Most workplaces frown upon office relationships. But for Collar x Malice‘s heroine Ichika Hoshino, cozying up to your fellow investigators is the only way to uncover the truths behind the mysterious terrorist group Adonis and foiling their plans for Shinjuku.
Ichika’s potential suitors are investigating different Adonis crimes. You’ll team up with one investigating partner per playthrough. I loved this since this means you need to experience every relationship if you want the entire story. There are a total of five storylines to follow, which translates to a lot of play time! Exactly what I want in my otome games.
Collar x Malice follows the standard format of tonnes of reading with a few dialogue options that will either hurt or harm your budding romance. The twists here are two-fold. Because Ichika is a police officer, she is able to investigate crime scenes and crime scene photos. There’s nothing like heading out to a crime scene with your boyfriend to get those sparks flying. Or working the night shift while working out the case over bento at your desk.
Connecting the dots and interrogating suspects and victims with your partner provides great insight into each of these men. For instance, my first beau Enomoto didn’t quite know how to behave around me. He’s a great officer, but young and inexperienced in the ways of the heart. Whereas Shiraishi keeps his distance from virtually everyone he comes in contact with, male and female alike. He speaks bluntly, often offending those he converses with. Getting close to the profiler is frustrating both as Ichika and as a player.
The second bit of unique gameplay is also related to Ichika’s job. You can shoot your gun! How cool is that? Obviously, taking out your sidearm only happens when the story requires it, but when it does, Ichika needs a steady hand to succeed. You get one shot and it absolutely has to count. Every instance in which I’ve had to point my weapon at a suspect has required precision and commitment. Any hesitation puts Ichika and her co-workers at risk.
No matter what, above all else Ichika strives to be the best police officer she can be. Protecting the innocent and putting their lives before her own are traits that make her an admirable heroine. Come to think of it, she might just be my favourite otome lead, replacing Saki Inafune from Sweet Fuse.