After the unmitigated disaster of a route that was Crowlie, I spent a short time playing Leonardo. Spoilers: it was boring. As a result, the minute Oz’s route was released I dropped Leonardo like a hot potato and jumped ship to Ozland. If you want more information about the premise of the game, I covered that in Crowlie’s route review.
Oz was probably the only character that displayed any kind of actual personality in the prologue, so I came in at least hoping his route would be less boring. You know what? It WAS less boring, but for all the wrong reasons. Be careful what you wish for.
Before I open pandora’s box in the couple section, I’ll just sum up the story: bland. The main arc is that Oz thinks the wizards are taking advantage of MC to fulfill a prophecy. If any party had just opened their fucking mouths at any given point, it could have been resolved in half a chapter. There’s literally a confrontation at one point where Solomon has a chance to explain himself and just stands completely silent until Oz and MC storm out.
Oh, and the subplot is just a gem. We get to read nearly 2 chapters of Wesley (Wizard of the West) and Oz getting into a dick-measuring contest over if real magic or stage magic is cooler. I’m not making that up. That’s really what happened in the route. The only bright side is it brought about the one reasonable thing MC says to Oz in the entire route:
Be still my heart, NTT Solmare; you know there’s nothing that gets me hotter than a couple of pissbabies comparing magic acts. If only you had told me I was dating Steampunk Gob Bluth from the beginning, I’d have been here much sooner.
Other than that, a lot of the same complaints I lodged against Crowlie’s route also apply here. While Oz’s route does try to expand on the prophecy more early on, it’s still a super flimsy premise for the game in general. It also has all the amazing “that makes no fucking sense at all” moments Crowlie’s route offered, which I’ll get into in a bit.
Look, I’m totally fine with age differences in otome games. Be My Princess 2’s Max route is one of my favorites, and I have also enjoyed routes like Randy from Wizardess Heart. I’m not opposed to the concept, but for this sort of relationship to work you need to tread carefully and follow some rules.
- The older party cannot take advantage of their age difference or come across as predatory. If they’re smug about getting a younger partner or use age as an excuse to bulldoze over the younger party’s emotions, that’s not romantic. It’s creepy.
- The two characters need to like each other as people outside of the age difference. That means the older party needs to like their partner for something other than how innocent and fresh-faced they are, and the younger party needs to find more appeal than “omg so mature.”
- The age difference cannot be inexcusably large. Early to mid 20’s gal with a mid 30’s guy? Fine. Teenager with a late 20’s guy? NOPE.
Oz’s route failed on every. Single. Front.
MC has absolutely no reason for liking Oz other than that he seems mature and adult. While Oz attempts to say that his reasons for falling for MC come down to how tough and strong-willed she is, it comes across less as an admiration of her independence as a woman and much more as some kind of weird neckbeard praise. He continually tells her how much she’s ~not like other women~, which he’s supposedly had plenty of. First of all, that’s a terrible compliment. Second, fuck your reasons, Oz. Your late-twenties ass shouldn’t be macking on her in the first place.
Oz’s age is never explicitly stated, which is a clever way for the game’s writers to try and draw attention away from the fact that there’s no way this relationship is okay. We do know that Oz was already king of Emerald City and presumably had been for a little while when MC came to Oz the first time… at 7 years of age. He refers to how much he just viewed her as a kid back then multiple times, so he was definitely much older. I’d say the most conservative possible estimate is that Oz was the age MC is now back during her first visit, which is to say 16/17. That’d make him 27 now, which is already super messed up… we are talking a guy creeping toward 30 getting romantic with a high school junior. Truthfully, he was probably older than that if he was an established king that took the throne through his own initiative rather than being born into it. So yeah, he’s 27… or older.
I’ll just throw in this screencap to enhance that information.
The romance was brain-numbingly slow and the chemistry non-existent. The worst part? I was almost thankful for it, because I was much more comfortable reading him as a deadbeat father figure than a romantic interest. MC doesn’t seem especially taken by Oz at all until he just makes out with her out of nowhere. It’s not until chapter TEN that there’s a sudden confession and kiss from Oz. There was no anticipation building, and suddenly we go from 0 to 60 in half a chapter. To say it was poorly done would be kind of an understatement, but on the bright side I only had to sit through 6 chapters of him being overtly disgusting versus 10+. Small miracles.
His personality totally changes after the confession too, and that’s gross. Oz is a disingenuous fuckface and I hate him. I can see why he wouldn’t be able to find a girlfriend his age.
What can I say? It’s great. It’s completely and utterly wasted on this stupid fucking game and it’s the only reason the rating’s not a 0.
MOMENTS OF NOTE
At one point MC and Oz attempt to get into Emerald City while they’re on the run. They’re terrified they’ll be recognized, but the guards don’t realize who they are. Yup, the guards don’t recognize the most famous king Emerald City ever had. Keep in mind that in other parts of the route, MC and co. need bodyguards to stave off the mobs.
But wait, they’re found out after all! Why? Because they hear MC call her dog “Toto.” That’s right, the same guards who don’t recognize their own heroic monarch managed to remember the name of MC’s dog. Writing gold, people.
Let’s move on to moments I have screencaps of. Apologies for this first one, my red light filter kicks on at night.
ACTUALLY, NO. IT DIDN’T.
The fuck is happening with Oz’s torso in this sprite? Strangely positioned fat deposits? A terrifying magical parasite? I’m genuinely concerned.
PROTIP: If he’s only nice when he wants to bang you, he is in fact an asshole.
And finally, the last thing I can handle today before I have a full scale Arin Hanson style meltdown:
FUCK YOU, WESLEY
FUCK THIS GAME
I’M FUCKING DONE
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?