Cherry Tree High Comedy Club has sat in the pile of games I was not sure about for roughly 1.5 years. Not because of anything having to do with its quality, I enjoyed the characters and writing a good amount, but I could not stand to go through its stat driven gameplay, as I quickly become obsessive about that sort of thing. As such, I chose to look at its sequel, a kinetic visual novel, and an experience I would describe as little more than flaccid.
Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! Review
Publisher: Nyu Media
After successfully establishing a comedy club at her high school, the main character of Mairu now needs to deal with managing the club, and work on using the club to develop her comedic abilities. At least that is the premise offered by the game, as very little happens throughout its three hour run time. Mairu finds a teacher to manage the club, then she meets Ai, an undercover teenage idol, and the two hit it off. There is some resistance from Mairu’s roommate Hoemi and her friend turned rival, Imari, though it does not amount to much, nor does the story amount to anything either.
I know that this is standard in any story that labels itself as a ‘slice of life’, but what little story there is bore me throughout the game, and there really was nothing to satiate that beyond the characters and dialog. With just about everyone being a well established archetype, the dialog was the only thing to maintain my interest in the game, and while it can warrant a couple chuckles throughout, that’s about it. No character growth occurs beyond the introduction of a few new ones, as it all plays out so predictably and safely that I wonder why this story was even told other than to set the stage for a fully fledged title, instead of this kinetic, linear, decision free, visual novel. You simply choose option in the menu, select what episode you want to play, and enjoy the game at a miniscule resolution, as it runs on RPG Maker for some reason.
I hate to say this, but I really see little reason for this to be a game. While some could point to the audiovisual elements of the game, the droning upbeat music began annoying me about a third of the way through. The visuals are mostly recycled from the first game, and while I could point out how the backgrounds look nice, that the character portraits can be expressive as well as endearing, or how the barely used sprites look quite good, nothing seems to warrant or demand this be a visual novel. If anything, I could see it working better as either a manga or simply a light novel with drawings occasionally inserted at key moments.
With my points already made in under five hundred words, I really have nothing to say about Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! It is a game about a comedy club that seldom showcases proper comedy, and despite a chipper and happy tone, it reminded me of the tropes, pacing, and general feeling that had me stop doing anime reviews. Nothing about it is truly bad, but to get to its collection of humorous lines and fun character play, there is a lot of fluff that must be drudged through. The story goes nowhere, the conflict is basically nonexistent, and I see little to no reason for this to be a visual novel, let alone a game in general. It neither takes advantage of the medium, or tell a quality story, and I was left feeling nothing towards the the title as such.