North American Playstation 2s recently puckered up for some quirky Japanese love in the form of Natsume’s Chulip. In a game featuring the premise to make out with a town full of strangers, players should be able to foretell this is a one of a kind console experience that may not be suited for everyone.
The game's story puts players in the role of a boy who has just moved to a rural town with his father. The town, however, is famous for an ancient legend, which states whoever kisses underneath the old tree on the nearby hill will be destined to be together happily ever after. When the protagonist dreams about kissing a girl beneath the tree while traveling to his new home, it comes as quite a shock when he runs into the same girl in the town.
After being completely shot down by the girl and labeled the town’s poorest boy, evidently the key to winning her heart is by kissing everyone in sight to build up heart power and reputation and earning the coveted love letter set from an underground dweller who eerily resembles Mother’s Mr. Saturn. Of course, Chulip wouldn't be much of a game if those tasks were as easy as they sounded as a variety of puzzles will potentially get in the way of true love.
Played as an adventure title, Chulip is ripe with a population of multiple areas just waiting to be lip locked. However, players will have to do more than just waltz up and plant a kiss on people – going in at the wrong time will result in a slap to the face that depletes heart power. If the character’s heart power reaches zero, it’s lights out and game over.
Citizens ready for a kiss will have music notes above their heads, giving players a cue to go in for a smooch. A number of varying tasks must be completed in order for them to feel your mojo. Some merely require waiting until the right time, but others require items or even tasks such as playing red light, green light or making terminal stops while playing train.
Chulip features a neat graphical style that comes alive with certifiably bizarre characters. Forget the meticulous rendering done in most of today’s games; the environments and HUD feature the type of artistic flare made possible by very articulate crayon or chalk drawing. Everything in this game from its head to its toes is strange and some of the characters in Chulip take the cake for weirdest characters ever.