Otome games are only just starting to find their place worldwide, but these dating sims for women have been around for quite some time in Japan. If you start enjoying these titles, you will eventually find yourself hearing about Ruby Party. You may even hear laments about how no Ruby Party games have been localized yet! Who is this developer? Why should you care about its titles? Let’s learn a little more about this studio!
What is Ruby Party?
Well, Ruby Party is one of Koei’s development studios. It has been around since the fourth console generation. That is when its first, and perhaps most notable game was released: Angelique. It is a predominantly female group, with the Executive Director of Ruby Party being Mei Erikawa. This is notable because her parents are Kou Shibusawa and Keiko Erikawa, Koei’s founders. However, the developer does also have male employees. This developer works primarily on games with otome elements.
However, Ruby Party also doubles as a term describing Koei Tecmo’s otome games now. Originally, all Ruby Party games were dubbed Neo Romance titles, but in 2016 the name also began to stand for all products that fell under this umbrella. Primarily, the developer’s products are video games. However, there have also been drama CDs, manga adaptations, ight novels and anime series based on these titles. There are also regular events where new games are announced. So it is important to note now that Ruby Party could be used to describe the developer or the product line.
How many Ruby Party Neo Romance series and games are there?
There are quite a few, actually! And many of them have been around for years! Ruby Party has been really prolific. Though, sometimes it can feel like there are more games than there really are, as many titles have received rereleases and ports over the years. But these are the main series people should be aware of when thinking about Ruby Party. The traditional Neo Romance series are Angelique, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, Kiniro no Corda, Miss Princess: Miss Puri! and Geten no Hana, but I’ve included some other games developed by Ruby Party that people should be aware of.
Angelique (Super Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Saturn, PC-FX and PC)
Angelique is the game that started it all. This series began with the 1994 Super Famicom simulation where a young woman named Angelique took part in a simulation competition to shape a world and become queen of the Holy Land. As you worked with the nine Sacred Guardians, you could help create a successful world and win or find love. There have been plenty of remakes and successors, as well as spin-offs like Neo Angelique, with its more traditional world saving storyline and turn-based battles, and the Sweet Ange board game.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (Wii, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PC and mobile devices)
The Harukanaru Toko no Naka de series is set during the Heian period. (It is also known as Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time outside of Japan.) Players follow a young woman who finds herself sent back in time to seal evil in a land named Kyo with the help of the Hachiyou, eight men who act as her guardians. It is a visual novel with rudimentary turn-based battles. The original game appeared on the PlayStation in 2000, and there have been 21 additional games and ports released so far. The last numbered entry that wasn’t a port was Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6 for the PlayStation Portable and Vita.
Kiniro no Corda (Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PC and mobile devices)
In the KIniro no Corda series, which is known as La Corda d’Oro outside of Japan, players tend to follow a young woman attending a music academy. As she prepares for performances in this simulation, she has to build up her skill and figure out how to approach each challenge’s piece. You also meet up with fellow students, both male and female, which can lead to love with one of the men or friendship with one of the women. The original game appeared on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PC. There have been four other main entries, with multiple rereleases of some of them, and a mobile game released in the years since its 2003 debut.
LoveφSummit (Mobile devices)
LoveφSummit is one of Ruby Party’s visual novels. Players follow a young woman who is basically kidnapped by her estranged grandfather and enrolled in a prestigious high school filled with well to do people. While attending this school, she has the opportunity to meet and date one of six boys. The game was only available on Japanese cell phones and support was ended in September 2013.
Miss Princess: Miss Puri (Nintendo DS)
In Miss Princess: Miss Puri, players follow a teenage girl who wants to win the Miss Princess pageant proving she’s Japan’s most beautiful and well-rounded young woman. What follows is a simulation in which players attempt to spend the time leading up to the competition participating in minigame classes to build up her stats and spending time with various young men to try and form a relationship with them.
FabStyle (Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS)
Technically, FabStyle is not a Neo Romance game. But, it was developed by Ruby Party, contains many of the hallmarks of its titles and is often lumped in with the other titles. It is a lot like Nintendo’s Style Savvy series, as it is a store management simulation where people can run a shop, take classes and pass tests, dress up an avatar and enter into a relationship with one of the men in the game’s world. While it appears on the Nintendo DS and 3DS, the two games are pretty much identical.
Geten no Hana (PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita)
The Geten no Hana series is one of Ruby Party’s period pieces. It is set during the Warring States period and is primarily a visual novel. Players follow a ninja who can romance characters like Nobunaga Oda, Ieyasu Tokugawa and Hideyoshi Hashiba as she completes missions where she will need to transform into different characters and complete quick time events to aid the army. There have been two games in this series on the PlayStation Portable, Geten no Hana and Geten no Hana Yumeakari, and one on the Vita, Geten no Hana with Yumeakari Aizouban.
Attack on Titan: Escape from Death (Nintendo 3DS)
I’m bringing up this Ruby Party game because it is absolutely weird and has relationship elements. In Japan, the developer made an Attack on Titan title that is an adventure game. You create a male or female Survey Corps member and attempt to deal with an original scenario where you are trapped without ODM Gear. You need to build up Affinity with the other characters, being cautious to avoid the deadly Despair in interactions, while also exploring spaces for useful items and succeeding in quick time events against Titans.
What’s Ruby Party working on now?
There are currently two Ruby Party games on the verge of being released in Japan. Coincidentally, they share a release date! One is Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Ultimate. This is a remake of the very first game in the series for the PlayStation Vita. It is basically the visual novel again, with more art and an opportunity to revisit the original story.
The other is Tokimeki Restaurant: Project Tristars, which is rather interesting. This is a Tokimeki Restaurant Vita game, which is a part of Konami’s Tokimeki Memorial line. (Specifically, the Girl’s Side line.) This is a visual novel game following the 3 Majesty and X.I.P. idol groups from the Tokimeki Restaurant mobile game.