London Detective Mysteria (PS Vita) Review

Platforms: PC, PS Vita (reviewed)
Developer: Karin Entertainment
Publisher: XSEED Games
Release: 18th December 2018 / (PC soon)
Price: 39.99

As an avid reader of this site, you may have noticed I´m quite the huge visual novel fan, including Otome as of recent months. London Mystery Detective is yet another title brought to the dying PS Vita by XSEED Games, taking well-known mysteries of Sherlock Holmes as a base. Naturally such a premise got me interested in seeing how well this will actually transfer to the experience without being too pretentious or boring.

So, in short, we´re playing as a typical damsel in distress, similar to other Otome games; this time a rich girl never able to experience the outside world … until now. She soon joins the a group of detectives on their adventures, dragging in her butler as well.

Naturally, all characters we meet are references to Sherlock Holmes, Watson or other famous british detectives, some more obvious than others. At times the visual novel goes as far as actively saying how certain people are related to their clear idols, while other times they seem to only rely on their references for added comedic effect but able to survive without those as well. London Mystery Detective cast´s is indeed somewhat of a two-sided blade since it tries to find a healthy balance between simply copying lines and creating persons not totally cliché and unoriginal despite being based on pretty obvious stereotypes and famous icons, yet, never truly succeeds at it.

Instead, major players lik the Sherlock Holmes or Watson versions are compared to their “true” versions, at least I had this experience and their “I´m gonna save the damsel while being smart”-cliché falls even quicker apart than normally, because of the many iterations and complex versions we already got of those characters. As a result, the more original ones don´t only feel more alive but also way more dynamic, due to the fact they´re not restricted by certain formalities and recieve some neat character development in their routes.

Even then, London Mystery Detective also features a quite episodic plot, which often suffers from incosistent writing and twists. Same here. As the name implies, a lot revolves around accompanying the detectives on their many cases, unravelling mysteries and solve murders and once again, the game runs itself into corners by presenting rather normal cases. Occasionally, the stories tend to have original set-ups in this Japanese-version of Britain, captializing on the bigger freedom, where the endings are satisfying and have a great tension gauge. Unfortunately, those shining stars tend to be overshadowed by a huge amount of generic mysteries, already seen in many novels and only occasionally elevated by character humour, references or smart writing.

Well, despite those quality hiccups, the one very consistent thing about London Mystery Detective is its pretty presentation. Similar to other Otome, the different detectives and dateable characters in particular look pretty great. Given, the general artstyle could´ve been more unique or more inspired, since its artstyle doesn´t differ much from other titles like Code Realize, while the general designs often feel like incarnations of their respective character clichés and can feel lackluster at some points.

Nonetheless, the overall quality of backgrounds, character designs and music are on a very high level and play a key role as to why this visual novel still works: Because it´s undeniably pleasant to look at. At the same time, XSEED´s translation is naturally pretty damn great again, lacking many typos, errors or unnatural sounding language, rather injecting very neat talking styles and creative ways to word around the rather direct Japanese.

Conclusion

So all in all, London Mystery Detective isn´t a very unique or great Otome but it´s still a pretty fun one. If you don´t expect anythign special but like the setting in particular, there´s some great fun to be had here, for anyone eager for a new Otome, otherwise, not much is setting thisone above average.

[A Review Code was provided by XSEED Games]