Warning: Lengthy review incoming!
Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is an interactive visual novel with the gameplay of a dating simulator.
Before I get into the review, I want you to know, that I played the westernized localization of the game. I’m going to talk about this in a little bit more detail at a later point of this review.
You play as Miley Verisse, a young comedy fanatic, who’s planning on forming her very own Comedy Club in her school. Miley’s roommate has already been compelled to join the club, but the problem is that school clubs have a minimum number of required members, which means that Miley has to find three more people to join her club until the end of the club trial period. That means you’ve got two months to manipulate and befriend as many people as possible.
This is where the dating simulator gameplay comes in.
There are six different characters that can be recruited and you befriend them by talking to them about different topics. You raise your skill levels by reading magazines or visiting places and occasionally you can also find random stuff on the ground that raises your skills as well. The higher your skill for “fashion” for example is, the more the friendship level of a character will be raised when talking to them about this topic.
This type of gameplay can get a bit repetitive, since you do the same thing every day. You get up, talk to a character, talk to another character, watch some TV and the day is over. Repeat until some special event happens or until the friendship level of a character rises.
To get a character to join your club you have to get them to friendship level 5, which is pretty much impossible to do for all 6 characters in the first playthrough. Fortunately there is a new game+, which allows you to keep all your skills and only resets your friendship levels.
The whole game has a lot of jokes, because, you know… Miley’s a comedy enthusiast and stuff.
There were some jokes that are right up my alley that I found really amusing and then there were some others that just fell flat for me.
The characters are rather diverse and even though some of them seem pretty spineless in the beginning, you find out that they have a really interesting background story after befriending them. On the other hand, there are also some characters that still seem rather spineless after you convince them to join your club and their background story is by far not as interesting as you’d expect.
A big problem I had with the game is, that it only supports a resolution of 640x480 and if you want to play it in fullscreen mode, the game window gets stretched to fit the height of your screen and you get two beautiful black bars next to the game to fill your screen. The settings of the game are also pretty limited, but hey, it’s a visual novel and not some fancy AAA game title, so I guess that’s expectable.
At the time I bought this game, no original version was available in English, only the westernized version, with different names and locations.
With the release of the sequel of Cherry Tree High Comedy Club on Steam we finally get to play the game in English with the original names and the same places as in the Japanese version of the game.
For example, Miley turns into Mairu and Cindy suddenly is called Haru. Also, chilli dogs turn into rice omelets, because, you know, western people only know chilly dogs and can’t comprehend rice omelets or something.
All those extremely western sounding names feel a bit out of place, because everything feels so Japanese and all those cherry trees in the background for example definitely don’t make me feel like I’m in the US either.
I’m going to be completely honest with you: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club was the first visual novel I ever played, so I might judge this game a lot differently than some of you visual novel veterans out there but for someone new to this type of medium, this game was a really good entry point and even if you’re usually not a big fan of those type of games, you might still enjoy all those cute characters and the nice setting.
The multiple endings and the new game+ give the rather short game some replayability, since you will not be satisfied with only knowing the background story of for example 3 of the characters but you will want to know the background story of all of them, even though they might not be as interesting as you’d expect.
All in all, Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is a pretty decent visual novel for veterans and casuals in this medium. It might have its flaws but it is still a really enjoyable game to waste some time with.
If you’re a diehard action fan who needs explosions, headshots and a lot of gore to enjoy a video game, or someone who detests reading and dislikes games that heavily rely on text in general, you might want to sit this one out.
Otherwise:Should you play Cherry Tree High Comedy Club?
Yes. Yes you should.