Olympia Soirée Review

General Info

Release Date(s):
NA: Sept 9, 2021
Japan: April 16, 2020
Rating: M 17+
Developer(s): Otomate
Publisher(s): NA: Aksys // JP: Idea Factory
Platform I Played On: Switch
Platform(s) Available On: Switch
Genre(s): Otome

Small edits and updates have occurred on 05/24/2022.

Synopsis

Taken from the Aksys official site
Olympia Soirée | Official Site | (aksysgames.com)

Her entire clan wiped out years ago, Olympia has been isolated for much of her life. Now she must travel to Tenguu Island – the only person who can perform a ritual that will restore the sun to a land enveloped in darkness. The heads of each district there (Red, Blue, Yellow) lead a society governed by rigid class structures.

Able to travel between the districts, Olympia discovers their wonders and weaknesses. She also finds an entire underground group of shunned “colorless” individuals who she becomes determined to help. If she can find a mate who will help her continue her lineage and save the world before it is destroyed, she will reveal to that special someone her heart and her true name.

Why You Should Play? The Shortened Version

>> Strong Heroine!! Smart and Feisty!

>> Good foundation for story and in game lore

>> Route variances with different thematic and lore focus

>> Gorgeous visuals and music

Pros

  • Great heroine, strives for personal growth and not afraid to ask questions
  • Fantasy world with traditional Asian/Japanese inspired elements and social structures
  • Long intro that establishes heroine and in-game world
  • Most routes had decent romantic progression while presenting stories not dependent on the romance
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Great ambience and music

Cons

  • One highly questionable route
  • Heroine can be a bit too trusting at times
  • Didn’t like that “canon” route got considerably more truth bombs than other routes

Before Reading

Beware there may be minor spoilers below depending on one’s qualification of a spoiler. Read at your own risk. In my opinion, this review should not spoil any new player’s experience with the game~

Disclaimer: This is my HOBBY blog with my own opinions, please take that into consideration~

Prologue

Sets the Stage // Fully Immersed // Gorgeous Ambience to Start off the Game

The prologue is very lengthy with five fully fleshed out chapters. At one point I was thinking (not in a bad way) that I was playing the prologue for a long time. I think not immediately jumping into the routes say after one chapter benefited this story quite well because it gives the reader to absorb the world and its (very rigid) customs. The opportunity to really grasp the backstory of Olympia is also quite helpful in knowing her overall spirit and personal beliefs.

In the prologue I was also immensely enjoying the bright colorful artwork in tandem with the gorgeous soundtrack. This really made me feel fully immersed and hooked into the story and made me want to continue reading and explore more of the in-game universe.

Since this is a visual novel I praise the length and the establishment of the world via the prologue. I wasn’t too bothered by the heavier amount of game specific terminology and never felt I was inundated with too much information. However, this may not suite people who struggle with memorizing terminology or really don’t jive with the concept of heavy in-game-specific terminology that is very common in fantasy or sci-fi.

The prologue does not have choices that effect the routes. After the prologue is done you simply choose which route you want to play. There are two locked routes that you can only access after you’ve completed the first four routes. Akaza’s route is last route you can play in the game.

The Routes

They are listed in the order I played them however below are my personal ranking of the routes.

Yosuga > Riku > Kuroba > Tokisada > Akaza >>>>> Himuka

A Brief Thought: In this game throughout all the routes there wasn’t much of a perspective from the love interest. All the stories are predominantly viewed strictly through the eyes of Olympia. While isn’t inherently bad but I kind of missed being able to see the love interest’s or even villain’s thought process like other Otome games sometimes present.

A Brief Thought 2: This is a time-consuming game and the routes are not a short read whatsoever. I like this because none of the routes felt extremely rushed and we got to see and experience more of the world and how Olympia interacts with it.

Riku

Rules // Elite // Slow Burn

This was the first route I chose because going off of the prologue Riku felt like a 50/50 chance of me enjoying the route. Riku is a part of the elite blue class and military and is a very serious and somewhat rigid individual. At first, I was apprehensive about Riku’s route because I wasn’t sure if he was going to be a total jerk or the “kind” tsundere trope. Luckily Riku is on the kinder side and has great character growth throughout the story. I also appreciate that despite the tsundere components he isn’t the type to constantly degrade or belittle Olympia and does respect her throughout the story.

This route in my opinion has the least amount new information throughout the game so it is a good starter for the game. The core themes are overcoming the island’s hierarchical rules especially those of an elite color class such as the blue. We get to learn of the problems the current state of the color class poses and how Olympia navigates her newfound knowledge of the rigid class system. She an Riku have some unexpected shared interests which made the story less rigid and allowed for Olympia and Riku to connect. The overall romance is a slower burn in comparison with the other routes with a lot of “does he love me does he not” components to it which could be frustrating to some. I thought Riku’s route was an enjoyable read and after the completion of all the other routes his route stands out as a coherent and well rounded story.

Yosuga

Coy // Flirt // Favorite Plot 😍

The second character I chose was Yosuga, the proprietor of a bathhouse in the heart of the district with the outcasts of society that hosts all sorts of exotic teas and food dishes and is a part of the purple class. Yosuga is one of the characters who is on the more flirtatious and a bit of a tease. He is not afraid to pose Olympia somewhat risqué suggestions while being very nonchalant about them (don’t worry Olympia catches on).

I actually liked the overall storyline in this one, it combined a lot of different aspects of the island and combined them to make a really interesting route. The topics range from the ongoings of the underbelly of society, the strict color class system, the disease Haku, and overall tragedy. I love that we got to see the in-game world come alive through the different stories in Yosuga’s route and how it affected both the poor and elite. I was invested in Yosuga’s story and wanted to see how the events in his route would connect and I was not disappointed.

I think the romance in the route is well executed because both Yosuga and Olympia have progressive fondness towards one another but also personal growth that builds upon the romance. I thought many of the scenes with Yosuga were really touching and matched the overall tone and mystery of his route. If I had one complaint Yosuga is a bit petty in one scene, where I wish I would say chill out because you know you are meant for each other!~ There are some typical anime/otome tropes as far as storytelling goes but it is not the focal point of Yosuga’s route. I think this route has a really good balance between story and romantic plot and this is why out of all the routes Yosuga takes my number one slot for the game.

Kuroba

Medicine // Social Hierarchy // Flirt

Kuroba is our resident doctor, hails from the black color class, and a part of the Kotowari (secret service?? Island Information Bureau??). Like Yosuga, Kuroba is also a bit of a tease and a flirt. In the prologue Kuroba is very direct (basically being a comedic tease) but you can tell that he still respects Olympia so it’s never malicious or downright creepy regarding intent. Surprisingly the overall story doesn’t actually focus on what our first impressions of Kuroba but is focused on the disease Haku (from a medical perspective) as well as the color/social class dynamics of the island.

I really enjoyed many aspects of Kuroba’s story; medical intrigue usually provides a good yarn and there are some really good moments diving into scientific portions of the disease Haku. That being said some parts of Kuroba’s story annoyed me because they could have been solved with direct and clear communication and instead we got unhappy and confused people 😑 … This is applicable to the romantic subplot where while I didn’t mind it at first but it soon turned into a pseudo rivalry story which I think could’ve been executed a bit better. This really frustrated me and thought Kuroba was just a tad more mature in handling some situations. However, that being said once all the drama is away there are some very sweet moments within the story. I simply wish the execution of the whole story had been a bit better and less weird rivalry moments and maybe more focus on the medical aspects and color class portions of the plot.

Amakusa Shirou Tokisada (Tokisada)

Struggling // Purpose // Questions about the Universe

So out of the four immediately playable routes this was the one I was avoiding as the last one I read. One, he is 17, and two, from the prologue and overall looks I feared this would be THE shota route of the game which honestly is not really territory I like to step into. Surprisingly I did not dislike this route as much as I thought I would. While there were many overtly sugary moments in the route it did delve into various themes: life purpose and goals, tragedy and overcoming it, change and how to bring about it, and religious/philosophical crisis. Honestly, I was not expecting all of these themes to occur under one route! This was the route that made me start to think of the whole in game universe at the macro level opposed to specific problems within the island like the other routes.

I think this route probably wins for “most awkward dialogue choices” in the game. The level of secondhand embarrassment I felt was not okay haha 😱😱 I do also enjoy the fact that they start off as being friends instead of immediately lovers or stealing awkwardly furtive glances at one another. This is a dynamic that isn’t too present in the other routes, so it was noticeably different. That being said I found myself being more intrigued by the non-romance plot than the actual romance many times which was not a bad thing in this route for me 😂 Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this route because it was not as cringey or sugar coated as I expected it to be.

Himuka

Awkward // Questions Answered // Island Lore

This route is unlocked after playing the first four routes. To be honest I was not looking forward to this route because of his general character design (yup call me judgemental) and thought this wasn’t someone who would be right for Olympia. Sadly, I was correct in my apprehensions and worries of his route. To repeat what I said in Tokisada’s route, I am not a fan of the shota romance or the character looking or actually being too young. The route did not take on the shota mantra and what not what I initially suspected.

Overall, this is, sadly, my least favorite route in the game. Without spoiling too much, and boy this route has a lot of truth bombs, I just have to say that the whole story and romantic focus was really weird and I really didn’t enjoy it too much… I felt like Himuka was a bit on the creepy and somewhat possessive side in many aspects of the story. I didn’t like the overall dynamics between Himuka and Olypmia, it just felt odd… which is all I’ll say… I also think one of the supposed “romantic scenes” was just awkward… 🥴🥴 If you couldn’t already tell, I really didn’t jive with this route.

There is where the influence of Japanese mythology comes in a bit stronger and there are some major info dumps for Olympia and the reader. I think the actual plot exposition was more interesting than the actual romantic subplot 0_0 …… I can see why this route was blocked because there are many questions I had from reading the previous routes answered (but also new questions presented). On a side note, the “natural ending” I got was a bad ending and probably one of the more disturbing bad endings in the entire game. With all my criticisms, kudos to the people that actually enjoyed this route, I mean not all otome routes are supposed to be the same and this one certainly is different.

Akaza

Stoic // Fate // “Canon Route”

So this route is definitely the canon route of the series. And dang, I can honestly say I wish some of the information in this route was revealed in other routes! Akaza is part of the red class and the head of the Kotowari (again secret service?? Island Information Bureau??). This route goes in heavily into the Japanese mythology and piggy backs off of Himuka’s route’s infodumps and expands upon them even further. The core theme of Akaza’s route is overcoming destiny and fate. It is crystal clear why this route was the last one in that it is the most detailed story wise.

I think this route’s romance progressed pretty steadily and I enjoyed reading it for the most part. Near the end it just seemed like too much was going on and I often thought to myself how much more can possibly happen in this route? In the end I felt like there was a great imbalance in terms of how much story we received in each route with this one clearly dominating the others.

In regard to Olympia, in some parts acted more childish in the beginning scenes of this route in comparison to the other routes which just seemed a bit off putting. Despite these childish moments, I think the dynamic between Akaza and Olympia was fine, not my favorite but not bad. Akaza being an extremely stoic guy made me constantly questioning his intentions and reasonings behind his actions. This stoicism is executed in a way that makes it hard for the Olympia/reader to really understand or appreciate Akaza until the later parts of the story, which isn’t bad but boy it takes quite a bit of build up. Being the “canon” route this one definitely has the steamiest romance scenes of all of the routes which I kind of expected being the last unlocked route while at the same time was not expecting it 0_0 <3. All in all, Akaza’s was not an inherently bad route I just happened to like other routes a smidgen more.

Our Heroine: Olympia/Byakuya

Strong // Knowledge // Smart

I really enjoyed Olympia as the main protagonist. She seems fairly believable in her actions due to her upbringing and where the in-game-world is culturally. Olympia is a strong and feisty gal with strong convictions and a hunger for knowledge. She is outspoken in most cases about her distaste towards the island’s social class system and throughout most routes is wanting and willing to learn about positives but also shortcomings of the island. In many routes she does contribute to some positive changes on the island.

I enjoy playing a character who’s smart (especially in otome because we’ve all played the ditzty girl protagonist before…) and Olmypia doesn’t disappoint on that front. Most of her actions and thoughts are driven by the information or overall tone of the situation she is currently in. That being said there are a few instances where I wish she wasn’t as trusting, because my danger meter was ringing off the charts! In most cases I can attribute her overly trusting attitude and naïveté to her upbringing, social status, and inexperience with life (she’s only 18). Olympia is also not one to shy away from the romantic scenes, in fact in some cases she is the one who wants things to speed up and is not afraid to say so.

If you take into consideration the strict social class system, women’s overall status, and societal rules and regulations within the island Olympia is a heroine that really stands out. In my opinion, almost every route is an enjoyable experience to play as her.

Game Ambience and Gameplay

Vibrant Colors // Enjoyable Music // Standard Gameplay

I enjoyed the artwork, music, and voice acting in the game. I think Olympia Soirée really has a knack for making the world appear to be very vibrant and present throughout the entirety of the game. The music is enjoyable to listen to and ranges from more casual background music to more traditional Japanese inspired. The voice acting does not feel awkward and helps make all the characters (seen and unseen) come to life). The artwork is filled with vibrant colors and I love that many of the background drawings have almost a crystal effect that emulates Shou (crystal like substances that come in all colors). I thought most of the characters also had gorgeous costume designs that matched their personality. Overall the aesthetics were one of the reasons I was drawn into the game and it did not disappoint!

The gameplay was also pretty easy to figure out. The game does have the option to enable or disable your choice outcomes along with a quick save and load option that comes in handy during the dialogue choice process. The game hosts a typical otome style menu that is pretty straightforward to follow. My only complaint is that I wish the save files would tell you which route it is opposed to simple chapter titles. Since I save so often the simple screen shots and everything start to blur together. Overall though this is not a clunky interface and is easy to use.

Would I Recommend?

Olympia Soirée is an otome with a solid story, a strong-willed protagonist, a variety of routes, lots of game specific lore, well thought out world set up, wonderful music, and a visually pleasing art style. All of these things make for a full-bodied enjoyable gaming experience.

I really liked Olympia has a character because she’s smart but knows she still has many things to learn and discover about the world. She is strong willed and does not immediately give up on her goals and knows how to ask questions.

The routes have quite a variety of sub themes, personalities, and characters. In every route you learn new things about the island alongside Olympia while building upon the plot introduce in the prologue of the game. While I enjoyed many of the routes there were some routes that made me cringe a bit or simply did not enjoy due to massive info dumps or simply I did not prefer the main love interests characterization. However, most of the routes I enjoyed because there was enough depth story wise and as a reader wanted to know how the story was going. I can honestly say every route had a different focus which was really nice in that there were no plots that felt recycled. I enjoyed some of the routes so much I didn’t mind replaying them simply for the quality of story and characterization.

If you are a person that does not like to feel confined to societal rules, wants to see the world with “rose colored glasses”, or playing a character somewhat forcibly needing to find a husband this probably is not a game you would enjoy. For a modern (and potentially western) reader of this game it might not be you cup of tea. I think there are many societal rules that may not jive with modern sensibilities and might not make for a reading experience some may want to have.

I would recommend this game for those who like a fantasy setting, interesting and unique in-game lore, the love interests all having unique backdrops and stories, and playing as a feisty protagonist. If you are a fantasy nerd in general and like a sprinkle of Japanese folklore this game combines the two in a really interesting way. The overall plot and characters in the story are quite memorable and make for an interesting reading experience. There are so many unique and unusual components to this game that really make it stand out amongst the otome that are currently out in the west. Because of the dynamic and well-executed world, in depth lore, and characters of the game I wholeheartedly recommend this game!~