Cherry Tree High Comedy Club
Available on Steam here.
The premise to Cherry Tree High Comedy Club should be familiar to anyone who has watched a lot of anime. You are a high school student who wants to start an unusual school club – in this case, a comedy club. Unfortunately, the school rules require a minimum of five members for a club to gain official status (i.e. receive funding & a club room on campus) and you only have two people so far (yourself and your roommate). Oh and you’ve only got a little over a month to come up with three more members before the submission deadline has passed.
Gameplay is very similar to the non-combat portions of Persona 3 & 4. If you were ever interested in trying out a Japanese dating sim but weren’t interested in the whole romance aspect, Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is for you – the game is about funny dialogue & making friends, not finding potential dates. Your goal is to reach maximum friendship level with at least 3 people, at which point, they’ll agree to join your club. You do this by spending time with them and talking with them. Each potential club recruit has topics that they like to talk about and others that they don’t so choosing topics that match their personality is key to success. Also, your character has a score in each conversation topic that can be increased by doing various activities – for example, spending time & money at the arcade will increase your skill at talking about video games. Oh and to make things a little harder, you also have to keep track of your money, your fatigue level, and your homework assignments.
There isn’t much in the way of depth to the gameplay so luckily the story & writing is top-notch. Nyu Media teamed up with Tezuka Productions of Phoenix Wright fame for the translation and it shows. Like the Phoenix Wright series, Cherry Tree High School’s dialogue is light, fun, and frequently funny, and is definitely the highlight of the game.
Visuals & music are pretty good, although limited in quantity. Resolution options are limited (640×480), however you can switch to full-screen mode by pressing Alt+Enter. Controls can be edited by pressing F1.
The game is fairly short and should only take a few hours to complete but after you beat it, you unlock a New Game+ mode where your stats carry over (thus making it much easier to befriend everyone in the time given). All in all, I’ve enjoyed my time with Cherry Tree High Comedy Club but it’s not for everyone. Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is just one step away from being a visual novel so if you want action & deep gameplay, look elsewhere. If you like slice-of-life animes & fun well written dialogue, this is your game.