Note from OG: Very special thanks to Dr Animaniac for accepting my request to tackle this most interesting yuri game and share her findings with the Nation. This is Hanako Games’ Black Closet. This is the same company that published and helped develop A Little Lily Princess.
Continuing my review of Yuri VNs and Games, today I will be covering Black Closet. This is an Indie, RPG, Strategy game, where you must utilize your minions effectively to solve a variety of cases, all while avoiding falling prey to a secret cult and maintaining the school’s reputation.
Genres: Mystery, Student Council, Strategy, Dating Simulator, RPG, Yuri
Length: 10-20 hours.
In Black Closet, you play as the Student Council president at a super elite girl’s academy. You are given the highest responsibility of maintaining the school’s pristine reputation, however, there are various forces at work that wish to hinder you. Thankfully you are given a selection of minions in the form of the other Student Council members and they each possess certain skills that make them a great asset.
From the very start you will be faced with various cases, all involving the academy students and the situations they are involved in. Once you receive a case, it’s up to you to utilize your minions and exploit their skills in the right situations, to solve the case in the shortest amount of time and with minimal loss of Karma. If you are successful you will be rewarded with training points that may be used to raise your minion’s skills, as well as receive increased Karma. However, if you are too aggressive in your investigations, you will lose Karma. If you fail to resolve the case before the time is up, you will take a heavy blow to the school’s reputation. If you get to 0, then it’s game over. As the final hindrance, you also have to deal with a traitor, who is one of your minions. This traitor will purposefully sabotage your investigations, so you must act quickly to identify them and deal with them before they cause too much damage. However, the biggest issue of all is the secret organization they work for.
As an extra factor to the game and probably the best factor, you have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with your minions. The main intention is of course to find the traitor and to increase minion loyalty so they will tire out less easily and be more effective, but beyond that, you may also court the minion of your choice, for a romantic relationship, and go on dates.
You will begin each week with and overview of the month and the upcoming important dates and events. You’ll also see a helpful hint, as pictured above.
You will receive a new bunch of cases on the Monday and Wednesday of every week, covering various events and occurrences. Things such as cheating scandals, hazing, bullying or destruction. You will have to solve these cases within a certain time frame and avoid losing Karma or Reputation. When you solve a case, you will get a score report as seen on the right. Average performance will get you a C, getting an A or B will require solving cases faster and without loss of Karma or reputation. Losing too much or taking too long will get you a D and if you don’t solve the case in time, you will get an F. Each grade level offers and increased amount of Reputation, Karma and Skill Points, which you should use to strengthen your minion’s skills.
The picture above shows your case screen. This is where all the important actions are carried out. Your available cases will be posted on the top right and include all the persons of interests or locations to the case that your minions must act on. Beneath this is your panel of minions and the display of the skills they possess and at what levels. As you can see, these same skill bubbles are seen around the suspects, but have question marks. That is because you will not be able to know their skills until you interact with them first. Most often this will include simply questioning them, as a way to feel them out. Once their skills have been revealed, you can match up your minions accordingly, so that they will be successful in whatever action they wish to perform. The key is to beat your target in skill, so that you will be successful in your actions. If you don’t have the appropriate level in a particular skill, you can use items as seen in the bottom row to raise them, which you find by having a minion search the supply closet. The actions you have to use on suspects are Question, Harass and Stalk by default, and after being successful in those, you may have the option to Persuade, Suspend, Detain Expel. For locations, you can Search, Stake Out or Guard and these also use certain skills. As you can also see, each minion has one skill that’s particularly high over others, so it’s best to use them for those trickier tasks with high levels in that one skill. Next to the supply closet is the training room, where you can use your skill points to level up your minions. Finally, on the far left, you have your action bar, where all your selected actions for the day will be queued. After you are done selecting, you press done and you will see the results of each individual action and weather you were successful or not. Your Karma and Reputation bar can be seen on the bottom left as well.
This is the results screen that you will see for each action you assigned. Being successful will either give you new important information, open up more options and/or help you resolve the case. You may also get Karma as you can see above in some cases. If you are unsuccessful or if it’s too close to call, you will not get anything or may even lose Karma if too aggressive.
Once you have gone through the first month or so, just before the Autumn Festival, you will have to meet with Miss Talmage, the school headmaster and tell her what you’ve discovered on the traitor. You will have the option to say who you believe the mole is or you will be able to say it’s been dealt with. If you choose someone specific as the mole, they will be expelled and you will lose a valuable minion, so it may not be in your best interest. You want to really do your best to weed out the traitor and get her on your side before this. Here’s how you do it.
At the end of each week, you will be able to choose two girls to visit and talk to. Depending on your choices in the conversation, you will raise or lower their loyalty. You will also be able to go on dates and if you pick the right venue, you will likely increase their loyalty more. Getting up their loyalty will allow them to become stressed less easily and they will do a better job in their actions. This is also the way to turn whoever the traitor may be towards you. Besides all of these important factors, the most favorable aspect of this is that it will get you that much closer to the girl of your dreams, whoever that may be. If you can turn the traitor and keep all the girls on your side, it’ll make going after the real enemy that much easier. Once you successfully defeat the organization, you will win the game and walk away with your girl.
Once you defeat the game or if you are defeated and lose the game (as I did my first go), you will unlock the option to customize your minions and other settings and start a new game.
So now for my review. I thought that this game was very fun overall and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve always loved strategy and management games such as these, so that already boosted my option, but actually playing it turned out to be even more enjoyable. I really like the minion system and having to brainstorm who would be best used in a case and what action they would be best be used for in said case. I found the cases to be unique, interesting and fun, but they were also a bit tricky. Every case must be approached differently, even cases that appear to be the same as previous ones, because the outcome will likely be different.
Finally, saving the best for last, the Yuri aspect of the game is enjoyable. Each girl has a very unique and different personality so there’s something for everyone. Courting them is actually pretty simple as long as you make reasonable choices so I think that’s another agreeable aspect of the game. Rather than having to work really hard just to enter their route it’s more so about your personal choice and enjoying the ride as you have your encounters with each one. The available girls are Althea (The Cool, Lady Killer), Vonne (The super responsible VP and childhood friend), Rowan (The quiet loner), Thais (The aggressive goth) and Mallory (The bubbly transfer student). They each have very unique and different personalities and so the romantic developments with them will likely be quite diverse. I personally chose Vonne myself for my first go, but I can’t speak for who’s best or otherwise until I actually complete the game. I’m sure from what I’ve seen so far, they are all worth the time.
So overall, Black Closet is a definite win in my book and is highly enjoyable, efficient and well made. I thought the art was nice and the story that I’ve seen thus far is very interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing the story’s conclusion and to beating the game with a good performance. Of course, I’m also looking forward to courting each of the girls and seeing what wonders they hold. I foresee myself spending many more hours on the game, as I think I’ve really only scratched the surface of what it can give and unlike VN’s, it has more of a replay value as you try to beat the game with new minions and with a better performance on solving the cases. I can recommend this game with enthusiasm and I’d very much love to play more games like this in the future. I’m also interested to see what other games Hanako Games has to offer next.