Love can be found in the most unexpected places, and often extremely elusive. But in Tears of Themis, love is always just around the corner thanks to four gorgeous guys who are all-too-willing to be at your beck and call.
miHoYo’s detective romance sim is an exhilarating narrative journey through the futuristic world of Stellis, where you play as an unnamed protagonist working for Themis Law Firm. You take on cases from food poisoning lawsuits to crimes of passion and murder, all while nurturing deeper affinities with four male husband-material candidates: Artem Wing, Vyn Richter, Marius Von Hagen, and Luke Pearce.
The main goal of the game is to drive the Main Character (MC) to build a relationship with one of the four Love Interests (LI), but you can’t actually fast forward the process—much like in real life, strengthening bonds takes a lot of time and effort.
You’ll switch between talking to people relevant to the case you’re working on and actually sweeping crime scenes to collect more evidence you can use in court. Then, when you’re prepped and ready to go, you’ll bring the case before a judge and do your best to win the trial for your client.
Of course, all work and no play makes MC a dull lady, so in between work scenes are tidbits of romance sprinkled here and there, depending on who’s working on the case with you at the moment. The four boys are almost always pretty flirtatious, even when MC acts like she’s too flustered or naive to dismiss their advances. I live for these moments, to be honest since it adds to the giddiness and the frustration of wanting them to just get together already and stop skirting around their feelings.
There’s also the NXX headquarters (I won’t spoil the story for you here), and a cute little game mode where you roll the dice to traverse a board game of sorts with your chosen LI. Rewards provide you with goodies you can exchange for resources at the Mall, plus, you can also farm resources in the Study game modes to help level up your cards.
Ah yes, the cards. In Tears of Themis, the gacha system is all about pulling cards from a random pool. Each card contains a beautifully drawn portrait of an LI. SR cards are static images, while SR and SSR cards are animated and contain voiced stories—and let me tell you: you WILL want to level up each card and unlock those chapters, because the stories are just that juicy.
Leveling up your cards also lets you Evolve them, which means you can unlock variants of the image on the card. The final evolution of the card will feature a modified version of the guy’s image with the MC in there too, usually in sweet poses that’ll make any romantic’s heart race.
If you’re not interested in the evolved variants or the unlocked stories, you’ll still need to level up your cards to increase your combat power. Combat in Tears of Themis comes in the form of debates, where you’ll need the combined Power of the boys in your deck to argue someone into submission.
And, if nothing else, you’ll want to collect those cards anyway because they simply look too darn good. Character designs and even backdrops are gorgeous, and everything looks so sleek and modern—the UI and menu included.
Obviously, the main thing I wanted to achieve with this game is to win the affections of one of the LIs, and you can do that by visiting them in their humble abode. There’s a limited number of times you can poke them to earn affection every day, but you can always interact with them by playing mini-games and chatting with them. Increasing your affection levels unlocks more personal stories with them, and those scenes are just priceless.
Going through the main campaign lets you unlock invitations where you can ask your chosen LI to come over. These will serve as the background of your main menu. The scenes are just plain eye candy—hats off to the artists who illustrated each card in such jaw-dropping poses, whether an LI is smiling at you in mid-motion or just casually minding their own business while MC looks on with a blush on her cheeks.
The MC, by the way, actually has an interesting personality. She’s got her own agency throughout the game, so she’s not just some blank template for players to insert themselves into. She’s got spunk and knows how to handle herself both inside and outside of work. She’ll often find herself in compromising situations with the LIs, of course, but that’s the beauty of this game—it dangles those little snippets of romance in front of you to make you yearn for more.
The stories aren’t straightforward either, as what you might perceive to be a suicide case can be something else entirely as you dive deeper into the story. Thankfully, the game is pretty forgiving if you make errors in judgment, as you can always repeat cases lost or wrongly presented evidence.
It helps, of course, to have four LIs backing you up no matter what you do, because if you’re going to look for support, you might as well draw strength from the handsome men in your personal circle.
Speaking of handsome men, I definitely had a handful of moments where my husband raised his eyebrow at me for giggling at my phone at random times. The romance element here is definitely on-point, and the four LIs are so different from each other that I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone no matter what stereotype you’re into.
Personally, I like Artem best—he’s MC’s partner at the law firm and is this distant, calculated senior colleague who’s secretly harboring romantic feelings for the MC. He’s a go-getter workaholic with no time for a social life, but shows his softer, super caring, super sensitive side whenever he’s alone with the MC. This trope is always an instant winner, so yes, please.
Overall, Tears of Themis is an unexpected delight for me—I honestly didn’t think it would grip me as much as it did. I’ve never played an otome game before, but I can’t seem to find any negative quality here.
There’s a pity system for the gacha with a certain number of pulls, plus generous rookie rewards and daily quests that’ll help you summon the cards you want (which come from literal tears of the statue of Themis). The slow-burn romance might be difficult to bear for players who are just dying to know what happens next with their chosen LI, but that’s just miHoYo’s clever and cruel tactic to lure you to those in-app purchases—and given how engaging the romance is, the sly tactic is definitely effective.