Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story Playtest: Heading Back To Habataki

By Jenni . July 19, 2010 . 4:01pm

Like all Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side games, 3rd Story starts with a heroine who is just starting school at Habataki High. She used to live in the area, but moved when she was younger. After stopping by the church in the back of the school, where she used to play with two children from the area, she runs into Ruka Sakurai – this game’s "prince" character. Then the following day she runs into his older brother (literally) Kouichi Sakurai. She finds they’re going to the same school together, and will be classmates.


Much of the gameplay remains the same in Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story. You have three years to boost your stats and build relationships. You can search for love with one (or even two!) guys. You could also even go for lifelong friendship with one of the two girl friends. You spend weekdays attending classes, hanging out with friends, visiting a club, working or so on. Weekends can be spent doing any of that, shopping, calling guys or going on dates. After building relationships, you can see special events which unlock new CG images for your gallery.


The biggest addition to Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story is the double dates. If you alternate when dating the brothers or close friends (the sets are the Sakurai brothers, the senpai Tamao and Seiji and the athletes Junpei and Arashi), then you may get the option to start going on double dates with them. Since the double dates yield loads of event images, you’re going to eventually start undertaking the challenge to fill up your oOmake section’s galleries.


Double dates typically end with Love Mode, which means you walk home with the two guys and have to start tapping and touching their faces and shoulders to make them like you more. The key is balance here. If you focus too much on one of the guys, the other will get upset and leave. Not switching between the guys and giving equal attention to both means the love triangle mode will end.


Then there’s Pride vs. Pride mode. This is the one where you get to rip happy friends apart. (You homewrecker!) Remember those sets I mentioned before? Let’s use the Sakurai brothers Ruka and Kou for an example. If you end up getting both of them to the highest possible state of affection, Tokimeki, then they will turn on each other and fight over you. What will happen is you’ll encounter the two of them fighting, and then they will be quite mad at each other and start fighting over who gets you.


From there, you have to make a choice over which guy you want. And then you have to be very careful and choose the right answers. The goal is to get the guy you like less to give up on you and give you to the guy he wants. But! If you choose the wrong answers on dates with the guy you want when he asks about the other guy, he might start feeling guilty about monopolizing you.


The girl friends are also much different. Instead of having four supposed "friends" who will only be nice to you until they learn you like the guy you like, you have two friends, Miyo and Karen. These two feel more like real friends. Miyo helps you find information on the guys (a role the younger brother/neighbor fulfilled in earlier games) and Karen helps you find out what clothing styles they like. They also help boost your stats when you talk to them, invite you to slumber parties and generally act like real (virtual) friends.


You can also unlock little stories. There are ADVs for each guy which offer a little extra perspective on who they are. You can see scenes from their past or present, and sometimes even see another side of a situation you experienced in the game. They’re a nice little extra, but those who import may not be able to understand everything that’s said.


Then there’s the clothing system. Clothes have undergone quite a change in Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story.They’re not only much more stylish, they have a leveling system surrounding them. Basically, you start out at 1 star. Big deal. You can make outfits that fall into the Cute, Vivid, Sexy, Active, Natural or Chic categories, and can only build up to three bars in each one. As you acquire more clothes, Karen will appear to tell you that you’ve leveled up. Leveling up means you have more fashion options. At level two, you can fill each bar up to six. So if you get six bars of Active, your clothing will then be Ultra Active. At level three, you can mix and match styles if you have five bars of each category represented. For example, Kouichi Sakurai loves the Sexy Vivid style, achieved by putting together an outfit that has five bars of Sexy and Vivid.


The mini-games have been tweaked as well. The only returning ones are the three-legged race for the sports festival and the pillow fight for the school trip. The two new sports festival games include one where you push a giant ball, and one where you toss beanbags into a basket. The beanbag one is quite difficult (I would give up and toss them at the opposing team), but the giant ball one is an easy-win.


The most trying mini-game, making Valentines’ chocolates, has changed. Instead of trying to remember the kanji for left and right, and turning the proper directions, you decorate a chocolate. Depending on how you decorate, your chocolate will come out in different styles, like Cool, Cute, Natural and so on. Each guy likes certain kinds of chocolates more, so you essentially have a handful of tries to make a chocolate he will like.


Fortunately, you can now access mini-games from the Omake section. So if you have trouble with one of them, you can now practice in your spare time.


Honestly, if you don’t want to mess with the clothing leveling system, you don’t really have to. Most of the guys will like your character if you wear one of the initial styles available. So if you want to just stick with Cute clothing, for example, you can make it.


There are fewer guys in Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story – only six main chaseable guys. Both of the previous games had eight. Also, all six of those characters are fellow students, and there are no main older men characters. But, those six also each offer three love triangles. So that helps a bit. Also, this time around there are four secret characters. The original Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 1st Love DS game had two and 2nd Kiss had three.


The four secret characters seem to be geared towards those who like shota characters, or younger guys. One character, Kasuga Taiyou, is in junior high school, which is sort of going the opposite direction from previous games, where teachers, the principle and a college student were available. Your character’s homeroom teacher, Osaka-sensei, is also an option, but again he looks like a grade schooler. Thankfully the two remaining secret characters, constant background classmate Kenta Taira and novelist Kengo Aizawa, are much more appropriate.


As always, Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side is one of the best dating simulations out there. Especially if you’re looking for a game where there’s interaction, and not just selecting occasional responses to shape a story. Yes, 3rd Story doesn’t have as many guy options, but the love triangle and pride versus pride modes make up for it. And while Konami broke a lot of players hearts by not having a true dateable teacher or making Tsukushi (from 1st Love) an available option, overall the characters that are available make it worthwhile. If you want a DS otome game, or even a little life simulation, Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side: 3rd Story is your best bet.



Food for Thought

  • Many room options, and your "boyfriend’s" picture appears in your room.
  • No opening movie, sadly.
  • You have to be careful, because it can be quite easy to slip into the double date mode if you aren’t paying attention.
  • I recommend going for a normal ending the first two times, then experiment with the double date endings or more complicated endings that stem from love triangles.
  • No Tsukushi. While you can see the little brother (all grown up) in one of Tamao’s ADVs, you can’t date him.
  • There are lots of save slots available.
  • Full voice acting!
  • Special icons appear on the opening menu when you load up the game on certain days. For example, on July 7, 2010 there was an icon for the Tanabata Festival.

  • Umm, the drawing look different from what tokimeki memorial 4 had (with the dudes), the 3 or 4 boys i saw in tokimeki memorial 4 were less, O.o, i dunno xD, but well, i imagine this is because is more girls oriented :P.

    Anyway they seem to have implemented a lot of new stuff here…

    Ahh i wonder when the next tokimeki will be announced, i hope is for psp again…

    • The art style is very similar to Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 2nd Kiss.

      Yup, lots of new stuff for the DS release.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the next was another DS Girl’s Side. (They’re quite popular.) Maybe in a year or two Konami will announce it’s in development.

  • I’m glad they added in some real friends, the friend rival thing always made me sad because she’d look so unhappy when you just want to hang out with her. ;___; It’s lonely (except you’re surrounded by tons of guys)

    I probably won’t play this one, but the guys at first glance don’t seem all to appealing to me. (Also your friend Karen looks like a dude). I would probably end up choosing the glasses-guy as usual, but you can never tell personalities much from their looks.

    • Yeah. Especially since in rival mode too the girls would be mean to your character.

      Tamao isn’t too bad. He’s a little boring to me, and has horrible fashion sense. The other 5 have really good personalities though. And initially Junpei Niina (the kouhai character) starts out as a date disturber character! You’ll run into him during your first year when you go out on dates or go shopping.

      I’d say its the best of the trio, so far. I’m really enjoying it, and the visuals have improved a lot.

      • That’s good to know that it’s lived up to his predecessors!
        Probably the extra gigs really helped too. I would import it if my Japanese was a lot better. There’s kanji everywhere and not all of it is spoken aloud.

      • I really liked Tamao. Especially when he stars to like you more and becomes all flustered around you.

        • I kind of know what you mean now. I just started a route where I’m trying to do a 3p thing with Tamao and Shitara. Tamao really isn’t too bad. (I like Shitara more though.)

  • Sunya

    The angst factor really dominates in this latest game with the love triangles. I kept feeling guilty doing any skinship on double dates, since one other guy would always sort of be left out in the end. It’s worse with the Ruka-Kou rivalry since there’s the sibling and childhood friends factors.

    I do really like Karen and Miyo though, since they help out and stick with Bambi through her troubles (Unlike love rivals from previous games who become stone cold conveniently right before the school trip. Nooo! My pillow fight!). Have you gotten Karen’s or Miyo’s endings yet, and is it worth it? Just curious on your thoughts, since (I think) I’ve read your entries on previous TMGS installments elsewhere.

    Also, have you figured out the chocolate system? I’ve been playing around with it from the Mini-Games page, but almost every choco I make ends up being “smart”or “cool”. I actually got a “Mysterious” one time with an ominous crossbones and skull. There are many variables involved, so it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular method to a certain type of chocolate, like “Wild”.

    • I know what you mean about the love triangles and PvP. I’m still momentarily upset because the other day I accidentally got a 3p ending with Junpei and Arashi. I was hanging out with friends at the time and not paying attention to my responses in the game. (It was for the best though, since my academic stat wasn’t high enough for the Junpei ending I wanted.

      Oh Karen and Miyo are so sweet! They’re very friendly and helpful. I haven’t gotten any Karen or Miyo endings yet. I’m hopefully going to get a Miyo one soon because I think she’s just SO adorable! I’m going for the senpai love triangle next.

      As for chocolates, I kind of see it as being about color. Going for white chocolate and pink/beige/white decorations usually gets me a natural. I also got a smart chocolate once using the green tea leaf chocolate base. As for wild, use the whiskey puff end decoration finishing touch thing and a dark chocolate base – I don’t think I’ve ever made a wild chocolate that didn’t have at least one of those elements.

      • Sunya

        Oh, thank you for the tips about the chocolates! I had used the bitter base and whiskey end decoration before, but it always ended up being “cool”. But, I did change around the pens and creams and got “wild” (Mostly used the orange pen a lot). Now Kou won’t have to settle for “Pop” choco on Valentine’s Day, ha ha.

        Yes, I also wouldn’t mind getting a Miyo or Karen ending. They are both such good friends!

        At the risk of spoilers, what was the 3P ending like? Did you all stay friends in the end, and was it too angsty? I’m debating whether to maintain the Ruka-Kou triangle right now, or just go after Kou like I had originally intended…I’d rather have a “happy” ending than a bitter one.

        • Glad I was able to help.

          The 3p ending I triggered with Arashi and Junpei wasn’t sad or angsty really at all. It was happy and feel good. It wasn’t a PvP ending at all though, and I accidentally triggered the 3p part at the end of January (so I didn’t even have enough time to get any good CGS!) and the game of course ends in Feb, so I also only got one 3p date in that run-through. I’m currently in the midst of the senpai 3p route, so I couldn’t tell you how that ends.

          I really liked the separate Kou and Ruka ends, if that influences you at all!

  • Roses4Aria

    Sigh. I want to play this so bad, but I just imported Starry Sky in Spring and have Hiiro no Kakera 3 on backorder, so I really can’t afford another one right now. And again I say, why won’t anyone bring some of these games over here? Mangagamer does guy games like this. Why won’t they try their hand at one or two otomes? I’m just sayin’…

    • I doubt Mangagamer would be one to hope for something like this. Or for one of Quinrose’s PC games. They tend to focus on more adult games after all.

      I think Koei, NIS America or Atlus would be the most likely candidates for taking a chance on an otome game. Especially since NIS America does do some work with Idea Factory. I’d love to see them pick up the PSP port of the original Hiiro no Kakera, or perhaps that recent Wand of Fortune PSP port.

  • It’s such a shame that this’ll never show up outside Japan – apparently ‘too girly’ and ‘somewhat adult’ are a combination that most people deride. Then again, I’m used to people deriding either or, so when you put both together, I’m usually ducking for cover.

    It annoys me that the western atmosphere is just so hostile to games like this, where if you take it at face value, it’s just a game with a different kind of fun, which tells the story about, well, a teenage girl and her options.

    The double dating’s sort of fun… if really hard to balance…

    • Roses4Aria

      Yes, I never have understood western attitudes about this sort of thing. We read romance novels over here, and to me otome games are basically visual romance novels. The heroine just gets to choose which guy she wants to end up with. What could be bad about that? :)

      • I think the funniest part is the fact that I remember back in high school reading Mills and Boon. Yeah, I’ve read trashy romance novels back when I had nothing better to do, and even though you’d see me walking down the streets as a 12 year old, no one pulled me over, confiscated the book or lectured me, or even batted an eyelid.Apart from the question of ‘You know what you’re reading right?’ and I’d just reply ‘Well, I haven’t anything better to read right now’, people would just shrug. Given a perspective like that, (and you’d think that someone would have stopped me in the two or so years I did THAT for) it’s almost like that, without the melodrama, absurdities, and with the option of who the heroine gets to hook up with…It also goes to show how old I am, though.

    • Very true. Especially if you mention the skinship part. If I describe it to someone, I always have to tack on something like, “But it’s not dirty or perverted!”

      It’s really just a fun little life sim with dating elements. And this one is probably the least adult of the three, since both of the adult dateable characters are secret characters.

      If only some company would take a chance. I’m sure this, or that Vampire Knight DS game would do well in the US. (Vampire Knight DS especially, what with the vampire-craze and series’ popularity.)

      • What is really funny though is people are all ‘Wait, this material isn’t suitable for kids’ or ‘this is porn’…

        And they’re trying to tell me that it’s unsuitable, and I’m the one who has to write reports to a Classification authority to outline objectionable elements.

        I don’t see any that would justify any sort of ban, and we follow a strict set of guidelines to identify all the classifiable aspects. Surprisingly, there’s nothing IN the games that you wouldn’t hand over to a 15 year old boy or girl… In fact, a lot of it would not even be an issue to a 12 year old.

        I suspect it’s a psychological conditioning which just shows the differences in cultures. But that’s from someone who’s been in discussion with a government legal body over this.

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