Tears of Themis CBT ended May 18th and I’m excited to play it even more
miHoYo’s announcement for the international release of their detective-romance game, Tears of Themis, didn’t surprise me. There had been signs that it was happening, I had actually talked with my friends about it before. A detective game? How is that going to work on mobile in a free-to-play game? We’ve had a game like this before where you had to use clues in Liar!, however, in that game, you could fail and have to do everything all over. A friend said she would need a walkthrough for any detective game because she has “one braincell” and would fail easily.
Team One Braincell, are you concerned that you will be bad at this game and don’t want to play it? Well, do I have some good news for you…
Tears of Themis has a lot of different elements going on at once. It’s a detective game, a visual novel, a gacha game, a light turn-based combat RPG, and an otome game. Since I have already talked about the basics, I’m going focus on what I learned during the Closed Beta Test.
The Detective Game Part
I know for some people the having to make correct choices is very stressful. Now add in having to look at clues and you may find yourself even more stressed. But, do not worry, you really can’t go wrong here. You will have to investigate, inspect, and question and the game will not let you fail, making you start over. Environments are beautifully rendered, and you will have to click on them in search of clues. Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) have sprites, allowing you to also inspect them for clues, if needed. And, if you’re stumped, you can press the top left icon and the clues will be highlighted for you. Some clues may have to be analyzed to find the connection between just two you have gathered.
However, if you are coming in expecting Ace Attorney because so many online publications can’t stop comparing the two, lower your expectations by a lot. The biggest challenge you will come across is when you are Analysis and you have 6 clues and you have to find which two are connected. As I said before, you can’t go wrong here. The game will tell you when you have made a mistake and allow you to continue trying until you make the right choice.
The Visual Novel Part
The story in this game really shines. The case in the first chapter seems pretty cut and dry, you just need to gather the evidence. But as the case goes on, there are more and more grey areas, and the next handful of stories become darker. There were points where I fully understood why someone made the choice they did. But, they should be punished either way, regardless of their intentions. The CBT included the first four chapters and there are big hints as to where the story is going. To say that I am excited to see that is an understatement. There are also times where the game goes from traditional visual novel style to very dynamic. I won’t say anymore as, if you don’t know, I want you to be surprised!
Reading each story the first time around will take some energy, which is a mobile game staple. Reaching 0 energy requires you to either, wait until you energy replenishes or use an item, in this case Energy Drink. There are a lot of things to do, however, within your first handful of leveling up, your energy will be filled to the new max level, potentially pushing you over your energy cap. For example: you have 10 energy currently, but you level. Your new max cap is 30, but since you had 10 energy, you now have 40 energy to burn through.
The Gacha Game Part
In the game, you will need cards in order to unlock the next two sections I will be talking about. To do that, you’ll need to go to “Visions” and use Tears of Themis to pull for cards. You obtain Tears through missions, bonuses or by spending S-Chips (which Genshin Impact players should recognize). Cards rarities are R, SR, and SSR and, with only four characters, you are bound to get some cards for the guy you like. From there you can upgrade. enhance, evolve, skill raise, or read the story attached to each card. The game explains these different areas and how they work under an information icon. If you’ve played any game where you have to enhance cards, I can tell you that it’s similar.
The Turn-Based RPG Part
Debates is the part of the game is the most necessary, you need to do them to get items to level up your cards, and also the least engaging once you understand what it is doing. You must break your opponent’s arguments using, Logic, Intuition, or Empathy. There have a triangle on the screen to help you chose in order to win the debate more easily. To win the debate, you must reduce your opponents HP (Heart Points) to zero. The game will then reward you with items and money, and will move onto the next stage.
Some of the scenarios are hilarious. For example, I debated a man who was trying to sell me a gym membership on the street (lmao!). Some can also be repetitive, I don’t know why people keep throwing themselves in front of cars… The “Auto” button becomes your friend once you understand who debates work. The only time I paid any attention to a debate was the first time I did one to see the back and forth debate.
There is even an actual old-school RPG embedded into the game (a game within the game, if you will) where you play the MC, but in Roman times to collect more rewards and earn S-Chip. It’s quite cute and you have to make choices when you play it.
The Otome Part
For a site called “Otome Obsessed,” this is the most important part. The romance is a subplot, which means, if you don’t want to do it, you can completely skip it. Raising your affection with a character unlocks all sorts of new things with each guy. You do this by either reading the stories you unlock in cards and the “Visits” section of the game.
In “Visits,” you will visit a character, where ever he may be in a certain area and interact with him. This includes reading their personal story and chatting with them. The chat screen is includes playing games, “Old Maid” and “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” and touching them. That’s right, you can pet them, play with someone’s ties, touch their watch, their pendant, ect. They react and you will receive affection for doing so. Raising their affection unlocks more interactions with them and more of their personal story. However, to keep you from going too fast (lol), the game caps daily affection at 1000 for all four guys. You can still interact and play games with them after you have capped, you just won’t get any affection.
While there were text issues here and there, overall, I was very impressed with the game. The stories were interesting and, at times, shocking. Trying to see if I could get things right the first time was a mini-challenge I made for myself. It was rewarding when I managed it. I surprised when I went into CBT with my eye on Artem, only to have Marius, who I wasn’t interested in, vie to win me over!
I’m really looking forward to the official release as I’m already missing the game. Here’s to hoping it’s soon because I can’t wait to see the guys again!
For more information about the game, visit the official website for Tears of Themis.
For my real-time impressions with more in-depth explanation of gameplay, please see my twitter thread during CBT.