Developer: ALcot Honeycomb
Release Date: 29th June 2012
Age Rating: 18+
Length: 15+ Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
It’s the beginning of summer vacation and, in order to help out with his grandma’s inn, Kaname and his younger sister Kazuha move out to Tohoku. Once they arrive in town, Kazuha ends up staying to shop in the newly built mall, leaving Kaname to take the bus himself where he has an unexpected reunion with his childhood friend Ushio. Once he arrives at the inn, he noticies that there seems to be an awful lot of female high school students about and it turns out that the female dorm at the local high school was undergoing some essential maintenance over the summer so most of the residents would be staying at the inn for the time being.
Kaname also comes across the inn’s resident youkai – Kuroha the Zashiki-Warashi & the fact that he’s able to see snd hear her means that he’s considered to be the inn’s rightful heir. Between this, the fact Kuroha is interfering in his love life and the abundance of female dorm students at the inn, Kaname is bound to have a memorable summer.
Kaname is your typical “nice guy” protagonist and is keen to help out his family at the inn. He had little tying him to his life in Tokyo so when the move to the countryside was floated by his family, he had no problems moving. He used to visit Tohoku as a child.
Kaminogi Ushio (CV Daihatsu Coo)
Ushio is one of Kaname’s childhood friends and recognised him at first sight, despite not seeing him for years. She likes to call Kaname “Kana-chan”, much to his annoyance. Ushio is a kind and friendly girl who is super affectionate towards Kaname. The pair often used to play together at their “Secret Base” near the inn as children.
Oshisaka Tsumugi (CV Aoba Ringo)
Tsumugi is another one of Kaname’s childhood friends and used to be a complete tomboy so he was initially surprised to find she had matured into such a cute girl. Tsumugi is a shrine maiden at the local shrine, which has been in her family for generations and is a member of the school’s archery club. Tsumugi is fairly outgoing but is easily flustered by dirty jokes. She has a younger brother called Takeshi whom is friendly with Kaname.
Kuonji Sora (CV Anzu Mitsu)
Sora is a first year student whom is staying at the inn for the summer. She’s from a well-off family so is staying in a nicer room than most of the other students. Sora is also a member of the student council. She has a dislike of men so is initially cold and awkward towards Kaname, although she does warm to him eventually. She’s a quiet yet kindhearted girl who loves animals.
Utashiro Kanami (CV Kiritani Hana)
Kanami is a third year student and part-time worker at the inn. After finding out that Kaname was the heir to the inn, she declared her love for him and has been extremely affectionate towards him ever since, much to his dismay. Despite her outgoing personality and longing over Kaname, when it comes to her job Kanami actually has a very good work ethic.
Character design and artwork for this game was handled by Sesena Yau, whom has worked on a number of galge over the years for companies including Lump of Sugar and Saga Planets, this was her only collaboration with ALcot. The SD artwork for this game was handled by Aona Masao, ALcot’s usual SD artist.
Opening: Komorebi Fureneru – nao
Ending: Anthem – nao
The BGM for this game was composed by Ookawa Shigenobu, whom has worked on various titles including most of Lump of Sugar’s library.
As you can probably tell from the suspiciously bare title screen, as you finish each heroine route the title screen changes. This was a cute touch.
The rest of the system matches the game’s blue/green aesthetic. The choices in the game are pretty much choosing the name of the heroine you want to pursue so no walkthrough needed.
Despite having some mixed experiences with ALcot Honeycomb’s works, the artwork and setting drew me to this game and the fact that this was one of their few longer “full price” titles had me intrigued. However, was the game as good as it seemed & is it worth the price compared to the brand’s “mid priced” titles?
The thing that 1/2 Summer does do very well is capturing the setting – it does a great job of creating the atmosphere of spending a relaxing summer in the Japanese countryside. The common route in particular was an enjoyable read.
However, the problem that 1/2 Summer has is that it doesn’t really offer much more than the mid-priced games from the brand except an extra heroine and a lot of H scenes. I’m not necessarily against higher amounts of H scenes in moege but between 6-8 scenes per heroine felt a little excessive, especially when there were scenes that took place before the individual character routes split. This is something that I personally dislike as it ruins the romantic development between the protagonist for me. I know there is a (stupid) plot reason for the earliness of these scenes but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.
Complaints aside, the heroine routes were generally decent and the heroines themselves likable, if a tad generic at times. Out of the four main heroines, I found Kanami & her route to be the best of the bunch.
The fact that Kaname’s doting younger sister Kazuha never had a route in the original game is simply a travesty. I see they fixed this in the PSP version but who owns a working PSP to actually play this nowadays?
After finishing each heroine route, there’s a little epilogue that hints at what could be going on in the background, with there being a true ending after finishing all four routes. This epilogue unearthed some really intriguing points that explained some things that were left unanswered throughout the game to that point. However, I wish that every heroine had their own mini-epilogue to this part as it almost made their individual routes feel less impactful.
Sesena Yau’s artwork was generally pretty cute, although there were definitely a couple of CGs that looked a little off. I wish there were more SFW CGs for each heroine but I guess the adorable SD CGs made up for that somewhat.
It wasn’t until I looked up Ookawa Shigenobu that I realised he’d worked on a number of games where I’d enjoyed the BGM. He’s quickly becoming one of my favourite composers – not for epic, orchestral scores but rather for high quality and fitting tracks that are pleasant to listen to and match the atmosphere of the game exceptionally well. The music in this game was really no exception and there were lots of light summer melodies.
My Score: 6.5/10
Whilst this game isn’t terrible, the over-abundance of H scenes and the lack of additional value compared to ALcot Honeycomb’s lower priced titles makes it difficult for me to outright recommend 1/2 Summer.
However, the heroines are cute, their routes are decent and the game has a wonderful summery feel with great BGM and nice visuals. Kanami as a heroine was also especially fun but don’t pick this up expecting a deep plot or anything like that.
Thanks for reading!