Nakahiro wrote a lot of games, but nothing really of note until he finally struck it big with FAVORITE and Hoshizora no Memoria, which I thought was a fairly entertaining romance/drama visual novel with fantasy and mystery elements.
It could probably be classified as a moege, though it definitely offers more plot than an average specimen of that genre.
The story centers on Kogasaka You, a guy who moves back to his hometown hoping to find his childhood sweetheart. Unfortunately, time has blurred most of You’s memories and as he runs into a mysterious girl, identical in appearance to that of his first love many years ago, he starts wondering if she ever even truly existed.
The plot is a bit slow in the beginning, but a good mix of entertaining light-hearted character banter and mysterious atmosphere is enough to keep one’s attention until the narrative eventually develops into a fairly satisfying, tear-jerking drama (some routes do it better, some routes worse).
It’s quite amazing how, despite being mostly a school comedy, Hoshizora no Memoria manages to maintain a surreal and magical atmosphere throughout, constantly making you question whether all the subtle odd things are really happening or are just a figment of an unreliable narrator’s imaginative mind.
The only really disappointing part of this game for me was that most of its routes other than “true” felt neglected, ending abruptly almost as soon as the relationship was established. What makes those premature endings even more disappointing is that the romance in them is actually quite engaging. I would’ve appreciated to see more of those characters, especially Komomo.
The experience also isn’t complete without the fan disc that functions more like an epilogue to the story and features some of the best romantic scenes in the game.
Hoshizora no Memoria is a romantic drama with likable and interesting characters, engrossing mysterious plot, and a satisfying, tear-jerking story. It might not break the boundaries or blow your mind, but it does so many things right it’s hard not to like it.
|Fantastic Artwork||Plot is a little bit too slow in the beginning|
|Fantastic HCGs||Individual route endings are abrupt and leave one wanting|
|Good music||Mare’s route feels tacked on|
|Immersing, surreal atmosphere|
|Fine story about nostalgic infatuation|
|Strong dramatic moments|
|Lots of funny and cute dialogue|
|Likable, interesting characters|
|Childhood sweetheart has great presence despite not being physically around|
|Good H Scenes|