Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Brooktown High
(Konami for PSP)

By Michael Palisano

Konami's Brooktown High for the PSP is a high school dating simulator that lets you meet and interact with other students in a fictional educational environment. The game is based on increasing your popularity by dating the top students, getting good grades and making a lot of friends. You can choose your character 'type' and focus on that while going through your weeks. Selecting after-school activities and jobs also allows you to pick your character's style. Brooktown High also includes several mini-games and more, which increases its replay value and makes this a fun, if somewhat superficial title.

Brooktown High is a somewhat odd and quirky game where you get to become a high school student who's looking to become popular with the other students as you date and make friends with them. Before you begin the game, you can create your own character, an avatar that will represent you on campus. You can choose to be either a boy or girl and select the clothes you wear. When you're done creating your character, you can enter the campus and talk with other students. Each one has a different personality and style with all the usual suspects, such as the jocks, nerds, cool people and popular students represented. When you walk up to them, you can talk to them using a simple menu interface. You can choose which way to respond and listen to them, but how they react to you is fairly predictable, which makes gaining popularity simple Once you get the hang of this system and make friends with them, they can help to hook you up with other students and give you tips on who's available and who'. Once you've gotten a bit of a handle on the other students, you then have to rush to class before the hall monitor grabs you. Attending class helps your grades and popularity significantly, though there's nothing to do except watch as cut-scene as you do. When you are in class, your grade stats go up, which makes your parents increase your allowance, giving you more money to spend. Each round is represented by a week, and after each week, you can return to your bedroom. When you're in your bedroom, you can choose to study, which increases your grades. The higher your grades are, the more allowance your parents will give you.

In your room, you can go on your computer where you can shop and purchase different outfits for your student, message other students and apply for after-school activities like the volleyball team or take on a job such as a lifeguard to earn money. Which selection you choose plays an important role on campus, since you are judged on your looks as well. If you pick the wrong outfit, the other students will refuse to date you. Most of the interactions with the other students are fairly straightforward, though some don't seem to respond to you positively no matter what you do. Once you've talked to some of the students, you can give them gifts or perform tasks for them, which makes them like you more and increases your popularity stats. As you earn money and status, you can use your connections to go on dates. When you see a student you've talked to previously, you can then ask them out on a date from one of many locations. When you're on the date, the interaction is somewhat similar, but you can also play mini-games, such as a kissing themed one which will increase menu system, where you can choose to be either obnoxious or cool, and make friends or enemies depending on your conversation. Meeting the other students and making them like your score even more. After each date, your partner will decide whether they want to go out with you again or can dump you depending on your performance. After each week has passed, you can then return to your room where you can change your outfit, practice mini-games or sleep. There are several types of mini-games in Brooktown High, most of which are fairly simple to play and easy to understand. As you'd expect, they make a nice change of pace from the interaction with students, but don't reinvent the wheel. The game is mostly about interacting with the other students, and it succeeds in this department thanks to its easy to navigate and understand menu system.

As you might expect, the gameplay is fairly predictable and unfolds in the same pattern each week, which becomes tedious after awhile. This makes things repetitive quickly, but the additional items you can purchase and extra mini-games helps to reduce this to a degree. This isn't going to challenge experienced players, but it's a fun title that casual gamers will probably enjoy. While it's not that exciting for extended periods, playing Brooktown for short bursts leads to a more enjoyable, if superficial experience. Brooktown High's production values are decent, with some nice character designs and some humorous voice-overs that bring the characters to life. This isn't the deepest or most intense game on the PSP, but it's a solidly produced and entertaining title that should appeal to its younger target audience. Most of the fun comes in creating a customized character and seeing how they interact with the other students. Obviously, Brooktown High isn't intended to be anything more than it is, and the game provides a good balance of accessible role-playing and simple arcade mini-games that makes for an enjoyable experience that should appeal most to casual and younger players.


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