Hoshizora no Memoria Review
Hoshizora no Memoria is the most recent game by FAVORITE, which is associated with CROSSNET of Maple Colors fame. Hoshizora is a fantasy ADV about school life and the stars, as the title suggests. The game is full of stories about everything about the universe and ties it in with family and love relationships.
Make sure you patch the game before you start playing. Patching the game to ver1.1 will erase your save files.
I cannot stop raving about this OP. It’s catchy, flashy, introduces the characters well and best of all, the animation actually matches the beat of the song. It’s one of the best I’ve seen in this year.
Kogasaka You returns to his hometown of Hibarigasaki in the north, where the stars can be seen clearly in the night sky. Seven years ago, he had made a promise at the observatory with a girl he had met that they will be reunited some day, just like Orihime and Hikoboshi in the legend of Tanabata. Arriving at the observatory, he meets a shinigami named Mare who had been waiting for him. As he reminisces about his childhood promise, she tells him to close his eyes just like the girl from the past had asked him to. Suddenly, she hits him with her scythe and says that he can move on with his life now that his nightmare is gone.
There are 5 initial routes to Hoshizora, plus a true end (＊＊＊) and another end for Mare. Kosame’s route is opened after completing Komomo’s, while Chinami’s route is opened after completing Isuzu’s. Completing all 5 routes will open up the final two routes. Kosame and Mare routes were really short. Mare seems like a short bonus route (for some loli loving), but it also serves a purpose in explaining the title. The true end is most definitely worth completing the other routes for. The ending is one of the best and most satisfying I’ve read.
The scenarios in Hoshizora revolve around resolving relationship problems and depicting character growth. There are distinct parallels with Greek and Japanese myths about the stars, the moon and other celestial bodies, and there are plenty of scientific explanations as well. The notion of wishing upon a shooting star is a prominent basis for Hoshizora.
The common route (first two weeks of the game) is extremely long. Even if you skip through it on subsequent playthroughs, it will take over half an hour. It introduces each of the stories, however I believe it is longer than needed. There were also various repeated scenarios which were funny the first time, but got a bit annoying in subsequent renditions. I’m looking at you, Chinami.
To tell the stories, we’re treated to flashbacks and changing perspectives, so you can see what happened in the past as well as what everyone is feeling. The game tries to explain everything and the information is placed across multiple routes, which is sometimes confusing. I feel that they could’ve structured the plot a bit better so it doesn’t feel so disjointed. However, in general, I found the stories enjoyable. I appreciated the representation of clubs and school life, the various astronomical references (scientific and mythological), as well as the light comedy. It reminded me of stories about the stars that I heard of back when I was small.
Personally, I feel ＊＊＊’s route was by far the best. The thing about the stories in the game is that it’s less about furthering the romantic relationships with each girl as becoming a support for them to solve their own problems. Along the way, you don’t only learn about the main heroines, but also about all the subcharacters. That’s why I liked Chinami and Komomo’s routes a lot. Asuho’s was fine, but everything was related to her and seemed a bit shallow. Isuzu’s story was a total mess until the final third. Mare and Kosame’s stories left me disappointed due to their length. It may be partially because their routes overlapped a lot with ＊＊＊ and Komomo’s routes.
It would be great if there’s an addition to the game that resolves some of the stories for the subcharacters. I feel that there were a bunch of minor loose threads that haven’t been tied up. It was a bit mind boggling how some subcharacters only showed up for a scene or two and then never showed up again. I want to know more about them!
I wonder if the town of Hibarigasaki is based on the town of Otaru in Hokkaido. I’ve visited this quaint coastal town a few years ago and many of the places that show up in the game also exist there, such as a canal, a planetarium, an observatory on a hill overlooking the town, a Shinto shrine and an orgel (music box) shop. It’s a great place to visit if you get the chance.
Micchi’s recommended route order:
Asuho, Komomo, Isuzu, Kosame, Chinami, ＊＊＊, Mare
Micchi’s route rankings:
＊＊＊, Chinami, Komomo, Asuho, Isuzu, Mare, Kosame
The protagonist of the game… that’s You! All kidding aside, You used to live in Hibarigasaki, but he moved to the city 7 years ago. He came back to Hibarigasaki after the death of his mother and now lives with his aunt Shino and his sister Chinami. Very protective of Chinami. He sometimes pushes himself to do too much and doesn’t rely on others. He had made a promise with a girl at the observatory that they will meet again some day.
What an annoying name when written in romaji. Even though he’s bakabaka and damedame, he’s not totally useless. We learn more about his past as more routes are played. It was quite satisfying to see his character grow. Unfortunately, I can’t find any pics of him that weren’t spoilers.
You’s classmate and the class rep. She’s also the deputy leader of the stargazing circle (shortened to 天クル). She helps out at her father’s cafe, Milky Way. Loves the stars a lot and names everything on the menu in the cafe after star-based myths even if there is no resemblance whatsoever. Asuho is really friendly and a good mood-maker. However, when it comes to love and relationships, she is very shy and reserved, almost to the point where she doesn’t have much confidence.
I loooooooooove Asuho! While some people find her childish and annoying, I absolutely adore her liveliness and when she turns totally dere and is like a small puppy clinging on to you, she’s irresistable! Not to mention she’s a great cook too! Hau~ omochikaeri~!
With blonde hair and twintails, Mokomoko Komomo is the tsundere of the game. She is the older Hisakaki twin. Komomo’s on the student council and is a serious-minded and honest person, although she comes off as tough and stubborn to others. She tends to try to do everything by herself. Hates the stars and doesn’t like to be called by her name.
I personally don’t like tsunderes much, so Komomo’s my least favourite character. If you like tsunderes, you’ll appreciate her dere side more than I did.
Isuzu is one year younger than You and lives next door to him and Chinami. She looks like a cute kouhai and is treated like a small animal, but she has a sharp tongue and can be very rude. As a result, she doesn’t make friends easily. She has a younger sister, Suzuha.
Her rudeness puts me off and it doesn’t really get much better. Of course, there’s a reason to it all, but I wished she wasn’t as rude. I feel as if her character didn’t develop as much as other characters.
Komame Kosame is the younger twin sister of Komomo and often engages in yuri acts with her in public. She’s much more mild mannered than Komomo. Always says the right thing at the right time. She likes teasing her friends (Asuho) at times. Doesn’t like talking about herself.
I liked Kosame. She would make a nice girlfriend. It’s too bad her route did her no justice.
You’s younger sister. Fails at pretty much everything and extremely clingy and annoying. A master chef: anything she cooks turns black. A true troublemaker. However, she does have an uncanny ability to make friends. Her serious and depressed side is a polar opposite.
I generally love imoutos, but Chinami annoyed me so much I almost couldn’t get through the end of the first game day. After finishing her route, my view didn’t change. However, if she wasn’t chattering and causing trouble nonstop, she’s actually decent.
Mare S. Ephemeral
A shinigami that waited for You at the observatory. She doesn’t talk much and acts cool, but is actually a crybaby. Mare carries a scythe, but it is used to cull nightmares, not lives. She mainly shows up at the observatory and gazes at the stars.
Mare is so cute! ><b Originally I didn’t like her that much, but after she started opening up to You, she is absolutely adorable. Then, the epilogue for ＊＊＊’s route made me feel all warm inside. ><
There are a lot of subcharacters and their back stories are an important part of the game. As a matter of fact, as you play through each of the routes in the game, you will find out about their past and solve their problems too. The ones you will see the most of are the club leader Okaizumi Haruto-senpai, mysterious club member Suwa Setsuna-senpai, classmate and occult club leader Asuka Mirai, Asuho’s father and cafe owner Souichirou, You and Chinami’s aunt Shino, Komomo/Kosame’s mother and shrine priestess Mayaka and many others who I cannot talk about due to spoilers. I wish there was a route for yousei-san.
Of course, there’s one more heroine, ＊＊＊. I liked her almost as much as Asuho. Yup, almost as much.
Overall, I thought that characters were well done. However, since the scenarios were more about resolving problems and less about relationship development, there was not as much development for some characters as I would’ve liked.
Micchi’s character rankings:
Asuho, ＊＊＊, Mare, Kosame, Chinami, Isuzu, Komomo
The main selling point of Hoshizora is the artwork. They are absolutely stunning. Most of them are at night and are very eyecatching. There is decent variety in the backgrounds for the game. Hoshizora uses a system called Favorite View Point (FVP) where you can zoom up to 2x on any part of the CG. This system is utilized effectively throughout the game to give a greater sense of perspective.
As usual, there are cute SD drawings that pop up every now and then, as well as pictures of various important items. Sometimes, they are animated and the size of the SD varies. Unfortunately, these do not show up in the CG mode.
I like the menu for the game, as well as the system layout. When I first started the game, I spent a few minutes just playing around with the menus. There are 240 save slots plus 12 autosaves. You can also move and copy saved games. There are plenty of settings that you can adjust. The main one to note is the option to skip all or only text that you have read before (default). This is useful when going through the common route on following playthroughs. You can also hide the menu bar at the bottom of the text box.
As usual, there is a CG mode, memory (H scene) mode and sound (bgm/vocals) mode. If you collect all the CGs from a character, it will show as “Complete!”. You can also watch the OP again. As you play the game, various things change in the interface. As you finish more routes, the opening screen changes from daytime to sunset and finally, to nighttime. As you meet new characters, they will show up in the characters options menu where you can modify their speech volume as well as text color.
On following playthroughs, when you reach a choice, it will show you which option increases the relationship points for characters. This is shown with a cute SD sprite.
Finishing the game entirely opens up a ‘bustshot mode’, which is essentially a user-controlled viewing of the tachi-e and backgrounds for the game. Fun to play around with.
There are 47 tracks, including the OP and the 2 EDs. As usual, I like the soft emotional tracks, especially the music box versions. Most of the BGMs fit well in the story, although there are a few that I wouldn’t listen to otherwise. All three of the vocal tracks were quite good. The voice acting for the characters was generally well done, with the exception of Chinami. The difference between her hyper and serious sides is too extreme and the voicing for the H scenes is really bad.
There are between 1 to 3 H scenes for each of the 7 heroines. They’re all relatively short in length with 2-3 positions per scene. Locations were varied, although some were a bit risque. In general, I thought most of them were properly placed and fit in well with the story. However, there were some notable exceptions, such as Isuzu’s first and possibly Kosame’s too. The voice acting for Chinami’s H scenes was the worst I’ve ever heard – she sounded like she was not into it at all. Mare’s H scene gave me flashbacks of Kururi from Flyable Heart. I wholeheartedly loved all of Asuho’s, but that’s probably because I like her character.
All of Micchi’s reviews will be rated by assigning scores out of 10 to each of the following categories: Scenario, characters, graphics, system, sound, and H scenes. Half marks may be given. The scoring is as follows:
- 10 – Absolutely satisfied
- 9 – Among the best, only minor improvements
- 8 – Good overall
- 7 – Average, a mix of good and bad
- 6 – Below average, slightly disappointing
- <5 – Very disappointed
The overall score is a weighted sum (3x Scenario + 2x Characters + 2x Graphics + 1x System + 1x Sound + 1x H scenes) for a total out of 100.
- Scenario: 7.5
- Characters: 8
- Graphics: 9.5
- System: 9
- Sound: 8
- H Scenes: 7
- Overall: 81.5
I was quite satisfied with Hoshizora, especially the true end. It brought a smile to my face that just wouldn’t disappear. While the common route was exceedingly long and some routes were extremely short and disappointing, Hoshizora manages to tell a series of romantic stories with plenty of references to astronomy. Having finished it, I have an urge to go stargazing now.
I wish I could see the stars as beautifully as in the game. I also wish for a fandisk.