Otome Game Review: Hoshikuzu Heliograph

So does anyone still remember the Starry Sky games? 😅 Well turns out the writer and artist formed their own company called Animal Planet and decided to release a game extremely similar to it, featuring childhood friends on Pixiv’s doujin site called Booth. I’ve been following them for a few years as they released stuff like artworks and drama CDs but they finally managed to release a partially voiced game. The story takes place on this turbo inaka island, that’s so inaka that the kids literally need to take a boat to school that only runs 4 times a day. Our heroine Mishio Aika is in her senior year of high school and like most other classmates, she is thinking about leaving the island to go to university. She also has 2 childhood friends who as the template has it, have loved her forever though one is not very honest with his feelings. In addition childhood friend #3, who is a few years older, returns to the island after finishing his college studies and becomes their homeroom teacher. There’s a couple other characters who join the cast but at the moment they do not have a release date or voices in the game but maybe one day…

Narumi Subaru – Remember Suzuya from Starry Sky? The childhood friend who always takes care of the heroine, but neither of them realize their feelings until the very end because they’re too constipated in their childhood friend trope. Well Subaru is literally this. He’s also had some family issues with his parents divorcing, leaving the island, his mom going off and abandoning him and his 2 8year old twin siblings and leaving him with his grandparents. So he’s basically so busy taking care of others, he never really thinks about himself to the point that he’s actually dated quite a lot of girls because he would basically say “ok” to any girl who would ask him out. That said him “going out” with someone was no different than just being friends and most girls would break up with him instantly because they found him extremely boring (and the fact that he was basically clingy to Aika the entire time while dating them lmfao.) 🙄 Aika of course is too busy being sad because “oh noes when I leave the island we’ll all be separated cause Subaru wants to stay and be a doctor!!” I guess I’ll never understand that inaka feel since it’s totally normal in America to basically grow up and immediately move out elsewhere based on where you can even find a job.

Anyways, eventually Aika realizes that she loves Subaru, but when she attempts to confess to him, he’s a chicken and basically avoids and runs away lmfao. Aika starts to think he has no feelings for her beyond childhood friends and after the winter festival concert, she decides to just confess her feelings anyway even if he will reject her. I guess by then Subaru grows a pair and stops running away from himself, decides to accept her feelings and decides he will go to college away from the island, become a doctor and return. And so a few years later they all move into the same apartment building while studying in Tokyo but the residual constipated relationship somehow keeps them from doing anything actual lovers do…so once they return to the island they finally decide to kiss each other. 🤣🤣 In the bad end, Subaru beats around the bush too long, and Nachi SWOOPS in and NTRS him and 4 years later announces that he and Aika are getting married. m9(^Д^)プギャー!! Ugh there is nothing more I hate than a character who is emotionally constipated so that bad end was well deserved lmao.

Kougami Nachi – I normally don’t really care for the sports baka type, but Nachi was so much sweeter and caring for Aika. He may not be there making her bentos and taking care of her when she’s sick, but he absolutely notices when she’s feeling down and is always paying attention to her actual feelings rather than just doing stereotypical “mom” type stuff that Subaru was doing. He confesses to Aika early on that he loves her more than a childhood friend when she tells him to leave the island and be a soccer player ..but he just wants to be with her. After this it’s a little awkward but they continue acting normal except that of course Aika starts to get the dokis for Nachi but before she can come to realization of her feelings, Nachi goes off to a training camp for becoming a professional soccer player. When he comes back he says it’s ok if his love is one sided because he likes her as both as childhood friend and as a woman…but by now Aika realizes the feeling is mutual. ノ(。A。)ヽ So then at the winter festival everyone lets them go off alone together where she confesses that she loves him. And then it ends! Yet ironically in the bad end, it’s all dragged out about how she’s too chicken to tell her feelings to him…and then it shows a flash forward to 5 years later where he’s a successful soccer player and comes back to the island just to be like “get rekt I’m getting married to someone else and you’re still single inaka bum on this island lol”. Also Nachi didn’t even get a kiss scene or CG wtf but yet gets an NTR happy marriage end in Subaru’s bad end?? How does that make any sense lol.

Uh well that was not totally what I had expected. First of all the game is not fully voiced.. Okay, I understand I was only paying for voices for the 2 guys who had a route – so I was okay with the other characters having no voices…but even the 2 main guys weren’t fully voiced!!! They are only voiced in 25% of the game in certain scenes and most of the common scenes are unvoiced. I know that the game can be played free without voices on their website, but had I known it was gonna be part voiced I wouldn’t have bothered paying the money for the partial voices. They should have specified that somewhere but they did not and that’s the part that really bothers me. I’ve played plenty of doujin games without voices but I feel like I’ve been lied to about the voice acting lol. It made me realize how much voices really make or break a game for me….I’ll probably avoid non voiced games from now on to be honest.

The other thing is well…if you’ve played Starry Sky before a lot of this is gonna feel like dejavu. Particularly Subaru was literally Suzuya from In Spring and I could tell the creators were super biased towards him because Nachi just kinda felt like he was just shoved in there to create the “childhood friend love triangle”. Nachi’s route was a simple love story with no deep resolution or well thought out ending while Subaru’s was deeply involved and had that whole “we care a lot for each other but too emotionally constipated so this is extremely deep and emotional aaa~”. I was never into the angsty chars of starry sky, in fact Homare-senpai, the sweet senpai, was my favorite so I was really hoping Nachi would be given a nice route but..welp.

The other thing that bothered me was the skip function was broken. It skipped everything, even unread text, so I could never tell if I had seen a scene before or not so I’m sure I skipped a bunch of stuff I hadn’t seen but I couldn’t be bothered to remember. At one point the game actually froze/crashed on me while skipping so yea that kinda sucked too. Music was very starry sky-ish, aka standard visual novel bgm and nothing to write home about. A lot of stuff was really templaty, and I don’t mind ye old childhood friend trope/templates but the partial voices, and broken skip function, as well as the obvious bias towards the angsty character makes me not want to bother with the rest of the characters in the series. They actually cast popular seiyuus like Kaji Yuki and Okamoto Nobuhiko for some of the other guys, but if it’s gonna be partially voiced again I probably won’t bother. I don’t mind the 2 VAs in this game, I never heard of them (they are mostly in mobile games) but I think they were totally fine. If you’re interested in trying the game you can play it for free without the partial voices or you can pay $8 or whatever for partial voices on Booth.

2 thoughts on “Otome Game Review: Hoshikuzu Heliograph

  1. You’re so damn fast lately. Good to see you’re still in shape.

    This writer really do love childhood friends ┐(´д`)┌ヤレヤレ

    1. lol the corona gave me uh a lot of free time so I’m trying to clear out my backlog xD (though it’s starting to reach into running out of games territory so I may start going back to older games again!)
      yea I’m not sure if I’m into the childhood friend angst as much as I was years ago…

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