• Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly released not to far apart from its companion the Ashen Hawk, and much like it’s cousin, is an interesting otome visual novel, in concept. Even with the fact that like Black Butterfly, the game has an open-ended structure, the strength of the story suffers as a result this time around.

    The basic premise of Ashen Hawk is that it takes place in a post-medieval setting, in a village bound by an eternal winter that the townspeople have no understanding of why they are in this predicament, other then the idea that’s it’s due to the ‘curse of the witch’. On the other side of things, the town is divided by two feuding factions, the Wolf and Hawk Clans.

    This is where the protagonist comes in. They are the supposed witch, in that she posses a special ability that along with her eye that turns red when she gets too agitated or excited, would make the superstitious townspeople turn into a violent mob and possibly kill her, forces her to assume the identity of a boy named Jed. However, this arrangement does allow her to not take the side of any one faction, being the town’s handy person who will take any odd job.

    Of course, as the game goes on, you’ll eventually be able to make decisions that will split the plot off in various paths. But much like the first game, the plot not only is very linear for a good chunk of the time, but you will also have an open-ended approach to tackling the side content, which actually helps open up other branches in the flowchart, from which all routes can be accessed at any point. Unlike Black Butterfly, there is no shooting game. Instead, the various interviews with the townspeople give you points that can be used to unlock the rest of the game’s content. It is refreshing to hear the perspectives of the ‘NPCs’ dealing with the current events of the game’s narrative at any given chapter, but most of them don’t really have anything truly interesting to say. At least the dev team tried, which is more than one could say for any visual novel.

    On the subject of this being an otome visual novel, it follows the lead of Black Butterfly in doing a lot of things that blur the line of it being a typical otome where the girl has several boys to date and fall in love with. While there is still a bit of that in this, the objectively best routes don’t delve in that type of conclusion. The only real failing of the Ashen Hawk is that in trying to do similar things as Black Butterfly in terms of plot structure and progression, the overall story is less interesting, with some plot points either not being expanded upon or explained well enough. And most of the conclusions aren’t exactly satisfactory. It feels as though the game needs a fan-disc to give us a proper epilogue to each of the game’s routes, but that’s unlikely to ever happen. If you are craving for good Otome, there are better entries from Otomate to go to, even something like Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly.

    Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk - Review
    As a follow up to Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, it brings an interesting story, but it's not as well put together as before.
    Our Score6.5
    Positives
    • Much like the previous entry, Ashen Hawk does a few things that don't make it feel like our average otome visual novel.
    • The idea of learning how all the townspeople feel about plot developments is interesting.
    Negatives
    • The story in this entry is not as well established as in Black Butterfly.
    6.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (4 Votes)
    7.8

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