Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Piofiore: Fated Memories Combine Romance and Noir Novels

Piofiore Fated Memories Title Screen
Courtesy of Idea Factory

Piofiore: Fated Memories

Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Aksys Games
Release Date: October 8, 2020
Available as: Digital and Physical

Love (and Murder) Is In The Air In Piofiore: Fated Memories

Ironically, this preview will be on the short side considering my playtime with Piofiore: Fated Memories was on the long side of things. This is mainly due to the nature of visual novels where “stopping in the middle of an event” is akin to placing a bookmark in the middle of a chapter before it ends. 

Then the problem lies in finishing a chapter and being curious to know what happens next as you become invested in the way the story is headed. Also, like most novels, the juicy things begin to happen as the conflicts start to arise, meaning I had to go through an hour of fluff before anything happened only for it to be cut short.

Piofiore: Fated Memories Nicola Gameplay
Piofiore: Fated Memories - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Mobile Platforms -- The New Home For Visual Novels

In any event, before I talk about the story involving Piofiore: Fated Memories, I’d like to mention how such a game existed on the Switch of all consoles instead of the PC where visual novels are usually read. Historically, this was true as the PC was the platform of choice for various visual novels from the heavy mature content shown in eroge to stories centered around a woman protagonist like most otome

Over the years, mobile devices have been the preferred platform, with games such as Mystic Messenger being one of the sources of making such a game profitable to a worldwide audience. Portable consoles such as the Vita and the Switch are perfect for Visual Novels as the games can be played, read, and experienced anywhere on the go, in the comfort of one’s home, and in other locations not tied down by a keyboard and mouse. 

Piofiore: Fated Memories Gilbert Gameplay
Piofiore: Fated Memories - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

What Is 'Otome' And What Makes Piofiore One?

As the Switch is the only portable console on the market combined with Nintendo’s lax censorship laws, visual novels are a dime a dozen on the console. All one needs to do is take a stroll on the eShop and I guarantee you will see at least three or four visual novels on sale at any given time. I mentioned the word before, but Piofiore: Fated Memories is an otome game. What is otome? In short, otome games are visual novels where the target audience is usually women.

That’s not to say that other genders can’t enjoy these titles as I’m fond of a good story no matter who the protagonist is and who it is I am romancing, but historically women have been the primary focus. Cues including a romantic story with several distinct suitors ranging from the gentleman, the charismatic, the introvert, and the brooding. Usually, a plot is proposed to introduce the characters to the protagonist but the plot usually becomes an excuse for the player to interact with the various suitors rather than the suitors drive the plot.

Piofiore: Fated Memories Nicola #2
Piofiore: Fated Memories - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Piofiore Is Filled With Pious Protagonists And Mafioso Bishounens

The general plot of Piofiore involves different waring mafia families vying for control of a small Italian city in which the police is powerless enough to do anything about it. The protagonist, Lili, is an honest-to-goodness churchgoer who is loved by her neighbors, a pious individual, and the type to pet kittens while doing charity work. Lili, the quintessential “good girl Mary Sue” archetype gets herself roped with the Mafia drama by sheer unluckiness as she constantly comes across each of the key members of the different families in everyday encounters.

Things didn’t begin to heat up until her best friend was taken to an alley by some thugs and is immediately stabbed by one, with the thugs noticing Lili’s presence and making their move towards her. She’s saved by a gentleman, one of the mafia bosses who had helped her the day before with her groceries, and it is then that the story picks up, focusing on the relationship between the two characters.

Decision Visual Novel Gameplay
Piofiore: Fated Memories - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Romance Comes At A Cost In Piofiore

The character in question, Nicola, is just one of many suitors that Lili can become entangled with and various endings can determine their fate as well as her fate. At least, that’s the idea that I got from it as to reach a part of the story where decisions matter, it would be a literal time sink. An hour in gameplay is enough to get through to the prologue and that was enough to get the gist of the story, its target audience, and the overall premise.

The art style goes for a mature vibe, using realistic modest artwork for the majority of the characters, yet going all out for the various suitors, exemplifying their appeal to the protagonist as well as the player. The characters are all handsome, each representing their personalities quite well from the flirt to the leader.

Liliana Visual Novel Gameplay
Piofiore: Fated Memories - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

The writing is believable for the source, various inserts including greetings in Italian and information about various Italian foods are served as footnotes on occasion. There are even moments when the player can switch perspectives, offering a different point of view on certain events as they happen. Overall, from what little I’ve played, Piofiore is one of those games that felt like a slow burn with the meat of the action taking place in the middle much like how a romance novel of this caliber would.

Piofiore: Fated Memories is currently available for the Nintendo Switch.

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