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10th March
written by Splash

Title: Black Robinia (ブラック ロビニア)
Console: PSP
Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Visual Novel
Language: Japanese
Company: Broccoli
Summary: I got a bad ending mighty quick on this thing. XD; I’ve managed to clear the game 100% by now though.

Characters: Suzuki Tatsuhisa and Tachibana Shinnosuke main, with Irino Miyu and Nojima Kenji as assistants to the mains respectively. The rest of the cast are people I’m not familiar with by hearing yet, I may look them up later.
Graphics: I like this art. /love A bit more in the next section…
Sound: The main screen theme is SCARY. Mostly because it’s close to 8-bit and reminds me of the “adventure” games my sister used to play on the PC back in the early 90s, like the King’s Quest series. I used to get nightmares from watching her play those, especially since the character you control ends up coming across all sorts of ways to… die. orz. And Black Robinia gives a reallllly odd first impression because that opening screen music is so close to 8-bit, and the graphics on the main screen look like something out of a SNES game XD;; Despite that, the rest of the game looks very modern.

What also throws that all off is the fact that ElementsGarden composes the op/ed theme songs sung by Suzuki Tatsuhisa and Tachibana Shinnosuke. Not sure if they composed the in-game music, but I doubt it since nothing stood out to me to make me think they did it. Someone care to enlighten me? XD
Gameplay: There are two cases. For each case, you can pick the private detective side (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), or the police investigator (Tachibana Shinnosuke). As a spoiler, the criminal doesn’t change regardless of which side you pick, but the sequence of events depends on other factors.
The private detective has mini-games that are like the Logic section of Gyakuten Kenji, while the police investigator does the investigations. Other than that, this game is hardly comparable to Gyakuten Kenji as a mystery game since its main focus is to be a fully-voiced visual novel. It does a good job on that end.

The only times you can get a bad ending are if you pick the wrong choice during a 50/50 chance call, and of course I found this out the direct way XD… I was personally a bit irritated to find out that the way to get the alternate routes for the 2nd case can only be done by a single choice towards the end of the 1st case. I had to redo the cases just to get back to that choice since I hadn’t saved at that one choice. Fortunately, the skip function works rather quickly in this game, so it didn’t take too much time. I honestly would not have wanted to try to figure out the difference on my own though.

Replay Value: I was hoping to unlock something after completing all the routes, like something more about Aine but apparently this is something they’re saving up for a future work .____.;

I was a bit disappointed that all the short stories in the extra section are completely unvoiced and just long walls and walls and walls of text. Sorry, I’m not THAT interested in a general mystery series right from the get-go. ^^;
Overall: 7/10. I’ve kind of picked up a standard of case length from the Gyakuten series, and with that, I thought the cases were pretty short for this game. Most of the logic reasoning is done for you, so you’re left with mostly visual novel, which I understand is the main focus of the game anyway. And it’s directed towards girls, as the company usually does other otoge as well (UtaPri). It totally does trap you into wondering how the rest of the story will conclude in a future work though, assuming there is one. 8|

I’ve yet to listen to the pre-release drama CDs so this score is somewhat tentative, although I don’t imagine changing it later anyway. We’ll see.~

Official Site


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