Twisted Wonderland is an adventure game. No, it is not a dating sim, despite what many people claimed when the anime adaptation was announced in 2021 and a visual novel that was released in Japan in 2020. The game was in development for over three years with the mangaka behind Black Butler, Yana Toboso, in charge of art and design. It was released in North America in January 2022.
Since the game’s launch in the United States, the fandom has grown in size and now has more recognition. At Anime Expo 2022, Natsuki Hanae, the voice actor for Riddle Rosehearts in Twisted Wonderland, but more notably known as the voice of Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer, made an appearance where he talked about the game and his impressions of it.
The game follows Yu, a player insert, who lands in the world of Twisted Wonderland. They specifically land in Night Raven College, an all-boys school modeled on the principles of The Great Seven. As a human, Yu has no magical abilities and must rely on the benevolence of Headmaster Crowley to find a way to get back home. However, it seems the headmaster has more pressing matters to attend to. Soon after, they meet Grim, a cat-like monster who can wield magic, and the two become an inseparable duo, much to each other’s annoyance.
Through their adventures in Twisted Wonderland, they make friends, prevent travesties, and uncover secrets that bring more questions than answers.
The Great Seven are seven of Disney’s villains, and each of the villains has a dorm modeled after them. The main characters in each of the dorms resemble aspects of the characters from the film their dorm represents.
The first dorm players learn of is Heartslabyul. It takes inspiration from The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. The epitome of this energy is the house warden, Riddle Rosehearts, who upkeeps the ridiculous 810 rules of the dorm. He holds himself and those around him to the highest of standards. Consequently, this makes him a source of fear rather than awe. The other students all have a face marking based on one of the four playing cards suits: heart, spade, diamond, or clover.
In the second dorm, Savanaclaw takes inspiration from Scar from The Lion King. House warden Leona Kingscholar matches Scar’s backstory the most through his royal lineage. His older brother and his child overshadow Leona. Much like how Mufasa and Simba overshadow Scar. However, Leona does not come up with schemes for a coup d’etat. Regardless, what is a royal without lackeys? Similarly to Scar and his hyena trio, Leona also has his hyena right-hand man at his side.
In the third dorm, Octavinelle takes inspiration from Ursula from The Little Mermaid. House warden Azul Ashengrotto is a scheming businessman, always thinking about how to better the sales at the dorm cafe. With the help of his twin eel dormmates, Azul hopes to take over the world via capitalism, brute force, and blackmail, despite everyone’s complaints.
The fourth dorm, Scarabia, takes inspiration from Jafar from Aladdin. Vice house warden Jamil is house warden Kalim’s attendant. Kalim is similar to the Sultan in the same film. Their relationship mimics the dynamic between Jafar and the Sultan to an extent, but with less murderous undertones.
In the fifth dorm, Pomefiore takes inspiration from The Evil Queen from Snow White. House warden Vil works tirelessly to become The Fairest One of All. He takes great care of himself and takes pride in his meticulous attention to detail in everything he does. With his huntsman and poison apple at his side, Vil sometimes seems to have more on his plate but handles it all with ease.
In the sixth dorm, Ignihyde takes inspiration from Hades from Hercules. But, unlike the rest of the dorms, Ignihyde takes from Hades in aesthetic inspiration alone. House warden Idia looks like Hades with his blue flame hair. However, Idia is an antisocial shut-in, unlike the charismatic Hades. He spends his time gaming, developing robots, following idol groups, and watching anime. Whenever he is out in the flesh, he usually panics about in-person social interactions and complains about how he’d rather be in bed.
The seventh dorm, Diasdomnia, takes inspiration from Maleficient from Sleeping Beauty. Housewarden Malleus is one of the top 5 most powerful mages in the land. Malleus is a sheltered prince due to his lineage. However, his primary caretaker pushes him to learn about the world and interact with people. Alongside his two attendants, Malleus finds himself finding out there’s more to life than magic.
With a wide range of characters, the interactions keep players interested in the game. The English localization of the game has taken many liberties with the translations by incorporating memes, slang, and references in speech. Sometimes the characters are aware it’s cringe. Other times, it’s said unironically. For those of us who grew up watching Disney shows like House of Mouse, interactions within the Disney IPs are something that brought on great laughs. For example, prior to Twisted Wonderland, the idea of one of Ursula’s eels bullying the Queen of Hearts was outlandish, but now it’s a source of laughter, especially due to the Queen’s infamous temper.
Halloween: The Biggest Bash of the Year
Every game has its main event. For example, Genshin Impact has Lantern Rite, Smite has the Odyssey, and Twisted Wonderland has Halloween. Forget Christmas, Thanksgiving, and any other major holiday. If it’s not Halloween, it’s irrelevant.
The events Halloween Night and Endless Halloween Night in the NA servers took place from September to November. These events connect as they canonically take place in one day. For this event, the entire school sets up multiple haunted houses, with each dorm taking on a theme and dressing for the event. Just about the clock is to strike midnight, time stops, and students have gone missing. It is up to the remaining students to figure out if it’s a Halloween trick or if it’s something more nefarious.
It is up to players to read through the story, fight battles, and accomplish event-related missions to gain rewards. This event also has many limited cards that players can roll for and collect by doing the events. It is by far the most intensive event in the whole series.
Japan’s server celebrated Halloween 2022 with a two-month-long party through the Glorious Masquerade: Crimson Flowers and the Bell of Salvation event. This particular event had an original story that included a spooky masquerade ball event with inspiration from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This story is expected to release in NA for Halloween 2023.
Twisted Wonderland’s Art
The head character designer for this series is Yana Toboso. She is the mangaka for Black Bulter. When news of her role as the head designer, many people were excited to see her art on a bigger platform. Just like her illustrations in Black Butler, her illustrations for Twisted Wonderland are amazing. For each of the character cards, she takes great care to show off her artistry with stunning visuals that perfectly reflect the characters.
Twisted Wonderland is free to play and is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.