By Nick Benefield / March 25th, 2019
|Title||Summer Lesson: Hikari Miyamoto|
|Developer||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Publisher||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Release Date||April 27th, 2017|
|Age Rating||CERO C (15+)|
To quote Nintendo’s bold line of 2004 advertisements for the Nintendo DS, “Touching is Good”. If by chance this brazen idea resonates with you and you happen to own a PSVR headset, Summer Lesson: Hikari Miyamoto should be of great interest to you. Summer Lesson began its life as a simple VR tech demo created by the Tekken Project Team back in 2015. Due to a high volume of fan requests in Japan, the game eventually saw a full retail release. Several English releases would follow in Southeast Asia, each of them focusing on a single character from the original title. These games (Summer Lesson: Hikari Miyamoto, Allison Snow, and Chisato Shinjo) put players in the role of a private tutor who’s been tasked with training a high-school student. You are given one week to transform them from airheads into scholars. Along the way, you’ll find yourself in some pretty intimate situations and will get to experience all of this through your own eyes (sort of). For the purposes of this review, I’m specifically looking at the Asia release of the Hikari Miyamoto title. This copy comes with all of the available DLC on the disc itself and includes English subtitles.
It’s worth starting things out by mentioning that I played this using a regular PS4 Slim model and a ZVR2 model PSVR headset. Even running on lesser hardware, I encountered no noticeable issues. Since this game has yet to see a release in North America, there is little to no documentation on how to play. The game itself does not come with a manual or ‘how to play’ menu option, but there are several resources available online put together by others who have imported and played the game. There are a number of different gameplay elements that you’ll need to get used to should you choose to give this a try. I’ll do my best to describe each of them in detail.
Summer Lesson: Hikari Miyamoto is divided into eight in-game days, of which six are actually playable. The first and last days are your introduction and conclusion days, so I will ignore those for now. Each morning begins at 09:00 with you sitting in an empty cafe planning out your lessons and conversations for the day. During this time, your main focus will be to choose a lesson plan. There are a number of different lessons to choose from each day ranging from reading, to solving puzzles, to outdoor exercise. The purpose of each is to improve several of Hikari’s five basic skills: determination, intelligence, happiness, insight, and creativity. Each activity will raise exactly two skill levels and there exists an activity for each combination of the five. Aside from the lesson planning, you’ll also have the opportunity to review Hikari’s current progress and chat with her using text messages.
From the cafe, you head straight to Hikari’s home at around 10:00 and begin your planned lesson for the day. While Hikari is performing activities for her lessons, it’s your job to help guide her along by choosing one of three randomized teaching techniques. If you choose the right technique, Hikari’s progress for that lesson will be heightened. If you choose a mediocre technique, she will still learn, but at a stunted rate. Choosing the most inappropriate technique of the three will result in little to no progress. It’s worth noting that the correct choice will differ depending on the type of lesson and that the options tend to change each time (though they follow a pattern). I found myself restarting the game more than once after picking a less than favorable option. The game only saves your progress after a day of lessons has been completed, so restarting like this is a valid option if you want to ensure that you make the best choices.
The lessons themselves are actually split into two pieces with a break in between. You only get to see and influence the first half of each lesson, but the break periods offer something a bit different. During these breaks, you can start conversations with Hikari about a variety of topics. Depending on the topic that your choose here and any pre-selected topics that you choose during your lesson planning, you can affect Hikari’s “Guts” meter which affects how fast Hikari will learn. This meter (which is essentially just Hikari’s level of focus) will increase or decrease based on which conversation topics you use and which ones you’ve planned prior to the lesson. Hikari’s responses will obviously differ depending on the topic, but there are only a set number of them and they will be the same each playthrough. These events are a nice change of pace and offer a bit of the fan-service that you’d expect, but the “Second Feel” DLC content discussed below offers so much more.
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