Under Your Radar: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club

Why yes, I believe I am a bad enough dude to rescue the president.

Radar Logo 2

CTHCC Banner

Taking a break from all of the harem anime being reviewed, this time we’ll be covering Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, CTHCC for short (Japanese title: Manzai Kenkyūbu, meaning “Comedy Research Club”, Manken for short), which is a dōjin game by 773 (pronounced “nanami”) that was published in English by Nyu Media (who handled Fairy Bloom Freesia) with the help of Capcom. Tezuka Productions, of Ace Attorney fame, assisted with the localization process.

The premise behind the game is simple. Miley Verisee wants to create a comedy club in her last year of school, but her rival (the student council president) points out that she’s three members short of the minimum required, and have just over a month to amass said members. The game then tosses you right into things, having you manage your time to keep yourself on top of your schoolwork and become close enough friends to all of the candidates to get three or more of the six to join in time.

CTHCC Screenshot 1

Doing so requires learning about a variety of conversation topics, raising your level for each with a level cap of 5. Then you must learn what your targets like and dislike so you can focus specifically on the stuff they enjoy and can quickly get them to join your club. That’s important, since you cannot repeat topics with the same target, and every attempt advances the clock. If you fail, any members you’ve recruited get mad at you and you’re kicked to the title screen. If you succeed without getting all possible members, you get a normal ending where the club is created and the series ends on a sequel hook with your rival saying to herself that you’ve forgotten something. If you get all of the members, you get the same ending with a few additions that give it a more solid conclusion.

CTHCC Screenshot 2

The localization work for the game leaves little room to complain, with every line invoking the same feel as their Japanese counterparts and every name being a similar hidden joke as the equivalent Japanese name. In addition, every distinctly Japanese element is explained away at some point in the English release. There were a handful of consistency issues, however. They make it clear that Miley’s on her last year, but she’s in her third year. Japanese high schools are three years long, but North Amrican high schools are four years, which deals a blow to their attempt to change the setting to “somewhere in America” as they claim on the English website for the title. An internal consistency issue regarding the same point is that they state, at one point, that the school in question is irregular for being a five-year school. This would put Miley at the half-way point of her high school career, not the end.

There were a few other minor issues as well. Miley walks way too slowly in-game and I had to throw out a random guess at how to run (it worked). In addition, you cannot rebind the keys, which is annoying when putting a 360 controller into the USB port before start-up makes the buttons not match the usual convention of A to confirm and B to cancel. Luckily the game is not action-oriented, or muscle memory would make it unplayable.

CTHCC Screenshot 3

Upon playing with a New Game Plus, I was able to get all potential members in half of the time allotted. I would have appreciated a quick and easy way to skip to the end of the game after that, but I ended up having to just spend the remaining time grinding. Another issue is that collecting bottles off of the ground gives way too little return for a lot of work, which is realistic but aggravating.

One final problem was the price tag. The game can be beaten in a few hours, yet it costs $7.99. I got it at a discount, and I certainly got my $4 of entertainment, and would have been fine paying $5, but $8 is a bit much. All of these are just relatively minor blemishes of an all-around decent experience, however, and it’s available on Steam, so you’ll get plenty of chances for a discount. Still, for consistency, I have to mention that I severely penalized Who’s That Flying?! for not being good value for money at full price, so I should do the same here. While this game goes on a bit longer, it doesn’t have any replay value unless you fail, so it balances out to being the same problem.

The game is available on Steam, for direct download, and at a few other online retailers.

Verdict

This was enjoyable, and I’d recommend it, but most certainly not at that price. Grab it during the next Steam sale and you’ll have fun. As much as I’d love to give this an Unjust, precedent says I have to give it this score:

Rightful

And, seeing as I’m a law student in a country that has common law/case law in play, I’m not one to go against precedent. Just know that this is the same sort of Rightful given to Who’s That Flying?! in that it’s more than worth it if discounted. You’ll probably have plenty of reservations at full price, however.

There was once a girl named Miley Verisee who loved to laugh.

Ever since she was young, she enjoyed making other people smile.
And so, she decided to form a comedy duo like her heroines, the Grinmeisters, so she could bring laughter to everyone.
And after many trials and tribulations, she revived the CTHCC.
Of course, her problems didn’t end there…

But that’s another story.

SAKINOTE: Nyu Media has issued me a review copy of Croixleur, which comes out on the 24th. If I manage to beat the game by then, I’ll be reviewing that instead of the series pictured in this teaser, instead reviewing that immediately afterward.

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