"Cherry Tree High Comedy Club" is an adventure game that has you taking the role of a spunky teenaged girl named Mairu. Mairu is part of a comedy act with her best friend, Hoemi (Hoemi is defiantly Mairu's homey *ba dum tish*) and during a conversation at the café where Hoemi works at we have Mairu telling her about something that happened earlier that day. What happened was that Mairu got a bright idea to bring back an old club called the Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, a place where students could practice their comedy acts. She tries to convince Chitose (of the student council) to let her review the club and gets some good news as she will be allowed to open up the Cherry Tree High Comedy Club... But there is a catch. Mairu has until the start of the next school term to convince four other students to join or otherwise they can't accept her request and the club won't be able to re-open. Mairu finds her first new club member quite easily as she asks Hoemi to join and she accepts. Finding three more members to join is the tough part but it isn't an impossible mission as Mairu is good at spotting potential members. Will Mairu complete her task to revive the Cherry Tree High Comedy Club? (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
|Mairu and Chitose are known as Miley and Octavia in the Americanized translation.|
Back in my old review I went on about how the localization was trying to make this game feel like it was in America and how that didn't work as no matter how you look at this game as it's obviously set in Japan. That problem has been fixed for this version as there is an all-new translation of the game included and it doesn't pretend that this game isn't set in Japan. The location change is not the only thing that's new in this improved translation, the names of the characters are also different as all of their names have been translated into their original names and they've gotten rid of their Americanized names.
The characters having Americanized names was never a problem for me but it was very nice to see them go the full mile in giving you the full Japanese translated experience. One other major thing that is different in this new translation was that some of the jokes have been changed and I didn't find them as funny in the new translation of the game as they just didn't strike me in the same way as the Americanize translation did. I'm not saying that the jokes weren't funny but I did like the Americanized translations jokes better.
I did notice one weird moment during one scene in the new translation and that was that their Americanized names appeared instead of their original names and I'm guessing it was just something that was missed during the spellchecking as it was a very small moment (it happens to the best of us). The Americanized translation hasn't gone away as you can still play it by picking it when you boot up the game (it's marked as "Westernized Translation") and it is not a bad translation at all and it is nice spotting the differences. Having both translations makes this release the definitive version of the game as far as I'm concerned.
The gameplay is a 2D adventure style and you move around the screen by walking left or right much like a platformer. You can run by holding down the enter key but it doesn't really add nor take away from the gameplay experience as it is just there. During your adventures you must walk around talking to your friends and try to convince them to join your club. Not only can you walk around talking to friends but you can also go shopping for new items, go to a café, go to the cinema to watch a movie, and you can even do daytime jobs to help get some money so you can afford to buy stuff. You do need to use money to a certain extent in this game as your character does require books to level up your social skills and you'll also need food to keep your energy up. Another way to earn money is by collecting bottle caps and they can be found on the ground, when you get ten of them you get some money and you can also find other neat stuff on the ground as well that will help you get through the game.
When you start to talk to a friend you get to choose one of many topics to talk about. Certain topics will effect each person depending on if it is a topic they really like or dislike. A good way to learn about what a person likes/dislike is by paying attention to what they do during cut-scenes but if you are anything like me you will just test your luck and pick a topic at random and hope for the best, just make sure to keep down some notes if you found a topic the other characters like/dislike. Another way to help build up relationship skills is by leveling up your social skills by watching TV or reading books about certain subjects. There are even some moments in this game where Mairu will wake up super hyperactive and this is good as your social skills will level up faster while she is in that hyperactive state.
This game has multiple endings depending on how many members you get to join your club. On the first run of the game you'll barely make the goal (if that) as you have to get your relationship level up to level five with all characters and with such low social levels. Great news, the social skills you learn in the game will carry over to the next new game thus giving this game some healthy replay value as you will want to see the best ending. This game doesn't take long to beat as it takes around four hours on one sitting without skipping the cut scenes. Do not worry as it is more fun than it actually sounds and you will be playing this game until you have gotten the best ending.
While this game is an adventure title as you'll find that this game is also very cut scene heavy as well, that isn't a bad thing as each cut scene progresses the story and there were no scenes where it felt like where the game was a waste of time. Graphics in this game use a cute anime/manga look and it works well with the setting. I liked the designs of the backgrounds and locations in this game as I found them to be pretty and go perfectly with what is going on in this game. I wouldn't say that they were overly detailed but they were very charming and good to look at.
Characters are very likable as they all have charming personalities and were all very interesting. Character designs are very good and all of them look unique but there one thing that bothers me and that's when the characters switch sides of the screens during cut scenes. The reason why that bothers me is due to how some characters have writing on their clothing and on one side of the screen you'll see the writing just fine but when they move to the other side of the screen they just flip over the image, when that happens the writing on the clothing is mirrored and it just comes off as very lazy. The soundtrack wasn't very strong in this game and not because the music sounded bad but due to the music not being very memorable as it doesn't grab you and you'll just end up ignoring it.
Overall this is a game I enjoyed back then and a game I still enjoy playing still to this day and I still dust off this title and play it once every year. I do recommend that you check out this game as it makes for a good game to play on a break. Fun adventure.
Game: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club
System: PC (Reviewing Steam version)
Price: $7.99 (by itself)/ $9.99 (As part of "Cherry Tree High Complete Pack") (Steam)