While I was perusing my local GameStop recently, I came across the cute PS4 game Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles. The cover showed a romantic Christmas scene, which made me excited to try it out and review for the holidays.
If you want to play something whimsical and both anime and holiday-themed this Christmas, you may just love Wintertide Miracles. However, before you decide on whether or not to try it for yourself, there are a few things to consider.
But first, we’ll talk about what the game is all about.
Background and Features of Wintertide Miracles
For those unfamiliar with the Code: Realize games, they are a series of visual novel otomate games by Aksys Games and Idea Factory. They follow a girl named Cardia, who was infused with poison from a gem called a “Horologium” by her mad scientist father. She had to stay hidden her entire life and wear special clothes because everything her skin touched turned to sand. At the beginning of the first game, she embarks on a journey with handsome literary figures that vie for her attention and become potential love interests for the player to choose between throughout the series.
This third game in the series is Wintertide Miracles, and yes, it is indeed Christmas-themed, and it’s adorable. It can be played on the PS4, the PS Vita, or the Nintendo Switch. The menu screen is set on a Christmas tree, with each character and option being an ornament to choose from. There are non-Christmas-themed options and features, though, but to get to any feature of the game, you must navigate the options on the kawaii Christmas tree. Some of the game’s features, such as the triangle dates, are not Christmas-themed. These dates consist of Cardia, the female protagonist, having visual novel-style dates with any combination of two love interests.
Those dates go down more like friendly hang-outs than dates, though, so don’t get your hopes up for too much romance on those.
The date features are at the top of the Christmas tree. As you go down, you can choose from one of the love interests (in ornament form) to see more to each story between you and whatever love interest you chose in the previous games. This feature is likely especially exciting to those who have finished the first two games. This is the Christmas-themed portion of the game, as Cardia goes on Christmas dates with the love interest chosen on the tree.
Another option/feature on the tree is to click on the ornament that is Cardia’s brother, Finis. This will trigger a story that also picks up where the last game left off, so you either need to read what happened or play the games first if you want the fully satisfying effect. This is the case for the love interest ornament options as well.
Finally, the last feature is a story unique to this game with no necessary tie-in from the other games. It’s a story you, as Cardia, must play through with your gentleman companions. You have to help a locally famous opera singer as she is nearly kidnapped by a man in a mask. You learn more about her and her life as the story goes on. Since the other characters are based on literary characters, I surmise that this story is a twist on The Phantom of the Opera.
This was a really nice feature of the game, as you didn’t have to know much about the other games to fully enjoy it and play through it. This leads me to the elephant in the room upon playing and reviewing this game: it’s not a stand-alone game.
Not a Stand-Alone Game
Although this game is cute, low-key, and whimsical, you may not like it if you’re hoping for a typical game that starts and finishes its narrative on one disc. Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles is sort of a side game to the other Code: Realize games. In fact, to fully appreciate it, you’d need to play the first two games in the series, Code: Realize Guardians of Rebirth and Code: Realize Future Blessings. If you don’t want to be confused but also don’t want to look up the background information (if you haven’t played through either of the other games), then this game is not for you.
This aspect was a little disappointing for me upon starting the game. I was looking forward to a complete installment that was Christmas-themed. I did have some background on the story, though, because I played some of the first game a while back, but I definitely didn’t have enough information to understand what was going on on my own.
If you want to play this game because of the Christmas-themed dates, I still think it’s a fun game. You just may need to do some reading to understand the concept of the overall story if you haven’t played the other Code: Realize Games.
Overall, I enjoyed playing Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles. I do wish I had played the other games first, in their entirety. But I didn’t look up too much information. I just went off of my knowledge of playing the bit of the first one that I did and the information given to me in this game. If anything, I just want to go back and finish the first game, play the second, and play through the parts of this game I didn’t experience (because I didn’t want to spoil too much for when I play through it again after I finish the first ones).
It was nice playing through that Phantom of the Opera quest because I didn’t need to play the other games to fully enjoy it, but the Christmas-themed parts required a little more open-mindedness. I needed to be okay with not having all the facts, since I didn’t want to look up any spoilers that I didn’t have to. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to stay in the dark! Feel 100% free to explore the secrets of the first two games online to play this one if you want to. It’s a cute Christmas-themed game that I’m glad I found in time for the holidays. I just wish I had played the other two games first.
So, if you played the other two Code: Realize games, definitely play this one! It’s so cute and magical and very slice of life. If you haven’t played the other games, hopefully this review helped you weigh the options of whether or not you’d like to play it as a stand-alone adventure or play the other games first. It can be enjoyed either way, especially if you fill yourself in on what happened in the other games. It’s just up to each person on what they want to do.
But if you like romance, beautiful visuals, anime art, and moving music and storylines, play these games! And enjoy Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles! Even without the full context of the other games, I really enjoyed playing it. It got me further into the Christmas spirit, while also allowing me to essentially put myself into a slice of life romance anime. I look forward to playing through it after the other games now, too.
Have you played Code: Realize Wintertide Miracles? What did you like about it? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!