Hiiro no Kakera: Exploring The Modern Fairytale On The PSP

By Jenni . January 12, 2009 . 11:31am

Hiiro no Kakera Portable can easily be considered the definitive version of Idea Factory’s visual novel/otome game. It has all of the extra scenes, features and events from the DS version, includes a brief quiz game on each of the male characters, has built in and has Hiiro no Kakera – Ano Sora no Shita built in. The game feels at home on the PSP and, had it had the two DS mini-games somehow included it, it would have been perfect.

 

As mentioned previously in Siliconera’s coverage of Hiiro no Kakera DS, the story focuses on the female descendent of a princess named Tamaki who returns to her family’s hometown and discovers she must seal the Onikirimaru sword in order to seal away monsters and demons that threaten the world. She isn’t alone in this task, there are also six male “guardians” who are descendents of different mystical creatures named Takuma, Mahiro, Yuuichi, Shinji, Suguru and Ryou. As you progress through the game, you build bonds with the male characters and, with their help, face the mysterious group Logos and eventually save the day.

 

The first thing I noticed about the PSP version of the game is just how beautiful everything looked. Everything was crisp and clear, and the images appeared incredibly vivid on the PSP’s wide screen. I was taken aback abit by the sound quality and how wonderful the character art appeared on the screens. If you’ve played the PS2 version of Hiiro no Kakera, I’d imagine that Hiiro no Kakera Portable is going to feel very familiar just because of the appearance.

There were also some nice touches when it came to the menus and other assorted game options. When you bring up the menu, instead of shifting to a different screen, a brief menu appears across the top of the screen. You then can save, check the dictionary, adjust options or even return to the title screen. The only thing is, there is a fairly noticable pause when returning to the actual game from the menu. It isn’t really irritating or annoying, but it is there.

 

I also loved how the quick save and quick load options were handled in Hiiro no Kakera Portable. You simply tap the left shoulder button to make a quick save, and tap the right button to load it. If you happen to make a wrong choice and get a “GAME OVER,” you’ll lose that quick save, but other than that it’s a wonderful option to fall back on – especially if your Japanese isn’t perfect.

 

The game also remembers decisions you made, just like in the previous version. If you quick save at a branching path and choose one option, decide you didn’t like your choice and reload, the decision you made previously will be a neon green shade. It goes one step further though. If you get an accidental “GAME OVER”, the game will offer the option to save afterward, and when you reload your last save file and reach that branching point again, the bad choice will be illuminated to remind you that you took that way and it didn’t go too well last time around.

There are two new additions to Hiiro no Kakera Portable which may be considered “selling points” for people who already own Hiiro no Kakera DS. The first is a quiz game with different levels for each of the six male characters. When you choose the game and a level, you’ll have to answer 10 trivia questions. This game is definitely NOT import friendly. Many times, the three answers to one of the questions may be identical except for one Kanji character. The second is an unlockable one day date with a character who’s ending you’ve already seen. It’s a very brief, 10 to 15 minute adventure with one new CG scene.

 

The new additions are really nice, and fun, but if you already own Hiiro no Kakera DS, you probably won’t need to buy Hiiro no Kakera Portable just for those two new extras. If the original PS2 version of Hiiro no Kakera is the only one you own, then definitely Hiiro no Kakera Portable is the perfect reason to upgrade.

 

There’s only one other thing I seemed to notice. It seems like people whose Japanese isn’t perfect would have an easier time playing Hiiro no Kakera DS than Hiiro no Kakera PSP. I think it is, in part, because of the DS mini-games and the fact that all of the controls and menus you will basically need for the game are on the touch screen.

 

In all, Hiiro no Kakera Portable is simply beautiful. It is a wonderful game with a fantastic and enchanting story. If you enjoy otome games or visual novels, then this is a game and a story you won’t want to miss.

 

Images courtesy of Idea Factory.


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  • squall3031

    no plan of bringing this to US, right?
    I pass!

  • nika

    how is the sounds quality? better than the DS?
    because that is what annoyed me most about the ds version, the sounds was a little… off.

  • Jenni

    @ squall3031 – Hopefully, if enough people show that they would be interested in a game like Hiiro no Kakera Portable, there’d be a better chance of it being released in the US. Do you think you’d play it, if it were in English?

    @ nika – The sound quality is much better. It sounds absolutely wonderful. I’d say at least 2.5x (maybe even 3x) better than the DS’s sound.

  • Hasu

    If this were announced for NA, I’d so be signed up for a preorder.

    @ Jenni – How would you rate the import-friendliness of the game in general? I’m guessing that it would be pretty difficult for those not well-versed in Japanese to really be able to understand the story?

  • Jenni

    @ Hasu – Weeell….

    If you don’t speak Japanese, you could get through the game, get all the CG screen images and get a good ending.

    You really wouldn’t understand most of it though. You’d be able to get the general gist of what’s happening, but have no idea why. If you can’t understand written or spoken Japanese, you’ll really be missing out.

    If you don’t mind missing out on most every aspect of the story, and don’t mind watching and waiting for those incredibly pretty pictures, you probably could get through it without knowing any Japanese. Its possible, but no where near as fun as if you understood what was going on.

  • Hasu

    @ Jenni – Hmm, I figured as much. :( The genre doesn’t seem import-friendly in general. I know a little Japanese, but doubtful enough to get me by in this kind of game, since I would really like to understand the story and everything.

    I guess I’ll either have to step up my Japanese learning. ;) That, or cross my fingers that it will get an English release.

  • nika

    @Jenni: glad to hear that the sound is better. this will be a buy for me then. And if this would be released in English I would so buy it, the english speaking world needs games like this. (but I would like them to keep the original voices… somehow I fear for any dub they might do)

    @Hasu: if you want an import friendly otome game, try Kiniro no Corda. Since you get to run around and do stuff as well as try to find your dream guy ;) Sadly, I don’t really know any other import friendly otome games.

  • Jenni

    @nika: Its much better/prettier on the PSP than it was on the DS. :D

    I’d probably be somewhat interested in hearing dub voices, were this released outside Japan, just because I always like to at least try the dub voices.

    @Hasu: The DS Tokimeki Memorial DS games are really very import friendly as well. There are guides online for the PS2 versions (which are practically identical), lots of players who can offer assistance and it doesn’t focus solely on text.

  • nika

    ehhh, I fear that if otome games (no matter which one) would ever get dubbed, there would be someone who gets a texas accent or something like that. Or at least, some horrible country accent <— I can’t stand that. I’d be able to survive oxford english better than that. (in fact, I might be able stand that by now. british is funny ^^ <— meant in a good way)

    no, I fear an english dub would kill all feeling in the game. as would any dub, most likely.

  • RinguKei

    I would definitely play it if it came out in the US. I found out about this game just yesterday, and already, the art has gotten me,

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