a member of the library committee but has little interest in books other than comics.
Toujou Noa (CV Masuda Toshiki)
Noa is the childhood friend of the heroine and Kotarou. He secretly cares a lot for the heroine and thinks of her almost as a little sister. He’s pretty laid-back and often skips school or can be found sleeping in the nurse’s office. He loves cats and is currently looking after a box of kittens in the school courtyard. Noa also loves sweets but is too embarrassed to admit it. Noa’s other love is twintails (the hairstyle). He’s a (reluctant) member of the health committee.
Ayame Sadao (CV Kishio Daisuke)
Ayame is the school nurse whom is very popular with his students due to his outgoing and energetic personality. He likes joking around but can be unexpectedly serious at times. He really hates scary things like horror films. He’s actually very strong but dislikes solving things with violence. Ayame is really into motorbikes and coffee and could easily talk about either subject for hours.
Akazukin/Red Riding Hood (CV Saiga Mitsuki)
Akazukin is the young girl from the picture book “Little Red Riding Hood” whom vows to protect the heroine at all costs. She appears to be very cute and childish, causing the heroine to view her as a little sister. However, she actually has a foul mouth and is always very wary of others. She also has a short tempter, especially wherever the wolf is concerned. Despite appearances, Akazukin is actually a guy, who goes by the name of “Blanc”.
Opening Theme: Dark Night Rhapsody ~Akenai Yoru no Kyoushikyoku~ – Wakeshima Kanon
This game lacks a traditional ending song, instead choosing to use an instrumental track.
Artwork and character design for this game was handled by PURU, whom appears to be working with Matatabi exclusively at the moment.
This game features 4 different title screens, each with a different guy on it. The game also features a “love catch” system and will show a blue orb of light if you have picked the “correct choice”.
Now, what this game is perhaps most (in)famous for – the 3D map system. There are two types of gameplay:
- Escape Part
- Hunter Part
Each mode has a time limit of 10 minutes and is available in 4 difficulites: easy, normal, hard & professional.
Right, this part normally involves:
- Finding the plain key
- Using this key to open classrooms/buidlings
- Finding the key with the tag/ribbon in places opened by the plain key
- Using the key with the tag/ribbon to open the sparkling door
Sometimes you just have to run (and open) the sparkling door straight away. It’s also worth mentioning that during two escape parts in Akazukin’s route (the ones in the forest), the building that you’re standing in front of at the start is unlocked to begin with so your first key may be in there (I spent 5 minutes running around looking for the damn key before realising this). There can also be other items to be found, which give “hints” about the wolf. All items are represented by the same small orbs of light. You must also avoid the wolf at all costs during this section and there are plenty of hiding places to avoid him – just make sure that you close the door behind you first!
In this mode, the tables are turned and your sole job is to track down the wolf, shown in the second picture and run straight into him. There can sometimes be items to find in these sections too, but not in all routes. You fail this round if you run out of time.
So, a quick warning before playing this game – in order for the game to come anywhere close to playable you need to install the patch v1.02 which is a whopping 1GB in size, which is fairly substantial for a PSV game and took my vita like an hour to download, although my internet can be patchy at times. I’d highly recommend the patch because, according to the release notes, they appear to fix many things.
I only bought this game because I got a brand new copy for like 80% off and I decided to play it because I’m thirsty for boys with wolf ears after playing Period Cube, haha. Needless to say, my expectations were low, very very low. Especially after the 1GB patch, although it’s nice to know that the company cared enough to try and fix this hot mess of programming.
Okay, I’ll start with the good things; in all honesty, the game’s story is actually pretty decent. The game has a bit of an unusual writing style where the protagonist seems to be an expert at reading body language and can totally tell what people are saying without them actually speaking. It kind of reads like this:
Heroine: Are you sure? Narration: He gave me a small smile, as though saying "yes, I'm sure" and waved me off.
Whereas a normal game would be like:
Heroine: Are you sure? Guy: Yes, I'm sure. Narration: He then flashed me a reassuring smile and waved me off.
Like, I got used to the style by the end of the game but it was pretty unusual at first and felt quite unnatural in some places. It would’ve been easier to just have the characters say the lines but maybe they ran out of budget for the voice acting (lol).
That being said, I found the character interactions to be pretty decent and I really enjoyed the common route due to this. The character routes actually start to split off really early but there are still many common events.
Now onto the characters. I hate it when heroines don’t have default names so I just used my own name, which I don’t particularly like doing, especially when the heroine is really clumsy and generic. She’s also so stupid at times – Akazukin is literally screaming at her to stay away from the damn wolf and she just runs straight towards him like 80% of the time *groans*.
I played Itsuki’s route first and was quite excited as he seemed sweet and quiet. There was all this drama about his fan club that I was dreading because I hate that kind of scenario but the thing that surprised me the most about this route is the fact that Itsuki is TRASH! He’s such a horrible character who blames everything on *insert tragic back story here*. His back story really isn’t that bad compared to literally everyone else though so in my opinion, he is the worst character in this game. His love ending is also laughable and all of the romance in this route was really one-sided (from the heroine).
Due to Itsuki’s route, I had developed the opinion that all of the guys would be trashy so I had an absolutely terrible opinion of Kotarou when I started his route. I was so suspicious and dismissive of everything that he said/did that I was in for a huge shock when it turned out that he’s actually such a good guy! He’s literally an angel who deserves better! His backstory was so sad that I actually cried, slightly… (okay, maybe more than slightly). His route had the best romance and I grew to like him a bit, although his actual character design isn’t appealing to me at all (it’s that haircut – I despise it).
Next up was Noa, who I was still convinced was trash. He had a sad back story (do you see the pattern here?) but the way it was shown meant that you could literally guess the entirety of his route in chapter 1. That being said, he wasn’t quite as trashy as I thought and I generally just pitied him. Noa did have a super cute side though, although the “looking after kittens at school/in the park with senpai~” is a trope I haven’t seen pop up in a while, haha. I’ve also never seen anyone as obsessed with twintails! Noa’s bad ending was so dark and difficult to read it was actually quite impressive!
I went for Ayame after this and was still suspicious of his actions – I swear Akazukin is the only character that understands my wariness towards all of these love interests. Ayame has such an over-the-top personality that you instantly think that he /must/ be hiding something. The thing he is hiding is his very own *tragic back story*, to be fair though, Ayame’s is probably the most tragic. There’s actually some decent comedy provided early in this route and I actually really liked the route overall, although the confession scene isn’t what I’d normally look for I actually thought it was really fitting. He also has a really dark bad ending.
Finally was Akazukin, I secretly only bought this game because I heard that he had a route. He really reminded me of Amnesia’s Orion as only the protagonist could see him and he provided pretty much all of the comedy in the game with his snarky comments. It turns out that Akazukin isn’t actually the cute token shota but is in fact an actual Ikemen! I was surprised that they showed his “true form” so early in his route (technically it was still the common route) but he really is good looking, haha. His route is clearly the true route of the game and is the only route to actually deal with why the wolf is after the protagonist. While I predicted much of his route, the climax caught me by surprise and was actually quite good. Akazukin’s love ending was so bitter sweet though! I was truly expecting one of those slightly cop-out happy endings that you get in most otoge/galge but instead was left with something slightly more profound and I was okay with this until I listened to the omake voices and Blanc’s actually destroyed me. I’m literally so sad about his route now and ended up crying for like 10 minutes *is tearing up while writing this post*. I’ve not been so upset at some bonus voice since Sou’s route in Ozmafia! Akazukin is the best boy of this game by far and his route is definitely of “great” quality.
The artwork was also of pretty good quality – this is the first time that I’ve heard of PURU but there wasn’t really many negatives to say. There’s a pretty good number of CGs and I like that there’s quite a few with the whole group. I think the only thing I disliked was the paint splatter effect used in the colouring, it looked fine on some CGs and a little over-the-top on others. Unfortunately, my favourite CGs are spoilery from Akazukin’s route so I won’t post them~
The voice acting in this game was also really good. Special shout out to Kishio Daisuke who really went to town with Ayame! He was really, really good here! All of the others did well too. I was SO impressed with Saiga Mitsuki too – she managed to pull off two completely different voices effortlessly! Amazing! The rest of the voice cast was good, which is to be expected of a bunch of well-known voice actors. Bless Masuda Toshiki’s softer voice~
BGM in this game was decent, if a bit boring. My favourite tracks were Blanc’s theme and the song used during some of the escapes, I think its called “The Narrow Escape” or something?
Literally the only genuinely bad/terrible thing in this game is its programming but unfortunately, there are so many problems that it’s hard for me to know even where to begin…
First of all, the actual loading times of the game are horrendous! The mini-game is particularly bad and can take up to 5 minutes to load! FIVE MINUTES!!!! Luckily for me, this left me with plenty of time to play my mobile games, haha.
This would be understandable if the graphics were gorgeous and the gameplay is interesting and complex. It was neither of these things. The graphics looked like something from the PS1/PS2 era and was rather glitchy, with random doors being unlocked when they should be locked and weird textures showing up randomly. They also never actually explain why the school looks like something out of a horror film, with blood spatters and such??
There’s also a major flaw in the design of the wolf, for one thing he literally looks nothing like his 3D model, which is really lazy and weird. It’s also really annoying because if you go near the wolf the screen goes blurry and you move in slow motion, which actually made me feel slightly motion sick. It was super irritating because if you play in easy mode, the wolf literally patrols the same tiny bit and if you need to get past him then you just have to make a run for it and put up with the weird ass screen as there’s no way to “lure” him away from where he’s patrolling. The difficulty jump from easy to normal was also horrendous and the game goes from “wolf literally just ignores you” to “wolf will follow you through the corridors, into classrooms and will find you in lockers/under desks even if the door is closed and you hide before he opens the door”. This was a pain in the ass and I just reverted the game back to easy after a couple of rounds. It was not worth the stress just for the platinum trophy. If anyone wants to try the harder levels then I’d say that it’s easier to just keep moving and not bother hiding because the wolf *will* find you.
Outside of the mini-game, the rest of the game just ran at a snail’s pace, to the extent that I literally cringed if I accidentally opened the options menu by mistake as it would take like 1 minute to be able to close it again. This is also the first game that I’ve seen that actually has to pause and load during the normal ADV/visual novel scenes. This was unacceptable, especially when the game stopped and loaded during skipping – I swear you spend at least 15 minutes skipping through the common route alone! You know your loading problems are bad when even the ending movie is glitched and runs lowly!
A quick warning – DO NOT SAVE ON THE FIRST LINE OF THE GAME! I did this (to save time by not having to keep changing the heroine’s name at the start) and I managed to completely break the save/load system. Whenever I tried to pick it from the menu, the screen would refresh and the save/load screen wouldn’t load up. Unfortunately I never noticed until the end of the common route so I had to exit the game and then start again Luckily, the game ran okay once I had reloaded, although it hadn’t recorded my progress and I had to force skip for a while to find where I’d left off.
My Score: 5/10
In all honesty, if this game didn’t suffer from so many technical issues and wasn’t actually a pain to play then I could’ve easily given it a 7/10.
I was quite surprised to find that I liked most of the routes/characters, although Akazukin definitely holds a special place in my heart.
Akazukin >>> Noa >>> Kotarou/Ayame >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Itsuki
Akazukin >>> Ayame >> Katarou > Noa/Itsuki
My Recommended Route Order:
Itsuki → Noa → Kotarou → Ayame → Akazukin
This is just a suggestion though, as long as you leave Akazukin for last then you’ll be okay.
Overall, this wasn’t really a terrible first effort from Matatabi, which I would recommend if you enjoy fairytales and also are willing to put up with slow loading times. However, for me personally, I’d give this game a miss unless it’s ridiculously cheap.
I really don’t know if I’ll get Matatabi’s new game ( Utsusemi no Meguri ) or not as I’m concerned about more system problems… Even though the game looks interesting enough, hmm.
Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the review. I have been curious about the game plot ever since I heard the rdage about the game’s system.
And the OP in the post is KgK one, not RearPheles
Ah thank you for pointing that out 🙂 – I have no idea how I managed to miss that, it should be fixed now!
I’ve never played an otoge with something like that mini game. You made it sound really funny and now I kinda want to try it 😀
Akazukin seems nice too and I just love Saiga Mitsuki! Do you need to play all the routes or just some to unlock him?
Yeah, the mini-game is certainly…unique…
Akazukin is really adorable 😀 Interestingly enough, none of the routes in this game are locked.
I was wondering, where did you download the patch?
It’s just a standard update patch so you can find it by pressing the updates tile before starting the game
I wanted to date Ookami-san so fuckn bad omg I’m so sad uwu
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He could’ve had a really interesting route for sure! 😮