Comedy fanatic and high school student Miley Verisse has decided to set up a comedy club in her school, but her nemesis and the head of the student council, Octavia Richmond, isn’t about to make things easy… The school rules require a minimum of 5 students to set up a new club and Miley is 3 people short! Spring break has just started and Miley has until the end of April to recruit the 3 new members she needs to start the club or Octavia will have the last laugh!
What We Think
Though the action can get repetitive, CTHCC is a bright, well-detailed and entertaining tale.
Miley’s days are numbered, and the task of assembling the required members takes a lot of effort. Each day is broken into Morning, Noon and Evening, and one significant action can be performed in each block. Miley must strike a balance between learning, doing homework, working part time jobs and chatting with classmates, all the while ensuring that she’s getting enough rest to ward off stress.
Activities like reading magazines, operating crane games, seeing guest lecturers will increase Miley’s understanding of topics. This in turn makes her chats on a given topic more effective, making it easier to get closer to potential club mates. These activities cost money, though, so Miley may need to take on odd jobs which will also advance the calendar.
“Hanging out” is the way to get closer to friends, but for the best results the key is knowing who is interested in which topics. Random things your chums say in passing can offer up hints regarding their interests, so it’s best to chit-chat with everyone you can before committing to an activity that will end a segment of the day. While it doesn’t hurt to have an awkward conversation, it eats up a third of Miley’s day and for little to no gain.
The First Rule of Comedy Club: Talk About Comedy Club. And Everything Else. At Length.
Be warned: there is a ton of dialogue in this game. Though your instinct may be to mash the enter key to blast through a story section, you run the risk of bypassing useful hints. The action sections of the game become a dance of lather, rinse, repeat while zeroing in on the last few meaningful chats with prospective inductees.
Reaching a new level of friendship results in a staged discussion in which the friend reveals more about herself. Certain calendar days also result in staged events, all of which bring more to read. Fortunately, the story is light, humorous, and loaded with well written characters.
Meanwhile, Somewhere In
The original Japanese version of Cherry Tree High Comedy Club was largely designed by one programmer known as Hizume, and several other members of 773 games who were called in to create various elements of the game. Manken, (Comedy Research Club) was produced as a Japanese language game set in a fictional modern day Japanese city. Cherry Tree High Comedy Club takes place somewhere in a fictional American town, and surrounds the affairs of several American high school students.
While some companies will localize a game, the team behind CTHCC decided to westernize: character names, food names, locations and some humor are replaced to make the game feel more like a North American experience. Nyu Media employed the assistance of Tezuka productions (of Phoenix Wright fame) to assist in the gargantuan task of not only translating, but also making western sense of the over 4500 lines of dialogue present in the game.
The results? Surprisingly, the bases are well covered. The main plot points remain unchanged, and the language never feels out of place or awkward. Even the presence of a Shinto shrine in the midst of an American city is adeptly handled (a gift from the town’s Japanese sister-city, natch). The one standout would have to be Stan the Comedy Man, who walks around town in a full-on kimono. While many modern celebrities in Japan may adorn themselves in such a fashion, there really is no such precedent in American pop culture. Ultimately, those familiar with modern-day Japan will not be fooled, but it isn’t game-changing enough to derail the narrative.
Dying Club Is Easy
The manga-style visuals are crisp and presented as interchanging stills when characters are in a dialogue. Each character has a great variety of different emotions, so even as stills, the verbal exchanges feel fairly animated. While these all look great, several of the characters wear t-shirts with writing on them and unfortunately, in cases where the “flip” version of a still is presented, the lettering flips as well. It’s a small matter, but it happens often enough that it is hard to miss.
The action can feel downright tedious at times, but the story is well written, and the translation feels completely flawless. There are several save slots to use, and this is the only real way to rectify a bad stretch of failed conversation attempts. There are also several possible endings, though playing through once will likely be all many players will attempt.
Get Cherry Tree High Comedy Club on Steam, GamersGate an the Capcom store.