Jack Jeanne from Aksys Games and Broccoli brings us an interesting visual novel/rhythm game on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Jack Jeanne review!
Jack Jeanne from Aksys Games and Broccoli brings us an interesting visual novel/rhythm game on Nintendo Switch. As you can tell from the trailer and the screens in this Jack Jeanne review, the game’s art style certainly stands out. The game was designed by manga artist Sui Ishida, who you might know from the dark fantasy manga Tokyo Ghoul. You’ll be taking on the role of Kisa, who, just when she’s about to give up on her dream of becoming an actor, has a chance encounter with Shuri Chuza, the head of the prestigious all-male Univeil Drama School. She’s not unfamiliar with this one in particular since, as it turns out, her brother was once a star pupil at the academy.
As expected, since Univeil is an all-male institution, she’s to be granted admission into Univeil Drama School under two very specific conditions: she must manage to be chosen as the lead in the final performance, and she must hide the fact that she’s a girl! Kisa must do whatever it takes to hide her true nature while working as hard as possible to have a shot at making all of her dreams come true. Do you have what it takes to help her on this journey? If she passes the initial audition, all of her educational and housing expenses will be subsidized, and she’ll also be paid for her time on stage. This is a big deal considering her father, and her are currently going through a rough time.
Oh, and yeah, you’ve probably guessed by now this is a visual novel of the Otome variety. If you’re new to visual novels, they’re games that do the genre’s name justice since they usually offer novel-length stories to experience as you either read a ton of text or enjoy the voice cast performance – more on this in a bit. When a visual novel is of the Otome variety, that means that you’ll be playing as a female character who can end up getting closer to one of the available potential suitors to start a romantic relationship.
The game is fully voice acted in Japanese, which is always a plus. If you don’t know Japanese, then you have a lot of reading in your future because this visual novel is packed! You can press the A button to move the conversation forward and can press the R button to auto-play the text. Since there’s also a rhythm game on top of everything else, you will need to play through dance rhythm segments, as well as song rhythm action segments.
For dance rhythm action sections, you’ll be using the L button, D-Pad (by pressing up), B button, and R button to press each one of them as needed while notes fall down on the playing area. Some will be hold notes, so you’ll need to press and hold down this or that button from start to finish. The song rhythm action segments add a fifth lane to the equation, so you’ll have to press the L button or press left on the D-Pad to move left on the notes highway, press the A or R buttons to move right, and mash each note by pressing the X button or by pressing up on the D-Pad. These sections can get a bit hectic, but things will click after a few tries.
Who will you be interacting with during your time with Jack Jeanne? The potential suitors for this Otome visual novel are Sarafumi Takashina, Kai Mutsumi, Kokuto Neji, Mitsuki Shirota, Suzu Orikami, and Soshiro Yonaga. Sarafumi is a skilled dancer and is Quart’z star student and plays one of the Jeanne roles. Kai plays one of the most esteemed Jack roles in Jack Ace but likes to keep to himself and prefers to spend time alone. Kokuto is the class leader of Quartz and is so skilled he can play both Jack and Jeanne roles on top of handling scripts, directing, and production!
Mitsuki acts as Quartz’s diva who dives into Jeanne roles with ease. He doesn’t care that much about acting or dancing, putting his focus on singing. Suzu is a very bright and energetic individual who was motivated to join Univeil Drama School to follow in the footsteps of Tsuki Tachibana. Soshiro is someone who enrolled in Unveil Drama School looking to perform a male role but who was ultimately told that he would be a better fit for a Jeanne role. He’s actually a childhood friend of the protagonist, which will certainly make the whole situation a lot harder!
The choices you make along the way will not only affect the game’s story and what branching routes you’ll be able to travel down through. And along with that, you will also have to decide how Kisa’s day-to-day goes. These choices will impact which of her stats has a change in its parameters so that you can hopefully level them up so that she can become a better performer. Your level for each parameter will also impact and strengthen your relationship with the other Quartz students, with Suzu favoring Spirit, Shoshiro favoring Insight, Mitsuki favoring Voice, Sarafumi favoring Agility, Kai favoring Charm, and Kokuto favoring Drama.
For this, you’ll have to work on scheduling your activities during weekdays so that you can choose which lessons to focus on from Monday to Friday. Making the right calls along the way will prove to be crucial for becoming a better performer. As you participate in this or that lesson, you’ll gain experience points for specific abilities. Obtain enough experience points to level up that stat. There are six different lessons available: Run, Voice, Develop, Study, Agility, and Act. Each of them will impact one stat in particular – Spirit, Voice, Charm, Insight, Agility, and Drama, respectively. What will you focus on during your time at Univeil Drama School?
Each lesson that you take will lower your health, so there’s a finite pool of energy from which you can draw to try and succeed at each lesson you take. While technically, you can still take on lessons if you run out of health, that will only considerably increase the chance of failing! Because of this, it would be wise for you to take a short break and get some rest on some days instead of diving into a new lesson. That way, you’ll be able to recover your health and won’t end up wasting a day on a lesson that you might fail in the end.
There’s a bonus Gallery section where you can review event CG for the common route, as well as for the special routes for each of the aforementioned suitors. You will also get a chance to rewatch any of the movies you’ve already experienced, as well as listen to the songs that you’ve previously listened to during your time with Jack Jeanne. There’s also the option of reviewing previous events, viewing performance scripts, and even replaying rhythm action segments. You can also check the list of in-game trophies.
That’s right, Jack Jeanne has a long list of trophies that you can work on unlocking if you want to 100% the game. It’s not going to be a short trophy run since there are 39 trophies related to the game’s story and the different endings that you can reach, 18 trophies related to lessons which require that you boost this or that stat pretty high, trophies tied to your performance in rhythm action games, trophies for the special awards you can obtain based on your individual performance during each formal performance, as well as a trophy that will require you to view all event illustrations. Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll get the final trophy for, well, acquiring all other trophies, similar to how you can get a Platinum trophy in some PlayStation games.
Jack Jeanne offers us a great visual novel with a solid story and some gameplay twists that will keep things interesting until the end. Having to juggle interacting with classmates and other members at Univeil Drama School while taking lessons to improve your stats so that you can do better when performing during the rhythm sections for dancing and singing. Don’t forget to unwind and relax during the weekends when there’s not a performance to worry about! There are several different story routes for you to take, and you’ll be able to speed things up as needed by skipping the dialogue you’ve already experienced. You can even decide to take the same lessons for a whole week just by pressing the R button when choosing a lesson, which will be an easier choice during your second – or third! – time around. Jack Jeanne is out on Nintendo Switch with a $49.99 price tag, and it’s one you should definitely check out!
This Jack Jeanne review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Aksys Games.