Collar X Malice Review–Is It Good or Bad?

Cue the dramatic title sequence

With a looming doom surrounding the city of Tokyo, in Collar X Malice you question what justice really is. Even though this is a dating simulator, the story focuses on more disturbing topics such as how the justice system could fail people and how people take law into their own hands. While being trapped in the Shinjuku district, you are forced into a situation where you must cooperate with a detective agency to solve the mystery behind the terrorist group, ‘Adonis’ that is threatening Japanese society.

About Collar X Malice

Collar X Malice is a visual novel developed and published by Idea Factory in August 2016, and then later published by Aksys Games in North America and Europe in July 2017. While the Otome games are a pretty niche genre of games that usually cater to women, Collar X Malice did well amongst the critics. Metacritic gave this game a 77/100 score and Famitsu gave it a 33/40. CxM is always on the top lists of Otome games, and I could consider it one of the most successful Otome games because of how easy it is to relate to the characters and their struggle to define justice.

Collar X Malice Story

Engulf in the beautiful art style...  

The grim atmosphere is set from the prologue of the game, as every month, the district of Shinjuku is under the threat of a terrorist group, ‘Adonis’. The events led Shinjuku to go under quarantine, and the citizens of the district grew paranoid as they felt like there is no one to trust. Ichika Hoshino, the main character, is a police officer who gets kidnapped by the terrorist group and places a collar around her neck that might poison her to death. Having this collar directly involves her in the terrorist incidents. After Ichika gets rescued by a team of detectives, she begins her collaboration with the detective agency and the strange bodyguard, to uncover the plans of ‘Adonis’ and eventually save the people of Tokyo. Each route with every suitor reveals parts of the mystery behind the terrorist group in thrilling, and sometimes action-packed, events. 

Gameplay and Characters

Yanagi likes doing his business alone

CxM follows the formula of a typical Otome game. Each route with each love interest is structured in six chapters and you can either have a good or bad ending depending on the choices you make throughout the game. Other than the straightforward narrative gameplay where you pick a choice, there are some other game mechanics where you go with the elevator through the police building, shoot with a gun and investigate rooms. This is a dating simulator so no one should’ve expected heavy gameplay.

Your character can romance five characters: Enomoto Mineo, Sasazuka Takeru, Okazaki Rei, Shiraishi Kageyuki, and Yanagi Aiji. Through the first playthrough you can play the routes of the first three from the list, and after you have completed the first playthrough, you can pursue Shiraishi Kageyuki (but I highly recommend you play it in the fourth run). Finally, after unlocking every route, you can pursue Yanagi Aiji. Each love interest is relatable in their own way and they’re quite likable compared to other Otome games I’ve played where I’d like at most two suitors. The pace of the relationships between the characters is quite believable, and it didn’t feel rushed even though the game is set in the span of a single month. Other than the main suitors, there are the side characters that added to the experience of the game and whom I enjoyed interacting with. The side characters didn’t feel like they were there for decoration, and they actually helped the plot progress.  


Ruxanda is a monk in training who lives secluded in the caves of the Eastern Mountains getting ready to fight off the big boss, Insomnius.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Raptor Boyfriend: a Highschool Romance
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