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Game Info:

Cherry Tree High Girls' Fight
Developer: 773
Published by: Sekai Project
Release Date: June 13, 2016
Available on: Windows
Genre: Visual Novel, Card Game
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Unrated
Price: $ 12.99

Thank you Sekai Project for sending us this game to review!

People who know me think I have a bias towards anime games, but this is not true. A good game is a good game and a bad game is a bad game no matter how kawaii or “bouncy” things may get. People also think I am too soft on games with a lot of focus around luck. Today's game, Cherry Tree High Girls’ Fight, pushes the limits of luck tolerance to the most extreme level. The most credit I'll give the game is that it has a good game trying to get out. However the luck reliance got so bad it felt like I'd have a better chance getting amazing line hits on a slot machine.

Cherry Tree High Girls’ Fight puts you in the role of a faceless gym coach who recently got a job at the elite academy Cherry Tree High. You are put in charge of forming a team for the Girls’ Fight, a mixed martial arts tournament to see which combatants are the best in Japan. Once you pick your three girls to form your team, you spend each week training, talking to, and taking care of them. Every Friday in the game is a match for the tournament. If you win enough matches you'll qualify for the finals, eventually reaching the final fight in the game.

Cherry Tree High Girls' Fight
Highlights:

Strong Points: None Whatsoever, buy a better game.
Weak Points: This game will give you the feeling of sitting at a slot machine in a casino. All luck, no skill. 
Moral Warnings: Sexy outfits and perverted moments are in this game such as touching breasts for no reason or giving the girls a punch below the belt, also a strange reliance on  high school kids to fight demons. Some fighters use magical based attacks to win the tournament.

When you name your coach you also have an option to pick between different perks for various bonuses. In the gym, you choose what stats to boost through various training exercises. You may teach your girls new attacks as well instead of boosting stats. If you choose, you can walk around the school to eavesdrop on conversations. This may give you various hints about the game or new conversation topics to have with your girls. You can talk to your girls to find out more about them. If they get injured you can choose to massage them in various places. If training goes poorly you can scold, encourage, or punch them in different places as well. Some of these actions cost Action Points or AP, you gain more the better you do in fights. During fights, every turn you draw five cards which can activate punch, kick, throw, grab, rush, ki, or special attacks. Each card has a number and each attack has a number next to it. The number on the card dictates advantage points, while the number next to the move indicates how difficult the move is to pull off. You can also choose to guard or evade as well with any card. You pick three different moves to do every turn and then the best attacks go through. You win by knocking out your opponent's three girls or by having higher combined HP than your foes at the end of twenty turns.

So for quick reference I did manage to beat the game at least once on normal. Just because I beat it doesn't mean it must be easy to figure out. The game doesn't explain certain status ailments like downed. You are apparently better than your opponent if you see their cards on occasion, yet what determines that? Stats? Moveset? What determines what attacks are evading and which aren't? I would ask more questions yet that would feel like I am cheating my own paragraph. The only really clear thing about the game is what moves benefit from what stats. Through trial and error I was able to figure some of it out, yet it didn't feel satisfying. Sure a game doesn't need to hold your hand; challenge is always good. However the definition of challenge isn't black and white, you don't always want to be thrown headfirst without knowing whats going on. The tutorial and tip section in the game are rather bare bones. The company released a translated manual, yet that doesn't give you the depth of the game either. When figuring out a game feels like trying to solve the riddle to the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, it's just not fun. It's not true difficulty, it's trial and error figuring out a luck based game.

This game prides itself as a strategic card game yet I don't see that. Sure you can prioritize what stats you get, but when you focus your character on strength based attacks, If you don't get your punch and kick cards then your other attacks will either be weak or you'll be forced to try and guard and evade. If you draw only level one or two punch cards and your opponent draws level 4 or 5 attacks, you won't get a single hit in and you'll just take punishment. I've checked every character's move set through repeated save files, and there is no move to upgrade the level of cards or draw extra cards. This is a common thing in other card games to mitigate luck yet this game is absent of such mechanics. In other non-card games with an element of luck, they always have a mechanic to mitigate and lessen the reliance on luck.

Cherry Tree High Girls' Fight
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 50%
Gameplay - 5/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 64%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

Backgrounds are bare-bones and minimum, artstyle is ok yet it seems low effort compared to Sekai Project's other games. Even their visual novels have more movement. Animations are minimal and most of the time you're looking at still pictures. The music is generic and repetitive; at first I thought each girl had unique theme songs yet I quickly found out I was wrong. The story setup and payoff is the most generic thing ever: the tournament is a cover to train fighters to fight off some ancient Japanese flower demon with a dumb name. Does Fleurdermort sound like a credible threat or some weird cosplay original character? Also, while there may be scenes and even special unlocks with characters if you just talk to them, there do not seem to be any special benefits for doing so. Save your AP points for special training. The less you focus on your stats the more you set yourself up for failure.

With morality, expect the usual perverted moments and scantily clad outfits with this game. No gym coach would need the option to massage his fighters breasts. Certain outfits in the game are intended for an erotic response. The boxer in a sports bra and gym shorts I can understand, that is the common outfit for most female boxers. A belly dancers outfit or a jungle girl in a thin and tight outfit that barely covers her body seems like its for the fan service. I am only going to knock the violence down one point because it's all text bubbles and flashing lights. I'll knock it down a bit more for giving the option to pull random sucker punches on your fighters. It's not only unethical, it's just bad coaching. Even if the story didn't impress me, it's still strange to rely on high school students to protect Japan from some flower demon. Some fighters use magical based attacks as well.

If you're in an anime mood and you want to weeb out, you'll have superior anime style games to choose from. If you want a strategy game you'll have superior games to choose from. If you want a card game or game with an element of luck, you guessed it, you'll have superior games to choose from. This game fails in three categories and succeeds in none. The only positive out of this experience? Maybe I'll give a visual novel style game a try and see if I have fun with it.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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