From MAGES and 5pb comes a new installation in the Corpse Party horror game franchise. Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is a visual novel recently released in English for North America and Europe on Steam.
The previous games in the series played as survival-horror games which required map exploration and hiding from enemies, with a large amount of text akin to visual novels. On the other hand, Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is solely a visual novel without any gameplay elements aside from occasionally making decisions throughout the game. Players expecting the traditional Corpse Party survival horror gameplay might want to watch a few gameplay videos before deciding to purchase the game.
The Corpse Party franchise is famous for grotesque scenes, chill-inducing horror, and danger behind every door and around every corner. Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash diverts away from strictly horrort into the realm of comedy and parody. Sachiko is a murdered little girl whose spirit haunts the halls of Heavenly Host Elementary School, the setting for the majority of the franchise. In this visual novel, however, Sachiko is presented as a cute little girl who just wants to celebrate her birthday. While her bloodlust and killing intent is still as rampant as ever, she presents herself with a light, cute, and joking atmosphere.
In the game, Sachiko brings characters from the past games all together to celebrate her birthday. In honor of her birthday, she restricts the ghosts and spirits that haunt the school from killing the characters for the duration of her birthday challenge. Sachiko challenges the characters to race through and survive the booby-trapped school. For the first one to make it to the finish line she provides a very special reward: safe transport away from the cursed school and back to the normal world for the victor and one other classmate. On top of that, she tasks the students with performing a play in honor of her birthday, to which many students object. However, they quickly learn that defying Sachiko leads to painful and horrific consequences.
Graphics & Audio
One great thing about visual novels is that they are simple. Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash consists of text, backgrounds, and character sprites. Therefore, the hardware requirements for visual novel games are almost always quite low and can run well on regular, non-gaming computers and laptops.
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
- Processor: 1.5 GHz
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
- Graphics: 64 MB VRAM, 3D accelerator compatible w/ DirectX 9.0c
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 7 GB available space
- Sound Card: Compatible with DirectX 9.0c
The graphics are well done, but where the game truly shines is in its voice acting and sound effects. The visual novel is filled with tons of spoken Japanese dialogue. As well, the soundtrack alternates from creepy and horrific to upbeat and cheerful at the blink of an eye, giving the game an odd, funny and scary dual atmosphere.
Being a visual novel, the gameplay consists of reading the text, occasionally making decisions and simply enjoying the story. While the game doesn’t have any active gameplay elements, Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is a very polished visual novel with numerous features. The game has an automatic quick save function which activates before each player decision. Therefore, if you make the wrong choice, simply load the last quick save and change your decision.
As well, if you don’t feel like clicking the mouse or pressing the action button for every line of dialogue, you can activate that auto-read option that effectively “turns the page” for you without lifting a finger.
While the graphics and soundtrack are well done, it almost seemed as if they ran out of photos. Numerous times throughout the game the characters would be talking amidst a plain solid color background. Part of the joy of visual novels is seeing the expressions on characters faces, hearing their sighs of relief or annoyance during the dialogue. Normally, in visual novels when a character is speaking their sprite would be visible on the screen. Remove the images from a visual novel and it ends up being just simple dialogue without substance.
Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is a great game for visual novel fans who know the Corpse Party series well. However, people new to the Corpse Party series will likely feel lost and confused if this visual novel is the first game they play from the series. People who are unfamiliar with the Corpse Party franchise are better off playing the original Corpse Party first, which is available on both Steam and Nintendo 3DS.
In the end the question becomes: does this game have enough substance to stand on its own? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Without playing previous games in the series, this game will not make much of an impression on you. With that being said, Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is a great little addition to the Corpse Party series.
Fans of the previous titles will feel right at home and will enjoy seeing all of the characters from the past games back in one comedic little side story. As a visual novel itself, it is well produced with tons of Japanese voice acting, and a well-done soundtrack and sound effects. The game has the staple visual novel gameplay features that make for a pleasant and smooth visual novel experience. Hopefully, if the game gets enough positive reception, we can see a physical release in the near future.
|+ A unique story blending of comedy and horror||– The game doesn’t standalone well from the rest of the series|
|+ Well-done Japanese voice acting and sound effects||– Some scenes were poorly constructed, with lack of visual aids|
|+ Convenient quick save and auto-play mechanics|