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Cherry Pop

Game Reviews
'Brooktown High: Senior Year'
By: Konami
(Sony PSP/ ASIN: B000L422L0 / Rated: T / $39.99)

Features: Create your own male or female character. Interact with other students with their own unique personalities. Go on dates in locations such as the movies, the beach, the mall, etc. with these interactive mini-games.

Description: If you only knew then what you know now. Here's your chance to re-live your high school days by entering Brooktown High. Choose to play as male or female and create your own unique character. Interact with other students, each with their own distinct personalities and cliques. Find your niche and hang out with jocks, nerds, preppies, and more. This is your senior year and your chance to find the guy or girl of your dreams!

Verdict: I'll try and stick with the specifics of the gameplay and avoid too much commentary. This game is OK, but it could have been a lot more.

I would describe this as a "round-based, relationship game". A round is one school week. Your character gets up on Monday, gets dressed and has a little time for the computer. Then it is off to school. You have probably time enough to talk with 2 or 3 other kids before you have to get to class. Talking with other kids is VERY important, because this is basically the only chance you get for any given round, and talking is how you advance your relationships. Here is where things got a little weird; you flash-forward to Friday afternoon (there is no Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, etc). Here you have either your job or your after-school club. By the way, you don't do anything at a job or club; these are strictly for earning money or improving your grades. Your character then wakes up on Saturday morning and can either study (all day) or goof off and call people on the phone or go on the computer. If you have a date, that happens Saturday night. That is pretty much it for a round. For some reason, there is no Sunday.

This game is all about relationships. There is no free-roam or things in the environment to interact with (except the computer and the clothes closet). Your character can't leave their room except to go to school or out on dates. You can't go hang out at the mall or go to a friend's house. Each round is very fast-paced. You rush to school, find who you want to talk to (if you can) and then run to class to avoid the hall monitor.

The game is about relationships, but there is very little time to develop them. There is absolutely no way you could talk with everyone in the game and go through their "story". This does give the game some replay value, in a strange way. The game lasts for one school year, so it is probably about 30 rounds or so.

The dating part is kind of interesting. You definitely have to get to know the person in order to get them interested. I didn't get too many dates, partially because I sometimes couldn't find the person I was looking for! On dates, you go to different places, but you only talk with your date.

I started to enjoy the game play style, because there was always something to look forward to; someone you needed to talk to or do a favor for. It is a decent hand-held game, because the rounds are pretty short. It would give me a headache if I played it too long. However, right when I was just figuring things out, the school year was over!

The good:
Graphics and soundtrack are good
Some of the characters are pretty interesting
The round-based gaming can be pretty compelling. I usually couldn't wait until the next round so I could find the person I was looking for

The bad: It can be really hard to find the other kid(s) you are looking for. There are lots of them and you only get once chance per round (aside from phone calls).
You can't call people until you get their number, and you can't get a phone number unless someone gives it to you. (no yellow pages)
It got frustrating trying to figure out how to advance some relationships. You have to talk to the right people to get tidbits about others. If you try talking to the same people again, you will just have the same conversations over and over. You have to find something out about them first, and that can be kind of hard (there isn't too much conversation time in any given round)
There was very little time to interact with the other characters. If you accidentally started talking with the wrong person, you probably will miss out on finding who you were looking for
For me, the worst part was no free-roam, no ability to explore.

Overall, it is OK. It is certainly very different. However, those who are looking for a SIMS-like experience will want to avoid this one.

Reviewed by Mike Stevenson

www.Konami.com





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