Disney Twisted Wonderland Gameplay Explained & Is it a Dating Sim?

What kind of game Twisted Wonderland actually is?

January 20, 2022

Disney Twisted Wonderland is finally coming out in English, and despite the franchise’s huge popularity in Japan, it’s pretty unknown in the West, with many wondering what’s the gameplay like.

Pretty much all of my otaku acquaintances from Japan are into Twisted Wonderland. And I’d definitely be deep into that swamp myself if time permitted.

Now that Twst, as it’s nicknamed, is finally getting an English release, here’s a quick intro to the game, different from the details you can read on its official site. Here, we’ll be focusing on the game’s genre and what you should expect gameplay wise.

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What’s the gameplay genre of Disney Twisted Wonderland?

Is Twisted Wonderland an Otome game?

When we say Otome games, you’re thinking of games like the Angelique series by Koei Tecmo, or games from Idea Factory like Hakuouki. As in, visual novels with various choices and routes, with a female protagonist and where you can romance several characters.

Twisted Wonderland isn’t an Otome game like that. First off, it’s a sociage / gacha game. In other words, it’s free to play, and new content story elements and Events are continually being added.

Is Twisted Wonderland a dating simulator or raising simulator?

By dating simulator, we’re talking about games like the recently released Jack Jeane or Tokimeki Memorial 4 Girl’s Side. As in games where you can romance other characters. But to do so, you’ll need to manage the protagonist’s schedule and parameters. Such as being good at studying or being good at sports. And inviting the characters to date, confessing your feelings, etc.

Launch trailer for Jack Jeanne, released exclusively in Japan on Switch, on March 18, 2021

Twisted Wonderland actually isn’t like that either, it’s neither a dating simulator nor a raising simulator. So what’s the game’s genre at the end of the day?

Twisted Wonderland is an Adventure game

Twisted Wonderland is a “Narrative Adventure JRPG”. “Adventure” games in Japan or “ADV” is what’s commonly called outside Japan “visual novels”. Adventure games are text adventures. Sometimes you’ll be able to move your character either through a menu or directly on a map. Taking various decisions and investigating items or locations. Good examples are the Ace Attorney series or 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim.

Meanwhile, you have another category of Adventure games, which are similar to the globally accepted conception of visual novels in the west. Where all of the gameplay is mainly only dialogues, with choices that sometimes don’t matter. And Twisted Wonderland is exactly that.

While there are turn-based RPG elements and rhythm game elements in Twisted Wonderland, it’ll be incredibly misleading to say it’s an RPG or a rhythm game. You will spend most of your time reading. And listening to the characters speaking, as the main story is fully voiced.

Twisted Wonderland gameplay is akin to a visual novel

Do not get your hopes up for it if you don’t like reading. The game’s main appeal is to focus on your favorite characters and read through their stories and interactions.

Disney Twisted Wonderland is out now! (January 21 update)

The game was finally released, check out our guide and start playing now! Twisted Wonderland also has an anime adaptation in the works. Disney confirmed a worldwide release too but there’s no official date yet. Tell us what you think of the game so far in the comments!

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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