Kokoro Clover Season 1 Review

Kokoro Clover Season 1 by developer ひこてる and publisher Phoenixx Inc.PC (Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes 

Do you ever get that nostalgia kick where you crave the days of Saturday morning cartoons? Those days where you would get up early, grab a glass of orange juice, and sit in front of the TV watching Power Rangers? Well, that's the exact feeling Kokoro Clover Season 1 invokes.

Kokoro Clover tells the tale of a young girl named Treffy, a spirit summoner who has the ability to use the power of spirits. One day she finds a mysterious gem called the Kokoro Clover. Along with her spirits, she sets out on an adventure in order to discover the secrets of the Kokoro Clover, and maybe make some friends along the way? The game is split into a number of chapters, each with both a self contained story tying into an overarching plotline. Remember what I said about it reminding me of Power Rangers? Well each episode is like those "monster of the week" deals.

Gameplay for Kokoro Clover is pretty simple 2D action platformer. There are a number of modes to choose from, such as Story Mode, Adventure mode which contains some extra challenges, and a Boss Rush mode. There is also a shop and minigame option. At the shop you can exchange coins you find in stages for stuff you've unlocked the ability to purchase. The minigame mode is the most basic rhythm minigame I've ever seen, but I'll touch on that a bit later. Whenever you start a stage, you will get a cute intro like the beginning of an old cartoon/anime before you start up the stage. Once you get control of Treffy, usually after some exposition, you can run, jump, and attack your way through a stage, picking up items from chests as you go.

I'll say this right now so you don't get the wrong idea, but Kokoro Clover feels like it's intended for a much younger audience, or someone who hasn't played many, if any, video games before. It is incredibly easy, so you won't be seeing much challenge in it, and will probably be picking this up for a younger relative. That being said, it is really cute and fun, so let's take a look at how it plays!

When in control of Treffy, you can walk, jump, attack, and perform many other actions. Treffy not only has the power to shoot magical bullets at monsters, she can also fuse with the spirits she has made friends with, changing her element from the wind she starts as to the element of the spirit she is fused with. This fusion also changes your attack type, allowing you to deal a lot more damage to bosses. Seriously, it's quite noticeable. That's not all the spirits can do though! You can also call them in to assist you in battle! While you start out with Undine, who heals you, and Salamander, who creates a fire attack, you can unlock more assist options along your adventure.

As you spend time in the stage, you will build up a special gauge, which will be used to perform a big attack that hits all enemies on-screen. You can also dance! While it may not seem like much, you are actually invincible while dancing! You can also keep dancing for as long as you want, so you can probably see why I said Kokoro Clover isn't very challenging, since your charges for using assists and your super gauge still fill while dancing. While you can only have one assist equipped at a time, you have 5 loadouts which you can mix and match using different assists, callout cards, and dances before entering a stage. These loadouts can be cycled through while you're in-stage.

As you travel through the world of Kokoro Clover meeting new people and battling new foes, you will also collect cards which can be viewed in a library from the main menu. Each chapter is very short, and also shows you what you get from completion, with a little chest, card, store, or trophy icon indicating monster info in chests in the stage, an earned card, a store unlock, or an in-game achievement respectively. The rhythm minigame will also expand with more characters as the game progresses. Also, after every story segment, you get a small "commentator's corner", where the characters will discuss either something from the "episode", or about the world in general. At the end, you will be given a special saying or password, which you can then use in the store in order to unlock something new. Well, except one which gave the wrong password, but that's part of a larger problem.

While I don't know about the Switch version, I can certainly say the PC version comes with a few…issues, at least for the moment. While none of these are particularly game breaking or anything like that, it certainly does make Kokoro Clover feel a little…amateurish. Also, the game seems intended for Switch to begin with, as controls are much better with a controller, and are referred to by Switch controller scheme. There are also a few instances where there is some cards or monster info that put the character icons partially offscreen. From issues I noticed, probably the biggest one was that while running, if you try to dance, sometimes Treffy will be stuck in the run animation instead of dancing, meaning you will get hit by an attack. You actually need to stop moving briefly first.

The next issue I had was with the language/textboxes. Basically, all the textboxes will be in Japanese with English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. I don't know whether this was a stylistic choice or not, especially considering it's only voiced in Japanese, but I think it would've been better to just replace the Japanese with English, although this doesn't particularly impact gameplay. The text boxes can also be a bit wonky, as sometimes a character will be talking with a different textbox than what the subtitles indicate, and sometimes certain dialogue boxes just get skipped entirely.

I also had an issue once, and only once, where a sound effect somehow got mapped to a certain button press, namely the jump button, which was amusing at first but quickly got annoying. Thankfully a restart and that fixed itself, and it never happened again. The last thing to note is that if you buy too much in the shop too fast, the money counter messes up and can't keep track correctly. Your actual money value is known, but the in-store display doesn't show it properly.

Despite my gripes, I actually really loved playing through Kokoro Clover Season 1. The characters were all fairly interesting and made me nostalgic for those days as a kid where I'd get up early to watch Power Rangers, Cardcapter Sakura, and Digimon, and the humour in the game is actually really good. Have I mentioned I burst out laughing a few times? The soundtrack is also really well put together, and the cute artstyle and old-school anime type format really suits the game well.

Overall, Kokoro Clover Season 1 is a game with a lot of heart, despite a few setbacks here and there. While definitely more on the easier side, it makes a good launching point for getting a younger audience into gaming, anime, or cartoons while also teaching some lessons.

Kokoro Clover definitely feels like it would be more at home on the Switch, and while I wish that's what I had played it on, the PC version worked fine for me. I highly anticipate the release of Season 2, and I hope you will too after playing Kokoro Clover Season 1.

Score: 7 / 10



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