Review: Chulip (Retro)
- Release Date (NA): February 13, 2007
- Release Date (JP): October 3, 2002
- Publisher: Natsume
- Developer: Punchline
- Genres: Adventure, Simulator(sort of)
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Also For: PlayStation 3
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
What the hell is Chulip? A question you probably asked yourself just now. Chulip is an adventure, dating sim sort of, almost RPG game where you kiss absolutely everyone. Yes, EVERYONE!
You most likely have never heard of Chulip, and for good reason. It was a commercial failure not only in it's homeland Japan but America as well. It took 5 extra years for it to come out overseas and was released very late into the PS2s life cycle in 2007. If the delay and initial low sales and reception of it in Japan was not enough, it was a Gamestop exclusive and came out just in time for Valentines Day. Needless to say it also bombed over here. And because it was a poorly-selling, Gamestop exclusive it is now quite a rare title. It's not much of a mystery as to why you haven't played it. It got very bad reviews from the major review outlets and has a bit of a cult following, but I hesitate to even call it that because the fanbase is so small. With all of that in mind, lets check it out.
Since the main character does not have an official name, I will be reffering to him as Chu.
Chu and his dad are moving into Long Life Town to get a fresh start on life. But they're poor. And everyone in town has a thing against poor people. After settling in, Chu meets a girl he had a dream about before arriving in town. He expresses his feelings to her but gets rejected because he is poor and is "inexperienced" with love. Hijinks ensue as Chu solves other peoples life problems to earn kisses, while also trying to clear his family name of wrongfully accused crimes and earn the equipment necessary to write the ultimate love letter. There is also a subplot with these weird Mr. Saturn looking people that dress up as city objects like street signs and telephone poles, or maybe they just are those things, and they're having trouble with getting paid at their job or something. Every cutscene with them is hilarious in the weirdest way and it is always entertaining.
You need to pay your employees...
The story never goes too deep, but it's good enough for what it is, a lighthearted, comedic story of love through a childs eyes. It goes bat shit insane at the end in the best way and its worth sticking around to see.
Chulips gameplay is pretty simple. The game runs on a timer, ala Majora's Mask, where each resident in the world of Chulip reacts according to the time. Certain characters may not show up until set times or they may do different things throughout the day. When you aren't doing the sidequests involved with the main characters of the city, the meat of the game is in the Underground Residents. The Underground Residents are plot irrelevant characters that live in small holes that are littered throughout the games 4 main areas. Each one of them crawls out of their hole, for about an hour of in-game time per day, up to the surface and gives you a chance to kiss them.
Mini Godzilla is in need of a kiss.
When an Underground Resident is ready to be kissed, they will do a thing called "Viva". Music notes will float above their head when they're happy and that's your chance to kiss them by pressing the Triangle button. While a lot of them require a specific thing like using an item, or playing a minigame of sorts, a few of them require you to just stay close to them and wait for the music notes. And the worst part is, they may not viva for their entire session. Now this is one of my only problems with the entire game. They can go back underground without viva-ing and theres nothing you can do about it except try again the next day. Luckily, this only happened to me about 3 times out of the games 50 kisses but I have heard horror stories about residents not viva-ing until they were close to the end of the game. However, very few Underground Residents are required to actually finish the game, so unless you are going for 100% it shouldn't be much of an issue either way.
Other than my one complaint about Underground Residents, I had a lot of fun doing the sidequests for the main townsfolk and most of the Underground people were fun to do as well.
Doctor Dandy in particular is a very fun character when you learn about his secret life.
Chulip has a very unique art style. Imagine if the Muppets were turned into Japanese people. It looks strange but it does lead to memorable designs and funny visual jokes. The graphics technically are bad but from a stylized perspective theyre also very good. However, there are 2 or 3 moments in the game where the camera angle is much closer than usual and you can see how bad the textures and character geometry actually is. The normal camera angle hides it pretty well but it is hard to not notice on those very few occasions when its zoomed in. Overall I really like the art style and found it visually pleasing.
The music in Chulip is awesome. It's mostly acapella with a few instruments sprinkled in occasionally and its great. A few of the songs change depending on the time of day while they play as well which is really cool and helps it not get old as quickly as it would. My favorite song is the one that plays in Scarecrow Field.
All of the characters have Banjo Kazooie style voices. It sounds like the voice actors said a few select words in Japanese, scrambled it up and set it on random while it plays over the text based dialog. Each character has a unique voice set and I thought it was cute and really liked it.
Chulip is a true hidden gem of the PS2 and is a must play if you like quirky games with a lot of personality. While it may not be the greatest "game", it is an incredibly memorable and fun experience.
+ You've never played it
+ Absolutely bursting with personality and charm
+ Memorable characters and moments
+ Plenty of laugh out loud moments
+ Fun sidequests and minigames
+ Unique art style
+ Great music
- Underground Resident RNG
- Kiss requirements not always clear
Very charming art style and every character is uniquenand memorable. Environments look pretty good too but a couple textures could be better. A couple of typos.
It's fun but theres not much to it. There are plenty of moments sprinkled throughout however that spice it up for a bit.
There is a lot of optional content to keep you busy and searching for but this is definitely one of those games you only play through once every couple years to re-experience.
out of 10
(not an average)
I highly reccomend checking out Chulip and playing it at least once. It's a hidden gem that deserves more recognition.