Otome games and visual novels are the sort of genre that frankly, could very well fit anywhere. But, at the same time, there is something nice about having them in a more portable format. It places the story in the palm of your hands, makes it easy to read anywhere like a traditional book and allows people who are devoted to the sights and sounds to really focus on the presentation. In the eighth console generation, the PlayStation Vita really stood out as the system to play such games on, and The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya seems to suggest the Nintendo Switch could fill a similar role.
One way in which The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya shows how well an otome works on the system has to do with the controls. Simplicity is always appreciated when reading a visual novel. If we can easily tap one button for quick saves and another for quick loads, that is awesome. Being able to quickly hide text boxes to get better looks at CGs is another must. While you are limited to D-pad controls in the menu, everything you expect is there in this game. What really helps is the optional touch screen controls. If someone is playing in Handheld Mode, you can tap on the screen to make decisions and control the game. It is an appreciated touch. The ability to have that option is appreciated.
The presentation works well too. The Vita is great for otome games, especially if you have an original model with an OLED screen. With The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya, we have a clear and crisp view of the character portraits and event scenes. The Switch’s screen is far larger than the Vita, giving players a better view of the characters and events. Things are clear and easy to read. Plus, we have that option where we can be mobile or stationary. Again, The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya shows that otome fans have options when playing on the Switch.
Otomes are easy to share using the Switch. You only need to press a single button to capture the moment. On the Vita, you needed to hold two buttons at once to take the shot. Once you have the image in the system gallery, it is easy to add text or share it to attached social media accounts. In a matter of moments, I was grabbing and putting shots from The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya on my accounts. Being able to show the games off online and display exactly what you love about different titles is quite a boon, and the Switch clearly makes that easy.
Finally, we have the encouraging way in which the Nintendo eShop works. It is a region-free devices where it is easy to use different accounts to shop, then play the purchased games on any account on the system. The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya was out in Japan first and had an English translation built into it. While this will certainly not be the case with all Japanese games that have a confirmed English translation planned, it is nice to see it could happen with a game. And, even if this does not happen, we do know there is an opportunity to have easy access to otome games from another region.
The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is the first otome title on the Switch. Seeing how well it works on the system is encouraging. While it is not one of the best or most memorable otome out there, it does show exactly how well these sorts of visual novels will work on the Switch. Its features make the most of the system and give a glimpse at how future, larger games could also be a perfect fit.