Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is basically, well, think of Persona 3 if you played it. Now take everything out of the game aside the daytime parts. That’s what this game is, slice of life, little gameplay (just walking about and choosing some options and directing where the game will lead/what ending you’ll get, etc) and socializing. Even the layout looks reminiscent of P3, or you know, the exact same. You’re a genki girl named Miley who wants to start a comedy club and, like so many anime these days, need more members or the club won’t get accepted by the student council.
You meet 6 characters who are recruitable and you do it the same way you would in P3. You spend time with them, call them, learn their likes and dislikes, and so on. You can raise your ‘stats’ per category to talk about through various ways like reading magazines, watching a TV program at night, going to the arcade/museum/etc all of which you can earn money to pay for by making some bead necklaces at night or doing part time jobs for friends (museum work, cleaning at the shrine, etc). You can see the little icons in the pic below of the different “interests” you can talk about, as you get to know the characters it’ll tell you if they like this or that (you either find out by doing it and it remembering on playthroughs after, or doing casual chats and them bringing up liking/disliking something). They are Video Games, whodunnits, music, art, history, politics,romance, fashion, sports, travel, pets, and cooking.
My personal favorite characters are Miley, Cindy, and Vivian. Miley is a genki tomboy who loves comedy, what’s not to like? Cindy is a delicious and cute punk girl who puts on the act of a delinquent while actually being a good kid…though quit school to focus on her rock band. Vivian was originally gaijin scum but now that it’s in America she’s from sweden or something and talks in really cute broken English and is kinda dumb (in a moe way rather than a stupid bitch way). The characters are all really charming and good in their own ways though. There’s definitely someone you’ll like – if not everyone – even if they aren’t the type you’d usually care for they are all pretty good in this probably in part to the overall feeling of the game.
I find the game to be really charming and cute and worth the low price that it sells for. It’s got no secret drama to it, no hilarious comedy that will make you laugh, but a lot of charm and some silly references and jokes along with a laid back overall feeling. It’s a very chill little game. It’s got super cute character designs as well and is pretty fun and interesting overall. Though it’s not like it’s super ‘easy’ either, it’s not difficult but you can pretty easily end up getting the bad end at least your first time through if you don’t balance things well.
It’s also worth mentioning this was a one man project, he did everything he could on his own and hired a couple freelancers to do the other stuff for as cheap as he could. It’s a true indie game – unlike the pretentious hipster shit you’ll see labeled as such normally. This becomes especially apparent when the characters appear on an opposite side (like if miley was on the left below instead, which sometimes she is) wherein it’s amazingly obvious he just flipped the image, so any text on shirts or hair and shit is just flipped. The guy knew how to get the most out of his money and figured he didn’t need two versions of the same sprites for twice the price.
As for the setting and localization, it’s clearly Japan but was localized to be a random place in the US. However, they did explain this later on through a line or two of text if you get friendly enough with one of the characters. Apparently, in the western release of this game only obviously, the city is a sister town to one in Japan (Kamakura, in Kanagawa) and the cherry trees and the obvious Japanese shrine are gifts from there. It’s obviously not the original canon but it’s such an unimportant thing that it’s fine, I saw people complain about it so I’m just pointing out ahead of time that they were aware of how “Japanese” the city was when localizing it into being America, and that they at least bring it up once.
The rest of the localization is fine if you ask me as well, the big differences outside of the setting being America instead of Japan would be the names. Everyone has very obviously different names from their original counterparts, however it really doesn’t cause a problem. There’s no voices and the new names work fine. This is no masterpiece of localization, but I think they did a good enough job for localizing it the way they did, and given Capcom is involved and even sells this on their site, they clearly thought it was good enough too.
All in all the localization is not an aspect that gets in the way of the charm or anything else in this game, you won’t even notice it after awhile.
And because I feel like it, I plan to upload a playthrough of it over time to my youtube account and post the parts here when I do for anyone interested. It’s not exactly full of gameplay but it’ll be there for anyone interested (I’ll post when I get around to recording it) and might get you into the game. I plan on uploading some more ‘actual’ games in the future as well, mostly JRPGs probably like Graces F, Meruru, and so on (which you can also watch me play on my JTV stream in the about page!). I can’t do lets plays because I don’t do the whole talking thing, plus I don’t have a mic.
Anyway, that’s CTHCC.
One thing to note though is that they decided if you supported them early by buying the game months ago when it wasn’t available on steam – you don’t deserve the game on steam. Whether it’s NyuMedia’s fault or Capcom’s, I don’t really care. The fact is it’s BECAUSE of people like me who bought it when it first was avialable THAT IT IS EVEN ON STEAM now to begin with, so the fact we don’t get a key for ourselves (so the game is easily accessible and also available anywhere we are thanks to the steam cloud) is kind of fucked up. I’m very unhappy with this – but the game itself is still worth getting…but you might want to consider getting it from places that don’t charge you anything – as clearly you’re worth nothing to them, so you should give them nothing in return, if you get my drift.