Private Academy VerRose is a re-imagination of a classic shoujo manga– “Rose of Versailles“–that will release on 23rd May. It is set in a private academy in modern day where the protagonist is an otaku who has a complex about her name being “Oscar”/”Osukaru”, named after the main hero of Rose of Versailles.
Otomate released the demo on the Nintendo eShop on the 9th of May. The demo covers the prologue and chapter 1 which ended in a cliffhanger of some sort. It’s about 1~2 hours worth of gameplay which gives you a good grasp of the story though it does miss out on formerly introducing two of the romanceable characters (or at least get the heroine to interact with them) but I guess that’s covered in later chapters.
I’ll be summarising the demo so it’ll have some spoilers so if you want to play this game blind and want to hear my spoiler-free thoughts click here.
—Prologue & Chapter 1 Summary
In the demo we learn that Osukaru (the heroine) has a brilliant memory when memorising lines as well as the pages the line is from–probably thanks to her habit of reading out lines of shoujo manga–and that during the entrance ceremony she fell head over heels for the blonde prince-like actor performing for the first years.
She later finds out that her newfound crush is actually a very talented girl named Nozomi. Oscar acts like a fly on the wall after Nozomi’s rehearsal where she announced she will no longer be part of the Soliel troupe and plans to make her own troupe called “Lumiere” and Osukaru is invited because of her natural ability to remember lines perfectly. This news makes the Soliel instructor get all passive-aggressive saying that if Nozomi leaves she has no chance of making it big in the theatre world and then “Ohohohoho” ojou-sama laughs in Nozomi’s face. I see who the villain is. now
We later find out the reason why Nozomi wanted to make her own troupe. Turns out this whole gotdam academy is corrupt. It takes pride in its Art Department however only those with wealth and influence are allowed to get into those courses through giving generous “donations” to the school. The benefits of being in this course is the chance of being scouted and gaining lots of connections with the industry world. If you can’t afford it you’ll be put into the normal course. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have talent, as long as you have the money you’re set for life.
Nozomi decided to make her own troupe to allow anyone regardless of their class or wealth to perform. Osukaru sticks by Nozomi (and her childhood friend Reiji) and spends most of Chapter 1 getting props for the troupe where she gets info that there’s some spare furniture in an abandoned house in the rear garden. There she meets a ghost boy and that’s when my idea of reality for this game has dropped lol. When you introduce ghost boys that’s when I start questioning if there’s any more supernatural stuff going on in this game’s universe.
The demo ends with a cliffhanger where the imitation jewellery richboy Yu gave to Osukaru to use for their troupe goes missing (though I’ll prolly won’t spoil who exactly stole it).
One thing I didn’t mention is Osukaru’s mother who is apparently a big actress but turns out she’s bedridden in the hospital for some unknown reason. Though I can prolly guess what her diagnosis is…
It’s “Dying Mom Haircut” disease.
After visiting her mom in the hospital Osukaru runs into Reiji, Nozomi’s childhood friend, well she more or less bumped into him lol like she usually does. At first he doesn’t recognise her and leaves in a rush which makes Osukaru confused. Though the thing that ticked me off about it was that Otomate gave this guy one line to say during this incident and with that one line I figured out who he was.
SPOILER: He’s the secret romanceable character voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga. Though for the life of me I don’t know why he looks exactly like Reiji??? Why make a secret character that looks like an undateable character because that character is supposed to be OTP with Nozomi? Is it so Osukaru can get her own Reiji (Rose of Versaille’s Andre counterpart) bf??
Lawd. I gave Otomate credit for keeping the secret character in silhouette on the website but god it was a mistake to show who his seiyuu is. It only took one fast line for me to recognise it was Toshiyuki and now I know the secret. What could’ve worked better was to just never give him that line and just let him leave in a rush after bumping into Osukaru and then have Osukaru confront Reiji about the incident the next day for Reiji to say he doesn’t know what she’s referring to so she’ll be left in confusion. It’ll prolly leave the player confused too but it’ll be a nice foreshadow/hidden hint for this secret character.
Anyway if it weren’t for that it would’ve been a solid demo for me lol. It’s just that one line ruined the surprise.
I quite liked the demo. It left me with a good impression and I had fun for the most part. Even though I was planning to get it before I played the demo, it really cemented my need to get it lol.
The heroine was pretty interesting. I liked how she’s a dork who has her room plastered with merch of this one 2D Ikemen and sometimes has delusions about him talking to her and often consulting her acrylic keycharm of her 2D husbando.
The UI/GUI is pretty clean and nothing too distracting. Thank god, because I can’t handle another Otomate game with a bad UI *side eyes Jakou no Lyla’s UI*. I like that the “eye-catch” for when you choose a dialogue option that increases a character’s affection is just a blooming rose that’s shown briefly. The rose blooms in different colours depending on which character it affects. Though the status screen is locked away in the demo, I’m not quite sure what colour represents who lol. Still a neat animation.
While the prologue and chapter 1 doesn’t explore too deeply about the main characters you can get a good grasp on what personality they have. I’m invested in seeing how deep we’ll explore these characters in the routes.
I was quite taken aback with the premise/conflict reveal unfolding in the prologue/chapter 1 with the game exploring themes of corruption/bribing and elitism/class, but I guess that would make sense when the original Rose of Versailles explored similar themes.
Overall I hope to get around playing it soon because there’s one boyo that really catches my eye though he wasn’t even introduced in the demo 😂
Thanks for reading!