Review by tarot

Reviewed: 10/06/01 | Updated: 10/06/01

average novel game

Harusame Youbi (''Day of Spring Rain'') is Sim's next work after their somewhat acclaimed ''Maboroshi Tsukiyo'' game (''Phantom Moonlit Night''). This one is released by NEC Interchannel.

The first and foremost thing I need to say is that this is a Japanese ''novel adventure'' game. High proficiency in reading the Japanese language is an absolute prerequisite for getting anything out of this game. If you cannot read the Japanese language comfortably, you may want to continue reading this review to satisfy your curiousity, but do not buy this game and do not try to play it, for it will be pointless. Playing this game is like reading a fiction book, with voices, music and graphics, and a few choices occasionally. So if you can't read the language, it will be futile.

The game is set in a Japanese onsen-ryoukan (hot spring inn). The player character is working for three weeks in the inn, which belongs to his auntie. There you meet several girls, workers or customers at the inn. Some of the stories involve Japanese mysticism and supernatural things; it's not an entirely realistic story like Maison Ikkoku.

While Mabotsuki was acclaimed for being a very ''moving'' game, Harusame belongs to the more relaxing and lightly heartwarming type. The player doesn't go through the intense emotional experience in Mabotsuki, but instead he sees a passing part of Japanese culture closely tied with nature and human relationships.

The girls look nice and the graphics are okay. The music is okay too. The voice acting is quite good.

Overall, the volume of the game is smaller (than Mabotsuki), and the experience is less intense, so I (as well as many Japanese players) would rate the game as just average. The game does accomplish to some degree what it tries to do, that is, to offer a relaxing, heartwarming experience and to show something about the traditional onses-ryoukan, one aspect of Japanese culture.

There are better novel-adventure games, such as those from Kid. If you can't read Japanese, stay away from this genre and go play shooters (which are excellent) on your DC. If you can read Japanese, get the games from Kid first: Never 7, Memories Off, Close To, etc. Then get Mabotsuki, Canvas, Kanon, etc. If you still have money and time left and you still want more novel games, this one will then be a reasonable choice. Unless you for some reason has a huge interest in traditional Japanese culture and mysticism, in which case you should probably place a higher priority on this game.

Rating: 6

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