Developed by Broccoli with publishing from Aksys Games, Jack Jeanne is the new otome game for Nintendo Switch from Sui Ishida, the artist and writer behind the widely popular manga and anime series Tokyo Ghoul.
Combining a narrative story with rhythm games and skill raising activities, Jack Jeanne follows Kisa Tachibana, a young woman hoping to follow her brother’s footsteps and perform on-stage at the all-boys Univeil Drama School. Kisa successfully enrolls in the school and must earn the trust of her classmates, as well as a lead role in the school’s final performance, all while hiding her gender and identity.
Jack Jeanne primarily takes place at the Univeil school with the player taking the role of Kisa and working to develop her skills in the arts to gain roles in each of the 5 performances: Newcomers performance, Summer performance, Fall performance, Winter performance, and the final Univeil performance. Each performance requires at least one song and one dance rhythm game, with the player needing to score top marks to gain the lead role in the Univeil performance. Throughout the game you learn of the school’s history, make new friends and new enemies among your peers in the 4 classes: Quartz, Rhodonite, Onyx, and Amber.
Like many otome games, Jack Jeanne features several paths that the player can take, with each one providing a different ending. Your main interactions throughout the game are with your 6 classmates from Quartz, with each one acting as a potential love interest for Kisa.
Alternatively, you can choose not to pursue a love interest, unlocking one of two unique endings for Kisa, a “good” and “bad” ending. To gain the trust and affection of your Quartz classmates, you must take “classes” to increase your stats in Spirit, Insight, Voice, Agility, Character, and Drama. Each skill is aligned with one of your classmates, and maxing out this skill in addition to gaining top scores in your yearly performances will be the key to unlocking your happy ending with your chosen love interest.
I played 2 of the very many routes possible in Jack Jeanne; the Kisa route and the Suzu Orimaki route, with both yielding some interesting results! Suzu is probably the easiest route to start with, especially if you’re an otome newbie like myself.
Suzu is presented as a ‘golden retriever boyfriend’, full of an infectiously positive energy, which makes the character just really fun to interact with. By focusing all my efforts on increasing Suzu’s Spirit parametre and choosing to interact with him at every possible chance, I got to see some really sweet story moments between the two leads. As your affinity with each character grows, you unlock new ‘affection stories’ to play out when you’re not studying. Suzu’s stories are really cute and heartwarming, and I highly recommend starting with him as your love interest.
The Kisa route, although a little more difficult because it requires you to increase your skills to a more balanced level, was a pretty empowering story. By taking this route and not focusing all my energy on creating a love connection, I was able to see the drive and determination that Ishida developed Kisa with. She’s just a girl with a passion for performing and won’t let anything or anyone stand in her way, a personality trait I can somewhat identify with as a single career woman.
Looking at the game from a purely developmental perspective, it’s incredibly well made. Ishida’s art style is very distinct, even among an ocean of manga artists, and as someone who is a fan of his Tokyo Ghoul series, it was really amazing to see him produce a new story that is centred on love and positivity.
Though his trademark horror/dark fantasy roots are still very much present in Jack Jeanne, shown mostly through the characters from the Amber class. The rhythm games in Jack Jeanne are also pretty fun, with the added bonus of you being able to choose your difficulty level every time you play one. The game gives you opportunities to practice your skills, but these are somewhat few and far between so if in doubt, level down as the hard and expert levels for some of the songs were difficult even for a seasoned rhythm game player like myself.
My one criticism of the game, and this falls a little close to me being a bad craftsman blaming her tools, but the visuals shown behind the rhythm games at the performance stages can be really distracting. Broccoli and Aksys have done an incredible job of rendering Ishida’s 2D characters as 3D moving animations and providing the singing levels with sweeping visuals to fit the story of each song.
But if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to get sucked into watching what’s going on behind the rhythm board, causing you to miss notes and risk lowering your score. Remember that to get a lead role in the final performance and gain your happy ending, regardless of which story path you take, you need to get top scores in these games so staying focused is crucial and these animations, beautiful though they are, can make that difficult.
Jack Jeanne is a really rich and immersive game, clearly designed for a player to sit with it like they would a hot cup of tea; just basking in its warmth and comforting feel. That being said, can you speed through the story? Yes, absolutely.
Jack Jeanne has a speed read feature that can be unlocked after your first playthrough, allowing you to zip past all the stock standard story parts if you’re replaying it to explore a new character route. I found this feature extremely helpful when I did my second playthrough, especially as it only skips the parts that you’ve read/played before, ensuring that you read through anything that is new to your game and I highly recommend using it as much as you can.
I went into Jack Jeanne completely blind, with absolutely no experience in the game format, but can confidently call it a 10/10 for fans of cosy gaming. Get comfy and power this one up on your next rainy weekend.
Jack Jeanne is available physically and digitally for Nintendo Switch now.
To purchase a limited edition physical copy, visit:
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.