Ultimately Bustafellows could be the breakout hit of the otome genre, a genre woefully underserved in the west. With its appealing character design and flashy noir setting, it’s an easy to digest pretense for otherwise timid readers.
With its very likeable cast, distinctive and memorable heroine, beautiful presentation and compelling narrative setup, BUSTAFELLOWS should be on the shopping list of every visual novel enthusiast — not just otome fans.
Bustafellows is a great representative of the fascinating stories visual novels can tell. The narrative features a strong lead and a cast of handsome boys with dark pasts that create this endearing tale. Still, it’s a story on society’s shortcomings, which makes it relatable in many ways as we ask ourselves what would cause us to take matters into our own hands. While some design choices seem odd in this release, this otome is an easy recommendation from me.
Bustafellows is part crime caper and part otome romance, and those are common enough things, but it's the quality of the writing and the strong thematic core that helps to set this one apart.
If this isn’t obvious by now, I was not a fan of Bustafellows. I have been playing otome games for a long time, so perhaps I have just aged out of the typical character tropes and bland dialogue that plague most of the modern releases. Still, I wanted to like it and admit that for fans of the genre, this game is definitely a diamond amongst the common rough that we get on a yearly (almost monthly if you count mobile games) basis.
With so much to love about BUSTAFELLOWS, it's an easy recommendation for all otome visual novel fans.
When a girl has the ability to go back in time a few hours and she actually uses her powers for good, naturally this means she’s going to be thrown in a situation with five hot guys. I don’t know what else to expect when you have that kind of ability.
BUSTAFELLOWS is a quality otome visual novel with amazing work done across various aspects from visuals to writing to audio. The story is engaging and moving, the romance is adorable and authentic, the characters are vibrant and unforgettable, and the writing leaves much food for thought even when it could have delved into several topics further for more sufficient coverage. The visuals are stunning and the VA nailed the different characters’ personalities while the music nailed the quickly shifting ambiance. The translation quality is good too, though it could still be more polished. The weakest aspect is its game system with a tedious save process and a “Skip” function that proceeds at a snail’s pace. Then topping that off with a PC port that runs only in fullscreen mode and uses unusual fixed key binds, we get great content wrapped inside a not-so-great container.
But there’s a moment just as the wave breaks, as it all comes crashing down, where the sea spray lingers in the air and a rainbow appears against the blue sky. From where you stand, you only see its upper arc, but there’s comfort in knowing it’s a complete circle somewhere, the rest of Bustafellows that had built up to this moment. And it’s fleeting, perhaps even quickly forgotten, but it’s beautiful.
Five men with morally questionable goals that blur the lines between good and bad.
In as much as one can have final thoughts after a single chapter, I like this game. Do note the rating: It is earned. One might question why I keep playing Otome games when I get so annoyed by the “horndog” (to quote one of the characters) behaviour contained in most of them. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment served up with a good story and great art. My look into the first chapter of Bustafellows makes me believe that this is another solid addition to the visual novel library of Switch and Steam.
For the most part, Bustafellows is an enthralling game with branching narrative options set to a jazzy soundtrack presented as a cop show. Side A of the story explores criminal activities and where the most interesting aspects of the game are found. Side B, aka The Romancing of the Various Lads, brings the decisions from the previous chapters to fruition, but it still feels tacked on and forced. It might be a typical visual novel trope and therefore expected, but Bustafellows simply doesn’t need romance and it acts as a detriment to the overall enjoyment of the story. The first part of Bustafellows shows that there is a lot of appeal for a clever crime caper story; beautiful environments fill the screen and are accompanied by a jazzy soundtrack, and with multiple leads to follow there are a number of outcomes to explore, it’s just a shame it’s marred by the romancing part of the game. That being said, I would still recommend this to visual novel fans, or people looking to get into the genre, as the story and setting of New Sieg is one of fun and enjoyment.