The Higurashi When They Cry franchise was probably about time to get a mobile gacha game, as with many anime properties in this modern day of anime. Higurashi: Mei was released a few days ago in Japan, now up and properly running after buckling under server stress during the initial few hours of launch and entering emergency maintenance. Studio Passione will be handling the latest anime adaptation of the series, so what better time to get new fans in with a mobile game? This is relevant as the character designs and art style follow the new adaptation than the original Studio Deen production.
The story begins by following Kimiyoshi Kazuho, granddaughter of Kiichirou who was mayor of Hinamizawa. She returns to the abandoned village after the disaster, and finds herself pursued by creatures dubbed Tsukuyomi. She is saved, then granted supernatural powers by Tamurahime no Mikoto to defend herself. Ichiho travels back in time to discover the truth behind both the Tsukuyomi and the Great Hinamizawa Disaster.
While the prologue is voiced, the main story is not, which is unfortunate. Considering the material and series, I would have expected at least that but it is not the case.
Prior to the game’s release, I likened its gameplay to Princess Connect: Re Dive. It is indeed very much the case:
- 2D side-scrolling battle in waves, where characters automatically attack and/or utilize skills
- Individual characters also have their positions in formation
- Ability to upgrade characters individually with equipment
- R characters don’t start out with skills and require you to get the relevant items to unlock (!!!)
- Increase unit star rank with a shard system
SSR characters are set at a 3% rate for featured characters, and 2% for the others. Duplicates only create shards for the relevant card, without a universal shard system to obtain shards for other characters. This makes the gacha extremely unforgiving as you’d need many dupes to raise even one star rank. For context:
- R cards take 50 shards, duplicates provide 10
- SR cards take 100 shards, duplicates provide 20
- SSR cards take 150 shards
Each 10 pull also requires 3000 currency, and stories provide 10 / 20, which is hardly generous. The first free 10-pull isn’t even guaranteed to give you an SSR. As for the quests, the early levels of battle seem rather tough if you don’t regularly upgrade your characters, which gain very little EXP in combat, and caps out at your player level. Get ready to grind a lot. While there are positions characters will be at in a battle formation, it’s not reflected in the party bar at the bottom, which seems like an oversight.
There are the regular mission milestones to clear, so there’s that. There are a couple of other systems in place, like a guild-like system and expeditions, but without knowing Japanese, it can be tough to figure out from limited context.
No events are running as yet, so I wouldn’t be able to pass comment on how they will work. At least the early levels are easy enough to breeze by, but materials will be a little tough to get. Skips are possible for quests, but they require the relevant “tickets”, and there aren’t many available just yet.
In all honesty, in its current state, I do not enjoy Higurashi: Mei. If I wanted to play a Priconne-like game, I’d just play Priconne. The story would be interesting to get into especially if you’re a fan of Ryukishi07’s works, but it falls flat without voices unless they update it in the future, making reading it a venture only if you know Japanese in its early days. The gacha rate is pretty standard, and there’s no apparent pity system in place, so it’s not even an especially great gacha investment unless you can shell out the money.
It’s a rough release, so for now, I’d only recommend it for fans who want to pull for their favourites. Otherwise, wait for updates.