I finally finished playing Ozmafia a while ago. It took a long time, because to get the ‘Grand End’ you have to finish most endings, including bad endings and versus endings. For the main three heroes, they each have versus routes with each other, and it’s tough to remember which ones you’ve done.
There is no backstory for the heroine. She wakes up in an alley, with no recollection of who she is or how she got there. Soon after, she’s attacked by a handsome white-haired man, and finally escapes into a different part of the city. She’s found by three men, Caramia, Axel, and Kyrie. They all belong to one of the city’s ‘families’, in their case the Oz Family, which controls different parts of the city. They invite her back to their mansion as a guest and she’s named Fuuka.
Throughout the following days, Fuuka meets more of the city’s inhabitants from the different families – Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Hansel and Gretel from the Grim family, Heidi from the Heidi family, Pachet from the Longboots family, and Ande, Ering, and Melisus from the Andersen family. She also meets several characters that are somewhat neutral – Sou, who lives and works for Caesar, the man who attacked Fuuka in the beginning, Dorian Gray and and Manboy, who own and work at Oscar Wilde, and Robin Hood, the town doctor who can apparently heal anyone as long as they’re still alive.
For most of the story she stays with the Oz family and is pretty free to go around talking to whomever she chooses. There are some events that will always happen, such as her getting kidnapped by Caesar and then escaping, some gang scuffles, and then a sudden outbreak of violence due to a criminal, Hamelin, returning from his banishment.
At first I had a hard time getting into Ozmafia. Past the introduction, it feels very open-ended, and the first playthrough can feel like it takes a long time with many minor scenes and nothing really dramatic. However, once you get to the summer festival, things pick up a lot. This is when you choose someone’s route if you’ve made the right choices, but you still have several possible endings. You can also have versus routes, and can even CHANGE your relationship – break up with one guy (all the versus routes are with the Oz family IIRC) and start dating another. This is REALLY rare in otome games, other than Storm Lover I can’t think of one right now.
The endings vary wildly in how happy they are, and some are more bittersweet. Once you get all the different endings including the versus endings (there’s no in-game tracker which would have been really helpful), you can proceed to the Grand Ending, which explains a lot of very odd aspects of characters and what happens in the other routes. When you’re playing the routes they can seem not that important, but by the end you REALLY want to know what the deal is. The Grand Ending ties everything up, though that doesn’t mean it’s the best ending. I actually like some of the other endings more from a romance perspective (the Grand Ending really isn’t a romance).
The characters are really interesting and not as easily described as many otome games. One thing I found interesting was that no one was really 100% good and honorable, not even Fuuka. Sometimes I was surprised at how callous she could be, which contrasts with her character design a lot and makes her much deeper than a lot of otome game heroines. And some of the endings…wow! Just…finish all the Oscar Wilde endings, you’ll see what I mean. I can’t really pick a favourite character, though I always tend to want to go on Axel’s route just because he’s my ‘type’.
The game’s not perfect – sometimes I felt that the pacing was off and I’d love more meaty character scenes, and the constant eye captures which you can’t skip easily get really annoying. I had to follow a guide really closely to get to the Grand Ending. But overall I really enjoyed this game as a whole, and I’m ecstatic that it’s getting an English release. I even have a bunch of Ozmafia merchandise (including a tapestry, yup) because I really want it to do well so Poni Pachet will make more with these characters.
All the details are in Chic Pixel’s post here. This is really fantastic news guys!
Oh, here’s the announcement from Manga Gamer. They have a PV there, which, some interesting trivia – the group which sang the Ozmafia opening is a Christian boy band from London, Ontario! Pretty random, I like it a lot though.
I guess I should post that review of Ozmafia I’ve had waiting for months…