Piofiore: Fated Memories (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 11.04.2021

Review for Piofiore: Fated Memories on Nintendo Switch

Aksys Games are keeping Western 'fujoshi' happy, maintaining a steady stream of Otomate games to the Switch. It's great to see a new home for these titles, with the imminent death of its long-time home, the PlayStation Vita. This latest localisation from Japan's premium romance visual novel makers, takes the courtship to the roaring twenties in the mafia controlled streets of Burlone, Italy. There, a young lady of the church is whisked into a war between the families that run this town, each struggling to hold and control this woman, for reasons she does not understand.

The protagonist of this story is Liliana Adornato; an orphan that is now a servant to the church that raised her. While the church is seen as sacred and off-limits to the three families, one day the place is assaulted, and Liliana is taken. That story changes somewhat based on which play-through, but regardless of who's doing the kidnapping, Liliana is taken. It seems to be just another crime in the dangerous streets. One of the three families (the Chinese Lao-Shu) have been abducting women and selling them into the sex trade - but as each story develops the truth behind Liliana's identity proves to be far more interesting.

Goombas and Capos, consiglieres and shylocks. This is old-school mob action, and Liliana is right in the middle of it, as the three families fight for control of the town, and control of this young lady. This damsel in distress has a range of routes through this story, each dedicated to one of five different men, and each stand-alone. There's no single canon route, and replaying is a must to not only fully understand the story, but each of the characters in this story. While there are common elements, each play-through gives a fresh perspective on the major players; turning the antagonist of one story into the hero of another; making the scumbags sometimes likeable… only sometimes, they're often irredeemable.

Screenshot for Piofiore: Fated Memories on Nintendo Switch

Like all of the Otomate reverse-harem stories, the heart of the game is in the cast. There are five different bachelors to romance over the course of the game. The first is Nicola Francesca. Played by Ryohei Kimura, a veteran of Otomate games, and also well known in his performances in shoujo anime series - playing Hiyori Tono in Free! and Yugo Hachiken in Silver Spoon amongst many, many others. Nicola is the ladies man of the group. While a cousin to the boss of the main family, he was raised alongside his cousin Dante, and has ascended to become the underboss of the Falcone family. Fiercely loyal to it, he holds the family above even his brotherly bond with Dante.

Speaking of Dante, this is the other route immediately available from the start. Dante is the boss of the Falzones, and struggles with the burdens of leadership; a position thrust upon him at too young an age. Throughout all of the other routes, he's seen as something of a villain and real hard-ass. Then, upon playing through his route he becomes the kuudere of the group. An utter softie; sweet, soft, and gentle. Kaito Ishikawa does a wonderful job at portraying this hot and cold character, thanks to his extensive body of work, pulling from his performance of the king of the court, Kageyam in Haikyu!!, Tenya in My Hero Academia, and Genos in One Punch Man, to deliver the cool, lofty arrogance of a young Capo.

Screenshot for Piofiore: Fated Memories on Nintendo Switch

Once Nicola and Dante's routes have been completed there are two new routes opened, either Orlok or Yank. Orlok is an utter enigma of a character. He seems to be an informant, but by playing through other characters routes the truth of his allegiance begins to become clear. This is by far the darkest route, and it hits some truly chilling moments. Orlok's voice acting is a relative unknown compared to the heavy hitters in the cast. Toshiyuki Toyonaga has few big characters to his name, more supporting characters. Though he did act alongside Nicola as Asahi Shiina in Free!.

Yang meanwhile is quite a straightforward character - that character being the bad guy. Boss of the Lao-Shu Chinese mafia family, and involved in drugs, murder, rape. The romance with Yang is more like Stockholm syndrome, with some truly rough parts to have to get through. While the character is the worst of the bunch, Yang's voice will be instantly recognisable to the majority of the audience. Nobuhiko Okamoto is one of the biggest voice actors in Japan at the moment, with plenty of roles
in My Hero Academia. He's 'King Explosion Death Lord' himself, Bakugo. He played Accelerator in Index and Railgun, and Rin in Blue Exorcist. That list of performances alone should show his fantastic range, even more so when checking out the rest of the diverse range of roles he's starred in over the years.

Screenshot for Piofiore: Fated Memories on Nintendo Switch

As is often the way with these games, once all of the standard routes have been completed, a final route is unlocked, though here there's actually an extra finale after that route too! Though it's best not to reveal who those characters actually are at this point, it's better to experience that surprise first hand. While Piofiore is a relatively recent game, not a remake or port, this was released in Japan just last year, there are some steps backwards. While most Otomate games have systems in place to easily support the replayable nature of the game, for players to track down every ending and every CG, Piofiore is quite lacking.

A vague element of a flower for each character starting to fill, as opposed to an overt listing of love and affection rates so regularly seen. Similarly, during each play-through there are no prompts to help identify correct choices or the subsequent effects of those choices. It's such a strange design decision to remove something many players have become so familiar with. Speaking of tracking down all the items and CGs, there is an awful lot to find - both good and bad. While playing through every possible branch of the story, there's a nice little feature where time-sensitive side-stories pop up. These stylishly transition from the main game, with retro film strip and give a glimpse of what's going on from a different perspective. For the bad, quite literally, there are some very bad endings.

For those fans who enjoy the unhappy endings out there, oh, damn does Piofiore have some very special moments just for you. Things get darker than any other Otomate out there, with severe dark twists and some really depressing moments. Every potential bachelor turns into a full-on monster. Completionists who will be replaying to track down every little thing, be prepared for some harrowing scenes. Those scenes may be harrowing, but their art and presentation is absolutely top tier. Japanese artist RiRi (not to be confused with the Japanese singer of the same name - note the capitalisation), who acted as both character designer and artist here, did a great job with some stylish and memorable bishi designs.

Screenshot for Piofiore: Fated Memories on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Piofiore is a solid and enjoyable romance story, but one that falls a little short from some of the better Otomate productions out there. One thing that does set it apart though are its bleak story paths. There's torture, murder, rape. Things get awfully dark, much more so than the majority of these types of titles, and for those who enjoy such experiences, it certainly delivers. Stay with Cubed3, as it will soon be looking at more Otomate games coming to Switch.

Developer

Design Factory

Publisher

Aksys Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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