Recently, I got the opportunity to review a game for a bigger game site for the first time since I started “Between Life and Games”. The site is Unikgamer, an awesome gamer collaboration site where people rank their favourite games in many categories, and a total ranking is formed and regularly updated. The game is Cherry Tree High Comedy Club – a quirky Japanese indie adventure game, apparently created by the small team 773, consisting of just one full-time member and several contributors. Now, you know me, one of my principles about “Between Life and Games” has always been that the site would be built around my gaming activities, not vice versa (at least until I go professional, hehe :)). So I’d just play the games I want to play, and then write about them. And CTHCC does not contradict that – just looking at the screenshots and short YouTube video available, combined with its apparently modest length, already convinced me that it would be a blast to play it right away and then review it.
Game: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club
Original release: 2012
As a script-heavy game that is just so Japanese at its core, the localisation effort was what would make or break Cherry Tree High Comedy Club for Western players. Nyu Media and Tezuka Productions, famous for their fabulous work localising the Phoenix Wright games, have done a very good job in that regard, preserving jokes from the original script that would be recognised by non-Japanese, and replacing the ones that were just “too Japanese” with references to material we would be familiar with, like Star Wars. Dialogue is really a major part of CTHCC, and whether you enjoy the jokes and the tone will greatly determine if you’ll enjoy the game as a whole. Despite being (even) more light-hearted, the game does remind of Phoenix Wright’s overall feel, which can only be a plus.
The gameplay is quite simple – you’re the energetic senior student Miley Verisse, and your goal is to recruit at least three people for your club by the end of April (the game starts on March 22nd). To do so, you must first identify your targets and then befriend them enough so that they agree to join the comedy club. For that, you’ll need to gain expertise in subjects they enjoy, like Video Games, Sports, Politics, Fashion, History, Pets, etc. It’s all about stat-building, gaining money to increase your stats, and of course putting those stats to good use by talking to the people. All that in a rather limited time frame. It makes for a rather frantic adventure, spiced up nicely with the story and likable cast of characters, each of them with their own ambitions and problems to take care of, and Miley willing to help them. Last, but not least, there are multiple endings, depending on how well you do!