Disclaimer: Slight spoilers for Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~ ahead.
Winter has hit the steampunk city of London, and Cardia’s first Christmas after the events of Code: Realize is right around the corner. She’s settling into her poison-free new life with her brother, Finis, quite well, but something is still missing. With Lupin’s gang spread out all over the world to pursue their new life objectives, they’ve not had many opportunities to gather like they used to. So when they decide to throw a Christmas party at Saint-Germain’s mansion, everyone’s excited. Cardia has missed her friends, and if she’s lucky, she might just find what she’s been missing underneath the mistletoe.
Story and Gameplay
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ plays just like the other two games in the series. There are a handful of choices to be made throughout the stories and a dictionary that’s just waiting for you to fill it up. The game is split into three main categories: triangle dates, alternate stories, and extra stories.
In triangle dates, Cardia and two of her favorite boys spend a day together that’s full of cute rivalry, sweet moments, and a love confession or two. There’s an option for every combination of dates with the original five love interests–Lupin, Victor, Van Helsing, Impy, and Saint Germain–so you can watch your top two favorite boys battle it out for Cardia’s attention. There are also three secret encounters that might just throw you for a loop.
There are five alternate stories–one for each of the original five–that take place after the main story of Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~. Since Cardia chose to live out her life with her brother in the previous game, she doesn’t actually end up with any of the original love interests. These alternate stories tell the tales of those budding romances and allows you to see those sweet first steps from a whole new perspective.
The three extra stories include an epilogue for Finis and one for Sholmes after the events of FB, as well as a new side story that introduces Cantarella, an alluring songstress with a mysterious past who befriends Cardia and entangles Lupin’s gang in a bizarre situation.
There’s also a special epilogue section that unlocks only after all the other content in the game has been enjoyed. There are five in total, and each one gives a little bit more story into Cardia’s life with her chosen love after the events of C:R and FB.
The Good and The Bad
This game heavily relies on the fact that you’ve played Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~, so this isn’t a title you could immediately jump into and enjoy. That being said, if you’re already a fan of Code: Realize and are yearning to spend a little more time in the steampunk city, ~Wintertide Miracles~ is a very nice follow-up to the series.
Each individual story is fairly short, though the three extra stories all have decent lengths. The Cantarella story is easily the longest and is pretty similar to the Shirley story in ~Future Blessings~. The alternate stories are shorter, especially if you skip over the introduction that’s copy-pasted at the beginning of each one that just gives a recap of FB. However, the triangle dates are by far the shortest pieces of content in the entire game, and it would be easy to finish all thirteen in one sitting. That’s not to say the stories aren’t good. Even without a lot of content, each date offers a cute side story and at least one CG (or Computer Graphic). Just don’t expect a deep dive back into the world of Code: Realize with its newest installment.
My biggest issue with the game is the lack of attention it was given in the final stages of editing. There are quite a few grammatical issues, all ranging from duplicate words to nonsensical wording. There are also a few places where the coding wasn’t checked properly, causing words to run outside of the text boxes they were supposed to be in. The issues weren’t as few and far between as I would have liked for a game this length, and each issue brought me out of the story I was reading enough to make me a tad frustrated at times. The game could have definitely used some extra polishing, especially with a $40 price tag.
That being said, the laugh-out-loud humor is still present in this title. The interactions between the main cast have always been some of my favorite draws to the series, and even though this title is short, it still had me giggling enough times to make my husband give me some weird looks.
Even with all these issues, I think the game is worth playing. The extra stories–especially Cantarella’s–are very good, and the CG’s are just as beautiful as the original Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~. (I’ve already switched my Vita’s background two or three times because I can’t decide which CG is my favorite!)
So in the end, would I recommend the game to a fellow Otome lover? Not unless they’re prepared to sink a decent chunk of time into the first two games. But the game is easily a buy for me.