How To Take Off Your Mask is developed by ROSEVERTE and published by Ratalaika Games. How To Take Off Your Mask (HTTOYM for short) is ROSEVERTE’s first game to make it to Xbox and follows the Ratalaika style of keeping their visual novels short for full game completion. Many will buy the game for the quick boost to their gamerscore seeing as you could finish it in little as 30 minutes. If not skipping through all the text and actually playing it’ll take roughly 4 to 5 hours. It’s not long but there are different endings and different paths.
The story for HTTOYM isn’t about a pandemic – which most might assume given the current state of the world and its title – but rather a game about a girl. Her name is Lilia, and she’s learning how to become herself through 4 chapters and bonus chapters that help give the game variety. She’s not the only one with a masked persona. It does have multiple endings, and is actually above par compared to some of the other visual novels recently published by Ratalaika. This game is actually a part of a three-game series, and I do hope that Ratalaika helps publish the rest of ROSEVERTE’s games to consoles.
Lilia works at a quaint bakery in the city of Eroolia, and has a love interest for a young man named Ronan. For one play through you’ll be either Lilia or Leea and you can also rename your character. Leea has cat ears while Lilia is a normal girl. Whatever you name your character, there will be moments that characters will be exclaiming your name and can be humorous to see a silly name being yelled. Some other characters we come across are Mars, Grandma, and Juli (king). All the characters have voice actors if you aren’t skipping all of their dialogue, and can hear them say their lines in Japanese. Since some may be interested in the story, I won’t spoil it. Let’s just say it’s a romantic story with some extra Ronan plot that occurs. The gameplay is what you’d expect for a graphic novel with occasional choices, but no deviation from that formula. There are never more than two options at any given time, so it’s very simple mechanics of picking dialogue and reading text.
As for the sound of the game, it is nothing extraordinary, but the music created for the game is enjoyable. The opening song is just called ‘How to take off your mask’ and sounds like an opening to an anime show with some loud electronic bass. I loved the music, with the one complaint of when the title opener starts in chapter 1 it sounds like the bass is turned up way too loud. Other than that, one issue, this ‘Remaster’ of the 2015 PC visual novel turned out quite well, and I would say this is more a port than a true remaster.
The graphics are of standard quality and are art stills of characters with dialogues boxes. It’s manga art style and with real Japanese voice acting, so the game feels authentic. You can tell some images do look older with their quality being low, but this doesn’t take away from the game’s story. There are the occasional dialogue options that help steer you towards the different endings. The playthroughs are different in content, so they won’t be a drag to get through. The game does however require two playthroughs in a single sitting for one achievement related to an end bonus scene about a secret discussion. Fortunately, the game does have fast skip method, quick saving, and chapter select, so it eases the burden on replays.
The longevity for HTTOYM is not great. It comes from a developer who deserves more recognition and might finally be getting it after all of their hard work they’ve invested in the series. But this isn’t a true remaster with updates to visuals and sound, and it shows through cropped images with the UI (pause menu option) and the audio issues in the intro. I don’t agree for the price range on this title, but that is expected in comparison with other titles in the genre. Most of the people interested in this title will be playing it for buffing their gamerscore total since it can be done in less than an hour with a guide. However, if you’re interested in the graphic novel genre, then you might enjoy the brief few hours journey of this steamy love story.
At least comparatively speaking, HTTOYM is a better choice for a visual novel game than other games on the store. It is slightly cheaper on Steam, but I imagine we will be seeing more ports in the future from ROSEVERTE and they are always discounted upon release.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.