The Charming Empire | Game Review

The Charming Empire is a story as simple as the MC, Amane Kosaka – a country bumpkin who stumbles into romance after being kidnapped and whisked away to the capitol. No matter how you dress it up, both Amane and the game is ultimately just playing at being more grand than they really are at their roots.

Game Name: The Charming Empire
Developer: OperaHouse Corporation
Publisher: Dogenzaka Lab, D3 Publisher
Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Mature (ESRB)
Price: $29.99 (Steam), $24.99 (eShop)
More Info: Steam, Nintendo eShop

Disclaimer: There is no noted difference listed between the PC version and the Switch version. Product reviewed was played on the Switch.


Sweet 2/5: The personal stories are entirely too short and shallow to build up any real feels.
CD 2/5: The designs are quite basic, but at least none of the characters look like each other.
Spicy 0/5: The Charming Empire took chaste to a whole new level with the bare minimum of physical affection.
Story 2/5: The story is simple and repetitive. The pacing is rather slow for the length, which is very short.

Premise & Story

Our heroine, Amane Kosaka, was living a simple yet happy life in the countryside until one day she was suddenly taken away to live in the empire, summoned by her brother Soshi Amazaki — the current ruler. Though she was unaware of the underlying circumstances, she finds herself brought to this lively and palpable central city.”

– Game Description (Nintendo eShop)

The Charming Empire led me to believe I was about to enter into a world of intrigue and wonder, unfortunately, neither were accomplished in the story despite their best efforts at crafting a mystery based around a secret, corrupt organization. There really is a lot of drama to uncover in The Charming Empire, but there is no way to uncover it. The entire story is very surface level and simplistic, giving you glimpses at what was intended through brief reveals of background to the story, but never enough to truly get swept away in anything exciting.

I believe this is due to the game being a port of the mobile version. The writing direction for mobile games is different than the writing direction for full length games usually created for consoles. Neither is lesser than the other, they’re simply just different. And this difference is felt in The Charming Empire. We don’t get too deep or too invested in the story or characters because of the way mobile games are often consumed – in small doses with large time gaps between one short chapter to the next – which causes complicated themes to be overlooked or forgotten before they come to fruition.

The plot is very same-y in each route. After the prologue you branch down each LI’s path, and while the events differ, the conflict is generally the same, leading to a very similar resolution and conclusion to each route. The biggest disappointment for me was not how similar the stories were, but how different the characters were in each route. There was no sense of familiarity between routes, including Amane (MC), because while there was nothing significant to prompt the characterization changes, everyone was vastly different. It was disorientating. What side of this character would we get this time?

Game Trailer


The best part about The Charming Empire is the ear porn and eye candy we get from the voice acting and character designs. While this game is listed as mature for no apparent reason (absolutely zero spice), the art is at least nice to look at and the seiyuu are nice to listen to.

Seeing as how I can’t really say anything positive about the story itself, I’m really latching onto this section to sell the game. When writing up this article and pulling the game description from the Nintendo eShop, I found that whomever was promoting The Charming Empire also feels the voice cast is the biggest reason to play this game. And honestly, I literally only bought it because it was on sale and had some big names that I expected much from.

Source: Nintendo eShop store page for The Charming Empire.

In this game there are five romanceable options and all of them are available at the start of the game. Each LI has two endings; a Happy and Tragic ending. After the prologue, you’re brought to a screen where you simply pick the LI path you wish to go down, and from there the story continues as a typical choice-based visual novel where your ending is based on your decisions made. There is a suggested route order, though it’s largely irrelevant due to the plot being very same-y, and once revealed, there are no big spoilers from one to the other. Let’s meet our eligible (though most not emotionally so) bachelors!

Recommended play order: Kei Yoshimine > Koichiro Sera > Toki Tanba > Kagemitsu Togawa > Soshi Amazaki

Main Character (MC)

Name: Amane Kosaka
Pronouns: She/Her
Voice Actor: N/A

Amane is a 16-year old girl who acts younger than I would assume a woman in her time period would. I believe she fits more in line with an uncertain 13-year old in her actions – perhaps that’s due to her slow-paced, country upbringing.

In the prologue you’re given the impression that she’s going to fight against this sudden change in her life, but much to my dismay, this attitude doesn’t hold up throughout the game. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be taken from the home you know and shipped somewhere else against your will, but I do know that the fight she puts up quickly dies down on the long car ride.

As soon as Amane reaches the palace, she becomes demure to the point of being unable to speak up, even when she desires to say something to practically anyone. I’m not against uncertain, demure heroines, and can understand that not all 16-year old girls are as boisterous as I was at that age, especially in the time period the game is held in. But I find her constant “um”ing, looking away, and on the verge of tears behavior troublesome when the writers stream her consciousness as wanting to speak at every missed opportunity. When she finally does come around to throwing her weight as a princess around, she’s met with everyone clearly ignoring her. It seems she’s a princess in name only.

The positives out of all of this? Amane’s name can be changed, both her surname and given name, so go ham with self-inserting. She also has a sprite next to the text box – something I rather enjoy because I tend to forget what the MC is supposed to look like when I don’t see her for extended periods of time. She isn’t voiced, and doesn’t get much input in progressing the story, so you’re pretty passive in most routes.

Kei Yoshimine

Name: Kei Yoshimine
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 1 Happy, 1 Tragic
Voice Actor: Toshiki Masuda (増田俊樹)
Tropes: Tsundere, Enemies to Lovers, Teacher’s Pet
Lasting Feels: Lonely Together

Kei Yoshimine is an angsty 18-year old that hates Soshi, and by proxy Amane (MC). The only surprising thing about this is that he reveals this fact the moment you meet him… as Amane’s tutor. I guess I’m not getting a good grade for first impressions.

The whole romance felt rushed and strange with how quickly it went from clearly declared enemies to lovers with seemingly little reason. Kei drives the relationship and is the one who expresses all his intense feelings – you know, anger, hatred, and absolute unquestionable devotion.

Somewhere between deciding he detests Amane and wanting to make hot passionate hold hands with her, Kei sort of warms up to Amane because she’s the typical pure-hearted MC that just wants to be friends. That, and he really just needs a hug. Doesn’t every tsundere? I’d say this route is more a mutual loneliness where two characters come together for comfort and support rather than a blossoming, youthful romance.

Koichiro Sera

Name: Koichiro Sera
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 1 Happy, 1 Tragic
Voice Actor: Takuya Eguchi (江口拓也)
Tropes: Kuudere, The Bodyguard, Cleans Up Nicely
Lasting Feels: Star-crossed

Koichiro Sera is serious. Super serious. He is a man on a mission, and Amane is just a cog in the machine, or is she? Once Sera’s route starts, he is introduced as Amane’s body guard, who, in this route only, is attached to her side 24/7. Maybe more like 16/7 due to not having to be there when she’s sleeping, thankfully. That would get hawt awkward.

Once again, Amane attempts to befriend the only person she actually interacts with, being Sera. I guess there’s something to be said about just being nice to people, because eventually feelings appear to bloom. The nice thing is at least this time it is mutual, however, Sera is well aware of his position in regards to Amane’s, so it ends up more a star-crossed romance than hot for hime-sama.

Toki Tanba

Name: Toki Tanba
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 1 Happy, 1 Tragic
Voice Actor: Tetsuya Kakihara (柿原徹也)
Tropes: Genki, Lady & The Tramp, Adored By All
Lasting Feels: Love At First Sight

Toki Tanba is sunshine and clear spring days personified. I suppose it can’t be helped with Tetsuya Kakihara voicing this charismatic flirt. While Amane is out in the city (by herself), she runs into Tanba and is quickly swept away by his genial nature. Apparently knowing everyone, and known by everyone, he quickly takes Amane under his wing and shows her what life is all about in the big city.

It’s a good route to save for the middle of the game to cleanse your palate of the grumpy boys beforehand. He claims from the moment he meets Amane that she’s special and different from all the other women that he apparently is more than friendly with. It’s easy to see why Amane falls for this delightful man, but why Tanba falls for Amane is a little more difficult to discern.

Kagemitsu Togawa

Name: Kagemitsu Togawa
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 1 Happy, 1 Tragic
Voice Actor: Toshiyuki Toyonaga (豊永利行)
Tropes: Advisor, Childhood Friend, Big Heart
Lasting Feels: Love for a Lifetime

If Tanba is sunshine, Kagemitsu Togawa is a warm blanket on a chilly night. You don’t find out for some time that Kagemitsu is a childhood friend of both Soshi and Amane, because I guess it’s not important for us to know until his route. Being a trusted advisor for Soshi, Kagemitsu is the right amount of calculated seriousness and friendly comfort wrapped into an easy package to fall in love with.

There are hints that Kagemitsu has had feelings for young Amane since childhood, and time did nothing to change his views on the young girl she was. This is likely the first route that you not only get to know the LI but also Soshi, since Kagemitsu is closely tied to him. It’s clear he cares deeply for… well, practically everyone, which luckily includes Amane.

Soshi Amazaki

Name: Soshi Amazaki
Pronouns: He/Him
Potential Endings: 1 Happy, 1 Tragic
Voice Actor: Kenjiro Tsuda (津田健次郎)
Tropes: Pseudo-Incest, Spoiler , Emperor
Lasting Feels: Big Brother Knows Best

Soshi is authoritative, serious, cautious, and not actually blood-related to Amane. Most otome tends to slide in a reason that characters are not blood-related when sibling romance comes up, and this is the case here too. Though Amane (and most everyone else) refers to Soshi as her brother, they are by name (and not even that!) only. The story reveals he is likely adopted as a male heir based on their first meeting, which is shown in his route.

By this point in the game you should have an understanding of what type of character Soshi is, and while I have much to say about him, I feel I can’t say any of it without revealing plot spoilers. His route is a constant back and forth like a game of chess. It’s clear this is the true ending, where all is revealed for the story. Amane is also the most inconsistent in this route, which makes the romance feel forced on her end. At least big brother loves us.

Final Thoughts

As middling of an experience as The Charming Empire was, I still feel it is a game worth playing – on sale, when you have nothing better to do. I don’t think the game overall is disappointing enough to talk people out of, and for the price I paid (50% off) I feel I got my $12.50 out of it. It’s a short game, only 15 hours at most. And I never felt frustrated enough to toss it aside, I just didn’t connect with the game.

It was certainly worth my time to see what other developers and publishers offered, and it’s probably one of the best games made by OperaHouse. Their selection tends to lean towards trashy in the worst way, and while I would have enjoyed something actually trashy in this wholesome game, the fact that it isn’t horrible is saying something for a company often talked about as being terrible.

You’re not going to walk away from The Charming Empire feeling like you played something life changing, that’s for certain. But if you want a story that tries really hard to be serious and angsty and just misses the mark over and over again, this is your game. The voice acting is the only memorable thing about it, and it’s nice to have a shallow, uncomplicated game to play every now and then.

You’ll like The Charming Empire if you like: Floating on a lazy river. Something you can just turn off your brain with and listen to nice voices and look at pretty pictures.

Game Info

Game Name: The Charming Empire
Developer: OperaHouse Corporation
Publisher: Dogenzaka Lab, D3 Publisher
Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Mature (ESRB)
Price: $29.99 (Steam), $24.99 (eShop)
More Info: Steam, Nintendo eShop

About the Author

RJ Mercy

Late blooming romance lover living the dream of playing games and writing about 2D men.

Obsessive content consumer, awkward streamer, and casual reviewer.

Fun fact: I sleep with several men in my bed at night.

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  • Thank you for this review! I enjoyed reading it a lot (probably more than I would playing the game). But I’ve put it on my wishlist because the art looks nice and the seiyuu cast is impressive.
    Why does the spoiler for Soshi say “spoiler” on the inside? Maybe his secret is so impressive that it must never be talked about? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the nice words! Shoshi’s spoiler says spoiler because I didn’t want to actually add what it was that his route has. lol. It’s nothing so grand as to be impressive, but just my way of having a little fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Sorry for spammin, but I don’t know how to edit a comment.
    Thank you for linking the seiyuu to vndb! That’s a very nice feature.

    Liked by 2 people

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