BUSTAFELLOWS takes place in New Sieg which is a pseudo-New York, but is located in the very real United States. Teuta is a journalist working her way to start writing for the big dogs; one faithful day, she witnesses the murder of a well-known lawyer and uses her gift of time travel to prevent his death from happening. From here, Teuta meets the Fixers and becomes entangled in their lives and missions. A self-proclaimed "boss of the underworld", a forensic pathologist, a lawyer, a plastic surgeon, and a bounty hunter gather to form a secret group that defrauds the rich and famous to help the lower class. The underbelly of New Sieg is beginning to rumble, and it seems that the city might not be ready for the social class upheaval that it seems to be heading toward.

When I played BUSTAFELLOWS, it was quite unlike anything I'd played previously. Frankly, it's still quite different even after getting several more Switch otoges under my belt. It's very high quality and high budget compared to a lot of other games I've played. The sprites are cleaner in my opinion, and the facial expressions and blinking are very expressive. It was the first game I'd played that featured moving mouths and blinking, so I was startled at first. I found out later that this was more common in the past, and then it sort of fell out of practice -- likely due to not wanting to spend the budget on it -- although it does seem to be coming back in some newer titles. BUSTAFELLOWS was also different at the time because it was much more grounded in reality than many of the previous games I played, and is highly political. It makes lots of political statements about the treatment of immigrants and the lower class that I thought was outstanding considering I wouldn't normally care to get my political hot takes from a romance-focused visual novel.

I will say, romance does tend to take the backseat for plot in this game. There's a build-up in each route to the end-game romance, but it's 100% secondary to the plot of the route. Of course, since I'm not here for romance that was alright with me. If you're more interested in a walk down romance lane, then this might not be the title for you. Additionally, the routes don't delve into the larger plot points brought up in the common route -- almost to their detriment, because frankly I sort of forget about it until the end -- and choose to wrap up those plot points in two "finale" routes you get after getting all the best ends to the guys routes. These two endings are universally panned as some of the most shoddy, borderline out-of-character writing that leaves the player feeling quite unsatisfied. While I fully agree that these endings weren't exactly stellar, I don't think they're the worst thing I've ever read. You could in all seriousness get away without reading either of them, assuming you have no interest in learning more about the common route plot. I think they're worth the read, but just go in knowing they're not exactly beloved routes that are near and dear to the heart of all players.

I loved BUSTAFELLOWS; it was the very first game I've played where I liked every single LI. At first, I was a bit indifferent to Helvetica -- he's mean to Teuta, but to be fair he's mean to everyone -- but his route turned around my opinions on him FAST. I loved Crow from the moment I laid eyes on his stupid face. All of the characters are just good in this game, including many of the side characters. They all have a lot of personality, and I LOVED the found family dynamic that the LI's had with each other/Teuta. At first, they're more like coworkers than anything else, but as time goes on they truly become closer friends, and I love how they interact with each other when Teuta isn't around. They have a fantastic dynamic that I couldn't get enough of -- I'm begging PQube to pick up the sequel for localization, but thus far they've said they have no plans to do so. ): This game also was fun because it had A-Sides (the main plot) and B-Sides (a short story that takes place after the route that's much more romance-focused). I also loved that Teuta had two friends outside of the LI's group, and she still goes to see them/speaks with them. I feel like a lot of MC's either don't have friends, or their friends are sort of left behind as the story progresses. It was nice to see that Teuta had a support system outside the LI's.

GREAT news my woman lovers. Three women in this game are big enough players that you see them around more than once. One of them is featured in every route. There are also a few different women/girls who show up occasionally; I was surprised how many women were around. I feel like a lot of otome games avoid putting in many women because they could potentially be "rivals," or they only exist TO be rivals. Luka is one of Teuta's childhood friends. She's a detective at the New Sieg police department and cares deeply for Teuta. I'll be honest, it's sort of implied she has a crush on Teuta, although she never acts on it. This isn't even me having a lesbian-brain moment, many straight women who've played this game have also stated that it seems like Luka has romantic feelings for Teuta. If you Google what she looks like you'll go "Oooooh, yeah that tracks." Either way, it's a #win for us wlw. Valerie is Limbo's older sister who's a district attorney -- and thus, is Limbo's superior. Limbo thinks she's a witch, but despite how much they fight, it's clear she still loves her baby brother dearly. I LOVED that two of the main women in this game have important and high-success jobs. Carmen is the last of our frequently appearing cast, and she's the one who appears in every route. She owns the bar/restaurant that the group tends to hang out at a lot. Players generally agree that Carmen is supposed to be a trans woman; she's voiced by a male seiyuu which felt like a weird choice if that wasn't their intention. Never fear! Carmen is not played for laughs. Well, her horrible cooking is, but no one makes negative comments about her otherwise, and she's very well-liked by the group. The reason no one can say for sure if she's meant to be trans or not is because other than the male seiyuu, she doesn't make any comments to suggest that. It's pretty much agreed upon that Carmen is supposed to be a trans woman, but that's not the point of her story, so it's not brought up. You could draw your conclusions if you choose to pick up this game. Carmen is hilarious and I love her a lot. She's bad at cooking, so she orders food from other restaurants to be delivered to be served at her restaurant. I was always excited when there was a scene transition to her place because I knew there was going to be some funny banter between her and the guys. All-in-all, these three were amazing characters that served some narrative purpose, and don't exist simply as a roadblock for Teuta, The other women/girls that pop up along different routes were also great characters that served a narrative purpose. Honestly, I was like, wow, feminism is saved! Moderately well-written women! Also -- if this matters to you -- the artist for this game is normally an eroge artist, which will be clear when you see Valorie and Carmen's swimsuit CG...[wolf whistle]

BUSTAFELLOWS has no required route order. There are no locked routes -- aside from the two finale routes, Full Circle and Auld Lang Syne -- and all the routes are self-contained. No route has any spoilers for another route, so it's sort of free game. If you immediately take a liking to any of the LI's, you can go ahead and start with him. Otome Kitten's recommended order is based on the intensity of the themes that occur in that route. If you want to work your way from least to most intense, I'd follow her order. If you don't care, be free my friend, be free. I will say, I liked the route order she selected. While Scarecrow was my favorite from the moment I saw him, I think he was best served as the last character. You'll find a lot of people who played blind started with him, and they all say they liked doing him first (if they liked his character), so to me that proves you can go whatever way you want. I don't think the route order requires the rigidity of many other otoges.


Otome Kitten's Review/Route Order Guide


Scarecrow has dubbed himself "the boss of the underworld" and is the tech guy of the group. He's essentially a cyberterrorist, but to be fair, he's terrorizing the bad guys. Very few people have ever seen Crow -- he hates that everyone calls him that -- due to him rarely leaving the house. He's the one truthfully bankrolling this whole operation; he owns the large mansion that the guys all stay in, and he seems to have unlimited funds from his hacker jobs. Crow is very smart, but he's also painfully stupid when it comes to interacting with women. It's endearing watching him trip over his words and cover his blushing face when he fumbles the bag in front of Teuta. He's the buttmonkey of the group and the other guys love teasing him. Also, our bisexual king? There's a scene where Helvetica is showing naked pictures of himself and he's the only one who can't look because he's too embarrassed.

Crow is my pathetic meow meow. I found him sopping wet in a cardboard box and I brought him home. He's one of my top favorite characters of all time, and I don't just mean in otoges. His route was my absolute favorite, but dear God is it a rollercoaster. Crow has possibly the most traumatizing backstory of all these guys, but comparatively, it's not as thoroughly discussed as the others. I think that it's so traumatizing that the writer didn't even want to go into it -- also, it would take some research. I will say his route has a poor representation of what's -- apparently -- supposed to be DID, but if you can look past that then I think you'll find the wild ride that is his route enjoyable.

Now, I'm biased. I thought the romance wasn't too bad here. I will say, that there's a VERY unrealistic development in the romance that I can't describe without giving away massive spoilers, but it left something to be desired. Crow's route is 80% plot dump, and it's a crazy plot. The little pockets of romance are very sweet, and I loved them -- aside from the unrealistic leap, but once again, I can't divulge more information unless you ask privately. Crow's route was propelled entirely by Teuta and I think she shined the most in his route. Their good ending was so sweet! Overall, more plot than romance by a mile, but the ending made it worth it.

Mozu Sheperd

Mozu is the chief of the autopsy department at the New Sieg Police Department. He's very medically minded and clinical. Frankly, he kind of comes off as being autistic representation, although I'm not sure if that was intended. He tends to misunderstand social cues and is matter-of-fact in situations that probably could have used more grace, but he's also very kind, and loving, and is a good friend. He's also an animal person. Mozu is probably the most reliable of the bunch and also gives off mother-hen vibes, as he is frequently the only one taking anything seriously.

This route was...wow. This plays out like a crime procedural similar to Limbo's route, but it's much more intense. Mozu's sister went missing years ago, and he's always been trying to find her. Now, with Teuta's help, he's closer than ever to finding her. A lot is going on, and the end of his route is kind of insane. I had to put down my Switch for 5 minutes and just stare at the wall during the CG that appears at the climax of his route. The ending of his route was left on a bizarre and frankly unnecessary cliffhanger that, to be fair, is resolved very quickly in the B-Side. I do think they could have just combined those two as part of the A-Side because there's not a cliffhanger like that for any of the other guys. It was a weird choice.

Mozu's route had very haphazardly fluctuating romance. The guy isn't one for romance in the first place, so I guess that makes sense, but their romantic tension just sort of jumps at points and it felt unsincere sometimes. Mozu is very much a plot-heavy route. I think that simply from his personality, their romance could have only blossomed more naturally if the route was twice as long -- which isn't feasible. Overall, I think it was good, but it just felt like the writers would sometimes go "Wait, this is an otome."

Limbo Fitzgerald

Limbo is known as a crooked lawyer by many, but he's a savior for a lot of people who are being falsely accused of crimes. He's able to work that magic to get someone off on so many technicalities that they won't be able to be tried again. He's a man of the people, and despite being rich and famous, once you get past his boasting exterior you'll find that he's quite tender. Limbo can put on a show, but he's kind at his core and a good friend to boot. He sometimes turns up the heat to get what he wants, but overall is a nice guy.

I enjoyed Limbo's route. It's the tamest out of all the routes; his villain doesn't have insane motivations like some of the others, and his drama -- while dramatic -- is more...normal. It frankly runs very much like a cop procedural; whether that's a good thing or bad thing depends on whether you can enjoy sitting through an episode of SVU. Limbo has two final bad endings -- which are unique to this game -- and since I started with his route, one of them shocked me. By the time I'd played all the routes, I was like, okay this is par for the course as far as bad ends in this game goes, but it made me pause when I first reached it.

The romance in Limbo's route has a very sweet build-up, and I thought it made the bad endings, in particular, stand out more. The plot is quite basic compared to the other LI's, but I think the romance was perhaps slightly more pronounced in this route when looking at the other LI's, but it still wasn't anywhere near the main focus. I think that his route did have a good balance, considering romance took the back burner this whole game.

Helvetica Orsted

Helvetica is a famous plastic surgeon who has the uncanny ability to completely change someone's appearance. He's very obsessed with aesthetics and believes that first impressions rely heavily on physical appearances. Don't let that description turn you off; despite this fault of his, he's an extremely compelling character, and you might find that you appreciate his fault by the end. He's capable of completely changing his appearance using prosthetics, which comes in handy when the guys need someone to be disguised for one of their schemes. He can be quite cruel sometimes when he's judging someone's appearance, and doesn't mince words.

At first, when Helvetica appeared I was like...oh God...this guy. I can't stand LI's that are rude and nasty to the MC. Leave her alone!!! She's a queen!!! If I'm completely honest, Helvetica never truly changes as far as that goes. He's kinder to Teuta by the end, but he doesn't have some huge revelation that makes him go "Wow I'm horrible for doing that, I should stop" and you know what? I kinda like that. Sometimes I think people have bad traits that are so ingrained in them, that even true love can't make them change. Helvetica has a route that truly tugged on my heartstrings. Despite disliking him based on the common route, I found his backstory so compelling that I binged his entire route in one sitting. It's a ride from start to finish and I loved it! My opinion of him turned around completely as you find out why he has such strong feelings about appearance, and I don't think it's total bullshit. Of course, others might disagree, but his reasoning didn't feel like a cop-out. I would say he's a hit-or-miss character for a lot of people, but I was surprised when he became a hit for me.

Helvetica -- if you play him third as the suggested route order -- is the beginning of the big plot dumps. I felt that their romance was quite stilted compared to Shu and Limbo. It wasn't a bad thing, but if you're coming for romance, it's not quite as present. It sort of has these huge leaps where something bad/tragic happens, and then Teuta is suddenly much closer to Helvetica than I personally felt was apparent within the text. It wasn't bad by any means, I still thought the romance was enjoyable, but I think the plot didn't lend well to there being romance, if I'm completely honest. Helvetica's bad ending is the only one that doesn't end in complete and utter tragedy, but it's almost more heartbreaking because of that. If you're someone who avoids bad ends, I recommend giving Helvetica's a try. There's no death, just heartache from what could have been.

Shu Lynn O'Keefe

Shu is a bounty hunter who frequently takes out hitmen. He spends his days taking bounties on hitmen and assassins and ending them before they can end someone else; he's a sharpshooter with a sniper rifle. He gives off a very lazy vibe; his seiyuu always sounds a bit tired and bored, which I thought added to his character. Rather than being dark and mysterious, he sort of has a "just some guy" attitude, while being a total badass at the same time. Shu seems standoffish, but you can tell during several interactions he has with the other LI's that he does care about them. He's closest with Limbo but seems to have a soft spot for Crow.

This route was focused a lot on Shu's upbringing, and how that affects him today. His adoptive mother was the one who taught him how to shoot and trained him and his adoptive sibling from day one to be assassins themselves. Teuta tries to help Shu heal from this trauma -- that he frankly won't admit is trauma -- but not in that annoying "girl saves me from trauma so I can love her" way. Shu wants to pretend that the past was in the past and thus doesn't matter, until he has to face his adoptive sibling as an adult, and the past suddenly hurts a lot more. Learning about Shu's backstory throughout the route was enjoyable despite how messed up it was.

Shu and Teuta have an interesting relationship considering they're polar opposites. Their romantic progression was fun to watch. I would put it on par with Limbo as far as how well the plot and romance meshed. I did find the climax of his route to be slightly frustrating, but not in a way that left a bad impression on me overall. It was just sort of a "what the hell" moment, but it smoothed itself out by the end.

Teuta Bridges

Teuta is a journalist who's looking to make it big. She also has the inexplicable ability to travel back in time; however, she ends up in the body of a random person for a short period to achieve this. This ability only randomly becomes relevant occasionally and isn't a big deal in the overall plot -- although can be a huge deal in the plot of a LI's route. She's spunky, opinionated, loud, and drinks with everyone all the time. She also can't cook to save her life, which was a refreshing change of pace I have to say. You could probably say Teuta is supposed to be a caricature of how Japan views American women, but I loved how she deviated so much from the standard MC personality.

I love, love, LOVE Teuta and she's tied for my number one favorite MC. I don't just love her because she's a solid break from some of the more demure MCs, but I also love that she's such an active participant in the plot. Also, I love her dynamic with the guys regardless of whose route she's in. They'll cheer her on when they realize she's into one of the guys, and she has a strong friendship with all of them. Teuta's seiyuu puts her heart into her performance as well. She's hilarious and breathed so much life into her character. BUSTAFELLOWS was the very first otome I've played where the MC was voiced, and it was shocking how much more enjoyable the game was when I got to hear Teuta's words spoken aloud. Honestly, it feels like the dialogue was significantly more engaging when I can hear the intended tone. Some people found her voice grating, but I also loved that she had so much personality to her voice. Not to say other voiced MCs don't, but developers do tend to pick a safer "voice" when asking their seiyuu's to record so that it's not obtrusive to people who might choose to self-insert -- nothing wrong with that, of course. If you find that you're not a fan of her seiyuu, then you can either turn down or completely turn off her voice individually but I recommend keeping it on for some fantastic performances.


This was the first otome game I've ever played where I liked every single LI. I truthfully thought that would be impossible to accomplish because I'm kinda picky about characters, and I rarely like the tsundere or similar types, but BUSTAFELLOWS managed to endear me to every character by the end of their route. I liked that the routes were individualistic and didn't have too much to do with the plot points brought up in the common route as it meant no one had to suffer poster boy syndrome. This was my first 10 out of 10 otome, so it holds a special place in my heart. While the way they wrapped up the plot introduced in the common route had much to be desired, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. The way I see it, the common route plots were only tangentially related to the LI's stories anyway, so it's not like it meant much. I don't think it was quite as bad as everyone else will make it out to be, and probably could have been fixed by making the two finale-ish routes just a little longer; if you don't mind a messy wrap-up to the common route, I think you'll find that the actual LI's routes more than make up for it. All-in-all I cannot praise this game enough. It's not for everyone, but the storylines were compelling and I loved every single character. It's one of those games I wish I could play again for the first time.