Fall in Love With the Supernatural in Shall We Date?: Blood in Roses+
When it comes to otome games that made it to the West, you'll be hard-pressed to find a one with as diverse a selection as "Shall We Date?" Series of mobile games. NTT Solmare continues to impress with their ever growing library of dating sims, even partnering with Hakuoki creator Idea Factory.
What sets them apart from the rest is not just the sheer amount of games they offer. There are as many art styles as there are themes for you to choose from, ensuring that there will at least be one bishounen to catch your eye. Are you into ninjas? Give Shall We Date?: Destiny Ninja and its sequel, Shall We Date?: Destiny Ninja 2 a try. Prefer pirates? If so, then you'll likely find your perfect match in Shall We Date?: Pirates. Of course, for the true blue vampire fan, the choice is clear: Shall We Date?: Blood in Roses+ too.
Sink Your Teeth Into This
Aside from the character you control, Bridget and the cat, there are seven known males in the story. Six are selectable, namely, Alfred, Rupert, Jack, Daniel, Raymond and Humphrey. As of the time of this writing, the eye patch-wearing Dominik has already been announced but has yet to be released. If you're new to this type of game or to the Shall We Date? series in general, you might be eager to jump in and try the first cute guy you see. Thing is, Blood in Roses+ makes use of Story Tickets. This is essentially an energy system which lets you read a small portion of a chapter per use. Beginners get more chances to get extra Story Tickets but once you've exhausted those, it will be a grind to get more beyond the ones you get every four hours. Why waste them on someone you're not interested in?
The good news is, there's a way to tell if you're going to like a particular character. Shall We Date?: Blood in Roses+ offers a sneak peek into his route in the form of a profile and a highlights reel. Once you've gotten past the prologue, choose a character and play his video to enjoy select scenes from different chapters. If you're happy with what you see, go ahead and begin his story. Otherwise, check the preview for another eligible supernatural being.
Vampires, Werewolves and Wizards
Although they're the main draw, vampires aren't the only creatures in Shall We Date?: Blood in Roses+. From the get-go, all you can be sure of is that they're not human. Unless you went for either Alfred or Rupert, what they are is revealed later on in the game. You don't even have to be playing their particular route to find out as they also appear in other stories. Humphrey, for instance, is a major character in Raymond's story.
Speaking of story, the plot is straight out of a fairytale. You come from a line of witches who have the ability to see glimpses of the future. At the start of the story, you've been bothered by a particular vision, or rather, a tune to be exact. Your curiosity lead you to a run-down mansion in the middle of the woods -- a scene that never seems to deter any heroine from investigating said place. You then encounter Alfred and Rupert, the vampire brothers. To your surprise (or not), they're quite determined to hear you say you love them. You won't, of course and they get pretty forceful. From there, you learn that the mansion is actually a hotel for all sorts of supernatural beings, that there's a reason why the brothers are so desperate to win you over and that you were actually fated to come there. Who you choose will change the events of the story greatly but, as with nearly all otome games, there will always be a happy ending available to those who make good dialogue choices.
Premium or Free, Which is it to Be?
If this is your first time to play a title from NTT Solmare, then you're in for a few surprises. Although downloading the game and playing is completely free, there are exclusive perks for those who are willing to open their wallets. Just like any freemium title, pay players can skip the wait for Story Tickets altogether. You can either purchase a whole set of Tickets or pay for singles. As each Story Ticket only gives you about a five-minute read at most, this is a pricey route indeed.
Another part of the game you can spend some hard-earned cash on are avatars. These allow you to customize your character and her chosen partner with clothes and accessories. Considering how much apps usually cost in the app store, these are also pretty expensive. One dress can cost as much as six apps on sale so you can imagine just how much a whole ensemble will cost you. Avatars also allow you to get through "Love Choice" gates. These basically change snippets of the story and gives VIPs a chance to enjoy a more romantic storyline with their corresponding CG images. No amount of grinding can get you these exclusive scenes, so if you're into otome titles for the CGs, be ready to spend.
So is Shall We Date?: Blood in Roses+ for you? That depends on what you're after. If you're not opposed to paying for premium content (seems like plenty aren't judging by this walkthrough) or are fine with just the vanilla storyline and the idea of dating supernatural beings appeal to you, the answer is a resounding yes. The storyline is easy enough to follow but not so simple as to feel contrived so it stands up as one of the more solid dating games from the many casual ones reviewed on web and mobile by dategame.net. The characters are interesting. They may be hateable at first but once you get to know them, you may be surprised to find that they've grown on you. The artwork is nice too. It's not the most beautiful we've seen from the company -- that spot goes to Destiny Ninja 2 hands down -- but it's certainly no less of a head turner.