Fireside Blossom: reviewing Laid-back Camp Have a Nice Day

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infantpipoc

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(With no product page for this game on the site, I decided to write this relatively short and un-scored review as a blog post on the franchise page. It’s about a rather niche game, but hopefully there will be readers find it interesting. Played in Japanese on Switch)

Even after two pieces of Virtual Reality Experiences based on Laid-back Camp came out, Have a Nice Day is still marketed in Japan as “the game based the hit anime y’all been waiting for”. Based on the first animated series aired early 2018, this visual novel let you revisit the natural splendor of the autumn season around Mount Fuji if you had seen the anime or read the manga.

Developed by Mages of Stein’s Gate fame, Have a Nice Day unfortunately falls into a league of anime cash-outs its developer had put out in the last half decade. The sliver lining here is that Laid-back Camp’s piece of life light comedy tone is nailed perfectly in this visual novel. For one thing the talking bits in Have a Nice Day are short. The point-of-view characters exchange a one-liner or two with friends and move on to the next scenes. After reading several more dramatic visual novels, this certainly feels refreshing.

Have a Nice Day covers a period of 5 weeks, up to Christmas. The first 4 weeks switch between point-of-view characters Rin Shima and Nadeshiko Kagamihara. While both girls can be described as softly spoken, the styles of two are polar opposite. Voice between Rin, Nao Toyama is one of those talents specialize in hot-headed girl bosses in 2010s, yet here her performance is cool and even haunting. “Kirby, but a high school girl” is Nadeshiko in a nut-shell and voice actor Yumiri Hanamori’s warm and fluffy performance certainly match people’s impression of Nintendo’s pink ball. It’s shame though that the pov of that week is mute.

Since Mages gained more fame after their visual novels got animated adaptions, their games, whether based on an anime property or not, focus on two things anime is made of: enough animation and all-star voice cast.

On the contrast to Type-Moon and their tricks of whipping virtual cameras in front of illustrations, Mages would at least have animated character sprites move their lips. While characters in Have a Nice Day are not as detailed as those in Mages’ remake of Famicom Detective Club games, they are rather on model with animated series and comic book. As for voice cast, if you watched the show subbed, then be assured that everyone is here. Well, almost, as the game does not have voice over narration, so Akio “long time Hideo Kojima collaborator” Otsuka sat this one out making this one with an all female cast.

The weeks in the game process like this: from Monday to Thursday, the pov character goes to school, meeting her fellow students of her choice or not, choose something to say that would improve the relationship then move on. On Friday, plan for the weekend with two steps, first choose one campsite from 7 that were covered in the first season of the anime, then choose the people to hang out around the campfire with, including go alone, go with the girlfriend and go with the whole gang. Then enjoy some nice illustration for the weekend.

If one aspect of the game that feels way too cheap is the lack of food shown. During the weekend night, the script would go into mouthwatering details about how to cook and eat something on campsites. But it’s all tell and no show, since the sprites of cooking equipment are only thing shown on the screen. Everyday! Today’s Menu for Emiya’s Family, this is not.

Laid-back Camp Have A Nice Day! is a cheap cash-out, but a rather enjoyable and even refreshing one at that. With visual novels focusing on romance, drama and sometimes unholy union of those 2, this short and sweet comedy about friendship(Though a dark corner of my mind cannot stop seeing Rin and Nadeshiko being romantically involved...) can be enjoyed as a breath of fresh air. I just hope it would be localized into English so more community members of this site can enjoy it.