It’s time for another otome game! Look, you really don’t know how much you’re going to love these things until you start playing hundreds of them. They really start to grow on you after a while. I’ve even started looking at my fellow editors as potential romantic paths – managing editor Nathan Evans is your traditional tsun bad boy, for instance. I’ll keep you updated on progress there, whether or not he ends up taking a bullet for me to save my life, y’know, the usual otome stuff. In the meantime, let’s talk about Olympia Soirée, the latest otome visual novel from Idea Factory and Aksys Games.
We follow Olympia – that’s not her real name, which you get to choose, just a stage name – a priestess slash idol slash celebrity who lives on Tenguu Island. It’s her job to perform rituals to keep the sun burning in the sky. Without Olympia, the whole island, maybe even the world, would fade into darkness.
Tenguu Island is ruled by a color-based caste system that plays a part in pretty much every interaction between islanders. You’ve got your Reds, your Blues, your Yellows and so on, and people are generally restricted to consorting with their own caste. In Olympia’s case, though, she represents the last vestige of the White caste. That means that if something were to happen to her before she had children, that line would die out altogether.
Tenguu authorities aren’t about to let that happen, of course, so they send the Red agent Akaza to bring Olympia an ultimatum. In the interests of preserving the White bloodline, Olympia needs to find a husband…and soon. She’s got a year. There ends up being four possible marriage candidates (as a member of the White caste, Olympia is free to marry between caste lines, which isn’t traditionally acceptable and explains the array of options) as well as a fifth that unlocks later.
Olympia’s caste system and the overall “you have one year to get pregnant so your bloodline can continue” quest are a little awkward, sure, but this is an otome game. Nobody’s coming to otome games for serious discussion of societal topics, right? Right? We can hope that’s the case, at least. Further, the plot opens up a little more later on and becomes a bit more nuanced than just ensuring our heroine can pop out some kids.
This is a visual novel so most of your time is going to be spent reading; the only choices that hugely matter are the ones that determine who Olympia ends up with. Olympia Soiree’s writing is pretty good, at least, and the art is absolutely gorgeous; it’s easily the high point of the experience as a whole. Otome fans should find themselves having a great time going through the different routes, especially since the whole affair is actually a lot more wholesome than the premise might make it sound.
It’s also an experience that’s really intended for otome fans and not too many others. I’ve played dozens of these games. I possess the DNA of an otome fangirl. My squee has been perfected and can shatter wineglasses. But…that’s me. You’ll have to search your own heart to see if you’ll squee just as much. If you enjoy otome games, there’s no question that Olympia Soirée is going to be a winner though.