Cherry Tree Comedy Club is the type of Japanese game you never see brought over to English audiences because it’s a type of game rather obscure to the action seeking video game audiences here (at least what you’d think it’s what they are from video game developer decisions), a visual novel, what makes it even more unique is it comes from a small doujin group known as 773.
You are Miley Verisse, the school’s goofball, and your ultimate dream is to become the next great stand up comic to come out of your high school and to get closer to that goal you aspire to revive the CTHCC, the comedy club founded by the famous comedy duo The Grinmeisters. So far you and your best friend are the sole members of the comedy club and you need a minimum of five founding members to create an official school club, so your goal is to recruit at least three more students to get your club up and running. Of course you have your arch nemesis and former friend Octavia Richmond trying to see that it doesn’t get to happen. Via social interaction and coordinating your daily activities, you work towards becoming close friends with potential recruits until they decide to join.
CTHCC is unlike a typical visual novel considering you manipulate your character strategically to achieve the goal of the game. Visual novels tend to be pure dialogue as the story is already made up for the player and the only interaction the player will get goes along the lines of, do action A or action B, and after that the story goes on. This game has you move your character as an 8 bit version of themselves throughout Cherry Tree Town and doing whatever the hell they want (sometimes only if she has the money for it).
There are about four things Miley can do. One of the most important things is she can do several activities to increase her expertise on select subjects, video games, romance, whodunnits, fashion, music, sports, art, travel, history, pets, politics, and cooking. Getting expertise on subjects is of primal importance because the best way to quickly advance the relationship you have with the characters is by discussing subjects with them, but be careful, characters can either love, like, feel neutral, or dislike a subject, and the best way to figure out their feelings on them to select the right conversations is to occasionally chat with them and get notes about it on their profiles. Now knowledge can be gained in a variety of ways whether it’s through reading, watching something, or going to various locations, but the options are as endless as the cash to accomplish some of these activities is limited. You go up to level 5 at the highest for each category starting from this.
The second activity Miley can do is earn money. One of the easiest way to earn it is to run around town and look for yellow circles on the floor. You can get a bottle you’ll collect and once you collect 10 turn them into your dorm manager for a bit of cash. Sometimes you’ll get an old discarded magazine and get a free boost from whatever category it covers, a great free advancement…. or if you’re really unlucky dog poop, but whatever. The only other “jobs” Miley has is making jewelry, cleaning up at a shrine, and later on in the game help at organizing an art museum. But watch your fatigue or Miley screws up whatever she’s doing.
The single most important action however is interacting with other characters, some just drop from the sky while others have to be discovered. I didn’t discover the last character until playing a second time and actually chatting with Harriet Sinclair, the only friend in the club with me. Choose your conversation topics and give them time to chat idly in school and over the phone because the deadline will be close before you know it.
The fourth thing and definitely the last thing you want Miley to do is have her waste her time by going back to her dorm early. If you ever do that you’ll regret that precious lost chance to do something.
With the game explained I’ll go further into my personal opinions about this game. The translation from Japanese to English has been done in a Phoenix Wright fashion, with the story localized in America and with the script occasionally changed to make references and jokes any English gamer can understand. I’m usually against localizing because sometimes I find it extremely unnecessary to deny the fact a game takes place in Japan, but because this series centers around stand up comedy and I’m sure Japanese people don’t know who the hell Dane Cook is any more than we know their stand up comics so it’s fair use. They did a pretty good job explaining why there was a shrine in America and they changed a character’s background pretty well. Basically an air headed foreigner’s ethnicity was changed from American to Swedish, however if you play the game with this knowledge it might be painful seeing how other countries view Americans.
The humor in this game is pretty nice, Miley Verisse is basically the type of overly excited girl often seen in anime and manga, and as a result some pretty funny stuff comes out of her. Also some outrageous shenanigans and subtle manipulation occurs, keep the every day aspect of the game interesting.
Miley’s comment afterward: Those were all rumors I started myself!
The characters you recruit in this game in general are very multi- dimensional and have a story that comes with them. As you get to learn more about them they start revealing themselves to you and you begin to understand them more. It’s sad that Miley on the other hand is more of what I call a “simulation character” on that aspect, a character who is rather undefined compared to the others so the player can feel it’s them in the story. It’s sad you only learn about the person who’s had the most impact on Miley’s life from Harriet and she doesn’t break out from her genki mold even in serious moments.
MILEY WIPE THAT EXPRESSION OFF YOUR FACE DAMMIT.
As for the look and feel of the game it’s very smooth. The background is charming, but a bit too simple in some parts. My only real complain is that I can’t play this game full screen and I’m restricted to a small window. I’ve read many other reviews complaining about the music but I personally like it and always keep it on while playing the game. Different atmospheres and scenes also changes the music so it doesn’t get very repetitive. The controls are simple and allow me what I want to do, all you’ll need to play are your arrow keys, enter, and escape, just perfect.
This game makes it easier to attain the best ending by saving your info on likes and dislikes of potential recruits as well as all the gains you’ve made with your repertoire. I still haven’t attained it, but I know it’ll be worth it. Honestly I really want a second Cherry Tree High Comedy Club game where you manage the club that time around, but whether or not that’ll happen depends on the support the game gets. Here’s my first ending.
And with that I give Cherry Tree High Comedy Club an 8/10.