[PC] Houkago Cinderella – Review

Title: 放課後シンデレラ
Developer: HookSoft
Release Date: 28th August 2020
Age Rating: 18+
Length: 20+ Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB

Kiyoshiro Kuzumi is a young man who recently returns to his hometown after having moved away some years ago. Despite being reunited with his childhood friend, Youka, at the train station he finds that she is not the same shy girl from back then.

Shortly after the move he meets an unusual and eccentric girl on his way home one night. She introduces herself as Tayori Tanomi and has also recently moved to the city. Her positive philosophies on life begin to have an effect on Kuzumi as she introduces him to the joys of new discoveries while walking home from school.

Slowly Kuzumi begins to broaden his horizons and meet other girls on his travels – are they friends or something more? A romance about finding unexpected joys begins now.


Hooksoft is a brand that is pretty much known for their sugary sweet moege. My first experience with the brand wasn’t excatly great (the Lovely Quest Vita port) but I was willing to put that more down to the company adding in the console-exclusive content which was a lot worse than the original. So this didn’t deter me from giving them another shot and with the sequel out recently I figured Houkago Cinderella would be a good choice. Was it a fun and fluffy read?

Given how generic and stagnant most of the actual plots in moege are, I was actually surprised that Houkago Cinderella chose to focus on an area mostly neglected – the walk home from school. At first this does seem like a bit of a sily concept but the game does an amazing job of romanticising this – chance encounters and the ability to have quality time with a heroine every afternoon throough use of its simple but well implemented system.

The way that the system works is that the common route lasts for 20 “turns” and every day you are given a choice of where you would like to visit on the way home – creating a “route” of 4 areas. By using a fortune-telling service offered by a friend you can get hints on where the heroines will be or simply clicking the “Go Home with *insert heroine name*” button will create a route for you.

Upon choosing a route, you proceed to visit each area and – if a heroine is in an area – you are given the choice to call out to her and walk home together. Upon selecting this option, the protagonist and heroine walk together while the game gives you varying topics to talk to the heroine about – each giving different levels of affection points. Extra events open up depending on the amount of affection you have with the heroine and once at max affection you get into the heroine’s route.

Whilst it may sound a little complicated/convoluted, the system for this game was actually pretty intuitive and I found it to be quite a fun gimmick. I found myself looking forward to the sections walking home with the heroines – they were charming and the flow of conversation was good despite the choice system.

Another area where this game excels is the writing itself – which is quite notable for a moege. Much of the dialogue and character interactions are very lively and have a nice flow to them, with the game also being hilarious at times. Even excluding the heroines, who are predictably wonderful, even the side characters are fun and memorable – which just makes the common route so enjoyable.


So the make-or-break for a moege is the heroines and luckily the ones in Houkago Cinderella are all incredibly likable and memorable.

Beginning with Tanomi – the eccentric transfer student who is the one that starts the protagonist’s appreciation of the walk home from school. Tanomi definitely comes across as just a little odd at first but, after playing her route, you definitely come to apprecite her. She’s definitely unique but that’s not a bad thing.


Youka is the childhood friend of the protagonist but she’s changed a lot from what he remembers. Youka is no longer the shy girl he once knew and is now a stylish, chatty gyaru with a large friend group. I must say that I’ve been really enjoying the “trend” from the last few years where moege have been including the kind gyaru heroines. They’re pretty, stylish and outgoing so what’s not to love? And then they go and make her a childhood friend? Genius. Jokes aside, Youka is very likable and her banter with Kuzumi is great. She also has the cutest homewear outfit.


Tsukushi is the token kouhai heroine who has a strong fear of men and meets the protagonist by chance one afternoon when he tries to return something she drops – which was a more difficult task than it may initially appears! I’m totally biased here because I loved Tsukushi but she was the best heroine in my eyes. The way she slowly gets over her fear by becoming closer to the protagonist was heartwarming and her sense of humour in general matched my tastes. 10/10.


We’ve had the kouhai so now it’s time for the token senpai character Yukiko. She’s your typical playfully teasing senpai but with the quirk that she enjoys photography. She’s often found with her group of friends which makes her walk home dynamic a litte different to the other heroines. I’m generally not the biggest fan of senpai heroines but Yukiko was decent nontheless. Her teasing is fun to read and she definitely has a lot of personality.


Now if all five heroines went to the same school that would be boring so our final heroine Maria is a rich ojousama who attends the all girls school in the city. She meets the protagonist by chance one day and somehow shows some interest in him. If it weren’t for Tsukushi then Maria woud easily be my favourite heroine – I liked the theme of her route and her personality and devotion to the protagonist were hilariously adorable. She’s simply a very good girl.

There’s surprisingly quite a few side characters when you add them all together. They are all pretty memorable and play their roles well. A lot of them spice up the early part of the game for sure.

The artwork for this game was by Rinks – a mainstay at Hooksoft for the past few years. I like their style quite a bit – I’m not sure how to word it but the heroines look very feminine somehow? There’s a good amount of CGs per heroine but no group CGs which is okay because of how this title is structured. The SD images were provided by Noito but I was disappointed because there’s only one (!!!!) SD CG in the entire game.

I enjoyed the game’s BGM – it was overall very fitting and fairly relaxing which suits this type of title. The vocal songs were pretty good, not my favourites but still enjoyable.


My Score: 9/10

With fun writing, good romance and lively heroines it should come as no surprise that Houkago Cinderella is an excellent moege. It truly manages to stand out above the crowd by picking an unusual gimmick and then actually making that enjoyable with an intuitive system to match it. I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of my favourite moege and would recommend it to people who enjoy the genre.

Well this was an unexpected hit from Hooksoft – I really enjoyed their sense of humour and romance in this game so that gives me a lot of hope for their other titles. I did buy Houkago Cinderella2 back in October but was too unwell to play it so plan to get to it soon. I’m also keeping an eye out for their newest title!

Thanks for reading.


About Zettai Renai

Hello! ヾ(^-^)ノ Sometimes I write about Visual Novels. I particularly like cutesy/fluffy stories~ I also am eternally suffering in Enstars hell(˶′◡‵˶)
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