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Try/Buy/Wait: Collar x Malice

Try/Buy/Wait: Collar x Malice

In Try/Buy/Wait, Checkpoint writers review a game and give you a recommendation on whether to Try the game via demos/buy-and-refund, Buy the masterpiece of a game immediately, or Wait until the game is on sale – letting you know if a game is ultimately worth your money and time.

Your Writer: Blootan
Top 3 Favorite Games: Collar x Malice, Code: Realize, Danganronpa Series
Favorite Genre: Otome Visual Novels
Recently Finished: Katamari Reroll, Black Butterfly, Ashen Hawk
Currently Playing: Backbone Prologue, Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Bio: FGC TO | Co-Organizer of [email protected] | Writer | BEMANI | DRS/SDVX | UNIST | Follow me @superbloo!

Think you have what it takes to play an otome game? Well if you think you are, definitely give Collar x Malice a shot – it’s one of my favorites, and is very likely to set you down the same road I have for loving the otome genre!

Collar x Malice: The Heroine

Collar x Malice is a visual novel dating sim set in Shinjuku following the story of a policewoman heroine. The story revolves around solving several brutal cases in Tokyo. Dating sim elements aside (selecting dialogue choices), you play detective-focused mini games to solve them, such as having to find specific clues in rooms, similarly to Danganronpa. As most visual novels tend to only have dialogue choices, I love that this one has additional games to play.

I want to keep this mainly a spoiler-free review so I’ll keep details on the story fairly light.

The game starts off with the heroine encountering 5 different men investigating cases. These are your five dating routes. At  the beginning, you choose who you want to partner up with and explore the case they are currently investigating. As each one is investigating a different case, the routes vary in content.

The only complaint I can truly make about the system is that it has no in-game record of what endings you’ve reached. There are many bad endings, so it’s easy to lose track. If you’re one of those people looking to 100% clear, I definitely advise keeping a personal record. There /is/ a trophy for clearing every single bad ending that I never got for this reason.

While I didn’t acquire all the bad endings, I did get through a decent chunk of them, many involving death of characters. Most veteran visual novel enthusiasts already go for every ending in the game, but even if you aren’t one, I definitely recommend saving the game and choosing the obviously bad choice. They’re worth seeing in this game and make the happy/true end that much more rewarding.

I do think that this game has one of the most addictive stories I’ve encountered in a dating sim. From the moment I picked it up, it took up all my free time. Work, work, work, then play the game. It wasn’t even about the dating aspect. As a fan of crime and mystery themes, I found the setting and premise extremely fun. Even if you aren’t a fan of dating sims, if you’re into crime/mystery/thriller genres, I highly recommend giving this game a shot.

A fandisc was released in Japan in the summer of 2018. Recently, it’s been announced that the Switch port of Collar x Malice and Collar x Malice: Unlimited will be localized in 2020. Collar x Malice: Unlimited continues the story where it left off in the original game. This will be bundled together on one game, so if you haven’t played Collar x Malice yet… it might not be a bad idea to wait till the Switch version releases next year.

VERDICT: Wait for Sale

This game is a great addition to anyone who likes visual novels and offers a lot even to VN amateurs. Although it’s worth the full price, since it’s been out for a few years, at this point I would wait for Aksys to do a sale on PSN or wait for the Nintendo Switch port.

Collar x Malice is an otome visual novel and was developed by a conglomeration between Otomate and Idea Factory, and was published by Idea Factory and Aksys Games. It was released on August 18, 2016 in Japan with a worldwide release on July 28, 2017. The game is available for the PlayStation Vita, and Android platforms with a Nintendo Switch port planned for a 2020 release. Current copies of Collar x Malice retail for an average of $19.99 USD.