LibraryCross∞ is Otomate’s latest mobile game. It was developed with the help of Wright Flyer Studios and had been delayed for quite a bit until now… though you’ll never guess why it had been delayed until I reveal it later into this review. The mobile game centers around a group of strangers finding themselves trapped inside a library. It is also a crossover of a select few Otomate games, where the heroine would explore their worlds by jumping into a book.
Otomate has also planned for an anime to be made in the future (of course they are), which may mean that we’ll see Otomate characters crossover in anime form too–which won’t get weird whatsoever when there might be characters with the same voice actor talking in the same scene (just kidding, I’ve yet to see characters with the same voice interact in the game).
This review is gonna be mighty quick and messy because….. yeesh, I just can’t bring myself to play it anymore but I also feel like I should talk about it on this blog. Fair warning, this review might be biased because it’s heavily based on my opinion. So if you don’t want to be swayed by my opinion and you want to give this game the benefit of the doubt, I’d suggest trying it out and form an opinion by yourself.
So let’s get down to it. I wanna make this quick because I really want to uninstall this game as soon as possible because it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
—History / Background on the Game
Ok, so let’s get a brief rundown on the history of LibraryCross. It was announced on April 2017, promising to crossover with Otomate titles such as Hakuouki, Norn9, Amnesia, Yunohana SpRING! and lastly Beast and Princess (really, ya gotta pick Beast and Princess over Beastmaster and Prince?) while also having an original cast and heroine to integrate into this project. It was going to be Otomate’s Sephirot 2.0 (a game where you collect cards of Otomate boyos) but with more gameplay and style this time, but alas it got delayed a bit when people caught on that LibraryCross’s gameplay screenshots looked vaguely familiar to another puzzle game… Yume100, and not just similar gameplay but similar UI and everything, down to the very existence of Yume100 it had the same framework as it.
There’s a twitter moment that covers it–click here to view–but I think this tweet below really shows the similarities of the old version of LibraryCross before Geechs–the respective company that owns and developed Yume100–had to step in and make negotiations to change it…
Seems like Wright Flyer Studios drew a little too much inspiration from Yume100.
Took them a couple of months to ‘fix’ things but what they really changed was the way it looked in terms of UI–considering how eerily similar it was, it stands out especially when you’ve played Yume100 yourself for months on end. Now its January 2018, the game released and everything is hunky dory, right?
—Cons: The Boring, The Bad, The Ugly
Well, prolly not hunky dory when you find out about how much LibraryCross pakuri‘d (pakuri is a term that means to imitate or to rip off something) Yume100, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth. I tried to give it a go despite that feeling, after playing it I realised… that it might not be fun and interesting–well the puzzle game part is kind of all right (?).
First of all the story flow is boring and makes you feel like you’re dragging your feet. There’s weird stuff going on with how the story is told like how everyone found out they’ll die when the clock strikes 13 o’clock and 10-20 minutes already went by but a moment later they’re all deciding who is on cooking duty and which bedrooms everyone should go in like, y’all taking this very smoothly.
Not to mention there’s not a lot of originality going on here either, some character stories (you’re only allowed to summon/scout ‘fictional characters’ aka Otomate characters) are just the exact same scenes in Otomate games, for example Chikage’s character story, that unlocks when you level up, is straight up the scene when Chizuru sees him for the first time in Hakuouki…
Another weird thing is that the name of the heroine in LibraryCross’ story is also self-inserted into these Character stories, which makes it imply that she’s self inserted in the story even though she acts and thinks like Chizuru or any other Otomate heroine and apparently some have their very own character portraits in the backlog which makes it even more fucking weird and complicated. Also the CGs of the crossover titles are taken from the original game, gotta love them shortcuts. It doesn’t cost a single cent when you’re autofellatio-ing yourself, eh Otomate?
Not only that but it really seems like they’re pushing Otomate’s characters and franchises first before focusing on the characters and plot of LibraryCross… Like, you could totally splice out the ‘crossovers’ (you only visit one otomate game world at a time, what’s the point of calling it a crossover if you don’t see all of the otomate characters interacting with each other) and leave the LibraryCross parts alone and you’d probably have a proper story going on there… maybe, it depends on the routes really.
Oh, right. There’s also only 3 character routes available so if you fancied any other character than too bad, you’re stuck with these three bozos…
Big spoiler, apparently one of the routes (I ain’t gonna say who) is about a dude who is overly possessive of his dude friend–They had to write in his profile after completing his route that his possessiveness isn’t because he loves his friend romantically… sure, Otomate–that he secretly hates the heroine because his dude friend or her or maybe both are too close and prolly have crushes on each other. It comes to a point that he does something unspeakable to the heroine because of his jealousy–according to one of my twitter mutuals, which this route actually made them frustrated/angry over and I can prolly agree I’d feel the same way–but somehow it’s all right in the end…? Whut. I don’t know the details because I feel like I’m losing a year off my life as I trudge through the story and can’t be bothered finding out for myself.
The ‘crossover’ bits are boring and predictable, especially the first time the heroine falls into a book. The heroine finds herself in a place she’s never seen before, finds out Yu, the mascot character, has merged his consciousness with the heroines (does this remind any of you of Amnesia?) and suddenly Otomate Ikemen appear and help her defeat yumekui–whoops, that’s Yume100’s enemies–I mean, ‘ayakashi‘ until they find her book and transport her back to her dimension. Rinse, repeat, I don’t care for these crossover characters in this game, they may as well be cardboard cutout standees considering they don’t give much to the plot.
Like I said, it’s Otomate jerking it’s dick and milking some franchises in hopes mega-uber-super-whale-fans will give their cash to them, which they probably will. They’ll probably add more game titles to cross over with, only time can tell.
Another problem about the game aside from the way they handled plot/story is the fact that this game overheats my phone like crazy. When I was downloading some in-game data and it took a while I noticed that my phone was so hot I could probably boil some eggs on it. Even just doing simple stuff like reading stories my phone gets too warm. Also, the game is constantly downloading stuff, like yo, I’d rather you force me to download all of it at the start than having to constantly stop and start whenever I want to read a story because I gotta download the voices or images. There’s a way to download voices and stuff in the options but c’mon man….
Systems are borrowed from Yume100, the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ route paths for characters in Yume100 is also put into this game under a different name but it’s still the same way to unlock it (E.g. By collecting certain items to ‘awaken’ the character + changing their appearance). Puzzle mini-game is also the same, those familiar with Yume100 will feel at home with it, there’s a fever mode and everything. It’s just like the real Yume100! And no, I won’t stop comparing it to Yume100 because that’s exactly what they were aiming for. As for anything original or new in terms of gameplay….. no, nothing at all. The gameplay hardly deviates from Yume100’s framework, it doesn’t offer anything new to the table other than how the main story is handled (rather than going to different places on the map to defeat yumekui and get story afterwards it just… does whatever the fuck it does in LibraryCross, basically it’s just a linear path of reading stories and then there’s a puzzle section). Also the puzzle part in this game gets kinda slow/unresponsive when fever time/mode activates.
You could argue that Magical Days is also a copy of Yume100, which I won’t deny that it’s going for a slice of that Yume100 style puzzle pie but it does add some stuff to it to differentiate itself such as skill trees for each character card to unlock stuff like skills, voice clips, CGs etc, as well as changing the look of their puzzle mini-game where the puzzle pieces are 3D and physic based so they move around when you connect them.
Finally, a small thing that really puts the cherry on the cake: sometimes there’s no sound effect for certain things that sometimes it feels less heavy when you’re tapping on things… if that makes sense lol. Sound design is what helps make the game feel ‘responsive’ too the player, giving things like a simple tap weight when there’s a sound effect. It’s a small gripe but it kinda makes it feel like the game is just not polished.
So here are what I like about LibraryCross. I like the character design of the cast for LibraryCross (not speaking about the crossover characters) as well as the CG for each guy’s route. Despite being kinda cliche and having weird shit here and there, the premise of LibraryCross’ plot seems interesting especially the mysterious circumstances on why they’re there (coughibettheyredeadandareinlimbocough).
The gacha is crazy with how the card rates are distributed. In fact I got 3 copies of the same 5 star rarity in one 10 roll.
It can also be a nice app to keep you warm during the winter. Just switch it on, wait for your phone to heat up and bam, instant heater at your disposal.
That’s about it for my pros.
—Conclusion… Instant deletion.
If you’re a die hard fan of Otomate’s games or character you may find some entertainment in it (sadly I didn’t find any enjoyment in this). However if you played Yume100, then you’ve already played LibraryCross. This would probably be better off as a kinda trashy visual novel (what’s so wrong about creating a visual novel where it crossover your popular works?) either with or without the crossover parts and it won’t have to explode my phone when trying to grind it’s gears to work.
It’s a shame that this is what y’all had to offer when making a crossover game. It’s also a shame for the LibraryCross story having to be put in the backseat just to parade Otomate’s cashcows. Also, shame on you Otomate/Wright Flyer Studios to not only try to make a carbon copy of Yume100 and think you could get away with it, but also shame on you for being unoriginal about it. I know I’m being harsh about it but holy hell man.
Anyway, I’ll be taking my man Rekka because y’all ain’t making good use of him as a route character. Good day to you.
Also, thank you for reading!