Hot Japanese Imports: HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable Review

August 10, 2009 - 4:28 pm No Comments

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Adventure, Sim

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HimeHibi Princess Days Portable PSP

Title: HimeHibi Princess Days Portable
Price: $69.99
System(s): PSP
Release Date: July 15, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Takuyo (Takuyo)
ESRB Rating: N/A. CERO B Ages 12+
Pros: Beautiful visuals, very cute and mini-games are tossed in along the way to break things up.
Cons: Incredibly expensive, story is a tad cliched and mini-games don’t happen often enough.
Note: Kanji is used quite frequently, and it is primarily a visual novel with loads of text. Not very import friendly, though Peche’s guide helps.
Overall Score: 8/10

A large part of the appeal of visual novels is the opportunity to live another life. You get placed in a brand new environment filled with potential and opportunity. True, there is a structured path that players are guided along, but choices made during the game and interactions with NPCs effects the ultimate ending.

HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable gives players the chance to live through high school again. Only this time, you get to be something of an idol. Even though you’re still cast as a student, you have the opportunity to change the rules. It is primarily an otome game, but also offers an crusade for players to fight for.

HimeHibi Princess Days Portable

A story that seems made for manga.

HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable starts off simply. Koi Aizaki is attending a normal high school, when one day she’s approached after school by two men in black who simply state that her grandfather needs her. Personally, I was searching for the “run like hell” option, but it didn’t come up. Koi’s cousin Naohito Hayami appears as well, telling her to go ahead, and she goes with them.

She then finds herself at Tenjou Gakuen, a boys high school where her grandpa is head of the board of directors. He wants to make the school co-ed, but is having trouble getting other board members to agree. So, he’s registered Koi at the school to prove them wrong.

At first Koi’s hesitant about the whole plan, but it wouldn’t be much of a game if she just said “No” and returned to her old school. She decides to win over the people at Tenjou Gakuen and prove the school could be just as successful, if not more successful, if it were made co-ed.

HimeHibi Princess Days Portable

Bright, colorful and slightly cliched.

HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable is a successful port of a PS2 game. Takuyo did a good job of adapting it to the PSP. It looks pretty, sounds pretty and is simple to play. On the whole, it’s a good example of a well-executed visual novel, though it does struggle in some areas.

The story is cliched. Any fan of romantic comedy mangas and animes will recognize the situation where a girl is suddenly placed in an environment where she is surrounded by boys and facing incredible odds to help overturn some kind of precedent or prove herself. HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable made me nostalgic for series like Penguin Revolution, Crimson Hero, Hana Yori Dango and Hana-Kimi. It’s good, but predictable. You can pretty much see the twists coming, and you have a general idea of how it all will end.

I was a bit disappointed in the loading times. It seemed like it would take a while to get the game started, to make a save game, to load a save game, etc. It wasn’t horrible or obnoxious, just a tad annoying.

I also found myself yearning for a feature that appears in Idea Factory visual novels. In Idea Factory games, if you quick save before making a choice, decide you didn’t like it and load the quick save, the game will highlight the choice you made last time. I would have loved to see a similar concept implemented here, since there’s so much text to wade through.

HimeHibi Princess Days Portable

HimeHibi is sure to please Shojo fans.

Takuyo knows its target audience. HimeHibi: Princess Days Portable has all of the fundamentals of a romantic comedy/drama manga or anime, so anyone with a good grasp of Japanese who likes those kinds of stories will be hooked. The presentation is gorgeous and it can be quite fun to play. The story setup’s familiar, but once you start playing it’s forgivable.

There’s one – if you can’t read Japanese, don’t even bother looking at HimeHibi. I know it’s pretty and sounds like fun. That’s what lured me in too. While there is voice acting to help you along, it is very easy to get lost in the game. Then, you end up playing the game with Peche’s guide open the entire time so you know exactly what to pick and you pray for CG scenes or mini-games to come along.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables talks about Japan’s other famous cat mascot, Doraemon.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about various video game adaptations of Journey to the West.

Site [Peche] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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