Important Importables: Girls RPG: Cinderellife

May 20, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Girls RPG: Cinderellife

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Japan gets weird games. It’s the country that’s brought us Katamari Damacy, Muscle March, LSD (the video game), Cho Aniki and let’s not forget Duel Love.

So just when you think they shouldn’t be able to surprise us anymore, they do. Which brings us to Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife, a simulation/RPG about becoming a hostess in a hostess bar. By the way, it was initially designed for young girls. Which is why today we’re going to look at it and why we’ll probably never see it released outside Japan.

What’s Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife?

Well, initially Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife was a mobile game. Level-5 created Kyabajoppi for cell phones. It was a game where people created a custom hostess and had her work in a bar, serving customers. Some of the customers were even famous characters from manga or anime. It was a very casual endeavor, but worked well. So Level-5 decided to beef up the experience and bring the simulation to the 3DS as Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife.

The handheld adaptation was designed to have more of a story to it and more motivation to keep playing and doing well. Players’ avatar is a young woman who comes to the city of Neo-Ginza in the hopes of transforming from an ordinary, girl-next-door into a princess. Which means working in the hostess bar/club The Castle, I guess. Her goal is to become The Castle’s number one hostess, which means impressing customers so they’ll order expensive items. Doing well levels up her abilities and earns her money, which means she’ll be able to get better clothes and such, as well as rise in popularity. The hostess can also explore Neo-Ginza when she’s not working, and even use spare money to improve her apartment.

The general point is to spend days making your avatar look cool. When night comes around, you go to work and talk to two or three visitors. You listen to what they say, say what they want to hear and then they’ll buy stuff from the bar and like you. Yes, that’s kind-of creepy. That happens for the entire rest of the game, with occasional special events happening as your character rises in popularity.

So, WHY won’t North America ever see Cinderellife?

Oh, you mean aside from the fact that this is a hostess simulator? Well, that’s probably the least if this game’s worries, if you can believe it.

Let’s start with the big reason – it didn’t sell well in Japan. In it’s first week, only just over 9,500 copies were sold. That’s not a good thing. If it isn’t selling in the one country where the concept should appeal to people, then no company’s going to want to take a chance on releasing this niche game in other regions where it’d be even more of an oddity.

Then, there’s the concept. This is a hostess simulator. Your goal is to make your avatar the best hostess in Japan. Now, if this were a mature game or a mini-game in a larger game like Yakuza, that’d be no big deal. But the whole point of this game is to become a hostess in a bar, hanging on men’s every words and getting them to buy drinks and stuff. It’s the kind of niche game that’d really only work in Japan, but it’s not even working there.

Finally, there are the character cameos. A few famous video game, manga and anime characters come into the bar where your hostess works. Three of the guests, for example, are Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, Lupin III from Lupin III and Endou from Inazuma Eleven. Now, the last cameo is no problem since both Girls RPG and Inazuma Eleven are Level-5 games, but getting permission to use those other characters in other regions could be a licensing fiasco since different companies hold the rights for them outside of Japan. (That’s the reason why we never got the fantastic Jump Ultimate Stars DS game – licensing nightmare!)

All this means no Cinderellife for us. Sorry if it looked interesting or funny, but it isn’t going to happen. The only way we’ll be able to play it is if some third party company decides to release a region-free adapter for the 3DS that would let us play games from other regions.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Kairosoft.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Gunner’s Heart.

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