Adventure Corner ~ My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! -Pirates of the Disturbance-

Welcome to Adventure Corner, a column where members of the RPGamer staff can give their thoughts, impressions, and pseudo-reviews for various adventure titles that don’t come under our usual coverage. Adventure Corner is aimed at delivering opinions on a wide range of titles including visual novels, point-and-click adventures, investigative mysteries, and so forth.

In this edition of the column we take a look at My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! -Pirates of the Disturbance- on Nintendo Switch.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! -Pirates of the Disturbance-

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 11.28.2023
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Otomate


Games based on popular anime series can often be hit or miss. This comes from whether or not the property has a strong fan base and staying power. The My Next Life as a Villainess series has quite a devoted fanbase, and given that the light novel-turned-anime is all about a girl trapped in an otome game, creating such a game makes for a smart choice. Otomate and Idea Factory International released My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! -Pirates of the Disturbance- at the end of November, and for someone who was not familiar with the franchise, it was an interesting experience.

Players take on the role of Catarina Claes, a young noblewoman who is engaged to Prince Geordo and is the villainess in the fictional otome game Fortune Lover. After hitting her head exceptionally hard, Catarina begins to have memories of a past life that is not her own, but that of a Japanese teenage girl who is addicted to otome games. However, given she now knows that in all of the routes of the game, Catarina is destined to die so that the protagonist of Fortune Lover gets her happy ending. This is the basic premise of the anime, with players given some additional background information when they boot up Pirates of the Disturbance.

Pirates of the Disturbance is a sidestory that follows Catarina and the cast of Fortune Lover as they board the ship Vinculum for a fancy vacation. The ship has many amenities and all the food a gluttonous duchess could enjoy. While the cast enjoys their cruise, the Vinculum is boarded by pirates, taking the entire ship hostage. Catarina must use all of her knowledge of this “fandisc” to work through the pirate attack, help her friends, and perhaps smooch some boys along the way.

Rozy is so dreamy.

For someone with no reference point for the series, the game does a great job of introducing its cast of characters and giving the right amount of background information on each one regurgitating its plot. The game offers six love interests in total, four of which are characters from the main series, and two that are specifically new to this game. The romances are mostly satisfying, and probably more so for those familiar with the property. The strongest character routes that I feel had the best payoff were for the two new characters, Rozy and Silva. Rozy in particular has a wonderful character arc that is both mysterious and emotional. The growth in his character route easily makes him the game’s best boy, though Silva offers players a very swoon-worthy pirate romance that is full of laughs and surprises. The only character route I was not sold on was Geordo, and that is only because I found parts of his behaviour particularly creepy and grating, as I struggled to see his appeal at any point during his story.

The best character in the entire game, however, is Catarina Claes herself. Otome games tend to have heroines with bland personalities or are just straight ciphers for the player. What we have in My Next Life as a Villainess is an already fleshed-out heroine who is incredibly open with her feelings both to the player and the ensemble cast. Catarina is funny, dippy, a little arrogant, and selfish, that always guns for the dessert table. She has an inflated ego that is just hilarious, and who doesn’t love a comedic character that thinks highly of themselves? Catarina is easily the star of the game, and what kept me engaged was her antics and amusing lack of self-awareness.

Even Mary knows that Geordo is a creep.

Part of what makes these established characters shine comes from the game’s localization, which is very well done. The dialogue and the game’s characters burst with personality, and the writing does a great job of setting the scene and making the player feel connected to the cast and their struggles. Each of the six routes offers players a true ending, a happy ending, and two doom endings, giving the game tons of replayability. Even some of the doom endings have a bit of humour to them, making them worth checking out. All of the voice work is in Japanese, and are voiced by the seiyuu from the anime series, which is a nice bonus.

I haven’t had an otome game truly hook me since 2022’s Birushana, but My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! -Pirates of the Disturbance- is now a favourite. So much so, that I even started watching the anime after I completed a few routes because I needed to know more about these characters. This game is highly recommended for those who already love the property, but given my lack of knowledge of the series, I can also say it’s great for newcomers who love otome games with a sense of humour. Catarina Claes may be the best otome protagonist I’ve encountered yet, and I hope she gets another adventure on consoles soon.

Disclosure: This article is based on a free copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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