- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: D3 Publisher
- Developer: D3 Publisher
- Release Date: Feb 01, 2018
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Adventure, Visual Novel
- PLayer: Single Player
- Official Website: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-men-of-yoshiwara-kikuya-switch
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is an otome game and visual novel, so be prepared for text heavy gameplay. This doesn’t appeal to everyone as it can feel like reading an interactive book, so keep that in mind. However, the dialogue is rather fun to read and The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya has simplistic dialogue and narration making it an easier visual novel to read that most. There just isn’t as much text as games like Steins;Gate or Chaos;Child.
That being said, there are 5 playable routes with one of the routes having a 2nd season. For this otome game, you can simply pick the bishounen or your dreams rather than having to make a selection of answers that will lock you into your route. There are also only 2 endings, both of which are positive so this is more for casual play unlike games like Amnesia: Memories. Added onto that is an extra date scene per each character and a sequel. This doesn’t even include the fact that Iroha has a 2nd season!
Also, don’t miss the M for Mature rating! This game is set in a brothel and you do not want to be surprised!
The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya Opening Movie
The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is set on an island on which there are few men. This has led to the culture centering on the Pleasure District, a district in the middle of the island where the men are located. These men are meant to either fulfill a woman’s desire for children or love if only for a single night. The Pleasure District is where dreams are sold in the forms of lies, but everyone is a willing buyer.
On this island, we have our main character, whose default name is Hidetomi Misao, who ends up in the Pleasure District by pure accident. Mistaken for someone else, Misao is given the opportunity of a night in the Pleasure District. Picking her favorite courtesan, our main character is in for quite the romance as everything is about to change with this one night.
Like most visual novels, the game progresses as a story and you guide your route based on the choices you make throughout the games. Each chapter has about 2 choices and with each choice made, your likeability goes up or stays stagnant. If the likeability gets high enough, you can see the Super Happy Ending, and if you don’t quite get there, you get to see the Happy Ending. Both endings provide CGs so you’ll want to play them both. Luckily, if you don’t want to replay the entire story, you can just start the game from the last chapter and you’ll get to see the Happy Ending because your likeability is 0%, although this won’t work if you want to pick the Super Happy Ending as you need a higher likeability rating. We recommend shooting for the Super Happy Ending and then quick jumping to the last chapter to get the Happy Ending after as that will be less work than starting all over again.
As for the characters, not all of the male characters are introduced during the prologue. You can just jump to the main story and pick your favorite bachelor off of a menu screen like an entree with a description of what you are getting. This means you don’t even have to go through the prologue, although we do suggest doing so as you might be confused about some of the story’s plot. For our first route, we selected the childhood friend, Hayato, as we were not keen on playing one of the flashier and more arrogant characters. It was a rather cute route, although since the game itself is based off of a mobile game, there wasn’t as much character development. Still, it was enjoyable to watch unfold and since this is the childhood character route, there wasn’t much to develop since the characters knew each other.
However, taking on what appears to be the main route (Iroha), the story takes on a different plot and different tone. While with Hayato, the plot was all about their childhood memories and continuing the romance that they never got to have, Iroha’s “true” route was more about….how much Misao wants to have sex with him, but Iroha refuses. As the story continues, we get to actually learn more about Iroha personally and why he refuses to sleep with Misao. It’s an interesting story compared to Hayato’s rather simplistic one and we can understand why Iroha gets a 2nd season outside of the substory, date scenarios, and sequel. All the same, this is just a reminder that The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is an M rated game and not suitable for children.
We’d also like to note that due to this premise in the story, there are a lot of innuendos and remarks about purity. In particular, Misao’s “purity” and “flower” are constantly being remarked upon by the members of this particular brothel. This may be a major theme in the game as the Pleasure District is a place where men are enslaved and taken advantage of but they manage to find a form of white light in our heroine.
Adding more to our musings about the story, there was one thing that really bothered us in the otome game and no, it wasn’t the innuendo and lack of artful writing hinting at sex. It was the constant syntax and spelling mistakes that would pop up every so often. You’d be going through a beautiful scene and then suddenly, you are left to interpret what a word was supposed to mean or you see these two words crammed together and wonder to yourself how difficult it could be to add a space when proofreading. As a writer, this can be irksome, but it doesn't completely take away from the gameplay.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
If you want a game like Hakuoki with wonderful descriptions, character development, and well developed plots, that’s not what you’re going to find, but in The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya, you’ll find a creative plot, great characters, and an easy to follow story with direct routes similar to your favorite mobile game. As such, Kikuya wins our seal of approval.
- The plot is rather different with some dark points
- The artwork and graphics are beautiful
- Short chapters good for casual gameplay
- Each story differs per character so there is no redundancy when playing other routes
- Grammar - Sometimes you’ll see words accidentally crammed together and terrible syntax
- Awful dialogue and narration that is only good for a laugh