Gackt, love him or hate him, has branched out into almost every category of media imaginable; film, music, stage, television, video games – even a YouTube series dedicated to playing videos for the entertainment of a virtual audience ala the lets play phenomena that has been sweeping the internet is no stranger to Gackt’s personal touch. The entertainer is no stranger to the medium, having worked closely with multiple studios in the production of a handful of titles.
Gackt’s latest venture into gaming might still come as a surprise to you, despite that. The mobile application entitled ‘P.S. I LOVE U’ – available for both iOS and Android devices – is difficult to categorize. Is it an otome game? Is it a visual novel? A dating SIM? Allow me to try and answer all these questions.
Story: What’s happening?
As of this writing, there are two storylines available for players to play – there are technically three stories available, but one is a backstory for one of the main two storylines. Each storyline has its own unique take on who Gackt is, but it is clear that this app is about Gackt and iterations of who Gackt could be/may have been.
In one storyline entitled ‘Your Song’, Gackt is in an up-and-coming indie band struggling to make it big, but there are big, big obstacles in the way of both the success of his musical and personal life.
In the other main storyline, ‘Eternal Affection’, Gackt – or as he is known in this iteration of himself, Dr. Gackt (I wish I were clever enough to make this up) and works in a hospital whilst bearing a heavy backstory that affects the present.
Interface: How do you play?
This app uses a currency system based around ‘tickets’. To complete a part of a chapter, the player must use one ticket. Each chapter is usually comprised of five parts – so that’s five tickets per chapter. Moreover, one must also spend tickets to be able to keep the occasional rewards the game gives out for finishing chapters or reaching a certain affection level with Gackt. These rewards usually come in the form of high-quality, lovingly-rendered illustrations of Gackt. The first batch of 5 tickets is given when you download the game and you can earn one ticket per day just for logging into the app, but if the player wants any tickets beyond that, they must be purchased through the app’s microtransaction system.
The player plays as either a childhood friend of or new acquaintance of Gackt’s (sometimes both) and through the game gets to know Gackt and occasionally makes choices that affect Gackt’s ‘feeling’ level for the player, represented by a percentage shown on the main menus.
This ‘feeling’ percentage can go up in two ways: the first being that the percentage goes up by 1% automatically after completing each part of each chapter of the story (each chapter is usually comprised of five parts – so that’s five chances per chapter to raise Gackt’s level of affection for the player.) The second way to raise this percentage is by choosing well during any of the rare chances the player has to say or do something in the story; if you choose the best response, his percentage can go up by as much as 3%. You typically only get three choices, and each is ranked by ‘best’, ‘good’ and ‘poor’. Affection ratings go up accordingly.
Features: Are there even any?
This is a fairly simple game. The only options a player has is to play the story, purchase tickets, share the app on various social media sites, view what images have been saved/earned, and adjust settings.
In conclusion, I’d say that out of the categories we began with at the beginning of this little run-down of Gackt’s latest excursion into the gaming world, I think this game would be best categorized as a visual novel — the player doesn’t have heavy enough of an impact on the story for it to be a dating SIM, but considering Gackt’s demographic, it is an otome game through-and-through. A definite must-download for Gackt fans.