• arrow
    LOG IN 
    • Log in using an option below.
         
      Forgot password?
      Login with Facebook
      Sign in with Twitter

  • REGISTER
New to Pocket Gamer? Start here!
ABOUT US
Contact Us Who Are We? Hall Of Fame Advertising With PG Games Archive
MORE PG SITES
PG.biz PG FRANCE PG GERMANY PG Game Guides PG GameHubs PG Connects 2014
MORE SM SITES
AppSpy Free App Alliance 148 Apps Android Rundown iPhone Quality Index iPad Quality Index Android Quality Index Swipe Magazine Best App Ever Awards
FREE STUFF
Competitions Free iOS Games iOS Price Drops
PARTNERS
Metacritic
GameRankings
Pocket Gamer on NewsNow
GamesTracker
dx.net
UK Mobile Pages Directory
Skinflint Price Comparison
PSP  header logo

Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom

For: PSP

Read this

Product: Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom | Publisher: Aksys Games | Format: PSP | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Version: US
 
Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom PSP, thumbnail 1
How far can you stretch the definition of a video game? It's a question inadvertently raised by Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom.

Aksys has a bonafide first on its hands with this title - it's the first commercially released English language visual novel in the otomé game genre from a major publisher.

To break down those categorisations further: visual novels are text and image-heavy, with interaction usually stripped down to choosing from options on a menu. Otomé games are titles aimed at a female audience, and they tend to centre around romantic relationships.

An easy read

Advertisement
Hakuoki itself is set in Japan against the backdrop of clan warfare and filled with a cast of samurai and demons. If this is all sounding too ethno-centric, don't fret, because the themes of love, honour, and bonds between friends are entirely universal.

Any Japanese words that aren't explained directly in the text are included in an encyclopedia, which you can access at any point during play. You'll probably even learn a thing or two about the country's culture and history along the way.

Playing this game is incredibly straightforward. After reading large chunks of text you're presented a few menu options and asked to make a decision for the protagonist Chizuru Yukimura.

These decisions are doled out sparingly. Sometimes half an hour will pass before you're asked whether you want to, say, chase after a friend, or stay hidden in the shadows.

That's it. There's no skill involved - if you can read and have the use of two thumbs you can play Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom.

A meter tracks the affinity of characters for you and there are multiple endings to see based on them, but there are very few elements traditionally associated with the term 'game' here.

A couple of shortcuts are included for players looking to access every ending. Square fast-forwards through text, while the L and R shoulder buttons quick save and quick load, both of which can help when you're exploring the title's branched paths for different outcomes.

Triangle brings up the in-game menu and includes a History option to rewind to a previous part of the story too. It's useful in case you need to refresh your memory of earlier dialogue, or you accidentally tap the Square button and miss a few reams of text, which happened to me on more than one occasion.

The plot thickens

It's difficult to get into the specifics of the story without ruining the experience - that's the entire game after all - but it's well written and elegantly translated. The lead is a touch passive around the men in her life, and these men are emotionally volatile, occasionally overreacting in quite trivial situations.

Much of the intrigue of the piece comes from your interactions with these members of the Shinsengumi, uncovering the secrets of their formation, their allegiances, and their own personal issues.

Gallery and Theater modes gradually unlock, allowing you to view manga-style artwork and movies from the Story mode. It's all very attractive, both here and in the game, with a palette that leans towards cool blues and purples, giving it a dark tone befitting of the themes touched upon in the plot.

There's not a lot of extra content, but it's a very long game.

The question of whether it's a game at all is largely academic. It's a good story with likeable, if stereotypical, characters whose paths you dictate to the same extent that you dictate the paths of the characters in the Fighting Fantasy titles.

It's also completely unique in the West, and if you've an interest in trying out new types of play, or are just after a good yarn, Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is a solid pick.
 
Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 14 March 2012
Less game, more interactive narrative: this curious and very distinct release weaves a lengthy tale of samurais and love to good effect
 
Rate this game >> Average reader score: 
Have Your Say
Post a comment - Please log in to leave a comment
Pocket Gamer Biz     PG Login
Login with Facebook Sign in with Twitter
 
LATEST COMMENTS
LATEST NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS