I'm not sure what it is with game developers glomming on to Alice in Wonderland. Actually, I shouldn't say game developers -- creatives in general. I mean, yes, I love Alice. I can quote the poetry at the drop of a hat. I can perform The Jabberwock for you. I have a first edition of Alice Through the Looking Glass. I have studied it in school. I love the original books. I even like some of the re-told tales (Frank Beddor's take is quite good, which Ikemen Revolution reminds me of in a lot of ways). But I kinda wish that Cybird had tackled a new story (could even have easily used ALL of the story/plot they created, just not tied it to Alice and Wonderland). Anyway...(fair warning...this review may be slightly snarky but overall I'd say it's a pretty decent addition to the mobile otome arena)
So, Ikemen Revolution: Love and Magic in Wonderland has been released. Remember our favourite Sengoku Warlords? And my not-so-favourite Midnight Cinderella? This is a new app by the same developer. In this one, you are Alice the Second, i.e. the second coming of a girl from The Land of Reason (our world) into Wonderland (also known as Cradle because why? I dunno). You wound up there after following a man who strangely reminds you of a white rabbit (yeah, sounds sexy, huh?) through London as you are trying to return his dropped pocketwatch to him. Herein is one annoyance for me...you're supposed to work at a famous bakery/candy-type shop apparently next to Westminster (pictured in the background is Elizabeth Tower with Big Ben inside it). No such thing in that area. Not even close. It's all tourist crap and parliament stuff. And you are so determined that you follow this white rabbit man all the way from there to somewhere deep inside St. James' Park (though the picture actually looks like something around Southbank if I remember correctly). Not impossible, but with the pictures they show, we're talking a good 1/2 mile at a run. That's some determination for someone you don't know...and, let's be honest, following a strange man into the park is kinda dodgy anyway -- but weirdly you never catch up to him or get his attention in all this time. I dunno. Living here makes that kind of stuff bother me. Not a big thing and I wouldn't even notice it if I didn't know London.
But he disappears--and then so do you...down a mysterious hole in the ground where you fall and fall and fall...straight into the arms of a mysterious man.
Meet Ray Blackwell. Leader of the Black Army. After briefly meeting him and another potential love interest, you keep on your quest to find the white rabbit man and return his pocketwatch. Because falling down a mysterious hole into another world apparently doesn't deter you from your mission.
In finally finding Mr. Rabbit (called Blanc Lapin...hahahha, oh how clever...White Rabbit in French, which apparently they have in Wonderland), you meet a whole cast of handsome men. Some are in the Red Army (and, except for one, come across as pretty much power-hungry assholes) and some are in the Black Army and yet others are just...different (Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat and the Joker, which the latter two you don't really meet, but are introduced to you from a more omniscient point of view).
It appears that Wonderland is divided into two with one half being ruled by the Reds (who are all about lineage and power and tradition) and the other by the Blacks (who are about freedom and personal responsibility). They are, in keeping with the original Alice, arranged in rank by card deck titles (King, Queen (who's another guy, so this is where the juxtaposition seems a little odd), and on down to Ace, which is like a special forces kind of dude). They have been at each other's throats for 500 years.
You have a unique ability, being from the Land of Reason. You can negate magic, which is managed by magic crystals in Wonderland). And you are stuck here for a month, until the next full moon (which is the only time the hole between worlds is open). You are cryptically (?) warned by Mr. White Rabbit that, if you want to return home, the one thing you MUST NOT DO is fall in love.
So you totally know where this is going, right?
Select your love interest and let things commence!
It's definitely a bit of a good guys vs. bad guys (who think they are good guys) kind of thing but the story heavily pushes the Black Army as the good guys, which I find a bit off-putting. I mean, you've just made me detest all of the Red Army characters...how am I supposed to choose one of them? But obviously people do.
There are just four character routes released right now anyway. So, anyway, Ray.
You wind up living in the Black Army headquarters. Adventure commences. I'm still early in. It's the 5 tickets a day thing, though very nicely they worked it out so that those five tickets get you through a chapter each day, rather than breaking off in the middle. That's a nice change from their other games.
The interface is good -- very pretty. Like the other games, there's a gacha. There're magic crystals to collect (some you get for free, others you can buy). An avatar to dress up (with lots more options on how to position things, including rotating avatars, etc.). The new thing is that they've added collectible cards which you use in "battles" to earn intimacy points and in-game cash. So, you know, all new and shiny. Not in love with the card thing as now you've got one more stupid thing to collect and keep track of. The art is pretty good and everything fits seamlessly into the screen. The organisation of the story bits itself is nice and clearly shows you when his POV bits are available and when Avatar Challenges are.
There's voice acting and that seems on level with Ikemen Sengoku. Though, as their names are all quite weird or random, it seems strange to hear them in Japanese.
Not entirely sure how I feel about the story/plot or the characters. So far I would say that I'm not in love with them (haha) but they aren't bad. Maybe I'd say inbetween Ikemen Sengoku and Midnight Cinderella but how the app works I'd say is definitely an improvement. New and shiny. I'll have to get further along before I can pass judgement, but in general I'd say this is a nice addition to mobile otome.
I think the thing that holds me back the most at the moment is that the MC hasn't impressed me yet. We know she loved her life and job in London and she wants to get back there. That's really about it. And she's kinda freaked out (understandable). I just...I don't know. She's very plain vanilla so far. She's not up to Alice the First's level, definitely. Can't see her arguing with Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee or playing croquet, if you know what I mean. We'll see.