Ikémen Revolution | Game Review
When I first started playing Ikémen Revolution I didn’t expect to like it as much as other titles in the Ikémen series. I generally prefer more dramatic, mature stories, and this seemed completely the opposite, with wizards, knights, and princes in what appeared to be a whimsical fairy-tale romance. However, the more I played, the more mystery I discovered behind the innocent façade, and the further down the rabbit hole I fell. Now, Ikémen Revolution is a game I play regularly, and it’s safe to say I’ve been completely enchanted by the wonderful land of Cradle and its citizens…
- Perfect if you like quintessential fairy-tale romances with princes, knights, and magic
- Large and distinctive cast of love interests catering to a variety of tastes
- Frequent updates, new content releases, and limited-time events
Could be improved
- Only recently started to include ‘spicier’ content – any routes or stories released prior to this shift in tone tend to be more innocent than fans of other titles in the Ikémen series might expect
- Some of the premium story options seem to overlap between two scenes rather than just containing one whole scene, making them feel less cohesive as a self-contained saved story
Premise: In an attempt to return a pocket watch to a suspiciously ‘rabbit-like’ man, you accidentally fall into a strange, magical wonderland named Cradle. Caught in the middle of a war between the Black and Red armies, rumours of Alice the Second begin to spread as you do your best to get by until you can return to what the locals call ‘The Land of Reason’. All you have to do is survive the month and, of course, do whatever you can to avoid falling in love, otherwise you may have to make the impossible choice between your home and your heart…
Personally, I really like the premise. It’s the classic “you’re stuck in another world and forced to rely on the handsome man of your choice until you can return home” concept that we have seen in other Ikémen Series games, only this time it’s not samurai or vampires, but magic, knights, and princes. When I first started playing Ikémen Revolution, it was a lot more innocent and wholesome than Ikémen Sengoku or Vampire, but recently there have been much spicier stories that have brought the overall tone of the game more in line with the rest of the series.
“In 19th century London, a chase after a gentleman curiously resembling a white rabbit leads you to a land where magic trumps reason.– Official Ikémen Revolution Website
At the centre of a struggle between Black and Red armies, 14 Wonderland Ikémen threaten to cast the spell to keep you from returning home – love.”
MC: You play as a 19th century girl with a massive sweet tooth who has just moved to London to work at a confectionary shop. She’s not quite as ‘worldly’ as the other Ikémen MCs and generally seems to be a bit younger, more innocent, and very pure-hearted. One of the things I love about her is that she unabashedly enjoys food, so much so that other characters regularly comment on her enthusiasm.
Ikémen Revolution’s MC is also kind and brave, often stepping up to help people, and often succeeding, too. While the game definitely has a lot of classic fairy-tale elements, I like that MC isn’t just a damsel in distress, as in many routes she gets to be the ‘knight in shining armour’ for the love interest, just as much as he is for her.
Story structure: After completing the prologue, you are prompted to choose a love interest, which will then start you on their route. Throughout each story, you have several opportunities to make dialogue and narrative choices, each giving you points towards one of two endings; Romantic or Dramatic. There are also several challenges to overcome, which are completed through minigames and avatar attire purchases (normal and premium options available).
While there are some variations depending on the route you have chosen, there is a common plot that unravels across each story. While I enjoyed this overarching plot the first time, having too many similarities in each playthrough can feel a little repetitive, and the big reveal of certain secrets loses its impact after a while. That being said, the romance plot is very different for each love interest, and each character offers a unique perspective on the story and setting, even if some elements are the same.
The earlier routes are definitely more sweet than spicy, with very little steamy content (if any at all), but the sweet scenes are very sweet. More recent routes seem to have amped up the spicy scale (Seth’s route in particular went from 0 to 100 real quick), so there is still variety available for players with different preferences.
Overall, the story starts off as a highly romanticised, whimsical love story that gradually pulls you in with its mysteries as you slowly uncover the secrets of Cradle and its residents. Act 2 has also recently been released, which is a sequel to the stories of Act 1, introducing even more intrigue to what seemed, at first, to be a simply magical wonderland.
There are three groups of characters to choose from; Black Army, Red Army, and Cradle Residents (those who are unaffiliated with either army, at least, officially). There are lots of different archetypes and character designs to choose from and some of the love interests are based on classic characters from the original Alice in Wonderland stories.
Act 2 has its own prologue and some of the characters introduced in Act 1 will have their main routes released in this new storyline. For characters whose main route was released in Act 1 but now have sequels available in Act 2, players will need to have completed at least one playthrough of their Act 1 route before being able to play their Act 2 sequel.
Ray Blackwell (King): Ray is reliable, noble, and makes you feel welcome at the Black Army, despite the two of you only having just met. He ensures you’re well taken care of during your time in Cradle, and his authentic kindness makes you feel at ease. Despite his lofty position, Ray doesn’t believe in social hierarchies, instead, he fights determinedly for freedom, to prevent the Red Army from taking over Cradle and imposing their strict order on its citizens.
Sirius Oswald (Queen): The other leaders of the Black Army often tease Sirius for being older, but his mature air and reliable nature are the glue that holds the army together. With a natural ease, Sirius manages the logistics of the entire army, essentially single-handedly, yet he still finds time to maintain the flowers of the headquarters’ gardens. Sirius is kind, respected, and a strategic genius, who makes it his mission to allow you to keep smiling, no matter what.
Luka Clemence (Jack): Luka is shy, quiet, and tends to keep to himself. He may seem small, or even delicate, but this impression quickly changes once you see him in battle. He’s also a talented cook, often preparing the army’s meals, which is perhaps one of the reasons why he’s accepted by his peers, despite his Red Army territory origins. But, it’s best not to mention his brother Jonah while he’s around…
Fenrir Godspeed (Ace): If you’re looking for a wild month full of laughter and adventure, then look no further. Fenrir is the epitome of ‘fun’, taking you under his wing and promising to make sure you enjoy yourself during your stay in Cradle. He’s the type of love interest who’s not just your romantic partner, but also your best bud, and you know that with Fenrir you’re guaranteed a good time, no matter the situation.
Seth Hyde (10 of Spades): Seth welcomes you to the Black Army with a friendly smile and sing-song voice. Just as you start to get comfortable with this bubbly ‘onee-san’, you discover a side that seems completely the opposite of his usual façade. Dangerously alluring and full of secrets, Seth quickly finds the strings on your heart and tugs, pulling you along for the ride as you try to uncover the true Seth Hyde that lies behind the mask.
Lancelot Kingsley (King): Lancelot is ruthless, cold-hearted, aloof, disinterested… until suddenly his is interested, and then his stubbornness and determination flips as he refuses to let you leave his side. What is he hiding beneath his icy demeanour, and can you melt the walls around his long-neglected heart?
Jonah Clemence (Queen): Jonah is a perfectionist who has no time for anyone other than his king and his little brother. To him, you’re nothing more than a nuisance, and he’s not afraid to share his criticisms of you. But, perhaps there’s a reason Jonah puts so much pressure on himself and others to be perfect, and maybe his sharp tongue belies a kindness he’s just hesitant to show.
Edgar Bright (Jack): Edgar comes across as mysterious, cunning, and seemingly cold-hearted, yet he also seems to take a lot of pride in teaching Zero. He often complains of being bored, toying with others to entertain himself, but perhaps he’s just waiting for the right person, someone who can bring a spark to his life that he’s currently missing…
Zero (Ace): Zero is the very definition of a Good Boy. He has a simple wish, to protect people. Some of the army don’t approve of his appointment as the Ace of Hearts, as he wasn’t born into the role like the others, yet he remains unwaveringly loyal to his King. As you get to know this expert swordsman, you suspect he’s hiding a dark secret in his past, something that could change the way you feel about him for good.
Kyle Ash (7 of Hearts): Kyle is the Red Army’s doctor. He acts carefree and lazy, but he’s actually intensely dedicated to his job and passionate about medicine. As you get to know Kyle, you discover his simple, pure dream that you can’t help but admire, despite his sarcasm and fondness for alcohol.
Harr Silver (Joker): A mysterious, wanted criminal renowned for being a powerful wizard. His intentions aren’t clear, and he seems to have connections to both armies, but you can’t shake the feeling that he’s far too kind to be a bad guy. Harr’s route sheds a lot of light on the overarching plot of Ikémen Revolution, but he’s also an overall sweet, shy love interest who vows to keep you safe.
Loki Genetta (Cheshire Cat): Loki is Harr’s apprentice, living with him in the Forbidden Forest. He’s mysterious, mischievous, and has a knack for getting others to do what he wants (read: irresistible puppy eyes). Loki has a tragic past that explains how he came to be who he is today, but it’s left him both painfully lonely and afraid of love…
Blanc Lapin (White Rabbit): Blanc comes across as an airhead, but he’s also oddly perceptive. Oliver frequently chastises him for flirting with every beautiful woman he comes across, but he insists they’re just innocent compliments. He’s Cradle’s historian and record-keeper, a neutral party in the war, and the reason why you ended up in Cradle in the first place. His route isn’t currently available, but will most likely be released in Act 2.
Oliver Knight (Mad Hatter): Oliver is a complicated character. He’s a very Grumpy Boy, but also a genius inventor who sells his inventions to the Black Army. He lives with Blanc (even though he constantly complains about Blanc’s clumsiness and love of carrots) and he insists that you don’t treat him like a child, despite the way he looks. Oliver is odd and mysterious, but becomes defensive and rude if you try to pry into his secrets. A compilation of contradictions, this route is definitely not what it seems.
Mousse Atlas (Diplomat): Mousse is the former Ace of Hearts, relinquishing his position in the Red Army to work for the government as a diplomat. He’s perpetually sleepy and can usually be found napping in odd places. Mousse falls in love with you at first site and becomes incredibly persistent, but not pushy, greeting you with a warm smile and heartfelt compliments whenever you see him. His route isn’t currently unavailable and as he’s a more recently introduced character, he doesn’t appear in all of the other routes as a side character, either.
Dean Tweedle (Professor): Dean Tweedle is a professor at Cradle’s academy and taught many of the members of both armies. He seems cold and aloof and probably a little sadistic, but hey, he’s a hot teacher, so it works. Dean seems to hate Dum Tweedle and vehemently denies they’re twins, but surely their appearances can’t be a coincidence… Dean’s route isn’t currently available, but is likely to be released in Act 2.
Dalim (Dum) Tweedle: Dum is a flirty playboy that the women love and the men hate. He has a dangerous allure that you know you shouldn’t find intriguing but you still find yourself drawn to him anyway. He warns you to stay away and you get the feeling that he’s hiding something, but you sense a kindness that encourages you to stay and find out the truth. As with Dean, Mousse, and Blanc, Dum’s route is not yet available, but I sincerely hope it will be soon, as I’m very curious to learn more about the ‘Evil Prince’.
Ikémen Revolution’s gameplay style is story-based, with minigames that you complete in order to overcome ‘challenges’ throughout the route. Players also have several opportunities to make dialogue and narrative choices, each of which offers points towards either a ‘Romantic’ or ‘Dramatic’ ending. Once you reach the final branch of the story, you can select which ending you prefer, either picking whichever seems most appealing or choosing based on the points you have acquired throughout the route.
Minigames & Challenges
In order to make it to the end of the route, you have to overcome several challenges. These are either ‘Attire’ challenges, which require players to purchase a piece of attire for their in-game avatar, or point-based challenges that simply require you to complete ‘Destiny Duels’ to raise your intimacy score until you reach the necessary threshold to proceed.
Destiny Duels are completed by choosing two cards, one main and one sub, which combine with your ‘Beauty’ score (a.k.a. the total amount of beauty points from the attire in your closet). Your score is then measured against the score of an opponent and whoever has the highest ‘Beauty’ wins. You then receive intimacy points, which are used to pass certain challenges in the story. When you pass an intimacy challenge, you receive some sort of item as a reward, usually a piece of attire relevant to the chapter of the story you are in.
Attire challenges present two options for avatar attire; ‘Premium’ attire and ‘Normal’ attire. This choice affects the type of bonus story you read after completing the challenge. Premium attire is purchased with Magic Crystals (an in-game currency purchased with real money – although you can technically stockpile it for free though log-in gifts and other event bonuses, it just might take a while to do it this way).
If you choose the premium attire, the following story is longer, typically more romantic, and saved to your collection for re-reading at any time. Normal attire, on the other hand, can be purchased with ‘Lin’, a different in-game resource that is acquired through completing Destiny Duels and events, which makes it much easier to acquire for free. If you choose the normal attire, however, the following story is shorter and not saved to your collection, so you won’t be able to re-read it later.
Events & Gacha
One of the appealing aspects of mobile games is the frequency of bonus content, such as events. These events are typically only available for a limited time, often around 1 week, and provide all sorts of goodies, from bonus stories with your favourite love interests, to items, resources, and exclusive attire. There are different types of events, and the ones available in Ikémen Revolution will seem familiar to those who have played other games in the same series.
Story events are limited-time stories that you play through without using any chapter tickets. Instead, you complete ‘Love Battles’ (essentially the same as Destiny Duels) to raise your score and overcome challenges throughout the event story. It can often take a lot of work to get to the end, especially if you choose the premium ending, so it’s worth trying to get a head start so you don’t miss out.
Collection events don’t necessarily require any event-specific activities, as you collect hearts by completing Destiny Duels and reading chapters of whichever route you are playing. You may wish to stock up on some items, however, as just using the 5 free chapter tickets and doing Destiny Duels as you naturally replenish stamina won’t be enough to reach the final rewards in a collection event. Instead, you’ll need to use bonus chapter tickets and stamina-replenishing items to ramp up your hearts. There are also ‘lucky times’ that boost the number of hearts you receive, so I recommend checking the schedule to make sure you get the most out of your items.
Story Sale events allow players to purchase stories that are then saved to their collection, even after the event ends. The stories are typically themed and available for multiple love interests. They’re often sold in sets, with different bundle options for players who want to buy more than one story. Sometimes these sets come with items, which can make the price quite high, especially if you’re only interested in the story, so be sure to check what you get for your money.
There are also gacha events, which offer unique banners with exclusive cards. If you’re unfamiliar with gacha, essentially, you spend a resource to roll for a card from the pool of available cards in that gacha (think: lucky dip). Rarer cards often feature more creative or interesting art, and sometimes come with unique voiced lines or even bonus stories. These cards are what you use in Destiny Duels, and you can also set them as your homepage for the game. It’s not necessary to use the gacha in Ikémen Revolution, as you receive a free card when you start a new route, but it can be fun to collect cards of any themes or characters you like. Just make sure you check the odds of getting the card you want, so you know what your chances are.
As well as the attire you purchase for challenges throughout the story, you can also collect avatar attire through events, completing intimacy challenges, and other bonuses throughout the game. These are added to your closet and can be used to decorate your avatar and ‘Room’. As with the gacha, this isn’t necessary, as your Beauty score is calculated by what’s in your closet, not what you have decorating your avatar or room. Even so, it’s a fun way to showcase the attire you’ve collected, and declare your undying devotion for whichever character(s) you love.
I didn’t initially enjoy Ikémen Revolution as much as Ikémen Sengoku or Vampire, as the routes I played had very little spicy content and seemed generally more innocent and targeted towards a younger audience. However, the tone seems to have shifted more towards what I’d expect from the other Ikémen games, and even side stories with characters whose routes I had read before have ramped up the steamy content. I definitely enjoy the game more than I used to, but even with the more innocent tone, I still enjoyed the first few routes I chose, and Loki continues to be my favourite love interest in the game.
It’s also worth noting that Ikémen Revolution doesn’t seem to get the same amount of attention or funding as the other games in the series, as it has fewer events and far fewer gacha banners. That being said, it has grown a lot since it launched, with an update in background images (some of which are incredibly beautiful), a recent increase in the frequency of events, and, of course, the Act 2, ‘Through the Looking Glass’, release.
In Act 2, the mysteries of Cradle are becoming more dramatic and intriguing, adding more layers to what I initially thought was a simple, even slightly repetitive, story. The more I play Ikémen Revolution, the further I fall down the rabbit hole, and, with more sequels on the horizon, and hopefully the release of some routes I’m curious to play (looking at you, Dalim), I’m excited to see what comes next.
You’ll like Ikémen Revolution if you like: wizards, fairytales, princes, knights-in-shining-armour, alice in wonderland, otome spins on classic tales, cute and brave MCs, rescuing love interests just as often as they rescue you, fantasy, and intriguing mysteries behind a seemingly classic fairytale façade…
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