Pink Rage Otome is a bizarre Visual Novel where we play as a suitably odd teenager named Horror. Our first interaction with her and the title itself is seeing her futile attempts at counting sheep in order to fall asleep on the school’s rooftop before being bothered by some sudden noise. Opening her eyes, Horror sees the kind smile of some guy with bunny ears named Mr. Rabbit and as is her nature flips out on him. This Rabbit then announces that he is going to hold a trial for everybody and that she’ll be receiving her partner soon. It’s all quite a bit jarring for an intro as we try to discover what in the world is going on, why everything appears so outlandish and what this trial is about. All of this will have to be pieced together by the player as this game revels in its obscurity and has as much Mystery as it does Comedy.
Right from the get-go, Horror proves to be a very entertaining lead whenever she interacts with anybody or even when she yells at nothing in particular when alone. She is equal part sadistic and equal part caring, leading to plenty of moments when she takes things up to 11, feels slightly bad about it and dials it right back to 11 in a successive combo. Her hold nothing back attitude gives her plenty of personality and blends rather well with Mr. Rabbit’s saint-like politeness. Luckily for her, the partner she was paired with is mute and extremely shy despite named Chaos. Chaos literally looks like a Tokyo Ghoul cosplayer yet despite that he has to be one of the goofiest looking characters I’ve seen in quite some time.
It is a Comedy game after all, so I hardly meant that as a negative and he is a very lovable character. He can’t speak, but man is his cowardly texts and over usage of smileys entertaining. In fact, no one is voice acted. All the dialogue will be through subtitles, and it is sadly a tad sub-par, at least for the English translation. I’ve spotted no misspellings though it does occasionally feature some sentences arranged in a way a native English speaker would never say. As an example a character saying “such a big plans!” or something equally as silly. It’s never to the point of not being able to understand what they are trying to get across and I found that it actually added some more charm to its already surreal setting.
Well, what is it about you are no doubt wondering by now. Contrary to the store page calling it a female-oriented dating sim, it is far more about piecing together a purposely disjointed story to find out why everything is the way that it is. Only two of the five routes feature any type of romance, and even then it is so light that one should not go in expecting a love story of any kind. And for the straight male that usually wouldn’t even consider playing a romance game suited towards women, once again that aspect is so light that it may as well be sold as a Mystery/Comedy game. Luckily for us, that mystery is pretty darn interesting and is something that will require multiple playthroughs to comprehend.
You’ll have five routes to go through with a ton of endings to see. Most routes feature you siding with one of the four main characters throughout and each can be finished in about half an hour. Your choices you make across your journey will decide your outcome whether it be good or bad. This is where the game’s main flaw strikes. Most decisions will be made through seemingly unimportant text messages. It wasn’t fun in Steins Gate, and it certainly doesn’t work here either. To make matters worse is that to get the proper end for a route, one has to pick exactly the right answer for every text and many choices are plain bizarre. Choosing a single wrong option within the entire playthrough will inevitably lead to a bad end and which choice was wrong is never made clear. You will need a guide for this title I’m afraid.
The developers tried to counteract this by giving us a ton of save slots and speedy access to the saving function via right-clicking or the escape key. This does nothing to help one who doesn’t even know where or which seemingly meaningless choice they made wrong. It is such a bummer that it was designed this way. Yes, ten different endings is nice, though requiring perfection in this title’s arbitrary system to get the five real ones is a pain. Not to mention it feels kind of character breaking, as all of our choices must be the nice one instead of the more entertaining one, despite Horror spending all of the game being a lovable jerk.
No doubt the first thing one would notice booting this title up is the very peculiar direction. It will have you wondering if it is set in a Halloween party or something as everyone has some kind of odd feature to them, such as Horror’s panda looking eyeshadow. I love the CG scenes, and it is such a shame there isn’t a way to unlock some sort of gallery like in many other Visual Novels. The music is also suitably odd and upbeat for something that could have easily come off as slightly eerie. Pink Rage Otome is just so incredibly unique all around that one can’t help but instantly be pulled in to make sense of it all. Yes, it has some problems such as using a guide being pretty much essential, but the story behind it is worth doing so. Great story, lovable characters and its charming creativity make this quite an easy title to recommend, especially considering how much is on offer for less than a dollar.