{Otome Review} Date Warp~Hanako Games {18+}

Janet and her date, Bradley, are driving during a storm when their car breaks down. They find a mansion in the woods with four guys in it and soon realize that there is something going on in the house, and now they can’t leave.

General Information:

  • Where to get: Steam page
  • Cost: $10
  • Love Interests: Five (male)
  • Endings: 11
  • First play through time: About an hour (with some small distractions)
  • Time to get all endings: 4 hours

First thing I want to say before anything else is that in your first play through, don’t watch the opening video. It spoils an event that happens in all routes. I accidentally skipped the OP my first play through, and I’m glad I did.

Now that that’s been said, the game has an interesting dialogue choice gimmick. You have to bring power to the dialogue choice you want by turning different wires. It’s very similar to puzzles seen in Nancy Drew games (so it didn’t bother me since I was used to it), but I could see people getting a bit annoyed. Luckily, once you’ve gotten a choice once, you can click a skip button and choose whichever dialogue choices you have unlocked.

This is not your typical otome game in that only one guy can you actually raise to “love” status on the love meter. The other guys just reach “like.” TVTropes says at one point Hanako said it’s because Janet didn’t have enough time to like most of the guys that much. Due to that, it’s not very romantic. This game is plot-oriented, so if you want a romance-heavy otome game, this is not for you. The plot of the game has some Zero Escape elements, so I really enjoyed it.

Similarly, this game only has one good ending. Well, each guy has a good and bad ending, but one ending of the game is clearly better than all the rest. So yes, there is an OTP, and it invalidates all the other endings. Since the best ending can only be unlocked once all others have been beaten, it helps to think of the other endings as “clues to the puzzle of what’s going on” since they each teach you something about what’s going on rather than “an actual romance route.”

The Steam version of the game is the one I played and it’s an updated “silver” edition. It has an added epilogue and one part of the game was slightly altered. The interface was also changed. The wikipedia page says one puzzle was altered, but since the only puzzle is the wire one, I don’t know what puzzle they mean?

In each route you can also save super late and load that save to get the other ending, so that made replays a lot easier.

I really like Janet. She isn’t annoying, has fairly realistic reactions, is smart, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with her. I would say her and Bradley take to the situation a bit too easily, but otherwise, she felt realistic. The game also makes it a point to point out just how smart she is a lot, and while that sounds like it would get annoying, it never did.  She is also Indian, so it was nice to see an otome protagonist who wasn’t Caucasian or Asian.

Okay, now onto the guys.

Alben is the token dark and brooding guy. He seems like the outcast of the house, and he gets irritated easily. Alben was the first guy I went for since I found him and Linds to be the most attractive (the dark and brooding, and the flirty and teasing, guys). He’s not a bad guy, and I get why he’s kind of a turd, but he’s a turd for most of the game, so it was hard to really ever like him.

Rafael is Linds’ assistant and close friend. He is really sweet and just does whatever he can to help others. He was fine, though probably the least interesting out of all of the characters. His biggest problem is how much his route has to do with religion (Catholicism specifically). I have no qualms with religion being in a game, but it didn’t seem to add much to the plot, so it felt really random to me.

Nathaniel is the owner of the mansion, and at first he seems boring, but he is involved in the plot way more than Rafael, so it made him more interesting to me. He’s the calm, collected, guy who is good at defusing situations. However, I don’t see a relationship with him being very likely, so that made me feel mixed emotions about him.

Linds is a scientist who is horny all the time. He’s said to be older than the other characters, but I don’t know how much older. He was by far the most entertaining character and was my favorite. One of his scenes, according to TVTropes again, was slightly altered since people weren’t interpreting something in the way Hanako wanted. I get the change, and no, it’s nothing that major, so don’t think you’re missing anything by the game being slightly changed.

Bradley is an interesting character. His mood shifts a lot, and it made his character/personality feel flimsy since he’d go from 0-100 real quick but then be fine the next second. Even so, by the end, I felt pretty connected to him (even if I did find him to be the least attractive lol).

Play Order:

You have to do Bradley’s True Ending last, and you get the basic idea of what’s going on regardless of whose route you do, but I’d suggest Alben>Rafael>Nathaniel>Linds>Bradley>True Ending. That was the order I did and I felt it worked well. Really, you can switch up everyone but Bradley; I’d definitely suggest doing all of his endings last.

Squicky Meter:

The game  has one moment with 18+ content. It isn’t graphic or really even discussed or described much, so it’s low on the squicky meter.

Should you play?:

I really enjoyed this game. I was invested in finding out what was going on, and once you think you know, it’s actually more complicated than you originally think. By the end, it gave me some Zero Escape vibes, so if you enjoy those games, definitely give this one a go. That said, it’s also not very romance-heavy. If you enjoy the plot more than the romance, then this game is for you.

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