Been a while since I covered an otome game, but this one looked pretty cool and I finally finished it after a month of playing – I’ve got some things to say.
So let’s start with the art, since that’s what put this one on my radar. Overall it’s pretty good. You got these super-detailed character designs, backgrounds that really sell the setting, and an overall look that just fits perfectly with the Japanese fantasy mythology theme. That and the game has a lot of good CGs, really emphasizing the strengths of the character designs. It’s not the most animated visual novel – mouths moving while talking is pretty much all there is – but the rest of the art is fine and there’s some nice music to back it up. On the aesthetic front, Olympia Soirée does great.
Now onto the actual story – the meat of any visual novel. The setup here is not really something I’ve seen done before in the medium and, on the surface, might actually raise a few eyebrows for its parallels to modern society. You’re basically thrown into this society where everyone is born into and raised as a specific “color”, which their hair color represents.
Primary colors are seen as the superior groups and romance is forbidden outside of your own color, but you play as Olympia – the only white individual remaining on the island and the only one with the freedom to romance outside of her color. This is because the white color is very rare and must carry out the sacred duty of performing traditional dances to keep the sun rising and the darkness away. If the white fully die out – the sun goes with it and the world will suffer.
Olympia has just turned 18 and you’re presented with the otome game classic: she must find a husband of any other color class and continue the white bloodline. The ultimate goal is simple, but we rarely ever get visual novels that cover topics like racism and classism and it was really cool to see such topics tackled in an otome game way. It may not go super in-depth like we see in many modern movies and such, but for a visual novel it’s pretty good and definitely made the story more memorable.
Otherwise, the structure is pretty similar to other otome visual novels. You get your cast of pretty boys, each with their own route, and a couple routes that are only unlocked after every other route is cleared. The game follows an overall “multiple route mystery” theme, with each route covering some aspect of this society along with the usual romance stuff. You’ll get to take a look at how each color class works, how the society developed in this way, and what steps are being done to better life for all.
Because yes, this game is not out here promoting such discrimination – pretty much every character you meet despises the color class system and you get to learn their reasons why as you complete their routes. The common route is fairly short and is used mostly to introduce the cast so I’m gonna run through each character’s route in order from my least to most favorite and try to explain why.
Starting with the worst of the bunch: Tokisada. This is the youngest character of the bunch. He’s 17 – only one year younger than our protagonist – but acts much younger than that and that is ultimately what brought his route down for me. He has one of the most interesting backstories – even if it does go a bit overboard and melodramatic towards the end – but the entire time I was like “dude, you’re like 12” and I just could not take the romance seriously. That and the pacing was SUPER slow during this route, leaving all the big stuff towards the end – easily my least favorite of the bunch.
Then there’s Himuka. This route is only unlocked after you clear the main four routes and for good reason – a lot of the “big” story stuff happens here. The pacing is handled much better than Tokisada, but, just like that route, the romance comes across as forced and just doesn’t flow well. Himuka also goes through an absolutely jarring character shift a ways into this route that left me wondering if perhaps the route was planned to be longer. It’s not slow, but it lacks the buildup that some of the other routes got.
Next is Kuroba – the flirty, doctor type that I don’t really have a problem with myself, but he was unfortunately stuck with a mediocre route. It explored the concept of the black color group, which was interesting, but also tacked on this whole “tug of war” romance thing where our protagonist acts out of character compared to literally every other route and Kuroba himself constantly flip flops between two character states in a seemingly random way. And I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say this route uses a certain plot device that is just completely uncalled for and serves no purpose other than to drastically raise the stakes when things aren’t progressing all that much. Overall: good character, poor route.
Yosuga is next and again, this is yet another route where the character is fine, but the route is just meh. Whereas Kuroba had a bunch going on in his route – Yosuga doesn’t have nearly as much. This is good in that it avoids some of the problems I just described with Kuroba, but bad in that it does not leave the route feeling memorable – it felt more like your standard otome romance route with just a bit of story dabbled on top of it. I guess every otome game has to have a route like this, so it at least serves its purpose. Beyond that – not much else to say.
Akaza is next and is by far the most story-packed of the routes. Unlike Himuka’s though, the romance stuff on top of it actually comes across as natural AND with good pacing. The buildup was done well, the beginning was not overly slow, and the major reveals towards the end actually felt like such. Granted, it’s a bit unfair to other routes because this one you cannot play until the very end of the game and by that point, you’ll have already become familiar with everything and the route won’t need to spend so much time info dumping or developing side characters – that stuff has already been done.
And finally, Riku. My favorite route of the bunch and also the second one I played – so no major buildup beforehand. What we got here was an excellent introduction to the world of Olympia Soirée that manages to hit all of the game’s good points: well-paced romance, just the right amount of conflict, and a good dose of worldbuilding without feeling like an info dump. It was probably that last point that really sold the route for me, but the character himself was solid too.
And while not a route, I gotta talk about the protagonist: Olympia. Unlike other otome game protagonists, she is not the pushover type. She sticks to her ideals and actually works towards getting stuff done. She is not afraid of putting herself out there, yet is not this brick wall of stubbornness either. It is super refreshing for an otome game and, while she may be tempted by food a bit too easily, that just makes her all the more likeable – easily my favorite character in the game.
That pretty much sums up each route – in my own rambly words. It varies a lot depending on the character, but the overall experience is fine – although I will say that the game relies a bit too heavily on flashbacks in EVERY route. Like, almost Naruto-level bad. Still, it’s a good read for its length (it took me around 50 hours to clear all the routes) and there are even a bunch of bad endings and extra short stories thrown in there if you want to go the full completionist route.
If you’re wondering about the more mature elements to the game, well, they do exist, but usually just implied. The game is rated M and is on Switch after all, so they don’t show anything, but you will hear about the before and after.
Olympia Soirée is a bit of good, a bit of bad, and a bunch of just “okay”. Some routes are a chore to get through with their slow pacing and all, but then you get these really good routes that kinda level it all out. I started the game off not really liking it and kinda growing to appreciate it – even through its low points. It’s definitely not bad – although it’s also not a shining example of the genre.
Quote: Olympia Soirée is a bit of good, a bit of bad, and a bunch of just “okay”. Some routes are a chore to get through, but then you get these really good routes that kind of level it all out.
Olympia Soirée retails for $50 USD on Nintendo Switch.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.