XSEED is back again with another Corpse Party title for PC, this time with the spin-off title Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash. The game pretty much takes what you know about the Corpse Party series and just tosses it out the window. It instead provides a comedy experience that serves as a sort of “breather” from the dark nature that the series is known for. I may not have been a fan of Book of Shadows, but I did like the original game, so I was curious to see what this one had to offer.
Well, right off the bat, the game wastes no time throwing you right into its bizarre, yet familiar atmosphere. It sure looks like Corpse Party, but it is anything but what you would expect from one. That is because all of the characters are gathered in order celebrate Sachiko’s birthday, but she wants them to do so by performing a romantic comedy for her. The result is a series of stupid, yet oddly entertaining stories that are so out of place in the series that I can easily see it alienating most of the game’s fan base.
I personally did not mind this take on the series and was able to appreciate its over-the-top presentation as a result. Compared to other comedy visual novels, its definitely not the best, but I feel like half of the comedy here only works because it is a Corpse Party game.
When it comes to gameplay though, the game pretty much drops everything in that department, turning itself into a full-fledged visual novel experience with no gimmicks. On one hand, this fixes quite a few problems I had with Book of Shadows, but on the other, I imagine that plenty of Corpse Party fans also like the series for its gameplay, so this could be yet another factor that alienates those fans.
Outside of the gameplay and story, the game’s graphics are definitely worth mentioning. Considering that this was originally released in 2012 for the PSP, it is actually quite surprising how good the game looks at 1080p. Even with the assets zoomed in on, they never really looked all that blurry and/or distorted. XSEED has once again done a great job in the visual department here, as they did with Book of Shadows.
Now, while the graphics may be really good, the port does lack in other areas. For example, the game does not currently offer a way to change keyboard controls. In fact, it appears that the game is still heavily tailored towards controller users, as those bindings can be changed. This wouldn’t be so much a problem if the controls were actually listed somewhere, but they are not, forcing me to use some trial-and-error to figure out some of the controls (like F3 being the auto-mode toggle). While the game does do a good job in the controller department (even going so far as to offer several button prompt presets), keyboard users are unfortunately left behind.
With regards to the game’s other settings, it is a bit lacking when compared to other modern VNs. There’s no option to change the game’s font, auto-mode speed, or character-specific voices. That last one in particular bothered me because Sachiko spoke in a voice that was much softer than the others, making it hard to hear in some scenes. I would say that the game provides the bare minimum when it comes to settings — it could definitely be improved, but it at least does the job.
All of this considered, I do give the game my recommendation, but it does come with some drawbacks. First, you would have to have at least played the first game to make sense of it. Second, fans looking for a more serious experience will be sorely let down here, as this game is pretty much just constant off-the-walls comedy. And third, if you’re looking for gameplay similar to the past two games, you’ll find none of that here. Despite all of this though, the game is actually canon and introduces characters that appear in the sequel, Blood Drive. As such, I can see some playing solely for that reason, but I found the game to be decent enough on its own to be worth the recommendation.
You can buy Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of this game. Read more about how I do my game reviews/impressions here.