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htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diary review

Nippon Ichi Sofware is one of my favorite Japanese developers/publishers. While they primarily work on and with JRPGs, they are not afraid to explore and take on different genres. One such current example is htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diary. htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diary is an adventure/puzzle platformer, which is a bit different from the usual SRPGs and rouge-lites that the developer is known for.

 

Light

Minimalist take on story- htoL#NiQ takes on a very minimalist style of storytelling as there are no text or dialogue in the game, just simple cutscenes. In the beginning however we are told that the game takes place on December 31, 9999. Players take on the role of a young girl named Mion who finds herself in a desolate world and void of her memories. A firefly by the name Hotaru finds Mion and helps her find out who she is and where did she come from. For some this might be annoying since they don’t want to figure out the story and just want it to be told to them. However I find the lack of text and spoken dialogue immerses the player even more into the game.

 

Storybook graphics- The very first thing you will noticed about htoL#NiQ is the graphics. The world of htoL#NiQ gives off a very fantastical story book feel, somewhat similar to what you would find in a Brothers Grimm. Everything seems to be either hand-drawn or water colored and it looks really beautiful, especially in motion.

 

Intuitive controls/gameplay- htoL#NiQ has some very intuitive control scheme. Since you can not control Mion directly, you control the firefly Hotaru and guide Mion towards each level exit. However sometimes there will be things that will be blocking Mion and Hotaru that cannot be seen in the light. This is where you tap the back touch pad and control shadow Hotaru. With shadow Hotaru you can attack shadow monsters and secret levers and buttons that can clear the way for Mion or help her.

 

 

Multiple control schemes- Now there are some players out there than are not really fond of touch controls or if your like me, have large hands and fingers. Luckily the game comes with several controls schemes which also include a couple of control schemes that uses the physical Vita buttons.

 

Dark

 

Touch controls a bit finicky– The only real problem that I had with htoL#NiQ were the touch controls, more specifically the back touch pad. My hands are kind of big and when I would try to navigate  shadow Hotaru, I had a hard time trying to get her where I want to go. Shadows have to be touching each other in order for shadow Hotaru to travel through them and sometimes it seems that even though they are touching they are inches apart. This would have been a big deal, but due to the game letting players choose to use the regular controls of the Vita, its not that big of a deal breaker.

 

htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diary is a really nice change of pace from NIS. The game’s artwork is really beautiful in motion, the touch controls and the gameplay are pretty intuitive and the story though minimalistic is very heartwarming.  However even though the touch controls are intuitive, they are a bit finicky. There are other control options that uses the physical buttons for gameplay instead of touch. If your looking for something different from a developer that is already different as it is, then give htoL#NiQ The Firefly Diary a try.

 

7.0/10.00

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