Review: Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star (PS4).
Little people associate pigeons with Christmas, but even they feel the spirit of Christmas, experiencing it in their own funny way. Have you ever tried to steal your Christmas tree with a tank? I invite you to the next, sometimes comical and sometimes surreal adventures of our winged friends.
The second visual novel game about romances with pigeons is treated by fans as a sequel, but the developers themselves talk rather about a standalone expansion. We play the role of Hiyoko Tosaka again, a student of a respected university living in a world ruled by birds. This time we take the heroine through four (depending on how we count) loosely related stories, the common denominator of which is the title Star. I won’t say, it was even great to follow. Some moments were typically humorous, other times they were terrifying, and sometimes events forced us to reflect on our own lives. I did not want to break away from each one until I got to know it in its entirety.
Unfortunately, in return, it is in vain to look for additional endings as before. Supposedly there are some alternative choices, but they almost always lead to the words “Game Over”. The stories themselves are not long, except for the last one. So people who want to look for hidden secrets may be slightly disappointed. As a sweetness, as the game progresses, we unlock a few short genre scenes with our heroes. We can also do a bit of a job with them in private, but the potential of this element has just been wasted. An interesting idea is the “Radio” tab, where pigeons answer fictitious questions from listeners, thanks to which we get to know each of them better. It actually serves as an accessible way to keep a few secrets about the game world from the developers.
Visually, the title does not differ significantly from the basic version. Despite the HD resolution, most of the boards viewed are quite simple and devoid of unnecessary details. Only pigeons and other birds still look great in all their glory. Fortunately, in important plot moments, nice and often caricatured situational pictures appear. The situation changes dramatically in the third and fourth stories, where we can admire the beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds. In addition, during the dating moments, we see a bit of Japanese architecture. On the other hand, the letters escaping beyond the frame and the occasional delays in loading dialogues or bird silhouettes are rare. The sound is strangely poor this time. Yes, there are some pretty nice melodies, including the Christmas theme, but unfortunately we scroll through a large part of the dialogue in silence.
Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is not as intriguing as its predecessor, but it still has interesting stories to offer. It is a pity that the potential of the title has not been fully used, because some of its elements ask for further development. However, it does not spoil the fun in any way, so if someone has fallen in love with previous adventures with Hiyoko and pigeons, he has to play now.