By Dalton McClain / May 9th, 2019
|Title||Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.6 Tsumihoroboshi|
|Release Date||June 14th, 2018|
Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.6 Tsumihoroboshi (boy that’s a mouthful), is the latest chapter of the Higurashi When They Cry Hou series. These are based off the original Higurashi When They Cry series of visual novels, that have received a whole new translation and various other upgrades. The thought of playing the VN’s had crossed my mind from time to time, seeing as I’m a fan of the anime series, but now I’m finally getting to jump in head first. So was this game all I thought it would be?
Well, let’s get a negative out of the way first. Let’s just say I’m really glad that I got to play this game with the updated sprites. I think they’re a vast improvement over the previous character models that I’d seen while looking at the improvements. They look closer to their anime counterparts, and are much more visually appealing. I also have a problem with the UI, but that could be more of a personal problem as I don’t like the UI of most Visual Novels. To me it looks bland and kind of lifeless. The text is big and easy to read, but the UI itself just looks generic and uninspired. What doesn’t look bad, however, are the backgrounds. As a huge horror fan, I was really drawn in by how the background sets the mood of the VN perfectly. I don’t know the technical terms of it, but the blurred and kind of scratchy backgrounds are perfect for setting the mood of something like this. It gives the sense of calmness, with just that tinge of unease and I really have to applaud them for that. I don’t have much else to say in this department, the art is really good and the background work really is something to behold for a horror fan such as myself. I would just highly recommend keeping the updated models on.
Speaking of my inner horror fan loving something, let’s talk about the sound design. Higurashi When They Cry has been described as a “sound novel”, meaning it relies heavily on its sound effects and music as opposed to having voice acting. I have a love/hate relationship with this style. Sometimes it’s used really well, but others it’s just assaulting my ears with random explosions and screeching noises. I think Higurashi When They Cry Hou hits almost a good blend, though it does tend to be a bit much after a while. However, the music is really top notch. Especially anything with a synth and a guitar, those are especially top notch. I definitely recommend playing this game (as well as most horror games) with headphones on for the best experience. The daunting tones will really get to you after a while.
The mechanics are pretty simple here so I won’t go into too much detail. You don’t have choices, so it’s a very linear game and most of the time you’ll just be reading. The game supports four different resolutions with up-scaling: 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768, and full screen. However, since this is an older title, all of them will be in a 4:3 aspect ratio. You can hide the UI and text at will and this leads to some really nice capture moments. It’s a serviceable UI which, while looking a little boring, does the job it’s intended to do quite well. There are very few, if any, typos and everything looks to be working as intended.
Finally we get to the story which, to be honest, was the hardest part for me. I hadn’t played the other titles, I just watched the anime. So I had to do a bit of research from people who had previously played the other parts. Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.6 Tsumihoroboshi is an answer arc, as the whole series is split into a series of question and answer arcs. This arc is the answer arc to the first arc Onikakushi-hen. Comparing it to the anime, it seems to be a little more tame, at least this arc, though it does have some fun twists and turns that I never saw coming. You follow Keiichi Maebara, a new kid in Hinamizawa, and his group of friends in 1980s Japan. Every four years, one person is murdered and one person goes missing just before the Watanagashi Festival. It’s a really interesting story that has a few genuinely good surprises in it. I really enjoyed my time with the game.
After playing for roughly 10ish hours, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game. There isn’t much in the way of replay value since the game is very linear, but that’s in no way a detriment to the game. For about $4 a chapter you get 10+ hours of enjoyment per chapter. If you ask me, I’d definitely try to get into this series if you can. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some catching up to do.
Review copy provided by the publisher
07th ExpansionHigurashi When They Cry Hou - Ch.6 TsumihoroboshiMangaGamer