It’s presently the morn of January 27th over in Japan, which means all eyes are likely on The Last Story, the big game release of the week. However, there’s another game out today that caught our attention, too: Tsuku Monogatari, for the PSP.
Tsuku Monogatari is an “adventure RPG” and takes place on a high school campus. One day, Yuuto Ishigami finds himself pushed out of a classroom window by a fellow student. Miraculously, he survives the fall, and wakes up with the ability to see the supernatural.
Yuuto’s school has been invaded by demons. These are the cause for the recent incidents that have been plaguing people. Luckily, objects known as “Yorishiro” — everyday items occupied by helpful spirits — are strewn in abundance around the school as well, and these are the key to combating the demon invasion.
As Yuuto, you’ll explore the school and look for objects that you feel might be occupied by a spirit. Once you find an object that you think is possessed, you can take a picture of it with your mobile phone. During battles, you can send an e-mail from your mobile phone with a particular picture attached to it to summon the respective spirit to aid you.
Notice how this spirit resembles the vase being photographed in the previous screenshot? That’s how Yorishiro work. You’ll have exercise restraint while taking snaps of objects, though — each time you take a photo, 5 minutes of ingame time pass, which means you can’t go about clicking pictures of everything.
There’s more to the battles than just summoning spirits, however. Tsuku Monogatari emphasizes the “power of words” as part of its battle system. This is where the game’s “adventure” (the Japanese use this to describe what we call visual novels) aspect comes in.
Yuuto’s school is populated by several people, including his friends and the school staff themselves. You can go around talking to different people at school, and engaging in conversation with them. Occasionally, they’ll narrate a proverb or a rumour or a myth to you. This is what you want to watch out for.
Different words can be attached to spirits during battles to give them various abilities, without which you won’t have much of a chance against the demons. When a battle begins, you’ll be able to summon a spirit and add up to a maximum of three words to it to decide what abilities it will possess in battle.
Screenshots make Yuuto’s school look like quite the lively place, with an abundance of characters to interact with. The Tsuku Monogatari website points out that people like the dorm matron are a good source of information and words to power your spirits with.
Here’s a look at some of the demons and spirits you’ll come across: