A downloadable game

Immerse yourself in this breath-taking, otome-inspired visual novel. You will become a tarot prodigy, wander the hidden alleys of an ancient city, and meet seductive figures. Choose your love story carefully to decide who you condemn and who you desire!

In this LGBT friendly romantic game, you’re the main character and love interest. Choose your preferred pronouns and romance to your heart’s desire! If you love story games and play otome, anime, romance, or dating sim games you’ll love The Arcana! Are you ready to find true love in your unraveling romance story? Please note that The Arcana is currently only available in English.

The Arcana Story
You’re a prodigy tarot card reader employed in your mentor, Asra’s magic shop. You wake up confused with no memory of what happened before. All of a sudden, someone is knocking on the door. A mysterious person appears who wishes to speak to your mentor but you offer them a tarot card reading instead. Nadia, the countess of Vesuvia, is intrigued by your reading. She offers you an invitation to her Palace, but for a price - you must first uncover the mystery of her murdered husband!

Immediately you are thrown into a mystic story and dating simulator, where you rendezvous with many sultry characters on your path to uncover the mystery. Each character has many hidden secrets that you discover through your choices. Be careful, your choices impact more than just yourself!

Meet the Characters
Intertwine paths with enthralling characters in this otome inspired dating sim, with influence from visual novels and gay & lesbian friendly dating games. Win over their hearts, flirt, or stir up drama! In The Arcana, you can play multiple character routes simultaneously or one at a time - the choice is Yours!

Julian: An exciting and dangerous doctor accused of a vile crime
Asra: Your magical mentor with a wealth of secrets
Muriel: A mysterious outsider you encounter in Vesuvia
Nadia: The powerful and intriguing countess of the city
Lucio: The dead husband of Nadia who once ruled Vesuvia
Portia: Nadia’s favorite and most trustworthy handmaiden

Highlights
- An interactive dating sim game you won’t be able to put down!
- Explore the world of Vesuvia - jaw-dropping scenery in these beautiful love games
- Dating simulator with a twist - six mystic characters to fall in love with
Inclusive LGBT bl & gl friendly romance games - unlike other yuri or yaoi games, you choose your pronouns and romance who you desire!
- Play 21 unique episodes taken from the 21 Major Arcana tarot cards
- Free to play otome inspired dating sim with no ads - all character routes are available to play without pay
- Collect memories and prizes in the Heart Hunter mini-game


Created for You

The Arcana is an inclusive visual novel & love game developed by and for players of all sexual orientations & genders. Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or any other orientation, your romance awaits in these interactive story games.


SOCIALS:

-  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thearcanagame/

- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thearcanagame

- Twitter: https://twitter.com/thearcanagame

- Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/thearcanagame

- WEBSITE: https://www.nixhydra.com/ 

- MERCH: https://store.nixhydra.com/category/the-arcana

Available on

Development log

Comments

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One of my favorite visual novels, can't describe how much I fell for Nadia, she's my goddess 

(+1)

I loved the content that I tried, but the game takes freemium to an extreme level. I felt actively disappointed in the choices I was forced to settle for as a F2P player, and the costs to make some premium choices were prohibitive. It’s really a shame. 

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I tried this a few years back. Was pretty interesting I guess, definitely not worth that price point though.

(-1)

literally downloaded bluestacks just to play this, because a friend of mine told me they think I'd like it (and they're totally not simping over Nadia) 
They guess im going for Muriel or Asra. I havent even opened the game yet, but let's see if they're correct

(+1)(-2)

We hope you enjoy it! Thank you for trying our app.

(+3)

Good luck spending hundreds of dollars on this game 🤣

(+16)

i only found out about this game recently by browsing the google play store and seeing the plethora of positive reviews.  i played through the prologue and was really intrigued by the story, characters, and beautiful visuals, but also disheartened by all the premium scenes that require in-game currency to access.  in the "free" prologue there are many scenes that are offered as premium without giving you enough starter coins to watch them. it seemed odd to me that even in their initial way to hook you into the game they would include these. i imagine this trend continues throughout the rest of the game in even more brazen fashion.

following the prologue, i wound up checking out some of the game merch through a link in the app, and noticed a note mentioning their kickstarter campaign. i went to find the kickstarter page just to read about the game development and saw that there was also a desktop version that was mentioned. seeing this, i was thrilled to play on a larger screen and got on itch.io looking to purchase the game for around $30-35 for mac/pc, as this would be my preferred method of playing. even if the mobile version content is completely free (sans premium scenes), i would rather pay a reasonable one-time amount to unlock all scenes. unfortunately, i found that nix hydra wasn't able to deliver on a pc version as promised in the kickstarter campaign, despite being more than fully funded.

reading through this thread, it appears that in order to enjoy all the content the game has to offer would cost in the hundreds of dollars. i know it's becoming increasingly popular (thanks, FarmVille) for companies to do a "freemium" model, or micro-transactions, primarily in the mobile game world (but not always.. EA, looking at you). i know games cost money to make, and companies need steady revenue to support their existing games and create new ones, however, this is an extremely unfortunate trend that, as a lifelong gamer, really breaks my heart. 

in my life i've owned around 10 consoles - some handheld, some not, in addition to mac/pc. mobile gaming is really sort of a last resort for me, but i understand it is likely the most accessible to everyone. taken directly from the kickstarter page "Nix Hydra is a female-founded mobile game company making magical, colorful, bold products for young women and anyone else traditionally ignored by the gaming industry." i really feel like nix hydra has good intentions and i can tell this game is created with care. however, it doesn't sit right with me that this smaller, female-founded company is taking cues from detested, greedy media-conglomerates like EA. the "freemium" mobile model may be more accessible in some respects, however, it feels kind of.. classist.  it's basically saying "yes everyone can enjoy this, but if you have more to spend you'll be able to enjoy it more".  and therein lies the rub.

i'm not trying to call out nix hydra because they're doing something unusual (sadly, they are not) but i feel like they can be better than this. again, this game seems to be a labor of love, but after EA and others have left such a bad taste in my mouth from micro-transactions, i can not bring myself to play this game any further. i have family and friends who are genderqueer and would love to play a game like this. however i don't feel comfortable recommending it to them. if there were a one-time payment, full purchase option, i would happily change my mind and be likely share it with others.

(3 edits) (+1)

Thank you for this. After hearing/seeing all the flack about the freemium/premium associated costs, this has sealed the deal for me. It's not at all worth even playing through the free/prologue pieces at this point, in my opinion. I'd rather not get to know a story/lore/characters if it's just going to nickel/dime me later. 

I could bring myself to agree about the intentions, perhaps, being good at one point. But at a certain point, I think that went away, and the greed kicked in. I know more than a handful of small/single (or even three-person) indie devs who haven't had such successful kickstarters, haven't had such a high number of downloads and/or sales, and/or haven't even had as much merch (if any at all) - and yet those devs haven't adopted the freemium model, and are doing just fine making their game/s and are even keeping the promises they've made (even if they take time).

I'm 100% in agreement about it being much better to pay $30-$35 for a full game than the microtransaction/freemium (greed) model. Honestly, I'm even okay with paying that for a mobile game/version, if it was all of it/complete (and didn't still have microtransactions). I'd even be okay with pay more than that for a PC version (also complete, no microtransactions). But there's neither of those options available with this game/company. 

Any one of these factors are a red flag, or at least rub me the wrong way. Widely successful kickstarter (more than just funded), tons of downloads, tons of purchases made, tons of moderately-fairly-over -priced merch, unkept promises from the kickstarter, some fulfilled kickstarter promises that were given to non-kickstarter supporters first (or simultaneously), costs/premium costs already in the prologue, advertising/stating/promoting all day/everywhere as "free" despite only some of the prologue being free, premium costs for the rest of the game/storyline. Not just this, but the "nsfw" content that's locked behind a paywall is PG-13, amounting to a booty shot/teasing at most. And if you calculate how much it would be to unlock all the content - it's $500+. 

Then there's the operations/actions of the company that have nothing to do with the game - absolute rudeness to fans and customers, earning strikes against (long-time/hard-earned) youtubers who were doing letsplay videos & (legit) promoting the game (not just passive playing, but were legitimately telling people to go buy/play), some of which resulted in their entire channel getting deleted (a consolation offered to one of them was a keychain from their merch). They also begged/asked for more money while dangling/threatening a lack of development for stories/characters that were assured per their campaign and unrelated/outside promises. 

Further still, they currently keep pushing the "we're a mobile company, now" or "many of the people on the team weren't around then" or whatever other agenda/excuse they have for why they're not held to the original promises, subsequent promises, and/or even just reasonable price-structure, etc. This is absolutely abhorrent, and only solidifies the current team's unprofessionalism, unappreciation/disrespect, and greed. Just because the current team is not the one that assured $2/route instead of per chapter doesn't mean that they're incapable of making good on that price-structure. It's essentially the most expensive game to exist at this point, let alone the fact that it's a mobile game? AYKM? And now they're (again) further pushing their mobile game on a PC game platform? It's insulting and almost laughable, since they'll never make a PC game. Even more - they're literally just advertising their in-game stories for their Fictif app on their page - so no game from those will ever be for sale, here, never be on PC, and all are purchased within their app. 

So, any one of these factors is a strike, in my book. Let alone all of these factors together? Many of these tactics are greedy, predatory, and absolutely and incredibly hypocritical for an dev company, let alone an 'indie' one. And this combination of factors just compounds upon itself. It legit does the opposite of intention and makes it so I not only don't want to play any game from this company, but I also don't want to support anything that comes from this company. Which is really unfortunate, as an avid gamer and avid indie gamer/supporter/enthusiast.

(1 edit) (+10)

Everytime i see this game it hurts my heart. I love it. Its exclusionary in its cost. The best choices are expensive. Its practically $10 a chapter. I have no problem spending money on games but not even close to that much. Super sad. I agree with what others have said. Their pricing is predatory and ruins this game completely. 

(+2)

I love this! But still, I hope there will be a version for PC! 

(+3)(-13)

Why are people angry in the comments? I can understand how people could be upset for it originally being for pc or something, but having it as a mobile game benefited both the players and the company more. From seeing this game is the type of thing you play as your daily things to do, like many phone based visual novels that rely on irl time.

And I might be wrong, but the reason they might price routes high is because they were struggling to continue producing other routes, like Portia at one point? I could be wrong, so be aware of that. 

Without paying for extra scenes you still get a satisfying play through of any character route. They also hold periods of time with events where you can speed through stories without the cost of keys if i remember right.  Whenever you spend money or not it's enjoyable, you can also go on wiki pages for seeing unlockable scenes for free if that's really a problem.

With the game I never felt they were trying to take peoples money, since they would've made the ending (upright or downright) rely on spending money I suppose to unlock extra scenes.  The way they handle their prices can always be changed and I'm sure they'll do what benefits both the players and also their company.

I remember playing a game that takes 30 irl days and more to complete, that gives less content than this game during the bits you can play, which also relied on leveling up your characters clothes taking even more time. In my experience of games, the arcana is a great game is what I'm trying to say. 

:b

(+3)(-11)

Thank you for the review. Our company is not perfect but we are trying to make The Arcana and Fictif better everyday. We are a small company that is trying to grow. We do listen to customer feedback and we continue to make product changes over time. We appreciate your support.

(+22)

As the arcana doesn't actually rely on irl time as you mentioned, I don't think mobile has any significant benefits over PC - it's just a different medium. Some people prefer PC for reasons such as a larger screen size that's easier on their eyes. It has taken Nix Hydra 4-5 years to deliver on their kickstarter rewards and they have carefully avoided mentioning (and sometimes edited out mentions of) their failed PC promise - the dodgy attitude and partial reimbursement of higher tier pledges who only wanted a PC version are the reasons people are upset, not that it's on mobile.

That the content costs money is not the issue anybody has with this game. The issue is that the cost is well beyond what similar content is priced at in other games, and soars into the realm of unaffordable or extreme costs for the average consumer compared to almost literally any other game I can think of, excluding gacha games which are intended to be predatory.

Regarding changing their prices - this will not happen, as there has been uproar over the pricing scheme since launch and Nix Hydra appears to be satisfied with their absurd costs. Even the 5 star top positive reviews mention the price point as a negative, whether or not it's reflected in their rating.

Other visual novels rarely cost more than $60-$120 for a COMPLETE GAME, with no missing paid content aside from unrelated DLCs or costumes. The Arcana costs around this PER ROUTE. I can't understand and am not privy to their financial decisions, but this is not reasonable or justified on the consumer end.

And if you have to miss most of the CGs and romantic content to play for free (viewing them on a wiki instead can be considered akin to piracy - this is not a valid solution for customers that they should be considering while pricing out their game), well then,  it's a pretty awful free to play experience.


You're welcome to enjoy the game - I also had no problem with the actual game's contents, and thought they were quite good...when you're not having to abruptly cut heartfelt moments short because you can't afford a paid choice. But just because worse pricing schemes exist, doesn't mean this one is good.

(4 edits) (+27)(-1)

Interesting that you created an itch.io page when you have no intention of providing a PC version, or even a single-payment mobile version,  even though that was one of the original promises of your kickstarter (which I backed as a result). Probably because it'd be harder to bilk your fans for thousands of dollars worth of microtransactions that way.


(-13)

Hi Nebty,

   You are correct that the company did not deliver a PC version of the game that the original management team promised many years ago. The company is now a mobile games company.  We did fulfill all of our other Kickstarter commitments. If you did not receive your other rewards, please email us at arcana@nixhydragames.com and give us your Backer number. We will fulfill it ASAP. Thank you.

(+21)

Hi Nix Hydra Games,

Kinda disingenuous to focus on the PC version when most people's complaints center around predatory microtransactions. Once upon a time you guys swore up and down that each route on mobile would be priced at $1.99 max. And before you say, "Our game is worth more than that", then perhaps try to figure out what sort of single-pay price point would allow you to keep running your business. I've bought VNs for $60+ before, I'd be willing to shell out money for this game. But people don't realize that your game is going to end up costing them a lot if they actually want to experience all of it.  And if you genuinely need to use your current awful pricing model (which crosscyote already went into detail on) then maybe it's time to take stock of some financial decisions.


To anyone checking this page and thinking that this game sounds pretty cool: Just don't bother. I'm sorry. It sucks. But it's not worth all the hoops you need to jump through to enjoy it. Thankfully there are a growing number of inclusive dating sims that aren't trying to take advantage of you. Go play one of those.

(-13)

Hi Nebty,

    Many of the current employees were not at the company when the Kickstarter campaign started so we have no insight or history to your post. We do want to clarify a few things: 1) The game is free to play with the endings not being determined whether you spend money. 2) We do offer several ways to earn coins for free in the game and we keep growing the list. 3) We gave our Kickstarter backers the prologue, Julian, Asra and Nadia's routes with all premium choices unlocked. If you did not receive this reward, send us your KS backer number and we will reward it to you. 4) We understand the pricing model is very different across all mobile games. We respect the different pricing models and we test new ways.  It looks like The Arcana is not the game for you and we respect your opinion. 

(+32)

(TLDR: The Arcana could be good but it is incredibly overpriced thanks to predatory microtransactions.) 

As much as I want to like The Arcana, I just can't get past the predatory microtransactions. I know there are free ways to earn coins, and I've heard the argument that it's worth it because the game is of a "higher quality", but at at least £100 per route if you want to see all the content is just extortionate for what it is. The game is so heavily overpriced for the content that is actually there. 

There are a few ways in game to earn coins: waiting, watching ads or playing the in game minigames such as heart hunter and a spin the wheel game which can be played for only a limited amount of times each day. However, as with most apps, the in game ways of earning coins are inefficient and would take a inordinate amount of time to earn enough for even one scene. Not to mention that the minigames are literally gambling, spinning the wheel in the hopes that you'll win enough coins to unlock a new scene. 

I want to like this game. I think it could be a fun visual novel and as someone who loves tarot, seeing a visual novel incorporate it into the world building is something I was excited to see. But no matter how pretty the art is how interesting the setting comes across, it is simply too expensive. 

As an example, some scenes in The Arcana cost around 250 coins, which in turn costs about £4.99. Depending on how fast you read, the scenes probably last maybe a couple minutes at most, plus a CG. Now compare that to another visual novel, such as Our Life, which charges £3.99 for DLC that includes at least a couple hours worth of content plus new CGs. Or visual novels such as Royal Alchemist, which charges one up front cost plus an upfront cost for extras such as the official guide and art books. 

Yes, these are separate companies with different business models. But Nyx Hydra made the choice to follow a microtransaction based business model when there are more ethical, less extortionate models they could follow. 

If you have the hundreds of pounds/dollars to spend, sure, go ahead. I'm not going to tell you how you should spend your money. But I can't recommend this game to anyone with these prices. 

(+2)(-20)

Hi Crosscyote,

   We respect your viewpoint and we always look for ways to improve our game, which we have done over time. We have worked on The Arcana for approximately four years now and we are still expanding the content. One can play our game for free and the endings of each character route are not determined by whether one pays us money. We have expanded the ways we offer free coins and including special weekends with infinity keys and coin sales. We feel our high ratings in the app store reflect the overall high quality of our product and the time and money we have invested in The Arcana. We know our game is not for everyone, but we continue to improve every year and we respect everyone's opinions whether they like or don't like The Arcana.  Thank you.