Name: Pastel Chime (61.25% in 8 votes)
Release date: 1998
Reviewed by: Lamuness
This is my first Alicesoft game review. Personally I haven't been too much of an Alicesoft fan (Cocktail and Swatty rules~!). Besides Kaeru Banyon and Vestal Virgin (haven't had a chance to play both though), not alot of Alicesoft games interested me. I am not saying they are bad, just that different people have different taste. Recently I got a package of Alicesoft's latest release Pastel Chime, and since I was done with finals and was bored to hell, so what the heck, I tried the game. And it is this game that start to change my views towards Alicesoft games....this game is really really well made~!
Pastel Chime is a bring-up RPG. The player goes to an interesting high school where they don't teach math and stuff, but basis of being an adventurer where you learn how to kill monsters, learn magic, explore dungeons etc. The school consists of 3 years, the first 2 teaching you fundamentals of adventuring, and the last 2 "practical training" where students actually explore dungeons. The player just got into the 3rd year with his childhood friend Myazeru, and what you have to do is simply plan for your academic schedule.
Well, I think it's a very nice background story. Although kind of weird, it is quite original to see a modern Japanese high school environment but with students casting magic and carrying swords and beating monsters, as well as a built-in underground dungeon within school property. Students belong to one of 4 jobs: fighter, magician, priest, and scout. Each of course has their own attributes and abilities, as well as job levels (in addition to experience levels) where at higher job levels you can get stronger job skills and be able to carry more powerful equipment designed for that job. At the beginning of the game you can choose which job you want to be, and during the course of the game you can gain other job levels as well as the job you start out with and be a more powerful and/or balanced adventurer, depending on what type of adventurer you want yourself to be. If you haven't realized it by now, this is really sort of like Final Fantasy 5 (my favorite FF game)'s job change system, which, as Sakaguchi (head of Squaresoft) said during his interview with NBC, makes the RPG "more of a simulation game."
You plan your daily schedule with Monday to Thursday being your class days where you will raise your attributes (the bring-up part of the game). Fridays are exam days, where you are given opportunities to get new skills and job levels. To do all of the above activities, you need to have sufficient "Units", which can be acquired duing battles. Sunday is a rest day or a day to have dates with girls.
Finally Saturday is the day of practical training (the RPG part of the game). On Saturdays from 2pm to 6pm, you can explore the underground dungeon and beat monsters. You can choose one of 4 girls to accompany you, or you can purchase contracts with Ransers, robotic simulated "dummy dolls" which can assist you during battles, sort of like hiring a mercenary. In addition you can walk around various parts of the school, rest in the health department to heal your HP, buy equipment, and buy equipments and Ranser contracts at the School Store. The dungeon part is grid/tiled-based, but you are only allowed to see the "cell/square" you are standing on (you have a map though don't worry). Battles is very similar to the ones in Youju Ranbu 1 where party and enemy position/order plays an important role, and when you win you get items, EXP, money as well as Units for your classes and exams. A nice implementation into this day of practical training is that all of these saturday activities are real-time. You waste time if you wander around school. Each step in the dungeon takes one minute (I can walk faster than that~!). and the more rounds it takes to finish a battle the more time is spent. Overall, the entire game engine/system is very colorful and entertaining.
If you have played any Alicesoft games before, you can expect the same (if not better) insane, extreme high quality graphics in Pastel Chime. They are absolutely beautiful. Music is done very nicely, even my roommate who is not too much into games said that PastelChime has some great background music. The only small complaint is that the battles are slightly too simplistic, but it's no big deal though (I am just being picky here).
Well, what can I say? Alicesoft has done it again with Pastel Chime. With great music and insane graphics and rich gameplay, you basically get a near-perfect H-game. Pastel Chime is definitely the best H-game in the 1998 Xmas season, and it deserves its #1 H-game ranking. If you have sufficient Japanese knowledge, there is no reason why you should miss Pastel Chime. Also, If girls don't mind some mild and non-frequent H-scenes, they should try this great game as well. Believe me, you'll love this game.
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