I’m just gonna give it to you straight: this was the most boring, lackluster, non-story otome story I have ever read.
I was looking forward to Oz+. The whole concept of Dorothy returning to Oz and finding that the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Lion and Witches of Oz are sexy men is hilarious and could be really enjoyable. The fact that the execution is so lame is really disappointing.
There are only three routes available so far: Crowlie, Leonardo and Heartmann (the crow, lion and tin woodman… as if they didn’t make it painfully obvious with the on-the-nose names). Crowlie is intellectual and a bit stiff/awkward, Leonardo is over the top hyper and affectionate and Heartmann just sort of… has a lot of feelings. I picked Crowlie because he’s closest to the trope I usually go with.
First of all, the entire premise of this game is completely nonsensical. Essentially you’re fetched back to Oz shortly before your 17th birthday and told by Solomon (one of the wizards) that you’ve got to choose a boyfriend from your former travel companions. Because 3 men isn’t enough or whatever, he’s also thrown in Oz himself and Wesley, the wicked wizard you defeated during your initial trip.
That’s it. That’s the entire setup. “But Strawbarely,” you say. “Surely they explain this at some point. There’s gotta be a really good reason this dude is forcing you to pick a boyfriend all of a sudden.”
HOW OPTIMISTIC OF YOU. The rant on that is forthcoming later in this section, believe you me.
“Okay, Strawbarely, so the premise is flimsy. Surely there’s at least an actual story arc?”
OH, YOU’D THINK THAT. YOU’D THINK A VISUAL NOVEL WOULD HAVE A PLOT.
Over the course of the route we had gentle toe-dips into something resembling an actual plot. First Crowlie was worried he wouldn’t live up to Oz’s legacy as king of Emerald City, but literally all that happened to resolve that was he yelled at a crowd a chapter later. When they quieted down as a result, everyone decided he was a great king. Problem… solved?
Next Crowlie was jealous because he wasn’t the first person who met Dorothy when she came to Oz the first time. O… kay? The relevance of this is never explained. He yells at her, she cries, Leonardo and Heartmann get mad at him and he apologizes. It’s all over within a chapter. None of it is interesting and none of it resembles anything close to an actual story. The best part of this is literally that Crowlie gets punched. Let me repeat that. The love interest getting punched was the highlight of this route for me.
The one mildly interesting development was a particularly creepy moment with Norton, Wizard of the North. He basically corners MC and does some shit-talking about how he stole her first kiss because he kissed her on the forehead when she was 8. It makes no sense, but he’s sufficiently creepy that I thought he might turn out to be plotting something later. Instead, it’s LITERALLY NEVER RESOLVED OR EVEN REALLY BROUGHT UP AGAIN.
In the final chapter you get told out of nowhere that the bridge connecting worlds will disappear once you’re seventeen. You basically just have to pick whether or not to stay in Oz. Dorothy does some really boring agonizing about her family back home, but it’s all so hollow. I was so not-invested that I nearly traded a bad end for 20 story tickets, but then I realized that’d only be worthwhile if their other stories weren’t also terrible. Judging by general chatter I see online, I shouldn’t hold my breathe. Offer me 20 tickets for The Niflheim, then we’ll talk. I wanna date me a skeleton.
I choose the True End. MC decides to stay to stay in Oz and all of a sudden the aunt and uncle she’s leaving behind in Kansas aren’t all that important anymore because Oz can give them a letter. That’s the big solution.
I can’t make this shit up.
In literally the last 4 story tickets, Dorothy announces her intent to stay and kisses Crowlie. The palace starts shaking and going all crazy, and Solomon suddenly goes ZOMG THE PROPHECY HAS COME TRUE. This is the first mention of any prophecy, by the way.
Turns out Oz isn’t in a big earthquake, but instead the worlds of Oz and our world are fusing permanently. Yay or whatever. I couldn’t care less at this point. There was apparently a prophecy that a “chosen one” would join the worlds by kissing her true love.
I’ll tell you why that’s a bullshit plot twist.
A) You could MAYBE argue this was a reason for Solomon forcing Dorothy to pick a boyfriend, but that makes no sense. First of all, why does he want the worlds fused at all? There’s literally nothing at stake. Everything is fine in Oz, prospering even. The argument the game makes in its last chapter is that Crowlie and MC’s love is what’s worth saving, but that wouldn’t exist if Solomon hadn’t set things in motion to begin with. It’s not even a good love.
B) None of the men on her boyfriend choice list knew about the prophecy. There is NO explanation as to why 5 men of varying ages and relationships with MC would line up to date her. She’s 16, and the one and only time they met her she was SEVEN YEARS OLD. Did they literally go, “Well, she was a pretty sexy seven year old, so let’s decide we all should compete to bang her?” WHAT?
C) Really? Really? You throw this out there in the last third of the last chapter? What the fuck? This isn’t a resolution. This explains nothing. This is the writer going, OH SHIT STORY’S ALMOST OVER BETTER ADD A PROPHECY LOL
I actually wrote this review with like 3 story tickets worth of story left to go, and I figured they wouldn’t be so dumb as to try and throw in a half-assed explanation at the very last minute. We even went ahead and published the review. “Surely,” I said to Marvelle,”They can’t try to jam in some lame explanation in literally the last 60 seconds of the story.”
Why I had any faith left in this game, I cannot say.
MC is what my friends and I call “Pants.” Since the game creators want everyone to be able to slip right into her skin, they make her as basic and lacking in personality as possible. Just grey, featureless sweatpants with just enough drawstring to make them fit everyone.
In matters of clothing and otome games, I hate Pants.
Because both Crowlie and MC are pretty devoid of any real personality, their love is totally unconvincing. We keep being told they’re close because of the journey they took when she was a kid, but we don’t get to see any of that journey. The game just keeps going, “They’re in love! Take my word for it!”
Actually, I can use a screencap for this:
YEAH. ME NEITHER.
This is some seriously fantastic art. No sarcasm, it’s just that good.
The one heart this game as earned, it has earned entirely in fantastic art. Unfortunately, no amount of art can make up for terrible story.
MOMENTS OF NOTE:
There wasn’t a single swoonworthy moment in this route for me, but there were surely some moments of rage and confusion. For example, there’s this:
The point where I really lost it, though, was when I was shown these 3 screens right after one another.
WHEN IS HER BIRTHDAY????? PLEASE TELL ME AGAIN. IF NOT I’LL HAVE TO GET SCOOBY DOO ON THIS CASE BECAUSE IT IS JUST SUCH A MYSTERY
*20 seconds later*
My heart scale is defined as follows – 5 hearts = a story everyone will fall in love with, regardless of preferences; 4 hearts = a well-done story that people who love the concept will adore, and people who don’t may end up liking it; 3 hearts = if you like this type of story or this type of hero, then you will enjoy this, but those who do not like either of those things will probably not; 2 hearts = it had potential, it squandered it; 1 heart = just a waste of time from the get-go; 0 hearts = why was this made?