mobile · otome gaming · review

[Mobile] Review – 囚われのパルマ – Toraware no Palm (Prologue & Episode 1)

Toraware no Palm is an adventure game from Capcom. Released on August 30, 2016, it is purchasable in Android’s Google Play store and iOS’ apple store (Japanese accounts only)* for 360 yen for the Prologue and Episode 1. The following episodes will release every Tuesday, there are 6 Episodes in total. There are in-game purchases, and I do stress that.

The story has romance, mystery and suspense as you try to help Haruto get back his memories and try to get to know him by monitoring him through surveillance cameras. Of course he doesn’t know he’s being watched by you but its still a little creepy…?

* I purchased this app on my iPod with my Japanese apple ID, seeing that they don’t accept foreign credit cards I had to purchase a japanese itunes card from playasia. I’m not sure how to purchase Japanese games on android devices, but I’m sure that there are guides out there on the internet.


Story

You have been brought to a solitary island as a counsellor for a young man with amnesia. He has been detained after a certain incident and had gone through about 6~7 counsellors, so to him you’re just another counsellor to probe him for questions. At first he’s distant, avoiding eye-contact, wearing his hood etc. but through the help of text messages he opens up, even though its just a little bit. At the moment he can’t recall much of his past, but he does want to know more about himself and maybe more about you and why can’t he see ‘your heart’.

As you get more into the story you start to question if there’s something more to Haruto and this island in the middle of nowhere that you’ve been brought to… Oh yeah, you can’t leave the island until you bring back Haruto’s memories.

Characters

Heroine

[Insert your name here]

The heroine is you, they stress it heavily that you should choose dialogue choices that best describe you and how you would react, rather than answering the way you think Haruto would appreciate. The game takes notes of what your likes are and what type of person you are and then use that information as things for Haruto to take note on or to form story background on your character in-game.

For example I chose dialogue choices that say I like cats but I’m scared of dogs, in later interactions at the park the heroine will be more friendly with the stray cats and take pictures while when interacting with dogs she would be scared. That sort of stuff. Of course there would be different interactions depending on your answers, who knows what will happen if you say you like both cats and dogs.

Haruto Kisaragi

CV: Yuichiro Umehara

Screen shot 2016-08-31 at 12.00.57 PM

A young man with a mysterious past, ironically he doesn’t even remember his past. He is detained, never to go outside and kept inside a small room everyday. He’s been through many counsellors, after some time of probing of the same questions (that he prolly didn’t know the answers to because his memory is gone) he became disengaged and detached until you came along. He seems to hold some sort of unknown power, but its vague. He comments on not being able to ‘see’ you but he can ‘see’ something with the guard officer (possibly why he refuses eye contact with others) and he seems to brush his teeth too hard, breaking the toothbrush and accidentally bending a plastic baseball bat… For now everything is pretty vague and its up to you to theorise.

Gameplay

Monitoring

Most of your time can be spent on monitoring him through surveillance cameras. You can watch his daily routine, catch him saying things to himself that might provide a conversation topic to text to him, watch him interact with things you bought for him and monitor the changes in his interactions. Sometimes after visiting him in the visit room, I notice that he hums while he’s showering or when he’s fixing his hair. Though this might be because it was deeper into the story and we had gotten to know each other better and I visited him often, it won’t happen so early in your playthrough. Even after finishing Episode 1 and not visiting him face to face for a while, he seemed to stop humming which kind of saddened me.

harutosinteractions
Haruto’s interaction change when fixing his hair

Sometimes you can catch Haruto showering at night and he would walk out in just his underwear to get a drink and then goes back in the bathroom to change clothes and I’m like “yo but why”. By the end of Episode 1, he also seemed to take off his jacket when its noon so thats something new.

Texting/Messaging

You can get to know Haruto by texting him things about the island, ask him questions that might trigger memories of his past, trigger fetch quests that help improve his living conditions or just talk about stuff. Tho for Prologue and Episode 1 he would answer with short messages so if you get like 3 messages in a row it must mean he’s eager to talk about it 😆

His response time depends on how much he likes you, if he doesn’t like you much it’ll take a while for him to respond to your texts. I remember at the start it took maybe a minute for him to respond. Tho sometimes he just takes a while because he’s in the middle of doing something like reading. You can watch him through the surveillance cameras to see if he’s noticed the text or not, like it all happens in real time so you can watch him responding to you. Even when you’re staring at the messages and he responds theres the little ‘Haruto is writing…’ thing so it kinda feels real lol.

With the texts, you can get conversation topics by talking to people on the island or when listening to what he mutters to himself and you’ll get an idea for a conversation topic. You can choose which conversation topic to ask and you can choose your reply to Haruto between three dialogue choices. Remember, answer as yourself because Haruto will take note of it and think that you’re this or that type of person.

You can also unlock ‘surveillance quests’ through texts, they add new quests per episode, where you get things for Haruto to improve his living conditions, these quests/texts are ongoing and upon completion you get a special CG (illustrated picture)!

2016-08-30 21.21.41
he seems so happy to brush his teeth

Of course there are certain story texts that help move the story and activate time with Haruto in the visiting room.

Exploring the island & finding conversation topics

Each Episode will prolly unlock more places for you to go to, but for now theres the Coffee Shop, the park, a restaurant place, a garden place with chickens and a shop to buy things. You can pass time by going to these places but you can only go to two places per day. Going to a place in the morning will pass time until noon, same goes for going to a place in the noon will pass time until night. At night it is against the rules to go out, but only at night you can send a gift to Haruto. You can get gifts through the island’s shop or at the restaurant looking place (tho to get different foods you have to get ingredients from the garden place).

You can also find conversation topics to send texts to Haruto by chatting with either the Master of the Coffee Shop or going to the park. There might be other places unlockable in later episodes where you can find conversation topics. Even buying gifts for Haruto will unlock conversations for gifts or help your surveillance quests. Some of these topics can also help progress the story.

Visiting Hours

When texting Haruto with conversation topics that relate to the story, he will sometimes ask you to visit him or the ‘visitation’ menu option will unlock. Visitation progresses the story and changes Haruto’s expressions when you’re monitoring. Here you can continuing talking about the conversation topic that triggered the visitation option and get some face to face time with Haruto. For Haruto these are the small instances of seeing you but for you its more face time with Haruto (but at least you’re not seeing him through a surveillance camera this time).

You can deepen your understanding of Haruto here as well as try to uncover what is going on. However because its the first Episode you won’t get much (like whats the use of knowing the mystery in the first episode? lol). Your time with him is limited so when your time is up the Guard will give you the option to continue your conversation but it will cost you 120 yen, no really, pay real money to get cute moments with Haruto like this:

(tried my best to translate it)

So if you want to have cute situations with Haruto you have to pay.

Some things will carry over from the visitation interactions. One time Haruto kept falling asleep during the visit and then afterwards when I monitor him I see him falling asleep while brushing his teeth which kinda worries me, like you notice him falling asleep everywhere, when he’s at his desk, when he’s sitting on his bed. It makes you wonder. In one of the visitation events you also get the choice to give him a nickname, I wanted to call him “Haru-chan” but he seemed to dislike it so I ended up calling him “Haru-kun” which then carries over to when I text things to him, my heroine calls him Haru-kun. Tho in the extra event that I paid for I told him not to keep calling me by my last name but in the end he still did lol.

Dream App

Dream App is a minigame that has nothing to do with the main story, 100% non-canon, where you wake up a sleeping Haruto by tapping on his ‘good spots’. Its a hot-cold game where the places on his body that you tap on will indicate if you’re hot/close to the good spot or cold/not even close to the good spot. Squiggly blue reaction taps mean cold, yellow reaction taps mean warm/close and pink love heart taps mean you hit the good spot.

Each episode have different stages, tho I’m not sure how different episode 2’s stage is to episode 1’s stage because its not out yet. Upon clearing a stage you will unlock special items to give to Haruto, Episode 1 unlocks two types of underwear to give to him (which you can see him walk around in after he showers at night).

You can also buy, and I mean buy with real moneys, accessories for him to wear while in the mini-game (he won’t wear them in the actually game). Not only is it a cosmetic change but it also changes his dialogue. I went and bought a collar to see what would happen and well… its kinda weird and extra weird… lol.

Graphics

Graphics are great. Like I cannot ask more. Haruto’s 3D Model is great and the way they animate him makes him feel alive, rather than stilted and weird. You can see small animations like him looking to the right or left when talking or when he’s avoiding eye contact or his body language that looks so smooth and nice.

The illustrations are great, going for that realistic look, like you could prolly find a guy like this in real life but damn is he too beautiful. Compared to the sub-characters he’s prolly the most good looking character (then again everyone you meet are way older than Haruto). The sub-characters’ appearances also tell a lot about them, you can see the kindness of the old lady that tends the garden just by looking at her face.

The bonus pictures you get from completing the quests make it all worth it because its so appealing to the eyes.

Its certainly a beautiful game, the art has character to it and goddamn is Haruto so beautiful.

Screen shot 2016-08-31 at 2.51.11 PM.png

Final Thoughts

A pretty good game so far and a very interesting concept. They did the mystery thing very well, for the whole time I’m sitting there wondering what is going on because they keep hinting things but they don’t tell you too much so it keeps you wondering. I’ll be looking forward to each episode.

That being said the gameplay does die down a little as you get close to the end of the episode, like you can feel it coming to an end once you notice that the things you have to do are becoming less and less. I felt a little drained out at the end from trying to find things to activate events and watching Haruto and seeing if anything’s changed and wondering if I missed any interactions.

Since I downloaded it I played it non-stop for hours. I started playing it 2pm yesterday and kept playing it until 11pm when I finally cleared the first episode, however I kept playing until I fell asleep to try and find other things I’ve missed. Its a lot of waiting and watching and going out to find things to activate events and progress the story/relationship with Haru. I didn’t mind it myself but maybe its best to take it slowly, but seeing that I was so curious about the story and hoping to uncover more info I just wanted to do it as quick as I could lol. Sad thing is that by the end of the Episode theres nothing much to do so you might not pick it up until next Tuesday when the next episode releases.

I’m sure people who don’t have patience or don’t want to do this sort of stuff to get to the meat of the story wouldn’t enjoy this but I sure enjoyed it. Like I can see it being a better playthrough if you had all of the episodes so you can keep that flow of story and interactions going, so maybe its best to wait for all of it to release especially when the Prologue and Episode 1 are there to introduce you to the concept of monitoring someone and getting a taste of the mystery. I’m sure it becomes a bit more in-depth as the episodes go on and you uncover things. At the end of Episode 1 you legit uncover something and it leaves you wondering what is that thing and whats its secrets.

The concept of monitoring someone is interesting and the title screen makes me wonder if they’ll do more with other guys because the start menu has ‘Haruto’ and his profile that makes me think that there might be more guys to choose from. But thats just my theory.

Also a bonus with this game is that the game itself doesn’t need to be connected to the internet to play. Of course you need to the internet to buy things but other than that you can monitor and play the game without connection to the internet, which is good for me because I usually commute with just my iPod so I can monitor Haruto on the go. Hopefully I won’t be judged.

Now to talk about the microtransactions. The cosmetic stuff like the accessories for Haruto in Dream App and the phone calls of Haruto talking sweet nothings and the extra scenarios are things I can ignore/not buy if I don’t want to. I’m sure those who want to buy the episodes/game can play the game without buying that stuff but the extra time with Haruto when you visit him has some things that shouldn’t be missed out. Like you see a bit more of his personality and sometimes he seems kinda down when you say you don’t want to extend the time and I’m like… come on. The extra time has more romantic stuff in it, even the phone call events are romantic. I can see fans of Yuichiro Umehara would buy those phone call events in a heart beat just to hear him say sweet nothings. Money can’t buy you love, huh?

Anyway, if you like Nintendogs and wished that the dogs was just a guy then this might be the game for you. I’ll be buying more episodes and maybe the extra time with Haruto but I won’t be paying for anything extra.

Thanks for reading! Here’s a pic of a cat that was sent to Haruto:

nyan

»  If you’re interested in more information on Toraware no Palm gameplay etc, check out my other post
» If you’re interested in more of the story, check out my full review of Toraware no Palm (with spoilers)

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24 thoughts on “[Mobile] Review – 囚われのパルマ – Toraware no Palm (Prologue & Episode 1)

    1. is it an android tablet? i really hope you can find a guide or some alternative way to get it! its a shame that things have to be region locked when theres ppl willing to play it…

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      1. yeah it’s android. the free VPNs aren’t working at all for some reason, and I’m not dedicated enough to look further into the matter (so far my search and alternatives have gotten me zilch). and its not like my Japanese is very good either. its going on the long list of “games I might be able to someday play but probably won’t”

        anyways, I decided to just read thru your post completely and watched the trailer. that was fun : D

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw, sad to hear that, wish things could’ve worked better in your favour.
        I hope that one day you’ll get to play it, who knows, maybe Capcom might localise it.

        Like

    1. I’m glad you enjoy it too! I’m also glad for the creators of this game, because sometimes some companies don’t like taking big risks with strange/interesting concepts like this when it comes to catering to a female audience.

      Like

      1. Weird?! I commented a longer version about buying each episode again OTL

        And true! It’s nice to see that they’re taking risks and turns out to be great ^~^ I’m curious about the story since it’s still a mystery for us *O* but it’s a plus since Ume-chan voiced Haruto hehe

        I’ll also do a review about this mobile game. I actually played this instead of playing mystic messenger hehe

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Umehara voicing Haruto was a good pick lol, you can tell how timid and soft spoken Haruto just by his voice (the roles I’ve heard Umehara in has been strict guys so its a nice change).
        Good luck with your review! I was thinking about playing mystic messenger because everyone else has been talking about it but I’ll refrain from playing it for now, maybe once everything dies down I’ll take a look into it.

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  1. It’s so creepy, I love it! And Haruto is beautiful. I looked it up on QooApp, but I cannot download it there, I guess it’s because I have to purchase it. I really want to try it, but I won’t understand much anyway, so I guess I’ll just keep reading about it and hope it will get localized.
    Brushing his teeth so hard he breaks the toothbrush lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt sorry for Haruto whenever he broke the toothbrush because every time you buy a new stronger one he’d break it from over brushing 😭 So when you get him a strong enough toothbrush you get the CG of him brushing his teeth and he seems kinda happy about it. It gets me every time.
      Also I’m sorry to hear that you can’t be able to play it. I really hope it gets localised!

      Like

    1. Sorry the english text and translation was done by me for that small portion. Official English Translation is not available and isn’t available in other app stores than Japanese app stores.
      I’m sorry if I confused you!

      Like

    1. I think it lasts depending on how you play, if you play slowly it might last longer but I’m gonna guess that the prologue and episode 1 takes around maybe 6~9 hours if you’re slow and you don’t rush events to be activated.
      Tho even if you do finish an episode you’ll have to wait until next week for the next episode so theres a big time gap between when you’ve stopped playing and the next time you can play again and see new events and uncover more story.
      You can always wait until all the episodes have released so you can play each episode back to back and get more entertainment from that. I’d kind of recommend you do that.

      Anyway I’m glad you liked my review! Thank you for taking your time to read it.

      Like

      1. Ohhh, alright then. 😮 Can you still interact with him after the episodes then or does it just stop there till the next episode comes out? These real-time games always confuse me, hahaha. Though I might take your advice. :”D Thanks for replying so quickly by the way!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can interact with him after an episode but you can only send items and text to him conversation topics you find but you can’t visit him face to face. If you exhaust all the items and reusable conversation topics it may get a little old and you’ll have nothing else to do but just wait for the next Ep 😂
        I hope this clears things up.

        Like

  2. Thanks for the thorough review of this mobile app! I also read some of your full length review and this game just looks so gorgeous. I’ve only recently got into otome mobile apps over the summer, but I’m obsessed with them already, haha. I mostly play English translated ones, but the Japanese apps seem so much better! I’ll have to check out more Japanese apps. =) Thanks again for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my review! I wish you the best luck with your otome game endeavours! I myself just started get into otome games last year so I know how you feel lol.

      Like

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