X-NOTE – A Mystery Otome Game
Ten years ago, Essi’s mother died in a questionable accident. She left a USB flash drive with a locked folder called “X-note”. Unable to understand the purpose of it, Essi continued living her life as a normal junior high school student. However, Essi is hardly normal, for she possesses power beyond normal human.
Essi’s quiet life was interfered by a sudden visit of a young man named Yuon. He invited her to investigate a murder case and a mysterious disappearance in Xen Institute, a school that had a deep relation with Essi’s mother. Tempted by the possibility of unlocking “X-note” and solving her mother’s mysterious death, Essi decided to take his request. But what awaits her there is much more than what she could possibly imagine…
X-note is a blend between Visual Novel and Dating-Sim. Follow the story of Essi as she pursues the truth of her mother’s death. The game spans for 30 days, of which you can train Essi’s psychic abilities, explore the school, collect notes, and make choices to determine her fate.
Developer: Zeiva Inc Production
Spec: Flash, 128 MB, 800×600
Rating: Teen 13+
Release Date: 8 March 2011
X-Note is the first completely English otome game I completely enjoyed. xD The story is just awesome. I have to congratulate zaiva.inc from a majority of points of view. Even if the beginning is pretty rushed,in my opinion, the intertwining between mystery, drama and romance was amazing. Even if not long, the story never failed to surprise me after every plot twist. Maybe some things were indeed predictable but you’d always have this feeling of uncertainty and you’d wonder if things are really the way you’re predicting them to be. But I’m not saying anything more than this, since X-Note was specially enjoyable because of this uncertainty.
I have nothing to complain about the character development either. English dating sims/otome games usually, the first ones at least (they started to improove lately), have the following problem: the characters are all either dull or just stereotypes with no deepness to them, but X-note is different. Every character has something to them that intrigued me in every way possible. For example Yuon. He’s not cold and serious because that’s just Yuon, throughout the story we even find out why of his coldness, while in other English otome games we just know the respective character’s way of being and that’s it. The story’s closed. xD That’s what I wanted to say by “deepness”.
The art was just epic. Some CGs were better some just good but overall it was really good comparing it with other English otome games! ^^
The only thing that I might have something to complain about is the unreasonable way of saving your game. xD But, oh well. I can understand the problem since the game was created with a Flash program and the only way of saving is by remembering a certain password to unlock the chapter you arrived at. That’s the only way to “save” a Flash game.
Now. The protagonist is Essi. You play as Essi as she pursues the truth regarding her mother’s questionable death. The necklace that was left by her mother before her death was actually a USB flash drive with a locked folder called “X-note”. In order to find clues to unlock it, Essi went to Xen Institute upon Yuon’s invitation.
As a psychic, Essi is capable of utilizing multiple psychic abilities such as Psychokinesis, Clairvoyance, and Telepathy. She usually trains at her favorite place, the Pegasus Park.
Essi is not the average school girl. She has a hint of irony in all her answers, mostly when she’s talking to Yuon and goes from ironic to tsundere with Anon and from ironic to angsty with Oure. Overall, she plays the part of a very entertaining heroine, not so Mary Sue like.
Now let’s see the routes individually (starting from the one I liked the most). THERE ARE NO MAJOR SPOILERS.
The self-proclaimed famous informant of Xen Institute, Anon offered to help Essi with her investigation.
Occasionally playful, other times obnoxious— Anon enjoys teasing Essi much to her distress. He can usually be found lurking in the computer lab.
In Essi’s Words: “I have officially dubbed the computer lab as a dangerous area due to the existence of— This guy!”
Anon was totally my fav of all 3 boys you can get. He seems the one that doesn’t have a care in his life but there’s actually really much to find out about him. And once Essi finds out she’d start asking herself if she can continue staying by his side even though she’s scared of what she found out. Anon is not only the most mysterious (and handsome for Neko xD) of the game but his route also contains one of the most “interesting” dramas. And..his good ending is the most difficult to get…At least for me it was! I think I played the last chapter 10 times before getting right the memory shards mini-game. X-x and stupid me didn’t want to check the guide either. lol In the end I managed to finish all the game without a guide and I’m seriously proud of myself. xD
I STRONGLY recommend you to play Anon’s route the last. At least, I kept him for last because I liked him the best, and I was definitely content of my choice. You won’t be disappointed either.
Question: Who doesn’t like the cold, serious guy stereotype?! Yuon was the first I went after. Not only because he looked like the real main protagonist of the story (even if that’s for you to decide in the end), but also one that I actually liked. I already mentioned it in the Second Reproduction review, but I rarely like the main male protagonist of a dating sim so Yuon was another good point in this game.
A student of Xen institute, Yuon was the one who invited Essi to his school in order to investigate a murder case and a mysterious disappearance. He knew about Essi’s abilities and asked her to use them to find the culprit.
Serious and hardworking, Yuon can usually be found working in his own office.
In Essi’s Words: “To be honest, it’s hard to tell if he was angry or not with that kind of look.”
As Essi says, Yuon mostly wears a blank expression that you can’t really get off his face, but despite that, I laughed the most at his route because he’s just so clueless at social interactions.
I don’t have much to comment about this route besides the fact that it was really enjoyable and I put it on the same level as Oure’s, because really! There’s no route that I liked the least between them, besides the looks of the guys maybe, and in this case I preferred Yuon.
For some reason every time I looked at Oure he reminded me of a combination between Near from Death Note and Hope from Final fantasy XIII. xD So at the beginning, when I couldn’t remember his name I called him the Near/Hope wannabe. :3
Anyway, Essi met Oure when she was lost in the corridor. He sports a completely white outfit from top to toes that can only be matched with his favorite past times— watching the clouds.
Naive and child-like, Essi has little trouble interacting with him. He can usually be found wandering around the corridor.
In Essi’s Words: “So much for investigating… Once I started to talk to him, I’ll completely forget about everything else.”
Oure’s route is the equivalent for angst and dokidoki-ness. At one point I wondered how would this end up since it basically was an impossible love, but after reaching the 4th chapter, it hit me. So yeah, Oure’s route was pretty cliché but it no way under the overall level of the other routes. Really enjoyable.
Generally, this was a really good dating sim. The epilogues could have been longer, mostly Oure’s epilogue, but CAN’T HAVE THEM ALL. I just can’t complain. xD
We just can’t forget Rexustoo. :3 Most adorable little thug wannabe :’3
Zeiva.inc released a prequel of X-Note called Area-X which I also played, but that review will be for another time.
oh! All descriptions for characters and story were taken from the X-Note website.