It’s been a while since I reviewed an eroge. I guess this marks the first eroge I played in English this year? It feels kinda awkward to read visual novels in English again, but also more relaxing since I use less brain energy for each line.
Living in Hibarigasaki, Kogasaka You was once a nerdy kid who didn’t have any social contact. However, he met a loli who brought him to a look-out atop of a hill and taught him about the stars. They became friends, meeting only at the look-out, until You had to move away to the city. Seven years later, he moves back to Hibarigasaki, to find out that the look-out had become off-limits. He goes in there anyways, and meets a girl dressed like a grim reaper who looks exactly like the loli he played with seven years ago. She calls herself Mare, a grim reaper who reaps nightmares.
You also enrolls in Hibari-Kou and joins their pseudo astronomy club (a hobby circle), Tenkuru. He befriends its members, and decides to help them become a legit club by getting more members.
The story progression is pretty much standard moege fare. You’ve got a long-ish common route (long-ish, because that was honestly not that bad compared to Rewrite’s longass one, but the common:character route length ratio is pretty big) where You gets to know and befriend the various girls he meets. The common route is light-hearted slice-of-life with a bit of supernatural due to Mare, and you get into the more emotional/fantasy plotlines in the character routes.
The story had a pretty strong start: mysteries were presented at a decent pace, common route arcs about school didn’t drag on, and the relationships of the school’s old astronomy club members were interesting. Unfortunately, things fell apart near the end of the game and felt extremely rushed. Plot points that were brought up didn’t get explained properly, the story fell into generic relationship drama instead of interesting backstory revelations during the final routes, and everything ended nicely without bothering to explain certain things to the end, letting issues that I was actually interested in fade in favour of badly-done drama. If it were any ordinary cheesy moege I would forgive the lack of plot because I know what I’m expecting, but Hoshimemo actually introduced interesting things and didn’t see them through to the end.
Kogasaka You – The protagonist. He’s not 燃えゲーlevels of awesome, but he’s not too useless either. Basically a normal guy, and his major defining trait is the fact that he’s good at studying and does very well in school. He used to be an anti-social nerd when he was little, but that has been fixed thanks to the girl he met at the look-out. He’s also dense, but that’s pretty much expected of all eroge protagonists until proven otherwise.
Mare – A loli grim reaper who appears at the look-out after You returns to Hibarigasaki. She claims to reap nightmares, and is a stubborn, rebellious loli. I liked her a lot, but her route was too damn short despite all the build-up and the fact that you had to clear all the other routes to unlock it. I expected plot twists, revelations, and drama, but none was delivered and it ended too soon. She has her best moments in the other routes.
Minahoshi Asuho – An energetic girl who is enthusiastic about the stars. She is the vice president of the Tenkuru, and also the class representative. She was in the same class as You during elementary school, and always wanted to make friends with him but he was anti-social so her attempts never got anywhere. She still has an obvious crush on him.
Asuho was definitely my least favorite girl in Hoshimemo. I can even say that I hate her, which I find hard to say about most eroge heroines since I can usually see redeeming traits/moments even if they aren’t my thing. Asuho was just plain annoying and whiny, and her route made me really dislike her. She created lame and unnecessary drama just because she was too insecure, and doesn’t even have a good reason for it. Her route was frustrating to go through and it’s a shame that she got the most h-scenes in the eroge.
Kogasaka Chinami – You’s little sister with boundless energy, amazingly terrible cooking skills, and infinite love for her big brother~! She is great at socializing, bad at studying, and is generally hilariously idiotic. I hated Asuho because she was whiny, stupid, and annoying, but Chinami crosses the line twice so I found her really adorable. It might also be because of her voice, because it’s not high-pitched or whiny like Asuho’s. I also found her route pretty nice, and actually felt somewhat emotional instead of “*facepalm* are you fucking kidding me?”
Hisakaki Komomo – A member of the student council who hates the stars, and is constantly trying to abolish the Tenkuru and kick them out of their clubroom. She’s a strong-willed tsundere, but she’s not bitchy and is actually a very reasonable person who gets things done. She’s an honour student who is determined to recruit You into the student council because of his grades.
I liked Komomo enough, and her route was ok. It didn’t have the “I don’t deserve you so you should go with someone better even though you told me multiple times that you love me and want to be with me” drama, which is great.
Hisakaki Kosame – Komomo’s twin sister who is in the Tenkuru. Unlike Komomo, Kosame is a soft-spoken full-on dere girl, who also happens to enjoy teasing others. Her route is unlockable after clearing Komomo’s, and it’s pretty decent.
Aoi Isuzu – You’s new neighbour, and Chinami’s classmate. She’s a small girl who appears shy and quiet on the outside, but is actually a snarky, blunt, and rude girl who finds the Kogasaka siblings annoying. I liked her personality, but her route was just underwhelming. It wasn’t even rage-inducing or unfinished, simply boring.
Mysterious Girl – The girl You met in his childhood. She is nowhere to be found after he came back to Hibarigasaki. Her route is available after clearing the 5 normal heroines’ routes and has tons of build-up that uses most of the information revealed in other routes, so I expected it to be great with interesting revelations. Instead, the build-up was for nothing, the drama is the usual “I don’t deserve you you should find someone better.” It actually made sense here, but it was annoying as fuck and a certain plot point was so out-of-nowhere that I couldn’t tolerate it even if I normally would. It felt like the writers just didn’t care anymore. What a disappointment for a route that I was anticipating.
I like the simple yet effective cell-shading used and the background CGs, but several CGs had anatomy that felt off. Character designs are rather nice if you like the giant-eyed moe style. They’re fitting for the overall mood of the eroge.
Music was pretty mediocre overall. Some tunes were stronger than others, but nothing stuck with me for long and I had no desire to listen to the BGM outside of the VN.
Hoshimemo just felt…unfinished. Especially for the last two unlockable routes that I expected to be great but failed to deliver. The characters were standard eroge fare and didn’t win my heart fully, therefore I could not overlook story flaws for them. Since apparently the fandisk expands on those two routes, I guess I’ll play that. I liked and cared about Hoshimemo enough to want more, but it has plenty of flaws. I see why it’s enjoyable, but not why it is that high up on ErogameScape (the last time I saw it, before EGS stopped working for me).