Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ Switch Review: An Otome Visual Novel for Everyone

Otome fans rejoice, finally the Nintendo Switch has an otome visual novel worthy of your time and money. Just a quick note an otome game is a visual novel (you read the story and make choices occasionally) where the main character is a girl and the harem is full of guys. Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ the first in a series of three games originally released in 2015 is a steampunk adventure set in 1853 in an alternate London. Guardian of Rebirth comes with pedigree as it’s written by Idea Factory and the story’s intriguing premise does not disappoint.

That’s right, our X-Men power is melting things.

You play as a ‘monster’ in human skin, if anyone touches your skin their whole existence crumbles away. This is because of a gem your missing father has placed in your chest filling your body with poison. 

Everything takes place because of this gem.

Cardia the protagonist has closed herself off from the world both physically and mentally. She only has memories of the last 2 years of her life which have been lived in complete isolation so knows nothing of the outside world. Luckily some dashing fine gentlemen are around to rescue her, enrich her experiences and help her find the answers to why anyone she touches melts away to nothingness. These gentlemen are none other than the main characters from some of the greatest stories written of the time this novel is set such as Arsène Lupin, Dr Frankenstein and Van Helsing, as an added bonus they’re all ridiculously handsome.

They would melt if anyone did do anything.

Choices rarely involve anything other than picking which eligible bachelor you want to spend some time with in various situations or if you agree with something they’ve said making it quite easy to pick a strapping young fellow to  pursue through the game. On occasion the choice you get to make leads to a huge difference in the telling of the story as you experience one of two possible epic scenes.

The one on the left is a boy, I’m not sure I would have met either with a different choice.

Your historically significant legends of potential suitors are extraordinarily talented and unique despite following typical character tropes such as the goofy one, the tsundere and the mysterious one. Guardian of Rebirth contains some shocking twists and eye brow raisers within the thoroughly engaging story and I have to admit I literally did drop my jaw at one moment.

MMA should be called fisticuffsmanship.

In a stroke of visual novel genius if you accidentally skip forward you can actually rewind the game to a previous scene, a feature I’ve not seen before and was fantastic if I had the game set on its brilliantly paced auto play and wanted to hear go back a bit.

He’s generally the nice polite one.

As each of your merry harem of gentlemen have different reasons for banding together around you, 5 chapters of the 13 in total are unique to each of the 5 potential suitors available. Each with a normal and good end depending upon one final choice. This all gives you plenty of reading for the various routes and you can skip over the beginning 8 chapters fairly quickly to reach the branches. This helps the game last up to 30hours, a very decent length for a visual novel.

Luckily this man isn’t one of your bachelors.

What makes Guardian of Rebirth really stand out from the crowd is that each chapter is its own self contained story that slowly adds to the overarching plot and builds on the characters, often with a chapter centering around a particular character. There is also so much happening the bachelors don’t have the time to really romance the protagonist, this means that your sexual preference doesn’t matter and you can happily enjoy the thrilling story.

A sky race one chapter and confronting a vampire another. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This otome game is home to some outlandish and fantastically unique character designs, if these guys were real I’d be very jealous of our heroine. However Code: Realize really shows its age in the visual department as it’s rare nowadays for characters in visual novels to not have move by lips even if everything else around them is static. The backgrounds are fine but you never see anything very interesting, the best you get is a pop up picture of something that really should be drawn into the scene.

I wouldn’t blow you off Impey.

The soundtrack is suited well and in particular has a piece of music that brought joy to my ears during Lupin’s heists (there was always going to be heists with Arsène Lupin involved). The voice acting is expressive with every line voiced in Japanese oddlonly excepty our non silent protagonist is silent and obviously communicates through telepathy. I imagine this is to help you feel you are her however there is often a picture of her in the bottom corner of the screen and other characters call her her default name of Cardia within their voiced lines. 

You can always bribe people with tabemono.

As interesting as Guardian of Rebirth is, it was a very odd decision to realise this version instead of Bouquet of Rainbows which includes this story and the sequel showing what happens after the conclusion of Guardian of Rebirth as well as some extra content not in either. However I wouldn’t let odd style of release, nor the fact it’s an otome (for those into girls) or its age to hold you back from this gem of a visual novel, after all handheld is the best way to play visual novels and the Switch is the ultimate handheld. The story is top notch with me not knowing where each chapter would go next, full of interesting twists and kept me laughing throughout my time. I’m not going to stop playing Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ until I’ve finished every route which tells you how good the story and characters are.

Shame we can’t see it.

A huge thank you to Aksys Games for supplying the review code. Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is available now both physically and digitally on the eShop for £35.99/€39.99/$39.99.

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