Starry Sky Series
Platform: PC & PSP
Genre: Otome, visual novel, shoujo games, slice of life
There’s a lot of hype lately about the Starry Sky franchise, I can certainly feel it in the tumblr-sphere and it’s been circulating like mad. Released in 2009 by Honey-Bee, Starry☆Sky~in Spring~ is the first game followed by summer, autumn, winter. It now has further expansions like ‘after spring’ and well, I’m almost thoroughly confused. In this post I’ll attempt to cover Starry Sky in a general manner as well as focusing the ‘In Spring~’ game. This will also be M.Weekend’s first proper game related post. Hurrah!
First of all, I think Starry Sky boomed in the english-speaking world when the anime came out. The story, for an otome series is frankly, to me, quite sweet and absolutely perfect for it’s genre. Starry Sky focuses on a harem of one girl(who’s called Tsukiko Yahisa, but you can change her name)and 12 guys with each guy’s personality representing the 12 members of the Western Zodiac. It’s a neat idea to have the otome game player to seek out their love interests via zodiac personalities, it very reminiscent of Fruits Basket which uses the Chinese zodiac. It’s called Starry Sky because of the zodiac constellation theme(i assume) and the fact that everyone attends an Astronomy school which was formally only for boys(hence only one girl, you, da playa).
Each game season you get three love interests. Allow me to introduce to you formally the men of the ‘in spring~’ version. From right to left: Yoh Tomoe(capricorn), Kanata Nanami(pisces) and Suzuya Tohzuki(cancer):
I’m really un-experienced in otome games and this is the first ever otome game I’ve tried. The entire ‘game’ concentrates on story-telling and I think my finger almost broke halfway just by clicking non-stop for the characters to keep talking. One might even call it excruciatingly boring, it’s a real visual novel really.
Overall you get about more or less 10 times where you can actually pick an option to delve deeper with a love interest. There’s a total of 4 outcomes, you either end up just being friends or end up with one of them. However, 95% of the time is the story progression which is the same, except you get a few private scenes with a dude you chose to chase. Here are a few screenies of some doki-doki scenes for each character:
The story, for an otome series to me, frankly, is sweet and absolutely perfect for it’s genre(i love repeating myself). It stresses on friendship the most and interacting with various personalities. It sounds rather normal, but I really enjoyed the story, even the story-telling is executed nicely too. The whole game lasts for about 6-10 hours if you go through the game properly like I did. But if you opt to speed through it you can get it done by 3-5 hours per-ending. There’s also an option to speed through it really quickly, but you can only use this feature once you’ve unlocked the particular path you wish to skip, this would make the gameplay last about 2-3 hours.
Some people have commented that the budget had been cut for the character animation, which they claim is evident because the characters don’t blink. Since I rarely review anime and such, I won’t critic in this area too much for my lack of expertise.
Instead, I’ll make it up by just telling you that each character have the ability to produce all the main expressions – anger, happiness, embarrassment, surprise etc. They have about 3 poses and 2 costumes in total which is rather little to me, wish there were more, but no can do. Here’s a two screenies of a taste of what will happen throughout the game, the background changes depending on where you are too. A lot of repetition basically.
English is used heavily in the game to write these little blurbs/sentence for what I believe to be creative pieces of writing. The english used is not perfect, in fact, there are tons of mistakes, but I’ve always found the outcome rather charming and interesting.
The strongest aspect of the ‘Starry☆Sky~in Spring~’ is the music/soundtrack of the entire game, it is absolutely fantastic. I went on YouTube to listen to the opening themes of summer, autumn, and winter and they are very well top-notch to my own ears. The opening of ‘in spring’ is “Starry Sky” by Midorikawa Hikaru and it’s an original song created for the Starry Sky franchise. It sounds like school-life and it reminds me of memories made, which is very nostalgic. I’ve always found stars quite nostalgic and slightly sad. A perfect opening for the entire franchise.
The art of the series is lovely, crisp and clean and it’ll definitely appeal to the audience in which Honey-Bee is looking for. I know I love it & I wish I could wear awesome uniforms like them.
Overall, the whole experience was quite pleasant, I got absorbed into the story after 1-2 hours and I couldn’t stop. It has wonderful progression, I didn’t like Yoh’s character in the beginning but he gradually became more likable for me. It’s a good otome game for beginners :))). If I ever do play another, I’d like to try one that is stat & point based for more interesting gameplay! I’ll probably talk about the anime & manga in the future. I’ve been eying their soundtrack CD on YesAsia.com for a week now. Til’ next time!
Overall rating & any additional comments: 4.5/5, just note that if you’re an RPG fan you’re very likely to be disappointed