A bakabakashii review.
Hoshizora no Memoria -Wish upon a Shooting Star- is a 2009 game by Favorite. It got a fandisc/sequel, Hoshizora no Memoria -Eternal Heart-, at the beginning of 2010, and later that year a version that bundled both (Hoshizora no Memoria Complete) along with a drama cd set after Eternal Heart.
Hoshizora no Memoria -Wish upon a Shooting Star-
After the dead of his mother and single parent, Kogasaka You returns with her little sister to his hometown in order to live with his aunt. His also eager to meet once again with a girl he met a little before moving out, the person who teach him the Meaning of Friendship. So after arriving to the town, one of the first things he does is going to the viewing platform where he used to play with the girl, and where he started liking the stars.
However, what he meets there is not his friend but a strange girl with a scythe that looks exactly like his friend (the girl, not the scythe), but at the time he left the town, 7 years before. It’s clear soon that this girl, Mare, is not his friend of old, and also she’s apparently a Shinigami. A shinigami that reaps nightmares. After losing his single clue for the whereabouts of his old friend, he starts searching for her, after the new school term starts and new friendships are formed.
Thus ends the prologue and starts You’s new school life, and the heroine cast properly appear in scene. The likeability of said heroines is varied. The imouto Chinami has some fame as one of the most annoying imoutos ever, even though personally I didn’t mind her antics (the new seiyuu she gets for Eternal Heart doesn’t do her any favors, though), and Aoi is so blunt and aggressive entering her route may be a test of patience. And on the other end of the spectrum is clearly-in-love osananajimi Asuho who is just pure love.
The common trunk is long (and you have to skip through most of it to enter a different route, and the skipping speed is not so great). It’s not boring though, which is what matters I guess. The main plotlines here are You entering the astronomy club at Asuho’s instance, and his attempts to save it of dissolution because of the low number of members; and after that one involving the local shrine (managed by the Hisakaki twins family), which may have some relation with the viewing platform’s shinigami. Especially this last one arc gives the trunk a fair bit of plot; more than some routes, even.
In contrast to the trunk, the routes are more on the medium/short side of length. No forced drama (with the exception of Aoi; some could say Asuho would also count, but I think her plot points were appropriately announced, and made sense), a good rhythm, without dragging or rushing, and the final scenes are genuinely touching (the romance development in Chinami route may not quite click, however). And they also show a surprisingly deep setting, even if thanks to a semi-forced playing order it’s not apparent at the beginning. Two different settings, actually (besides the astronomical theme most notable in Asuho’s and Aoi’s routes); one involving the game’s mythology, and another one involving the previous generation. Once the interpersonal relationships and stories of that generation are fully displayed the result is an extensive and developed supporting cast, that gives the story a depth not usually present in this kind of games.
And both settings converge in the final route. Which tries to be the high point of the game, but sadly doesn’t live up to that. The main problem here is the heroine, whom I ended up just a bit short of fully loathing. Almost all but ignores the protagonist feelings and chastises him for things she herself is guilty of, and that attitude is not only not criticized but even taken as the right and mature thing to do. The route itself also has some problems, mainly that for a long bit it goes in circles instead of advancing somewhere, anywhere. There’s also a twist in the end that doesn’t make any sense, but at that point I cared so little about the heroine and the route that it didn’t really bothered me. This route also branches into Mare’s end, but it’s so short and lacking in substance that it’s more of an omake that anything else, and can hardly be called an actual Mare’s route. Though from a different perspective it can also be said that Mare shares this final route with its heroine.
In technical aspects the game doesn’t fall behind. The graphics are good, and I really like the color palette; and there’s a function to zoom into the CGs which is neat. Voice acting is also good, and a couple of tracks (especially this) that play in special moments make the BGM truly memorable.
So, the final route is not very good. However, that doesn’t diminishes the previous routes. If you don’t mind the final heroine you’ll probably find her route really touching. But even if you do mind her, the rest of the game is an above average chara-ge, with good characters and routes, and a developed setting. Even with that (big) remark, if you like the genre it’s worth playing this.
Hoshizora no Memoria -Eternal Heart-
The meat of this fandisc that may be actually more of an actual sequel (if short) are the After Stories, one for mysterious girl and one for Mare. The first one is told in form of flashbacks and covers quite a bit of time, making it similar in some ways to Clannad’s After Story. It also does an impressive job in making the heroine more likeable; after it, my impression of her original route… maybe didn’t got better, but at least I did got to dislike her less. Mare’s After Story gives sorely lacking substance to her route (even if that substance is little more than some icha-icha), and also gives a plotline to Ima, who had barely any screentime (if you can even call it that) in the original. Together, they do a good job in fleshing out the worst part of the original and in expanding even more its setting.
There are also short stories for the heroines, set after their routes (so they’re also after stories, but I won’t call them that to distinguish them from the previous scenarios). They’re cute, even if short. Kosame’s one rehashes a scene already used in her original route, but the rest show a vignette of the couple’s relationship that’s not less meaty and interesting for being little in size.
But in any case the After Stories would make this fandisc worthy by themselves. Eternal Heart is best played back to back with the original, and if you played the original you are probably missing out not playing this.